Surrounding Yourself with Plants for your Health and Happiness

Hi loves,

This is a plant dedication post. Because plants are essential, not to mention they have 10/10 aesthetic.

As the air gets progressively more polluted, you know what saves the day for your oxygen and respiratory health? Plants. They may as well be the superpower of global warming. The earth is heating up and there are more cars made every day, and more chemicals are released into the air and water. No, this isn’t a negative post. Read on.

I love plants. When I walk into a nursery and there are designated rooms and sections for various plants, my heart is warm. No joke. I’m growing my plant collection and there are so many benefits of owning plants in your home.

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Pictured above is me finding the adorable cafe in Sky Nursery and explaining to the barista what it’s like shooting for my blog when random people are staring at me like I’m not wearing pants. She found it all pretty entertaining. Back to the plant admirations..

Plants are the cleaners of the air we breathe. They absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale and replace that carbon dioxide with fresh oxygen. There is a reason why people feel they can breathe again when they go into nature after living in the bustling city. There aren’t as many plants and trees in a city. In fact, cities like New York, the city of concrete, are known to be extra unhealthy for your lungs and skin because there is no plant life around you. Your skin is just taking in all of the free radicals in the air.

In addition, research studies have revealed that indoor air can be up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. There is quite an accumulation of dust and bacteria, even mold, that can occur in your household. Homes have a lot of plastic from plastic bags and containers, trash, cleaning supplies, detergents… all items that can cause allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin or have had history of contact dermatitis, you might want to consider switching to healthier “greener” household products and adding plants to reduce your indoor air pollution.

If you want me to get all historical on you, the early Greeks and Romans started the trend of bringing plants inside, and they were onto something. The victorians also favored potted plants. A University of Michigan study even noted that being in the presence of plants can boost your memory retention up to twenty percent. I do not have the direct link to this resource, that is completely off of memory.

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I really got into my plant collection due to receiving them as gifts. Plants make amazing gifts, simple yet thoughtful, and they have a higher life expectancy than flowers. Flowers are a nice thought, but they wilt in that vase in your kitchen whereas plants grow and expand.

On another note: if you are trying to train yourself to get a pet, get a plant first. Pay attention to its health. If you leave a plant in a dark corner, that’s a red flag. Plants kind of need the photo in photosynthesis.

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Plants have amazing healing properties. Instead of buying aloe vera gel, why not have the gel from the real source? I now have my own aloe plant and I use the gel for sunburns and scratches. Not to mention it will continue to grow and the gel will be 100% natural and directly plant derived, instead of getting it from a plastic tube in the supermarket.

Another reason I have personally become so fond of plants is my recent switch to plant-based makeup and skincare. The result? Absolute bliss. My skin can tell the difference. No extra chemicals, no fake ingredients, just the good stuff.

I fully plan to continue this plant loving series with details of my new “green” makeup and skincare routines, so stay tuned for those! I hope you enjoyed these pictures in the nursery and my reasoning to start becoming a plant mom. xx

My outfit in this photo set is all from Athleta, paired with my Adidas Originals Superstars.

My Instagram blog page is @k_stateofmind and my photography page is @kellyzphoto.

-Kelly

 

 

23 Things Learned at 23 Years Old

Hi everyone,

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my age recently. Where I see myself in 5 years, in 5 months even. What it means to be a year out of college. The fact that I’m not working in the public health field like so many of my peers.

At the age of 23 I feel pretty confident in my choices. I feel as though I have definitely learned a thing or two that would have been nice to know 3 or 5 years ago. Of course, the whole point is finding out the hard way, right? Here is a list of 23 things, big and small, that I consider to be lessons learned.

1.Without a doubt, you will always be your biggest critic. Don’t set constant expectations that get in the way of you actually enjoying yourself. If you’re a perfectionist, give yourself room to breathe.

2. Be comfortable with your own presence. You will be with yourself the rest of your life. Venture out on your own if you tend to be only in groups. If you’re constantly wanting to evolve yourself in some way for the sake of yourself, make it a priority.

3. It is never too early to organize finances and constantly be aware of your expenditures. It’s not all boring or stressful, saving up money for traveling or things that are important to you can be a very rewarding experience.

4. Do not hold on to one-sided relationships. I’ve been so much better at simply eliminating one-sided relationships that made me feel as though I was giving more than I was receiving. It’s unfortunate and sad sometimes to move on, but you don’t want negative influences. Surround yourself with people that believe in you.

5. Keep your passport in a specific location at all times. Not just when you’re traveling, even when you’re home. Putting your passport somewhere random is not “safe-keeping.”

6. If you need to wear a fanny pack to avoid losing your ID at the Gorge and shamefully picking it up at the guest services station, just wear it. Trust me.

7. Drinking alcohol should only be consumed when you actually want to. There will always be events, parties, and people to go with. If you want to sip kombucha on a Saturday and have your own spa night with your cat, do it. There are no rules.

8. Please, do leave high school behind you. Don’t dwell, hold grudges, or divert back to your shortcomings. There is a reason it was only 4 years of your life. No need to relive it.

9. Take compliments. As a person who gets slightly bashful or makes a joke out of compliments I receive, I’ve learned to accept them. Weird lesson learned huh.

10. There is nothing wrong with being selective. Do not succumb to the idea that being single means you have to spend your free time “swiping right.” The downsides of online dating apps include your thumb getting sore and stumbling across someone in your high school class. So awkward.

11. Build up a wardrobe with pieces that allow you to get ready in 10 minutes, without looking like you got dressed in the dark. Hint: more neutrals.

12. When buying a pair of nice jeans, do make sure you go a size down. This avoids literally feeling $100 slipping off your waist. Jeans stretch out a lot, apparently.

13. Experience a customer service job at least once. I’ve been in both the retail and restaurant industries, and it has humbled me as a person. When I go to stores I never make a mess, and when I go to restaurants I’m never high maintenance. Because I know what it’s like on the other side. Don’t be disrespectful to people in these roles.

14. Find a routine that works for you and be diligent about keeping it. As a blogger I have to constantly manage myself, or work doesn’t get done.

15. Do not sleep in your makeup. Ever.

16. Break the pattern of negativity between competitive females. Support other women. We really can all coexist, I promise. (Sorry guys, that was gender specific)

17. Say yes more often. Sometimes, getting a little less sleep or going outside your comfort zone for a new experience is so crucial to putting yourself out there.

18. Always network. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, constantly consider chances to network. The world is full of opportunity, and the more you connect with people that might open an awesome door for you, the better. Worst case scenario you have enlightening conversation.

19. Have conversations of substance. I recently spent two hours with good wine after work discussing religion and culture with a complete stranger I was introduced to. Learning about his travels and how we views other cultures was refreshing. Sophistication in your 20’s also shows people that the millennial generation is a force to be reckoned with.

20. Be brave. Take some chances. You are not a byproduct of something bigger, you are your own person. You can make mistakes and take the road less traveled. You can take that road ten times. Don’t pressure yourself to fit the mold.

21. Have global awareness. Tune in to the news. Don’t be the only one in the happy hour group that doesn’t know more than the news headline.

22. Ask for help if you need it. To other individuals that prefer to do it all alone: sometimes it is just the right thing to do to ask for some support. You’re not weak, you have those people around you for a reason.

23. Love yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should someone else? ❤

I hope these 23 things were insightful! I hope you had a productive and amazing week. xx

-Kelly

Hiking: For Your Mind And Body

Hi everyone,

Given that Seattle has given us given us amazing weather the last few weeks, I’ve been taking to the trails more than usual. I’m much more focused on weights and interval training now as opposed to long stints of cardio, however, hiking is a much more enjoyable full-body workout. And it’s not just physical.

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Research shows that hiking is linked to higher amounts of brainpower. If you crave a better attention span on upcoming work or projects, spend the morning outdoors to clear your mind. Although physically being in nature allows your mind to de-clutter, being away from so much technology is just like hitting the reset button. How good is your Wifi in the woods? Exactly.

Good news for calorie counters: You can burn well over 500 calories in just an hour of hiking. I personally love walking on trails because I’m prone to shin splints, and the forest floor is way softer on your joints as opposed to asphalt or concrete.

Regular hiking activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The cardiovascular aspect the ups and downs of hiking is extremely good for your heart and BMI. Changing altitude has been recorded to reduce fat loss.

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Hiking is a great alternative to traditional indoor workouts in the gym. I get the feeling of not wanting to workout indoors on the elliptical, or be inside at all. When it’s beautiful out, why not get creative? If you haven’t found your workout niche but want to get in better shape, hiking could be perfect for you.

Hiking is definitely great to do in a group. You can make a day trip out of hiking anywhere and go to a lake, hang out on the top of a mountain and eat lunch, or sunbathe. There’s something in it for everyone.

Some mistakes I’ve previously made (not just me my family was there):

  1. Remember where you started your trek. If you need to drop a pin on your phone, do so.
  2. Overestimate trail time. I always try to factor in traffic and add on time for sight seeing etc. Avoid planning a long hike the day you have a set appointment mid afternoon that you will be rushing to make. I’ve been there.
  3. Bring water if it is a longer hike. Altitude can get you more dehydrated, so even bring a small attachable flask if that’s more convenient.

John Muir once said: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Nature has been called a “mental health prescription” due to its positive influence. People often spend so much time in urban settings, and the change of pace brings a much greater balance of exposure.

A Stanford study revealed that city dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety and 40 percent higher risk of stress when compared to rural residents. And we don’t often know we need the nature break until we are mid-hike, thankful for the minimal cell service.

I hope you all enjoyed my health check in. Enjoy what’s left of the summer months and go out in nature to clear your mind and senses.

For more photography, visit my blogger Instagram page @k_stateofmind and my portraits page @kellyzphoto

xx

-Kelly

 

My Go-To Coffee Spots in Seattle

Hi everyone,

So this is a long time coming. A coffee post in Seattle? Yeah, I should’ve spilled my secrets months ago. Good news: I’m about to let all of you lovely people know where I like to get my caffeine! Warning: Starbucks isn’t on the list.

*Cue all of my coffee pictures*

Black Rock Coffee

This a drive-through. Granted, the rest of the menu looks relatively full of sugar. I get iced Americanos here when I’m in a rush and on the way to something I need to be awake for. They are two dollars even. That’s amazing, to be honest. No extra fees for non-dairy milk either. I’m so stoked on this find!

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Fix Coffeehouse 

Fix is close to my heart because of the atmosphere. It’s half cafe and half bar. Essentially, I used to work on my computer for a bit and drink coffee and then my friends would meet me for a cider. Side- note: Fix has great ciders on tap on rotation. They had a berry one that I loved! Fix also have live music nights with local artists which is so fun. My favorite drink in more fall/winter time is the brown sugar latte. I can’t not get this latte, because I haven’t perfected the brown sugar latte at home! Another plus is the location, because Greenlake is so beautiful in the summer.

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Diva Espresso

Diva is a convenient location and great coffee, however, the price is a little steep. I brought a friend that moved over from Europe and he was really fond of the cappuccinos (rightfully so), and the small food items are good, but if you’re trying to find a regular place the price is a bit more.

Seattle Sunshine Coffee

Seattle Sunshine is an all white, very modern setup. It feels like a small art gallery. I like this place a lot to work on blog posts, and it is really quiet. If I’m hungry I sometimes go here if I’m doing errands around University Village, because the vegetarian breakfast burritos are awesome! I can’t find my burrito picture, my sincere apologies.

Royal Drummer Cafe

Royal Drummer is a place I sometimes stop in at if I’m going to Golden Gardens Park. It’s relatively close by and has great Americanos. In terms of the atmosphere it’s definitely not my favorite, because it tends to be very family friendly and super loud. Brunches and lunches there are really popular, and I find it too loud to work. But if you’re nearby the coffee is great as well as the banana bread! They also have great gluten free options if you have a gluten intolerance.

Zoka Coffee and Tea 

Zoka was my jam when I worked in University Village. I get so much work done here. It’s relatively quite and has a wide range of clientele. Chai lovers: there’s an awesome selection of chai at Zoka. Lavender, sweet, ginger, and spicy is what I recall at the top of my head. They just did a remodel and the place looks much less cluttered, but is cozy at the same time given it’s all dark wood inside.

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Drip City Coffee

Drip City is a new discovery. I was recently downtown, with two hours before my work shift from dropping off my roommate. I knew Cherry Street has bad wifi so I found Drip City on 1st Ave. The guys working were super friendly and fun, and I played with a pit bull for a solid 10 minutes (when I should’ve been working of course). The Wifi is SO FAST. This is probably awesome for me because the wifi in my house is terrible, but if wifi at a coffee shop is slow, it kind of kills your work ethic. I have yet to order any food here, but it seems to be a good spot for that as well!

Cherry Street Coffee 

Cherry Street downtown on 1st Ave is a really cute Bohemian style place. There are beaded throw pillows and colorful details, great for a group hangout or a meeting. Sadly the wifi is nonexistent lately. I found out the hard way. However, the falafel and hummus wraps are great if you’re there for lunch, and the coffee is still one of my favorites.

Cafe Umbria 

Cafe Umbria is a lovely look of Italy 🇮🇹. I’ve never been to Italy, I definitely want to eventually! The shop had plates and cups imported from Italy, adding an authentic touch. There’s artwork and paintings of European details everywhere. I did talk to the barista about the imported plates, they’re so beautiful! As for the coffee, it’s also super good and smooth. It’s a pretty small shop and has great charm. Perfect work or caffeine stop if you find yourself in Ballard!

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I get so much work done at cafes. I prefer to go to a cafe as opposed to staying home because I’ll have less distractions. I like to be surrounded by people doing things around me and working as well, so it’s partially social but not? I’m not sure how else to phrase that, but it just works for me.

So if you have siblings that make fun of you for driving to a cafe to get work on your computer, I feel you. Sometimes that college student habit of going to a public place to work is ingrained forever, what can I say.

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As a blogger, I have to be on my game about getting posts done and making my own schedule. It takes a lot of time management to do freelance work, and you have to find what works for you. That includes your atmosphere!

I hope this posts sheds light on some new coffee spots to check out in Seattle! If you’re not from Seattle, now you know where to go when you visit.  xx

For more photography shenanigans, check out my blog Instagram page @k_stateofmind , and my portraits page @kellyzphoto.

 

-Kelly

 

Watershed 2017: A Blogger’s Experience

Hi everyone,

The title of this blog post made me laugh, because it sounds like I went on some kind of voyage. Jokes aside, this was the first camping experience I’ve had. Crazy, right? I now believe everyone should see the Gorge at least once. Here’s my experience and tips as a first time “shedder.”

Of course, me being me, I prioritize the essentials to wash my face and be as clean as I can be when I’m not in the comfort of my home (insert Bilbo Baggins mindset). The three stores I’d recommend getting travel size body wash, lotions, cleansers, etc would be

➳ Target

➳ Walgreens

➳ Ulta

If you just need lotions, sunscreens, mini toiletries etc, Walgreens and Target should cover you. If you have more specific needs or brands you’re looking for, Ulta may need to be a second stop. For hydrating mists or other products that are in larger containers, it saves space to pour them into small travel size spray bottles and containers.

You could skip a face cleanser and just go with a very travel friendly, easy solution: micellar water. I’ve been using the Garnier Micellar Water for about 2 years, and I still love it. It’s often considered a step down from Bioderma (or essentially just less expensive), but if a product works then why change it? Micellar waters are a somewhat new thing on the market as an alternative to makeup wipes. I found it just as easy to pack the travel size Garnier Micellar water with a small bag of cotton rounds. It’s totally your preference, but micellar waters have less ingredients and preservatives than wipes do. It makes me uneasy that makeup wipes have ingredients to preserve their shelf life. That can’t be good for your complexion.

The idea of not having hot water is totally known to someone who has camped before, however, for me it was new. We spent two afternoons at Crescent Bar, which I would highly recommend to cool off from the constant heat and be a bit cleaner at the same time! The lake was beautiful and a good change of pace from the blazing heat. It wasn’t exactly a shower, but it was more fun and comfortable when compared to the mobile shower stations on the campground!

Pack very lightly in terms of clothes. I brought one sweatshirt, one tank top, two pairs of shorts, one skirt, and for the ladies: pack fun bralettes. They’re so small to pack and they can pass as a shirt at a festival. I get my lace ones at Urban Outfitters or Free People.

This was a country festival, so I really didn’t feel the need to bring accessories besides a hat. I packed one bead choker from Ettika, a lovely LA based boutique, and that was it. It matched all of my outfits and it added something a little extra. And the idea of losing sentimental jewelry worried me a bit, so I wouldn’t advise packing things that are very precious to you.

Pack some food. You don’t have to prepare completely in this category, but it will save you a lot of money. People spend twice the amount of their general admission ticket (or more) on food and drinks at the festival. Essentially everything is twice the cost it should be. Most food we saw was eleven dollars per person. If you bring enough food for the first two meals of the day and some snacks, you’ll save a ton. Food for thought!

A portable phone charger will come in handy. We had a car charger as an option as well, however, with four people all wanting to charge their phones at once, you could see how that would go. Put your phone in airplane mode when you don’t need it so it charges faster!

I didn’t do this, but I saw a lot of fanny packs at Watershed. In fact, I’ve never seen people rock them so well. Most were American flag printed, and if you think about it, they’re smarter than risking dropping your cards and cash from your jean shorts pockets. I’m not going to admit that I lost my ID and found it at the guest services station, but I’m not going to deny it either. Guys have deeper pockets in their pants for their cards, but ladies, I would consider a fanny pack or a small over-the-shoulder-purse to avoid the shame of losing your ID.

Pack water. I think many campers considered this the last priority behind the tents, speakers, and mixers. But do remember to pack plenty of water and some eletrolytes. We brought vitamin water and gatorade to get our electrolytes in between chugging water. It helps a lot.

The temperature at the gorge does drop at night, so bringing a pair of sweatpants or a good blanket is ideal. One of our “squad’s” members definitely did not prepare for this, poor guy. It’s all okay though, because we came back with the same group size as we left Seattle with. 🙂

Now onto the blogger obsessions I have with Central Washington (or Quincy):

There was a nearby market/store that we went to the second day for coffee (which was much needed). The place was vintage paradise. There were colorful chairs on the porch and a big sign with espresso, so we were saved! I also realized that BBQ flavored pumpkin seeds are underrated. Below are pictures of the cuteness.The to-go bag from this market had a sunflower print, perfect for sunflower lovers like myself.

 

The surrounding terrain in general is a very different kind of wildness. I think it makes for a great music venue. Here are a few snapshots:

For the most part, the major headliners at Watershed played later in the evening, and it’s always wise to get to the stage at least two acts ahead of your favorite singer to get closer in to the action. We just sat on the hill up higher the last night to avoid the mosh pit, but it’s good to remember that 30,000 people go to this event all at once! It’s much more intense than a smaller venue. I have some shin bruises to prove it.

From someone that has never camped before or been to an overnight festival, I was really stoked on this experience! It was great to be away from work commitments and with limited cell service. The venue was beautiful and the music was legendary. Not to mention that the people that go to Watershed, shedders, are super nice. Everyone is there to have a good time and our camp neighbors were all super friendly. And the last night ended with Luke Bryan, what’s not to love?

I hope you enjoyed this post about my tips and tricks to a solid weekend away at the Gorge. Once a shedder, always a shedder! Stay tuned for upcoming posts, it’s my goal to continue posting weekly.

For more photography and updates of my daily shenanigans, check out my Instagram blog page @k_stateofmind and my portrait page @kellyzphoto.

xx

-Kelly