HOT TIPS FOR PLANNING A JOINT BACHELOR-BACHELORETTE PARTY

One of the most fun aspects of planning a wedding is planning the bachelor/bachelorette party, but how does one go about planning a joint party for the bride and the groom?

I recently stood up as the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. It was my first time standing up in a wedding as a bridesmaid and I didn’t really know what to expect. One thing that I knew I would be responsible for is planning and executing the bachelorette party. My friend and her now husband decided that they wanted a joint party out of town, so I started to build my arsenal of ideas early on to make all of their bachelor-bachelorette party dreams come true.

When I started doing research for planning, I found that there were little to no posts about how to plan a joint bachelor-bachelorette party. So I decided to take the liberty to do it myself and bring you guys the hot tips and lessons learned during my time planning:

  1. Talk to the bride and groom about their expectations. Before you do anything, ask the bride and groom: a.) What city they want to celebrate in. b.) What their must-do activities and must-see attractions are. c.) Any other must-haves to make the weekend the bachelor/bachelorette party of their dreams.
  2. Start planning months in advance; DO NOT wait until the last minute. I started planning the party and gathering ideas immediately after the couple told me where they wanted to go. While the location changed as we got closer, I had both a Google document and Pinterest board going filled with ideas that could easily transfer. This also helps with budgeting; set a timeline for payments and purchasing decor, gifts, etcetera so you don’t blow all your money at once.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I admit it, I’m a total control freak and perfectionist; I get an idea in my head and need to follow through on it. However, between my full-time job, planning the party, and maintaining my sanity, I needed an extra set of hands or two. The bride’s brother and sister-in-law graciously offered their assistance and helped play a pivotal role in the success of the party.
  4. Don’t worry about packing the schedule. It is not necessary (nor fun) to jam-pack the schedule so full of activities that you’re stressing out about making it to the activities on time and not having enough downtime. Remember: even though it is a bachelor-bachelorette party, people want to relax and enjoy their time, especially if they’re on vacation for it. I chose to leave at least one open day so that we could explore the town and do whatever it was we felt like doing at that time. 
  5. Spend a day of the trip — or at least a few hours — apart doing separate activities for the guys and ladies. It’s so important to give the bride and groom some time to focus on themselves with their guys or girls. Saturday morning of the weekend, the girls got massages at a local spa, while the guys went axe throwing. It was the perfect amount of time to focus on the bride and groom individually. Following these activities, we all met up at the hotel for a pool party prior to the evening festivities.
  6. Do not sweat the minute details.I know — easier said than done and I may or may not have broken this rule myself since it comes with the territory of being a perfectionist, but should you forget something minor or anything go awry, chances are you’re the only one who realizes it. Don’t overthink what goes in the gift bags or whether or not you have enough decor these things do not make or break the event.
  7. You absolutely CANNOT please everyone. There are only two people whose happiness matters: the bride and the groom. Double the attendees means double the opinions that do not matter. So long as the bride and groom are having fun and enjoying themselves, there’s no need to worry about anyone else.
  8. Event planning 101: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. People will show up to reservations late and winging the night might not always go to plan, just roll with the punches. Use your best judgement to handle the situation, and move on. Remember that you need to enjoy yourself too after all of your hard work.

Do you have any more tips that you didn’t see here? Drop them in the comments!

-K

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

50 Ways to Practice Self Care

50 Ways to Practice Self Care

Self love is a huge buzzword lately. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently shared a post stating that I have always struggled with it. Once I reflected a bit on my post and thoughts about the topic, I really started to think about what things I currently do and what I could do to aid with my practice. I consulted some of my closest friends on ways that they cope with the bad days, and practice self care. Creating self love takes time, but practicing everyday helps to improve it little by little.

Here are 50 ways that my friends and I practice self care:

  1. Take a bubble bath
  2. Read a book
  3. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi
  4. Yoga
  5. Meditation
  6. Turn on some of your favorite music and have a solo dance party (or with your friends if you so choose)
  7. Light one of your favorite scented candles
  8. Unplug for at least an hour
  9. Go for a walk or run
  10. Do a hair or face mask (or both!)
  11. Splurge on that item you’ve been eye-ing to help amp up your wardrobe
  12. Ask for help from friends and family
  13. Write out your thoughts and feelings
  14. Focus your energy into a workout
  15. Clean and organize
  16. Watch one of your favorite movies
  17. Have a glass of wine
  18. Cuddle with your pet or a loved one
  19. Laugh – put on one of your favorite comedy movies or tv shows
  20. Stop comparing yourself to others
  21. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  22. Forgive yourself
  23. Remove toxic people from your life
  24. Go on an adventure to a place you’ve always wanted to visit
  25. Stop making excuses
  26. Search for the positives in every situation, regardless of how hard that may be
  27. Take an online (or in-person, if you prefer) class to expand your knowledge on a topic
  28. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you may be feeling, even cry if you need to
  29. Pray if it fits your beliefs
  30. Take a nap
  31. Indulge in a sweet treat
  32. Plan a girls’ night out with your best friends
  33. Eat healthy
  34. Get creative and try your hand at a Pinterest craft
  35. Have a night in with your SO
  36. Check an item off of your to do list that you’ve been avoiding
  37. Try something new be it an activity, recipe or restaurant
  38. Practice gratitude
  39. Bring the outdoors indoors and buy yourself some flowers or a house plant
  40. Get a massage
  41. Watch the sunset
  42. Recite positive affirmations to yourself
  43. Change up your look with a new hairdo or applying your makeup differently
  44. Play a relaxation Pandora station
  45. Cook a meal featuring your favorite comfort foods
  46. Be mindful
  47. Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while
  48. Stop feeling guilty for taking some time for yourself
  49. Switch things up by creating a new routine
  50. Remember that you’re doing the best you can, and focus on your progress

 

Do you have some self care tips that didn’t make the list? Leave a comment below!

-K.

Back to School Tips from a {Former} Type-A Student

Summer is quickly drawing to a close which means students are gearing up to head back to school. As strange as it seems, once upon a time, back to school season was my favorite! My parents still joke to this day that if I could be a professional student, I would – which isn't necessarily wrong. In honor of my former favorite season, I thought I would share some helpful tips that helped me conquer the school year, and I hope they help you out as well!

  • Buy an agenda and keep up on it// I cannot tell you how many times my agenda saved my ass throughout college. When you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, take the time to fill out when each assignment is due and test dates. You can even color code your classes if you're feeling ambitious. This also helps for extra-curricular activities such as Greek life and sports. Some of my favorite agendas throughout the years include Lilly Pulitzer, Erin Condren, and Day Designer.
  • If you're new to campus or if the buildings you have classes in are foreign to you, check out your daily class route// Once upon a time, an ill-prepared freshman Kourtney got lost on her way to class and had to walk in embarrassingly late on the first day. Don't let yourself be that Kourtney! A day or two before classes start, take a stroll around campus and make yourself familiar with the daily route you'll be taking to class.
  • Take advantage of free amenities on campus// Let's face it, being a college student can be pricey. If your schedule allows, take the time to attend the various back-to-school fairs occurring on campus. You'll be able to snag some free goodies including t-shirts, food and school supplies. At my alma mater, we even had local businesses bring coupons with discounts for students. Other free amenities include the cafeteria if you live on campus (I always took an extra piece or two of fresh fruit to snack on during the day), the gym on most campuses, and the library – these will be your best friends during your time at university.
  • Don't neglect your physical health// College is stressful; You'll be driven to eat a lot of foods that are not the best for you, and your physical health may take a backseat when times get tough. Make an effort to be active at least three days a week. Whether you're going to the gym or taking an extra long route to class if timing allows, every little bit helps keep off the freshmen 15.
  • Learn to take proper notes// There are several blog posts and YouTube videos such as this one to help you learn how to take effective notes. You may need to try several different varieties before you find the one that fits you, but once you find the one that works, stick to it!
  • Your professors will offer office hours, utilize them// Whether or not you're struggling in a class, it's always a good idea to build a relationship with your professors. This is one thing I regret the most from college – I did not use office hours enough. If your professors see you putting in the work and effort, they'll go the extra mile to help you succeed.

What are some of your back to school tips? Best of luck to all returning students!

-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.

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: Week 1

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: Week 1

Hi everyone!

Last week was my first full week at my first post-grad job. It was exciting, it was overwhelming, it was fun, and it was work. I got lucky because I’m working in a brand new marketing position at the company my dad has been working at for the past 20+ years. While I have the opportunity to help mold the position, it’s still intimidating being my first job and having a lot of expectations to live up to (i.e. daddio).

Sneakpeek of my desk

Before I started, I found myself reading articles with titles along the lines of “How to succeed at your first post-grad job” and “10 things to know before starting a job.” They all had fairly the same lessons in all of them: dress appropriately, be prepared, get enough sleep, be organized, etc.Most of them seem like common sense, but you don’t realize just how much the smallest details help in the corporate world.

Here are a few tips that really helped me get through my first week on the job:

  • Prioritize your work.
  • Get to know your colleagues even if they aren’t in your department.
  • Take notes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Plan your outfit and pack your lunch the night before so you aren’t scrambling in the morning.
  • If you’re having computer problems, it really helps to have a friend in IT.
  • Also, get those computer problems taken care of ASAP or you’ll fall behind in your work and piss off your boss.
  • Know how to clock in and out properly so you don’t have a minor heart attack when all of your hours aren’t on your time card. Not that I know from experience or anything…
  • To-do lists are your best friend.

What are some tips that helped or are helping you through your first job? Feel free to share your tips with me; I’m always looking for advice!

-K

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Good Will {Job} Hunting

Good Will {Job} Hunting

Happy Sunday Everyone!

As my senior year and college career draw to a close, the time has come for me to begin my search for my first, post-grad, full-time job. While the career services center at my University is absolutely phenomenal, I often like to check job sites in my free time to see what else is out there. So, for those of you in the same shoes as I’m in or those of you looking for internships I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite job search sites to aid you in your search!

**Disclaimer: Not all job descriptions give light to what the job actually entails. I highly recommend going to Glassdoor or a similar site to review job/company reviews by past or current employees.

College Recruiter

Indeed

Monster

Link Up

LinkedIn

Simply Hired

Also remember that your college campus has excellent resources, make sure that you utilize them to their full potential. Check out your campus’s career services office, it will make a world of difference!

Happy {job} hunting!!

-K

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Five Ways to Stay Sane During Midterms

Five Ways to Stay Sane During Midterms

Happy Friday Y’all!

I hope everyone had a great week, and is as stoked for the much needed weekend as I am. It’s that time of the year again for my fellow college students and I when our workload dramatically increases, our extra curriculars become more demanding, and we fight all urges to crawl into bed and hide from our responsibilities. That’s right, it’s the ever dreaded midterms.

Ever since I was a freshman, this time of the semester gave me so much anxiety; however, by now I come up with a few tricks for maintaining my sanity at this time.

1. ) Stay on task// There is little worse than getting side tracked from what you should be focused on at certain times. In order to prevent this, make a to-do list ranking your responsibilities from highest priority to lowest, and set aside designated time slots for each in order to accomplish everything in a timely manner. Also try your hardest to avoid your phone as it can be most distracting even for me.

2.) Set aside “me” time// While making your to-do list, make sure you set time aside to give your mind a break. Use this time to play on your phone, get food, read a book or magazine, take a nap, etc.

3.)  Learn to say NO!!// This is one that I have trouble with constantly, but sometimes you need to say no to happy hour with your friends; your grades (and liver) will thank you. Side note: this one works for any and all distractions in your life.

4.) Exercise// I’m not saying go run 4 miles, but it’s scientifically proven that exercise is an excellent form of stress relief. My personal favorites include yoga and dance.

5.) Get an adequate amount of sleep//Seriously, sleep is so so important, and I tend to forget this all the time. It is extremely necessary to get enough sleep to prevent multiple health problems, anxiety and to think clearly and remember more during your tests.

Now get out there and kick ass on your midterms! Best of Luck!

-K