♥ New Year’s Resolutions/ Motivations!♥

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone’s December weeks have been filled with great memories to end 2016! I wanted to open up discussion to the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. I have to admit I do not do these every year. However, being graduated from college and finally having time to dive into my passions, I want to hold myself accountable to continue to push boundaries and have more amazing experiences.

I have categorized my resolutions into the following: fitness, health, career development, creativity, and adventures. These may seem like too many categories to successfully target, but they’re all really important for goal setting. I hope you find them relatable in your own goal setting for 2017.

➳ FITNESS (and a little about my fitness story)

Fitness has meant different things to me over the years. Being a college athlete meant planned workouts with specific programs that catered to better performance in one sport. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was a bit disoriented once I left the security blanket of college athletics, because I didn’t know what to train for anymore. I didn’t have matches to prepare for. When you don’t have something to work for, you lose motivation sometimes. But do you want to know what my motivation became? The simple answer is just self contentment.

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Above is a transformation picture I posted on my Instagram recently showing a major time jump between 2012 (left) to today (right). In 2012 I was going to modeling agencies, and spending too much time on the elliptical and not enough time hitting the weights. I wasn’t completely confident in my body. I was never empowered by it. Fast forward to today when I’m graduated and spending 4 days a week at least smashing out weight training (with a trainer once a week!). I’ve never seen more progress, and I’m beginning to love my body for real, for my own standards of beauty. Self-love is powerful, guys.

That being said, here are my fitness goals:

♥ Build my bum. I honestly really want to gain this curve, and I’m making progress! Whenever I do legs I make an effort to work my bum.

♥ Strengthen my lower back. It’s a common complaint to avoid “muffin tops,” and my lower back has never been really targeted in previous workout routines. Hi deadlifts!

♥ Be able to do 3 legitimate pull-ups. I say 3 because I’ve never done one in my life. I use the assisted pull-up machine for now, so I’m preparing for that magic.

♥ See a steady progression of my body fat percentage. When I started my personal training, there was nothing wrong with my body. I would wear crop tops or short shorts or even wear bikinis all summer long, I just didn’t have the muscle. A tip: keep lifting HEAVIER. Ladies, do not stay at the plateau of 5 or 10 lb dumbbells. Keep going up in weight and you’ll notice that you are actually shredding and losing fat, not “bulking.”

➳ HEALTH

Always aim to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. This includes mental and physical health. If you’ve noticed potential improvements you could make throughout this year, whether large or small, really focus on those! I’m a Public Health major and a gym goer, but I still have quite a long list in my head of changes I could make in this department.

My health goals:

♥ Drink the daily recommended water intake. I am so terrible at getting my daily water. I love Kombucha and fruity things, and I often grab other options besides just water. This is a major goal of mine to boost my hydration levels. I am stoked on a christmas gift  of a filtered bottle to infuse with fruits for my water. Now I just have to use it. 🙂

♥ Get better, more regulated sleep. I got a solid 5-6 hours a night through my college career, and that’s not great. My Fitbit has been reminding me that my average need of sleep is 7 1/2 hours. Basically I was reminded that I was sleep deprived for four years.

♥ Gratitude. This world is full of so many individuals, and many do not have the opportunities we can take for granted. I want to be grateful of what I have in life and frequently remind myself of this, in order to not get negative over things that will change for the better in time.

♥ Meditation. I want to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. Whether it is 5 minutes or 20, I think this is a great way to dip out of reality and center yourself.

♥ Get more fresh air. Because fresh air, in the middle of nowhere, on top of a mountain, in the middle of a rainstorm, means a fresh mind.

♥ Focus hard on my nutrition. I need to up my protein intake given I’m a pescatarian, and I need to eat multiple small meals a day to keep me well nourished. I plan to dedicate myself to food tracking via My Fitness Pal and my Fitbit.

➳ CAREER DEVELOPMENT

We all are working towards something. College brings on that idea, and how we are released into the world of possibility, elevator talks, interviews…

I always use the process of elimination for my potential career. Internships have been helpful for me in this way to give me an idea of what I don’t want. I have recently learned I cannot work in an office full-time. I will probably be let go due to spinning in circles in my chair with zero creativity. I don’t know about you, but office settings with fluorescent lighting kill my creative vibes.

My career goals:

♥ Keep record of things I learn from each job. Likes and dislikes!

♥ Build my blog and pursue health and wellness. I love photography and writing, and sharing my health and fitness journey on Instagram and on this platform. I look forward to where this path takes me.

♥ Decide on graduate school

♥ Establish a personal brand for myself.

♥ Collaborate with a fitness brand with my blogging and online content

Essentially, I want to be a creative and make this my life and job. I see myself blogging from Iceland, or Spain, maybe even from Australia to visit my friends over there!

➳ CREATIVITY

♥ Get back into sketching. I have accumulated sketch pads and pencils that haven’t been used in under a year. I miss driving someplace to people watch and channel those sights into sketches.

♥ Start a YouTube channel. I’ve considered this for a while, but I am more used to still shots as opposed to video. We shall see!

♥ Continue with my poetry. I have been writing poetry since Freshman year of college and it’s a great mental release.

♥ Get crafty. I see things in the store like planetarium, and I tell myself I could just make one instead. And I never do. So getting more crafty is going on the list.

➳ ADVENTURES

My age group has been referred to as millennia. It is also a time in society where creatives are said to be flourishing. Companies and organizations are now seeking creative individuals to compliment their values, their missions. I want to stay creative, and stay adventurous.

♥ Go on two adventures per month at minimum. This could be a small road trip or a complete day of wandering, but this will be my bare minimum. I want to feel in the moment more, not looking towards future events. I don’t have to switch classrooms when the clock ticks anymore, so I have zero excuse not to fill my time more with adventurous activities.

♥ Set aside money for plane tickets. I want to see more places, of course. Next stop, Iceland!

*pause in the goal setting*

I want to be honest and say my three financial investments in life are currently skin care, fitness, and travel aspirations.

♥ Explore my camera more and as I add lenses and become less of an amateur, I want to collaborate more with other bloggers near me

***********************

That was a long list, my apologies if it was a bit too much. I am a over-thinker after all.

Also, here’s tonight’s sunset.

sunset

I’d love to hear about your New Year’s Resolutions. Leave a comment with your ideas and I hope you all have a sparkly last day of the year! xx

Follow my fitness journey and health posts on my Instagram @kmzwicker

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all having a great weekend so far preparing for Christmas!

Over the years I have gone more minimalistic with my gifts for family and friends. I feel as though one thoughtful gift is more special than five. I find it less stressful this way as well! I have put together some ideas of last minute gift ideas and why they are my favorite choices.

I love aesthetic, so a given for me for small gifts are things such as candles and lotions. Getting someone holiday scented candles with beautiful wrapping could be much more successful than one might think. Lotions and hand creams are also a way to pamper yourself, and the holidays give you a break to be more luxurious. As for stores to find these, my top two would be TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I find the most unique scents and decorative products there. And for an affordable price. Another great place would be Bath and Body Works, and they always have holiday gift sets making your decisions a bit easier!

Skincare is always a great Christmas gift option. Quality skincare can be pricey at times, and people often hesitate to splurge on themselves in this category. Whether it is winter dryness, fine lines and anti-aging, or just soothing masks, these make awesome gifts or even sample size stocking stuffers. I go to Sephora, given they have majority of my skincare as well as makeup. If you want to do more of a mix of sample size products, the maze-like check out line there always has small sizes often decorated for the holidays. Essentially, everything is done for you.

So let’s discuss tea. There are a lot of tea drinkers walking around. I personally take coffee in the morning and tea at night. Some just prefer tea for their caffeine fix as well as winding down after a long day. Tea tins and various tea flavor packs could make someone’s day, as simple as it is. There are major health benefits of drinking tea regularly, the obvious one being more hydration. I took a visit to Teavana to pick up their holiday gift set, complete with an pressure infuser, rock candy, two tea flavors, and decorated tea tins. The entire set was $50. For a tea drinker, you just might become their new favorite person if you give them a set like this one.

Books? No I’m not talking about a kindle download, or an ebook ready to scan while you’re waiting to board your plane. I’m talking about the real books, the ones that smell brand new and you can actually physically flip the pages as you read. I may be a little biased, but I prefer books over kindles and reading on a screen. Getting someone a book doesn’t mean you couldn’t come up with anything else, but more so you are giving them an excuse to take some down time and dive into a different reality. If you pay attention to someone’s interests and get them a book that compliments that, that’s major points right there.

For the fitness lovers like myself, fitness related gifts are always welcome. Whether it is a stainless steel S’well water bottle or a new Fitbit tracker, these are very thoughtful ideas for someone that is dedicated to an active lifestyle and be fashionable while doing so.

These are my last minute gift ideas for Christmas 2016. I hope you enjoyed! Merry Christmas and stay warm xx

-Kelly

What It’s Like to be an Outgoing Introvert

 

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What’s on my mind:

The distinction between extroverts and introverts. There is something to be said for categorizing someone into one of these categories, when mixtures definitely exist. I would know because I am one.

I’m what is known as an outgoing introvert. I like to be around people and have that social component in my life, but I prefer to recharge by myself. I have put together some indicators that you might be similar, and these could help you learn about yourself. Knowing your own personality helps when interacting with contrasting personality types.

Observations:

You have a high level of self-awareness, and you are not shy, just simply naturally introverted. Shyness and introversion differ because shyness is considered a behavior, versus introversion is more of a choice as well as a preference. In other words, you choose when you wish to interact and when you’d rather observe. This really doesn’t have a correlation with being shy.

You find yourself actually penciling in (or making a mental note) to set aside time for yourself. You mental well-being requires this alone time, in order to have the energy and desire to then go forward with social interaction.

Do you love to go to coffee shops alone to work? Me too. I love to be surrounded by people in a coffee shop but left alone to do my work or write my posts. I like having the energy around me and complete control to either engage or not. (insert the “but first, coffee” ongoing trending phrase)

You can confuse others about this mixture of social identities. Sometimes people just assume you’re very extroverted given your approachable nature when you choose to be. When you switch back and forth from your more introverted self, people can be confused by the variation.

You are a fan of inner monologue. Or maybe you are not a fan, but you do this constantly anyway. Outgoing introverts tend to re-play conversations and even lay out future ones, which can lead to over-thinking. Being very thoughtful in this sense is important, but sometimes can be perceived as overdoing it.

You do (maybe not often) experience loneliness. This one I’ll chip in on. I personally like to be independent a good majority of the time. I played a college sport that was 90% mental, and is known as an individual sport. I like to blog, write, and even sketch, all activities being solo activities. I often find it hard relating to people in terms of how we prefer to spend our time, so this narrows down that interaction even more. Then again, I’m working two jobs that I constantly interact and have fun with my coworkers. I make sure to have this balance.

Now onto relationships. Again, personally, people I have been interested in the past all say something very similar: they have a hard time reading me. I apologize for not being predictable, it’s just not in my nature (although I never apologized for being hard to read). If a person takes more time to discover the layers, is this really a bad thing? I think not. There’s a reason why people love the mystery behind movie plotlines. 

As for social engagements, outgoing introverts can be very personable and talkative in these settings, but also be completely drained afterwards. This speaks to me, for I really need to be alone after a lot of social energy, just to have the silence for a while. Word of advice: don’t break this silence, it’s crucial.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I believe extraversion and “teamwork” are somewhat overplayed in the workplace. We are taught in school to put up with group projects to prepare ourselves for our careers, which makes sense, but there is a reason why we dread them. I completely agree that collaboration is essential for a functioning organization or company, but some personalities gain their creativity and innovative ideas when working independently.

I wish I knew this about myself in high school, but outgoing introverts tend to somewhat dislike rights of passages. A really good example would be the senior prom. I remember there was so much buildup it actually made the event less fun, and it was this huge right of passage that everyone needed to take part in. I’m not saying my prom experience wasn’t good, but it was the principle of it being the “right” way to go out with a bang.

Outgoing introverts pick and choose pretty specifically. I’m specific about friends as well as social events. If I don’t want to hang out with someone I won’t. If all of my friends tell me an event is a must, I won’t attend if I know I’d be dissatisfied. I know myself in that sense. The negative reaction I often get from this is people taking it personally, that I’m withdrawing too much and put myself on a higher wavelength. This is definitely not the case, and the sad thing is if someone were to ask me instead of assume, there would be no hard feelings.

Us individuals also tend to thrive on improvement and progression. Getting “stuck” is not appealing, and the perfectionist behavior comes out in order to move forward. Seeking inner growth is also common, along with the occasional overanalyzing.

Lastly, the work and social life of an outgoing introvert may portray different personalities. By this I mean that these individuals, including myself, are outgoing and good at networking in the work life, and even enjoy being in control and communicating, but the social life may be a lot quieter. For me, I don’t like doing things in big groups. I like to hang out with one or two people, maybe three. If it’s a large group I feel less and less inclined to talk. Again, if someone you know tends to skip larger group hangouts, they might just not prefer them.

I hope this cleared up some explanations for those who have tried to understand the outgoing introverts, and for those that fall in this category. In truth, there’s nothing wrong with categorizing someone in order to better understand and interact with them.

Do these traits seem to match you? Let me know what you all think about my take on this, or your opinion of personality types. Do you find it useful to know someone’s personality type in the everyday? Feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

College Expectations Unsaid

You heard in high school that college would be the best four years of your life. Let’s the discuss the major flaws in this statement.

What’s on my mind: What you don’t expect from college. The uncensored, unedited version of that educational environment you spent a previous four years staring at a GPA and preparing standardized test scores for.

We go through life often looking forward to a future result. We plan ahead, we set goals, and one of these goals is often where we attend college, and what we will study when we get there. But what happens when you actually get there? For me, I completely resent the idea of saying college was the best four years of my life. I’d like to consider it a trek for the better, a battle won for myself.

Life after college is not a set path, there is no universal option. There are opinions, expectations, social norms. You might want a pet chamelion as opposed to a dog, you might not want kids, or a van, or a big kitchen. You might not want a permanent postal address. And this is okay. Whatever it is, you build on it after you leave the college security blanket.

Rather than write out the reasons why I personally reject this statement, here’s a different format:

You’re doubtful in

your steps on the way to class,

Or your choice to stay in.

You second guess

Your surroundings,

Your purpose,

Your point of view.

You slip from optimism to the open-ended,

As you stare at numerical figures

To represent your worth,

Your capabilities.

You think of the real world,

And how you’re not a part of it,

As you muster up hypothetical elevator talks,

And convince yourself you’ll turn a corner

In a week,

In a day,

And everything will make sense,

Exactly as you planned in your

Decorated journals

And proudest essays.

Yet you are finished,

You hit a milestone that

Was meant to be an overpowering

Revelation,

That has only brought you uncertainty.

Four years flew by,

Without your conceding.

You chase something else,

Something to fill the gaps,

That widen as you struggle down

the honorary carpet.

The truth: The best years are relative,

Limiting you from pushing the bar,

From being amazed at small details,

Engrossed in still moments,

Appreciate what you have yet to do.

You have so much to do,

Darling,

Don’t sell yourself short.

xx – Kelly

The Increasing Value of Creative Individuals in Our Society

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Hi everyone,

I’ve gone a bit off the grid from blogging the past two weeks, so my apologies in advance for the absent content. I have in this time taken on two jobs, one internship and one paid part-time. After landing these positions, I wanted to discuss the need of things in life that cannot be bought, or achieved by climbing a ladder of accomplishment or praise.

I am currently in the post-graduate phase of major contemplation. I want to start making strides to my future career, and build a life for myself. A life that makes me happy, and one of substance. On the other hand, I think this period of my life is crucial in other ways. Self-reflection and development need to be put at a high value, in addition to resume qualifications.

Breaking the mold of the typical race to post-graduate employment is something I have been considering myself. I’m not ready for a 9 to 5 office job, nor do I think I ever will be. I am just now having the chance to act on all of my interests, my side hobbies pushed aside due to previous obligations.

I can’t even narrow down a label for myself in my Instagram bio. I want to explore and create through my twenties, and always be reminded of why I get to be myself every day. I am passionate about health, but I want to write wherever and whenever possible, and embrace my creative outlets. I’m not concerned with making money, because the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” is not just motivational, it’s also a warning not to falsely prioritize your life.

There is hope for other artists and creatives out there, in fact, I just read an article published by the Guardian about the need of investments of artists and creatives in our society. The article talks about how the arts and culture especially create a basis for overall societal function.

Which word sounds more appealing, price or value?

The artists of our society compliment other sectors. Without creative people, there would be less beauty and pleasure on a wide scale. One can even say a society would not survive without these individuals. Without creativity, amazing award-winning films, opera and orchestra performances, art galleries and many other features would not exist. What kind of world would that be?

Stanford’s Social Intervention Review also dips into this topic with high appraisal of the arts and creative expression, pointing out that they have made our society shift from manufactured to innovative. Culture and art dictate social change, and social change determines the progressive ability of a society.

To think of it another way, everyone is said to have their role, one that they contribute to better the overall community as a whole. Economies are set up with everyone doing their part in order for it to function. Roles, however, are not just positions within a law firm, engineers in the newest apartment complexes, or scientists within large laboratories. The creatives and artists also play a role. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp that these people, who primarily aim to bring inspiration to others, are often concerned about the paycheck while others are at ease financially.

No, this is not a review of the above articles. I’m simply relieved that creative expression is being nationally recognized as a necessity to a well-balanced system. These Sunday reads inspire me to move farther into my years of creativity, and not wait to see how it all lays out financially.

Arts and culture within society ignite an incandescence to our emotional lives. Humans are meant to be emotional beings, as opposed to being desensitized by daily routines and responsibilities.

What makes you feel like your most creative self? Ask yourself, where does the creativity come from? It won’t come from textbooks or a steady income. It comes from within.

Being 22 years old in such a progressive society,  I notice how expectations have changed, even in my lifetime. Master’s degrees are starting to become as vital to employment as bachelor’s degrees were years ago. You’re expected to have work experience when you don’t know where to start. At what point is this constant building of yourself on paper going to resemble a life well lived? It might for some depending on the content. For others, they may feel constantly awkward, not properly conforming.

For example: I want to see more of the United States. I’ve been to a handful of states, and I always crave new adventures. Since I know finances play a role, I’m saving up for these adventures. Once I have enough, I plan to be very mobile at various times, always learning from everyday interaction with people from all over, people that see the world a little more similarly to me in terms of what defines a life well spent.

This can all be a battle between one’s mind and heart. What really resonates with you and what will enrich you most may not make complete logical sense.

I have recently spent time with amazingly talented freelance photographers that are living their creative passions, and I feel as though I have found my people (corny perhaps to say). It’s nothing short of refreshing to be around individuals that wake up and seek out fulfilling moments. Quality company of those that strive for similar things in life really has sent me encouraging vibes that i’m not alone in my deepest desires.

What’s saddening is that people have visions of what they want their life to look like, the experiences they want to have, yet they feel that they are out of reach. In all honesty, they don’t have to be unrealistic.

Will you be a part of the increasing creative initiative?

Thanks for reading, have a lovely week. xx

-Kelly

 

Achieving A Balance With Technology Use

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Hi everyone,

Our society is thriving through technology, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything is great in doses. Honestly, it becomes an issue when you can’t sit through a movie without checking your phone or constantly scrolling through news feeds.

I am 22 years old, and I am admitting that there is a balance that needs to exist with social media and online content. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love sharing my creativity via the internet, whether it is on this blog or on my Instagram.

I also love using my computer. I’m not as much into television, so that’s never been an issue for me. Fun fact: I went two out of the four years of college without a television in my living space. Part of the reason is I can’t stand commercials or surfing channels. My days were also planned by the hour so I didn’t stay awake long enough to log into Netflix. Sue me.

I’ve put together some tips to not remain completely engrossed in technology 24/7:

  • Don’t be a checker. If you post something, don’t remain on that platform awaiting the responses, likes, follows etc. A couple hours later, after you’ve done other activities, going back and seeing what you’ve missed is totally fine.
  • Being on your phone constantly when someone is trying to have a conversation with you is the reason why our generation gets complaints regarding attention spans.  Put your phone down when someone asks you a question.
  • Live your life, don’t spend all of your energy trying to prove that you’re living it. It’s great that you want to share pieces of your life with others, but obtain boundaries from the rest of the world and have undocumented moments.
  • Plan more activities that don’t require technology use. If you’re hiking up a steep mountain, I doubt you need to be on the Facebook home page. To avoid injury and missing local wildlife, put your phone in your bag and wait to take the predictable photo at the top of the climb. I’m sure whoever is in your ‘recents’ will understand.
  • Don’t completely transfer over to technology from seemingly outdated methods. In other words, take a page out of a writer’s book. Writers still use notebooks to jot down ideas. There is a reason why handwriting feels so strange these days, because even standardized testing is done through computers now. I personally keep a sketchbook and a journal to maintain my own handwriting, and sometimes it’s nice to switch out the keyboard with how the pen feels on paper.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone and/or your laptop. I know it can be difficult, but a bright screen in front of your face late at night actually slows melatonin release, making you stay up longer. The National sleep Foundation reported that 90% of Americans in their study used some form of technology before they sleep. Technology therefore has been directly linked to negative sleep patterns.

If you try to improve even one of these points made above, you’re doing yourself a service. Technology has become a comfort zone. It’s a little worrisome if people lose ideas of what to talk about without including technology, or completely ditch the idea of a phone call over texting.

This all comes down to priorities, and intentions behind our use of social media and technology. I only use Facebook to keep in contact with international friends, and occasionally upload content. I’m not a supporter of mentioning my location to the public at every opportunity. Besides, zero mystery makes for a very boring plot line.

It is also very clear from news headlines that technology is a constant distraction to safety.

I need to get this off my chest: I do not, nor will I ever play Pokemon Go. People are playing this game in public and searching for invisible creatures to “catch”? I can’t bring myself to fact check this information, because, regardless of the game rules, people are now trying to play it while operating vehicles.

The Guardian has recently released an article regarding the hundreds of fines towards drivers for playing this game instead of focusing on the road. Seriously? We have to improve our generation’s image, and I’m sorry to say, people running around catching air has definitely featured on my snapchat stories. With colorful details.

Sharing content and networking with people that inspire you is a great thing, and is made easier with all of the current online platforms to choose from.

A really helpful practice for me is to focus on just two or so platforms for my content, to avoid micromanaging so many accounts. I don’t need to be present on 10 online platforms, for I feel this would breach creativity and begin a case of technology addiction.

When your phone dies, everything will be okay. When you plug it back in and you actually didn’t get any new notifications since the 4 minutes have passed, maybe this is an important realization to make: you are allowed to go off the grid.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Fitness: Without the Gym Membership

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Hi everyone,

For the past three weeks, I have been in the moving process. During this time I have not been going to the gym for workouts. I have to admit it has been a strange experience, given my consistency with this routine! I am now happy to be scouting for a new gym to join, although this decision has a few factors to consider. This transition has got me thinking about the individuals that may be in the same position.

For those on vacation or who live a lifestyle that requires traveling, finding alternative ways to getting a workout in is key to staying in shape and being healthier. There are so many substitutions if one does not wish to obtain a gym membership.

Reasoning individuals do not go to the gym could include:

  • Finances: Obtaining a gym membership does require a financial commitment, whether a small or large monthly expenditure. This definitely depends on the gym and what it offers.
  • Convenience/proximity: Depending on where you are located, you could have limited to no access to a gym that would be suitable for your schedule.
  • Work: Some individuals work long shifts that do not allow them to set aside the time.
  • A general disinterest:Everyone is different and obtains different goals, therefore some individuals do not have an interest in exercising.

If any of these factors sound familiar, perhaps you could get more creative with your options to boost your interest or make time for physical activity.

My methods for the past three weeks:

Main tip: Utilize the outdoors.Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour, the outdoors do not have a closing time.

My personal favorite outdoor workout is a long hike. My feature image is emphasizing the beauty of the outdoors and how a good view and good company could make for the best workout. Hiking gets your heart rate up on steep hills and you get the fresh air, as opposed to doing cardio indoors.

Running and walking are great for cardio. I go on walk/jog stints in intervals to get my heart rate up. I prefer doing interval training rather than just jogging because it brings more of a challenge for your body. Also try to choose a route with some hills as opposed to training solely on flat surfaces. This will work your calves and glutes more going uphill. 

HIIT (High intensity interval training)is one of my favorite types of training. If you are not familiar, HIIT is basically shorter periods of more intense exercise with less recovery time. If you are in a crunch for time, this would be a quicker workout on the days where you have a super busy schedule.

BodyFlow is a common gym session offered with gym memberships, however, BodyFlow includes a mixture of Tai Chi, pilates, and yoga, all exercises that can be completed at home with minimal equipment. It would be wise to invest in a yoga mat for the extra cushion and stability with these flexibility exercises, although a softer surface would suffice as well! These are body and mind workouts, and allow you to also relax your mind from outside influences. I would highly recommend incorporating them to improve mental health.

Weight training: In order to work with weights, equipment is required. Buying free weights is a one time purchase and would definitely help succeeding in working out at home. Balance balls, bosu balls, benches, and even small pieces such as strength bands could also be great investments. As opposed to getting these in sport stores, try shopping in the clearance section at stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I have saved so much money simply by going to these stores.

I do a mixture of the above workouts when I go through transition periods without gym access. I currently have these pieces of equipment:

  • Jump rope (quick cardio and warm-ups)
  • Medicine ball (great for HIIT, squats, and lunges)
  • Yoga mat
  • Ankle weights (for glute exercises)
  • Free weights (I personally own 5 and 8 lb weights that are easy to transport)
  • Strengthening bands (prevention of injuries)
  • A roller (I swear by these! Proper stretching is so important for healthy exercise. I use my roller especially for hamstrings and shins)

Due to the internet offering so many programs, public figures that specialize in weight and fitness training have done workout programs online. Examples of these figures could be Kayla Itsines, Jillian Michaels, and even the P90X series. If you don’t have the time or finances to go to the gym, these programs are also a one time purchase.

Don’t underestimate YouTube. This platform hosts countless fitness videos and routines available at any time. I have on occasion used Cassey Ho’s Pop Pilates free workouts via YouTube during busy times such as finals or while on vacation without gym access.

As far as the factor of disinterest, workout out is much better when you actually enjoy it. I am not a person to recommend going to the gym to spend an hour on the elliptical or getting on the stair stepper with a book. There are a lot of options to choose from, and you may not be experimenting enough to find what you like best and what gets you the best results.

Being a person that is very consistent with working out, I think there is a type of workout everyone would enjoy. My advice is to aim to achieve a balance, and not to get stuck in the same workout routine that you dread finishing.

If you are on vacation: Take a long walk on the beach. I absolutely love doing this because it’s a natural exfoliation for your feet as well as being a killer workout for your calves and muscles to push through the sand. You also have a view!

I hope these tips helped for those debating on how and when to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

Minimalist Ideas for a Decluttered Mind

Hi everyone,

Today, I want to explain the amazing benefits of being a minimalist. I think it may be becoming a lost art. I personally plan to make steps towards becoming a better one, however, it is not a competition of who can have less for more. Everyone does this at their own pace.

You know when you’re going through a closet full of items and wonder why you still move them from house to house? That may be what the inside of your head looks like.

If you had 30 seconds to grab everything you find most important in your living space, what would these things be? If you have a pet, I would hope they would be your first priority. Apart from animals, which things do you have the most love for? A charm necklace with a memory of every trip you’ve been on? A piece of art? Whatever the keepsakes are, they hold parts of you. Those possessions do matter.

Being minimal does not mean you can’t have nice things. It refers to selectivity of what you accumulate. There is minimalistic art or music, architecture or fashion. You may find that when you condense what you have in terms of possessions, you will breathe easier.

Clutter accumulates over time and we often make excuses as to why we have it all. The best question to ask yourself is “do I need this?” If there is hesitation, the answer is most likely no.

By no means should someone give up a routine or tradition that makes them feel centered, or one that brings them consistent happiness. If you get your hair done at the same place with the same person and it’s something you always look forward to, despite the cost, it might not be wise to eliminate. If you love to see bands live in concert and go to multiple concerts and festivals annually, and you practically mark your calendar for them, don’t eliminate them. These would quality as exceptions.

Spending is difficult to control for many people. I would say I would have more trouble with the clutter as opposed to spending, because I’m more of a saver and pack rat as opposed to a spontaneous spender. Some ways to reduce spending and begin to immerse into the minimalist lifestyle:

Spending:

  1. Always ask yourself if you need it. If you don’t, practice telling yourself the money is better spent elsewhere.
  2. Start to separate “errands” and “shopping”
  3. Try to avoid buying a different version or brand of something you already have.
  4. Go for quality over quantity. For instance, wardrobe. Some people have a lot of clothes of lesser quality to choose from, and some have a more limited wardrobe of higher quality that required more investment. Quality clothing lasts longer and maintains shape, and a more limited wardrobe would mean less “stuff.”
  5. Set aside money for something in the future. Whether this is plane tickets to a summer in Europe or Coachella tickets (yes, they are very expensive), saving for something specific will give you the motivation to limit spending and give yourself practice as a saver.

If you focus on your spending and question all of your purchases, you are already making strides towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.

The next thing to tackle is clutter.

I still have all of my yearbooks, birthday cards dated back to 2004, and Harry Potter Premiere tickets from my hometown’s cinema. The Goblet of Fire ticket was honestly a work of art. So, to be frank, I have to de-clutter. I have moved from the Seattle area to Portland, then to San Francisco, and back to Seattle. Moving is tiring and makes me want to become someone who can live off of two duffels. Unfortunately, this isn’t as realistic.

The more realistic option is to eliminate junk. My list of ideas:

  1. Get rid of any duplicates. You don’t need two toasters unless you have the habit of destroying kitchen appliances.
  2. Have a clutter-free zone in your apartment or house that you can always rely on. When I live with my family, I always have a desk area that I keep perfectly tidy and de-cluttered. I use this space to write these posts!
  3. Practice traveling lightly. You don’t need three lotions with different scents for different moods. A particular skill I have yet to master is putting together more outfits than just stuffing options in until the bag explodes.
  4. In general, making a list of reasons why you simplify your lifestyle could prove as solid motivation to actually make it happen.
  5. Start small. If you’re not ready to start with your closet, you can start with a drawer or a small space. It’s more about making the effort to start and the task itself, rather than what you decide to start with.

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Minimalism is countercultural. In a society that feeds into advertisements and consistent marketing strategies, people often pride themselves in what possessions they obtain. Let’s go back to the idea that a de-cluttered surrounding makes a de-cluttered mind. Clutter induces distractions and often stress. Having so many possessions that you somewhat like as opposed to having less but just things you love, it could be clear which one is more appealing. Will you make the distinction?

I’m not saying that everyone is the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings, desperately holding onto our flat screen televisions and various end tables, but we could all do better for ourselves.

Placing a higher value on what we have in terms of possessions brings more internal satisfaction. Think of it in reference to your life or your career. You want a quality life with a job you value and are passionate about. Why not hold everything to a higher standard, down to the miscellaneous cabinet?

As Nido Qubein once said : “change brings opportunity.”

Thanks for reading and happy organizing! xx

-Kelly

 

Reasoning to Ditch the Weight Scale

Hi everyone,

I’ve been very into posting about mental health topics and self-esteem lately due to the volume of literature I’ve been consumed in! I do believe that a healthy state of mind brings better  productivity and overall happiness.

Self-esteem is often connected to weight. Weight is often measured through the scale. Today I am going to share why I never look at the scale to determine my progress to meet my body goals.

Every year we go to the doctor’s office for a check-up (or maybe more often), and they often weigh patients. This makes sense completely, and this is the only time I step on the scale throughout the entire year. Why? Because it’s known to be an obsessive tool to measure your contentment with your body.

When I used to step on the scale in the gym or following my sister and mother I would always be surprised with my weight. I always fluctuated, and I often weighed more than I thought I would. I am an athlete, and muscle weighs heavier, but in a world of scrutinizing behavior and tragic self-loathing in terms of weight loss, even I had brief negative thoughts.

Muscle composition is healthy, and height also plays a major role in weight. I stand tall at about 5 foot eleven inches. Coupled with muscle from weight training, I have technically gained weight. Despite the number that reads off the piece of metal, I love my body more than ever. If that sounds off, you need to step off the scale and stop using it to determine your body image happiness.

I go off the mirror and how I look and feel to determine my happiness with my fitness results. After four years of being monitored with weight training and occasional nutrition plans I never felt completely satisfied throughout my college career. Now that I have complete control, I just use visuals.

Using the number on a scale is basically comparing yourself to others. I’m an athletic girl who is fit skinny, not fashion skinny or rail thin. I do freelance modeling in clothes that I feel comfortable in. I follow my own style and I practice a well-balanced fitness routine to cater to my whole body and mind.

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The scale is a negative thought that rests in your mind. You may never reach the goal you want from a number because your body proportions don’t match. You will soon focus on the number and possibly alter your lifestyle and diet, and become more and more unhappy. If you do reach the number, you may continue lowering it as your negative obsession spirals out of control.

Don’t let a machine run your life. A scale is an object. There are countless times I have been in a  locker room where there is a line to step on the scale, and I can practically feel the sense of hope and anxiety of people in that line as they await their number.

When is the last time you felt great about your body? Was it on a run outside, or a particular outfit you put on and loved? These small details and activities matter, and matter more than a number.

If you want the facts about scales:

  • They will be slightly different in reads, making the number inconsistent
  • They are very sensitive to clothes, accessories, shoes, etc
  • It matters what type of surface they stand on
  • They don’t give you any distinction of fat versus muscle composition

Does the above sound appealing?

Labeling yourself to a narrow vision of beauty by using a scale is just selling yourself short. You will not be the same as the person behind you with different proportions and varying genetic gifts from mom and dad.

I see body image and weight management this way: I workout and find ways to enhance my natural features as opposed to losing overall weight. Work with what you have and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result. Focus on what is positive and what you do like about your body, not what you wish you would change if you could.

Focus on how you feel and what your body visually looks like instead of trying to achieve a label or number. Using the scale to achieve the “perfect body” is so opinion based. What is even the perfect body? This is simply a comparison you would be happier without.

Consistent obsessions with weight scales has caused:

  • Development of eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Poor body image issues
  • Obsession of diet and calorie counting
  • Blindness to real results due to the number

There are ways to boost your self-image while going through your progress to the body you want. Wear a wardrobe that you feel confident in, eat to fuel your body and do not limit your food intake to reach an unhealthy goal. Eat regularly, and if you need to make changes in your current diet start with one or two foods to gradually eliminate and go from there. It’s all progression, not an immediate result.

Weight does not determine beauty.

The scale does not aid you in a healthy lifestyle. It should not run your life, nor should it bring you your primary validation to achieve your personal goals. If it helps more, have tunnel vision at the gym and focus on you, don’t focus on others around you that are at different stages and obtain varying physique.

I hope this message found you all well, and you will put yourself first before a self-deprecating path of weight measurement. Embrace what you have to offer, and love your body. Thanks for reading! ❤

-Kelly

 

 

Pet Ownership for Health

Hi everyone,

For all of the animal lovers, your pet addictions may be really benefitting your long-term health! Regardless of this association, pets are too cute to pass up anyway.

The feature image above is my cat Mowgli. He’s a very independent animal but has so much character. I adopted him when he was under a year old and he was found in an abandoned barn with his sister and mother. In other words, he was feral. It took quite a bit of effort to acclimate him to living with people and having him trust me. ❤

I recently read the newest addition of Shape Magazine and was so surprised that pet ownership saves 11.8 billion dollars in healthcare spending in the U.S. For example, people who own dogs and walk them on a regular basis are less likely to be obese than those who dot not own pets.

If you don’t own pets and have solid reasoning for not taking the plunge, such as finances or travel habits, you can always borrow a friend’s or volunteer!

Overall, there are proven physical, mental, and emotional benefits of owning pets. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) exclaims that owning a pet can lower your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Triglyceride levels
  • Feelings of loneliness

In addition, pet ownership increases your outdoor activities and exercise in order to care of your pet. Personally, I often bring my sister’s dog on runs with me and he actually pushes me to run in larger strides!

Owning a pet also increases your socialization, thus improving your social skills overall. Have you ever noticed your dog being a consistent conversation piece, or another person’s big Siberian husky or little corgi being adored at the park? People are often calmed by the presence of animals, and even put in a happier mood.

The American Heart Association has stated a linkage between owning pets and a reduced rate of heart disease as well as an improvement of life expectancy.

Caring for pets has been known to also reduce depression, due to the emotional bond of humans and pets. Cats and dogs, for instance, can develop an understanding of tone of voice, body language, and gestures, as well as certain words. Humans gain a sense of loyalty and comfort to have this presence in their routines. The simple act of touch that your pet brings is the overall therapeutic effect that makes pet ownership a lifestyle health solution.

Playing with a dog or cat can increase levels of dopamine and serotonin, which cause you to relax. It has been a recent discovery that bringing puppies to college campuses during exam week drastically changes the study behaviors and emotional state of students, giving them a mental release from studying.

It is known that isolation and loneliness trigger depression, and a pet brings companionship to counteract that. Caring for an animal makes you feel needed or wanted, which takes the focus off of your own problems and placing more priority onto your pet.

Exercising and feeding a pet can bring great structure and routine to a day. Routines make people more productive and motivated to get out into the world and be able to manage their time effectively. Taking care of an animal is a responsibility that engages you into a consistent schedule, to fulfill the pet’s needs and your own.

It is also important to recognize the health benefits and positive development of pet ownership for age groups specifically. When examining the elderly population and children, these benefits become very evident.

The elderly population:

As people age, owning a pet can be very helpful in finding meaning and joy in everyday things. As people get older they adjust to new lifestyles, often taking out previous activities that used to take up significant amounts of time. Animal care can bring a boost in morale, optimism, and even a sense of self-worth to the elderly. There is also a major sense of fulfillment that older people gain from adopting a pet from a shelter and providing them with a safe and loving home, given they could have been euthanized.

Owning a pet can maintain a social network, and the elderly population often feels disconnected as they age and possibly move and live away from friends and family.

The elderly also deal with loss, especially from spouses. My grandmother adopted a dog after her husband passed away and it brought her so much comfort and joy to have him every day. She was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which brought on a lot of stress and anxiety, and this was significantly reduced from her bond with her dog.

Children:

Children that grow up with animals actually develop less asthma and allergies due to the close proximity. Children also learn to be compassionate as they play with animals, and practicing what it means to show empathy.

The love and loyalty of animals gives children a sense of security they can rely on in their early years of development. In addition, children often feel a sense of importance from having a family pet, and feel the responsibility of returning the care their pet gives them. This leads to a better self-image, which is crucial for a child to grow up developing healthy relationships with more confidence.

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Despite all of this information, of course there is time and dedication that goes into having a pet. One should be sure they can provide the love and affection a pet needs prior to making the decision, however, the decision will definitely bring a lot of positivity to one’s life with the right attitude.

I hope this pet-friendly article was insightful as to why your pet is benefitting your life! Have a great week and thanks for reading. xx

-Kelly