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10 Steps Toward a Healthier Heart

10 Steps Toward a Healthier Heart

February is Heart Health Month! Taking care of your heart is crucial to living a heart-healthy life, and can help manage or even prevent certain forms of heart disease. Luckily there are some simple steps to help you take better care of your heart health. Note, I am not a nurse or doctor or healthcare professional in any way. Listed below are simple suggestions that can improve the general health and well-being of any person. Please see your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your heart or heart health!

Without further ado, here are ten steps you can take toward better heart health, according to Harvard Medical Center:

  1. Take a ten minute walk once a day. This is quick and easy to fit in to any schedule. Take your dog out for a brisk stroll around the block, or go and take a quick walk during your lunch break at work! I personally take my dog for a 10-15  minute walk every day, even in the winter (unless temps are below zero). It’s great exercise for the both of us, and Willow loves the chance to be outside!
  2. Strength training is also important to heart health. Do some light exercises for your arms at home by lifting some light weights a few times a day. If you can, move on to the gym and start increasing your strength by lifting a little heavier. Right now I’m using the Sweat app by Kayla Itsines. I just started, but I will let you know what I think of the program and whether or not it’s worth the investment. (This is not sponsored, I paid for the program and am genuinely interested to see how it works!).
  3. Eat one extra fruit or veggie a day. This is a given in any health management routine. Reap maximum benefits by making sure to eat at least five servings a day combined of fruits and veggies – at least two servings of fruit and at least three servings of veggies is ideal. Do you absolutely HATE eating veggies? Sneak them into a fruity smoothie with some of these sneaky smoothie recipes.
  4. Start off your day with a heart-healthy breakfast. A serving of fruit with a whole grain such as whole-wheat toast or oatmeal will provide you with a good boost of energy to get your day started.
  5. Stop drinking your calories! Swap at least one soda for carbonated flavored water per day and you could save 100+ calories.
  6. Have heart-healthy nuts as a snack throughout the day. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and other kinds are all a great heart-healthy substitute for cookies or chips.
  7. If you can, replacing red meat with fish or sea-food once a week is also good for the heart. I’m actually debating switching to a mostly veggie/pescetarian diet with a red meat allowance once a week. Let me know if you have any recommendations for making this switch! If you’ve done it, did you find it easy to switch or was it rough? I don’t think it would be too bad until I start smelling a cheeseburger or steak!
  8. Take some time throughout the day to breathe deeply for just a few minutes. There are a lot of great apps for guided meditation and breathing, a very popular one being Headspace. Deep breathing can help you relax if you’re stressed and may even help lower blood pressure. One of my goals this year was to start practicing meditation and breathing routines. I haven’t started yet, but no better time than today!
  9. This almost goes without saying, but washing your hands often helps prevent the spread of germs and diseases that can be hard on your heart such as the flu.
  10. Practice gratitude! Taking time throughout your day to think about all the things you are grateful for in life that fills your heart with joy can help tap into other positive emotions. Anger, worry, and hostility can contribute to higher blood pressure and heart disease, and practicing gratitude can help combat that negativity. I like to keep a gratitude log in my bullet journal, and when I move I want to make or buy signs with positive affirmations to place around the house. It’s important to remember the happy parts of life, especially when the nasty parts try to get you down!

These are just a few tips to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. Proper diet, exercise, and attitude have a very strong effect on your overall well-being. Start following some of these steps to work toward a healthier lifestyle!

Do you have any simple healthy living tips to add? Let me know in the comments below!


xo, Karli 



Calming Down Before Breaking Down

Calming Down Before Breaking Down

When life gets you down, it’s so easy to get sucked into your emotions. It’s easy to panic, to retreat from friendships and family, to lose your cool and lash out and those around you. It’s easy to get angry and blame it on your feelings later. But it also totally freaking sucks. Who wants to look back on a day or series of days and say “wow, yeah, sorry about that. I was just in a bad mood LOL”. NO. This is not okay. While it is understandable to be upset, it’s so important to learn how to handle those emotions, reign them in, and take control back over your head. (note: it is a much different situation if you suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other severe mood-altering mental diseases. please understand my post is referencing a much simpler form of emotion!)

I have a few fail-safe ways to calm my nerves and my brain after it becomes overwhelmed with stress. I mean, ideally we would be able to counter anything before a total freak out. But let’s be real: you don’t always see the breakdown coming. So, what do I do to calm down?


  • Take a bath! There’s nothing quite like taking a long soak after a stressful day, or to just turn around your mood. Add some fun bath fizzies, bubbles, and candles to really set the atmosphere. These Me! Bath bath bombs are my favorite bath bombs from Target! I love the “Love Me!” scent. It’s so fruity and sweet, and my skin feels amazing afterwards too! I usually use two per bath and find that more than enough. Between those and a crisp glass of wine from one of my Winc subscriptions, my mood is significantly better within the hour!

you may be interested in What I Loved In April . Check it out for a review of my new favorite wine from Winc and a link for $13 off your first order! (disclaimer, if you buy, I get $13 off my next order too! Win-win!)


  • Read a good book! Reading is so, so important. It helps keep your mind sharp, and it provides a great getaway from reality for a while. Some of my favorite stories feed into my wanderlust, or totally transport me to a different world. I highly recommend Wild by Cheryl Strayed for those of you hiking afficionados. Looking for something more dramatic and, well, fictional? I’m really enjoying this series by Sarah J. Mass. It feels like a mix of Beauty in the Beast, Hunger Games, and a few World of Warcraft references for blood elves that I can’t help but notice! It was slow going at first but I really got into the second book. The third just came out, and I can’t wait to pick it up!
  • Journal! As some of you may know, I’m a journal addict. I’ve loved collecting journals since I was a child, and I’m always using them for some purpose or another! Not only do I use journals for jotting down thoughts throughout the day, but I also use a dotted Leuchtturm1917 A5 journal for bullet journaling! I switched back to this method after using the Filofax for a little while. Never heard of bullet journaling? It’s a great way to mix planning and recording your life into one handy little journal. And with full creative freedom, you can make it look any way you want. Let your creativity soar, or keep it simple. Whichever way keeps you journaling is the best way to go! There are tons of wonderful accounts on Instagram to spark some inspiration. If you’re interested, I highly recommend checking out breeeberry, Boho Berry (who is actually the blog that got me into bullet journaling),  and iamlisajacobs (who has wonderful handwriting and a really pretty Insta feed in general) . Bullet journaling makes me feel organized which really helps calm the buzz of overwhelmed thoughts in my head. If you don’t have to worry about your schedule, that’s a lot less to think about throughout the day.

you may be interested in My Must Haves for FiloFax and Bullet Journaling 


  • Hike! Perhaps my favorite recommendation of them all! I love the outdoors. I grew up with my dad taking us to parks on hikes and walks all the time. It’s been one of my favorite things to do as long as I can remember. Pair that with a photography hobby and the cutest dog on the planet (I might be biased), it truly can’t be beat as my favorite way to unwind. Always check the maps at a park to see what trails work best for you, and don’t forget to bring plenty of water! If I’m really in a bad mood, I go on a nice hard trail with a lot of ups and downs and switchbacks. It gets my blood flowing, and it’s hard to focus on negative thoughts when your legs and lungs are pleasantly sore from the exercise. I went on a wonderful hike today with Willow, and at the very beginning is a river. She loves to swim, so I let her go crazy for a while in the water. It warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. I haven’t felt this great in days!

I’ll finish this post here, but keep scrolling if you want to see some photos from the hike! As always, thanks for stopping by!


xo, Karli

Fit for 5K

Fit for 5K

The holidays are right around the corner! And for a lot of us that means good food, time with family, and did I mention good food?

I’ve struggled with maintaining my health since college. Going to the gym and running was a lot easier when you had three hour breaks between classes and plenty of free time and daylight to work with! Now that I’m all grown up, working that 9-5, and trying to study for the CPA exam? Definitely not as easy to make time as it used to be. And I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. Add kids, pets, social lives, and the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holidays and suddenly finding time is even more difficult than it already was. Yikes.

This year, I’m tackling my health during the holidays with a much more lenient approach WITHOUT forgoing my actual health and fitness goals. I’m doing this in a few different ways:

First of all: I’m doing my best to stick to a caloric deficit for a minimum of five days a week, with trackless Saturdays. This means that for five days of the week I aim to burn more calories than I consume, while also making sure to eat AT LEAST the minimum recommended for my height/weight. I give myself one day of no-tracking. Now, this doesn’t mean I eat whatever I want and however much of it I want. On these days I try to eat intuitively. I’ll order foods that sound yummy. I’ll eat, but only until I’m comfortable. Once comfortably satiated, I’ll place my silverware over my plate to signal my brain that I’m done eating, and I’ll try to drink a glass of water. I don’t remember where I read this one, but it really helps me from eating more food just for the taste of it even though I know it will make my stomach hurt. If the food makes for good leftovers, I make sure to box it up and store it appropriately. Easy lunch for the next day!

Second: I try really hard to stick to my minimum workouts per week goal that I set at the beginning of each month. For this month since I’m trying to get back into some semblance of a routine, I’m sticking to an “easy” three days per week. I killed it this week! And I’m actually going to try for four, because I’m currently part of Nikki Blackketter’s “Four Weeks to Find Your Happy Challenge”, which is both a mental health and physical fitness challenge. I need to get one more workout in to meet the challenge goals for the week! Joining a challenge really helps me stick to my goals, especially if it’s one I paid for and has fun prizes to win! Scope out Pinterest for a lot of fun free workout challenges, or team up with one of your fave online personal trainers who occasionally host their own! The trainer-hosted ones usually cost money, so expect to fork up a pretty penny for that professional training. But they will offer you a lot of good insight and answer any questions you may have (at least, if they’re good people they will), and some even offer up some pretty fun prizes. I know Nikki is considering hosting more challenges, so make sure to check her out @BlondevsWorld on Twitter.

To make the month even more interesting, my sister and I signed up for the annual Turkey Trot in Cleveland! It’s a total blast, and I highly recommend one if you have them in your area. There’s nothing more rewarding than joining a bunch of crazy runners early on Thanksgiving morning for a 5K/5 mile run! Plus, it makes that delicious Thanksgiving dinner that much more exciting. For my 5K training, I’ve been using the 5K training segment in the fitness app Aaptiv (formerly known as Skyfit, which you can read about in my previous post or check out on your device’s app store!). As I’ve mentioned in the last post, having a prerecorded class with a trainer talking to you along the way really seems to work for me. It keeps me motivated, and helps me push harder than I normally would on my own self-paced workout. I highly recommend giving the app a try if you’re looking to change things up and class-mentality works for you! They have tons of other workout programs also, ranging from cardio like elliptical and rowing machines to strength training and yoga.

The most important thing I tell myself: I’m not letting me beat myself up. I’m going to slip up. It happens. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is hard. I really love wine and food and wine and ice cream and…did I mention wine? So no, it’s not always easy. And maybe there are days I could have done better. But the most beautiful thing in life is forgiveness and I really believe it’s important to forgive yourself for these slip ups and these mistakes. Forming an unhealthy relationship with the lifestyle you’re trying to create and associating that bad mentality to it can be disastrous. I’ve been there, and it doesn’t feel nice. So make sure to really give yourself some slack and reassure yourself that it’s okay to make these changes slowly and over time. Change doesn’t happen in a day! Don’t rush it, take your time, and enjoy the process.

So those are my quick tips! Nothing fancy, nothing special. Super easy to follow. If you’re really struggling with motivation, having an accountability partner would definitely make your cause easier! Reach out to friends and family who may be interested in joining you on your new journey to health. Who knows, maybe that will be just the motivation someone else needs to get started too!

Above all, make sure to really enjoy the holidays. Whether you’re spending them alone or with loved ones, it is a wonderful time of year for reflection on all that happened, how much you accomplished, and planning on what you want to do with the upcoming year. Enjoy each and every day.

What do you do to stay motivated throughout the holidays? What are your go-tos? Let me know in the comments below!

xo, Karli

Exercise Inspiration and Motivation

Exercise Inspiration and Motivation

As with many people, I really struggle sometimes to find motivation for exercise. Between working full time, studying for the CPA, and trying to find time to wind down and just relax, working out often falls to the wayside. Sometimes this is simply due to being too tired, but let’s be real: trying to plan what to actually DO when you get to the gym can be the hardest part. For the past few months I’ve found myself in a slump of being uncertain as to what to do in the gym. This leads to me going in and doing simple, not challenging enough, low intensity steady state cardio (ie. walking on a treadmill at interval inclines for 40 minutes). And then, since that’s not always all that fun, I won’t be motivated to go to the gym again for a while. A long while. We’re talking weeks here, people!

What’s a girl (or guy!) to do?

Enter: Pinterest.

If you aren’t already on Pinterest, I’m not quite sure what you’re waiting for! Pinterest is my number one go to for anything: OOTD inspiration, interesting books to read, design ideas for the apartment, hair and nail inspiration for my next salon visit…the list goes on! But the number one thing I use it for is to find good, simple workouts that I can incorporate into my day. As with any internet source, Pinterest is full of some really bad misinformation. For example, you will most likely NOT burn 1000 calories doing a 30 minute workout that includes bodyweight squats, pushups, and jumping jacks only. Yes, I’ve seen that floating around on there. Is that a good workout if you’re starting out and don’t have access to a gym? Of course! But you aren’t burning 1000 calories, I’m telling you that now. On a good day, a day I really push myself with cardio and strength training, I’m lucky if I burn 400 calories in an hour. Of course, I’m also short and weigh in at 136 lbs. My calorie burn is totally different than someone who is 5’7 and 180 lbs. Regardless: don’t think too much on what these handy workouts will say when it comes to calorie burn. Pick a workout that suits your needs and your fitness level. Looking for a good bodyweight workout? Find one that lists a few moves you enjoy. Want to incorporate weights? There are plenty of those on there as well. Check out my Pinterest board for some of my favorite workouts (mostly beginner stuff, nothing too crazy) here!

Unfortunately, even Pinterest can cause some exercise anxiety (or boredom!). If you’re like me, you’ll start seeing the same thing over and over and you’ll feel the need for something new. And this is fine! Changing up your fitness routine is key to seeing changes in your body, and to not getting bored at the gym.

If you’re like me, sometimes you day dream about joining a class. Having an instructor tell you what to do and when and having it all planned out for you is a dream come true. You just have to show up! The problem? That will cost you. And although some gyms have complimentary classes, those classes can fill up. Quick. So if you’re on the way home from work and hit bad traffic and want to join in on that 6pm spin class, good luck finding a spot am I right?

Enter: Skyfit

Have you seen this app yet? It’s currently available on the App Store, just waiting for you to try your first 7 days for free. I’ve seen the ads all over Instagram, and I was intrigued. So, I gave it a try. And let me tell you, I’m in LOVE. Workout “classes” are organized by type. You’ll find a full range of workout styles: treadmill , elliptical, outdoor running, cycling, strength training, and more. Just yesterday I went into the gym with an arm workout in mind, but I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do on the treadmill. So I peaked into the Treadmill running category and found a workout that would fit my level (beginner, and slow slow slow). Each workout tells you how long it is down to the last second, the highest speed you will reach, the highest incline you will get to, and who your instructor is. This makes it super easy to pick the perfect workout for you! And, each workout has a pre-curated playlist, just like you would expect of a real in-person class.

Having an instructor in my earbuds telling me the next move, motivating me to keep going, and talking to help take my mind off the workout really helped keep me going. But it wasn’t so much talking that it was overwhelming either. It was the perfect mix of focusing with music, and hearing some encouragement. I definitely ran harder than I would have had I been doing my own self-paced workout!

Even better? After my workout was finished (I gave it a 5 star rating!), a recommended workout pops up to follow up with the one you just did. For me, the Yoga workout for Treadmill Running cooldown came up, It was only 5 minutes, so I decided to go ahead with that one as well. And I’m so glad I did: I hardly feel sore today, and I’m really bad at getting my recovery stretching in normally after a run (oops). The only thing I didn’t so much enjoy about the yoga part is that it’s hard for me to follow verbal instructions with yoga (I’m not much of a yoga person, so I don’t know what these moves look like in person). So if you’re new to yoga, this might be more difficult to follow. I’m sure more seasoned yogis would have no issues!

Another fun tidbit: this app ties in almost flawlessly with your Apple Watch and Apple Health apps! I didn’t recognize this at first, so I was already tracking the workout through my watch as “other”, as you can see in the screenshot. I’d say the calorie burn was on par with what I’d expect for the timing, and it was pretty darn close to what the Skyfit app suggested the burn would be. I will have more certain information on calorie burn actual vs. the app after I test out a few more workouts!

I definitely recommend giving this app a try. It’s $9.99 a month for a subscription, or $24.99 for three months. I get no perks for recommending this app, I just wanted to share it with other like minded people who may need that extra something to get them into the gym.

What are your favorite apps for the gym? And where else do you find your inspiration to live a healthier, more active lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below!

xo, Karli