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.
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!
I’ve got a giveaway going on my Instagram right now and wanted to let everyone here know too!! For the longest time, I searched and searched for a delicious vegan yogurt. I tried many; almond, coconut, soy….and none were hittin’ the spot.
After numerous failed attempts, I stumbled upon Forager Cashewgurt…..
Y’all ….. my…..mind. was. blown.
It truly is creamy and delicious! My favorite flavor is the classic vanilla topped with blueberries, Bee Free honey, and cinnamon. However, Foragers vanilla isn’t your run o’ the mill basic vanilla. It’s so legit you can see flecks of real vanilla bean in the yogurt!!! Try it for yourself. Click below and enter !!
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!
As promised, I’maaa be open with you guys. That being said, I wanted to share my most recent beauty endeavor:microbladed eyebrows.
I need to note, this is not a paid ad, nor I am trying to sell you anything. I simply needed my readers to know about a service that has made my life so. much. easier.
First of all, for those of you who may not know what the heck microblading is, you’re not alone. Microblading is a form of semi-permanent tattoo which lasts for about one year. It involves the use of tiny needles (instead of a tattoo gun) that make up a small blade. This helps deposit pigment under the skin, creating natural hair-like strokes.
Woah. Scary sounding, right?! Seriously though, I am an enormous baby and have zero pain tolerance. If I can do it, you can too. And spoiler alert: it wasn’t even that bad.
Why microbladed brows, you ask? Short answer… I was sick and tired of drawing them on like a cartoon character every morning. When it comes to beauty, my goal is to be as lazy as possible. Being able to roll out of bed in the morning, with my browz’ on fleek, was a huge #win. This girl has reallllllly light eyebrows. I’m talking practically nonexistent compared to the dark hair on my head (thank you hair dye). I was desperate for anything that would make my daily makeup routine easier and faster. And ohhhh did it ever.
I’ll walk you through the entire Microblading process from start to finish. I am hopeful that this post will ease the nerves of someone out there, in the blogosphere, who is on the fence about microblading.
At around 9am on a hot June morning, I arrived at my appointment and was kindly greeted by the staff. After a brief wait, I was escorted into a small spa room with a lovely reclining chair. Think… boujee pedicure recliner… meets dentist chair. It was glorious, they even had a cozy blanket and tea waiting for me! A friendly woman named Leila was my microblading esthetician for the process.
The first part of my appointment started with an analysis of my face, and what brow shape/color would look the most natural on me. I loved how precise and timely she was while doing this. Semi-Permanent makeup ON YOUR FACE is a semi-terrifying thought. However, my nerves were totally eased after this part and I was confident they would look perfect. Below you will see my barely-there, shapeless brows before anything had been done to them. Yikes.
Leila worked intently to create the perfect eyebrow shape for me. She used a combo of marker, and pencils to customize the right look. She even used a protractor looking thing to make sure the angles were correct (OK, okkkkkk, I guess you do use math in real life). The white goop is numbing cream, this stuff was fantastic. After applying the gel, I relaxed for about a half hour while it did it’s thang.
Once sufficiently numbed, she took out the tattoo tool (it looked like an exacto knife) and went to work. For those of you who have a tattoo, it did feel a bit like that. It was not painful, just an irritating repetitive scratching sensation. Without the numbing gel it probably would have been uncomfortable. She passed over each brow twice with the tool, and then coated them with a gel pigment. Here is a picture of my brows soaking in the color. She waited about 20 minutes before wiping the dye off. This step just ensures that the skin completely absorbs the color.
Here are my brows after wiping off the pigmented gel. The purple marker dots remained on my skin, but washed off after a few days. You can see my eyebrows look super natural and healthy. I was amazed! I had to return about a month later for one last application. We did the entire process over again. It did go much faster the second time because there was no need to re-draw and measure.
Here are my final results. I couldn’t be happier.
Microblading is something I wish I would have done years ago. My advice? DO IT. You’ll thank me. I will continue to go back every year, until I die, to have them retouched (no lie). I am amazed at how much time I had wasted trying to get that perfect Kardashian-esque brow. Although I haven’t quite reached that level of brow-glory, I’ll take what I can get.
Thank you for checking this post out! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, I am always happy to respond.
I had my brows done at the following spa. Mention this post for a discount.
engaged. fiance. wedding. marriage. ring. venue. cake. dress. budget. AHHH…. so. many. words….all spinning around in my head!
let the planning begin!
Although we have been engaged for about two months now, I still am not used to using these words to describe my life. Getting engaged is such a happy and magical thing, but it does take your brain a little while to adjust to this surreal feeling…please tell me I am not alone…!
Let’s dive into the good stuff. Our beautiful engagement story begins with a memorable drive home. It was a Friday, and I’ll be honest,…although excited for the weekend,… I was tired, crabby, sweating, and HANGRY. My 45 minute commute had fully gotten the best of me, and I was less than pleasant… if we’re putting it lightly. I called my (now) fiance…yep, still feels weird saying that…on the phone, to complain about all of the above things. He sounded flustered, but I didn’t think much of it, because I was being an irritating pain.
After 1.5 hours of sitting in traffic, above irritations had turned into full blown rage. I stormed up the stairs to our apartment, opened the door, and was greeted by my sweet man on one knee holding flowers, along with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. Nerves and joy spread across his face as he said, “Katie, will you marry me”? My jaw dropped, I was stunned, and my mood was instantly changed. I was seriously in full shock mode, I barely even squeaked out a ‘Yes’! *Side note: This ‘shock reaction’ phenomenon amazes me. We have lived together for a few years, tell each other everything, have thoroughly talked about getting married…how then, does a proposal illicit such a stunned reaction? This is fascinating to me because we both knew marriage was in our near future!!!
Right after he proposed, we danced around in our kitchen for a few minutes and then popped open a bottle of wine to celebrate! We quickly face-timed both sets of parents and they were equally as excited. My parents live about a half hour away, so we jumped in the car, and went over to celebrate together! That night we ordered in from our favorite spot, made a blazing fire outside, and truly relished the moment. What an imperfectly perfect day, I will cherish these memories always.