WHEW. What a whirlwind.
In case you didn’t notice…..
WE. ARE. PREGNANT.
Now that our pregnancy has been confirmed -and all is going well- we feel comfortable sharing our biggest news to date. It feels so beyond wonderful to be open with what has been going on over the past few months.
In November, after our relaxed post wedding mini-moon in Madison, WI…
I began to feel a bit ‘off’….
To be honest- I knew I was pregnant right away. We had lovely trip filled with food, laughs, and a few too many wine tastings 😉 Leaving with a precious souvenir was more than we could ask for.
I decided to take a pregnancy test by myself, while my husband was at work, and sure enough- a positive result! That evening we had plans to see A Christmas Carol in downtown Milwaukee, and spend the night at a lovely hotel. My husband would be meeting me there, and I decided to tell him before the show. I purchased a shirt that said “Captain” with a matching onesie which read “First Mate” and wrapped it up with a cute book as well. As soon as he walked in, I gave him the gift. As he unwrapped it- a look of confusion spread over his face. He looked at me and I just nodded- then he shouted “NO WAY, OMG NO WAY, YOU ARE MESSING WITH ME”!!!
To say he was shocked- was an understatement. I was blown away too!! We have heard the struggles of so many couples trying to conceive, and were incredibly shocked to have gotten pregnant ‘instantly’ as he jokes. That night we were surrounded by family, but had the best secret of all. We would just look at each other and giggle all night. It was perfect, and how I dreamed it would happen. Absolutely magical.
For the first week or so of pregnancy- I was STARVING…24/7- anything and everything….I was a food machine. That quickly changed and from weeks 5-11…. everything was repulsive. Smells, tastes, even the thought of something ‘gross’ would send me running. Yikes. I can say- the exhaustion combined with eating very little was tough. It was a crash diet I never thought I’d be on. Everyday was hard. I would go to work and fall into bed upon getting home at 5:00 pm. I did not see any friends during this time, or workout either- I truly just had to focus on myself and resting for my little one.
Fast forward to today and I am extremely happy to report- as I write this at almost 14 weeks pregnant- I am pretty much back to normal (besides constant fire-breathing acid reflux)! For me- entering the second trimester has been wonderful, and a welcome relief from the first. I am far less tired, I have a normal appetite again, and a bit of color has returned to my face. 🙂 I should add, I have not had many crazy cravings. If any I would say – carbs! Sweets have not sounded that good to me…but pastas, potatoes, and fresh fruits have. I hope to begin getting some physical exercise again this trimester too. I was a complete hermit for the first and am excited to feel alive again!
If you don’t share an ultrasound picture, are youeven pregnant (Jk)?! Here is our little one at our first ultrasound two weeks ago. We joke that he/she looks like a little chicken wing. It was surreal to see him/her dancing around, we were both brought to tears.
So there you have it- our first trimester recap! I plan on updating the blog throughout this pregnancy- and sharing our journey as we progress. Please send us positive thoughts or prayers if you feel comfortable. We already love this little one so much- we continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy, kiddo, and delivery. Any additional support is wonderful. Also (for fun) post your gender guesses in the comments!
Until next time,
Finally getting around to this extra special post….
…better late than never- amiright?
In short- our wedding was all that we could dream, and more. It was the perfect start to our lives together. All of the planning came together seamlessly, in a whirlwind of joy.
Please enjoy some of our most treasured photographs.
So there you have it- a peek into our perfect day!
I hope you enjoyed this post, we are incredibly grateful to all who made our day so special.
AHHHH…. we are getting super personal and vulnerable today my friends…. so here goes.
Let’s cut right to it.
Most of us spend the majority of our young lives doing all that we can to prevent pregnancy.
And then, all of a sudden, like a freight train coming to a screeching halt…one finds themselves in a position where the prospect of creating a miniature version of themselves…
In my case, I met the love of my life, got married, and…. like the cliche playground song goes “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage”….
For many of us, this moment is an especially strange feeling. Switching our mindset from preventing pregnancy to dreaming about it… is a trip, y’all. A 360 turn in every way possible.
Do we, personally, want a child this instant?
No, nope, nah, nix, nay.
However, in the next year or two, we would love to be parents. More than anything else in the world, to be quite frank.
So here is the rub…
Because most of us have solely focused on avoiding pregnancy for the majority of our lives, many of us (myself included) don’t know much about fertility and actually becoming pregnant/maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Therefore, a lack of knowledge regarding the prospect of having children, elicits crazy fears within. Concerns you never knew you had… until BOOM…you’re there…
Some of them include:
What if I can’t get pregnant?
What if we miscarry?
What if my child or pregnancy has major complications?
What if I face post-partum depression?
How old is ‘too old’ to get pregnant?
The list goes on, and if you have been in this situation… you can relate.
But what if I told you there was something you could do, to alleviate aforementioned anxiety…?
Because… there is.
Which has inspired me to share what I have done to take charge of my fertility, health, and mental well being….
(Please note: I am NOT A DOCTOR, and am not qualified to give medical advice. This post is simply sharing my personal experiences thus far. Also, I am under the care of a physician)
1. Modern Fertility– an at home fertility test, for any woman.
Aka God’s gift to empowered females everywhere. This is an at-home blood test of dreams. The best part? Even if you do not want kids now, but maybe want them in 10 years… or just want to know more about your body…it is the perfect way of figuring our your options…and a realistic baby-makin’ timeline.
Knowledge is power, ladies. Take charge of your fertility, and know where you stand.
So how does the test work?
Simple. Everything is provided in a small box with easy to follow instructions. It is literally this convenient….
After mailing in your sample, the turn around time is insanely speedy (like one week!). A result link is sent directly to your inbox, when the processing is complete. I should add, Modern Fertility has extraordinarily helpful customer service, should you need assistance.
Modern fertility provides a comprehensive amount of physician-reviewed information. I wanted to share my personal results, and these are only a portion of them.
I was so nervous to view my results… not going to lie. BUT they calmly reassured me, this test is only a baseline. The perfect starting place in understanding what is going on inside. I found out that my testosterone level was the only hormone out of ‘normal’ range, which I will be discussing with my doctor. Everything else was right where it should be, YEY!!
After getting the results, a free call with a fertility nurse can be scheduled to better understand your next steps. How cool is that?!
The kit retails at $199.00 and is completely worth it, especially those of us who do not have great insurance. If I were to to these tests in office, it would be hundreds of dollars. My doctor actually recommended Modern Fertility to me.
Keeping this in mind, the folks at Modern Fertility have been so generous to offer my readers $10.00 off! By clicking here or on any of the pictures in this post, you can get your kit for $189.00!
Get one, girl.
Another way I am preparing my body for the marathon, that is pregnancy, is through the use of PreMama supplements.
(Feel free to use my code: KATIEW15 for 15% off your order)
If you are thinking about pregnancy, taking a good prenatal vitamin at least 3 months before trying to conceive is suggested. PreMama’s is the perfect option. It comes in a capsule or gummy form.
They also have a system of supplements for women which can be used before, during, and after pregnancy. I am currently using the ‘birth control cleanse’ supplement. I will then transition into the step 2 ‘conceive’ supplement, when we are ready.
When I am pregnant (eventually) I will use the ‘carry’, followed by the ‘care’ supplements after giving birth. They have pre-mamas and mama’s alike – totally covered!
Because teamwork makes the dream work… especially when it comes to reproduction, PreMama has future Dads covered too. Get ya’ man on some baby makin’ supplements, gals.
Bonus: This product could also double as a *hint, hint I’m ready to talk about having a baby* gift under the tree this year… 😉
Well friends, there you have it. Our honest and personal pre-pregnancy journey thus far … I do feel highly vulnerable writing about this chapter of our lives. There are countless unknowns which lie ahead.
But, I’m glad I did.
This blog has always been about ‘being real’, and I’ll never skimp on that.
I truly hope this post reaches someone who may be looking for answers, or is feeling unsure of how to take charge of their reproductive health.
Thanks for tuning in!
It has been a hott M.I.N.U.T.E. since I have written anything (…I feel like I start out every post like this lately…). But you know what? Sometimes that’s perfectly OK.
Let me tell ya’ why….
No joke, – my life for the past year has been a freaking fairy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of planning a wedding, celebrating (*a lot*) along the way, and ultimately marrying my dude. Lucky– does not even begin to cover it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t holding my breath- waiting for a shoe to drop. I realize, this euphoric state will not last forever. Undoubtedly- there will be extreme lows ahead…BUT the magic of this year-and-a-half engagement will be something I treasure forever. The memories of this joyous time will warm my heart- even in the darkest of times.
A major thanks to anyone reading this, who helped to make us feel loved and special during this time (even by sending us positive thoughts)- you are so appreciated. Seriously. Hat’s off. Cue the applause.
In turn, the reason why I have not been writing- is because I have just been LIVING.
Living in the moment- happily.
Something I suggest everyone tries.
Life ebbs and flows. And even if you are going through a ‘dull state’ or a ‘rough patch’ right now,…there is still time to stop and smell the roses.
Guys, there are always roses to be smelled… even if they seem poo-covered sometimes. For example, if you’re reading this right now, you woke up today, amiright??
BOOM, thasssa rose hun.
(Smell it, boo-thang…& yes I am talking to YOU.)
I know I am dramatic, and seriously- eye roll away (permission granted). However, I have found that by taking a second, and focusing on ‘living’…rather than just ‘existing’…anyone’s situation can be improved. If that means taking a social media hiatus, or bingeing a Netflix show for a day (to forget about the world)- that’s totally cool. Focus on you for a minute and see how much it helps.
Wisdom. There ya go- my transcendent moment. Take or leave it man, – I am not offended.
You made it this far! Good news. …the deep stuff is over, now we can move on to the fluffy fun stuff.
As the wedding is now done, – and I float back down to earth- attempting to return to normalcy (not very gracefully, I should add)- I am able to tend to the things, which I have willingly neglected.
LIKE…catching up on the old blog-ski. 😉 So, here we are.
For my first post ‘back’ in awhile- I wanted to share my bachelorette party festivities with you!
Now,… a ‘stereotypical’ bachelorette party involves phallic imagery, and extreme quantities of alcohol consumed. Not that there is anything wrong with that, BUT it is not my vibe (I’ve somehow become a 28 year-old-grandma, btw). Since this party was lovingly planned by my younger & sassier little sister…I was a BIT worried by what she had planned… Visions of unwanted lap dances, and unsolicited phone numbers danced in my head….
But, boy was I wrong… it was better than I could even dream.
She planned something that was so ‘Katie’ (as she said). She absolutely put herself aside and organized something that she knew I would love, even though she would have wanted to do something more risque…
Best sister award!
We began the evening with a winery tour and tasting at a local place that I frequent often…probably too often… 😉 She knows me SO well…. the girls and I had a blast. Also, our tour guide was unexpectedly hilarious. We were rolling by the end of the tour. Good hire, Cedar Creek Winery.
Bonus attendee: My dad or ‘Our Captain’ was sweet enough to rent a bus and drive us around- he was a hit.
We then headed home for drinks, appetizers, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and salads catered-in from my favorite spot. Such a win. My sister (knowing my love for anything cozy and comforting) had monogrammed sweatshirts made for us and had set up the prettiest decor!
We ate, drank, and lounged- in style 😉 Absolute perfection.
My mom’s contribution (besides opening her entire home to us 😉 ) were these gorgeous handmade makeup bags! She is an extremely talented seamstress- with an even bigger heart. Everyone loved them! Such a sweet touch.
Oh & (NBD) she also ETCHED everyone’s initial onto a wine glass. I need to start calling her Martha from now on. She is #momgoals for real. If you’re jealous- I get it, my mom is the best.
& finally, what’s a bachelorette party without some silly pictures?
What a lovely and memorable day. (I told you it was better than a dream)
I hope you enjoyed this post- and just remember to take time and LIVE (like really, actually, truly LIVE) your life. Find a rose to smell, they are all around us.
Also… don’t I have the best (and prettiest) friends ever?!
I think so too.
Comin’ atcha with some wedding realness today, y’all. Believe me- this post has not been sugar coated whatsoever…so buckle up, buds…because…you’re here for it.
As most of you know, I am getting married in the fall of this year. Through this process, however, I have realized the following…
Wedding planning is not always sunshine, butterflies, and rainbows…the movies have got us played, guys. In fact, weddings illicit COUNTLESS emotions…some beautiful…some incredibly ugly. This process has also made me think, “if I am not jumping for joy, beaming with happiness every second of the planning process…
Is there something wrong with me”!?
Am I ungrateful?
Am I just ‘too emotional’?
Am I a ‘bridezilla’ for being particular?
Are my feelings valid?
Why do I feel guilty for having any negative feelings during this joyous time?
I know that most brides-to-be have struggled during the planning process- at some point- with an array of issues. I also feel that this is RARELY discussed…
Which leads me to my current project:
…addressing the not-so-glamorous aspects of planning a wedding….
Today we’re starting with: Invitations: who should/shouldn’t I invite to my wedding?
One reader wrote the following message:
“Hi Katie, we are getting married in December and have been struggling with our guest list. It seems like we’re offending EVERYONE with who we are/are not inviting. There are also a few people that we feel obligated to invite- but don’t want to, because they haven’t been there for us. Should we just invite them to avoid drama? Do you have any advice on where to draw the line? Or are there any ways to simplify making a guest list? Thank you”!
My response: In short- yes I do.
But please understand, although I am genuinely flattered that readers feel comfortable asking for my input… I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL wedding planner. This is simply my personal advice, and what has worked for us. Take it as you will.
Here are my top 3 tips for simplifying your guest list:
Don’t (for the love of God) invite ANYONE to your wedding who doesn’t actually support you.
This sounds pretty stupid and like basic common sense, right?
Trust me, as you plan your wedding there WILL BE people you feel obligated to invite, and wonder if you should, just to ‘keep the peace’. These individuals could be anyone. A second cousin, a co-worker, a neighbor…it could even be an estranged parent or sibling. These are people that you feel HAVE to be invited, but for a valid reason, you don’t feel comfortable doing so. And honey, I am here to tell you that…
YOU DON’T HAVE TO INVITE THEM…(if you’re eye-rolling…just hear me out.)
Seriously. You heard me correctly. YOU DON’T HAVE TO INVITE PEOPLE THAT DON’T SUPPORT YOU, TO YOUR OWN WEDDING. It can be that simple. This is YOUR wedding. Ain’t nobody got time for haters- especially on their freaking wedding day. *Ahem* see complicated diagram below for assistance.
See? Easy peesy-amiright?…(OK, OK…I know it’s far more complicated than that…keep reading though…I got you.)
Folks, it is incredibly empowering to set boundaries, and stop doing things just to appease others. Making decisions regarding your wedding is the perfect opportunity to do this. Setting a standard of complete joy for your wedding day is OK. Eliminating people from your list who don’t fit that standard is OK. If people do not truly love, support, and wish you well…why in the HELL would you invite them to come to your wedding and nitpick, rather than support? Planning your special day takes an incredible amount of thought, time, money, and energy. Why waste it on someone who is unfit?
Will there be backlash for this decision? Most likely. And guess what? That’s OK, too. If you do make some tough cuts to your list…be prepared that these choices will probably be met with hostility (duh). Also…know that choosing not to invite someone to your wedding could end the relationship. Ultimately, if it was a toxic relationship to begin with- they are the only ones missing out, and a falling out was inevitable. Weddings are often the catalyst which make valuable relationships stronger, and weeds out the weak ones. (I’ll bet you didn’t know Darwinism applied to wedding planning, did ya?)
One more thing, seriously… listen up. Please don’t take this ‘cutting down your guest list’ suggestion to the extreme. I am NOT advocating that you run around like a 5 year old child with scissors, shredding up your guest list. AKA don’t cut your aunt Agnes who you just ‘don’t like’ because she smells funny. You need to keep her on the list, cuts are ONLY MADE for valid reasons.
For the sake of humor, here are a few hilarious examples of people who you are definitely not ‘obligated’ to invite to your wedding. These are the types of peeps who should only be allowed to creep on your wedding photos…via facebook…
That step sibling who has never congratulated you on your engagement or met your significant other ?…NOT INVITED.
That cousin who hasn’t talked to you in years, and upon your engagement reaches out- only to sell you insurance?…NOT INVITED.
That ‘friend’ who stalks you on social media- only to talk poorly on your behalf?…NOT INVITED.
Your sister’s boyfriend who you aren’t a fan of?
NOT INVITED….OK, OKKK if your sister is IN your wedding…you probably havvve to invite her significant other… edit: BARELY INVITED*.
So there you have it, friends. My #1 rule…so simple in theory…yet so difficult in practice. Please know that YOUR UNION IS WORTH CELEBRATING. Be bold when deciding whom you allow into your lives together. Bad company corrupts good character, and you are royalty, my loves. Remember this always, and surround yourself accordingly.
**Side note: If you need even more clarification on people who don’t deserve an invite to your big day…keep scrolling until you find my post titled “Pay Attention to Those Who Don’t Clap When You Win”. You should be good to go after that.
WHEW…that was long…onward!
2. Start with your “MUSTS” when creating your list.
My fiance and I began putting our guest list together- in separate rooms. He made a list of his ‘absolutely have to invite’ guests, and I did the same. We then came together, and the early stages of our list was complete! Each partner is the expert on his or her own family/friends. Starting off this way (separately creating a list) was super helpful for us.
Starting your guest list is daunting- to say the least. By having a base of ‘musts’ you have painlessly gotten the ball rolling. Follow up by spending a few minutes a night (for about a week) and VOILA! You will have a guest list! It is not that overwhelming once you just begin…
…now tracking down addresses/getting people to RSVP? ….that’s another story…. 😉
3. If on the fence about inviting a guest- think big picture.
If you’re vacillating between inviting/not inviting someone, think about what type of relationship you foresee having with this person in years to come. Meaning: do you see this person playing a role in your future? If yes, absolutely invite them. If not, I think you know what to do.
Be warned, however. As I stated earlier, weddings can either make or break relationships, so be thoughtful when making these weighty decisions. Once again, check out my super helpful decision making diagram below:
SO there you have it. That was a LONG post, and I am out of breath.
If you made it to the end, you are a rockstar. I hope this helped anyone who wrote in with guest list questions. Next week we will be addressing ways to ball out- on a budget…wedding style. You’re going to love it. If you can dream it- you can do it. There is always a way to get a high end look- for less, and Ima help you do it, fam.
For future wedding posts, please continue to submit questions or personal experiences to email@example.com so they can be addressed soon!
Finally, I need to give a major shout out to my fiance, mom, future mother in law, sister, and bff. They are the glue that keeps me together, and I am infinitely blessed to be surrounded by so much love.
Ta ta for now….
So many showers lately- amiright?
I bet everyone reading this has been to at least one or two showers within the past few months. It’s wedding season,…baby season,…wait is that a thing!?..probz not…
…Anyway, my lovely aunt and cousins threw us the most gorgeous wedding shower. I am going to take the easy route on this post…and let the pictures do the talkin’ …enjoy!
…Seriously….the day was a dream (I wasn’t lying, pictures = proof!!!).
Friends and family joined us from near and far. It was so humbling to be surrounded by those who love and truly support us. Every single detail was perfection. We cannot believe that our wedding is less than 100 days away!
This post leads me into a wedding mini-series that I have been working on, and will be releasing next week. I have connected with many brides to help write this piece, and am thrilled to share it with you soon. Essentially… it navigates various ‘sticky situations’ that can occur during the wedding planning process, and how to handle them.
…wedding planning… AIN’T. EASY. Y’ALL.…
Whether you are planning a wedding or not…this relatable series is sure to have you giggling,…eye rolling,…and possibly even tearing up, too. Wedding planning brings out alllll types of emotions and behaviors.
Ultimately: no matter what you do,… or how contentious you are of one’s feelings,…. someone is going to get offended by your choices.
…And *spoiler alert* THAT’S OK.
For those of you who have submitted an email sharing your ‘sticky’ wedding situation, thank you! For those of you who haven’t… please do. Your privacy is completely respected, and up to your discretion when sharing your story.
Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a sticky situation to share. Get ready for some serious tea to be spilled, my loves…
Real talk ahead…stay tuned.
First off, I miss you guys.
With wedding planning in FULL effect…and just life in general- I have totally gone ghost on this blog. But here I am y’all! Back in action.
I wanted to write this post because it is a glimpse into my real life, behind the keyboard, and something I really enjoyed doing.
Quick backstory: My friend (and bridesmaid!) is pregnant with her second child, and this time around- it’s a BOY!! So, I thought it would be fun to completely surprise her with a baby shower!!! I chose a nautical theme….and went WILD….
Let me tell you,…it was…
so. dang. fun.
If I do say so myself, it was a total success. Great friends, good food, sweet gifts, and lots of laughs. Here are some pictures from the day….
the moment of surprise…..
Every baby shower needs a ‘mom-osa’ bar… amiright?!
DIY nautical flags – such a sweet touch.
She’s happy because … cake … DUH! Oh, and I mean…mayyyyybe because of the shower….I’m leaning towards the cake though….
Classic BBQ style summer food- an all around win!
Thunderstorms in the forecast called for an indoor shindig instead of outdoor. It was a bit squishy, but we made it work and had a blast.
She was blown away by all of the generous and heartfelt gifts.
Fun little ‘decorate a diaper & onesie’ station. The results were hilarious…
Our gift and favor table. Guests left with a beachy smelling Bath and Body Works hand soap with a cute little ‘thank you’ sentiment.
So there you have it! A nautical baby boy shower. Almost all decor was DIY and so much fun. Don’t be afraid to pinterest and actually attempt those pins from time to time!
Also, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my mom, fiance, and aunt. Without their help the shower would not have been nearly as beautiful or delicious.
Wishing you all the best,
Happy Thursday, my friends!
Let me just say, ya girl here, is about to save you some serious cash on travel. As I sit planning our family’s annual pilgrimage to Orlando, it occurred to me that I have gotten pretttty dang savvy over the years when it comes to saving moolah while vacationing.
For those of you eye-rolling that we go to Disney year after year…yes we are total Disney freaks, yes we are all adults, yes we have gone to this magical world for the past consecutive 20 years… and yes, there is no end in sight. If you too are a Disney person, you get it. If not, it’s not just for kids, OK???? Oh yeah, and we are TOTALLY ‘that family’ who goes decked out in cheesy outfits to boot! …the proof is in the pudding….see below.
Back to my original point: Any way you slice it, vacations are freaking expensive. I am a bargain shark and wanted to share some tips to save you the big ones, without compromising on trip necessities. We ALLLL want to feel like divas on vacation. What if I told you this was possible without taking out a second mortgage on your home?….keep reading, I got you fam.
*note: this is not a sponsored post (I wish it were though!…..). These sites are simply my personal favorites and have worked for me, so I am passing them along.
1. Groupon Getaways
You guys. I went to IRELAND for 8 days using Groupon Getaways. Oh and it was only $750.00 bucks…total. Yes, rub your eyes, you did read that correctly. This vacation package included round-trip flights from Chicago to Dublin, 7 nights in various 4 star hotels (which included breakfast), and a flipping CAR for the entire trip. Are you kidding me? Groupon, I’m not sure how you do it…but if it weren’t for you…I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to afford Ireland.I am eternally grateful.
I also went to Cancun for $500 dollars two years ago using Groupon Getaways. This trip was 5 nights/6 days. The $500 dollars covered our stay at a nice beachfront all-inclusive resort (unlimited food & drinks), and round-trip flights from Milwaukee to Cancun. Once again, SUCH a deal.
I know many people are nervous to try something like Groupon Getaways in fear that it could be scammy, but seriously it’s legit. I will continue to use GG for many, many, trips in the future. Give them a chance to save you money while providing the vacation of your dreams.
Pro tip: the regular Groupon site has tons of discounts for spas, and activities too. Once you figure out your destination, snag a Groupon for spa services or a cool activity in that area. Just be sure to book your service/activity wayyyyy ahead so you are able to redeem it while on vacation.
VRBO or, Vacation Rentals By Owner, …is… in short- fantastic. Individuals who own a timeshare, condo, or home are able to rent out their pad when they aren’t using it.
Our family uses this site for our trip to Orlando every year. Being the creatures of habit that we are, we always stay at the same resort. VRBO mostly rents out in increments of a week at a time, but we have found the owners to be incredibly kind and flexible too. The rates the owners charge are much lower than what the hotels/condos would charge per week when booking directly through them.
VRBO is especially great for families. A condo is a must whenever we travel, because we enjoy the luxury of having a kitchen and multiple bedrooms/bathrooms. You will also save big on food when vacationing condo-style. Having access to a kitchen = no need to go out for every. single. meal. #winning.
I love to eat. There I said it. I LOVE TO EAT. Especially on vacation. The more, the better. You won’t find me waking up for a workout and eating salads when I’m traveling, I can promise you that. You WILL, however, find me gorging on delicious chow and downing adult beverages ….because, life is short right?!
Which leads me to restaurants.com, I use this site allll the time, people. All you do is plug in your destination, and viola, tons of restaurants will pop up that are in that area. You save money by purchasing vouchers that are worth more in the restaurant. For example, purchasing a voucher for $10 dollars might get you $20 to $50 dollars worth of food in the establishment. My only tip is to make sure you read the fine print before purchasing a voucher. Some restaurants have specific rules for redeeming, just be safe and check.
4. The Honey App
This is probably one of my greatest discoveries of all time. Download this website to your browser IMMEDIATELY. Any store (and I mean ANY) most likely has some sort of promo code running at any given time. Before Honey, I would go to retailmenot to find codes. I’d then return to the site I was purchasing from, and manually plug in whatever promo codes I found. Sometimes they would work, sometimes not. Either way, it took forever for me to scour the internet MYSELF trying to find these codes. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
That is, until I found Honey. This website does all the searching for you! After downloading Honey to your browser, it automatically searches and plugs in dozens of codes during your check out process. I love it because it guarantees you are getting the best price on virtually anything.
How does this relate to travel, you ask? Well, Groupon, Hotwire, Restaurants.com, Hotels.com, and many airline websites all have coupon codes floating around somewhere. So, if you’re already getting a great deal on Groupon Getways (for example) and then Honey finds an additional code …BOOM…you just saved MORE money. And more money = a little extra cash on your trip for shopping, treating yo’ self to a massage on the beach….essentially..BALLIN’ out on a BUDGET. Everybody got time for dat.
Y’all. This one is a no brainer. If you’re shopping online or booking a trip, why not get some cash back while you’re at it?? All Ebates is, is a site (similar to Honey) that tracks what you are purchasing and gives you a percentage of cash back. I’ve only used Ebates for a few months now and have earned over $400 cash back. They literally send you a check in the mail and you dump it into your account. That’s it. Seems too good to be true, I know!! Ebates links to your browser and will pop up right before checkout notifying you that you will be getting a percentage of cash back. Try it out and save yaaa monayyy peeps.
I am sure you have heard of Hotwire. BUT have you ever used Hotwire while using the Honey and Ebates apps in unison?? Probably not. Hotwire is already incredible when it comes to saving you money on hotels… and even better when you can get cash back and/or even more of a discount using Honey & Ebates together. We have saved bookoo bucks using this holy trinity of travel. Trust us.
To wrap it up, I hope these tips are helpful and even open doors to vacations that may seem unaffordable right now. Please give these sites a try and let me know if you find success. We all need time off to rest, rejuvenate, and truly LIVE. Happy trails to you!
So, the other night I could not fall 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.
And in the words of Shia LaBeouf…..
My fiance and I decided that we wanted to write a book…on meal prepping! For those of you who follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you have probably seen our cooking videos. We meal prep every Sunday afternoon for 5 days worth of food. This is our special time to crack open a good bottle of wine, rock out to some music, and enjoy each other. We now look forward to Sunday’s (I used to dread them), love to grocery shop, and prepare the food. I mean, anytime I can make a ‘chore’ more enjoyable…I am alllllllll in. #lifehack
So how does meal prepping build relationships you ask?
Here are our notable effects when we meal prep:
We both feel a sense of relaxation during the day, knowing that we don’t have to worry about meals. The thought of having to run to the grocery store after work, or whip something up upon arriving home is an extra stressor which is completely eliminated by meal prepping. Coming home to great meals and being properly nourished during the day, results in mental composure. It is much easier to take on life with a full belly! At the end of the day, we are able to focus on each other, rather than a sink full of dirty dishes or an upset stomach from delivery pizza.
Here is a look at what happens when we do not meal prep:
Basically…“if you have no plan, you are planning to fail”…
HANGER. It’s real. It sucks. It wares on relationships. When we don’t meal prep we feel chaotic, and every night seems to be a scramble. Before we began planning meals, we would ravenously get home…barely even greeting one other. Blinded by hunger while bickering at each other, one would angrily order takeout and end the night feeling bloated, annoyed, and not ready to take on the next day. This was a draining cycle and as our pants got tighter, and wallets and patience ran thin, we realized a change was needed.
As an avid pinterester, I began to watch meal prepping videos online and even purchased a few books of my own. Starting slow, we began to prep meals together on Sunday afternoons. This quickly became much more than just cooking. It became our special time that we spend together every Sunday, which slingshots us into a great week. In life, there are not many things we can control. However, food is one of them. So, by choosing to control this small aspect of our life, it makes other tasks seem a bit easier.
Soooooo why is it a vegetarian/vegan challenge?
Although there are numerous reasons to go veg, ours is simple: we feel physically and mentally nourished completely through this way of eating. We have tried many different diets together. Ketogenic, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, SAD (standard American diet) to name a few. Doing this gave us a real perspective on which type of eating makes us feel best. Most of us shop around before making a big life decision, right? We did the same…except, we ‘shopped’ around for a way of eating! This may sound silly, but we honestly wanted to try all different ‘diets’ before deciding to stick to one. On a vegetarian/vegan diet, we feel full without the bloat, alert, and mentally clear. One thing we noticed right away, was our ability to wake up in the morning and head to work without that ‘ugh I am so tired’ feeling. We also noticed our moods and outlook on life, in general, improved. We dare you to try it too!
If you are interested in meal prepping, getting your spouse involved in cooking, would like more information, or simply want a few awesome recipes…. please download our eBook for a week of free vegetarian/vegan cooking! Cheers!
If you enjoyed this week of eating, we will be releasing a full month of recipes at the end of December gearing up for a healthy January, be sure to check back!