Suitcase Diaries: DENVER, COLORADO

“I actually cried at the top of a mountain range.
So yeah, it was humbling.”

Devil’s Head Trail

Denver, Colorado is such a unique travel experience. If you come from a city, Denver seems so vast. A lot of open land with emphasis on the natural beauty of the state. If you come from a small town, you feel both eagerness to explore yet comfortable touring the city and mountains.

Denver was a humbling experience for me. I traveled alone, yet spent all my time with my best friend. She has called the Centennial State her home for over three years, thus allowing me to come as a tourist and explore as a local. Talk about the ideal way to see a new place.

If I had to sum up the trip in 5 words: nature, peace, relaxation, inspiration, and ice cream (I’ll explain the last one later)

Let’s start with the highlight of the trip – the nature

Let me just say this… I traveled from Philadelphia. I am a city dweller, if you will. Fast walker, subway rider, quick thinker, and overall fast-paced lmao – I’m not used to slowing down. Or hiking mountains. Taking in the scenery. But let me just tell you about the SCENERY.

PRO TIP: don’t forget to put off your hiking for a day or so. It’s important to get acclimated to the higher elevation, especially if you come from a place close to sea level.

Our first hike was Devil’s Head Fire Lookout trail near Sedalia, CO.

Quick facts:

  • 2.8 miles round trip, roughly 2+ hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Elevation gain: +940 ft
  • Drive from Denver: 1 hr 15 min

Facts cited from: Day Hikes Near Denver

This was the perfect hike for a newbee like myself. Like I said, I’ve hardly ever stepped foot up a mountain (they makes PA mountains look like hills). I felt like I conquered this one, tho of course I stopped as necessary to catch my breath – and take photos, obvi.

There were many spots along the way to stop and take photos with breathtaking views. As you reach the top, you’ll spot a small cabin where the seasonal fire lookout rests from dusk to dawn. There are a multitude of fun facts in case you are interested in where they get their food, how often they come down the mountain, etc.

The view is outstanding, like nothing I have ever seen before. Snow-capped mountains in the distance look more like paintings. Loads of greenery and tops of trees. Natural rock fixtures and a bright blue, clear sky.

additional nature sights:

Lake Dillon centered by a vast body of still water and mountain scenery for a
jaw-dropping backdrop

Breckenridge typically covered in snow and skiers, I had the joy of seeing this in the summer and let me tell you, it was still bustling!

Loveland Pass (where I cried lol) we drove up this mountain with nonstop views until the very top where I naively presumed all to be seen was out my passenger side window. Wrong. So wrong.
360 views that resulted in me feeling so small, so grateful, and full of tears.

Next up, let’s discuss – brews and food

Bigsby Folly Winery

What better way to spend my first day getting acclimated than to tour a few breweries + a winery? Kidding, I don’t recommend getting wasted in your first 24 hours lol the elevation is like a generous bartender and will get you drunk. Fast.

Alas, if you are being careful (preferably with friends) and drinking a water in between beverages, it is a blast exploring the relaxing nature of breweries and rooftop bars in RiNo (River North Art District).

A few to name:

American Bonded an adorable rooftop bar (indoor seating also available) with a kickass bartender the day we were there – s/o to him. If you want a quick snack, this is your jam. We ordered cheese curds and the ranch was out of this world
Bigsby Folly winery with an industrial, retro, artsy vibe to it. Grab yourself a glass of wine. I’ll be the first to tell you that you deserve it!
Stem Ciders was probably my favorite location, as I’m a cider connoisseur. Loads of cider at this place, and a lot that are Denver specific

Onto food, as you’ll need some substance after dabbling in the brews:

BRECKENRIDGE

This town is a GEM. One of my favorite spots. Quaint and nestled between the mountains, this town offers a happy stroll along their main street for loads of window shopping and lunch options

Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar delicious and quick service during lunch. 10/10 would recommend the shrimp tempura roll and the crab Rangoon appetizer
TBar one of the food/drink options along the gondola ride to the top (PS – the gondola is free, just a small fee to park). Grab a drink and enjoy the view! Tons of food options here as well

Gondola ride in Breckenridge

UPTOWN

Park & Co. solid choice for a downtown dinner. A+ on my turkey burger and fries and again, the ranch slays
Coperta this Italian restaurant had me drooling the moment I laid eyes on its menu. I’m always good for a solid food recommendation and I’m telling you right now to get the spaghetti cacio e pepe (see below) or the rigatoni carbonara

LOWRY

Lowry Beer Garden okay, besides Coperta (who doesn’t adore pasta?) this was my FAVORITE meal. Low-key beer garden with quick service and high quality food, grab yourself a cider and a fish sandwich… or really anything else. This place won’t disappoint

I’ll never skip a cold brew & bagel:
Woodgrain Bagels your bagel heaven. Don’t skip this if you are nearby! Plain, everything, salt + pepper, onion, and the list goes on
Copper Door after your bagel, stop by this friendly quaint coffee shop where the barista ran out of cold brew but offered to hand brew a different batch of iced Americana (or something like that) – solid customer service

I told you I’d get back to the ice cream:
High Point Creamery the first night I was there we grabbed ice cream from here after dinner, and it’s the perfect way to end an evening! Delicious, creamy, and at least 10 flavors I’d never heard of before. Think: lavender… or French toast *drooling*
Rocket Ice Cream sitting right outside the Lowry Beer Garden (see above ^) the ice cream here is..
1. Conveniently located after you finish dinner in the beer garden
2. Offering unique flavors that make a delicious treat post-dinner

Lastly, I’d like to mention – miscellaneous things

If you’re a city dweller and want to explore the “busier” side of Denver, LoDo (lower downtown) is very walkable with the free MallRide and MetroRide. Union Station is very cool to see (not to mention clean!) and contains misc. shops/food options inside

If, by some chance, you are traveling from Lake Dillon to Breckenridge (you could make this a trip btw), please drive along Swan Mountain Road. I couldn’t stop sticking my head out the window and snapping photos – which even looked gorgeous from a moving car. This scenic route showcases houses on hills, bodies of water, and mountains in the background. This is best if you have a friend to drive so you can peek out the window 😉

My final tip is simply to keep in mind the airport is located about 45 mins from the city, give or take based on traffic. Not the worst, but be prepared for a long-ish Uber/Lyft ride depending on where you are staying. If you happen to have a friend in the city, you’re one lucky SOB.

My wrap-up thoughts? I’m in love! I think everyone should plan a trip here, hike at least once, treat yourself to some authentic breweries, and enjoy the peace. It is no wonder everyone in Colorado hikes on weekends, the mountains do wonders for a clear mind.

Xoxo,
Katrina
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Spironolactone for Hormonal Acne | 30 Day Update

And so goes the ongoing story of a girl in her mid-twenties who just can’t get her f*#king skin to cooperate. Listen, it’s an uphill battle. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We will get there and we will prevail eventually. But it’s going to take time. That’s the harsh reality of conquering hormonal acne. It creeps up on you quickly, but takes time to mend.

There are a multitude of reasons why you could have developed hormonal acne: hormone imbalance, gut issues, stress, food intolerance, and the list goes on. Thus being so, there is a varying list of remedies to help improve your skin. On the long list are some prescription options – two of them being Tretinoin and Clindamycin (which I have been prescribed now for 10 months).

Another item on the list of prescriptions that has been proven (in small dosage) to control acne: spironolactone.

Spironolactone is a medicine typically used to treat high blood pressure. Ironically, in lower doses, it can block the male hormones in our bodies which are known to cause oily skin and clogged pores. It is also a diuretic, which means it will make you pee a lot, so it’s important to consult your dermatologist and primary care doctor if you are interested in seeing if this is the right medication for you. Pro tip: drink a shit ton of water to ensure you are maintaining your hydration properly.

With all of this being said, here is a history of my skin issues and how Clindamycin and Tretinoin have come in to save the day. If you’re more of a video person, you’ll enjoy this version. They are nothing short of miracle workers.

HOWEVER, my skin is still not in check. Though exceedingly less than before, I still suffer from under-the-skin painful bumps. My skin is still blotchy and red, and my acne still gets rather enflamed. Essentially, I haven’t rid of it yet. This leads me to my new prescription (recommended by my dermatologist): spironolactone.

Disclaimer: I have read in several blog posts/articles that major changes on spironolactone aren’t seen until month 3 and on. However, I wanna give y’all the tea on how it’s affecting my skin in the first month. Enjoy!

Here is my 30 day skin diary after starting spironolactone.

After 1 week on spironolactone:

I have noticed an increase in breakouts and the intensity of them. Prior to starting this medication, my acne was maintainable with the occasional painful hormonal blemish. When it did flare up, it was concentrated. This week I have spots in new locations. Less than ideal, obviously. Also v painful. Alas, I read that this was happen so I am gritting my teeth and baring through it.

After 2 weeks on spironolactone:

This week I’m having the same issue, just trying to stick it out. Beauty is pain and beauty takes time, so I need to be patient. If I can achieve crystal clear skin in the long-term, I’ll suffer in the short-term. I have a couple new spots that are large and painful. Otherwise, I don’t notice much difference in my skin (as far as oil production).
*Interesting to note that I got a blemish on my back this week, which is very rare for me. I wonder if there is a purging stage to this and that’s what brought it to the surface.

After 3 weeks on spironolactone:

Not much has changed in my skin this week. MAYBE, if anything, I notice I am a little more on the dry side (typically, I am v oily and have a shiny t-zone by noon). No more large breakouts, but my skin isn’t calm. I have some redness and small blemishes, more than typically. I shall check in next week!

After 4 weeks on spironolactone:

Wowwwww my skin is fucked HAHAHAHA – all we can do is laugh really, am I right? Listen, we will prevail. It’s all trial and error and if I didn’t document this then I’d be suffering ALONE. I just stole a peek at my skin in the bathroom at work, and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. It’s patchy, flaky, dry skin season bitchessss.
Again, obviously not happy about it.
However, I can see it through for the long run gain. Here’s hoping my 3 month progress report shows a bit more clarity (in my skin & goals for this medication).

My final wrap up

So that’s THAT. Fun stuff. Not gonna lie, I’m ending this a little bitter. It’s a bummer to not see results after a month on a new medication, which is seemingly making my skin worse. But I will say, everything I’ve read said things start to improve around that 3 month marker. I am hanging in there and believing in that 3 month revolutionary morning I wake up with crystal clear skin. Lol. Okay, a little over-dramatic as far as expectations are concerned, but that’s what I’m known for.

Signing off with dry, flaky skin. Cheers to the 3 month check-in which will *hopefully* bring more positivity. Here’s an adorable photo of myself to boost morale. Cheers.

Xoxo,
KS Loves

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5 Tricks to Slow Down Time on Vacation

I want to talk about something. Something along the lines of self care. Today’s topic will be how to slow down time on vacation.

Sounds tricky, right? How often do you get so excited while packing, arrive at your destination, have the time of your life, and have to start packing up way too early? All too often, am I right?

Hang with me here.

I want to encourage you to think about your next vacation and how you can slow it down, enjoy the sights, and take in your experience. Vacation can be a time of self-reflection and relaxation. A chance to reset from the daily grind of work or school. A time to put yourself first and to check in with yourself: How are you feeling? has your mind been racing? Has work been stressing you out? You get the gist.

Here are five tips to slowing down time on vacation:

Bring a book

This is so important. I like to bring two: one fiction and one non-fiction/self help. I love getting lost in a good story while I’m sitting by the ocean, not to mention it’s the most soothing place to focus and smash a few chapters. Reading provides a chance to escape reality and let the worries melt away.
If you’re into self-help books, this brings you the opportunity to self-reflect. There are no distractions when you sit down with a good book on the beach (well, besides someone handing you a beer) and this provides a great chance to check in with yourself. Take a moment to reset, and find a book that will help bring you peace of mind. It’s important that we do this every so often or it becomes harder to track our feelings.

Wake up early & grab a cup of coffee with a view

THIS. Omg. This. You need to get up early (at least two of the days, c’mon I know you have it in you). Spend some solo time with a cup of coffee – or tea, I’m not here to judge. Once you do it, simply be alone with yourself. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. By waking up early, you are quite literally creating more time for yourself on vacation. Proud of you.

Grab your chair and sit near the waves

Next up, I’ma need you to grab your beach chair and sit close enough so that the ocean washes up over your toes. This, of course, applies to those at the beach. Or idk, maybe you are hiking and pass a creek or lazy river. Put your toes in the water. Slow down, listen, pay attention to the feeling of cool water on your toes. This gives you another chance to slow time down a little and practice some mindfulness. Focus on feelings: sights, sounds, smells, sensations.

Don’t ignore your family (actually sit and chat with them, catch up, have real conversations instead of walking by)

I’m guilty of walking past my mom or dad, even my brother and just saying “Morning,” and walking away without having any real conversation. I challenge you to relish the time you have with family on vacation, because my guess is you don’t see them that often! A lot of us work 9-5 for five days a week, and live hours, if not thousands of miles, from our family. Take this time and relish in it. How often do you get to spend a set amount of time together? Use this time to catch up and check in on one another; I’m sure you’ll feel fulfilled by the end of your trip.

Take a walk or go for a bike ride

This is so important! Get yourself some exercise. Again, I’m going to bring this back to mindfulness. If you create the opportunity to walk/bike and clear your mind, you can focus on actual feelings in your body. Think: sights, sounds, smells, sensations. Not to mention, biking for a couple miles will tire you and the minutes literally tick by slowly when all you want to do is stop. Lmao.

Remember: any act of mindfulness will help time slow down. Life doesn’t need to feel rushed 24/7. Check in with yourself. Ask the following:

  • How am I feeling?
  • Have I experienced stress/anxiety lately?
  • What comes to mind when I think of lingering stress? Follow-up: how can I rid of said stress?

All of this being said, I hope it helps you maintain a sense of balance in your mind. When we are not rushing through our thoughts and feelings, we don’t rush through life. Thus, creating more time and slowing time down.

Thank you for hanging out with me today! Lmk any and all thoughts you have below.

AMAZON swimsuits under $25

“Why spend $50/piece when you can get a whole swimsuit for half the price?”

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WAZZUP, fam jam! Hi, hello, and welcome to my review of AMAZON swimwear under $25. Yes, you heard (read) me right, under twenty-five dollars. I have four swimsuits to review for you, and I’m hype about it. I hope you are too.

If you’re looking to save some ca$h money on swimwear, you’re in the right place. I know y’all know wassup with bikini pieces costing $40+ EACH. I’m not down to fuck with that. No thanks, sis. I want quality and style and I don’t want to spend half a paycheck.
TO DISCLAIM: I am 5’4” and 150 lbs. Personal, but I know it helps when peeps are buying swimsuits to know body measurements.
PS – read the Amazon reviews!!! I can’t preach this enough. Check photos. See if a suit runs small or large. Look at how it fits on consumers. This is how I nailed this so well and minimized my returns.

Let’s start with the TWO PIECE I bought – this lil’ red number which made me feel super sexy on my honeymoon.

This suit cuts at the right spots and sits perfectly on my body. I am definitely on the curvy side, with a large caboose to fit in the back, if you know what I’m sayin’. Not gonna lie, for my honeymoon I was looking for some cheeky pieces, and this fits the number. But hear me out, it’s not TOO cheeky. I think I’ll actually take this swimsuit on my family vacation.This suit is not too tight and the bottoms cover up the lower part of my tummy, which I highly appreciate.

PERKS – high-waisted, fits snug but not too tight, doesn’t show too much booty, padding included
COST – $19.99
SIZE – medium

ONTO THE NEXT, a spicy one-piece which makes for GREAT photos. And is flattering to wear.

Who doesn’t love a black bathing suit? Flatters, smoothes, and looks great on everyone. This suit is also high-waisted but I did have to pull it up just a bit to cover my belly button a few times. Not that this suit should cover your belly button (lol), but that’s to give you a reference of how far up my stomach it came. I like this suit a lot, and felt smokinnnn in it. It’s more cheeky than the last suit (I wouldn’t wear this on a family vacay), so it’s perfect for some one-on-one time with your S.O. *insert fire emoji, which is my fav cause it means spicy and HOT*

This suit does have adjustable straps for your comfort, as well as a tie-front to the top that let’s you adjust your bosom. Lol. Okay I need to move on before I start coming up with other weird descriptors of this one.

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PERKS – high-waisted and straps are customizable, sexy cut-outs, staple piece swimsuit, padding included
COST – $18.99
SIZE – large (size up for this one)

Okay this is a recent addition of mine, this one-piece minty blue lemon swimsuit. How freaking adorable.

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I love the fun that is captured in this one-piece. It’s stylish, cute, can be worn with some denim shorts to a pool party. I just… am in love. Again with this piece I read reviews and looked at photos of actual consumers before purchasing. Everything I read said it ran true to size and I would agree! Straps are adjustable which makes for a comfy fit.

lrm_export_997858505170433_20190427_2104131054831778900797765216.jpegI’d say this is “family beach trip” approved. It’s not meant to be cheeky but when you have junk in the trunk like me it tends to happen J but I wouldn’t call this “too cheeky” to be inappropriate. I love this suit!

PERKS – adjustable straps, cute print and vibrant colors, fits true-to-size, padding included
COST –$24.99
SIZE – medium

Psssst, I have ONE MORE for you as I thought it wasn’t going to arrive for another two weeks – yay! My final swimsuit is a two-piece with a fun print and vibrant colors.

lrm_export_997870412015056_20190427_2104250042113228542494579870.jpegTHIS suit. Is. Mother fucking EVERYTHING. Not tight, gorgeous print, great quality, and so damn flattering. It hides most of your tummy (if that’s what you’re looking for) with high-waisted bottoms and a ruffled top. The print is adorable (I’m even ordering it in another color LMAO) and it fits like a glove.

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It is completely family vacation approved with little cheek action in the back. Luckily it does fit me around the waist but I will say it does seem kind of snug in the waistband and leave little room to “fluctuate.” Lol. Ladies, I know you feel me on this. Nevertheless I’m very comfortable in it and I love the way it flatters my tummy anyways!

PERKS – can wear with/without the straps, cute print and vibrant colors, fits true-to-size, padding included, covers the belly
COST –$18.99
SIZE – mediumSoooo what are your thoughts?! Have you ordered swimwear/fashion items from Amazon before? How is the quality? Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Xoxo,
KS Lovesred lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
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Affiliate Disclaimer: all Amazon links are affiliate links which means I earn a very small commission on a purchase through the link. You are not obligated to use my links, but of course it helps support me running this blog and finding the gems to share! 🙂

MY FITNESS ROUTINE: cardio & strength training

“It’s about time I get my ass in shape.”

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HEYOOOO – interested in toning up? I suppose it is about that time as you know they all say, “bikini bods are made in the winter,” LMAO. I know, it’s spring, chill.

Okay so bikini bodies can also be made in the spring. Don’t freak out. And as a disclaimer: ALL BODIES ARE BIKINI BODIES. CAPICHE? Ain’t nobody who should be hiding behind a one-piece or a cover-up. OWN IT – you are built the way you are and you don’t need to change that.

However, with that being said, I’ve been on a bit of a fitness journey since the start of 2019 (hello, New Year’s resolution that’s actually stuck). Along with this fitness journey I’ve tried to clean up my eating and TONE TF UP. I’m tired of wasting my 20s feeling sluggish with bad exercise habits.

Next time I’m at the doctor and they ask, “How often do you exercise?” I wanna say “3-5 times a week, mothafuckaaaa.” LMAO JK – obviously I won’t respond like that. But maybe.

Okay okay, on with the routine.

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Since starting my fitness journey, I’ve made it a habit to exercise weekly. I’ve picked up fitness classes at the gym as well as outdoor running (weather permitting). I’ve started to incorporate strength training and not just cardio.

Two important pieces here:

  1. Notice I used the word habit. Same as building a routine. If you push yourself to just get up and DO IT, it will become a routine. If it’s a routine, it will feel more natural and like less of a “ah fuck, I have to go workout again?” Trust me. Put in the work for 2 weeks and see how you feel.
  2. Incorporate strength training! It’s so important! Sure, you can practice cardio 2-3 times a week to slim down or maintain your weight, but you’re missing out on toning your muscles. Me personally, I want to feel STRONG, and not just workout to maintain my body weight.

HERE’S HOW MY ROUTINE GOES:

Monday – some sort of cardio/strength/yoga. Depending on how I start my week here is how I base the rest of it. Recently, I’ve been attending a yoga class or doing some at-home strength training.
at-home video: Kalyn Nicholson strength training

Tuesday – OPPOSITE of yesterday. I’ve made it a habit of attending HIIT Cardio classes at my gym on Tuesday’s right after work.
*Not to mention I have a workout buddy and it’s SO HELPFUL. Holy shit. If there’s anything I can recommend – find a friend and drag their ass to the gym with you! There is power in numbers.
at-home video: 30 min full body HIIT

Wednesdaytake a rest day. You don’t need to be moving every day of the week and you gotta give your muscles a day to recover. Don’t waste all that hard work you’re putting in by throwing your body into overdrive.

Thursday – I’ll usually repeat what I did on Monday.

Fridayget some cardio in and go for a run. Take in the fresh air, get your blood pumping. It feels so good to work up a longer running distance week to week. Push yourself .5 miles further than your previous run.

Saturday & Sunday – these are sort of toss-up days. If for some reason I ran on a Thurs, I’ll get up early Saturday and run a few miles. It’s so nice to be up (not hungover) and enjoying the crisp morning air. Sometimes I’ll attend a yoga class on Sunday nights to clear my head for the week to come.
at-home video: Yoga with Adriene for anxiety & stress

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KEY TAKE-AWAY’S:

  • Switch it up! Don’t repeat the same exercise 4x a week. It’s important to work new muscles so your body doesn’t get used to the same routine. It’s easier to make progress when you incorporate new exercises.
  • Grab a buddy! Having someone there to attend a gym class or hit the running path with not only holds you accountable but pushes you to perform better.
  • Make it a routine! Don’t give up on yourself, this is the one body you have. Put energy in, get the results out. Push yourself to commit to a routine for 2 weeks and see if at the end of it, you feel compelled to continue.

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I hope this was helpful or at the very least, you enjoyed reading J it’s been so motivating to see results since starting this and I wanted to share the joy! Do you have a workout routine? If not, are you planning to start?

cardio & strength routine

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
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FabFitFun | Spring 2019 | Aromatherapy, Quay sunnies, OUAI haircare + MORE

HEY THERE FAM JAM – what’s crack-a-lackin??? Having a good weekend? I’m here to make it even better. This is the 2019 spring FABFITFUN box! It’s fulllllll of goodies and I can’t wait to show y’all what I’m loving & not so much.

Thanks for spending some time with me XOXO

PRODUCTS:
Unplug Meditation aromatherapy diffuser – $55.00
Trestique trio of eye makeup
The2Bandits Athens necklace – $30.00
Tula purifying facial cleanser – $28.00
Manna Kadar champagne charcoal body scrub – $34.95
OUAI leave-in conditioner – $26.00
Dr. Brandt needles no more eye gel – $42.00
Quay Vivienne sunnies in black/smoke – $60.00

MY RECENT CONTENT:
DRIVE W/ ME https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqcPoGdHbu0&t=614s
ANOTHER WEEKEND VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QcwB…
WEEKEND VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgwj5…

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ANIMATION from RIZONE CHANNEL OFFICIAL
Music: Summertime by Erik Lund

5 books into 2019 – here’s what I’m loving

“Who doesn’t love a chance to escape reality?”

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*NO SPOILERS, why would I do that to anyone? Obviously.*

HELLO, WHAT’S UP, WELCOME BACK. Today we are talking about BOOKS. I am 5 books deep into 2019 and there is some tea to spill. I mean, well, not really. But you get the gist. We’re here to chat fiction and non-fiction, some old and some new.

In this lineup we have two INCREDIBLY popular books from a series I can’t believe it took me until the age of 26 to read. We also have a memoir written by our former First Lady (here in the US of A), as well as two other fiction novels by a couple credited authors.

Let’s dive in! Books are listed in order of when I finished them (last one being the most recent read for me).

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House Rules by Jodi Picoult
I have a lot of thoughts about this book. Mainly, it’s a really long ass book for a semi-interesting ending. Did I have the ending figured out? No. Was I satisfied by the ending? No. Was it 532 pages? Yes, unfortunately.
I’ve heard incredible things about Jodi Picoult, and I will say, she’s a phenomenal writer. Her writing is what got me through all 500 pages. I was consumed by the story and it was incredibly interesting, but wow there was so much fluff that didn’t feel as if it gave credit to how the book comes to an end.
I will give one more of her books a try and probably cap it after that if I am uninterested.

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Looking for Alaska by John Green
Oh boy. Where to begin? I might have found this book intriguing if I were in the age range of 13-18 years old. Since I am 26, I didn’t relate to the high school drama/plot whatsoever. Even more frustrating was my lack in character interest – I just didn’t feel empathy for the characters, nor did I really like them.
What I think was an attempt at crafting an underlying plot of life after death (considering the class Miles was most interested in) and how to come to peace with the passing of loved ones felt rushed. I actually really enjoyed the final pages in this book about energy neither starting nor ending, but taking different shapes and sizes throughout its journey. I wish there was more to the story and how that relates to a lifetime, or previous life, etc.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
HOW did I let myself get so old without reading these books? HOW??? The first one, while containing a lot of info to set up who is Harry Potter, what are muggles, and why did you-know-who kill those people, is an incredible read. You could knock this book out in one sitting if you put your reading glasses on. lol. It’s so damn good. And when I think of the story being written in the 90s, I’m even more impressed. It’s so “futuristic” I am in love.
The book is definitely tailored to a younger reader’s comprehension, but I hear they get a lot more complex at the series continues. GOOD STUFF.

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Becoming by Michelle Obama
This book was slow to start (as it seemed repetitive), but SO WORTH the read. So worth it. If you can power through the first 150 pages until you get into Michelle’s young adult career, meeting Barack, and simultaneously choosing to have kids/pursue the political career, you’ll thoroughly enjoying finishing the second half of this book. Michelle is inspirational, powerful, and best of all – relatable.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
WOW – as if the first one couldn’t get any better, the second book took it to the next level for me. J.K. Rowling – goddamn! What a mastermind. The plot thickens a lot in this book and we learn so much more about Harry and his talents by nature. I feel like we are really picking up speed and I’m full force ahead onto book #3.

SO THAT’S A WRAP on my “5 books into 2019 segment”. What are your thoughts? Have you read these? I know 99% of you are like “yes bitch we all read the HP series a decade ago.” I know, I know. I’m catching up!!! Cut me some slack. It’s magical getting to experience this for the first time now.

Thanks for stopping by and spending your time with me.

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
YouTube: youtube.com/katrinasm
Instagram: ksloves
Twitter: ksloves_
Pinterest: ksloves_

DRIVE W/ ME | Sing-along, antique shopping, & podcast recommendations

There was a lot more jam packed into this vid than I expected there to be LMAO full song list below. Also, here’s everything else I referenced – I need to learn to shut up so I don’t create more work for myself ahahaha fuck..

PODCAST RECOMMENDATIONS:
Sh*t they don’t tell you – Nikki Limo & Steve Greene
Just a tip! – Megan Batoon
Chicks in the office – Ria & Fran
Coffee Talk – Kalyn Nicholson
Coffee Convos – Kail Lowry & Lindsie Chrisley
Armchair Expert – Dax Shepard

SONGS (in order):
Treacherous – Taylor Swift
I knew you were trouble – Taylor Swift
All too well – Taylor Swift
22 – Taylor Swift
We are never ever getting back together – Taylor Swift
The last time – Taylor Swift ft. Gary Lightbody
Everything has changed – Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran
Starlight – Taylor Swift
Begin Again – Taylor Swift
Back to December – Taylor Swift
Turning out – AJR
No grass today – AJR
Three-thirty – AJR
I’m not famous – AJR
Come hang out – AJR
Burn the house down – AJR
I’m ready – AJR
Livin’ on love – AJR

MY RECENT CONTENT:
ANOTHER WEEKEND VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QcwBH7ZVas&t=822s
WEEKEND VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgwj5…
MORNING YOGA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO-BS…

Blog: https://ksloves.wordpress.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ksloves
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ksloves_
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ksloves_/

Music: All Night – Ikson

5 healthy habits for your life, body & soul

“It’s time to get my mind, body, and soul aligned.”

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HEY FAM, WHAT’S UP? I’ve missed writing. So we’re diving back into it. Also because I’ve taken a small break from YouTube for the time being while it’s been hard to find time to film. It’s easier to film vlogs so I don’t have to set up a scene with a background and lights and all that shit. Know what I’m sayin’? Irrelevant, so let’s move on.

While I have you here, I want to talk to you about 5 big (but easy) changes I’ve made since the start of this year and how I’ve stuck with them. I also want to dive into how I’ve been feeling since making these changes and how it’s positively affected the health of my body and mind.

I turned 26 at the end of 2018, and the past few years of my life have felt simultaneously peaked, but like a clusterfuck all at the same time (lmao – anyone else?).

Since 2017, here’s a list of some pretty crazy life events:
– I had bell’s palsy (shitty)
– I got married (peak of my life)
– I developed cystic acne (shitty)
– I traveled outside the US for the first time (fun & exciting)
– I experienced anxiety (shitty & terrifying)
– Started a YouTube channel (both exciting & scary)

These are just a few examples of how my life has been back and forth recently. I have an amazing fucking life, don’t think I’m saying I don’t. I just want to plant the seed for explaining why I felt the need to make the following 5 life changes and the passion behind implementing them.

I’m in my mid-twenties, it’s time for me to take control of my life and not watch it pass me by. Capisce? Here’s what I’ve been doing to improve my all-around health.

Make the gym a routine

THIS HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE. Truly. When you feel strong, you feel good. It’s as simple as that. Not to mention feeling confident in your body s the most gratifying reward.
It doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t have to run on empty.
Start slow and easy. The best way I’ve found to incorporate a new routine is to take it step-by-step.
– join a gym
– commit to 1-2 fitness classes a week
– give strength training or at-home workout routines a try
– just GO and get yourself there
– don’t let “I’m out of shape and don’t know where to start” stop you!

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I promise you, if you start and commit to one week at a time, your routine will fall into place. I’ve fallen in love with a good sweat session of HIIT cardio, strength training with squats and weights, and even struggling through a yoga class. The point is, I’m making myself go – no excuses. And the beauty of it is it’s turned into a routine for me so I feel compelled (and even enjoy) to exercise weekly.

Pick up a book & set a reading goal

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THIS. Who else has a reading goal set for the year? Let me start by saying, I ADORE GOODREADS.COM – it is my ride or die reading platform. You can log and review any book you have ever read, and keep track of books you want to read. Finishing a book almost becomes addicting as I want to immediately rush to Goodreads and hear what people are saying and how those thoughts align with my own.
Seeing your reading goal and progress of books you are currently reading as a physical motivator helps to maintain this goal and set to achieving it.
Similar to the gym routine, start slow and easy. You don’t need to set a reading goal for the year, but how about you start by picking up a book? Or downloading an audiobook? Reading has given me an extra release of stress in the evenings as I wind down from work and turn my mind to OFF. Not to mention you can escape your own reality 😉

Make healthier choices as to what I put in my body

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Oh baby. Boy, oh boy, is this one tricky. Again, my mantra here today is: SLOW AND EASY. You don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. Maybe your first step is cutting out pre-packaged breakfast bars in the morning and substituting that for fruit or overnight oats.
There is no need to stop eating all sweets and sugars, but maybe you can substitute healthier options one at a time. Here are the substitutes I’ve been making:


breakfast: no more packaged bfast bars w/ loads of carbs and sugar
try instead: fresh fruit & Greek yogurt, overnight oats, eggs and toast
lunch: cut out packaged meals such as easy-mac and rice-a-roni
try instead: leftovers from dinner the night before! cook a little extra so this step is a no-brainer
dinner: cut out frozen meals
try instead: fresh veggies, marinated meats (chicken & beef), whole grain pasta/rice
snacks: again, cut out the packaged food
try instead: walnuts, whole fruit, and girl allow yourself some chocolate once in awhile xo

Implementing this step has led to a stronger fitness journey (and easier since I’m not slowed down by unnecessary sugar in my diet). Plus it’ll allow you to see the results you are looking for much faster. In general, I feel better when I am putting healthier food into my body.

Take time to reflect: journaling & yoga

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JOURNALING: Don’t even think about this one – just do it. This is as easy as writing your thoughts/feelings onto lined paper. You don’t have to buy a fancy $30 planner. You can even keep a journal in Google docs. However it is, start writing. It may not be your thing, but how can you know until you begin? I found out very quickly that bullet journaling is the most natural way for me to keep track of how I am feeling as well as checking in with myself (which we often forget to do).

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YOGA: one suggestion – Yoga with Adriene. She is calming and has a yoga for every stress in your life. Back pain? She has a routine. Hungover? Yeah, there’s one for that too. Feeling anxious? This meditation melts the tightness in my chest and I feel brand new before bed. Don’t think – just try it.
Wondering what it’s like to try yoga for 7 days straight? I did, and here is my experience.

Spend less time on my phone & turn off social media notifications

This one is new for me, but damn is it having a huge impact on my mind. There are ways to disable notifications, limit your time on apps, etc. Just check your phone settings. I have the Google Pixel and on it there is a Digital Wellbeing section in ‘settings’. I know iPhones have a similar feature, and if there’s one thing you take from this, please go to this feature and check your screen time for today.

Is it higher than you expected? Lower? Regardless, maybe it can be better.

I started to feel like my phone was taking over my mind. I could come home after work and spend 45 mins scrolling on social media instead of having a conversation with my husband. Or how about watching IG stories at lunch instead of reading a book (I kicked this habit and now read non-fiction during lunch).

This is a personal goal of mine, and it may not be for everybody, but I wasn’t happy with how addicted I felt to my phone. It’s quite cringey, tbh. I turned off all notifications for IG, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Below is a screenshot of my time spent on my phone from one Wednesday to the next. Look at the difference in screen time on Instagram. Not to mention I was on my phone about 2/3 LESS than a week before. Just seeing the decrease in time lowers my stress. Lol. Anyone else?


WOW. This was wordy. I hope it wasn’t too much. If you made it this far, thank you for investing time in reading. Did you pick up some good habits? Do you already do some of these? I’m curious to know – what else should I be doing?

It starts as a small change, but makes a huge impact on your health. LOVE YOU ALL – take care of yourself.

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Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
YouTube: youtube.com/katrinasm
Instagram: ksloves
Twitter: ksloves_
Pinterest: ksloves_

ANOTHER WEEKEND VLOG | Let’s chat: fitness & facials

HEY THERE FRIENDS of the interweb. What’s crack-a-lackin’? I need to write this fast as my husband is on his way home from a weekend trip and I need to clean the house LOL – this past week includes some gym time, yoga, food (as always), and we chat about my first facial experience!

hope you enjoy this and as always thank you for spending time with me xoxo

MENTIONED IN VIDEO:
Kalyn Nicholson lower body strength training routine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox58FHI7jMI
Yoga with Adriene (yoga in beginning of video) https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
Facial was from Lather Up http://www.latherhairstudio.com/lather-up/

MY RECENT CONTENT:
WEEKEND VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgwj56ZSLIo&t=1201s
MORNING YOGA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO-BS…
DATE NIGHT MAKEUP https://youtu.be/UAIvXaQfU6w

Blog: https://ksloves.wordpress.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ksloves
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ksloves_
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/ksloves_/

ANIMATION from RIZONE CHANNEL OFFICIAL