In Bloom: A Reflection on a Season of Growth

Hello my precious little corner of the intranet, I’ve missed you so much! I’ve returned from [yet another] much needed hiatus. No matter how much content I have planned or ideas I put to paper, every year I find that I need a bit of a break from the world of blogging and social media.

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Blogging has always been a creative outlet for me and a huge passion, but in the last few months, I lost the drive and passion I had for it. It honestly started to feel like a second job, and that was NEVER my intention. I found myself questioning my writing, and consistently worrying about what my people thought and if I was being judged (ridiculous I know). More often than not, we as humans have a tendency to allow fear to control us. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison game with other bloggers, especially since we only use social media as a highlight reel, as opposed to us showing what’s really going on in our lives. Truth be told, everyone has highs and lows, and sometimes the lows outweigh the highs. As Epictetus reminds us, it’s all in the way that we handle what life throws at us that makes all the difference.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”

– Epictetus

This year has been a whirlwind of activity so far with an abundance of change that has affected me exponentially. It’s only proper that I take advantage of the season and use the metaphor of spring to reflect on these last few months. You see, I used to loathe change; the very thought of it would make my stomach turn and my anxiety skyrocket. However, in the last few years, I’ve learned to embrace it: without change, we would never learn and grow into the people we are meant to be.

A quick recap on the last couple months

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a chance to sit down and really hash out what has been going on. Life has been moving so quickly lately that I feel as though I really haven’t had a second to catch my breath. There are a number of things that have taken place this year that are not so great, but I’m not going to focus on that right now. I have two HUGE changes in my life that I could not be more elated about that I’m so excited to share with you guys:

I got a promotion! Nearly three years into my first post-grad job, I got my first promotion to Brand & Events Coordinator. This came a couple weeks before our biggest show of the year, which was a bit daunting, but long story short, we rocked it and I’m incredibly proud of myself! I’ve been working a lot more lately because of the promotion, but I feel as though it’s instilled a new sense of confidence in me professionally. I have so many ideas and tactics that I can’t wait to share in the work place!

I’m no longer in a long distance relationship! My boyfriend is officially home for good after four long years and my heart is so full. It’s a bit of an adjustment (in the best way) figuring out how to actually date again, but in the last month, I’d say that we’ve adjusted quite nicely. We’ve both grown so much these last four years both as individuals and in our relationship so I’m excited to see where this next chapter of our relationship takes us.

Lessons Learned

The biggest takeaway from this is to give myself a break every now and then // On my recent work trip to Chicago for our biggest trade show of the year, my sinuses got the best of me and I was SO SICK come day two of the show. Five days later, I was getting ready to hop on a plane to come back home and it was not letting up whatsoever, and it didn’t help that I dove right back into work a brief 24 hours after touching down. My body was in desperate need of some R&R. That long weekend, I allowed myself to have a couple lazy days to sleep and recuperate. Let me tell you, that was the BEST decision I had made in a long time. The following Tuesday, I was feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and so much better!

Prioritize your time // With my new promotion, I’ve taken on many new responsibilities, and I noticed pretty early on that if I don’t prioritize my time wisely, NOTHING goes as planned and you’ll be asking for extensions on your deadlines. This also goes for life outside of work; I was making time for friends, family, Ryan, working out and staying on top of the few tv shows I have in my rotation, but I was going without making time for my blog and other projects that fuel my fire.

Unplug // There’s a reason why every single mental health article tells you to unplug every now and then, it WORKS! I have a difficult time turning my brain off in order to sleep — especially with so much going on lately. I’ve discovered that unplugging for at least an hour before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What and whom to give my energy to // This has been a long time coming. I’ve found that I get so wrapped up in certain aspects in life that don’t matter and aren’t worth my time nor energy. I recently read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and — let me tell you — this book has totally changed my perspective on so many facets of life. One of my biggest takeaways from the book was choosing my battles and stripping away all of the bs to live my best, most unapologetic life. Manson presents a hilariously vulgar tough love approach to creating self-awareness and learning about what matters most in life. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” shelf for years, and now I wish I would have had the opportunity to read it at a younger age. I highly recommend this book to everyone! 

-K.

Gratitude

With the advent of Thanksgiving upon us, it’s necessary to take the time away from our busy schedules and reflect on all of the blessings we’ve received throughout the year.

All too often, we get caught up in the craziness of our day to day lives, and don’t take the time to appreciate and thank God for everything both big and small in our lives. I challenge you to take your blessings and use them to give to others during this season of giving. Whether it’s simply paying forward a previous favor someone did for you, or paying for the person behind you in line at Starbucks.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – Betsy Farrell

I am truly grateful, thankful, and blessed for an incredible year thus far. I have so many things to be thankful for, including the opportunity to travel to another country for the first time, my family is going to be together for the holidays, and my Airman is FINALLY coming back to the states in just a few more days!

What are you most grateful for this year?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

-K.

Keeping It Current

Life has been absolutely crazy since I’ve returned from my trip, but I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and catch you all up on some current happenings and obsessions.

Lush // Recently, I made two new purchases from the handmade, organic cosemetic store Lush – the Big Blue Bath Bomb and Cup O’Coffee face and body mask. I’ve previously tried a bath bomb and enjoyed it so I thought I’d try out another.

Big Blue promised a relaxing, oceanic experince; however, I somehow missed the fine print where it said there would be literal pieces of seaweed in the bathtub with you (see image below). If bathing with seaweed relaxes you, then this is right up your alley! As for me, tiny bits of the water plant give me anxiety so it wasn’t the best experience for me. Also, the cleaning of the seaweed was a pain; I don’t usually like to give the bath tub a good scrubbing after my soak, but I felt the need to after this one. I give it a 7/10 for the scent and the beautiful color it leaves the water.

As for the Cup O’Coffee face and body mask, a ton of bloggers I follow have raved about the product so I had to give it a try. I bought the smaller version as I have sensitive skin and am allergic to most things under the sun and, you guys, I’m obsessed! It smells amazing (if you like the smell of coffee), and makes my skin feel unbelievably smooth. The only thing I recommend is not using it before bed as it does have caffeine in it and will keep you up all night – trust me, I learned this the hard way.

The Skimm // I like to start off my mornings with a cup of coffee and The Skimm. Interested in staying up to date on current events without biased BS? Join me and the rest of the Skimm community by signing up here today!  It’s quick, easy, and super entertaining; I promise you won’t regret it!

Zara // Now onto my favorite latest obsession: Zara! Since there aren’t any that are close to where I live, I jumped on the chance to explore one of the stores in Florence while in Italy. Needless to say, I loved it and picked up the two tops featured in the photo above. Have I mentioned how much I love neutrals?

Game of Thrones // Last summer, I got hooked on Game of Thrones, but barely made it through the second season before life got hectic. Just the other night, I re-downloaded HBO Now so that I can finally watch it all the way through before the new season starts.

That’s all for me this week! What have you been up to?

-K.

 

One Year Later…

img_1387A year ago today I closed an amazing chapter of my life and opened a new one to adulthood and the “real world”! This year has brought loads of changes, life lessons, and adventures. Following graduation, I moved back home to my parents’ house which is a huge adjustment in itself. I also had to give up dance and became distant from my sorority; both things that I ate, slept, and breathed throughout my college career. I accepted my first corporate desk job which has been a whirlwind, and has taken a toll on my body — when they say your metabolism decreases after a certain age, they aren’t kidding.

Long story short, adjusting to post-grad life can be difficult. So, in true Kourtney form, here is some advice for those graduating this year and moving on to bigger, better things:

1. People will walk out of your life after graduation. Sometimes it’s because you live too far away, or minimal effort put in by both parties. If you thought having a social life in college was hard, just wait until you move away from all of your college friends and you all have 9-5 jobs. This was one of the HARDEST lessons that I learned this year after being around my close friends nearly 24/7. Just know that your closest friends will still make an effort to be in your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the job market. I won’t sugarcoat it — finding a job post-grad is difficult. Luckily, I found my current job just a couple months after graduation, but I never in a million years thought I would end up where I currently am.

3. Take the time to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s easy to forget to take care of your body once you’re no longer walking miles across campus and don’t have a free gym right at your fingertips (well, at least we did at OU). As aforementioned, I didn’t realize just how much having a desk job would take a toll on my body. Between regular desk snacking, and sitting all day, I discovered the importance of getting in some sort of workout on a daily basis and eat healthy. Also, mental health days are definitely necessary; make sure you relax outside of work, and try not to let it run your life.

4. Do not stress about student loans. This is one thing that I cannot stress enough! The same day I graduated, I had a total mental breakdown about not having a job right out of college and seeing the amount of zeros following how much I owed back in loan payments. Something that I’ve learned since is that coming out of college with debt is absolutely normal. Educate yourself on the various options you have to pay back your loans and choose the one that works best for your situation.

5. Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, being a “full-on” adult sucks. Remember that although you may be working your ass off in the office, you NEED to take time to enjoy time with your friends and loved ones. Eat cake, drink champagne, and celebrate your hard work; life is too short to be miserable!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

-K.

New Year, New Goals // 2017


As I mentioned in my previous post, this year has been a year of constant change and adjustment for me — some good, some bad, some very necessary. I’m not usually one for setting resolutions because I believe the true definition of resolution is “starting a new ‘lifestyle’ for two weeks, and ultimately giving it up for your love of cake, sleep, etc.”. However, I have no qualms against setting personal, realistic goals. In the hopes of creating accountability for myself, I’ve decided to post my personal goals for the upcoming year.

1. Take better care of myself; the past few years were spent getting sick a lot more than the average human should.

2. Drink more water.

3. Work out at least four times a week.

4. Find a work out I enjoy.

5. Focus more on finishing books than finishing Netflix series.

6. Travel as much as possible (Italy here I come)!

7. Positivity, positivity, positivity! There is far too much negativity in the world, and I’ll be much happier than I am when I’m in a, as much as I hate to admit it, cynical state of mind.

8. Become fluent in a new language.

9. Make more out of each and every day; One of 2016’s lessons is that life is far too short.

What are some of your goals for the new year?

-K.

A Year in Review // Where is the Love?


When I initially sat down to write this post, my intentions were to reflect on my personal life this year and how the copious amount of change in my life has molded me in such a short period of time. However, something has been on my mind for a while that needs to be addressed in regards to this past year.

2016 has been quite the year for me and, based on the countless memes and social posts I’ve seen, I’m not the only one that’s looking forward to a new year. With the endless amount of change that’s occurred, it’s easy to feel a little lost; this is the second time where I feel like I’m losing sight of where I’m going in life and what’s going on. Even more so, it seems like the whole world has lost sight of what matters most in life. More often than not, negative news pours in — death, disaster, the seemingly never-ending war, hate, violence, the list goes on and on.  When does it end?

A few years ago, the Black Eyed Peas released the song “Where is the Love?” Seven years later, this song still remains extremely valid in regards to current events.

“People killin’, people dyin’, children hurt and you hear them cryin’. Can you practice what you preach? Or would you turn the other cheek? Father, father, father help us; send some guidance from above. ‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’ where is the love?”

I challenge you to listen to the words of the song, and think about what you can do in your personal life to help make the world a better place. Even if it’s the smallest act of kindness, it could mean the world to someone.

Merry [belated] Christmas and God bless.

-K.

 

December Playlist

December Playlist

Lately, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with OneRepublic’s new song, but I never really thought about the lyrics until I read my friend’s discussion about it on her blog. Check out LJ’s take on Kids here!

Kids // OneRepublic

The Mack // Nevada – a new twist on an old favorite!

Bad Things // Camila Cabello & Machine Gun Kelly

Love Me Now // John Legend

Deja Vu // J. Cole

Party Monster // The Weeknd

Bounce Back // Big Sean

**Bonus Mini Playlist: Christmas Songs!

All I Want For Christmas Is You // Mariah Carey

Silver Bells // Dean Martin

It’s Christmas Time Again // Backstreet Boys

Wonderful Christmastime // Paul McCartney

Please Come Home For Christmas // Eagles (for all my fellow MILSOs out there!)

xoxo.

    -K.

Practicing Positivity

Practicing Positivity

If you’ve been keeping up on current events you’ll know that the world has been a bit of a mess lately (to put it lightly). The war rages on in the Middle East, there have been countless senseless killings and mass murders, and an unbearable amount of hate going on make it a scary place to live in. This brings up the question: how are we supposed to radiate hope and be positive in a time like this?

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself I would be less cynical and began practicing positivity and gratitude. I began avoiding the negativity in my life; this included people, thoughts, messages, and words. I admit, it’s difficult to be positive every second of every day. I still have trials and tribulations, and people and circumstances that annoy or hurt me, everyone does. But it’s the fact that I’m taking the step toward living a more positive life that counts.

In my practice to live a more positive life, besides just thinking more positively, I’ve tried to be more conscious about what I’m posting on the internet. I began to post happy and inspirational posts or re-post things I find funny rather than things that will work people up. For example, I love politics, but if I post something political on Facebook or Twitter, odds are that I’m going to receive some nasty comments that are looking to start a fight. Which leads me to my next point: pick your battles. You don’t need to fight about everything you disagree with, sometimes it’s best to walk away and ignore a situation.

Furthermore, start focusing on doing something for someone at least once a day. You may make a huge difference in someone’s life without evening knowing it. Try to do a random act of kindness every day– it will help you and the other person feel an amazing sense of worth and happiness. If you’re religious, regardless of your religion, even sending up a prayer for someone or for the world as a whole can make the slightest difference. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to not underestimate the power of prayer.

Finally, do things that make you happy to be alive, and surround yourself with people that love you and help you grow everyday.

Take care of each other and God bless.

-K

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101 Goals Update

101 Goals Update

Hi all!

A little over a year ago, I posted 101 Goals (original post here) I had for myself to accomplish within the next 20 years. I decided to revisit this post to see how much I have crossed off thus far since this past year has been quite the whirlwind for me.

  1. Graduate college – completed April 29, 2016!
  2. Swim with dolphins
  3. Get published
  4. Visit all 50 states – Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Pennsylvania, bonus: DC
  5. Travel to Europe multiple times – Currently planning my first trip to Italy in 2017!
  6. Go sailing
  7. Be spontaneous for a whole day
  8. Rescue a dog from the shelter
  9. Buy a puppy
  10. Get married to the man of my dreams (he knows who he is;))
  11. Have children
  12. Start our own family traditions
  13. Own a boat
  14. Be a role model
  15. Take up yoga regularly
  16. Eat more vegetables – try to have them with every meal!
  17. Try a new food/drink every week – I’ve actually been very good with this one
  18. Own a house
  19. Be generally successful in all of my endeavors
  20. Become an exceptionally strong writer
  21. Learn not to get frustrated over mistakes
  22. Live a happy life
  23. Own a pair Louboutins
  24. Make six figures before I die
  25. Finish reading the Outlander series – I’m nearly finished with book 3!
  26. Write for a magazine
  27. Have a fun career
  28. Get a tattoo– BIG maybe
  29. Make at least one person happy every day for the rest of my life
  30. Make a difference in someone’s life
  31. Host a holiday meal for my family
  32. Cuddle a pygmy goat
  33. Make a second job out of blogging
  34. Donate a copious amount of money to charity
  35. Complete at least five Pinterest projects I’ve pinned by the end of the year
  36. Read at least half of BBC’s Top 100 Book List – Pride & Prejudice, HP & the Goblet of Fire, Winnie the Pooh, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, Catcher in the Rye, HP & the Sorceror’s Stone, HP & the Chamber of Secrets, HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Hobbit, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, The Great Gatsby, The Count of Monte Cristo, A Christmas Carol, Of Mice and Men, The BFG, Black Beauty, Artemis Fowl, A Tale of Two Cities, Holes, The Princess Diaries
  37. Take my mom on the vacation of her dreams
  38. Buy my dad a boat
  39. Be in Times Square for the ball drop
  40. Go on a wine tasting tour– Italian wine tasting tour?
  41. Spend an entire day without touching my phone or laptop – I’m discovering that this is more and more difficult especially being in my field of work
  42. Sleep under the stars
  43. Take a cooking class
  44. Read the Bible in it’s entirety
  45. See Les Miserables on Broadway
  46. Go to Disneyworld and ride every single ride
  47. Make diamond boards for my littles  – Became an alumna 
  48. Take the train to Chicago
  49. Speak French fluently
  50. Win the lottery
  51. Have excellent credit
  52. Pay back my student loans by the time I’m 40
  53. Watch the sunset in Hawaii
  54. Honeymoon in Paris
  55. Start an IRA
  56. Perfect my ice skating skills
  57. Maintain a budget
  58. Road trip to Alpha Delta Pi’s Executive Office
  59. Learn to sew
  60. Make my future husband breakfast in bed
  61. Learn to drive a manual
  62. Visit Nantucket
  63. Obtain my CPL
  64. Have my own business cards
  65. Volunteer at least once a week
  66. Purchase a new laptop
  67. Get an international phone plan– lame goal, but necessary for my long distance relationship – We’re making it work with different messenger apps!
  68. Give up caffeine for a month
  69. Meditate regularly
  70. Stop biting/peeling my nails
  71. Purge my bedroom at my parents’ house before I move back in – Done!
  72. Leave a lasting impact on my sorority; I want to be remembered – Became an alumna
  73. Have a date night at least twice a month (girls’ night when Ryan is away)
  74. Strive to learn at least one new thing a day
  75. Keep a journal of something I learn every day
  76. Buy coffee for a stranger
  77. Send flowers to a friend
  78. Answer the 50 questions that will free your mind – Completed on my blog in two separate posts (first and second)
  79. Write a freelance article
  80. Get a massage – Treated myself post-graduation
  81. Drink only water for a month
  82. Explore New England/the east coast in it’s entirety
  83. Perfect my handwriting
  84. Attend a conference (nothing that has to do with my sorority)
  85. Actually bake cookies instead of just eating the cookie dough
  86. Try Tropical Smoothie – Done and I’m obsessed!!
  87. Get head-shots taken
  88. Go on a spontaneous trip
  89. Attend New York Fashion Week
  90. Attend the Kentucky Derby
  91. No fast food for a month
  92. Become a morning person
  93. Strengthen my Instagram game
  94. Get a professional blowout
  95. Read for 30 minutes every night – So far, so good!
  96. Upgrade my iPhone – Done this past Christmas
  97. Throw diamonds with Luke Bryan
  98. Go on a road trip with Ryan
  99. Make a blog friend
  100. See 10 classic movies – Half way there! Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Schindler’s List, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Jaws, Westside Story, 
  101. Buy a monogrammed stationary

How do you make sure you accomplish your goals? Comment below or share a link to your own blog post containing your 101 goals.

-K

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Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

Fear, Faith & the End of an Era

This week marks the end of an era; on Friday I will walk across the stage at my college graduation and receive the most expensive piece of paper I will ever own in my life (unless I decide to eventually go to grad school, but that’s an entirely different topic). I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m happy, but, above all, I’m terrified. Lately, when I tell people I’m graduating this week, their response is something along the lines of, “OH! How wonderful! So what are you doing after college?” Well sir/ma’am, that’s a great question. So great of a question that I don’t have an answer. Actually, I do have an answer: I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to experience all that I possibly can right now with the man of my dreams. Then, I want to land the perfect dream job and build a fabulous career, get married and start a beautiful family. There’s only one problem… what I want and what is actually going to happen are two very different things.

From a young age, we get these ideas in our heads of what we want to do and who we want to be. At 18 we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives, but what they don’t tell you is that college is where you completely lose yourself and often don’t come out the same person as you came in as. I’m relatively the same person as I was when I started college, but I have changed so much even in the past six months. Most of this change is good brought on from good and bad experiences and lessons learned; however, I have grown more and more fearful throughout college. I have no idea where this fear has come from or why I have it, but I have struggled with it my whole life. The even bigger problem is that it’s not just one fear, it’s multiple and they fill my head on a daily basis. This is supposed to be the most exciting time of my life, and yet my anxiety holds me back from letting the happiness take over.

From snakes to clowns to losing people I love from death or some other God-forsaken circumstance, I know that so many people feel the exact same way I do. While I’m well aware that many people share the same fears that I do, I still feel so alone. Lately my biggest fear has really come to light with how much change I’m currently going through in life is the fear of failure. Ever since I was young I have been so terrified of failing in life and disappointing my parents and my loved ones; so much so that my anxiety tears me up inside regardless of how ridiculous my thoughts are. It’s almost as though I’m a prisoner in my own mind, unable to escape from the fears and anxieties.

Because of all of this and more, I’ve been relying on my faith immensely. There’s something so comforting knowing that there is an all-powerful God who loves you and is always on your side no matter what life throws your way. I grew up in the Catholic church, but I never knew how much all those years of Catholic education have paid off in my faith. Even after losing myself for a while, I know that I am welcomed back to God with open arms. This Bible verse, in particular, has really helped me get through this time: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10. Though I am continuing to work on bettering myself, everyday is a little better than the last with God as my light, and my friends and family by my side, everything is starting to look up.

Take care of each other and God bless.

-K

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