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!
YouTube: youtube.com/katrinasm
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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! 🙂

Honeymoonin’ in Ocho Rios, Jamaica @ Sandals Resort

“Wah gwaan!”

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Yes that’s right I now speak Patwa. Well… I speak two words which translate to, “What’s going on” but I like to think I got the hang of the lingo.*

If you’re interested in my YouTube vlog on this trip, find it here!

Patwa is still English, but with a Jamaican dialect. Natives will tell you it’s a lazier and faster way of speaking LMAO. Kind of matches their pace of life, which mimics the phrase they preach over and over again, “You’re on Jamaican (or island) time.” Meaning there are no deadlines and there is no rushing to make a dinner reservation. While you are on vacation, or just in Jamaica in general it seems, forget your worries and let time slow itself down. The conversations we had and the experiences we led seemed to take place in their own little world, a world void of crowded subway cars as you rush to work and talking over people to get your point across.

What I am trying to say is… time moved a little bit slower in Ocho Rios Jamaica, and for that I am grateful.

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Okay now into the juicy stuff – FOOD, BOOZE, ENTERTAINMENT. Jamaica doesn’t lack in any of these departments and you’ll quickly fall in love with “Jerk” everything.

We stayed at a Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for 9 nights as part of our honeymoon. We didn’t want to do a darn thing. I wanted to sit, relax, read a book (which I hardly even did lol), and just be… MARRIED! Sandals made all our dreams come true.

You are greeted with a romantic heart-shaped towel with rose petals in the middle, cheesy but sweet. A bottle of champagne and white wine chilled in the fridge along with a fully-stocked bar. Do you have the chills yet? Since the resort is all-inclusive, you can order as many drinks and food items as your heart desires.

img_20181106_184423.jpgRoom service at 9:00 pm after a long day of flights? Done. Breakfast buffet for an early rise at 7:30 am? YES PLEASE. Endless drinks on the beach and swim-up pools. I could probably stand in one location and see two bars either direction. You probably have goosebumps from how L U S H that sounds. Because I do just writing this.

We booked a couples massage at their Red Lane Spa – our first ever – and it was
AH-MAZING to say the least. 90 minutes of pure relaxation and stress melting from the body. All those wedding dilemmas and stressful decisions faded to nothing and the masseuses did. their. thing. And they did it well.One of my FAVORITE experiences – tho it is an additional $200 from what you pay for the resort *ouch* – is the private candlelight dinner for you and your honey. Listen, it’s your mf honeymoon, go on wit ya bad self. You will not regret it. I ordered surf n’ turf and the hubbs got steak and it was one of our favorite meals there. It was incredibly romantic having a private dinner and you get to choose one of several locations they can host them. Book this once you check in!

Another place to splurge, even just for a day is the BEACH CABANA. Not the ones by the pool, hit up those beach ones Oceanside. It will accompany a personal butler, 15 min neck/back massage, lunch brought to you, and endless shade for those of you with Irish skin like mine (catch what I’m saying). This is SOOOOO worth it for the experience and privacy you get on the beach with top-notch service from 10 am until 5 or 6 pm – I can’t remember exactly when it ends (island time, remember?)

If I had to choose my top three favorite restaurants on the resort, I’d say you must eat at Kimonos (hibachi grill), Le Gourmand (fancy French restaurant), and the private candlelight dinner. These are my top three choices for food. If you don’t want to spend the additional $$$ to do #3, which I can’t blame you, then I’d slide Kelly’s (seafood on the pier) or Sky Terrace (balance of all taste buds) into that third slot.

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Breakfast: Sky Terrace has a phenomenal buffet and I am still dreaming of their bacon ends and jerk sausage. Le Gourmand featured a scrumptious banana caramel French toast when I was there and it was so good I ate it twice during my trip.*Order a mimosa or two every morning for added fun.

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Sandals Ochi has 11 bars for unlimited service of all the beer, wine, and liquor you can handle. The bartenders are incredibly nice and will make pretty much anything. You can even order shots! HELLO – save the calories lmao. But be careful. They are a fun bunch and it can get rowdy quickly.
My recommended drinks: Miami Vice with rum on top, Dirty Banana, and the Hummingbird. If you’re a wuss with shots, ask for something fruity.

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Before you leave, plan at least one late night (if you’re grandparents like us and want to go to bed at 9 pm) and head to the speakeasy on the hillside. You need a passcode to get in but any staff member will tell you. And trust me, you will make friends with the staff, they are the nicest people I’ve ever met. After the Rabbit Hole, head over to the beach bar on the beachside that sits under the Italian restaurant. This place bumps hard after hours with all the jams you 20 somethings like to groove to.

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I think I have cover most (not all b/c I’d need a blog post: part 2) of my favorite things about Sandals Ocho Rios. We already want to go back and writing this has solidified my thoughts of it being the best vacation spot ever. It was a treat living a week in paradise and an honor to meet such sweet and caring people. It is definitely not goodbye, but a ‘see you later’ type place.Until next time, Ocho Rios.

Xoxo,
KS Lovesred lips isolated in white
I love to meet new people!
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NASH BASH – How to Plan a Bachelorette Weekend in Nashville

“SO YOU WANNA SAY ‘YEEHAW’ AND EAT CHICKEN & BISCUITS
IN THE CITY OF MUSIC, YES?”


*HUGE shout-out to my MOH for planning a killer bachelorette trip and making it so memorable. xoxo

Nashville is a fu*#ing blast – and don’t @ me about it. It’s not here to play, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It is, however, a good compromise between Crazy Vegas Party and Laid Back Charleston. And that’s why I chose it for my bachelorette weekend.

NO REGRETS.

You will eat some of the best food, meet some of the nicest people, and rock out 24/7 to live country music *and some other genres occasionally* Our time was limited as we went on a Saturday through Monday trip. In case you are wondering if the City of Music shuts down on Sundays, it doesn’t. You will still be able to eat all the good food and dance to the beat of live music – all while enjoying crowded but not packed bars (my friends and I don’t like being squished like sardines any more than you do).

First things first – rent an AirBNB house! Live a little bit of a lush life while you’re there. It’s worth it, treat yoself! Especially considering you can rent a house nightly for the price of a hotel room rate. You may be a short Uber ride into downtown, but it will be SO worth it and a little bit of luxury never hurt no one. Here is a link to the house we stayed in. Highly recommend for a group of 7-10 or so people.

HERE’S WHAT I’D RECOMMEND:

  1. You must must MUST take part in the Ponton Saloon (essentially a booze cruise with good country jams and BYOB) 
  2. DEFINITELY eat brunch at the Tavern over the weekend (worth the wait but you can also call ahead on your way there to put your name in) and while you wait you can drink at the bar HEYOOOO
  3. More places to EAT:
    Nashville hot chicken and Mac n cheese – ACME
    Solid choice for casual lunch and drinks – Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar
    Grab coffee – 8th and Roast
  4. Hit the BARS baby – Tootsies, ACME, Nudie’s, and Honky Tonk Central are all blasts day or night.
    *A lot of the bars are open until 3 AM which makes for a bomb ass time if your group can rally 

Essentially, Nashville is a hell of a time and a lot to fit in while there for 48 hours – but it is doable! The food is great, people are chatty, and bar scene is poppin’ off. Already thinking about another girl’s trip because there is so much to see and do.

Have you been to Nashville or are you thinking of planning a trip?! LMK if you’ve heard of other site-seeing I didn’t mention as I’d love to know for my next NASH BASH.

 


Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
Instagram: ksloves
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30 Days on the Keto Diet: 5 Changes in my Body

“I’m going Keto, hold the Guido – any Jersey Shore fans present?”

SO I MADE IT A MONTH WITHOUT PASTA oh my lanta I never thought I’d see the day. 30 days. No pasta, no rice, no bread, none of that. It feels pretty damn good, I gotta say.

Why did I begin keto? I have three reasons:

  1. I wanted to begin putting good/fresh ingredients into my body – I am coming up on 26 and ya girl has been bloated for months.
  2. I wanted to see if I felt a difference – in my mind, body, and appearance.
  3. Someone was willing to commit alongside me – thank you to the fiancé and my best work buddy, Abby.

So those are my reasons for starting. Were there a few weeks of adjustment? Yes, definitely. You are cutting out carbs and sugar and eating more fresh *not packaged* food. Your body is gonna be like, “dude, wtf.”

The keto diet works once your body enters ketosis. Your energy is then pulled from body fat as opposed to fast-burning sugar/carbs. That is the extent I know about that – I am not a dietician nor am I a keto expert. But yes, I’ve done the research on how to be healthy with this “diet.”
*The reason I don’t like calling it a diet is because it’s a healthier lifestyle and after a month of eating this way and the improvements I’ve seen, I’d like to incorporate the new way of looking at food into a daily mindset.

MY FIRST WEEK OF KETO:

This week was rough. I keep a “keto food diary” to track how I’m feeling, energy levels, and what I am eating so I can see what my body responds positively to. The first 4 days I hit a wall immediately after lunch. My mind was kind of hazy and it made it difficult to concentrate at work. I kept wanting to get up and walk around. Keeping with the diet, I kept up with my water consumption and felt worlds better by 3:00 pm. In fact, around this time each day I then felt super alert as if it were 9:00 am again.

Towards the second half of the week I was craving SWEETS so badly. To mediate this, my fiancé and I found a great keto lemon poppyseed muffin recipe (in case you’re interested). You can also make fat bombs to curb your sweet tooth, but we have yet to do so.

SECOND WEEK OF KETO:

This week was MUCH easier – like so much. I wasn’t craving as much sweets and found more joy in the fact I could eat bacon for breakfast. Now I am excited for my lunches and dinners because riced cauliflower is a treat to me (hello, such a good rice substitute!)

I’ve expanded my meats a little more and picked up some shrimp and salmon cause ya girl cannot live off of beef and chicken on a regular basis. The variety in the seafood helps to not feel “limited” as far as what you can eat.

The was the first time someone invited me out to eat so I kept it keto and went for a salad, swapped the crispy chicken for grilled and the sugary dressing for balsamic vinaigrette. It’s better than the honey mustard they were going to coat it in! Being at the restaurant did kind of stink as far as options: you essentially can’t have any appetizers and if I eat a sandwich without a bun and swap fries for broccoli I will be hungry in 30 mins.

I do notice a drastic difference in my hormonal breakouts, they are a lot smaller and fewer. I am also feeling much more energized and concentrated, not to mention sleeping like a ROCK.

THIRD WEEK OF KETO:

This week felt incredible – and I actually mean that. I am sleeping so well and that is lending me much more/higher quality energy throughout the day. I’m completely over those mid-afternoon fogs that initially took over my brain. I have felt much lighter and my tummy continues to flatten, as opposed to constantly feeling bloated and heavy.

I’ve noticed it’s been a bit labored during my aerobic workouts, but it’s nothing I can’t push myself through. Any time I go to the gym to lift weights (and by that I mean small dumbbell sets – c’mon, I am no gym rat), I feel great and very strong!

I can’t really comment on my skin this week because I recently started two topical gels and those are making my skin go a little wonky. I will update my overall thoughts on how my skin looks once the month is over.

FOURTH WEEK OF KETO:

I have felt fully healthy and energetic. My stomach is 75% flatter than it was when I started. I eat cheese, butter, heavy cream, soup, keto pizza and do not feel as if I crave carbs/sugar. I mean sure, I’d love a bowl of penne a la vodka – but, I’m not in need of it. I can pass and have some riced cauliflower. ya dig?

As promised, here are 5 changes I’ve noticed after 30 days on keto:
Weight – I lost 7 pounds
Skin – for the first week I noticed a HUGE difference in my skin. I typically deal with hormonal cystic acne under my jaw and I was barely getting any new blemishes – which was awesome. About a week and a half in, however, I started two topical gels. Therefore I feel I can only comment on what I noticed prior to starting those prescriptions
Concentration – INSANELY GOOD. I feel much less distracted at work and can spend hours in the morning/afternoon working productively on a given task
Energy – my energy levels are great and I am doing so much better getting myself to the gym. My workouts are stronger, and I’m seeing a difference in the tone of my body – it’s awesome
Cravings – The cravings get so much easier then further you get into keto. On day 30 it wasn’t difficult to say no to donuts, ice cream, and pizza at work parties (I know, INSANE)
Do I enjoy it and do I plan to continue the keto way of life?
I do really enjoy keto, and plan to maintain it for awhile longer. I think it’s a great way to kickstart a healthy lifestyle while reasonably eating better (I mean cheese, cheese, everything) know what I’m saying? Eventually I will re-introduce whole grain pasta and breads, but I now know I can eat much less of it.

And packaged food! You don’t need it! Skip those unnecessary carbs/sugar and make yourself some bacon and eggs for breakfast instead of a granola bar.

Just because I know people live for it, here is a photo of me day 1 versus day 30 – go easy on me as no one looks flattering at 7 am!
*Left is day 1 and right is day 30*

Have you tried keto? What are your thoughts? Are you interested in giving it a shot? I’m so curious if anyone else has given it a go!

Xoxo,
KS Loves

red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
Instagram: ksloves
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Whhhaaattt – Real Neat Blog Award

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Off Her Mocha wrote a very enticing blog post after her nomination for a Real Neat Blog Award and if you’d fancy a read I’ma link that bad bittie here. Thank you so much for nominating me to do this next! I love sharing more about myself and hope anyone that stops by to read this enjoys my answers to learn a lil’ more about ya girl KS Loves…

THE RULES:
Put the award logo on your blog.
Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Out of all of your blog posts, which has been your favourite to produce?

You know what, I gotta say all of my Wanderlust Wednesday and Empties products posts. I flippin’ loooove reviewing food and trying out new restaurants on a regular occurrence. I also love writing empties reviews because who doesn’t love a solid review of something someone has completely used up and whether or not they’ll purchase it again?! Those are my holy grail posts.

What is your idea of a successful blog?

Engaging. I want to be able to excite others and entice people to have conversations over anything and everything.

What are your 3 most-played songs at the moment?

Shape of You and What Do I Know? by Ed Sheeran
Of All Things (ft. Too $hort) by G-Eazy

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

I have this really bizarre dream of wanting to experience Whoville IRL – and yes I know that’s impossible but I want to. So I guess Cindy Lou Hoo.

What were your New Years resolutions and have you stuck to them?

I have to be honest here I never really make New Years resolutions. If I set my mind to something at any point of the year, I do my best to follow through!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t ignore your gut feelings and your instincts. Have an itch to start something new? Do it! Feeling a bit of luck and inspiration? Go for it. Worried somebody or something is dragging you down? Ditch it.

What impact has having a blog had on you and your life?

Meeting sOoOoOo many new people from all over the world! I love it and feed off of the energy. Gives me so much courage and motivation to try new things and not be afraid of failure.

I’m going to nominate 3 people for this:

  1. Lulu over at Voudouri’s Views
  2. Katy from Something Different
  3. Sakshi at The NChanting whispers

YOUR QUESTIONS, LADIES:

  1. What’s your biggest blogging milestone to date and why is it so important to you?
  2. Dinner or dessert // favorite food from that answer?
  3. What is something you’d like all of your followers to know about you?
  4. What is your next goal for your blog?
  5. What is an activity you could spend hours doing?
  6. If I’m traveling for a week I cannot live without these three items: _______________
  7. Since starting a blog, have you stepped outside your comfort zone with a specific post/picture/etc. and how did that feel?

Xoxo,
KS Loves

red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
Instagram: ksloves
Twitter: ksloves_
Pinterest: ksloves_