Day Trippin’

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About a month ago, I went on a much needed day trip with a friend. We had been debating going to the beach, but instead decided to visit Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like; the whopping 42-acre and holds hundreds of sculptures, as well as beautiful trees, foliage, and wildlife. I had visited the park once before, but this was my friend’s first time. We were both awestruck for the majority of our visit, which was about an two and a half hours. Here are some pictures of my favorite sculptures:

The park is truly a magical place. Some sculptures are so lifelike, some are abstract, gigantic, humorous, powerful, frightening, etc. There is a little bit of everything scattered throughout the grounds. This is easily one of my favorite places to visit. I find it so peaceful to be surrounded by so much creativity and beauty, especially when it lives in a beautifully landscaped park rather than inside a museum’s walls.

On the way back home, I suggested that we stop in Princeton to explore a little since my friend hadn’t been there either. Princeton is a beautiful town, full of historic charm and home to Ivy League Princeton University. We stopped in the heart of town, right outside the university. The energy in this college town is truly delightful. We are there on a sunny Tuesday afternoon and there were tons of people walking about. There were a bunch of restaurants and cafes, but we decided that pancakes sounded good. PJ’s Pancake House was really delicious and satisfying.

After eating, we decided to walk down a side street at random and stumbled upon the Princeton Record Exchange. I had been meaning to buy a particular Queen vinyl online (since there are no record stores near me) so we went inside and I swear, we felt like we had entered a time warp. I hadn’t been in a store like this one since I was about ten years old. They had a huge selection of vinyls and CDs, and it was fun flipping through bin after bin of vinyls from different artists and genres. Luckily, they had the very album I had been looking for.

I love little adventures like this. Taking a short trip to somewhere special is so good for the soul. The places I visited this day are truly magical and they were exactly what I needed. I left feeling happy and refreshed. What is your favorite little getaway, and how often do you get to go?

Love Always,

Kathleen

Monthly Goals: April

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Hey friends, can you believe that it’s already April? I know I can’t, but I am so stoked that it is! I do not do well in the winter months at all– seasonal depression tends to get the best of me. Right now I am extremely happy that Spring is starting to show its lovely face around here, and I’m also excited to be assessing how last month went and setting myself some new goals for this month.

So, let’s talk about how I did with my March goals. Two of my goals were to see a movie and spend time outdoors, both of which I did accomplish. Andrew and I saw Captain Marvel (loved it) and we also took three walks around town this month. It was still pretty chilly most of the month, but it was nice nonetheless. Another goal was to meal prep, which I did do pretty consistently for my lunches for work, but I didn’t do so well for our dinners. One goal was to earn Silver in the Peloton Challenges, and I am so happy to report that I surpassed that goal by earning Gold for both challenges! Lastly, did I make the most of my time? Yes, I definitely think so.

Now, here are my goals for April:

Continue to be Active: I have been working out nearly everyday, and I am loving it. My goal this month is to stick with it and push myself with some longer Peloton rides. I’m also planning on mixing in some different workouts, like yoga and some strength work as well.

Drink More Water and Tea: I’m one of those people who completely forgets to hydrate throughout the day. I have this 32 oz water bottle that I bring to work everyday, but I never finish the whole bottle. My goal this month is to make sure that I am drinking that whole bottle, and also to start drinking tea more often. I love tea and have a ton of it in my pantry, but I’ve noticed that I haven’t been drinking it too often. I’m going to try to make a habit of having a cup of tea before bed each night.

Spend Time Outdoors/Fun Day Trips: Now that the weather seems to be on the warmer side, I am looking forward to spending more time outside. Nothing is better than going on a walk through the park and breathing in the fresh air. I’m also going to try to take some fun day trips on my days off. Today I am actually going into the city with my brother, where we will do some exploring. I’m also hoping to go on a hike in a week or so.

Eat Healthier: This is something that has always been difficult for me. Yes, I have been working out a lot, and eating better sometimes, and losing weight… But I know I could be doing better. In the last two weeks, I’ve had fast food three times. Before that, I hadn’t had fast food in at least four months. I also devoured an entire container of Lactaid’s peanut butter pie ice cream within three days. My goal for the rest of this month is to make better food choices, and to stop and think rather than impulse eating.

Write More Posts: I haven’t been writing on here as often as I would like to. The goal is to try to be more consistent with writing this month. I find that I have to plan ahead and give myself a schedule, otherwise I won’t ever get things done. Right now this blog is on a back burner, but I am going to make an effort to prioritize creating more content.

What are you planning to accomplish this month? What did you accomplish last month that you are proud of? The quote in April’s section of my planner says, “Don’t forget to be awesome.” I love that, and I hope that we all remember to be awesome this month.

Love Always,

Kathleen

My Happy Place

home decor

One of my favorite things about moving out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment with Andrew was the ability to decorate the space in a way that made me happy. We have been in this apartment for eight months and we still have some areas to work on, but this corner of our living room is my absolute favorite spot. I wanted this space to be super cozy and chill. After a long day at work, I can’t wait to come home and hang out in here.

It’s funny because when we moved in, we had hardly any furniture in here. The day we moved in, we only had a TV stand and that little ottoman. A day or two later, our couch was delivered. I remember being so excited because I felt like it was all starting to come together. I ran to HomeGoods later that day and bought a few throw pillows. This space just feels so good and I can hardly believe that just eight months ago it was completely empty.

Photo taken after we first moved in.

Since then, we have added so many things into this space that work together so well. We had search high and low for a rug that we liked. We found that Rugs USA had a really great selection in the style we were looking for and we chose ours because we loved the colors and pattern. It took us a while to decide on our coffee table. We liked how the rustic/industrial ones looked, but we knew it wouldn’t look too good with our couch and rug. We finally found this one from Wayfair and we love it. I really like the brightness that the white top brings to the room, even though I am constantly cleaning it, haha.

Our bookcase was another item that took us quite a while to decide on. At first I was set on getting two tall, metal framed shelves to display books and knick-knacks. After looking at our space, we really didn’t think it would look good. Another idea I had was to create a reading nook in front of our large living room window. Unfortunately, we could not find anything like I had imagined, so we instead decided to do this long bookcase under the window. I love displaying items here that are special to us. Most of them are gifts from each other or reminders of some great adventures we have had.

For Chirstmas, Andrew bought me this Papasan Chair, which is probably my favorite part of our living room. It’s got a fuzzy cushion and, with our beautiful lamp behind it, it has become my little reading nook. Nothing beats sitting in this corner with a good book and a cup of tea.

Do you have a room in your home that is your favorite place to be? I’d love to hear all about it.

Love Always,

Kathleen

My 15 Year Struggle with Weight Loss & Eating Habits

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I’ve struggled with my weight and relationship with food since I was twelve years old. I remember thinking my mom was the worst person in the world because she thought I needed to lose weight and eat less. She wasn’t wrong, I was at that age where my parents couldn’t play off my chubbiness as baby-fat anymore and my eating habits needed to change. As a girl who had just started puberty and was very uncomfortable about the whole thing, I felt like my mom had just turned against me and was out to destroy my life.

I have always had a problem with overeating. Growing up, I almost always went back for seconds and I always went overboard with dessert. I used to spend a lot of time at our neighbor’s house and they would usually feed me dinner (they were Argentinian and I loved the food they cooked), and then I would go home and eat whatever my mom had made as well. And after eating two meals, I would devour a huge bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with lots of chocolate syrup. Looking back on this now, I’m disgusted with how I was able to eat this way. At the time, I saw nothing wrong with it. I just loved food and loved to eat a lot of it.

By the time I was in high school, I was very overweight and unhappy. I hated my body, but I didn’t know how to lose weight. I remember my mom asking our doctor what to do about my weight. All I remember her suggesting was being more active and cutting back on junk food. I wasn’t happy about that at all because I hated gym class and loved junk food. I eventually got into running with one of my friends, but I never really saw any weight loss because my eating habits hadn’t changed.

I didn’t start to seriously dive into losing weight until I was around 20 years old. My mom had seen an article in a magazine about an “ultra low-carb” diet plan. It seemed easy enough, so I tried it out. After 10 days, I ended up losing around 10 pounds. I immediately came to the conclusion that carbs were the enemy. So, for the next couple of years I was either avoiding carbs or hating myself for eating them.

About a year ago, I began dieting and exercising consistently. I followed a high protein, low carb diet and would go for hour long walks 4-5 days a week. I lost about 20 pounds in 4 months and became the smallest I had been in my adult life. I was so thrilled with my results, but then things changed. I became bored of my meals and started eating foods that I hadn’t allowed myself to have in a long time (pizza, pasta, rice, cake, etc) and slacked off with my exercise. I completely fell off the wagon around July and by the time November hit, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life. It took me a couple months of depression, self-loathing, and self-sabatoge to finally come to the realization that I needed to make some serious changes.

Right now, I’m just focusing on making healthier choices. That means instead of eating a pint of ice cream, I’ll have some frozen chocolate covered berries. Instead of ordering a cheesy pepperoni pizza, I’ll make my own healthier version. Since I started eating more nutrient-dense foods, I am feeling so much better. I have more energy and am just in a better mood. I also track my calories through the MyFitnessPal app to help me know that I’m eating enough, and when to stop eating. And I’m working my butt off on my Peloton to get in shape.

Yes, I’m motivated to lose weight, but it has become much more than just that. One of my goals is to be the best version of myself. To me, this means becoming the healthiest version of myself by treating my body with love and respect. Every day that I crave something really unhealthy (like a 24 layer chocolate cake) I ask myself, “is it worth it?” Is it worth the calories, the sugar, the weight gain, the health risks? I think you know the answer.

Monthly Goals: March

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Okay, so let me start off by saying that February did not turn out how I expected. In fact, I failed at completing most of my goals. It was a bad and exhausting month for a number of reasons, but I won’t get into that. The point is that I had an “off” month, and that’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up about it anymore than I already have. Sure, I’m disappointed that I didn’t achieve the goals I had set for myself, but I know that if I work harder this month, I will absolutely be able to reach my goals.

Here’s what I have planned for this month:

Get Silver in Peloton Challenges: I slacked off in my exercise last month, so I only made it to Bronze for February instead of making Silver. This month I am going to work harder and make sure I get on the bike at least 4 times a week.

Spend time outdoors: This one really depends on the weather. If it warms up a bit and the snow stops, I will be able to go for walks around town. From Spring through Fall, one of my favorite things to do is go on trail walks and hikes. This past year I wasn’t able to find much time for this, between apartment hunting all Summer and getting settled in this Fall. I really hope that it starts to feel like Spring this month, but if not hopefully April will bring the warmer weather.

See a movie: Andrew and I used to go to the movies all the time, but since moving in together we have only gone twice… in a six month period. So I want to make it a point to go see a movie at least once a month, depending on what’s showing.

Meal prep: Last month I slacked off in my meal prepping, which led to excessive spending on lunches and dinners, as well as eating things I shouldn’t have. I’m definitely going to work harder to plan out meals and prep whatever I can ahead of time. By doing this, I won’t be able to use the “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too tired,” excuses for not cooking.

Make the most of my time: I really did not put my spare time to good use last month. This March, I am going to make a serious effort to use my time wisely. Essentially, that means making smarter choices and avoiding my couch, haha. Too many nights, I get home from work and find myself lounging on my couch for the rest of the evening instead of doing something useful with my time. This is a bad habit that I really need to stop.

In my agenda, the message for March says, “Be the best version of yourself.” This is something that resonates with me. A few months ago, I felt like I was at my all-time low. There wasn’t a single thing that I liked about myself. Last month was a reminder of that version of myself. This month more than ever, I want to be the best, and happiest version of myself. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I am up for the challenge.

What are your goals for this month? I hope that you achieve all your goals and have a wonderful month. 🙂

Love Always,

Kathleen

Baskets: Five Ways to Use Them in Your Space

home decor

I have a basket obsession. It’s pretty serious. Every single time I go into HomeGoods or any other home decor store, I have to make a stop in the basket aisle. I feel like they not only look so beautiful, but they are so functional. Today I’m going to share with you five ways I have used baskets in my apartment.

Plants: I’m sure you’ve seen this all over Pinterest or Instagram, but this is a really great way to use a basket. I’ve found that larger plant pots are usually pretty pricey and heavy. When I got my bird of paradise, I knew I wanted to place it in a basket. All you have to do is find a basket large enough to house your plant’s pot and buy a saucer to go at the bottom of the basket (I think I got this one). The saucer will protect the basket and your floors from water damage.

Shoes: Using a basket to toss your shoes in next to your entry way is an easy way to keep them all kept together instead of spread out across your floor. For us, we had our cycling shoes next to our Peloton, but I hated seeing them out on the floor all the time. I found this basket and decided to tuck our shoes away in there, which makes the space less cluttered and me more happy.

Blankets: I had a couple of cozy blankets that I wanted to have close to the couch for movie nights and afternoon naps, but i didn’t like having them folded on the couch or tucked away in a closet. I decided to pick up a wider basket to keep a few blankets in. I keep it right by the tv stand, where I can grab one before plopping on the couch for a snooze. I also have another basket in our bedroom that I keep an extra blanket in for super cold nights.

Hiding Clutter: This is arguably my favorite use for baskets. I hate clutter so, so much. Especially when it isn’t intentional or cute. There are some things that are just useful to have nearby, but not pretty at all. For instance, my fiance likes to keep a cloth and some screen cleaner on the end table near our Peloton. Sure, it’s useful… but it’s really ugly. So, I got this set of three baskets from Ikea and used one of them to keep these items out of sight. I especially love baskets with lids to hide clutter. I used the other two baskets in the set for keys and spare change in our entry way.

Bathroom Storage: Like I said before, I love baskets with lids to hide clutter or to store ugly things. I used two of these baskets in our bathroom. One is used to store extra toilet paper and air freshener next to the toilet. The other is used in the cabinet under the sink to organize all of my hair masks, bath goodies, etc. It makes it a lot easier to find what I need instead of sifting through a sea of products.

Do you use baskets in your space? If so, what are your favorite ways to use them? Leave a comment below.

Love Always,

Kathleen

Favorite Hair Treatments

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I’ve got wavy/curly hair. I’m not sure who I got it from, because no one else in my immediate family has hair like mine. It gets frizzy and dry very easily. Growing up, my hair was always so frizzy because I had no idea how to care for my hair, and I don’t think my mom knew what to do about it either. After she washes her hair, all she does is brush it and let it air dry. Seriously. No products, no heat tools, nothing. And her hair always looks sleek and frizz-free.

Unfortunately, my hair requires a lot of love to be soft and smooth. I try to wash my hair only 1-2 times a week. If it weren’t for dry shampoo, I’d have to wash my hair every other day because my scalp is prone to get very oily. In addition, I do a hair mask at least once a week, as well as use a few oils to keep my ends from drying out. About once a month, I will make my own deep conditioning hair mask. Today, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite hair masks and oils.

Lush Cosmetics H’suan Wen Hua: I love this hair mask because it’s full of super moisturizing ingredients like avocado, banana, and extra virgin olive oil. I like to use this one when my ends feel really dry. You apply it to dry hair and leave on for about 20 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as per usual.

Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Strengthening Masque: This mask is my go-to for a quick fix. I’ve had a lot of breakage and damage in the past from excessive use of heat tools as well as using harsh chemicals, so I really appreciate this mask for it’s strengthening qualities. I use this mask in the shower after shampooing my hair. I apply a generous amount on top of my head and work the product through the lengths of my hair, combing it through with my fingers. This one says to leave it in for 5 minutes, but I’ll usually just finish up washing and rinse my hair right before I finish my shower.

One ‘n Only Argan Oil: I’ve used this product for years and I can’t live without it. I apply argan oil to my damp hair after every wash. I also apply it before using any heat on my hair, or in between washes when I feel my ends are a little dry. It gives my hair a nice shine without looking oily. Plus, I really enjoy the smell of this oil.

Hask Moisturizing Shine Oil: I think it’s safe to say that Hask’s shine oils are one of my favorite products. The first one I tried and fell in love with was the Orchid & White Truffle Oil, which is sadly no longer available. I’ve found that the Monoi Coconut Oil is also very good. I like these oils because they make my hair look super shiny and healthy. I’ve found that a little bit goes a long way, and that this product works best for me only used on wet hair. When I apply it to my dry hair, it makes my hair look greasy rather than shiny.

DIY Hair Mask: I’ve tried so many different DIY hair masks over the years and have discovered which ingredients I like to use in my hair. I don’t follow a particular recipe or anything, and my masks come out a little different every time; I suppose it depends on my mood. Today, I made a mask with the following ingredients: coconut oil, honey, castor oil, olive oil, tea tree oil, and rosemary oil. I chose this mixture to hopefully stimulate some hair growth, as well as moisturize my hair. When I make masks at home, I usually like to keep them in for 30 minutes or longer if I don’t have to leave the apartment.

If you haven’t tried a hair mask before, I highly recommend it. There are so many different kinds for all types of hair. I especially suggest making your own mask because it is really affordable and easy, since you probably already have a ton of ingredients in your kitchen. What’s your hair type, and what is something that you struggle with then it comes to your hair? Let me know down in the comments. 🙂

Love Always,

Kathleen