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

 

Day Trip to Vancouver, B.C

Hi everyone,

So I’m a bit late on posting this Canada day trip, but I didn’t forget the mini travel post I wanted to do on lovely Vancouver! I put together some tips on exploring a new city, as well as what to see and do specifically in Vancouver if you only have a day. I hope you enjoy. x

Here in Seattle we are set very close to the border to Canada, which I think is often overlooked. The drive to the border was about 2 hours, and from there about 45 minutes to downtown Vancouver. If you think about it, it’s less than that to Portland, and about the same in distance as outdoorsy destination spots like Lake Crescent, which is more of a 3 hour drive. Ideally you would have two days to take in Vancouver and various parts of the city and surround lookouts, however, a full day is quite the accomplishment with the right attitude.

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My tips for exploring a new city:

❤ ALWAYS ask a local about where to go and what to see. You don’t have to do everything they suggest, in fact you should make customized adjustments to what you and your travel buddies want to do and see most. But asking locals is crucial to avoiding unwanted wandering or tourist mistakes. Plus, lots of people love to give their advice.

❤ Don’t watch the clock like a hawk, but do pay attention to how much time you potentially have in the city, factoring in travel time back home. This makes for just the right amount of organization to ensure you won’t feel rushed, but so much of an itinerary that you won’t be enjoying yourself in the moment.

❤ Venture away from chain restaurants or establishments. When you’re in a new city, especially in a different country like we were, experience what’s good and awesome to that place specifically. You can always hit Starbucks and the Old Spaghetti Factory back home (if Starbucks is your jam, it isn’t for me).

❤ Wear good walking shoes. I think this could be common sense, but wearing shoes you have to constantly adjust or ones you can’t walk all day in won’t be ideal for adventuring a city for the first time. By all means be fashionable, but functionally so.

❤ Do get a souvenir. I don’t care how typical it is to walk into a gift shop to buy a keychain or a t-shirt with proof you went on the trip. I bought a stuffed animal moose decked out in Vancouver gear and I could not be more pleased with it. I even showed the attendant at the border coming back to the U.S; sadly he didn’t find it that funny when I held it up to declare.

❤ Zero in on your experience for content. If you’re using your trip for your blog or photography, people will want to know what you liked about the place, not the same spots and reviews as another piece already done. If you were destined to find the best tacos in that city, you should include that. Anything you want to share for content!

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❤ Bring a phone charger. Depending on if you have an international plan, it’s not ideal for your phone to die at 11 pm at night out of country. I do not have an international plan, but when my friend’s phone died we were driving blind when trying to find our way out of the city. Yes it was of course figured out, but definitely plan ahead regardless with electronics.

❤ Pack very light. I should’ve put this on the top of the list, however, sometimes you realize halfway through your day trip that you left your car with your extra clothes and stuff anyway, so there really wasn’t any need for it. Tip for fellow bloggers: Wear neautral pants or bottoms to pair with up to two tops or so, then throw in a jacket, and you have at least 3 looks to shoot. This way you don’t have to carry too much around without missing out on variety with your outfit posts (blogger problems).

Now onto what I loved about Vancouver:

We started the adventure at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and there was a MAZE.Yes,a maze. And we got lost in it. But it was so satisfying when we found our way through it before other groups that went in before us. The garden is so interesting with its plant life and flowers from different regions, and the rose garden was beautiful. Here’s a snap of them.

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We found this alleyway that was covered in designs of purple, yellow and orange tones. Very strange, but it would make for a great music video. We snapped some shots and hung out in the alleyway (a sentence I’ve never typed by the way) before walking to

I’ve never had a flight of cider before, and we found the coolest bar and restaurant called the Alibi Room in Gastown, and if you sit at the actual bar you can watch the trains go past. We went to the lower basement floor, and every time the trains would pass they would block the stain glass windows, and it was the most interesting touch.

Gastown was the highlight of the trip, and we only went because a waitress told us about how cool it was for a day trip, not to mention pictures. The waitress worked at Uva wine and Cocktail bar, where I got my espresso martini fix at the beginning of the day.

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Gastown had great cobblestone alleyways and cute shops to browse, as well as the waterfront right next door. It is a must see in my opinion, and also has good pubs for fish and chips, just saying.

We went to the gift shop and then spent some time on the waterfront before grabbing dinner, and it was already 10 pm when we realized we needed to start driving back to the border. It was indeed a late night and I did get a cup of coffee at the gas station to not doze off, but it was 100% worth it. Vancouver was awesome, and I can’t wait to go again.

I hope you all enjoyed the latest mini travel piece. If you don’t have time or resources to go on a longer trip, it’s incredible how much you can get done in a day. I highly recommend trying to make day trips more a regular thing, they’re fun and manageable.

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As always, thank you for reading and I’m stoked to share upcoming summer projects and trips.

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

Exercise as a Mindset and Lifestyle

Hi everyone,

This is a blog feature I contributed to Be Wise Magazine. It’s a great magazine that dedicated its content to empowering girls and women to be themselves and be inspired. You definitely should check them out!

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Working out is not just obtaining a gym membership. Exercise isn’t getting in your daily steps, or the stepping-stone to a bikini body. It’s much more than the activity or the justifiable results. It’s a lifestyle.

Exercise is commonly associated with getting a better body. It should instead be associated with a positive mindset to practice long-term health, as well as the prevention of outcomes such as disease and low self-esteem. In reality, results from fitness cannot be seen overnight, furthering the need to focus more on how you feel as opposed to just how you look.

A great way to keep fitness as a lifestyle: enjoy the actual workouts. Whether you are a yoga and Pilates fanatic, runner, or weight lifter (or a combination), aim to choose exercises you look forward to. Working out shouldn’t feel mentally draining, and if you feel unmotivated to get out and sweat, try switching up your routine! Regardless, exercise brings a release of endorphins, which improve your state of happiness. Working out lowers stress, promotes better sleep, and boosts self-esteem. These benefits are far beyond just physical.

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Quote format credit to Be Wise Magazine 

As a former NCAA collegiate tennis player, exercise has always been a part of my lifestyle. When I’m working out, exterior influences don’t exist. I have that time to myself, for my personal well-being. Exercise to me is a contribution to the other healthy lifestyle habits I regularly practice, such as nutrition and positive mental health habits. I practice Pilates and yoga, I lift weights multiple days a week, and I also incorporate cardio to stay lean and boost my cardiovascular health. It’s all a balance, not a race to see physical changes.

Challenge yourself. Use exercise to motivate you, not intimidate you due to some unrealistic universal standard. Focus on obtaining a positive mindset through exercise and movement, and hold yourself accountable to maintain that lifestyle for yourself and no one else.

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I hope you all enjoyed this feature! The link below is to Be Wise Magazine’s magazine page, and you click on “Issue 19” to read the rest of the health + fitness articles from other bloggers! My features are on pages 62 and 74.

Be bright. Be bold. xx

-Kelly

My Go-to’s to Maintaining Nutritional Health on Vacation

Hey everyone,

So I just got back from a week of beautiful sunshine in Palm Springs, California. Even a week away from a dedicated nutrition or fitness plan can throw you off pretty significantly in terms of how you feel. However, it is vacation after all, so finding a balance is great to enjoy all the relaxing benefits.

I went to a tennis tournament, five days of elite tennis watching to be exact. I was there watching tennis day and night.

♥ My favorite grocery store to meal prep on the road: Trader Joe’s. We packed salads (I went for the mediterranean) or veggie hummus wraps. These gave me the carbs, omega-3’s, and leafy greens for all the vitamins and minerals. Also an awesome price point!

Back to the balance point, sometimes you can’t be so nutrition conscious, sometimes you have a “cheat meal.” Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s okay to live a little. One of the tournament days we got pizza, and it was authentic italian margarita. 🙂

♥ On the plane: don’t underestimate snack boxes. I flew back on Alaskan Air, and I got the mediterranean snack box. It was complete with hummus, whole grain chips, almonds, dried apricots, and a small piece of dark chocolate (from Seattle’s Chocolates to be exact). In short, it was awesome for plane food. I love how airlines are catering more to healthier options, and it was even gluten-free for those that are following that stricter diet. I would highly recommend! I wasn’t planning on getting food on the plane, but I got hungry and I don’t like to put my body in starvation mode. Starvation mode slows down your metabolism, hence the reason why nutritionists stress the importance of eating frequently!

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♥ A major realization I made about drinking fruit juice: My body really responded well to not having it. I tend to have fruit juice a lot if it’s in my fridge. The whole week in Palm Springs was just water or sugar-free lemonade and iced tea. Drinking calories and sugary drinks really does a number on fitness and especially your stomach. And given my workout routine was much less intense on vacation, it definitely helped to cut out the sugary drinks.

♥ I’m not a fan of Starbucks coffee unless as a last resort (yes I know I’m from Seattle), but I used the Starbucks refreshes lemonade packets to put in my water at the tournament to mix it up from tap water. If you need a little flavor, these are great and super easy to pack! You can get them at your local grocery store. Not to mention its cost effective to carry powders instead of buying drinks.

♥ Protein powders are another thing to consider packing for your trip. You can transfer the powder into a smaller plastic container or put it in a ziplock bag, to avoid lugging the original container. I brought my Vega protein and greens powder in a small container, and I used it twice on the trip. I mixed it with coconut milk I got from the store. It definitely wasn’t as good as a full-on smoothie, but it was another way to add some protein into my vacation diet!

♥ If you’re staying in a hotel or anywhere with a fridge: It may be wise to keep some things stocked just in case you’re stuck with only fast food open around you. You don’t have great options around 10 pm, so keeping easy meals and snacks in the fridge at your hotel is really helpful. We kept carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, as well as the leftover Thai food from the thai food we went to TWICE because it was bomb.

♥Bowl it out: I love to make bowls, whether spanish style, full of veggies, or fruit bowls with a smoothie base. On the trip we found a place called Fresh Juice Bar, which sports smoothie bowls with pitaya and acaí bases. This is was a great breakfast option, they were filling, and I always like to eat my natural sugars from fruits in the beginning of the day.

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♥ When eating out: You are on vacation, but take into account the fact that you can’t control the ingredients going into your meal like you can at home. Proportions are often larger at restaurants depending on where you go. Always remember your food groups and macros! When I went to brunch, I ordered an omelette full of veggies, to get the protein and greens. I chose a side of fruit instead of hash browns, and I got a pomegranate juice as a sort of detox as opposed to ordering soda or sugary fruit juice.

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♥ Stay hydrated! When I was hanging out by the pool, I had a bottle of water. When I had coffee, I had a glass of water to balance it out. Especially in warm weather, staying hydrated is crucial! And water flushes out toxins. However, I frequently drink kombucha for the natural healthy bacteria and boost of probiotics, so it’s cool to reach for those too!

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I hope you found these nutritional tips helpful for your next trip! xx

If you want to see what I’m up to on Instagram, my handle is @kmzwicker

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Why Chemical/Facial Peels Actually Work

Hi everyone,

I’m sure you’ve heard of a chemical peel, and I know guy’s reactions to them can be comical. I wanted to share my experience with them to put aside any fears of the process. I personally think the sound of them turns people away. Just to make sure it is known: you are not “peeling” off your skin as it sounds from the name.

Chemical peels in short speed up the cell turnover of your skin. Your skin usually takes 21-28 days to complete this process. Peels can make this process more efficient, while exfoliating dead skin cells and surfacing a new layer of healthy skin.

If you have acne, fine lines and wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation, chemical peels would really benefit you. A series is very effective, and the time in between depends on the intensity of the peel.

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I only do PCA Skin peels, which is a line of peels proven to be gentler on the skin with much less “down time” than other harsher peels. Very high end peels that are a lot harsher, most done at dermatologist offices, require much more down time. If you work full-time, play sports, etc. you won’t necessarily have that down time. This is why PCA skin peels do a great job, without the dangers of major skin irritation and prolonged peeling that deeper peels cause.

Peels are that much more effective when coupled with a quality skincare routine catered to your skin type and needs, as well as consistent application of SPF daily. If you have hyperpigmentation, never forget your sunscreen, regardless of the weather. Peels make your skin more photosensitive. Everything with skincare and managing the health of your skin longterm needs to be about balance. Multiple factors play into it.

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In order for me to have my healthiest skin, I definitely incorporate peels into my regimen to minimize pores, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce previous post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

If you have any questions about my experience with peels, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading xx

How to Easily Bring Mental Release Into Your Daily Routine

Hi everyone,

I’m a believer that positive mental health is crucial to an overall healthy lifestyle. I also think it is often prioritized last. Giving yourself mental release is so important to reset your mind and stay focused for longer durations. It is also crucial for reducing stress.

Seems a little odd, but my first relaxing part of the day is when I get out of bed and head to my bathroom to do my makeup. I play music on Spotify and I take extra time, letting my full perfectionist come out. Slowing some activities down can be beneficial to not being so rushed. Of course, you have to give yourself enough time to get ready! I do not wear a lot of makeup, most of my routine is skincare based. Just to clarify.

Throughout the day I take a few minutes at a time with my photography. I edit pictures and play around with my Instagram feed, or I will be doing flatlays and other shots. I find working with my camera to be super therapeutic. I also use my photography and style to demonstrate my artistic side, which brings me to my next relaxing activity.

Sketching. You can spend 20 minutes or 2 hours sketching and your mind dives into the artwork. You don’t think about your schedule or your obligations, you just use your creativity and vision. I used to sketch more before I got my DSLR, but I find both to be beneficial for mind release.

The gym. I love going to the gym above all else, and this may seem obvious already. It’s not just to get a better body, it’s also extremely healthy for your mind. Exercise can boost your mood, improve your sleep and memory, and increase your self-esteem. There have been scientific connections between exercise and the prevention of cognitive decline. Cardiovascular exercise has been known to spike brain performance. I tune everything out at the gym, with my headphones in and my workout on my phone.

Cooking. I’m not the best cook, but I’m learning to experiment more in the kitchen. When I do cook I often play music to make it more fun, while I wait for water to boil or food to cook. Cooking is known to be an art form to some, with the creativity behind it. Quality nutrition of cooking your own meals at home is also linked to positive mental health, for you know all the ingredients going into your meal and control all of the nutrients you’re receiving.

Winding down. At the end of the day it is always good to have a winding down period. I personally like to get ready for bed and make a cup of decaffeinated tea. I go on my computer or read a book, and these days I’ve had the heater on while I slip into knee-high wool socks (Seattle problems). I tend to sleep a lot better when I incorporate this time, as opposed to just hopping into bed and turning the lights off. My body and mind seem to recognize the transition better this way.

I hope these ideas were helpful to add some mental release into your day! Stay mindful and motivated. xx

-Kelly

Hanging Up Your Gear: Life After College Athletics

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is dedicated to the ones that put everything they had into their college talent, and feel a bit disoriented about their identity once they cross that honorary carpet and get the diploma in the mail. A hint: it’s NOT all downhill after the “glory” years. You’re still a boss. Just a different type of boss.

Let’s go over some immediate positives from college athletics retirement:

➳ Those nagging shin splints or your suffering shoulder will finally get some time off. You might actually be able to go on a hike without complaining to your friends to carry you because of that four hour match the day before. Maybe that’s just me though.

➳ You will have free time to do your other hobbies. All of the things you put on the back burner in order to get 45 minutes extra of sleep before that alarm went off, you can now do. Your mind could be blown here.

➳ You have time to have a job and make some income. I’m not condoning rushing into an immediate job post college to fill your time, I’m referring to any part-time position that you’ll have fun with and meet a new crowd. A tip though: maybe try to branch out from talking about your gym routine, what you ate that day, or how you’ve mastered incorporating yoga clothes into daily wear from experience. Sometimes people want to talk about other things.

➳ You can TRAVEL. As someone who is planning trips to Iceland and other destinations on the bucket list with savings I’ve accumulated, I think about how I couldn’t train and also take time off that much due to the fact that my sport was year round.

➳ You have complete control over what you wear (bye team uniform), what you eat (shout-out to Red Robin french fries once a month), and where you go (getting home at 5 AM). I’m not saying go crazy and ruin your good habits, but you can live a little. If you were doing this already in college, well, congratulations.

➳ You can experiment with your time and interests and start to think about your future outside the classroom. I’ve been graduated since summer and haven’t been in the classroom since May, and I’m ok. I appreciate my college education because it was amazing, my mentors were incredible, however, you learn the big stuff when you’re actually out in the world. It doesn’t have to be scary just because it’s more real.

I’m not going to lie to you, I miss the competition. I miss winning an amazing match and feeling so proud of myself after for how hard I worked. I miss the feeling of motivation to do better next time when I lost. I miss the adrenaline. But I gave myself a couple weeks, not months or years, to sulk a bit before I told myself it’s all about perspective. You’re not just good at one thing. You did that sport a major service for four years, and now you can embrace something else.

Tennis isn’t technically meant to be a team sport, yet there I was every day in a team setting. I like to work alone (yes I know that’s not always a good thing to say), but I’d rather be honest about it. I played doubles through college and only really liked it one year with a particular partner (Frankie Katafias!) but I made it work because I loved representing my school. I didn’t have the perkiest school spirit, but one of the best things is being appreciated for hard work. And I worked my a** off.

I haven’t played tennis since May, and I haven’t been keeping up with the Slams because I’m not completely ready to look at tennis without studying it for technique. I’ve put my dedication into other things that I want for myself, things that bring me a similar motivation. Tennis gave me a mental release most of the time, and it got me to college and kept me super focused to achieve my optimal potential in the classroom. It gave me drive and persistence. I won’t ever take that for granted. But it also gave me a major feeling of being burnt out. Towards the end of it all, especially after getting a taste of being abroad fall semester of senior year, I got unfocused. I started to drift to other things, the other interests I’ve always had. It was just time. And it was still hard, but a lot of things have to have an expiration date.

Looking back on it, the little things that made college athletics great wasn’t just my performance. It was my professors and mentors genuinely wanting me to exceed in both settings and watch me grow through the years. It was the development of time management and drive. You develop these skills along the way that truly will benefit you once you’re graduated, and I advise you to focus on those and not the fear of what will happen when your routine changes.

We all make choices. If you’re reading this as a soon to be graduated (or graduated already) college athlete, you will be okay. In fact, you’ll have an advantage if you keep your head on straight. When you go into interviews, mention how you’re different because of college athletics, how it shaped you. Not because of the stats, but because of you.

You’re more than your college talent.

You’re more than the stats on the wall or the end speech at your last performance.

Don’t believe in peaking. Because you never have to.

Much love,

–  Kelly