A Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Younger Kate,

You will accomplish a lot at a young age but you will learn a lot along the way. Here are some things to keep in mind for your future as you continue to learn and grow.

Be kind & compassionate towards everyone you meet. That rude person at the grocery store? They could be having a terrible day, offer a smile back instead of the resting bitch face. Remember, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, yourself included. Be kind always, you will never regret it.
It is okay to make mistakes. But be sure to always honestly own up to them and do your best to learn from them.
Don’t apologize for being you. Of course you will make mistakes as stated above and of course you should apologize for them and learn from them. But do not apologize for your beliefs or for standing up for yourself.
Always stand up for yourself. Always. Don’t lose your backbone. Don’t let people walk on you. Don’t be pressured into other beliefs for the pure fact of being pressured. ALWAYS stand up for yourself no matter how hard it may seem.
Say yes. But also know when to say no. Say yes to all of those things you’ve always wanted to do – you’ll figure out the money aspect of it. If you get a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do – go for it and don’t let a damn thing hold you back. But know when to say no. Life is too short to do the things you don’t want to do. You need to remember to take care of yourself once in a while too and there is nothing wrong with that.
Try to be present in the moment. That’s right, that means put the damn phone down. Focus on the people surrounding you. The beautiful world around you will pass you by when you’re nose deep in your phone all the time. Life truly flies by as you get older (people are NOT joking when they tell you this) and don’t let it slip away from you without living it to the absolute fullest.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Love,
(A Little Older) Kate

 

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

I’ve really been dedicated to fitness lately, to the point where some of my friends and family think I’m going overboard and even refer to me as a “gym nut”. However, going to they gym has been a great outlet for me with everything else going on in my life and it is a place I can just go and zone out and of course the benefits that come with it are great! I’ve always had a problem with staying motivated with going to the gym for multiple reasons. The main reason being my back problems that tend to mess me up but just the usual “I don’t wanna go today” loss of motivation happens too. Over the years I’ve found ways to help me stay motivated and I’m proud to say that because of these things, I’ve been going to the gym and focusing on fitness consistently for roughly 5 months now. Here are my top 5 ways to motivate myself to workout!

1. Create goals – you can check out my goals here as I did a post on them recently. Jotting them down always seems to help me have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish versus just random ideas floating around in my head.

2. Take progress pictures – this is something I’ve been slacking on lately (sometimes this is also a challenge to do by yourself!) however seeing progress happen in a series of photos has been one hell of a way to keep me going! Once I see those positive changes, I just crave it even more!

3. Try new classes – it’s always fun to switch up your workout routine so you’re not doing the same ol’ thing every time. My gym doesn’t offer a whole ton of classes at the location I’m at but I know other locations do and I’ve also found other gyms in my area that offer free classes without even having a membership there! Sign me up!

4. New workout clothes – this is a big one for me. I always feel so much better and more excited when I have new workout clothes to go workout in. Sure, that’s not important to your actual workout however if it makes you feel better, you’re going to be much more willing to go!


5. Fun music playlist – I’ve struggled with this lately as I’m used to using the Pandora app however mine hasn’t been functioning properly lately so it’s been quite the headache.
But find some music that gets you hyped and pumped to go to the gym and get a great workout in! You can find a ton of playlists on Pinterest! 😉

Bonus tip: Find a workout buddy. Now I put this as a bonus tip because not everyone likes to have someone to workout with. For example, I really only like having someone with me if I’m going to a class. But when I’m at the gym for a regular workout, I like to do my own thing. I don’t mind if someone tags along but I don’t like being followed or talked to when I’m there. Like I said before, I’m there to zone out and use it as a stress reliever and that is harder to do when you’re trying to carry a conversation out with someone. BUT I know that it is the opposite for some people and the only way they’ll go is if someone is with them! It always helps to have someone counting on you to show up, so you’re less likely to let them down, whether you end up working out together or not!

What are some of your favorite ways to help you stay motivated to workout?

50 in 555 Final Update

How many of you remember my original post of 50 in 555? Well if you remember the original post, you’ve been following along for at least 555 days! Yup, today is the final day of my 50 in 555 challenge! Where the hell does the time go?!

So here’s the deets laid out…
Start Date: July 20th, 2015
End Date: January 20th, 2017
Total Items: 50
Total Complete So Far: 18
Total Not Complete: 32

I crossed some things off the list that no longer can apply to me – they’re in red.

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1 – Go to a farmers market (Greenfield!)
2 – Buy a bouquet of peonies
3 – Get my t-shirt quilt made
4 – Watch the sunrise & sunset in one day (North Dakota!)
5 – Go on 4 dates with Hubby that we have not done yet (Packers game, Apple picking)
6 – Create a gallery wall
7 – Pay off my credit cards – I’ve paid on them monthly and one is almooooost completely paid off!
8 – Go to the gym min. 3x per week for a month straight (With Horace!)
9 –  Go fruit picking (Apple picking @ Elegant Farmer with Hubs!)
10 – Run a 5k
11 – Take a picture of each letter of the alphabet — do something with said pictures
12 – Get a blowout
13 – Go to a concert
14 – Go trapshooting at least 5 times
15 – Volunteer 30 hours of my time 
16 – Write a letter to someone that inspires me (Erin & Sam!)
17 – Pay for the person behind me in a drive-thru
18 – Get my teeth fixed
19 – Give up soda/energy drinks for a month
20 – Dress up for Halloween
21 – Go to church
22 – Read 3 books (American Sniper, American Wife, Strong Looks Better Naked)
23 – Try a new food   (Cheez-It Duos…yum!)
24 – Create a time capsule
25 – Have a social media free weekend
26 – Get a massage
27 – Get another tattoo (Roman numerals of wedding date!)
28 – Take a day trip (Gurnee for a family member’s birthday!)
29 – No fast food for a month
30 – Help a stranger (Held doors open and helped someone who’s grocery cart tipped over!)
31 – Take vitamins consistently
32 – Create gun show booth
33 – Try Crossfit
34 – Loose 5 pounds. (Lets keep it realistic)
35 – Get our FFL
36 –  Go ziplining
37 – Make & give Christmas cookies to the Villa
38 – Take Hubby on a date
39 – Leave beautiful notes all over town
40 – Leave flowers at a cemetery
41 – Plan a staycation
42 – Re-purpose a piece of furniture (blanket ladder & dresser)
43 – Learn some martial arts (With Horace!)
44 – Picnic in the park
45 – Try 5 new recipes (Dad’s chili, risotto, pulled BBQ chicken)
46 – Build something with pallets
47 – Donate blood
48 – Buy a nice camera
49 –  Learn how to use said camera
50 – Buy something from the small businesses I believe in   (Seersucker Sassy Boutique…’Drinks Well With Others’ shirt…how perfect! Along with a few Etsy shops!)

I feel as if I accomplished a decent amount but there were still some easy ones that I have no excuse for not completing. Although I’m disappointed about that, I plan to still try to accomplish those things in the near future. This was such a fun challenge and maybe I’ll even do it again in the future!
Now make your own list, and use the calculator to figure out your completion date and join along with this crazy journey! 🙂
#kates50in555
#50in555
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Anxiety

It was probably the end of 2015 when I had my first legitimate anxiety attack. I didn’t know that’s what it was then but I do now looking back at it.

My whole body shook as I gripped my knees.  Hot tears of humiliation and fear hit the cold tile, and I prayed no one would ever see me crumpled on the floor of the bathroom stall. I tried to muster the strength to pick myself up and get back to work. But each time I thought of standing up, my heart began to race and I would begin to black out.  I was shivering cold, but dripping with sweat.  Waves of nausea, blurred vision, and dizziness kept me pinned to my safe little corner of the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later I picked myself up off the floor, wiped my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and walked back out to my desk to continue my work day. By the grace of God I made it through the rest of the day.  Embarrassed and confused at the mystery of what happened, I chalked it up to dehydration and stress, and tried to forget about it.

But I couldn’t escape the nagging thoughts:  is something seriously wrong with me—is this what it feels like to start losing it?  Am I dying?  What if this happens again?  Who will take care of me?  I’m scared.  Am I going crazy? I just prayed it wouldn’t happen again.

A couple days later it was happening again.  I tried to ignore the feeling that my airway seemed completely blocked as I smiled and continued to work as if nothing was bothering me.  I started seeing black spots, and then stumbled to the bathroom until I could curl into the fetal position.  My heart was pounding as my panic rose, and my only thought was, I can’t breathe…I have to get out of here.  Once again I was on a cold tile floor, eyes squeezed shut, praying and trying to breathe.

This time it was worse.  The waves of dizziness and nausea were overwhelming, and my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I finally threw up for probably a solid 3 minutes straight. I felt as though I had no control over my body; it was an alien to me.  I had no idea whose body this was; there was no way it could be mine. And nothing helped. I lost my appetite and wouldn’t eat for days. I’d force myself to drink maybe a glass or two of water a day so my body at least had something. I would regain enough control to be able to work for a bit, but then I’d have to go back to the bathroom and try to recover.

I was terrified, and couldn’t decide if I was dying or going crazy.  The thought never occurred to me that it could be an anxiety attack until maybe halfway through 2016. It wasn’t pretty.  I didn’t speak for most of the day on days that this happened, because when I talked the waves would crash over me. I was afraid I might collapse or burst into tears and faint.

Even though I was the only one that knew it was happening at the time, I felt humiliated and exhausted.  I felt so weak.  Was this my new normal?

After doing some research and talking to some family and friends I realized I was having anxiety attacks.  I was infuriated when I read article after article that the symptoms were mostly mental, and could somehow be controlled by the person.  Nothing about my experiences felt like I had any control; it felt opposite of that.  It made me want to call every person who had ever shared the vulnerable struggle of anxiety with me and tell them that I am so sorry I didn’t fight for them more—that I had no idea how scary it was until I experienced it myself.

This has been happening more often than I care to admit for over a year now and still happens to this day. Some attacks are worse than others but I try to steer clear of the things that trigger the attacks. This is my story of walking into a fire. I had a choice to make:  either keep pushing through like I had learned to do so well, or stop, take inventory, and figure out what was going on.  The latter would take a lot of work, faith, and letting go of control—I felt much more safe being the one to help others—not being the one that needed help and support. I’ve found some outlets that help me avoid getting to the point of actually having an anxiety attack but I’m still trying to figure out ways out of it when the attacks hit me.

And though fear terrorized and taunted me that I was dying, that I was crazy, and all alone, I have found truth in my fire:
I will die someday, but I am not dying now.
I am not crazy or losing it.
I am never alone.  God is with me always. And if I only open my eyes I see that I am surrounded by love, hope, community and support from family and friends.

Sometimes chains are broken only through having painful experiences you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

Nothing about my struggle with anxiety attacks has been quick, easy, or appealing.  It’s been one of the most difficult and frightening things I’ve walked through in my life.  And I’m still on my journey towards freedom. I wanted to share my story in hopes of making maybe even one person feel as if they aren’t crazy and they aren’t alone.

2017 Fitness Goals

2017 is my year to focus on myself and bettering myself. I’ve already been off to a great start with sticking with my gym routine and I knew it would help if I also put together some feasible fitness goals for the year!

I typically get going in the gym and then my motivation seems to fizzle out and I let it slip in my list of priorities. This especially seems to happen to me when I’m focusing my time and energy on more people than just myself. But I’m 25 now and really need to focus on taking care of my body – we’re only given one and it is our responsibility to take care of it! One goal I would love to achieve at some point in my life, that you won’t see on this list, is to eat clean 90% of the time. I don’t currently have the knowledge, money or desire to do that right this second though. Without further ado, I share with y’all my goals (that I WILL crush this year!).

Drink more water – Now don’t go thinking I’m going to give up my daily energy drink (don’t worry, I stick with carb/sugar free – yes, I know this is still terrible for me but it’s a habit I’m not willing to put forth the effort to quit right now.) but I would like to start substituting other beverages with just plain water.


There are so many amazing benefits from drinking a good amount of water and it is something relatively easy to incorporate more of.

Make healthier food choices – Again, I’m not switching to clean eating. But if I have a choice of a salad or pasta, I’m going to try to switch it up to a salad.

Believe me, I’ll still be indulging in my favorite foods (give me all the carbs!) but I’d like to start to make better choices more often.

Complete the Couch to 5K app  – I had two friends in one week ask me to do this app, so how could I say no? I’ve heard of it before and have even heard success stories from it but never really looked into it. I started it yesterday and will try to keep you updated on my progress.

The program is 9 weeks long (which pushes me out to March) then I plan to actually run a 5K in April.
Run a 5K – see above!

Weight train every other day during Couch to 5K – I don’t want to limit myself to just the Couch to 5K app because let’s be real – I’m not a fan of cardio (especially running) and I need some weights in my life.

So I will aim to do weight training 2x/week for the duration of this app.

Boot Camp – I found a gym near me (Burn Bootcamp – check it out to see if there is one in your area!) that offers free boot camp classes every Saturday morning. I went last weekend for the first time and I’m still sore today.

It was an incredible workout, I met some awesome people and it’s great to be cheered on all while being instructed on how to do each exercise properly. I’m going to try to do this as often as I can!

Kayla Itsines BBG – After I complete the Couch to 5K app I’d like to try the Kayla Itsines BBG. I already have it and tried starting it two or three times already with no success (That whole loss of motivation thing I mentioned before? Totally hit me here!).

I always struggle with deciding what to do when I go to the gym so I know this will be a great guide for me to follow.

Cut back on alcohol intake – This is self explanatory, I’m a Wisconsinite and my alcohol consumption shows that, ha!

Feel confident in my own skin – This is the ultimate goal. Sure I’m happy with parts of my body but there will probably always be things I want to improve and strive to do better with and I think taking the steps above will help me get there!

What are some of your fitness goals for the year?!

 

6 Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better

Thinking about renovating your room and not being able to follow any lead so far? Who doesn’t like to decorate their rooms but at the same time; the finances might go out of hand if the decorative plans have not been executed well.

There is no single rule for home décor and the trends keep on changing. But what remains constant is style and quality. So, before you get on with decorating your room; make sure that you prioritize these two important aspects the most. Let’s discuss few of the key decorating guidelines to give your room the perfect makeover it deserves.

  • Think About Space: The first and foremost step that you should take while decorating your room is to get rid of extra furnishing items and replace the big stuff with small, sophisticated ones. You will do a great favor to your room by giving it some space to breathe.

    Don’t overcrowd your room with spare furniture items and spend your hard earned money on qualitative and small furniture items that would not de-clutter your room.

  • Artwork: Put up some brilliant pieces of abstract artwork at the right height against the measurements of your room. Yes! Measurements are important so as to not give your room a gaudy appearance by large paintings of artwork hangings.

    You can also put a large wall plant to cover any wall with a blend of natural greenery in the room. This change will create a more natural impact and will also make the ambiance of the room more pleasant

  • Paint Color: Often we consider choosing the right paint color as the first step towards decorating a room. Well! Guess what? As per the home décor experts; considering the paint color of your room should be the last step. There are a variety of paint colors with a large number of shades and tones ranging from light to dark and in contrast as well.

    However, you should take care of the aspect of matching your paint color with the curtains, sofas, and even the pillow sets and comforter of your bedroom.

  • Light Factor: Lights are important for any room. While decorating your room; you need to take care of the angles from which the natural sunlight will enter it. Moreover, you can also try adjusting a chandelier in your room hanging right in the middle of the ceiling or small, stylish bulbs as well.

    However, nothing beats the beauty and warmth of sunlight coming in from the windows on a crisp morning so make sure that your decoration of your room should be parallel to proper lighting arrangements in it.

  • Collectibles: Arrange your accolades, collectibles and small decorative items neatly on a shelf in your living room and get rid of the ones that you no longer need. Since these items are constantly multiplying, make sure that you discard the ones that no longer serve the purpose of being considered as decorations

    Buy an elegant bookshelf or book stands and put your collectibles on it to give your room a more intellectual look.

  • Size It Up: Don’t think that if something looks more appealing to you in the store will look equally good when you will bring it home. Weigh the scales/dimensions of your room before making any purchase for decorative items.

    There is no use filling up the room with unnecessary items as it totally kills the idea of giving the ample space that is required.

    Author Bio: This post is written by Julie Austin. She loves traveling, home decorating and hanging out with her friends.

    She regularly blog at http://mybedcomforter.com/ There is no use filling up the room with unnecessary items as it totally kills the idea of giving the ample space that is required.

Travel Bucket List: 2017 Edition

So there is no doubt that I have the travel bug and a little wanderlust in my blood. Now that I’m flying solo, it seems as good a time as any to try and cross some places off my travel bucket list. I can go on my own time and only have to worry about paying for myself – two bonuses of flying solo!

I’d love to travel all over the world eventually but I think I’ll stick to most places in the US this year to save some money as far as international travel. If the opportunity arises and the timing is right though I wouldn’t turn it down!

As far as this year goes, here are the places I’d love to go to!
Shakopee, MN – I’m going here today for the Snocross races and cannot freakin’ wait!
Arizona – My girl Erin lives here and I know her and I could tear up the town!
Tennessee – My girl Shell lives here and I know we would have so much fun with so many things to do in TN!
Georgia – My long time friend Becca lives here. Believe it or not, there is a thought (far off in the distance right now) that has crossed my mind about the possibility of moving here some day. I’d love to make it there early this year to check it out and get a better feel for it.

Those are some of the big ones that will be higher on my priority list. If I find the right travel buddy or it seems right to go alone, I’d also love to go to Florida, Nashville, and somewhere in the mountains this year too.

As far as locally – I’d like to check out Devil’s Lake, Madison (I’ve been there but mostly just driven through, haven’t done a whole lot in the actual city), and any other opportunity that comes up – I’ll be there!

Where are some places you’d love to travel to?
Where are some places you highly recommend traveling to? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

P.S. I’m still working on a plan for the look I want for my blog this year – so bear with me as I lack photos in my posts right now! I’ve been on a time crunch but want to still get some posts out there so there is at least *some* content for y’all to read! 🙂 Thank you for your patience and continuous support – it means the world to me!

 

2017

Welp. Here we are again, after another blogging hiatus. *covers eyes* You guys, I’ve totally sucked at keeping up with blogging lately but to be honest I’ve had to take some time off to focus on just trying to keep my head above water. It seems as if one bad thing after another keeps getting thrown at me and God is just testing me to see what I can handle. Well God, if you’re listening…I’ve had enough! haha

But in all honesty I’ve reflected on the past  year and the year ahead of us. I wasn’t sure I wanted to set resolutions because let’s be real – I know I probably won’t follow through and it’ll be just another disappointment. However I did want to set some personal goals instead that I knew were absolutely achievable.

But first – I wanted to reflect on my 2016. It was filled with absolute heartbreak, hurt, misery, and depression but also happiness, love, and quite a few fun times. I got to do 2 boudoir shoots, put on a couple successful fundraisers for Komen, got my own apartment with no outside help, did my first 5k that I actually attempted to run (and did way better than I expected!), went to my first Nascar race, a handful of concerts, threw my dad a surprise 60th birthday party, donated blood three times, and many more positive things. Although I don’t necessarily feel like the positives outweighed the negatives this year, I’m trying to only focus on the positives.

Looking forward, I’d like to plan a successful girl’s weekend, go on a weekend getaway by myself, join an archery league (already signed up and it starts next week!), get back into blogging consistently, and overall just focus on myself this year and try to find happiness again.

Depression has been one hell of a demon in my life lately and it is an every day battle. My mental health is something I need to get back to where it belongs and believe me when I say I’m working on it. Some things that have helped have been shooting my bow again and keeping up with my gym routine – they are both amazing outlets for me. Of course a good book in a bath with candles and wine doesn’t hurt once in a while either. 😉

A huge struggle for me is that I love being with someone. I have so much love to give and share and I feel like it’s all going to waste if I’m by myself. I enjoy spoiling the people I love. I enjoy feeling needed/wanted in someone else’s eyes. So being alone has been a struggle. Sure, there are perks to it – like I have more time to focus on the things that I really love, and I’m only running on my time. But I’d still rather share my time with someone else. I’m trying to learn to love to be by myself but man, it’s HARD.

Another struggle for me is feeling like I should be somewhere else in life. I feel like I should be buying a home and starting a family at this point in my life but instead I’m starting over. A good friend reminded me that there are no specifics of where you need to be in life and when. And there is a reason I am where I am. I have no idea what the hell that reason is right now but praying it makes sense down the road.

I’ve been dealt a shitty hand this past year but I can’t keep letting it hold me back and I sure as hell can’t keep having a pity party for myself. My goal for 2017 is to make it MY year. Focus on doing things that make ME happy and find a good balance with those things. Focus on finding pure happiness again.

What are your plans/goals/resolutions/etc. for 2017?!

Dear 2017,
Please be good to me this year.
Love always,
Kate

December Bucket List

Since December is just around the corner I thought today was a perfect day to share my December bucket list with y’all! Sure, these are all things I’ve done before but who cares?! The holiday spirit has been kicked into high gear lately and all these things just sound simply amazing. Um hello, cozy nights with Christmas movies?! YES PLEASE, GIMME!

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What’s on your December bucket list?!


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3 Money Saving Tips for the Holidays

How the heck it is already past the middle of November blows my freakin’ mind. Seriously, they’re not joking when they say time flies as you get older. WOWZA. So of course this means Christmas is only 38 days away – but who’s counting? Hate to tell ya, but that really isn’t that far which is why I’m here to share 3 money saving tips for the holidays with you!

I always try my best to get a head start on my Christmas shopping. Now of course, it doesn’t always work out that way – but every once in a while it does. One year, I had all my shopping AND wrapping done before the first of December! Clearly, I was just an over-achiever that year and wasn’t fully “adulting” yet. Because now I seem to have a million and one other things going on that take precedence in my daily life. Bleh. BUT this year I am determined to be done with it all by my birthday – December 11th – which is exactly two weeks before Christmas. I’d like to be able to just relax during those two weeks leading up to the excitement and take everything in instead of rushing to get everything done last minute.

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So that is my first tip for you – START EARLY! I’ve already started some of my shopping and every time I’m out and about I try to keep my eye out for gifts for my loved ones. I’m not fighting the crowds yet which makes it less stressful and starting early will hopefully help me meet my personal deadline to have things done!
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Tip numero dos – WATCH THE ADS FOR SALES! Since I recently moved, I get ads mailed directly to me (I think everyone in my building does because I never signed up for it) which is nice because then I don’t have to constantly be checking online. I’m old school that way and like to have the real life ad in front of me to flip through – reminds me of my mother doing it every Sunday when I was a kid and I’d always look through with her picking out every thing I wanted in those ads. 😉 So I would suggest checking to see if you can get ads mailed to you otherwise check them online every week – you can find some great deals that you may not know about otherwise!
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And last but not least, MAKE A LIST! This one is my favorite. I’m a die-hard list maker – like, one of those weirdo’s that makes a list for all the lists I want to make.  Yup, I’m that person. But I shared a FREE gift idea list printable with y’all last year and I’m using it for my personal list again this year! Check it out here! This is a great way to help myself stay organized and I always feel so accomplished when I can cross something off that list!
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I hope these tips help, and I hope you’re able to get a head start on your shopping and not rushing and stressing up ’til the last minute! Now is the time to get in the holiday spirit – happy shopping y’all! 🙂


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