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_
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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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_