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Welcoming 2017

Welcoming 2017

Welcome to 2017! I’m so excited to see what this year has in store for me. 2016 was a year of crazy highs and devastating lows, and I’m really hoping to see some self redemption in the upcoming months. I have a lot of things I want to work on this year to improve my quality of life, as everyone does. Last year I allowed so much lenience, so much laziness. Not this time! This year is going to be the year I become what I’ve always wanted: the girl who has it all together, but is not perfect. The girl who can make mistakes, but laugh them off instead of cry and lament about them. The girl who finds that happy balance between socializing and lazing around on the couch scrolling through Bloglovin’ for hours and playing The Sims. 2017 will truly be the year of my improved self.

My goal is an all-ecompassing one: to work harder to maintain a healthier lifestyle. This obviously will include a wide range of smaller tasks and goals, including (but not limited to):

  • Being more active!
  • Eating more wholesome, natural foods.
  • Decreasing my waste output – less plastic and single-use items.
  • Working on improving my skincare routine.
  • Reading more books (for this I’m doing the 2017 reading challenge that you can find here on Pinterest)
  • Decluttering: hold on to what’s important and get rid of everything else! I want to be able to enjoy the best parts of my life without being overwhelmed by excess “stuff”.
  • Studying for and taking all four sections of the CPA exam.

It’s difficult, because all of these things are “resolutions” of previous years that I never seem to follow through with. Unfortunately 2016 was the first year that I actually went in the OPPOSITE direction, rather than at least staying the course. But last night when I watched New York City celebrate the turn of the new year, I felt a flicker of hope inside me. Maybe this could be my year. This could be the year that I turn everything around and finally create the life I want to live. I’ve always waited for everything to be done for me, I’ve waited for that perfect moment where everything clicked and I finally got it right. I’ve realized that moment doesn’t exist. It’s do or don’t, and I’m ready to start getting things done.

It’s time for me to stop waiting for the perfect conditions. I need to embrace the sponteniety and imperfection that is Life. I need to see the beauty in unplanned moments (like my cat getting into the middle of a scene for my blog photos) and take advantage of the hidden opportunities in them to create memories. I don’t want to just sit around and wait anymore.

I’m so excited for this year. I have big plans to really make it the best one ever, one day at a time.

What are your goals for the new year? Are you seeking a career change? Is this the year you decide to settle down and start a family? Or is this the time for you to spread your wings, travel and explore the world and your self and see what it is you want out of life? Or maybe this year is just the year you’re going to enjoy with no plan, because plans never work out anyway! And that’s okay too! Make this year the best year for YOU. And tell me all about what your 2017 has in store.

Here’s to a new year, a better life, a better us. Happy New Year, everyone! May it be your best one yet.

xo, Karli

Christmas List

Christmas List

Christmas lists are so much fun! Even if you don’t get anything on them it’s just fun coming up with a wish list of items you’d love to have and haven’t yet bought for yourself! I always keep my favorites together using a Pinterest board. It’s great because it’s so easy to click the photo and follow the link to the appropriate site for purchase! I always ask people I want to buy gifts for if they have Pinterest. It’s a great way to get ideas, even if they don’t have a specifically labeled board. I always try to keep my Christmas List items under a specific price. This makes them more realistic for me (although it would be fun to come up with a luxury list!). Here are just a few items I would love to find under the tree this year:

 

1. Check Woven Square Scarf – Nordstrom – $29.00 on sale for $18.90! Square scarves are my personal favorite when it comes to scarf shapes.

2. I’m in dire need of a standing floor mirror, and really love the sleek minimalist look of the HOVET Mirror from Ikea! – $129.00

3. Who DOESN’T want a cute pair of Nike’s for Christmas? I’m totally in love with the look of the Nike Metcon training shoe, and was overjoyed to find one with a rose cold Nike swoosh! – $130.00 on nike.com

4. Finding classy and simply jewelry at a good price is difficult for me. I really like the simple sleek look of this High-Low Faux Pearl Necklace from The Limited. – $29.95

5. I’m finally at the age where asking for household goods for Christmas actually sounds like a really great idea! And since I have a nice new couch that doesn’t have pillows as a backrest, I’m in the market for some cute matchy throw pillows. Target always has great deals on pillows, and you can find a large range of styles and options online! Pictured here: 2-pack of Room Essentials Suede Pillows in Teal ($15.99, reg. $19.99) and the Cersei Decorative Pillow ($20.99, reg. $29.99).

6&7. I literally live in athletic gear any hour that I’m not at work. Even though I probably own almost 20 pairs of leggings and more tops than I can count, I always find myself wanting more. Recently I discovered this adorable brand called Senita Athletics, a company that makes affordable athletic gear with POCKETS. Even the sports bras have a pocket in the back! An unbelievably nifty idea, which is why I’ve included two items on my wish list: The Fierce Capris with cute mesh cutouts in black ($35) and the Dual 2-in-1 Tank in the Bahamas print ($32).

8. One can never have enough plaid. I love a longer tunic-length shirt over a simple white tee or tank with black moto leggings with zipper detailing and cute black booties! H&M has a lot of cute plaid options, including this Long Shirt that comes in 5 different prints at $24.99!

9. Now that the Apple Watch has been out for a while, it’s unbelievably easy to find customized gear to spruce up your device. One wonderful website to check out for this is casetify.com . They have such a large collection of design options, and the ability to even create your own! Another great place to look and to support small business is Etsy. On Etsy I found this super cute wristband for $32.58!

It’s amazing how quickly individual items add up.

While it’s fun creating a Christmas List and dreaming of the possiblity of owning some of your favorite things, don’t forget to step back and keep in mind what Christmas is really about: enjoying time with family and friends, celebrating life and faith, and being as good of a person as you can possibly be. I know Christmas means something different to everyone, but it has become a very commercialized holiday. Don’t forget to think of others this holiday season, and I really encourage finding some way to help local families in need in your area during the holidays! Toys for Tots donation bins will start popping up everywhere, and donating warm clothes to shelters would be a great way to keep those less fortunate warm in the cooler weather.

Happy Holidays!

xo, Karli

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

 

Hello Everyone! I’m so happy to share with you today a few snapshots of my home this holiday season! It isn’t much, I live in an apartment and since it’s only my second year not living with parents, I haven’t yet acquired as much as I would like for holiday decor. But what I do have is still enough to put me in the Christmas spirit! The newest additions to my collection this year include my new couch and fluffy white throw from Ashley Furniture, and ever more cute decorations from Target. At this time all I have are decorations for the living and dining areas of my home, and I hope to expand this collection to bedroom and office as well in the future! Without further ado, here’s the mini-tour!

You will never see my coffee table without the latest edition of Real Simple! I love this magazine.

Yes, that is a giant Vaporeon on the ledge in the dining room. “Geek” is in my blog name for a reason ;D

Once I saw this ornament at Macy’s I KNEW I had to get it for my tree.

Toothless is apparently a tree-dwelling cat. Luckily he hasn’t ventured onto any branches, but if he’s missing I can always find him under the tree on this brand new plush buffalo check plaid tree skirt from Home Goods!

Target’s 2015 Christmas decor was my favorite collection. So happy I purchased this dining runner and these placemats while they were still available!

That’s everything for now! Hopefully you enjoyed my little tour. I would love to see how you decorated for the holidays! If you have a blog showing your decor, link it in the comments for me to see!

Thanks again for stopping by, and Happy Holidays!

xo, Karli

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving! This year has been so long and so full, and I have a lot to be thankful for. Gratitude is an important thing to practice every day, not just on Thanksgiving day. It’s important to remember and hold on to things you are grateful for and things you love. These are the people and experiences that can help you turn around some mildly depressive thoughts and remind you what it is you live for each day. I for one definitely struggle with reminding myself to be grateful for even the little things. So to start Thanksgiving off on the right foot, here is a list of what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday season:

  • I know this one sounds silly, but I’m thankful that I woke up this morning. It’s so important to look at each day as a blessing and a gift, one where you can choose how it plays out and ends. I’m thankful that I’m given another 24 hours to do what feels right for me in any given moment.
  • I’m thankful for my job, where I am surrounded by supportive people who care about me and my ambitions. I’ve never felt anything less than their equal and that is definitely a blessing in the workplace.
  • I’m thankful for my boyfriend. Even though it’s been a rough year for us, we’ve learned a lot and only through that can we make the decisions that will move us forward. Regardless of the bad, you’ve been there by my side through thick and through thin, and you’re my best friend through and through. I can’t appreciate that enough.
  • I’m thankful for my wonderful amazing family. My mom, dad, stepdad, sister, brother, and two half brothers mean the world to me. I may not be present enough and take enough time out of my days for family, but I love you all more than you can imagine and don’t know what I’d do or who I’d be if it weren’t for your constant love and support.
  • I’m thankful for my health. I get to wake up, get myself ready, drink coffee, drive, and run a Turkey Trot this morning with my wonderful sister. I have two legs that can push me forward and a body that functions well, even if it is out of shape. There’s so much I can do without worrying about limitations, and that’s definitely something I take for granted by sitting on the couch for hours at a time. This holiday season I’m striving to complete the Runner’s World holiday run streak, where you run at least one mile per day every day through the holiday season. 1 mile for me is 10-11 minutes. Just getting up and doing one mile will be a wonderful way to remind myself that I can be active and take care of my body simply by taking the baby steps to get there. And once I get to the gym chances are I won’t just stop at a mile. I’ll run more, or lift, or maybe do some stretching.

I highly encourage you to write out your own list of things you’re thankful for. And try and stay away from being thankful for material possessions. While they are wonderful and fun, it’s important to remember the people and experiences of life more than anything. So yes, while I’m sure many of us are thankful for a wonderful cars or pretty apartments and great technology, remember to give thanks also for the family and friends that support you through the tough times and the good.

Also, I highly encourage everyone interested in starting up running to take a chance at the holiday run streak with me! I think this will be a great way for me to remember my health while I’m consuming all the cookies and drinks my heart desires over the next few weeks. It’ll also be a great way for me to get some good use at out of my new running shoes!

And lastly, perhaps the most important thing to think about this holiday: we are lucky. If you get to go visit family today, sit around a big table and eat delicious food to your hearts content and drink wine and laugh alongside the ones you love – be thankful. But I also encourage you to remember those who aren’t so lucky on this day. It’s really important to remember the battles that are happening RIGHT NOW in America affecting our neighbors and friends. I encourage you to reach out and help today, help someone in need. Whether this be through a donation, an act of kindness, or signing a petition – please help those who aren’t able to enjoy this day like you and me. One particular fight going on really strikes deep with me: the fight over the North Dakota access pipeline. The North Dakota Sioux people really need our help in stopping this destruction of their land. Follow this link to see what you can do to help.

I’ve done my part, now let’s hear yours! What are you thankful for? What can you do to give back today and help someone else in need? Let me hear your part in the comments below!

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, Karli

Wine & Sign Painting

Wine & Sign Painting

Everyone, I have a confession to make.

*sigh* I’m a wino. There! I said it. But I mean, who isn’t nowadays? There are so many delicious, crisp wines to taste and so many yummy snacks to consume alongside them. I’m a huge fan of going to wineries and ordering a bottle while enjoying a cheese platter, and luckily I live a stone’s throw from wine country. It makes it so easy for me to drive to a winery on a gorgeous property and sit outside and enjoy the scenery while sipping my favorite: Pinot Grigio.

But wine doesn’t always just have to be about relaxation, it can be fun too! Tons of new events are popping up that include drinking wine. I’m sure most of you have heard of wine and paint nights, where you sip a yummy beverage and attempt to paint some design on a canvas. If you’re anything like me, that just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I can’t even paint sober, let alone with wine in hand! As luck would have it, I was invited to an event that was mostly dummy proof that I thought maybe I could handle: sign painting. But not free-hand! You can pick a design and a stencil is created for you to paint nice and easily inside the lines and onto the board, as long as you pressed on the adhesive hard enough. So, I decided to give it a try!

The winery that hosted the event was very quaint. The event itself was hosted in the cellar of the winery, which was chilly but warmed up quick with all the people and wine in one room! It was adorably decorated with white string lights draped around the barrels and stands.

It wasn’t long before the table started to become crowded with wine and blank wooden boards. I had picked my design in advance: a beer bottle opener that you mount on the wall sporting the phrase “Beer tastes better in CLE” with the Cleveland skyline. Even though I knew what I would be creating, I was so excited to see if I could do it well and if I could make it come out the way I wanted. I’m proud to say that it came out almost better than I expected!

I chose to stain my board grey, and paint with white and a bright minty blue color. This color scheme could only be more “me” if you added coral pink to it! I absolutely ADORE the way it came out, and can’t wait to find the perfect spot to hang it in my apartment. There were so many other cute, creative signs at the event. It’s amazing how people can create a different product using the same design idea! And it’s nice because even though you’re following a template that a few others also have, you can so easily make it uniquely you.

They are actually hosting a Christmas sign-making event on December 10th that I so wish I could attend, but my family’s annual Christmas party will be held that day and they start at the same time. I might consider just doing my own craft night at home, though. We’ll see!

I definitely recommend checking out one of these events if you love wine and crafting. They keep popping up all over the place, and I’m sure it would be easy to find one near you! If you find one, sign up and take some friends with you. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

xo, Karli

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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