Monthly Favorites & Sharing Love

 

Dear April, please don’t go.

TBH this month was a whirlwind for me with working, traveling, new blogging projects and plans, birthday celebrating and so much more. But it was such a wonderful month, too. And with the blogging plans I have (stay tuned) I’m equally terrified and excited for May.

Today I’m sharing some things I loved in April. Be prepared because they aren’t the normal beauty favorites I typically share, but there will be some thrown in as well. You’ll also be seeing some amazing posts from bloggers from March & April because I didn’t have a chance to share some last month.

1| Travel

The travel bug is so real, y’all. For our birthday, Josh and I planned a week-long trip to Boston for the first time and it was incredible! We had so much fun exploring a new city together for the first time. But now all I want to do is travel and cross every city off my travel bucket list. Comment below your most recent trips and where I should go in the future!

2| Off-the-shoulder tops 

Why haven’t I bought an off-the-shoulder top sooner?! Friends, I’m in love and now I want all the off-the-shoulder tops I see in stores for spring and summer! I bought two from Express for $20 (yes, really) and I have been wearing them non-stop this month. So, if you see a ton of photos of me wearing one of two tops, it’s because I’m loving this trend.

3| Workouts

March was rough in terms of staying on track health wise, so I knew I needed to get it together in April. I rediscovered my love for kickboxing/jumping rope and forgot what an incredible workout it is. The best part is that you only have to do it for 20-30 minutes to feel the effects. And who doesn’t want a quick, but  effective workout?!

4| My Birthday

This was my first birthday where I wasn’t able to see friends or family on my actual birthday due to our Boston trip, but I was able to celebrate with family and friends on Easter weekend before we left. I felt so darn loved. My family and friends are truly incredible and I wouldn’t trade them for the world! 22 was a year full of exciting changes and opportunities, and I have a very good feeling 23 will be another amazing year, too.

5| Wella Shampoo & Conditioner

This duo has been life-changing for my hair in April, so much that I want to do a full review of the hair care products on my blog in the coming weeks! But let me tell you that you’re going to change your haircare routine completely when you leave more about these products. If you want to give your hair a little TLC, you need these in your life. Comment if you’re interested in seeing a review on these products!


Every month, I share some incredible posts from fellow bloggers in the community because I believe that sharing the love is always important. So, sit down with coffee/tea/wine and enjoy these posts from March and April from these lovely ladies!

1| Why I believe in Community over Competition from Erica

Remember what I said about sharing the love and focusing on the blogging community? My girl Erica deserves all the preach hands for this post. She is truly a wonderful writer who dishes out some serious truth to all bloggers! Let me share an amazing quote from her post that will make you want to read her post over and over: “Building others up does not bring you down. Light only gets brighter by being shared!” Can I get an amen on that?! Now go read this beautiful post ASAP.

2| How to Transition your Makeup Routine for Spring from Cara

Please tell me I’m not the only one who can get a little lazy about their makeup when it’s spring?! I have a hard time with this in March/April because it can still snow here in PA, so it’s not always very spring-like here, which means my makeup can look a little dark and dreary. Cara’s post was the perfect inspiration to get me in the mindset of spring looks and new makeup ideas. I’ve been loving my makeup look for spring so far.

3| How to Fall in Love With Your Blog Again from Cristina

If there was a post I truly needed to read at the right time—this would be the post. We have all been in a place where we slightly fall out of love with our blogs. We feel like our content isn’t exactly what we’re looking for, and we feel exhausted and lose motivation. Cristina lays outs some awesome tips to fall in love with your blog by remembering why you started and appreciating the flaws! Needless to say, this post will bring a little bliss if you’re in a bit of a blogging rut.

4| How to use Hashtags to Increase your Instagram Engagement from Jenny

Let me start by saying that I love all of Jenny’s blogging-related advice and tips. This girl can teach you so much about all things related to your blog, so I’m constantly looking for tips from her content. Also, I struggle with Instagram and find that the new algorithm to make things even more complicated. Jenny offers some incredible insight on making Instagram work for you with niche-specific hashtags, and seeing what hashtags similar bloggers are using as well. TBH, you’ll want to check out this list.

5| How to Make Money Blogging from Erin

Sometimes we forget that blogging can be a full-time career. This is something that I am striving in the next two years because I truly love creating content and I want to be able work on my blog full time in the future. However I know it will take a little bit of time and patience before I can get there. Until then, if you’re looking for some great ways to make money blogging, you’ll want to catch up on this post from Erin who shares some amazing tips for you!

What have you been loving this month? Make sure to share any posts you have loved this month from blogging or from your own blog! I would love to catch up on anything you want to share! 

 

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5 Tips for Focusing on Health [When You’re Unmotivated]

We’ve all been there.

We set out goals for ourselves and we have been great with meal planning and sticking to our workout schedule. Then, life gets busy and slowly, but surely, your health seems to take a backseat in your life. Girl, same. I feel you. I’ve been there more times than I can count. So, how do we find the motivation to get back on track and focus on health? Keep reading below as I dish out five tips that will bring bliss (and health) to your life!

1| Remember why you started.

Why did you decide to eat healthier and workout regularly? Are you doing it simply so you feel better? Are you working toward running your first 5k? Whatever your goals may be, write them down and leave them in a place where you’ll be able to see them every single day. You’ll never have to forget why you started with a daily reminder of your goals!

2| Drop the comparison game.

You might be losing motivation with workouts and eating healthy because you are constantly trapped in the comparison game. Girl, let me start off by saying that you are not alone. But you don’t need to compare your journey to someone else. Your chapter in your health and fitness journey will look completely different to the everyone, and that’s okay. Embrace your journey!

3| It’s not about looks.

It’s completely okay if you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or any other goal you’re trying to set for yourself. But it’s also important to not ONLY think that working out and eating healthy is about physical results. Working out and eating healthy is also wonderful for your mental and emotional health, too! Working out will help you relieve stress and help you if you’re having a bad day. It’s important to not lose sight of this, especially when you’re in a period of feeling unmotivated.

4| Reevaluate your methods.

TBH if you’re running on a treadmill four days a week and you’re hating your life doing the same workout for months at a time—it’s time to try something new. Maybe you’re losing motivation because you’re tired of your routine, so shake things up and try something new! Or, if you haven’t been feeling your best, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. It’s important you’re taking care of yourself when you’re eating healthy and working out. Maybe these are contributing to you feeling unmotivated.

5| Get serious.

Set a plan to get back on track. Maybe you’ve had a crazy month at work and your gym sessions have fallen by the wayside. That’s okay. But now, you have to get back on track. Plan out your workouts like you would plan a doctor’s appointment—it’s mandatory. Follow through your health and fitness goals and plan accordingly if you know you’re going to have a busy week. Once you’ve been back in your routine for a few weeks, it’ll be easier to gain the momentum and keep your motivation high.

Have you ever felt unmotivated to keep up with your health and fitness goals? How did you get yourself back on track? How do you keep your motivation strong with your working out and eating healthy? Be sure to share all your tips in the comments below!

 

 

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 3

Another week has already come and gone! I feel that these challenges are coming and going so quickly and that February is flying by. It doesn’t help that this month has been very busy at work, which makes the days seem very short.

If this is your first post catching up on my 30-Day Mental Cleanse Challenge with Erin, stop and go back to the beginning. Read the first post in this challenge series about the collaboration for creating self-care challenges and a review of my first week of the Mental Cleanse Challenge!

Are you caught up to speed? Good, now we can move on to reviewing last week’s challenges and where I struggled!

Feb. 6: Try a new workout you’ve never done before.

I knew this would be challenging for me because I’ve done a lot of different workouts. But I decided to go out of my comfort zone and not cheat, so I tried a cardio ab workout I found online.

Feb. 7: Keep all three meals “phone free.” No social media scrolling!

This isn’t ever an issue for breakfast or dinner, but lunch at the office is filled with social media browsing. Instead, I got my coworkers on board to keep their phones away for lunch.

Feb. 8: Do a yoga for beginners workout to give your muscles TLC.

I needed this. I have been going hard on the leg and cardio workouts, so some yoga was exactly what I needed this day. I only did a 15-minute, but it’s better than nothing, right?!

Feb. 9: Make two of your three meals meatless. Need inspiration? Check Pinterest!

I typically don’t have an issue with this because I love to eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and salads to begin with. I had a huge salad for lunch and a veggie pasta for dinner.

Feb. 10: Meditate for 5 minutes and focus on your breath.

I was able to do in this in the office. I was feeling overwhelmed and took the opportunity to calm myself with breathing and relaxing for 10 minutes. Breathing works wonders for stress, friends.

Feb. 11: Take your workout outdoors even if it’s for 20 minutes! 

We were happy to see a little warm weather this day, so I took a walk outside for 15 minutes. It’s still winter here in PA, so we didn’t want to go overboard with the outdoors.

Feb. 12: Go vegan for a day!

What was I thinking with this challenge? Not having eggs, cheese or any other animal products was challenging, but achievable. I ate lentil soup, salad, fruit salad, and rice with veggies throughout the day.

How did you do with these challenges? Make sure to share your wins and losses from this week! Don’t be shy, it’s okay if you had a slip-up or two!


The Third Week of Challenges: Digital Cleanse

  • Feb. 13: Clean out your inbox and sort your emails into folders. Delete all spam.
  • Feb. 14: No social media before 11 a.m. Take the time to be productive!
  • Feb. 15: Unfollow people on social media who don’t inspire you.
  • Feb. 16: Organize your desktop accordingly into folders. Delete unnecessary items.
  • Feb. 17: Go through your phone and organize your apps into folders. Delete apps, old notes, contacts, etc.
  • Feb. 18: Have a phone-free night with family or loved ones!
  • Feb. 19: Unsubscribe from email marketing you’re not interested in keeping up with.

How have you been loving the challenges so far? What challenges were the easiest/most difficult for week two? What challenges for the third week are you most concerned about? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Mental Cleanse Challenge: Week 1

 

Remember in 2016 when I said I really wanted to collaborate with other bloggers on posts? After months of not reaching this goal, I opened up about how my anxiety was getting in the way of my desire to work and collaborate with bloggers.

At the end of 2016, I decided that I wanted to overcome this side of my anxiety. I wanted to say yes to more opportunities and take more risks on my blog. It was shortly after that Erin from, “A Welder’s Wife” reached out over Twitter to talk about a collaborative challenge for February.

Y’all,  I was so excited. I said yes without overthinking things; and I kept reminding myself that it was going to be an amazing opportunity. So, we came up with 30 different challenges categorized in a four different themes set out for each week. This will be unique compared to the decluttering posts and challenges you may have participated in on the blog. These challenges will help you achieve mental balance and clarity in the new year. Below are a list of the challenges beginning today.

 

This challenge is perfect for you if you are:

1| Looking to cleanse your mind.

2| Focus on calmness and self care.

3| Enjoy the simple moments in life.

4| Explore new mental-based challenges every day.

 

Every Monday throughout the month, Erin and I will be posting and discussing the challenges and achievements from the previous week; and talking about the new set of challenges for that current week. Needless to say, I’m excited to see where this month of challenges will take me! Make sure to follow along as I share my posts and content on Instagram (@kiaracatanzaro) and Twitter (@BlissBrunette). You can also check out Erin’s Instagram and Twitter.

So, if you’re interested in trying to create a little extra bliss for the month of February, I hope you’ll take on these challenges; and join Erin and me as we go through this journey ourselves. Be sure to stop in next Monday to see how we did with our first week of challenges!

The first week of challenges: Self Care

  • Jan. 30: Set two goals you would like to achieve during this challenge
  • Jan. 31: Treat your face to a special pampering facial
  • Feb. 1: Go for a walk
  • Feb. 2: Journal for 15 minutes
  • Feb. 3: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal
  • Feb. 4: Make a Gratitude list of everything you are grateful for in your life
  • Feb. 5: Take a long bubble bath

I hope you all find that this month is challenging yet motivating to focus on self care, cleansing your mind, and bliss. Have you ever participated in a 20-day mental cleanse before? Make sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

 

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2016 Review & 2017 Goals

 

 

I am very much in denial that 2016 is over and a new year is here. 2016 was an incredible year for me, and I am happy to say it was one of my best years so far. I want to share some highlights from this year before sharing what my 2017 goals are.

Highlights from 2016:

1| Graduating with my Master’s Degree at 21: I am extremely proud of myself for this because there were a lot of people who doubted this could be done when I first began school. Four years later, I graduated with my M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications, my B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in Spanish. This was a huge accomplishment for me, and was definitely my best moment of 2016.

2| Being more spontaneous: This was a huge goal of mine throughout 2016 because as you can imagine, I thrive off of planning every little detail. I wanted to remind myself that it’s okay to not always have a plan. Sometimes, the best memories are created when you don’t plan much at all. So, I took some trips: one to Albany in March to visit one of my best friends from college, and another trip in May to visit my other best friend from college in Texas. Both trips were amazing and got my travel bug in full swing, which caused me to book a trip to Boston for April 2017!

3| Getting my first job: Can we just say that 2016 was the year that I became a full-blown adult? I got my first full-time job in the marketing field, and I am in love with my job. There’s nothing more wonderful than knowing I get to wake up every day and go to a job I truly love. I know many people are stuck in a job they hate, and I am blessed to be in a position I love.

4| Moving out of state and buying my first place with Josh: I didn’t move too far away from home; but I did move from NY to PA back in April when I got my job. After over two years of being long distance, Josh and I got our first place together, and we couldn’t be happier! We love our home, and we love that we were able to make our relationship a priority and bring our lives together.

5| Putting my health first: 2016 was the year that I got back on track as far as my overall health. From all the stress of finishing my Master’s brought on poor eating, lack of exercise, and other unhealthy habits. Once I moved to PA, Josh and I got in the habit of running three miles two or three times a week, eating healthy, and taking more time for self care. I feel great, and hope to keep this up for 2017, too!


Goals for 2017:

Personal Goals:

1| Read (8-10 books throughout 2017)

I did not do well in the reading category for 2016, so I’m hoping to turn this around for 2017. I created a huge wish list of books for Christmas, so I’m hoping I’ll be gifted some content to achieve this goal!

2| Plan 2-3 trips for 2017

We do have our trip to Boston scheduled, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. I’m hoping to plan another trip to Pittsburgh and potentially a third trip in 2017 as well. You could say I definitely have the travel bug.

3| Achieve my career goals for 2017

In my mind, I have so many different career-oriented goals for 2017 that I want to accomplish. Although I know work-related goals should be its own category, I’m listed it under personal because there are too many topics to cover for this section!

4| Focus on my vision board

I’ve been working on my vision board A TON recently. If you’d like to see a blog post on my vision board and how I created mine, make sure to leave a comment below!

Blogging Goals:

1| Focus on my blog direction

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction I want Blissfully Brunette to go in. And while you can expect an entire post on it, I want to at least let you know there might be some changes coming to the blog for 2017.

2| Increase blog social media engagement by 20 percent

I know so many people who focus on specific stats and numbers. For me, it’s not just about numbers. I care a lot about engagement, interaction and genuine connections via social media.

3| Take more risks

Sometimes, anxiety can hold me back, but I don’t want it to hold my blog back from its full potential. 2017 will be the year that I take more risks and try new things here on the blog.

Financial Goals:

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

This is a huge goal of mine. I’ve created an in-depth plan on how I plan to achieve it. Let’s just say it’s going to take a ton of spending freezes (I’m starting one for the first quarter) I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on this goal, too!

2| Track my spending regularly

I mentioned that Josh keeps a very specific excel sheet on what he spends every. single. day. I admire his commitment because I see that he’s able to achieve his savings goals, so I’m hoping to adopt this and do the same!

Health Goals:

1| Increase my weekly running distance

We aren’t currently in running season, but we are still training all winter long for when running season does pick up again. My goal is to increase my weekly running distance to 10 miles.

2| Don’t focus on numbers

I don’t want my weight or size in general to affect my overall happiness and perception of my heath and fitness endeavors. I feel like numbers takes a negative toll on your mental health, so I don’t want this to take priority for me.

3| Focus on workouts I enjoy

I spent a lot of time when I was younger doing workouts that I didn’t enjoy. Let me tell you that you shouldn’t spend time doing A N Y T H I N G  you don’t enjoy. Find something you love and enjoy, and practice it daily!

I hope you enjoyed reading my goals for 2017. How did you do on your goals for 2016? What are some of your goals for 2017? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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