Friday, January 29, 2016

Life Chats


I apologize for the lack of Life Chats so far this year.  Sometimes when I am going through a lot or when I am consumed with different things I am not always sure what I want the focus of these posts to be.  The truth is I was going through something over these last several weeks and I chose to keep that to myself.  I’m ready to talk about it now though and decided to because I’m sure that I am not the only one to have ever felt this way and maybe it can help someone who's currently going through it.  

I’ve mentioned here and there how I sometimes fall into these ruts and in the last Life Chats I said that I knew it was time to make some changes.  There was a deeper meaning behind that and I honestly didn’t know exactly what that meaning was until about two weeks ago.  I sort of hit a low point emotionally and I’m happy that I did because it allowed me to figure out the root of whatever has been weighing on my mind and heart.  While I do feel happy and positive most of the time, I of course have my moments where I allow negativity to slip through the cracks, just like everyone else.  I hate to admit that though because it’s literally poison to the mind.  What I realized though and I probably knew it all along was that I really needed to make some lifestyle changes.  I went through almost the same thing last year. I guess in some way I tried to ignore it instead of doing something about it.  The great thing about hitting a low point is that the only way to go from there is UP and that’s exactly what I did.

Between my trip to Ireland, the holiday season and a lack of motivation from winter, I completely stopped taking care of myself over these last few months and it began to take a toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally.  It’s ok to indulge from time to time of course, but the problem is that once I fell off track I just couldn’t figure out how to get back on it.  I was eating like crap.  I was no longer working out.  I honestly just lost motivation to do things and was spending too much time at home. I was going to bed super late and sleeping in longer than I should have.  I would wake up and be in such a rush to get things done for the day and that only annoyed me and put me in a bad mood.  I was losing some of my inspiration to shoot for the blog and it felt like I was forcing myself to do it. I was not happy with anything that I was doing, but I kept trying to ignore it.  I was sleep deprived. I noticed most of my clothes were no longer fitting me.  Then I started doubting myself.  I started to doubt my work.  It was literally just this huge chain effect.  It is so crazy how one negative thought about yourself can lead to multiple negative thoughts and it really is just so unhealthy.  I honestly have not been this way in a very long time so part of me was just really upset with myself for allowing it to carry on.   I loathe negative mentalities and I have just come way too far in my life since my father passed to allow myself to live in that space again.  I’m not doing it.

I spent a few days completely alone with my phone off so that I could work through what I was feeling and set some goals and a game plan in motion.  The only way to fix things or to change them is to actually do something about it.  Feeling sorry for myself was never going to get me anywhere.  Our minds are so powerful that we can literally take the smallest thing and turn it into more.  We can create something from nothing, which is why it’s so important to be KIND to ourselves.  We need to have more faith in our capabilities and our worth.  So over the last week and a half I’ve made some serious lifestyle changes and have officially gotten back on track.  While it may only be a short amount of time so far, I truthfully feel 100% better.  I’ve been waking up an hour earlier every morning and I get my workout in first thing.  I am slowly becoming more of a morning person.  Who knew?!  I am back to my 21-Day Fix program, which helped me tremendously last year, only this time I am going to stick with it for much longer until I hit all of my goals.  I’m eating well again and giving my body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn’t.  I’m going to bed a little earlier too.  I got my motivation back and it feels so good that I can’t believe I ever lost it. The choices we make every day have more of an effect than we realize.  We all tend to steer off course from time to time, but the important thing is that we find our way back.  If I did, then you can too.  That smile up there is genuine. At first I had no idea what photo would even relate to the content of this post, so I just went with something happy and fun because I really am back to that mentality.

There are going to be some big changes happening with the blog very soon too and I am so excited about the new direction that I am going in.  I think I was getting into a rut with it because it’s been 4 years and I knew in my heart it was time to make a big change.  I am in the beginning stages of everything right now, but my goal is to have it all set by April.  I don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details, but I can’t wait to discuss it more with you all.  Overall, I just feel so much lighter emotionally.  All of these changes and these new goals for myself have been the best thing that I could have done. It's never an easy thing to open up about my personal struggles, but if these posts can motivate, inspire or help at least one person, then I know it was worth sharing.  Cheers to positive lifestyle changes and learning to pick ourselves back up after we have fallen.  <3


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Red & Leopard


What I'm Wearing
Coat: Dynamite [old, similar] | Pants: H&M [love these] | Sweater: Forever21 
Booties: Isola | Bag: Ecco | Hat: H&M | Scarf: Dynamite 

Look at all that snow!  I still can't believe how much we got last weekend.  It was about 2 feet.  I usually enjoy it as soon as it's coming down, but after a few days I just want it to all melt away.  It's hard to shoot outside right now because this is literally everywhere you turn.  It does make for a pretty background though. :) 

 I didn't buy myself that many new coats this winter and thankfully this year has not been as brutal as last year.  Most of my outfits lately have consisted of a lot of older pieces, which you might have noticed in my recent style posts.  I did a major closet clean out two weeks ago and as always came across things that I either forgot about or just have not worn in such a long time.  It feels like a waste to see these items hanging in my closet, but not getting any use.  Then there are those items, like these booties, that I wear ALL the time.  Seriously these booties have been my go-to for the last several months.  They are the most comfortable shoes to wear during the day.  I wore them all the time in Ireland!  I've always been a fan of the whole red, black and leopard combo so I couldn't help but put another look together.  You know how much I love black on black and then popping it out with color and/or print.  There are so many different combinations that you can create with all black as your base. 

I'm getting ready to gear up for Sweden next week!  I think it's supposed to snow there a few days before I arrive.  I can't wait to share photos and the experience with you all.  Happy Thursday. <3

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Travel Tuesday

I'm back with a new #TravelTuesday post!  I really hope that you found the last one on booking cheaper flights helpful and informative.  For this week, I wanted to get into more detail on figuring out the best places to stay. A hotel is obviously the most common and for good reason, but it can also be the most expensive.  I have to admit that I have only ever stayed at hotels, but there are honestly other great alternatives too, most of which will align perfectly within your budget.  I have learned so much about these other options through friends, my recent travels and just by doing some research online.  So here are some other places to consider, each of which will give you an entirely different experience.  Remember, of course, that there are pros and cons to everything. I won't be listing those all out as this is more to just give you some insight into other alternatives.


Airbnb

I heard about Airbnb two years ago and immediately checked it out.  I've never actually booked  anything through it, but I have looked for places many times.  I was very close to booking something when I was trying to stay in LA for several weeks last year.  I have friends who swear by it. Just in case you have never heard about Airbnb, here's a quick rundown.  It's basically like subletting an apartment.  People host their furnished homes and you pay for your stay.  The hosts will not be there with you, but they'll be available to check you in and out and help with anything you need during your visit. You can easily search anywhere in the world by typing in your destination and travel dates and then filtering any specific requests you might have, [wifi, parking, cable, etc.] along with whatever your budget might be. You can find great prices, but you can also find expensive ones.  It all depends on the type of home and location.  You will see a bunch of listings which will include several photos of the place, all of the details you need to know, the price per night and most importantly the reviews for the host.  This is essential for me when it comes to Airbnb because I want to see how everyone else's experience went.  Was it a safe and clean environment?  Was the host helpful?  Was anything not as described?  I think reviews are really important to look at.  This is such a great and fun thing to do when traveling with a group, but it can also be great for a solo traveler too.  Staying at an actual home makes you feel like more of a local and less of a tourist, which can give you a completely different travel experience.  I think it all comes down to personal preference. Oh, and you can get the app on your phone too!


Bed & Breakfast 

Whenever I would hear someone mention a Bed & Breakfast, I immediately thought of it as a romantic getaway for couples.  This might be true for many, but they've become so popular for travelers too, especially those traveling alone.  My best friend stayed at one during her trip to South Africa and one of the girls I met in Ireland stayed at one during her visit.  I know of others who highly recommend this option for many reasons.  It's more intimate than a hotel, but not as isolated as an Airbnb. It will give you that warm welcome feeling, especially since the hosts will be there too.  They can be great resources for places to see and things to do while you're there.  Plus, they serve you breakfast each morning too which is a total plus.  It can be a nice way to meet others staying there during their travels.  I came across this B&B site which gives a pretty cool and informative breakdown of Bed & Breakfasts vs Hotels.  You can definitely find some great ones that will not break the bank. If you ever decide to go with this option, then I highly recommend searching and reading reviews on Trip Advisor.  I know I mention this site in every travel post [totally not being sponsored] but that's because it's become such an amazing resource for me.  Just like I mentioned about Airbnb, reviews for B&B are just as important for all of the same reasons. Safety, cleanliness, price and location are some of the top things that I check.

Hostels

The most budget-friendly accommodation to look into is a hostel. Some are less than $20 a day. They're inexpensive because they offer dorm style rooms with bunk beds.  You can see an example on this site if you search. I know it can seem a bit skeptical at first. I feel like these are more for solo travelers and those who are bouncing around from country to country.  I do not recommend this if you have 50lbs of items in your luggage.  If you ever stay at a hostel, pack super light, like literally just one big backpack!  Whenever I found out about someone backpacking through Europe, they always said that they stayed at a bunch of different hostels, sharing rooms with strangers.  It instantly turned me off.  After my trip to Ireland and meeting so many other solo travelers, I learned much more about them.  Most people do choose to share rooms as this is the cheapest way to travel.  You are basically booking a bed and there can be as many as 10 [or even more] other people in the same room as you. I personally don't know if I would be able to do that for lack of privacy and safety concerns. However, some people actually prefer it, especially since travelers are typically backpacking by themselves.  It can be a really great way to meet other travelers.  Some hostels do offer private rooms with a private bathroom though, you just have to do your research.  The girl I met in Galway was staying in a private room at one of the hostels there. They typically offer common areas, wifi and a small breakfast [sometimes only bread though] but again, you have to fully research and read reviews as each hostel is different. You are literally just paying for a place to sleep. It's not glamorous, but you will get a true solo traveler experience and get the opportunity to meet many new people. 

So, is your mind still set on a hotel or do you think you would consider one of these other options?  Either way, I hope that this post gave you some new info and insight for your next trip. If you have any topic suggestions for these travel posts, please let me know.  Thanks for checking it out! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

50 Shades Of White


What I'm Wearing
Coat: Forever21 [old, similar style here] | Sweater: Forever21 | Jeans: H&M [similar here]
Shoes: Nine West [old, similar style here] | Scarf: H&M [similar
Bag: Apt9 [love this] | Faux Fur Pom: Dynamite [similar here]

Happy Monday loves!
Winter whites have always been a favorite of mine. I've done white on white looks before, but this time I took it a step further to do a full monochromatic outfit. I know that this can be an intimidating color to wear.  Trust me, I literally get myself dirty almost every single time.  Do you remember last year when I posted a photo to instagram of an entire glass of red wine spilled all over my button down? Yeah, that happened and I'm sure it won't be the last time. [guilty] However, I still wear it anyway because I love it so much!

Typically when I have done all white looks in the past, the shades have always been the same.  This time though I really wanted to incorporate different shades of it.  It's always hard for me to shoot in this color since it's so bright, so I feel like the outfit didn't translate to camera the exact way that it looks in person.  You get the idea though. The coat, swear and scarf are more of an ivory and cream color while the jeans are pure white. I added in the fur pom for something a little extra.  I didn't want to wear nude shoes, so I opted for my old faithful snakeskin pumps.  The print was the perfect way to tie all of the pieces together and they did the perfect job of both blending in and standing out at the same time.  Do you feel brave enough to wear all white from head to toe?! 

I wonder how many times I wrote the word "white" in this post.  
Thanks for checking it out.  Have a great week!