5 Things to be Happy About: April Edition

I’ve always been a little biased about April because it’s my birthday month, so naturally I love this month more than some others. Raise your hand if your birthday month is April!? There is a lot that I am especially looking forward to this month, so I’m not too sure how I’m going to keep it to five things, but we’re going to try!

1| Travel

I find that I get to travel in April and May whether it’s for my birthday or I’m able to take time off from work because it’s not the busy season for us yet. This month, I’m going to Boston for a week for the first time with Josh, and we are both so excited to take time off from work and get a chance to explore a new city. We have been trying to schedule one city trip a year so we can explore new places every year. Needless to say, there will be some exciting travel-related content coming your way on the blog!

2| Treat Yourself

It might have to do with this month being my birthday month and the Easter season, but I find that I’m always more comfortable to treating myself to anything whether it’s dessert, wine, or an experience (like a trip to a new city)! After the holidays, I get pretty strict about eating healthy, working out and saving my money. After three months, I’m ready to give myself one (or several) treats!

3| Easter 

Easter has always been a holiday I look forward to because it’s a time for family, food and it’s overall a relaxing and enjoyable day. We always celebrate the holiday at my parent’s house with a big brunch. We even still color eggs as a family and get chocolate treats from my mom! But hey, it’s a tradition my family has and loves, and it’s something I look forward to every April.

4| My Birthday 

I’ll actually be in Boston on my birthday, so I think it’ll be a great way to ring in 23 years! Stay tuned for a post coming up soon on 23 lessons I’ve learned in 23 years. I think it’s something you’ll enjoy reading. When is your birthday month? Make sure to share in the comments below!

5| Spring Outfits

For those who don’t know, I’ve been ready for spring since January but the weather here in PA hasn’t been giving that to me. We had a snowstorm in the middle of March, and all I’ve been wanting is to have warm enough weather to wear spring dresses and outfits. I’m hoping April is when I can finally bust out my spring clothes since I haven’t been able to yet!

What are you looking forward to this month? Make sure to share in the comment below!

 

Ki Signature

 

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4 Tips to Help Stop Unnecessary Shopping

We’ve all been there when we are excited about tax returns and feel that spending money to #treatyoself is completely justifiable. TBH, I’m all for treating yourself if you’ve been working hard achieving all your girl boss goals and saving money to buy something you wouldn’t normally spend money on otherwise.

But, what isn’t justifiable is dropping hundreds of dollars every few months on clothes, shoes, and everything in between that you truly don’t need or love.

I can relate in some ways because I loved having things. I loved having things even if I didn’t love that particular item. A pair of shoes sat in my closet for two years because I didn’t love them. Even worse, I would still buy other shoes if they weren’t practical and if I didn’t love them. The stuff piled up.

Why do we buy things unnecessarily? There are a ton of incredible articles on this topic that could be an entire blog post in itself, but I’ll that’s a different story for a different day, y’all.

So, how did I stop shopping unnecessarily?

I changed my mindset. I had a little heart-to-heart with myself over a year ago when I decided to get rid of more than 60 percent of what I owed. Today, I want to share some of those mindsets and ideas I incorporated to my lifestyle and how it has helped me even more than a year later. If you’re looking to add a little bliss to your life, wallet and closet, keep on reading!

1| You can’t take it with you when you die

Okay, Kiara…we’re starting off a little morbid here. But when you think about it—it’s true! You can’t take anything with you when you die, so how important are those pair of shoes or that handbag you want to buy? This also applies with minimalism because there are so many things we have in our closets that we never use or wear. Instead of having those pieces collect dust, you can sell them or donate them so they can go to someone who will love them. You don’t need to buy another pair of jeans when you have 10 pairs in at home. Use what you have and use it as motivation to remove what you currently don’t use or love in your home.

2| The things you own don’t truly matter

Picture yourself when you’re 70 years old. Are you really going to think about all the fabulous clothes you bought (and most likely haven’t had for more than 40 years) or are you going to think back on the important things in life like your family, where you’ve traveled to, your career, and what you’ve done on earth? I promise you won’t remember a dress from your 20s. So when you’re out shopping, think about the simple questions first like: if you need it? Do you love it? Is it versatile? Is there anything similar to it that you already own? Etc. Then think about the actual wear you can get out of that item over the years. If it’s a classic blazer you know you’ll wear for 10 or more year, buy it. If it’s a trend that you think won’t last for more than a year, skip it. Remember that you’ll be spending a lot of money on clothes over the years, so everything you buy at this point in your life is temporary. It’s best to save or invest where you can.

3| SO. MUCH. WASTED. MONEY

Going off that last sentence…can we think about how much money we spend on clothes in our lifetime? I can’t even imagine that number, but I know that I want to decrease that number by the time I’m 80 years old. When you shop, think long term. Don’t want to buy something that you’ll only love for a year or two. Invest in pieces you can keep for 10 years or longer. There’s this idea we’ve learned that buying trends is normal and that fast-fashion is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be. We can invest in high-quality items that we will wear and love for decades rather than spending $10 on a top that we will only wear once. I would rather spend $100 on the perfect LBD that I’ll wear for years than spend $10 on 10 dresses than I will only wear a handful of times. Think about the money and time you’ll save yourself when you stop shopping unnecessarily.

4| What can I do instead?

Instead of buying a pair of trendy shoes, what can you put that money toward? Whether it’s a house, travel, your child’s college fund, retirement plan, or an investment for your business—there are so many more important things you can do with your money than spend it on clothes, shoes, accessories, and ALL. THE. THINGS. You have goals you want to achieve and you have plans for yourself, so think long term about your money and what you’re spending it on. I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things I want to do with my money rather than see it wasted on things I don’t love in my closet. Next time you’re out shopping, think about what you could do with that money instead down the road.

 

 

I hope this inspired you to think about your spending habits and how you stop unnecessary shopping! Make sure to leave a comment below on other tips that help you stop from spending money when you’re shopping! P.S. what’s something that you almost bought, but were happy you didn’t spend the money on? 

Ki Signature

 

 

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2017 Goals: 3-Month Update

2017 needs to slow down because I don’t understand how three months have already come and gone so quickly. 

When I listed out my goals for 2017, I knew that I wanted to have check-in points where I would check my progress throughout the year so I wouldn’t forget about my goals. It also allows me to make smaller, achievable goals so that I can work toward the larger goals I have set out for the year. Today is my first check-in for 2017, and I’m interested to look back and see the progress I’ve made over the last few months.

Make sure to share your goals for 2017 in the comments and let me know how you have been doing over the last three months!

Personal Goals:

1| Read 8-10 books throughout 2017

So far I read five books this year and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve been focusing on this goal for 2017. I’m hoping to make it to my goal by summer!

2| Plan 2-3 trips for 2017

We have our trip to Boston in April, but I’m thinking of a smaller trip with Josh even if it’s to Pittsburgh. I’m also considering planning a trip to visit my friend in San Francisco this fall. I’ll be sure to keep you guys up-to-date on my travel plans!

3| Achieve my career goals for 2017

This would be a little too long if I went in-depth with this section, but I have more than halfway through my career goals for 2017. This one has surprised me the most even under unique circumstances at work! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of 2017 in terms of my job.

4| Focus on my vision board

All the ideas are in place, but I’ve been waiting to physically make the board because I have been considering writing series of posts on how to make a vision board, what I’ve learned from using this method to achieve my goals, etc. If you’re interested in seeing a post on this, leave a comment below!

Blogging Goals:

1| Focus on my blog direction

If you caught up on my post back in January, you will know about how my blogging direction changed a little. Since then, I’ve incorporated more posts on minimalism, simple living and everything in between and I have loved every minute.

2| Increase blog social media engagement by 20 percent

We all know it’s not about numbers, but engagement. Not only do I want to focus on other’s engaging with me, but also focus on increasing my engagement with others, too. Let’s be real—this is a two-way street. So far, I haven’t done the best with this, but I want to make it my focus for the next few months.

3| Take more risks

Well, I took one amazing risk thanks to my lovely friend Erin! We did a collab on a monthly challenge where we gave challenges to help you relax and refresh your mind for February. The challenges focused on mental clarity and self-care, which are two topics I’m passionate about. I’m hoping to collab with bloggers more throughout the year and take more blogging risks overall. Stay tuned to read more on this!

Financial Goals:

1| Put an extra $8-10,000 into savings

So far I’m on track to achieve this goal a few months earlier than anticipated, which makes me incredibly happy. I know saving in your 20s is so important, and it’s something I want to focus on. If you want to read posts on how I save money, let me know in the comments!

2| Track my spending regularly

I had every intention of keeping up with this, but since Josh set up a spending tracker sheet, I have been horrible with updating it. I’m hoping to simplify this task, and make this work more for me so I can track my spending each month.

Health Goals:

1| Increase my weekly running distance

We’re not in running season yet, but by next month I think we will be out running through October.

2| Don’t focus on numbers

I truly stopped caring about numbers I have found that it has done wonders for my self-esteem and happiness altogether. TBH y’all, NUMBERS DO NOT MATTER. Once you stop focusing on the numbers and more on how you feel, you will see a huge difference!

3| Focus on workouts I enjoy

So far this has been going well. I’ve focused on workout that are specific to Pilates, abs circuit training, etc. It’s wonderful to love the workouts you do and not to hate every minute of my workouts!

How have you been doing on your goals for 2017? Maybe check your list you made a few months ago and start working on how you can work on them for the nest few months! Make sure to leave a comment below saying what goals you have been working on/already have achieved this year!

Ki Signature

 

 

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Finding My Blogging Voice & Why It’s Important For Your Readers

I’m about to be completely real with you guys.

I don’t feel like I am always 100 percent myself on my blog.

By that I mean that I think some posts from the past seem robotic, inauthentic, and not always who I am.

With my journalism background, I was trained to write in AP style. I removed some all cliches from my posts, I kept things to the point, and always took grammar into account. I removed needless words, and considered every technical writing term to see what would make the best “flow.”

That’s perfectly fine when you’re working on a news story, or a magazine feature, but not when you’re trying to create relatable content on YOUR blog. Your blog should be a direct reflection of you and the work that you want to share with the world.

For me, I was afraid for ruining my “reputation” as a writer altogether. But the truth is, I’m NOT that serious (like some of my writing may come off) when you meet me in person. I’m quirky. I make jokes and keep things laid back. I’m also incredibly sarcastic. The only person who really sees this side of me every single day is Josh and my coworkers. Trust me, they can attest to my behavior. I’m professional but like anyone, I open up a little more once you get to know me outside of the office.

I think I tried to make my blogging voice more subtle, professional and straight to the point. But when I read back my content, I wanted to add a joke here, a sarcastic comment there and make it more me.

Instead, I would hit publish and carry on with my day.

Now, I’m not saying that every post I’ve written has been this way. But there are a few where I look back think, “Wow, that’s so dry and emotionless, Kiara. That’s not you at all. You wouldn’t have said *insert long-winded, sarcastic comment here*.”

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty here. You’re not going to see some completely different voice in my content. I simply plan to not delete anything that I would write naturally. And, I’m not going to keep change the style of my content. I might add the occasional, sarcastic tidbit that’s completely unnecessary but it will definitely bring a smile to your face.


So here’s what I’ve learned about my blogging voice and why having your blogging voice important:

1| Your readers get to know the REAL you.

When I read other blogger’s content, I truly feel like I get to know them as a person; and I want them to feel the same way when people read my content.

2| It gives a unique edge to your content.

When you toss in a sarcastic comment here or a random pun there—it takes your post from standard to unique! It helps readers identify your content from other bloggers!

3| It helps you stand out among other bloggers.

See above. But it’s amazing what showing your true self can do for your blog content. Help your readers pick out your post from the thousands of blogging online. It will resonate with them and they will remember you.

4| You’ll be able to write more naturally.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped mid post because I felt like I had to not be myself with the jokes, comments, etc. This makes the writing process difficult and frustrating. Be yourself and the words will flow easily.

If you’re a blogger, inspiring writer, or somewhere in between—I hope you never fear to make your content uniquely yours. It’s okay if it doesn’t fit another blogger’s style. It’s not supposed to. It should fit your style.

Have you ever struggled to find your blogging voice? What tips would you share with bloggers going through this? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

Ki Signature

 

 

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I Added Sugar to my Shampoo for a Month & Here’s What Happened

Girl say whaaa? 

Yes, you heard me. Shampoo + Sugar = Beautiful Hair. Who knew? If you’re interested in seeing how you can transform your hair in a month, keep on reading! I promise this one addition to your hair-care routine will be life changing!

With all the crazy, inconsistent weather and not taking care of my hair like I normally do—my hair was in desperate need of a little extra TLC. It was dry, damaged, and needed help ASAP. And you know me, you know that I’m not one to spend a lot of money on special hair treatments, products, etc. because I’m not about that life. I like to keep my beauty routine short and sweet.

In all honesty, I should lay off the dry shampoo a little more. I notice that even though it’s one of two products I use in my hair, it doesn’t help keep it healthy. Sure, you don’t need to wash your hair every day. But I have taken this a little too seriously and by Thursday my hair is 99 percent dry shampoo and one percent hair. I was out looking for a way to treat my hair and reverse some damage over the last few months.

One night I was 150 pins deep on Pinterest when I found an article about adding white sugar to shampoo to help exfoliate it and help treat the damaged parts of your hair. Needless to say my mind was BLOWN because I use sugar to create my own lip/face/body scrubs, so why wouldn’t I think to do the same for my hair? I was ready to try this the same night and create my own experiment to see how it would change my hair after a few weeks.

The perk of using sugar is that it dissolves easily while still giving all those benefits for your scalp. When I realized that I could incorporate this into my hair-care routine, I got to work. Since I wash my hair every other day, I thought that exfoliating my hair once a week would be acceptable. I simply added a tablespoon of sugar to my shampoo, lathered up, rinsed, and conditioned as normal. I recommend really taking your time when you shampoo your hair to work the sugar and shampoo all over your scalp. Take your time since you’re only going to do this once a week.

While exfoliating my hair for the first time, I immediately noticed how good it made my scalp feel. TBH it was a mini massage, which felt incredible. When I finished washing my hair, it felt even more clean and pampered than normal. It was an extra treat for my hair. The next day, styling my hair felt like a breeze. I don’t know if this was because I was having a good hair day or, or if it was from exfoliating—but I’ll take it! You know when you exfoliate your face, and it feels soft and free of any excess dryness? That’s exactly how my hair felt after my shower and the following day. Needless to say, I was hooked.

After three weeks, I noticed that my hair wasn’t shedding as much when I shampooed my hair. I know it’s completely normal to shed hair throughout the day, but it helps keep the drain clean and doesn’t make me panic like when I used to see a cat-sized mound of hair on the shower wall. (I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way, right?!) Also, I noticed that my scalp was less oily. I learned that when you stimulate your scalp more, it helps to remove excess oils to keep your hair healthy. This was  a huge perk for me because it helps me use just a little less dry shampoo than I normally would on my no-wash days for my hair.

All in all, I have noticed that this once simple addition to my hair routine has shown a huge difference in my hair. Like exfoliating your face, body or lips, your hair deserves to reap the benefits of exfoliating, too!

Have you ever tried this beauty hack before? Would you consider it? What other tips to you have to treat your hair in winter? Make sure to share in the comments below!

Ki Signature

 

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