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.

Week in Review, Vol. VII

Thank God it’s finally February, I thought January would never end! I hope you are all staying warm with the crazy polar vortex that happened in the Midwest this week. Despite the miserable cold, there were a number of positives that happened this week: I was able to work from home as a result of the severe weather and I always find that I’m far more productive at home than at the office, and the Backstreet Boys released their new album DNA! I’ve been a HUGE BSB fan since the ripe age of 4, and I love that they’re still producing new music. **Peep a few of their new songs I can’t get enough of in the “What I’m Listening To” portion of this post.**  

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: “Final Girls” by Riley Sager

What I’m Watching: The Assassination of Gianni Versace on Netflix

What I’m Listening To:

7 Rings // Ariana Grande   

GIRL // Maren Morris

Dancing With A Stranger // Sam Smith, Normani

New Love // Backstreet Boys

OK // Backstreet Boys

Chateau // Backstreet Boys

The Way It Was // Backstreet Boys

Recent Purchases:

  • I just picked up this tortoise print Sonix phone case off Amazon, and I’m obsessed with it! I’ve been rocking a Lilly Pulitzer one for the past two years and while I love feeling summery year round, I was ready for a change. This is super affordable at $35 and is Military Drop Test Certified.
  • Because we know I can’t get enough of books (and I discovered two unused Barnes & Noble gift cards in my wallet), I ordered “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. I try to read a handful of self-help books a year and these two have been on my “to read” list for a while now.

Looking Ahead:  

I am so incredibly proud of myself for successfully sticking to all of my goals for this year throughout the month of January, so I look forward to seeing the continuing progress I make from here on out. Many of my fitness goals resulted in predominately non-scale victories, which is great, but not quite where I want to be yet. As always, I’m working on some new content on topics I haven’t really touched yet and I’m so excited to share. Stay tuned!

-K.

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Hello 2019!

Gearing up for the year ahead

Happy New Year, everyone! I can hardly believe it, but 2019 is here and I’m gearing up for a big year ahead of me. Not only do I currently already have big plans in the works, but I have some BIG expectations for 2019. I’m not usually the girl to claim that this will be “my year”, but I have a really good feeling about this year. Heading into 2019 with a positive mindset, solid goals, and enthusiasm is the formula for creating a great year for yourself.

Goals

It’s safe to say that I have the tendency to get a little too ambitious when setting goals for the year. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t allow me to actually focus on achieving these goals, and I tend to slack on more than one (oops). As a means of holding myself accountable for these goals, I discovered and downloaded the HabitBull app on my phone. I’m using the free version that allows you to track up to five goals (there is a small fee to upgrade to the premium version that allows you to track more). It’s only been about a week, and I already feel as though I’ve progressed a lot in such a short time with these goals, so I’m excited to see how the rest of the year plays out!

  1. Be Mindful // This is my biggest priority this year. My intention with this goal is two-fold: to be conscious about what I’m putting in and on my body, as well as who and what I’m giving my energy to. Last year, despite physical and mental health being a major goal, I didn’t get where I wanted to be with it. I looked at it more as a chore, rather than a blessing that I have the ability to work out and choose what I eat. This year, I’m being hyper-conscious of what I’m eating, what workouts I’m doing, and how my body feels every day in order to be a healthier person; after all, we are only given one body, so why not take the best care of it. Additionally, in being mindful of who and what I’m giving my energy to, I plan to accomplish tasks one at a time and slow down in order to enjoy what I’m spending my time doing and who I’m with. In doing so, I’m cutting out negative people and tasks that aren’t necessary/don’t help me achieve what I need to or nourish my soul.
  2. Meditate, pray, and/or journal everyday // While I did this for the past few years, I didn’t make as much of a conscious effort as I would have liked to, and certainly didn’t go it every day. This year, I’m making it a part of my nightly routine. So far I’m finding that it is incredibly peaceful sitting down with my journal and Bible before bed and taking that quiet time for myself and God.
  3. Continue to expand my knowledge through an online class and Duolingo // I’ve said it before that if I could be a professional student, I would! Since I can’t, however, I plan on continuing my post-grad tradition of taking another online course to expand my knowledge. I adored the PRISM course by PR Couture that I took last year, so I’m debating if I want to do something similar to that, or take a different route with a field I’m not as knowledgable in. Additionally, I learned that one year is not enough time to become fluent in another language, so I’m continuing on with the Duolingo app this year.
  4. Be kind to myself // It is easy to get angry with yourself when things don’t go as planned or you’re not hitting your goals you’ve set as quickly as you’d like. I know I’m guilty of this and beat myself up about my shortcomings last year, so I’m making an effort to change that. This year, I’m not going to be as hard on myself — taking a rest day if I need it (not a rest week), eating a sweet treat on special occasions, etc. This way, I’m helping myself both physically and mentally.

Health Goals

  1. Drink more water // I’m really good about this most of the time at work; however, when I’m home and running around, this is something I’m HORRIBLE at. I’ve started carrying around a water bottle at all times so that I don’t have an excuse to not drink it. Also, I eliminated pop and most fruit drinks and cut down on (and mostly out, save special occasions) alcohol, so water, coffee and tea are really all that I have to choose from at the moment.
  2. Be active for a minimum of 30 minutes 5-6 days a week // Fun fact: I HATE working out, but I love the feeling after a good workout. I have a hard time with clear cut workout plans because I get bored with them. Plus, I do not like going to the gym so all of my workouts are done at home. Luckily, YouTube has a ton of FREE workout videos ranging from yoga to pilates to Barre and so much more, giving me the opportunity to switch up my workouts daily if I wanted to. By using this free resource, I’m saving money while still getting my sweat on.
  3. Cut out pop // This is a big one for me because I love Coca-Cola! So far, I’m doing well with this and not even craving it — then again, it’s only been a week, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

What’s Next?

As aforementioned, my calendar for this year is already filling up. I’m super excited to return to Europe this summer on a girls’ trip to take on FRANCE! This means that I’ll need to be more diligent in completing my Duolingo French course these next few months. In other exciting news, next week, Ry and I celebrate five years together, but that’s not even the best announcement… 2019 marks the end of long distance for us! Furthermore, I’ve received a few save the dates for weddings this year, plus I get to be the Maid of Honor at my best friend’s wedding this fall! My heart is soaring just thinking about how many exciting things are happening this year, and I can’t wait to share my stories with all of you for yet another year!

What are some goals/things you are looking forward to in 2019?

-K.

Week In Review, Vol. IV

Week In Review, Vol. IV

Hey hey hey! It’s been a minute since my last update, and life has been crazy lately so it’s time for a quick review of what’s been happening on my side of town. Since my quick trip to Vegas last month, I’ve been on hiatus with blogging since life happens; however, this is all starting to turn around this week. Life is slowing down a bit, the holiday season is upon us, and I could not be more thrilled! I love the holidays. Yes, I’m 100% that person that starts drinking peppermint mochas and listening to Christmas music right after Halloween NO SHAME! I digress, let’s dive into the recap, shall we?

Me and my guy after the wedding festivities in the Flamingo Garden

Vegas Recap: In early October, Ryan and I took a brief trip to Las Vegas for his friend’s wedding. When I say brief, I mean VERY brief…  like less than 48 hours brief. Anywho, despite it being super quick we had so much fun! Honestly, I never had a desire to go to Vegas, but we had so much fun in such a short amount of time that we cannot wait to return next year for my best friend’s bachelorette party. We stayed at the Flamingo, which is also where we spent most of our time in the casino, but  I was bummed that we didn’t get to see much of the strip on foot, though I did get to visit the Venetian while I waited for Ry to arrive, which was super cool and slightly trippy. Once he arrived, we all headed to Fremont Street (aka Old Las Vegas) for the evening. Since it was a Sunday night there was not a ton going on, but we enjoyed two of the outdoor concerts taking place. Our last adventure of the trip was ziplining from the roof of the Rio Hotel 500 feet above Vegas. If you know me, you know that I HATE heights! It ended up being an extraordinary experience, but one that I’m fine only doing once. If you have any recommendations of things we should see or do on our next trip to Vegas, leave a comment below!

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

What I’m Watching: Manifest

What I’m Listening To:

Baby // Clean Bandit, Marina & the Diamonds, and Luis Fonsi

Without Me // Halsey

Speechless // Dan + Shay

Burning Man // Dierks Bentley & Brothers Osborne

Lover, Leaver // Greta Van Fleet

Higher // Social House

Mona Lisa // Lil Wayne & Kendrick Lamar

Close to Me // Ellie Goulding,   

Recent Purchases:

  • I just ordered these adorable leopard print flats from James Ascher and I’m hoping to get in a few wears with them before the snow falls!
  • Also ordered from James Ascher is the navy and orange Window Pane Open Front Shawl Jacket. The link was removed from the website, but you can see it in my Instagram fashion highlight!
  • I also recently purchased these Ellie Chelsea boots from Target for only $30 to replace my favorite Ralph Lauren booties (RIP) and I’m obsessed. I try to not spend a ton of money on boots for the mere fact that Michigan winters can be pretty gnarly and the sidewalk salt can destroy boots.
  • Finally, I purchased a Quip toothbrush. I’ve had my eye on it for a while, and have heard nothing but good things about the brand so I’m excited to see if it makes a difference. What really drew me to it was the price; it’s super affordable compared to other electric toothbrushes.

Latest Fashion Picks:

  • It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of layering, and this tweed coat from J. Crew would be the perfect top layer as the cold weather rolls in. Plus, tweed is always in style.
  • Believe it or not, my mom actually just picked up a pair of these Faux-Suede Stevie Pants from Old Navy and I want them in every color. Not only are they comfy, but they can be dressed up or down for most occasions.

Looking Ahead: In October, I fell off the workout wagon, so I’ve gotten back on the workout grind with some at home Pilates exercises. That being said, I plan on putting together a health/fitness post about the plan I’m sticking to for the next year, that will most likely come out in early January in lieu of my 2019 goals post. I also am excited to have the next week off of work for the Thanksgiving holiday, which will give me plenty of time to crank out some fun content I have for the blog through the end of the year! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

-K.

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How to Survive & Thrive in a Long Distance Relationship

My guy and I on my recent trip to his new town.

If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been in a long distance relationship for the last three years, with another 10 months to go before we’re living in the same state. It wasn’t always this way, we were together for a year and a half prior to making the decision to go long distance in order to pursue our career goals. 

Since we’ve been doing the long distance thing for so long, I like to consider myself a subject matter expert in the topic. I’ve had a number of friends and acquaintances come to me asking for advice on how to deal when they end up in a long distance relationship, so I thought I would put my primary tips together in one place. Please remember that every couple is unique, and has their own way of coping in various situations. That being said, what has worked for my relationship may or may not work out the exact same way for you. 

The Goods: LDR Tips + Tricks

Trust your partner. I feel as though this is a relationship basic regardless of distance, but I CANNOT emphasize this enough! If you do not trust your partner, you are bound to run into so many issues in the future that will jeopardize your relationship. 

Communication. Communication. Communication. This is just as important, if not more important than trust. In long distance, communication is the foundation of your relationship because you don’t have the ability to hang out together or to go on dates regularly. If something is bothering you, talk about it ASAP so you can remedy the issue before it becomes a much bigger problem. Ry and I also talk to one another (or at least text) once a day at a minimum; never underestimate the power of a good morning and goodnight text. 

Be Patient. This is something I’m still working on because I am seriously one of the most impatient people in the world. I constantly have to remind myself that we took a much different path than most people, and we will be together again in just a few short months. It’s difficult right now, but it will be so worth it in the long run!

Make time for your significant other. Life gets busy and it’s so easy to get caught up in everything going on around you. Do not let “out of sight, out of mind” set in. Schedule a weekly FaceTime date and stick to that “us time”, call them on your way home from work or on your lunch period — whatever it is that works best for both of you, plan it out and stick to it!

Have a strong support group behind you. I honestly leaned on my friends and family so much when Ryan initially moved away. I booked up the vast majority of my time with friends, work and extracurricular activities so that I wasn’t spending too much time thinking by myself. It is so important for you to have friends and family that support both of you and your relationship. Furthermore, if you’ve met your SO’s family and you plan on being in the relationship for the long haul,  foster a relationship with them.  When Ryan moved away, I decided to still stick to our Sunday breakfast and church routine with his family while I lived close to them, and I still make an effort to hang with them every so often. Not only did this help with coping, but I have a great relationship with his family!

Look at the distance as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to travel and visit wherever your SO is living and it’s surrounding areas. It’s an opportunity to focus on yourself a bit more, and to grow and nurture yourself individually, so that your relationship can be that much stronger. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about your SO on a deeper level — yes, this is possible with distance, reference”communication” section for details.

The Bottom Line

I’m not going to sugarcoat it — long distance is HARD, and it will not work out if you don’t work at it every. single. day. Initially, people are going to doubt it. I chose to be naïve to it for the longest time until it was recently brought up to me by several people that they were surprised that we lasted. Seriously, I’ve had people say this to my face! Take it with a grain of salt. Much as with everything else in life, you get out what you put in to it. Stay positive, stay strong, and don’t let anyone control your relationship but the two people involved.

Are you in a long distance relationship, and have a tip I missed? Comment below! I’d love to hear your solutions.

-K

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20 Travel Tips: Italy Edition

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was on the trip of a lifetime in Italy! Following the trip last year, I did a recap post featuring photos and brief overview so as not to bore you all with the details. HOWEVER, if you so wish to hear more about the trip, feel free to comment or email, and I will be happy to share! 

In honor of this anniversary, and to spark my own nostalgia, I decided to put together a list of helpful travel tips for first-time travelers to Europe. I’m absolutely by no means an expert on the topic, this is simply what I learned on my first trip abroad. Prior to my trip I did a TON of research on things to know before traveling abroad, so I highly recommend you do as well.

  • Europe is full of history and each city has so much to experience, so don’t stress if you can’t visit absolutely everything you want to see. This is something I had a hard time accepting during my time in Italy especially being the type-A, history nerd that I am. The whole point of going on vacation is to relax (and see the world obviously), but you can’t enjoy yourself if you’re constantly stressing over where you’re going to go next.
  • Piggybacking off of the previous tip, don’t feel like you have to plan everything out, especially meals. At the beginning of each day, Ry and I would pick out the main attractions we wanted to see, and wander around the areas. You never know what you’ll find by simply exploring! We found some of our favorite restaurants on the trip by doing this.
  • Be sure to validate your train tickets prior to boarding. Our primary means of travel from city to city was by train. The vast majority of the time, we bought our tickets at the station; I’d read a few articles prior that stated Tren Italia’s website isn’t always reliable so it’s best to purchase directly at the station.
  • Carry a small, cross-body purse and keep it in front of you — Pick-pocketing is huge in the cities and they know a tourist when they see one.
  • If you’re looking for a quick, early meal, think again! Dinner in Italy generally takes place after 7 pm and is more relaxed than meals in the US.
  • Many churches and other religious sites require ladies to have their legs and shoulders covered when you enter.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to drink for free at the various water fountains sprinkled throughout Rome.
  •  Walk as much as you can and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Watch out for scams such as people putting jewelry on your wrist, helping take your luggage off the train, asking you to sign petitions, etc.
  • Drink the house wine — it’s often cheaper, but still delicious!
  • Learn the language. You don’t have to be fluent (the locals don’t expect you to), but pick up a few general phrases that will help you out along the way. I used the free Duolingo app before I went, and it helped immensely.
  • When in Rome, visit the Trevi Fountain later in the day or at night, it’ll be way less crowded.
  • Don’t eat near a major landmark — the closer you are, the higher the prices.
  • Cappuccinos are a morning only drink in Italy.
  • Instead of a gondola ride, opt to climb to the top of San Marco’s Campanile in Venice for some incredible views.
  • Casa di Giulietta is what Verona is most famous for, but did you know that they have an Arena similar to the Colosseum where concerts and plays still take place? We had an amazing lunch at a cafe near the Arena and it was a stellar experience.
  • Don’t miss out on the opportunity to climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence. If you’re asthmatic (like myself) be sure to bring you’re inhaler – that’s 463 steps!
  • It is incredibly easy to get lost in Italy. Download a map (or carry a paper one) so you don’t have to rely on WiFi.
  • The pizza, pasta, wine and gelato are most definitely as good as everyone says they are. Definitely go all in on the food when you’re there; you’ll walk it all off during your visit!
  • Italy is truly a magical place to visit. Make sure you aren’t spending too much time behind the phone/camera, and take it all in!

If you have any questions or need recommendations, leave a comment or feel free to email me! Where are you headed next?

-K

Cheers to 5 Years: 5 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

Cheers to 5 Years: 5 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

I’m finally back from my two month hiatus! Truth is, it was much-needed for me to take a step back and focus on my full-time job and my mental and physical health, which I will be addressing in an upcoming post. Today I am celebrating something near and dear to my heart: this blog!

5 years ago yesterday, I started on a journey to enhance my writing skills on an outlet that I never knew would become such a passion of mine.  From the very beginning, I knew that this isn’t something I wanted to do for money or likes, but I wanted to do it because it was something that I genuinely enjoyed, and I desperately needed a creative outlet. I always thought, “if one person can read this, and take something away from it that makes them feel as though they’ve connected on some level with me, then I’m doing something right.” One of the beautiful things about blogging is that it’s a way of telling your story without any guidelines or having to stick to anyone else’s voice. The fact that I’ve always been able to be 100% authentic is what truly drives me to continue to blog.

TOP 5 LESSONS LEARNED IN 5 YEARS OF BLOGGING:

  1. There will be times when you need to take a step back from blogging, and that’s okay. Life can be really freaking hard sometimes and you owe it to yourself to keep your health in check. 
  2. Your writing, style and interests will evolve and change as you grow and learn. Let it happen.
  3. Quit comparing yourself to others; you don’t have to “keep up with the Joneses” to be a good blogger.
  4. Stay true to yourself — don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  5. People will be judgmental and have some not-so-nice things to say when you put yourself out there. Don’t let these people stop you from sharing your story and chasing your dreams.

BONUS LESSON

Always have kickass support system behind you. Unfortunately, your blog will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are always those family members and friends that will be there to support your every blog and Instagram post regardless of how avant garde it can be. Make sure you keep these people in your circle forever.

Thank you so much for sharing in this journey with me these last five years, and for the steadfast support. I have some of the best followers ever!

Cheers to many more years!

– K