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Mantras and staying true to that New Years Resolution!

Anyone else have a resolution to leave a few bad habits behind in 2017?! How are you doing?? Care to talk about it maybe via first quarter check-in?? Were a few of those habits maybe… self-destructive confidence, being too much of a people pleaser or maybe just being afraid to be 110% YOU!? Girl… all three were on my list and I am proud to say that I am in a better place today than I think I’ve been in 10 years or more. I have plenty of work still ahead and old habits are hard to leave behind, but I’m here to say that I am SO glad to have stuck to it this year. I’m holding myself accountable this year… no restarting again next year… Here’s what I’ve been focusing on and what’s giving me reason to celebrate:

Self-Love and Confidence: This is HUGE. Having unhealthy conversations with yourself or talking poorly about yourself are just going to alter how you see yourself. It places a huge negative weight on you constantly and drags you down a path of destructive physical and mental tendencies. We all know the bad stuff is easier to believe sometimes so when you get here… ladies it’s tough to bounce back.

Ex: Pointing out EVERY NEGATIVE thing you or someone else thinks about… Mentally demeaning yourself with thoughts or assumptions… You might hold onto negative things someone has said about you or situations and repeating them over and over.

People Pleaser: Everyone loves a yes-(wo)man right?! The one who seems to effortlessly pile anything and everything on her plate, no matter if it has anything to do with her or not. The one who can slap a smile on regardless of how shitty she’s being treated! Ladies this is the unhealthiest way to go about it… be a ‘people pleaser-ish’, know when to speak up, say no and put yourself first. There’s nothing wrong with assessing your situation, adjusting your sails and and continuing on utilizing a healthier solution.

Ex: Always backing down… apologizing when there’s no reason to… Going out of your way to please people even if it damages your own situation or negatively impacts you… you never say no and are usually find yourself in one-sided relationships.

Being True to YOU: This one is unique to you obviously… but the behaviors are usually pretty common. Ever wanted to do something, anything but you didn’t because you were afraid of what someone would say? Or maybe you’ve been ridiculed for something in the past and you have a complex about not following ‘the‘ crowd. Maybe you have BIG dreams and think they are impossible because they’re different than the norm…..? The need for approval is out of control and changing the way we think in a horrible way.

Ex: You’ve been amongst others who tear someone else apart for… anything. You feel the need to stay ‘safe’. Maybe lacking in the self-love department keeps you from trying new things. It’s ok to consider opinions of others in some situations, but the opinions of those who matter… should not keep you from doing something that is important to you.

These three things, which I’ll now refer to my heavy hitters, were way ahead of losing weight on my New Years resolutions list and the reason that I stuck with these three together is because they’re connected. At least to me anyway… they seem to collectively cloud my positivity and where I find one, the other two aren’t far behind. So early January I decided I needed a reboot, a serious one. I even stopped drinking… because I wanted only clear thoughts, strong will and my mission heavy on my mind. I got to work:

First, I re-read a book that ignites a serious call to action on my part…. Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. I’ve probably read it 3-4 times at least and am on my second copy as I couldn’t even find the first. It gave me the confidence boost I needed! Because it’s so easy when you’re feeling low to overlook these heavy hitters and place blame solely on you. It is easiest for you look past the environment you may be in, your habits and changing anything about yourself or the way you think would mean to subject yourself to social torture right?! No… it’s just putting a band-aid on a bomb.

I looked back on the last few years and I found a pretty distinct cycle that was very interesting! Starting with the bandaid, I hit the ground running until a bump in the road knocks me back into the same routine of avoiding conflict, yes man’ing and continuing to move forward with my head down and blinders on refusing to face reality. Until I reach the brink of boiling point… where I applied the band-aid again wondering why the hell I was in the same place… AGAIN.

Sound familiar? While our situations could be completely different… I think this cycle is present with everyone. I think the cycle itself is normal… I just want to lengthen the cycle, make it more constructive and learn from it each time as nobody should be a fan of bad history repeating itself.

Now that I’m equipped with the why… and the courage I was still seeking the how. Which has been tricky because I like things to be more organic or feel as they happen on their own. It’s a natural way to avoiding conflict I know… but it’s also how I’m wired and I’m trying to be ME remember. It was necessary to find a healthier version of a people pleaser, a place of balance. So this part of your how may vary.

I decided to employ these NEW habits… they went a long with the heavy hitter bad ones to make it more simple.

Self-Love and Confidence: Every negative is to be followed with two positives.

People Pleaser: You can’t play ball unless the ball comes back.

Being True to YOU: Anxiety requires action.

I actually laughed as I wrote these out because they just look so simple and I’m sure to some, independently they may already be a given part of their day-to-day. But to me… these were my starting point. Yours can be completely different… but keep it short and sweet, simple. Something you can quickly say to yourself. Your mantras…

Starting with self-love and confidence which has felt so good! You never realize how many times in a day you’re negative towards yourself until you make the conscious effort to following every negative with two positives. I learned this little tip at an adult learning seminar a few years ago and at the time I thought it could probably only be relevant in peer-to-peer situations… but you can’t be reliant on someone else when making these kind of changes. Of course the affirmation is nice from another individual, but it is necessary to learn how to love yourself first no matter how awkward you might feel. Talk yourself up!

This simple action and really practicing it has significantly increased my level of confidence. I think about some of the most confident people I know, they do this naturally… I’m just working at it. Just as some people are naturally physically fit and athletic… I have to work at it! It has brought so much happiness and it’s becoming so organic that now it just happens. Something like a negative… followed by a ‘no, you’re…’.

Now people pleasing… this one hoonnn-eyyy!! It has plagued me for years and I really had to do some research on this one. The common suggestion was of course to ease yourself into more assertive behaviors first in safer situations with less at stake. Situations that aren’t going to ruin relationships or anything, but a healthy way to break the cycle. This gave me a rush of reality that I needed first of all! In these situations I realized that while I assumed one and only one possible outcome (over thinkers say ‘yea’), it actually evoked warm and fuzzies. I could see where over time this would cultivate more respectful relationships and also a healthier level of respect for myself.

In all the research I did, I realized there would be a time where the ‘ball wouldn’t come back’… meaning that some relationships would in fact be cut off. But I have to have the confidence to throw it, respectfully. Without practicing all this together as part of an entire overhaul resolution I wouldn’t have been able to conquer these heavy hitters together, especially this one. But because I am cohesively and consciously attempting to remedy these habits, they’re organically coming along together. Giving me the boost needed to do difficult things with confidence and the ability to continue seeing the big picture. This is the organic, natural outcome that I’ve been seeking.

It’s made the third of the heavy hitters, being mySELF, easier. It’s brought back a few lost quirks, a couple forgotten tendencies and a new found love for who I am. The reason my mantra here was ‘anxiety requires action’ was because I knew that my fears were not realistic. Think about it… anxiety or over thinking can keep you from doing something, right?! And then maybe you get ballsy and just do it… you go ‘that wasn’t so bad’! Through repetition I’m forcing myself to act instead of worry. Like with this post… I’ll post it without even re-reading it… because I’ll find every excuse not to post. Requiring action just means to do it. Regardless of the annoying errors in grammar or whatever, you’ll appreciate the post more than the draft… I hope.

Now don’t read through this as it’s been a life crisis… I respectfully wanted to make a change within myself. No crisis… just realizing that I’m in my early 30’s and seek change in certain areas within own my life and any change should start by taking a good hard look at yourself first! I hear so many people chanting for change, you know you see it too! Many condescendingly preach and judge from their perch, yet they refuse to even peek into their own corner. My corner… that’s what I can change, my corner is what I can control and where I start if I hope to evoke any sort of big change or influence throughout my lifetime.

In the short time I’ve been consistent with this blog, I’ve recieved messages and feedback from those who enjoy what I write and the transparency I have. This means so much, but even if I hadn’t heard a word… I’d still be here! Because I know if I’m thinking anything… someone else does too! No matter if it’s about products, fashion, LIFE… Maybe having similar struggles and the eagerness to bring about change… for you and for myself I share this. Confidently continue on… no matter your resolutions, if they’re not about personal growth or changes, these principles would still apply. You’d still need those mantras to keep you on track! It’s about believing in yourself, loving and OWNING who you are… having confidence is KEY.

See great in yourself, believe in yourself, be kind to yourself… and in doing so, you’ll find it makes it much easier to do the same for someone else.

Xo

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Mommin’ ain’t easy….

Don’t let the title fool you… this will not be a post about how hard the responsibilities or the actual day-to-day life of a mother. It’s about time… and how it knows no patience and moves quicker than I can sometimes handle.

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Nathan is my youngest of two, today is HIS day… his eleventh birthday! I could not be more proud of the character, the personality and the brilliance of my ‘little’ Nate. He is so sweet, so kind and caring! When I think about all the awesome wrapped up in such an adorable boy… I am so thankful and again just incredibly proud!

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The older my boys get I miss the baby giggles, rocking them to sleep, the cute stages of growth and discovery… and before you say it, I also miss crying and the late night diaper changes. I miss all of the dependency on mom and dad. They’re getting SO big and while they still need mom and dad, maybe more than ever, it’s different.

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From day one, he’s been exceptional. The day he was born was a b l u r… so fast and unexpected! I woke Chris up in the middle of the night because I was having strong and steady contractions. We were very cautious because it was still early… Nate wasn’t due for a few more weeks and with Christopher I had issues with pre-term contractions. Not Braxton hicks… but pre-term labor. So we decided to go into the hospital at the advice of our midwife because with Christopher I had to be given medication to stop the progress of labor… so this made us extra careful with Nate – I was already high-risk. Chris and I had suffered the loss of a unique ectopic pregnancy just before we became pregnant with Nathan.

We started to load up the car with everything (lesson learned from the first born… always be ready) and asked our friends to watch over Christopher, as we figured we would be back home before he would even wake up! As we loaded everything up, the pain got so severe I had to just get in the car and sit down… it was intense. My face even started going numb… at which point Chris turned our minivan into an ambulance and quickly got us to the hospital, running 3-4 toll booths on our hour+ drive. We get there and are quickly informed that Nathan’s on the way… no stopping him now! But there’s a problem… he’s been upside down and backwards for weeks now and they want to turn him, manually.

I’ll save most of the gruesome details but turning him did NOT work and was the MOST painful thing I have ever experienced… even more painful than childbirth. So emergency c-section it was! I remember being so excited and yet SO scared at the same time… Nathan’s heart rate had begun to slow so everything moved FAST.

Chris is the absolute best man ever for many reasons… but he is specifically my knight in shining armor when it comes to keeping me calm and melting my fears away. The second he was whisked into the operating room I was ok! And before we knew it, Nathan was born. March 12, 2007. He was a little premature but the doctors were confident that his lungs were strong and just wanted a few days to monitor him in the hospital so we stayed a little longer. This also worked out because he was tounge-tied too, so we remedied that during those extra days too. We went home with our healthy little boy 6 days later.

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Since the day he was born, he’s smiled and laughed his way to who he is and where he is today. He continues to amaze Chris and I every step of the way! We’re excited to see the man he’s growing into, but still just reminisce about him being the cute, cuddly little baby boy who brightened so many of our days. I feel like I’ve only blinked since he was born and today he’s 11?? This is what makes being a mom so hard is you feel like you’re rushing, busy, you’re doing this, doing that… practice here or there. Somedays you turn around and time has left you standing there in yesterdays makeup, holding a pair of pants that your child can’t even wear anymore asking yourself where did the time go?!

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I started my journey as a mother a lot earlier than most considering Christopher was born when I was just 18 years old. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I know why my boys came into my life when they did… I’m so thankful! Many of my childhood friends are just now starting their journey as parents and it brings back so many memories of my ‘babies’ that are now as tall or taller than me. I continuously reflect on the wonderful memories we have made since they were small… which is wonderful, but also hard. It’s hard to face the reality of how quickly time moves on! Some moments you pray with a passion that they’ll just hurry up and pass you by and then others you want to last a lifetime. Looking back, they all only last a moment… a second and then you blink and find yourself in another phase, another moment.

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I just wish I had a clicker… you know a remote. I’d love to be able to select chapters to relive, go back and visit whenever I wanted. Today I’d go back to the day Nathan was born, the nights I spent in the rocker with a hungry boy fighting to stay awake, the day he first learned how to giggle, the day he discovered his feet, that time he threw up all over me, his carseat and his brother in Target, his first steps, first day of school, when he first rode a bike… you get the picture. I’d relive it all… the good, the bad and the ugly because all of it led us here to the eleventh year and taught us so much along the way.

To my Nate: You change the world little by little every day and I know your impact is only going to grow, just as you do. Be fearless in everything you do because your heart is going to lead the way… be braver than brave. Continue to be kind and use your heart for good, listen to it… it’s always true. Know that you can be ANYTHING you want to be…. I know you want to be a Marine Biologist… and maybe you will… but know that you can do ANYTHING, be ANYTHING and do not ever let anyone tell you different. Your dad and I love you more than you’ll ever know and support you always.

Xo

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Letting GO… Closet Revamp!

IMG_1389Does anyone else struggle with revamping your closet each season? Either we’re running out of room or running out of money… right?! The weather changes and just like that we need this or that, but making it happen is another issue. I have a suggestion for you this year… clean out your closet. I know sounds simple but I’m adding a twist, don’t just give it all away – SELL some of your higher quality, best condition pieces!! This will make some of your seasonal closet updates less painful on your wallet, make room for them in your closet AND keeps new and exciting pieces in your wardrobe!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about or run across something in my closet that I know I’m never going to wear again… and sometimes I just toss it into the donate pile. But before you know it, you’ve got to replace it with an updated similar item! I think that the key to a solid and reliable closet is one that you’re WEARING, full of clothes that frequent your body and are quality pieces! You don’t need a thousand piece wardrobe to do this… I’m currently on a mission to really downsize my closet and keep it a more manageable size. I want a few things to stay long term, but a lot of it I’ll let go after the season ends and transition new items in! SO excited!

So how am I selling them? On Poshmark, Mercari and Thread Up! It’s been easy, pretty darn successful and overall a good experience so far! I have a few items I’m thinking about offering through eBay, but I’ve never ventured there as a seller so I’m a little overwhelmed by the process so we’ll see! Most of my successes have been on Poshmark and Thread Up and it’s so easy to get started! I literally sat in my closet and started sorting through what I wanted to keep, sell or donate! After I had a substantial amount of items to sell I took pictures and posted! Easy day!

Now if you struggle with what to keep or part ways with I have a little trick that I do… Once a year I take my hangers and turn them around backwards… ALL backwards. It doesn’t take up a lot of time and doing so is a HUGE help in determining what you’re wearing! As you take items out of your closet to wear them (and actually do wear them.. not try on and put back), turn the hanger BACK around in the right direction. After a period of time, say 30 days or whatever you deem appropriate… if you haven’t worn something – do you need to keep it??

I’m a firm believer in not keeping things anymore just because I’m either trying to fit back into them or I haven’t had an occasion to wear them to yet. Usually when the time comes and I can fit into those pieces again or I have a special occasion come up, I want to shop for something NEW. The trends change, my eye for the specific style may have changed… do not hang on to something if you aren’t wearing it! Someone else can benefit from it being donated or selling it! Insert Elsa solo…. ‘Let it Goooooo!’.

Now if it hasn’t sold, either try another platform for sales or toss it. Just because it hasn’t sold does not mean that is a sign to keep it in your closet. This just could mean it’s not appealing to others either! HA! Or maybe you’ve got it priced too high… I price things smart in the beginning so that I have room to discount them further if they don’t fly off the racks. It’s been a pretty good method to my madness…

Now keep your money flowing into a special fund to UPDATE your closet… remember you’re letting this stuff go so you have extra funds to put back in there. Take a few days and plan your attack! What do you need? Where are you going to get the best deals?? Check out your favorite stores, websites and see if you can come up with a game plan! I like to look online first, seeing who has what and from there I decide which stores I want to shop in person. Sometimes I end up buying online anyway because they could be cheaper with coupon codes but I love to try on clothes before I buy!

When you shop, keep in mind the staples you already have and the pieces that you kept in your closet. Try to buy things that are going to compliment some of your favorites so that they don’t end up being a piece that you end up not wearing. Remember you want to make your closet more valuable to you, you want as many endless outfit opportunities as possible.. not more of the same pieces!

So get it going, get started and remember that your closet doesn’t have to be huge to be versatile and exciting! You can maintain a smaller and frequently evolving closet that keeps you excited and looking forward to getting dressed!!

Xo
K

nautical C H I C

28660761_10100526681245196_889159844903256064_oI shared some amazing finds from Loft last week and as I was planning out my own purchases, I had Spring/Summer style in mind! You guys know I am (trying…) shrinking my closet WAY down and to do so I need to make the most out of every piece. So nautical style to me isn’t prints with tropical flowers or anchor patterns… it’s color schemes and accessories!

When I think of nautical style I think navy blues, chambray materials, white linen, stripes and accessories made of fibrous straws or ropes. I love the casual feel and also enjoy the versatility because I can dress it all up if I want too! I mean I live at the beach but Spring to me means vacations, summer is coming… Tis’ the season for costal, casual comfort! So if you’ll notice almost all my latest finds speak to the coastal comfy vibes I’m after! So let’s talk about coastal!

28660778_10100526682362956_4874627807528878080_oToday I just HAD to wear these ridiculously adorable tennies…. I found them at my local Marshalls this weekend and they were an absolute steal at just $20! And if you want them… I’ve scoured the internet and I CANNOT find them online! You’re supposed to be able to find anything online right?! They’re made by Nautica, called the Conaway Knot/Chambray Stripe. So if you want them… GO to Marshall’s like, now!

Since they were the ‘anchor’ to my outfit today, I started thinking what I wanted to wear with them and of course – white jeans!! These are some of my absolute favorites because they’re stretchy and super washable… which is important with anything white! They’re also on SALE right now, 40% off! Shop them here for just $29.97! That’s a great price for an awesome pair of jeans!

It was SO cold out today… but I didn’t let that keep me from wearing what I wanted, I just had to wear a jacket. This one’s a favorite from H&M! I’ve had it forever but I found one I actually like even better!! HERE! It’s longer too and would have came in handy today while I was running around in this blustery weather!! I stuck with grey because it went with my bag and I think it kept the coastal vibes but you also could have went with a pink or even bright white! But a jacket was a MUST today!

Underneath that essential layer I was wearing my favorite top right now… it’s a navy cold shoulder tee that I scored during the 40% off tops sale last week! I love this top… Maybe a little too much?? But that’s ok… I really wanted to wear it today withOUT the jacket, but I’ll save that for the repeat when I bring out my sunhat and sandals!!

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This top is now available in ALL sizes, that’s right… Loft realized the importance of carrying styles in sizes to fit all beautiful women in ALL shapes and sizes! So happy they made this much needed change! Find this one here for just $39.50! The sleeves have the cutest ruffle detail and honestly it’s my favorite part! This top isn’t your lightweight tee either, it holds its shape and you can see/feel the quality!

I’ve been excited to share the details about this outfit too because of the sales… especially these jeans. American Eagle denim has been a favorite for me always because of the fit. Because I really need petite jeans and they’re not always the easiest to find… AE’s aren’t petite either, but the fit is almost perfect. They have great stretch and just fit well. I’ve always loved their jeans. Usually I can catch them on sale too! I know the Loft sale on tops is over, but if you sign up for their emails you automatically get a coupon that you can use and it’s a GOOD coupon! Making these pieces not only budget friendly but valuable since they’re so versatile!

I’m just easing into spring and I have some adorable spring accessories on the way! I’m talking straw/tassel totes, a new swimsuit cover up and fun shoes! SO excited!

Afterthought: I had a few questions about my necklace today so I’m going to link it here too! Chris got it for me a few years ago while we were stationed in Japan and I love it!

Xo,
Kate