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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#takemebacktuesday

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While it can be said that Chris and I never took a formal ‘honeymoon’… we’ve found ourselves in some of the most beautiful places in the world. This photo is taken as the sun sets over the edge of an infinity pool, fading into the distance of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Chris took me on an unbelievable vacation this past summer. Literally across the Emirates… breath taking views in between miles and miles of seemingly untouched desert! UAE was nothing like I imagined… I mean I knew it was going to have plenty of gorgeous scenery… I guess I just had no idea of the luxury!! These are just a few of my favorite memories and suggestions if you ever have the opportunity to visit! I can’t wait to go back in just a few months!! I’ll of course share more then!! At the end I’ll link some tips and products that were MUST have’s on my trip!

First I have to tell you the travel was NOT ideal… both there and back I was traveling for over 24 hours. I had a 6 hour layover in Zürich and the only thing that saved me was having lounge access. Free wi-fi, free food and free booze. If you don’t have lounge access through your airline or with maybe an AMEX or membership, I highly recommend joining various clubs or rewards programs that do. I had access to showers and washrooms where I did take advantage and freshen up, some even had areas to sleep. But regardless of how long I’d traveled, I would double it to see Chris. It was all worth it to spend this time with him and even if we hadn’t been able to explore these amazing places… I would have have traveled twice as long just to spend time with him.

Chris and a few friends arranged for us to have a gorgeous, giant sailboat all to ourselves for drinks, dinner and you know… hanging around! HA! They hoisted this rope apparatus over the side of the boat and raised it high…. looking at us like, let’s go! And even though I hesitated, I jumped at the opportunity to float over the corniche! I even dipped my toes in the warm crystal blue water… it was amazing. I can’t deny I was scared to death for a few minutes as I have a MAJOR fear of the ocean. But when you have opportunities to do something like this – TAKE THEM. That evening was amazing and the smile on Chris’ face when he went was something that I won’t ever forget. His smile always makes me melt but this one was memorable. Husband of the year award goes to….. Christopher!

Afterwards we walked the grounds of Emirates Palace which was the first royal palace until the new Prince of Abu Dhabi wanted a bigger one. So they made this palace the most luxurious hotel in the world. We giggled as we explored just in awe of the elaborate architecture. Imagine gold, marble and silk everywhere… ceilings so high it’s like they’re not even there! The ornate and unique paintings and sculptures that decorated the grounds were gorgeous. This palace was the home to the royal family of the richest country in the world and here we are, Chris and I, enjoying it. I told Chris I’d do anything to just stay one night there… the boys would love it too. The grounds and the pool were just as extravagant as the palace itself! Crossing my fingers we can make it happen!

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Courtesy of Emirates Palace, 2018.

IMG_0603Dubai is a MUST, of course. But I have to say what surprised me the most was the sheer size of the Burj Kalifah. It IS the tallest building in the world, I know. Seeing in person with your own eyes is NOTHING like seeing in a picture. Even here, the sun is setting behind it and you see these buildings that seem SO tiny. They’re not. I promise you they are going to remind you a lot of every major city you’ve ever been in. The Burj is just THAT big. I feel like I cannot emphasize this enough… even with all CAPS. It’s just huge. But even aside from the Burj Kalifah, take the time to explore and shop the Souk, really take it all in. The Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world and has ANYTHING shop, boutique or restaurant you can imagine. I was so overwhelmed at the amount of people and just all the shopping. This mall even has an indoor ski slope, year round… an aquarium… a giant waterfall. My mind was literally blown. SO much to take in.

SO many amazing memories from this trip. And yet I’m planning another trip, a longer one for the boys to come too. I could have never dreamed of the places we’ve traveled. We are so blessed to offer the experience that we have to the boys. Different countries, exposure to culture and experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives. I’m so thankful. Travel as much as you can…. remember we only have this one life to live… so LIVE it!

Before you go!

Now for the travel tips and must have products I was talking about! Which I feel like I need to preface with three things… 1: I’m a planner and 2: I’m a germaphobe 3: I HATE flying and basically cringe the entire time. No plane nappy nap for moi.  So traveling especially on long trips to countries I’ve never been to before… I bring a large rolling duffle style carryon and pack it full of anything I might need. Basically I’m ready for anything…. I swear I could live out of that bag if I really needed too… HA!

In the Bag
• book
neck pillow // blanket (on sale)
• baby wipes
• snacks
a complete change of clothes (what if you get stuck without a bag)
Clorox wipes and Lysol spray (yes they come in travel size!)
• mini-bottles (they’re an ounce… hellooooo TSA approved)
battery pack (mine will charge my iPhone 5 full charges)
compression socks (um, I don’t want my feet to swell!)
• a scarf (if you’ve never sat next on a plane that smells like a full on fart… you’re lucky!)
lavender oil (mostly for above said mentioned stinky plane, but also to relax)
• and a small toiletry bag with a little make-up (and remover wipes), lotions, toothbrush and toothpaste, brush and ibuprofen/Benadryl.

To some this may seem like a lot for just me to travel… but it’s not. Of course this isn’t a complete list… somethings are just a given. But EVERYTHING on this list came in handy on this trip. And a little funny…. my bag did NOT have wheels. But I was so thankful I had anything and everything I needed… I didn’t mind lugging it around. It’s better to be safe than sorry for sure and I hate having to buy things I had at home when I could have just brought it. Hope it’s helpful!

If you’re flying international… make sure you check into the carry on restrictions for those countries too!! For example, Zürich only allowed one clear sandwich sized bag with liquids through security. It’s also good to find out ahead of time what the local time is going to be so you’re able to plan for that!

Now, ready, set – GO! Travel and see ALL there is to see!

XoXo

 

new adventures

After anxiously awaiting our next move, we finally have orders. We’re heading home!
G E O R G I A.
Even though we’ve moved quite a bit in a relatively short period of time…. the opportunity to move somewhere new has always been exciting. I love moving and making so many new memories. Finding a new favorite restaurant, a new favorite spot for family night, new stores to shop, new friends and a new house to call home!
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We’ve lived on the East coast, the West coast and Japan. We’ve had 13 different addresses, more of course if you count super temporary ones or Chris’ deployments. Each location is a piece to our puzzle and at one time or another it was home. Home to the boys first’s, our most memorable friendships and countless memories.
Of course the older the boys get it’s a little more difficult for them leaving their friends and making new ones. But thankfully they usually have no problems making new friends. They could carry on a conversation with a sign post, just like their momma! Making it even easier, we are relocating to another military town… YAY! Military kids are resilient and I’ve noticed something magical during PCS (moving) season. They get through change, they adapt because they aren’t alone.
This is going to be one our last moves as Chris will be retiring and I’m so proud of him. We have so much to look forward to and I think as a family, we’re all ready! I’m excited for the next chapter, it’s going to be a good one!!!

:Baby Steps, Before the Move:

The second you find out where you’re going… the countdown has officially begun and I turn into a machine. Or a monster. Not quite sure which one… but I’m productive, organized and overly emotional.
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You instantly look up the schools and the sports for the kids, the community. You
Zillow the housing market and start trying to figure out where you’re going to land. And if you’re moving during the summer, be quick to get all this done because guess what?! Everyone else is too. It’s best to not even waste a SECOND when you’re ready to claim your Casa de Chaos either, because if it’s THE one… there is already 823748 other eyes on it too.
HA! Who know’s what I’m talking about?! Who is moving this summer?? Have you started purging yet? Figuring out what is going to make the cut way before the movers ever arrive is important! And getting organized.
No matter how much there is to do… you still manage to get excited and equally stressed out as the days go by! NORMAL! But let the excitement WIN… plan fun things along the way. Plan a vacation instead of just staying in temporary lodging… visit family, make it fun! These experiences and the challenges that come with them are temporary and when you look back I think you want to remember the fun.
So who’s with me?! Who’s moving? Can we start a support group?? LOL!
Xo,
Kate
#militarylife #pcs #moving #military #usmc #momlife #militaryfamily

 

Ready or Not….

There’s something to be said about knowing what you need to do and actually doing it. I mean in all seriousness… the only thing that I can EVER do without over thinking is #momlife. Anything with the boys… I can think and DO in an instant. No hesitation at all. Everything else in life…. hot mess express.
Worry, fret. Good freaking grief.
Anyway, regardless of the stress and the fret. I know exactly what I’m going to do now… roadmaps – plans and phases. I mean check out the logo above. I’m just not ready to say any of it out loud. WHY!? It’s seriously pissing me off. I’ve said it to 3 people… which they’re my circle… my sounding board. Which if you think about it… they should have been the hardest to divulge this to. But this is the world we live in folks… have a dream and be fearful of the ‘ifs’ and wonder if you’re going to be accepted. I mean how many times have YOU scrolled your favorite social media site and sneered and jeered at someone who’s just trying to do what makes them happy?! Ok… this isn’t supposed to be a soapbox. So – I’m going for it. I’m doing this. No going back!
Sure millions have dreams about opening shops or becoming some big face fashion designer… me? I just want a cute little quaint boutique style shop or a community of women that share the passion and style. Sometimes I’m completely extra… polished from head to toe in my favorite finds! Picture perfect….
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I mean who doesn’t love to get a little dressed up from time to time right?! Date night, special event or grocery shopping… it happens. And we do it for ourselves… sometimes others, but sometimes it just feels GOOD!
Other times I can’t be bothered to take a SHOWER… and that also feels amazing. But when I just want to throw on a cute pair of jeans, a cute top and a messy bun – why can’t I still look cute. This is my fashion. Describe it how you will… I don’t have a word for it. But it’s me.
If I one day am blessed to open a physical store… you’d be sipping champagne as you shop because – duh… it’s my favorite. You’d find everything from comfortable sweats to a black satin cocktail dress. You’d find a fanny pack sitting next to a gorgeous shimmer clutch.
Until then… The Chic Little Shop will offer limited quantities of all my favorite things. As I find myself again, my fashion and my feet… I’ll offer an eclectic variety of everything. Finding my favorite brands, designs and flattering fits for all.
And I’m SO DAMN EXCITED. The fire, IT’S BACK.
Xo, Me
SMXLL

 

To do, or not to do?!…

Seriously what am I doing? I think I’ve lost the flame… the one deep in my soul for

Untitled designwhat I’ve been doing or trying to do. How do I get back to here… in this photo. On this day I felt amazing… never bored always on my toes and extremely fulfilled. Now it just seems almost like a burden or that I’m the burden. Sometimes things are a stepping stone for what we’re supposed to do next and I feel exactly that way about where I am… where I’m meant to go and what I need to do. Of course all of it is scary and uncomfortable. I don’t want to even begin the process nor have I convinced myself that I can even do it… but I’m trying.

Have you ever been in a battle with yourself?

15027481_10100276756366656_4304700775107818986_nI think that everything has phases. Anything we do in life is not the same forever. Think of a relationship – it starts it’s new & fresh… it’s intriguing. Overtime it becomes love over lust and the connection not only burns brighter but it burns from way down deep.
Currently… I’m in absolute love with fashion, but nothing in my closet. NOTHING. I mean maybe if you count the worn out tattered flannel button up and jeans with a million holes in them that I wear – every.day…. I do love them. But then there we go… I’m stuck in repetition… and not stretching my creativity.
I’m 30. I’m a hustling mom trying to make my boys proud. A totally devoted wifey wanting to make my honey’s eyes pop completely out of his head when he sees me. A

IMG_0744woman that loves nothing other than to live and laugh with friends and have fun no matter what’s going on. If I’m not having fun…. it DOESN’T make me happy. Life is too short to do anything that doesn’t make you happy… am I right!? We have one life to live, one chance to make it happen and one opportunity to make an impact. I do NOT want to be the person who ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’s’ there self to death forty years from now. I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing and what I need to do to provide for my boys and take care of my family.

Currently this is the constant happy in life… family, friends, and having the freedom to LIVE on our terms. I don’t want that to change. So what can I do to ignite the fire, burn the flame AND still continue to feed my soul?! Million dollar question. Fortunately I know the answer…. unfortunately change is tough.. never simple and never easy.
kate-2Ever make change, take a chance on yourself… or just do something HARD?
I have and coincidently it was the change that brought me to where I stand today… it is still one of the best decisions I have ever made. It taught me that beyond all else, have faith in yourself… believe in yourself and even on the days where you DON’T, have people in your life that can be that reminder. And be that for someone else. LIFT others. I’m so thankful for those that lift me, because without that spirit and that comfort of unwavering love… I wouldn’t be me.
So here it is. Page one of the change. Taking that chance on myself all over again. Ready for the work… ready for the challenge and hopefully all that comes with it.
Here’s to being ME <3
Xo