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!

 

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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!

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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!

 

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8 Tips to Master Your Closet

It’s that time of year where we declutter old items that no longer fit our style or lifestyle; and take control of our closet space as we transition from winter to spring. Decluttering your closet can be a huge undertaking, especially if you haven’t gone through your wardrobe in over a year or longer. Regardless if it’s your first time decluttering or your tenth time decluttering, I’m here to share 8 tips to help you master your closet. Keep reading if you’re looking to add a little bliss to your space as we move into spring.

1| Make A Plan

Don’t just go into your closet and start throwing things out and putting clothes in a donation bin. Sit down and set aside five minutes to plan out when and how long you’ll need to go through your closet and clothes altogether. Will it take a day or a few hours? Scheduled adequate time to go through your clothes so you don’t run out of time or feel rushed to get it done in an hour.

2| Take It All Out

Yes, take it all out and put it on your bed or floor. Literally everything from tops to seasonal items to shoes. You will be surprised with how much you truly have in your closet. This will help so much because you can see what the damage it and see how much you can donate, sell, toss, etc.

3| Try It All On

Does it fit? Does it look flattering on you? Does it fit your style? It is damaged at all? Is it versatile? Do you feel good when you wear that item? Ask yourself all these questions (and more) when you’re trying on different pieces in your closet. Don’t keep something unless your truly love it and it fits your personal style. If it doesn’t fit/if it’s damaged or you simply don’t love it—out it goes. Read 10 things to remove from your closet right now for help!

4| Create A “6-Month Box”

If you’re not too sure about some items, put them away in a box and store them in your basement, spare closet, or attic for six months. If you don’t find yourself looking for any of those items over the six months, or even thinking about them—you should definitely donate or sell those items once the period is up. it’s a sure way of knowing you didn’t love or need those pieces in your life.

5| Don’t Be Sentimental

You still have your bridesmaid dress from your friend’s wedding from five years ago. It doesn’t fit and you know you will never wear it again. You have scarves from Europe that are damaged and you can’t even wear anymore, yet they’re taking up space in your closet. Why keep those things if you want wear them? Try to remove the sentimental memories from those pieces and stay practical.

6| Be Honest With Yourself

No pair of shoes are worthy of keeping if you can’t wear them for 30 minutes without screaming in pain. Get rid of things that don’t make sense to keep. Why keep a pair of jeans from high school that you probably won’t fit into when you can appreciate the jeans you have now that also fit your body? Don’t hold onto things you don’t need or can’t wear.

7| Organization is Key

Find an organization system that works well for you. If you love to organize your closet by color and sleeve length, perfect! If you prefer to organize the Kon Marie way, that’s great, too! It’s all about what works best for you and what you love. Everyone will have a different preference and that’s okay! Take time to see what is visually appealing to you and what will help you keep your closet organized.

8| Maintain Consistently

Your closet will be easy to maintain if you find an organization system you love (see #7). Also make sure you set aside time every season to review your closet again and see what you can remove, donate, sell, etc. After your initial declutter, it will be much easier to see what you love and don’t love in terms of fashion, style, etc. As long as you dedicate 30 minutes to go through your closet, you will be able to maintain your hard work.

Are you ready to tackle your own closet? When is the last time you decluttered? What other tips do you have for mastering your closet? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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5 Things to be Happy About: March 2017

Who else is so excited for the new month?!

Can we have a moment, y’all? I’m in denial about how quickly this year has passed by so far. 2017 has been beautiful so far, so part of me wants it to slow down a little. But I will say I’m ready for a new month and a new list of goals to accomplish.

Catch up on February’s edition of “5 Things to Be Happy About!”  

Now we can move onto a little gratitude and happiness for March. Make sure to leave a comment below letting me know what you’re excited about for the month. Let’s share a little gratitude and happiness in the blogging community!

1| First Day of Spring 

Last month I talked about how I was excited to skip through February so we can get into spring. You have no idea how excited I am to know that spring is around the corner. Spring is a sure sign that warmer weather and lighter days are ahead. It also means I get to finally change up my wardrobe after wearing winter coats and boots for months on end.

2| Lighter Days

You all know that Christmas is my favorite time of year. But once the holidays are over, I’m ready to jump in spring head on and get a little more sunshine and warmer weather in my life. Living in Pennsylvania can be difficult because it can snow until May. I’m definitely looking forward to more sun as the days grow a little longer.

3| Flowers

I’m all about fresh flowers and brining the beauty of nature indoors. March is when I can go crazy with buying new plants for my office, my home and treat myself to more flowers. Because life is too short to have a home without flowers, amiright? So make sure to #treatyoself to some fresh blooms this month because you deserve it (and it will bring a smile to your face every morning).

4| Spring Cleaning

Raise your hand if spring cleaning and decluttering makes you so happy you can’t stand it! (Oh, just me? Okay.) Anyway, I’m ready to go through my spring and summer clothes and declutter more as a new season begins. I’m also ready for a deep clean in our home to freshen everything in a new season. Do you have any spring cleaning checklists that you love? Make sure to send some my way!

5| Wardrobe Change

I’m all about making my needs few and focusing on my more minimalist lifestyle, but with spring comes a change in my wardrobe. I can start putting away bulky sweaters in exchange for light fabrics in pastel colors. My wardrobe and style will get a mini makeover this month as I edit my clothes and bring in new, staple pieces I’ve been looking for. Leave a comment below telling me what your spring wardrobe essentials are. I would love to know!

What are you looking forward to now that it’s March!? Do you have any exciting blog plans for the month? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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