Hydrating Through Winter With Moroccan Magic

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you guys in on my new favorite hydrating lip balms by the brand Moroccan Magic. Moroccan Magic lip balms are USDA certified organic and cruelty free, checking two things off my list of desirable brand qualities.

They are super hydrating for your lips in the dry winter months. I have dry skin year round and while winter is magical time, it isn’t necessarily the easiest for beauty! I keep these in my purse or jacket pocket for work or class, and they give a moisturizing coat to my existing lip color. A tip: lip stains work really well with these balms, because they won’t smear the product.

They come in 5 scents, and the ones I’m featuring in this post is “Rose.” The others include:

♥ Lemon Thyme
♥ Coconut Almond
♥ Peppermint Eucalyptus
♥ Lavender Vanilla

Having argan oil be the main base ingredient for these balms is great, because argan oil is known worldwide for being highly conditioning, not to mention it has anti-aging properties.

I love the scents and these are perfect for keeping my lips resilient this season! You can pick them up at your local CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. I hope you love them as much as I do! Drop me a comment about your own review. Have a great week!

-Kelly

xx

Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

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Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

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Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

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I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18232251/?claim=c36ecczhdtd”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

-Kelly

 

Surrounding Yourself with Plants for your Health and Happiness

Hi loves,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Kelly

 

 

23 Things Learned at 23 Years Old

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Do not sleep in your makeup. Ever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Kelly

Hiking: For Your Mind And Body

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx

-Kelly

 

My Go-To Coffee Spots in Seattle

Hi everyone,

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

*Cue all of my coffee pictures*

Black Rock Coffee

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

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Fix Coffeehouse 

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

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Diva Espresso

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

Seattle Sunshine Coffee

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

Royal Drummer Cafe

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

Zoka Coffee and Tea 

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

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Drip City Coffee

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

Cherry Street Coffee 

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

Cafe Umbria 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-Kelly

 

Watershed 2017: A Blogger’s Experience

Hi everyone,

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

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

➳ Target

➳ Walgreens

➳ Ulta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

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

 

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