Rewards System And Self Discipline

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So many of us find our days going a little like this: You wake up with the intentions of eating healthy, tackling your todo list and getting to the gym with all the motivation necessary to achieve these goals successfully, yet come dinner time all you’ve done is browsed Pinterest looking at things you can’t afford, watched videos of Instagram models doing the workouts you should have done, and eaten a lunch consisting of cookies from the breakroom, served up with a big side of regret.

Shit days happen to the best of us, and failure is inevitable. But what separates the ordinary from extraordinary is the self-discipline to continue towards these goals even after failure.

I have in no way reached any of my personal or professional goals, not even close, but there are a few little things that have made a huge difference in my journey towards them. And they’re easy enough for a child to comprehend.

Self Reward – When I was a little girl my mom forced me into the minivan and down the street to piano lessons twice a week. There were weeks I hated it and weeks I tolerated it, but for the most part it wasn’t my favorite time pass – and my mother was unwillingly aware due to my cries of objection. But once I got to playing and saw improvement, my mood would change and the formerly dreaded task was seemingly enjoyable. So to trick me into practicing at home, my mom would put a dish of M&M’s on top of the piano and every time I got through a song I would get a piece of candy. It worked so well that after a while she’d have to drag me off the bench to stop playing.

Now that I’m older and don’t have my parents to force me to do the right things, it’s a little tricky to stay focused on the not-so-glamorous tasks of life. But I took a page out of my mom’s parenting handbook and started tricking myself into accomplishing tasks with a similar reward system, minus the M&M’s. When it comes to diet, I force myself to eat all the vegetables and protein on my plate before I’ll allow myself carbs or sweets, which helps me get the good nutrients in need and prevents me from filling up on bread. My to do list is another hackable system where I’ll tell myself if I get the following X tasks done, I get to go get a mani/pedi, stop by Sephora for a new lip gloss, or as something as simple as browsing my socials for 15 minutes. The reward doesn’t have to be monetary or extravagant either. For some reason, knowing there’s a little treat at the end of all the boring stuff makes it easier to power through each task.

Some photos from my trip to Sydney – Comment below if you’d like to know my favorite places to visit and must-see’s from my trip!

 

-xoLK-

 

Time Blocking And Calendar Hacks

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Juggling between school, work, blogging and a social life can get pretty intense. Not to mention trying to throw a healthy routine in the mix. Back in my rookie days, I would rely solely on my memory, maybe a couple calendared events here and there, when it came to my schedule. But by incorporating the use of time-blocking and google calendar, my productivity has been better than ever.

Google Calendar –

First let’s talk about your new best friend. Google calendar is connected directly to your Gmail, making it easy to access with any device, anywhere. The color scheme is extra cute, with several options of pastels colors to coordinate events. This makes it easy to stay organized and know exactly what you have planned for the day at a quick glance. Pick a color for work meetings, school events and/or assignment due dates, workouts and even drive time. My drive time is yellow, so if I have a phone call to make or something I can do while driving, I’ll know when I’m able to do that based on my calendar color. I try to literally plan my whole day between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. into my calendar to keep myself on task and prepared for the day.

Multitasking is great for maximizing productivity, but there are certain things you can and can’t do while multitasking. The phone call while driving example is a good time to do so, along with checking emails while walking on the treadmill or listening to a podcast while getting ready. But in order to avoid multitasking more demanding tasks, time-blocking is the way to go.

Time-Blocking –

Time-blocking is a method that trains your brain to focus on one task for a given amount of time – and only that one task. It’s very common for people to look at a list of things needing to be done and start working on all of them throughout a large time period, bouncing from one task to another. This makes it hard for your brain to focus on what you’re trying to do because as soon as it’s acclimated, there’s another switch. By time-blocking you avoid the clutter and tell yourself the task in front of you is THE MOST important thing for X amount of time.

Every morning I’ll check my calendar, (usually on the treadmill or on the Stairmaster) and see what is on the agenda for the day. Then I open my Notes app in my phone and write down each individual task that needs to be done, most often through the 5-6 hour slot when I’m in the office, along with phone calls, workouts, laundry, even checking emails. Then I put in parenthesis how long each task will likely take. At work, I’ll put a timer on my phone with the allowance I’ve given a task and when the timer goes off, it’s time to move to the next item on the list. I can’t tell you how helpful this tool has been for me. Productivity maximization through the roof!

(Amazon has a cute little white block that will serve as your timer as well, but your phone timer will work just fine.)

The key idea is to stay focused on one thing at a time. By temporarily blocking out the entire day’s to do list and giving the task at hand your undivided attention, you’ll be able to accomplish much more in small bites than if you were to try and swallow the day whole.

If you have any productivity enhancing hacks, share below in the comments!

 

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-xoLK-


Outfit Deets: – AG jeans – Hologen cardi – Treasure & Bond shoes 
– Bobeau tee – Nora NYC sunnies –

Photos by: Madison Katlin Photography

Travel Guide For The Girl With Too Many Things

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by a 50lb bag weight restriction at the airport. *raises hand*

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Traveling can be a bit stressful – especially the preparation part – and even more so as a girl with a sense of style and too many things. How could you possibly neglect your favorite shirt by leaving it behind?! Or that dress with the tags still on it that’s been waiting for the perfect opportunity to be worn? And don’t even try to say only one pair of shoes is necessary for a week’s vacation.

With a family states away, a previous job that brought me to 12 different cities and forced me to live out of a suitcase, and the spirit of a wanderlust gypsy, I’ve gained quite a bit of airplane-incorporated experience. And along with it, some pretty sound traveling advice. So seeing as I have just begun a 20 day, 2 country trip, it seemed fitting to share some traveling tips with you:

 

  1. Helpful Applications – My new favorite flight booking app has a lot of people buzzing, and airlines pissed off. Enough so that United Airlines actually sued them – and lost. Meaning the app is not only genius, but legal.
    Skiplagged finds inexpensive flights that don’t necessarily end in your desired city, but have a layover where you’re wanting to go. For example, if I wanted to fly to Los Angeles, I would take a flight going to Seattle that stops in LA and San Francisco. Then instead of getting on the next connecting flights, you just walk right out of the airport and bam, you’re in LA.
    (I just looked for flights DFW-LAX and found them for $93 round-trip. SCORE.)
    The only catch is you can’t check a bag, but continue reading and I’ll tell you exactly why you should never be checking a bag anyways.
    Another good thing to utilize is frequent flyer miles. Try to stick to one airline so the points will accumulate, but always make sure you’re using a miles membership anytime you fly, or those points just vanish into thin air for no one to use in the future.
  1. Pack Based Off Itinerary – Knowing what you will be doing on your trip is critical information when packing. Will it be warm or cold? Are there special events planned? Or will you be working out or doing active things? Knowing the answers to these questions will tell you how much of what to pack, with a little wiggle room of course. If it’s a business trip, then be sure to bring enough business casual pieces that are interchangeable, giving you more options and room for your creative style to come through without bringing your whole closet.
    Undergarments are an item that are always over-packed. If you’re gone for 10 days, you honestly don’t need 10 bras and underwear. Hotels and rentals have these wonderful things called soap and sinks that you can use to wash your intimates so you don’t have a bag full of underwear. Sure, they may be small, but space is a hot commodity when you’re packing all your things in one bag. The main idea is don’t over-pack. If you can pinpoint at least the type of outfit you need for each day and minimize your belongings you can avoid checking luggage and save everyone some time and money.
  2. Carry-On When Possible – Trust me, you and your Uber will be much happier if you can manage to keep your things in one or two carry-on bags rather than waiting for your bag to come through baggage claim. And it’s more than possible depending on the destination! If your trip is a week or less, and you’re not needing mountains of winter gear, there’s no excuse to avoiding checked luggage.
    All airlines allow one larger carry-on bag and a personal item. Ladies, this includes your purse. The best trick to utilizing these allowed items is to pack as normal in a carry-on approved roller bag, (and pack that bitch tight), then instead of just bringing your purse by itself, grab a backpack that will fit your purse, along with other items such as your laptop, make-up, jewelry etc., and use that as your personal item to be stowed under the seat in front of you. It allows for easy access to the things you’ll need in-flight and avoids wasting that second bag opportunity.
    For international or long-term travel (like I am doing currently) put your shoes in a roller carry-on bag so your checked bag isn’t as weighed down. As for inside the checked bag, I put my nicer clothing in the zipped side and my athletic wear in the other side, then as my trip progresses, use the non-zip compartment as dirty laundry and keep my good clothes fresh in the zipped side.
  3. Avoiding Jet-Lag – This topic seriously deserves its own solo post (OK, maybe they all do), but I’ll give as brief of a break down as possible. The biggest thing to remember when traveling to a time zone V much off your home base is to get your body acclimated to your destination’s zone ASAP. It’s best to start a day or two before your flight if possible. For example, if you were traveling to a time zone 8 hours behind, stay up as late as possible and sleep in later than usual. Vice versa for heading in the other direction.
    When you’re on the plane, remember this rule as well. Don’t give in to temptation and try to sleep the whole flight, you’ll just end up overly exhausted and even more jacked up when you land. Airlines typically have the destinations current time available, so keep an eye on it and act accordingly as if you were there and not on the plane. Know what time you’ll be landing – if you’re getting in at night, you’ll want to be nice and sleepy, and if you land in the afternoon or morning, you’ll want to be well-rested to make it through the day. If you mess up and are super jet lagged your first day, resist the urge to sleep until it’s actually sleep time. It’s hard, I know, but one day of suffering through tiredness is better than a whole trip ruined because of jetlag. I find that exercising as soon as you get to your hotel helps too.

 

I know it’s a lot of information, but traveling happy is important! No one wants to spend a bunch of money on a trip just to get there tired, unprepared and missing home. If you have questions or want to know more about any of the above topics, comment below or shoot me an email.


-xoLK-

Outfit deets: – Zella hoodie (the BEST for travel. The hood has a hole for your headphone cord to go into so you’re not all tangled up!) – Zella leggings (in black)
– Nike shoes – Nora NYC sunglasses –

My Favorite Things To Do In The Shower

 

Ok, ok, get your mind out of the gutter. Or should I say drain?

The shower is a happy place for me. It’s a time to unwind, relax, get pampered, all without other humans to interrupt (most of the time..)

Seriously though, nothing beats a scalding hot shower. And it’s the perfect place to catch up on beauty regimens all at once. Here are a few things that you need to incorporate into your shower at least once a week for softer skin and healthier hair.

But before we get into it, here’s a sideshow of some photos from my trip to Kaua’i (:

 

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Exfoliating gloves – I’m an exfoliate freak. Sometimes I wish I could molt like a crab and shed all the dead skin, hair and dirt on my body once a month – but that’d be gross. So instead I use these gloves once or twice a week to get my skin baby’s butt smooth. It’s just too easy, throw the gloves on with a healthy glob of moisturizing lotion (my fav is philosophy, but it’s pretty pricey, so sometimes i opt for dove instead) and start rubbing as hard as you can. Until you feel like you’re rubbing your skin off your bones. Personally, I enjoy the feeling, but it may not be the most comfortable for some people. If you can bear through it though, when you take the gloves off and touch yourself, you’ll know it was worth it.

Salt scrub – Surprise, surprise. Another exfoliating tip. I stumbled upon this product during the Amazon Prime Day sale last year and have been reordering it monthly since. I even ordered a bunch for family Christmas presents – and they all LOVE it. The ingredients are all natural with stuff like sea salt, almond oil, coconut oil and some other stuff. The instructions advise to leave it on your skin until it dries, then to scrub it off, but honestly it works just as well if you just give yourself a good rub down and rinse right after. If I’m feeling a little extra, I’ll put it on my shoulders, neck and arms while sitting in the bath for 10 or so minutes, but not necessary at all. It says it’s safe for the face, but I avoid it and stop at my chin. My face requires a little extra TLC.

Coconut oil for dry ends – While coconut oil has a bit of a reputation for being overused and excessively glorified, it really is the best for dry, split ends. My hair is extra dry from heat exposure, bleaching it and honestly just genetics, so I’m always looking for the best way to give my ends life. Instead of using expensive products that more often than not don’t live up to promised expectations, I’ve found the cure-all coconut oil solution is the best and most affordable. Sometimes I’ll put a thick coat (only on the ends) right before bed and sleep in it, then wash it out the next morning in the shower. But if that’s not an option, I run it through my hair right before I get in the shower and throw a hair cap on. Then instead of washing my hair right away, I get to shaving, exfoliating and anything else that needs to be done, saving my hair for last. The steam from the shower and insulation of the hair cap helps the oil work faster and leaves my ends nice and smooth.

 

Efficiency is the name of the game, and if I can help my skin, hair, teeth and whatever else all in one shower session, I’m a happy camper. I usually do this full routine once a week with normal, shorter showers in between.

-xoLK-

Five Things Under $5 That Changed My Skincare Game For LIFE

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Skincare can get ridiculously expensive.

The creams and oils, treatments, masks, chemicals, needles, injections.

It’s all overwhelming AF.

So lately I’ve been trying home remedies to improve my skin that won’t break the bank. And I’ve come across some freaking gems along the way.

The Facial Massage:

I’m obsessed with rubbing my face. It’s honestly life changing. And if you think I sound crazy, try it yourself tomorrow morning because its 100% FREE – and it works. Simply clean your face and hands thoroughly to avoid spreading bacteria, apply a daily lotion or oil to your fingers and start rubbing in upwards motions on your cheeks and in between your eyes for 5-10 minutes. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up, right after turning on one of my fav podcasts. I’m telling you, your skin will immediately feel tighter and look brighter. You’ll be thanking me later.
(here’s my fav oil – not under $5, I know. but close enough)

Inspo by: Lauryn Evarts @ The Skinny Confidential – HIGHLY recommended blog to follow.

Shave, Shave, SHAVE Your Face:

Yes, you read that right. Shaving has proved to be the most effective exfoliate I’ve used so far. Not only does it remove the hair on your face, but the dead skin as well. I can legit see old skin coming off my face when I do this – gross, I know, but effective AF. Afterwards, my skin absorbs moisturizers and oils quickly and efficiently. And my make-up goes on flawlessly with no baby hairs! I promise your hair won’t grow back thick and black like people swear up and down it will. And the more you do it, the less you have to.
(even better, these Tinkle brand razors are under $5 for a pack of 6 on Amazon rn)

Drink A Shitload Of Water:

Literally every supermodel interview I read or watch, they always say the secret to healthy skin is to drink your bodyweight in water. It sounds so simple and obvious, yet so many people aren’t getting an adequate amount of water on a daily basis. The 8×8 rule says to drink 8 glasses of 8 oz. per day – so 64 oz. To keep track, I normally get a bottle of SmartWater in the morning, which is about 34 oz., and refill it when I’m finished, so two bottles satisfies my quota for the day. Aside from the water bottle purchase, this is another basically free tip.

If you want to be GREEN, buy a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day. (I try my best to do this, but honestly, I always forget my bottle at home or work…)

Homemade Lip Scrub With Shit From Your Kitchen:

The skin on your lips is extra sensitive and deserves extra care. There are a lot of products out there to exfoliate and moisturize your lips, but I’ve found that an at-home concoction is a quick fix when my lips are beat up and need a little love. This recipe is super easy and most people already have the ingredients in their kitchens, so there’s little to no extra cost. Mix it thoroughly and be aggressive! It might hurt a little, but it’s important to get all the dead skin off. Being rough with them will get the blood-flow going too, so when you’re done you’ll have a nice, natural pout.
Lip Scrub:      

1 tablespoon    organic cane sugar

½ teaspoon      unrefined coconut oil

¼ teaspoon      sweet almond oil

½ teaspoon      vanilla extract (preferably made with glycerin)

teaspoon      raw honey

At-Home Steam Facial:

If you’ve never had a steam facial at the spa, you’re depriving yourself. But luckily, this service is easy to recreate at home without the expensive tools and machines. Typically, a salon will put a moisturizing mask on your face, then sit you in front of a steamer for about 10 minutes. The at-home version isn’t as glamorous, yet still extremely effective. Clean your face of any make-up and dirt, add a thick layer of moisturizer, turn your sink on as HOT as it can go, and grab a towel. When the water gets hot enough to start steaming, lean over the sink and throw the towel over your head so all the steam will be trapped by your face. The benefits of steaming are extremely detoxifying, opening your pores so all the oil, dirt and bacteria under in your skin will lift up and out. It’s also insanely good for your sinuses and respiratory system – highly recommended if you’re sick. For best results, exfoliate right after to clean the nasties out of your pores even more.

While these aren’t my best of the best tips, they’re the ones that’ll give you a serious bang for basically no bux. Comment below your skincare routine and keep an eye out for my favorite products for glowing skin!


-xoLK-

Outfit deets:

– Missguided pants – American Apparel crop (in white) – Lulu’s heels – Rebecca Minkoff choker –

Photos by: Madison Katlin Photography

Formulating… And Actually Sticking To NYE Resolutions

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It’s that time of the year again. The holidays are over, everyone will be going back to work soon and all conversations will pertain to self-improvement and trendy, unrealistic resolutions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about bettering oneself, but some goals people go around bragging about are complete BS. And they’re always so vague, like “I’m going to get healthy this year,” or “In 2018 I’m going to save more money.”

Without a clear goal and plan, success is impossible to reach. And making ridiculous goals like getting in the gym 5X a week or completely cutting out added sugars is a recipe for failure. A healthy balance is necessary to get yourself down the road to actual improvement.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a new year and to help you stick to those resolutions.

  1. Don’t choose one single, broad resolution –

If you’re wanting to get in shape this year, find one thing that you enjoy doing like yoga, cycling or weight lifting, and commit to doing that activity a realistic number of days a week. If you’re not a frequent gym-goer, 2X a week is a great place to start. If you end up going 3-4X, great!

Same goes for financial and organizational goals. Budget your income and expenses, then choose a reasonable amount of money to put into a savings account each week. You can always increase the amount as you go, and it’s not as intimidating as stashing away all your extra income. Or decide on one project to tackle a month, like clean out your home office, reorganize your closet, etc.

Starting out with a realistic goal will keep you on track and prevent you from getting discouraged when that goal isn’t met.

  1. Daily, Monthly, Yearly –

This year I’ve made three resolutions that can be done on a daily, monthly and annual basis. It seems like a lot, but each is totally doable and will greatly improve my quality of life. They say it takes 30 days to make a habit, so come February, these things will hopefully be ingrained into my routine. Write them on a sticky note or paper and tape it somewhere you’ll look every day like your bathroom mirror. (Mine’s on my laptop right when I open it.)

And it’s important to remember that failure is OK! If you fall off, just hop back on the next day.


My 2018 goals are:

Daily – Get on my yoga mat EVERY DAY (even if it’s just 5 minutes.)

Monthly – Read one book off my must-read list.

Yearly – Learn a new skill (this will likely come naturally through school, but it’s a good goal to keep in mind throughout the year.)

  1. Plan it out –

Like I said, without proper planning, you’re setting yourself up for failure. I’ve become a slave to my Google Calendar – and I’m not mad about it! Between over planning my weeks and time-blocking, I’m able to get an insane amount done throughout the day all while sticking to my goals.

Daily reminders of your resolutions can help keep you on track and is a useful tool for tracking your progress. For example, schedule your work-outs in your calendar like a meeting, and at the end of the day write down in the notes what you did to be active – or if you totally missed that day. Then look back on previous weeks to see what works best for you and adjust accordingly.

(I’ll be posting an in-depth blog about calendar organization and time-blocking soon – subscribe to my site so you don’t miss it!)

  1. Avoid negative word choice –

When formulating your resolutions, word choice is SO important. Instead of using words with not after them (can’t, won’t, couldn’t etc.,) replace them with a more positive tone. Same goes for eliminating things from your life. So instead of saying, “I will not eat candy in 2018,” change it to, “I will eat more vegetables in 2018.” By focusing on the things that will improve your health and life instead of prohibiting yourself from the bad, you’ll trick your brain into positive thinking and healthy actions rather than constantly telling yourself what you can’t have or do.

 

Hopefully this will help get you motivated and focused on making 2018 your year!

Comment below what your New Year’s resolutions are!

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-xoLK-


Outfit Deets:

MVMT watch – Pixie&Mood wallet – LuLus dress –
Nordstrom necklace set – Nordstrom poncho –

Photos by: Madison Katlin Photography