Happy New Year, to all of you lovely humans out there!
First off, I wanted to apologize for my brief absence on the blog. I took some much needed time off and am feeling refreshed and ready for another kick ass year. Cheers, and thank you for the sweet messages that were sent during my break!
Diving in, I thought I would start off the new year with some of my favorite products right now. A few of these items were Christmas gifts, some were simply amazing items I stumbled upon …and had to share. I should also note, everything being featured ranges in price and variety. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed checking out some of my favorite things! Please comment and fill me in on your January must-have’s.
So, the other night I could notfall asleep. It was one of those evenings where my brain decided that 2 am was an ideal time to contemplate alllllllll of life at once. As I lay awake, I began to reflect on some major life changes that I have made in the past year. The monotony of ‘adulting’ had me worn down, depressed, and I was generally unhappy all the time. With a few changes I am finally living and enjoying life on a daily basis. I wanted to share these tips with you in hopes that it inspires someone else who may be struggling as I was.
PSA: Before you begin reading this article, please know that I am not perfect…at all…laughably so. I have screwed up more times than I can count. Read everything knowing that I have made all of these mistakes myself and learned the hard way. However, I have come out on top and that is why I’m sharing.
1. Stop hating your life and find a job which brings you joy.
This is HUGE and #1 for a reason. I worked numerous jobs- almost all of which I was mostly miserable. I have changed careers 3 times since graduating from college! If you hate your job, you end up hating your life. Fact. Our jobs are such an enormous part of life because we spend most of our time working. If you have a crappy work life, it ultimately creeps into home life. I ended up drinking way more, eating more, crying more…you get the picture. Miserable job = miserable life.
For those of you reading this (eye rolling) and saying things like, “Well I can’t get a new job it’s too hard” or “My parent’s would be disappointed if I switched careers” or “Well I’d have to take a pay cut and start over, that’s not an option” …All I have to say is…blah blah blahhhhh. Excuses. I have endured every single hardship listed. And at the end of the day, guess what? I have my dream job and I am under 30. ONLY because I took a risk, knew my worth, and made some changes. I decided that I wasn’t willing to let a job compromise my happiness, relationships, and health. Did I get flack from my parents for changing careers? Yes. Did it totally suck making almost minimum wage getting experience in a new field? Helllll yes. Changing careers is tough, I get that. But you know what’s even harder? Hating your life.
2. Look forward to small things- daily.
I like to find something each day that I look forward to- even if it is incredibly small. For example, today I am looking forward to coming home and sharing a meal with my fiance. Due to work schedules, we only eat together about 3 nights a week, so I really look forward to these evenings. Most days I look forward to watching a great show in bed, at the end of the day. This is a super small thing…but amidst a busy work week it’s a tiny, daily, light at the end of the tunnel. By hyping up, and looking forward to something on an everyday basis, you’ll find that you start to have better days as a whole.
3. Allow yourself to be loved.
Do you ever wonder why you aren’t completely head over heels in love with the ‘nice guy’ and go for losers instead? You know it is wrong and even hate yourself for not being with someone who you know is good for you. I realized that I was lustfully drawn to low lives because I was addicted to those highs and lows that these dudes bring (Will he call me? Does he like me? What does it mean if he says XY&Z?). If I could calculate the time I spent over-analyzing guys who did not give a damn about me…. yikes, it would be embarrassing. I have learned that real actual love is patient, kind, and uncomplicated. As many say, it just feels ‘right’. Most of us get so addicted to that up and down emotional roller-coaster feeling, that we freak out when it’s not part of the equation. Rewiring our brains to realize that the lack of crazy is actually a healthy thing is PIVOTAL. We falsely interpret that ‘high’ of instability as love, when it is really the opposite.
For those of you who are dating unsuccessfully: get out of that shitty relationship, or stop hanging out with f*** boys who could care less about you. Realize that you are deserving of real love. If someone consistently treats you as an option, please godddd do not treat them as a priority. I did this for the first part of my 20’s and it was awful. Either break yourself of this vicious cycle or don’t start…it is the worst!
For those of you who have a partner but are still struggling: It took me awhile to realize that my (now) fiance genuinely, deeply, loves me. I didn’t love myself and acted in ways that I thought were unlovable. I purposely pushed him away because I was scared. Scared that someone truly wanted to be with me. If there is one thing I deeply regret, it is the hell that I put him through for awhile. He was pure and wonderful, and I took time to realize that I was worthy of love. I am so beyond lucky he saw my potential and stayed with me. Some people are not so fortunate. If you have an awesome significant other, hold on to them and know that you can be loved.
4. Find a hobby that you enjoy- and make time for it.
As we age, we get further and further from activities that brought us joy while growing up. Most of us played sports or were part of clubs when we were younger, right? Kids have time to do things that they genuinely like, adulthood is different…we have to make time.
I was a dancer all my life, and it was such an uplifting experience for me. When I graduated from college, and dance was no longer part of my life,…it felt like a train came screeching to a halt. Part of me felt as if it had died, and I mourned the loss that this chapter of my life had ended. I tried attending adult dance classes, coached a youth dance team…but…nothing felt the same, and so I stopped. I believe our life progresses in seasons…and the seasons were a’ changin. I finally decided to go with the flow and realized that I needed a new hobby. Instead of dancing, I began writing and cooking. I have found that this seems to fulfill my creative outlet in a similar way that dance once did. Do I still miss dance? Absolutely. However, I now have a hobby that is sustainable throughout my life. I will never ‘outgrow’ writing and cooking. Try to find a hobby that you will not outgrow as your life progresses.
5. Exercise in a way that you actually enjoy..or can tolerate.
Once again, aging is tough… we aren’t kids anymore who are able to get exercise organically ie: running around with friends, playing sports…etc. With busy schedules, kids, desk jobs, spouses….exercise needs to be planned and squeezed in. I found that with my life, home workouts are the only way I can get it done. If you read my blog you’ll know that I love home cycling. This works for me. I think home workouts can be a wonderful option for many working individuals or busy people in general! Do a bit of googling or pop over to YouTube for tons of fast and free workouts. Of course I workout for physical benefits, but exercising for my mental health has become my primary focus….it helps! Running, spinning, yoga, pilates, prancersizing…shake weights… whatever it is…get moving and DO YOU!
6. Cut negative people out of your life.
I’ve written about this before, and please feel free to scroll down to the post titled ‘pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win’ if you haven’t already read it, and want to hear more on this topic. Seriously though, if you have crummy people in your life that drag you down- distance yourself. I have found out the hard way that bad company corrupts good character. My morals and values were actually changing because I was hanging out with human trash. Reduce your circle to those who deserve to be there and stop tolerating those who suck the energy out of you. I promise, it is 100000x more fulfilling to have an intimate circle of friends who truly care for you, than a pack of people who tear you down. Thin the dang herd, peeps. YOU are worth it.
7. Treat Yo’ Self.
I firmly believe that we are not put on this earth to simply eat, sleep, work, and die. We are here for more than just survival. I have made a point to enjoy the fruits of my labor. We work so hard, and there is nothing more depressing than just paying bills and never enjoying life. I (admittedly) like nice things and love to travel. I budget accordingly. Being able to treat yo’ self goes a long way for mental sanity. Am I saying buy everything and go into debt? No. However, life is short…take the trip and get the damn handbag.
8. Keep a clean house.
Sounds simple I know, BUT hear me out. I am not a naturally clean person, however if things are messy it screws with my head. Weird right? You’d think I would just be clean since it bothers me so much. Not the case, I have to work at it.
Keeping my house clean (..most of the time) has really helped me to feel so much more relaxed. Coming home to a tidy house is the best, in fact…I am now pretty addicted to this feeling. If you are naturally messy like me, make a conscious effort to clean your dirty ass up. No one thrives in chaos.
9. Meal prep on Sunday for the week.
This has been a game changer for our household. We realized that scrambling to prepare dinner every night was causing unnecessary stress on our relationship. Every evening felt like chaos and many times ended in ordering takeout. As our pants grew tighter and wallets ran thin….we decided to start cooking on Sunday’s. If you are interested in doing this please scroll down and download our free week of meal prepping! Give it a try, we dare you.
10. Do not settle in a place of unhappiness.
In all, I know these are a lot of changes. But… it took me a year …more like 6 years(graduated from college at 21…I’m now 27) to get my shit together. If you are feeling like life is steamrolling over you, or that you are barely eeking by…I challenge you to make a few small tweaks, and see how greatly your life will change.
I love you all so dang much. Let’s make a conscious effort to live our best lives- together. Just remember- NOTHING changes, if you don’t make any changes to your life.
I wanted to do a bit of a fitness-focused post today. By request, I have been asked by a few of y’all to talk about my Peloton bike experience. For those of you who don’t know what Peloton is, that’s OK! In short, it is God’s giftto the world of spinning. Just look at that sleek, sexy, beauty.
With all of the choices for home cycling bikes out there, here is a bit of the back story on why I decided to go with Peloton.
I was an AVID spinner, going to classes everyday, sometimes twice a day! I couldn’t get enough. There was just something about that dark room, high energy, loud music, amazing instructors, and crazy lights which transported me to a raging party …rather than a workout. Those who spin know what I’m sayin’…a few classes and you’re hooked. Similar to an addict, you need it in your life, and will make it happen…however you can.
So… let’s talk financials. Depending on the gym or spin studio, single classes can range from $20-$35 dollars. Unlimited monthly packages can vary between $150-$500, depending on your location. Regardless of where you live…spinning is expensive. My solution? Get a home cycle, if you use it a lot….it’s totally worth it.
Here are my initial pro’s and con’s for home cycling in general:
Pros: I loved the idea of having the freedom to jump on the bike whenever I wanted. It is so easy for me to lose motivation when I have to get dressed (in presentable workout gear), drive to the gym, find parking, put on my spin shoes, find a bike…you get the idea. So, when I could literally hop on a bike in my living room…my excuses were reduced to zero. As a busy adult, I needed the simplicity that home workouts provided.
I also grew fond of the idea that no one had to see me whilst working out. Exercising in your living room = no pants necessary, and the freedom to shout all of the expletives your little heart desires. Side note: if you aren’t pushed to uncontrollable bouts of cursing (while riding)…you’re doing it wrong.
Cons: I knew I would be unmotivated if I purchased a basic bike, parked it in front of a TV, and tried to ride without instruction. Y’all, I am admittedly lazy. I need someone cheering me on and pushing me. If I was going to transition to a home cycle, I wanted to be sure that I would be getting just as good of a workout, as I would in class.
My other major con was missing out on the community aspect of group fitness. I grew to love my gym, and it became a second home to me. I adored the instructors, had made friends with fellow spinners, and felt so uplifted when I would leave class. My studio did a wonderful job of having events outside of class too. For example, after class on Saturday mornings we would head over to a restaurant for brunch. I fell in love with the spinning community, and felt so welcomed.
I originally joined a gym because I was at a place in my life where I realized I didn’t have many friends (in the area) and needed some girl time. Crazy right? Joining a gym for a reason other than fitness? By doing this, I pushed myself to go completely out of my comfort zone. I made myself strike up conversations with people, make fun plans, and really put myself out there. I was so worried that by leaving, I would lose a bunch of great friends. Friendship takes effort, and I had put a whole lot in. I hoped to retain these friends upon leaving the gym.
So, after weighing the pro’s and con’s…I decided to take the plunge and buy a bike. And after hours of scouring the internet, I found my solution: Peloton.
My biggest reason for choosing Peloton was that they had live classes! LIVE CLASSES, people. So, you get all of the benefits of a studio class…in your own home! Like I said previously, the community aspect of fitness was really important to me. With Peloton, I do not feel like I am not missing out on that at all. The instructors are SO interactive! Even though, there are 100’s to 1000’s of people taking a class at one time, the instructors still make such an effort to give you a shout out. You don’t feel like a number at all. It is an extremely positive environment. Also you can ‘follow’ different riders, similar to any social media experience. This is another way to connect and make friends with riders around the globe!
How to the rides measure up to a studio class?
I would say they are actually better than a real studio class! The rides are challenging and invigorating- with plenty of modifications. Anyone, at any level of fitness can and will find success using Peloton. In addition to live classes, there is a wide range of other types of fitness classes available. There are many pre-recorded classes (if you’re uncomfortable doing a live ride), scenic rides (riding through nature), and strength, toning and yoga/stretching classes. You are completely able to achieve total body fitness using Peloton. This is another reason Peloton is awesome compared to a spin studio! Most spin boutiques are strictly spin. So then you’re doing weight training at another gym, or at home…AKA another expense and pain in the rear. I love that Peloton is my one stop shop for total body fitness!
How does the bike compare to a studio bike?
The craftsmanship of the bike is incredible. It is extremely solid and the hardware is impeccable. My bike was delivered with care and set up right in my home. Also, I had a few questions about my bike and Peloton’s customer service was amazing. I often joke to my friends that my Peloton bike is my most prized possession and my greatest purchase ever….and it is!
My Peloton tips:
Get some quality wireless headphones for your ride. When I first stared using my bike, I did not use headphones. I notice, when using a good pair of noise cancelling headphones, I cannot hear myself breathing loudly or any other distractions. This seems to allow my brain to focus on the task at hand, rather than my heavy breathing or car alarms or whatever else is taking away from my ride. I am able to forget how hard I am working and truly enjoy the ride.
Samsung Level On wireless headphones are my favorite, I have linked them below.
Try all of the the instructors before picking favorites! As a creature of habit, when I first got my bike, I really connected personally with two instructors. I found myself taking their classes only. I have since branched out, and I love all of the different vibes that are given off by different teachers. Variety is the spice of life!
TOTAL Personal preference: while riding, I minimize the leader board, calorie count, mileage, and time on the bike screen. As mentioned, I am easily distracted. When I am done with a 45 min ride, I typically burn around 500 calories and travel 13 miles. So, when I am starting out and see all zero’s across my screen…I feel overwhelmed because I know how much work is ahead of me. By eliminating these tracking devices (as I am riding), I find that I have a much better ride. Of course, I love looking at them after my ride and am happy to have them! This method just works for me personally. As I become more advanced, I will use all metrics during my ride. At this point, however, I prefer to simply focus on cadence, resistance, and output.
If you’re considering getting a bike, but not sure if its worth it…be honest with yourself and crunch the numbers. So, if you are (realistically) only able to hop on the bike twice a week, it may not make sense to invest in a home cycle. Or, if you do, be aware of how long it will take for you to break even (as if you were taking classes) cash-wise. No one likes to waste money. Just be honest with yourself and make the right choice for you!
Have plenty of water by your bike, an absorbent hand towel, and a fan. All of these items make my ride…so. much. better. There is nothing worse than being thirsty, or sopping wet during a workout. I prefer to keep my towel and water in arm’s reach next to the bike, rather than on the bike. I like a gentle fan blowing too. This is once again preference, I just feel that (although I am dripping sweat) a cool breeze during a workout keeps me refreshed.
So, what now?
For those of you who have thought about investing in a home cycle- do it. You won’t look back and wish you had transitioned sooner. I genuinely feel refreshed spiritually, mentally, and physically after each ride. I can’t thank Peloton and it’s wonderful instructors enough, for the light they bring into my home daily.
Regarding the community aspect, am I still friends with people from my old gym? No, not really..and I am OK with that, because now I have my #pelofam. If I wouldn’t have joined a cycling gym (even though my original motivation wasn’t really fitness related), I never would have realized that I have a true passion for spinning! God works in mysterious ways.
Finally, if you haven’t given cycling a try yet, and have made it through this post…get off your couch…do a bit of googling… and get your booty to a class. You and your (soon to be toned) ass will thank me.
Note: This was NOT a sponsored post*
Also, if you are a rider on Peloton, comment below and let’s connect!
Today we are in full-on-real-talk mode, so strap in. Even if only one person has an ‘AH HAH’ moment while reading this post, my duties as a blogger have been fulfilled. I was recently asked ‘Why do you blog?’, and this moment, today, right now, is my why. The ability to write about things which ignite passion in my soul, that’s my why. I’m poppin’ off, there’s no turning back, this is me. Raw, unapologetic, and uncensored.
This one isn’t for the children.
Now that you’re sufficiently prepped, for the realness that’s about to come crashing down, we can begin.
The other day, I came across the quote “pay attention to those who don’t clap when you win”. When I took a second and actually reflected on how these words translate to daily life…
It. got. me. SHOOK.
Let me explain why.
Haters, nay-sayers, skeptics, doubters, cynics …we all have them in our lives, and we don’t always know who they are. To put it simply, these are people who appear to be, but aren’t, on our team. Therefore, they show up, but aren’t truly ‘clapping’ for us. When I genuinely thought about this, I pictured the following scenario:
Envision an event where you are the keynote speaker, and personally know everyone in the audience. Upon finishing your speech you notice that 3/4 of the people are clapping, and the remaining 1/4 aren’t.
In this ideal situation, one can easily see who’s undoubtedly supporting them, and who isn’t. Since life is never this black and white, how then, do we identify those who aren’t conclusively there for us, yet appear to be? Why aren’t they clapping, yet choose to stay in our lives only to observe and criticize?
…. I think I know why….
Everyone has a person that they love to hate…There are many causes for this, but most are rooted in jealousy, or the feeling of being ‘less’ than someone else. I, admittedly, have had these feelings of envy. It’s human nature.
Which leads to my personal Epiphany:
Even if someone isn’t clapping, they’re still showing up.
So…. by stalking you on social media, or talking behind your back, or making snide remarks, or mocking you…. guess what?
THEY ARE STILL A FAN. They’re just not clapping.
Toxic people choose to stick around, keep tabs on you, know what you’re up to, but remain parasitic. In fact, they might even be your biggest supporter. Putting loads of time and energy into keeping up with you, but never clapping? Sounds like a swooning fan-girl to me.
How freeing is that thought? How often do you put precious energy into something or someone you legitimately don’t care about?…….Never. No one does.
So… plain and simple, they do care. They care a loooottttt, just not in a way that’s going to help you grow. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
So now for the tricky part…how do you identify the folks who aren’t clapping for you? And what is the best course of action? Sadly, since many of them appear to be ‘friends’ this creates an internal paradox. Our brain falsely categorizes these people as allies, leading us to feelings of confusion and sadness when they hurt us.
Webster dictionary defines a friend as:
One attached to another by affection or esteem, one that is not hostile, a favored companion.
Most people who aren’t clapping are still cordial (in person), so the brain involuntarily identifies them as a friend, rather than foe. We do this without even thinking about it, because the person seems ‘nice enough’ right away and we’re (mostly) trusting beings. The innate-Webster-dictionary-style faith many of us put on friendship, opens the door to our hearts, allowing the possibility for hurt to enter.
Who the heck are these people, and where can they be found, you ask?
The answer may surprise you. So here are a few people who I promise, are still fans, but…
Are. Not. Clapping.
That friend who checks their phone 100000 times while you’re ‘hanging out’? Not clapping.
That co-worker who doesn’t congratulate you on a promotion at work? Not clapping.
That mom who constantly gives her unsolicited parenting advice at play group? Not clapping.
That old roommate who says nothing on social media after you have made a big announcement? Not clapping.
That girl at spin class who laughs at you for starting a blog or taking a big risk? Not clapping.
That Instagram follower who condescendingly questions your legitimacy or popularity? Not clapping.
That childhood friend who sends you passive aggressive snaps or texts? Not clapping.
That person who blows you off for better plans? Not clapping.
You probably get the point.
Instead of realizing they just aren’t on your team and ending it there, most people swallow the pain and are left confused. Self-deprecating thoughts to rationalize their actions such as: “I’m probably too sensitive” …or… “they are just joking around” or “they didn’t mean it”, float around in our heads trying to justify the pain that’s been inflicted. Instead of telling these individuals where to shove it, we internalize and endure this draining cycle.
Now picture the keynote speaker example again. This time, imagine that quarter of the crowd who isn’t clapping, has no relation to you. Doesn’t bother you nearly as much, right? It’s interesting, because if the non-clappers were strangers, one isn’t nearly as bothered by his or her actions. Sure it may sting a bit, but it’s easy to see that they’re not on your team, so you cut them out. Your brain seamlessly identifies them as a ‘Foe’ and there’s no guesswork.
Here’s the rub. Since most of these non-clapping individuals are cloaked in ‘friends’ clothing, the water gets murky. We need to start paying attention to who is sitting on their hands not clapping, and who is putting them together cheering us on.
So now what?
Start picking apart your audience, and rewiring your brain. Look at the facts, recognize that not everyone is your friend. We need to be far more careful, and selective when it comes to our relationships, and who we allow inside. After reading the above list, you may be reconsidering some current people in your life, and that’s OK. In fact, I pray you do.
As we age, friendship transitions are painful but necessary. I personally, do not have time for those who aren’t actually supportive of me, and my life choices. It has taken me 27 years to get to this point. Taking a firm look at who we’re surrounding ourselves with, and deciding if they deserve our company is healthy. We are in charge of our own destiny, happiness, and need to defend that at all costs. If someone tries to compromise your joy by continually not clapping, yet sticks around to watch and judge, remove them. Guard your freaking heart.
We all deserve to have friends who look at us like this:
And if you’re still wondering, even Disney’s got it right:
You’re probably thinking “Katie… are you serious, you think that you merit full-on-cheerleading -squad-style friends?… c’mon that’s not realistic…”
I abso-effing-lutely do. And so should you.
I’ll say it again…YES, YOU are worthy of this type of love and ridiculous fanfare.
We all deserve to be praised, lifted up, and warrant celebration. Period. Life is too short… so please, my loves, DO NOT settle for anything less. Rather, besiege yourselves with those who are clapping, no matter what. Real friends don’t need to understand what you’re doing because, if it makes you happy, they will clap and keep on clapping. These are the people that build us up and make life worthwhile. Cutting the dead weight from our lives releases so much pressure.
Do it, I challenge you. Muster up your damn courage and go for it.
Will there be backlash? Will it be uncomfortable and seemingly worse for awhile?
You’ll probably cry, it will be painful, it will be awkward. But one morning you’ll wake up and realize you are no longer a doormat, instead a proud advocate for yourself. Would you let someone kick your dog in front of you, or spit on your child?
So do yourself a favor.
Respect yourself enough, and make some cuts to your team.
Treat yourself as the queen or king that you are, and stop putting up with shittypeople.
Here are some final thoughts for clappers and non-clappers alike:
Are you showing up and clapping for others in your life?
What are you doing today to improve and lift up those around you?
Most importantly, at the end of the day, when we can be anything, why not be kind?
If Kanye can do it, there are zero excuses, people.
And if peeps’ are still throwing shade your way…heed my advice:
Put some Cardi B on the radio, summon the inner baddie that I know you are, and greet the haters and non-clappers like Beyonce does…