Friday, January 29, 2016

The Importance of Yoga and De-Stressing | Fit Friday

Ahhh, let us all have a collective sigh of relief that it is finally Friday, and that we all have some much needed R&R time. It seems like the weeks get busier and busier as I get farther into college, so weekends are definitely a small blessing in the endless sea of work, tests, and papers. For today's post, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about de-stressing, and how I do that through yoga. I have been doing yoga a lot lately, and I always feel so fantastic afterwards!

College can be super stressful, and it's difficult to find time to actually unwind and relax. Whenever I do find time to do nothing, I always feel guilty and like I could be doing something productive. It is a never-ending vicious cycle, and one that makes de-stressing very hard!

There's a club at my university that is $5 for the whole quarter of yoga, so it's basically unlimited yoga classes! It's pretty amazing, and the classes are great because they have fantastic yoga instructors. I have done yoga here and there in the past, but never consistently, and ohmygosh does it do wonders for your body and mind! During the classes, I can feel myself relax into a place where I don't think of anything else but what I am doing in the current moment. It's calming as well, which is fantastic for my anxiety.

It can be really hard to be present in the current situation at hand; we are always so worried about the future, and how we handled the past, that we forget to live in the now. This is so important to do, however, because your whole life will pass you by without you even knowing it. Living in the moment is one of my goals this year, because I want to make sure I am making the most out of everyday. I am so guilty of worrying about the future to the point where I'm not even paying attention to the present. Yoga has really put that into perspective for me, because it makes you focus on the here and now.

Okay, I just had to quickly show you guys my new Nike's as well! I got them for Christmas, and I have been loving them so much. They are so bright and cheery, but also super comfortable!

Look at those pastels, oh my gosh.

If we are talking about the logistics of yoga, I usually wear short or long yoga pants (okay, duh Kendra), with either a flowy long sleeve shirt, or a tank top of some sort.

Shirt: This was a Christmas present, so I don't actually know where I got it. I think JCPenny's!
Pants: Lulu Lemon
Shoes: Nike

I am so in love with these pants! The marble print is so cool, and they are really comfortable for yoga.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to make time to relax, and forget about the stress you are feeling. These last couple of weeks have been so difficult and stressful for me. I have been applying to my major, applying for study abroad programs, and I have had a multitude of tests and papers. Basically, it's just been what every normal college student goes through by their sophomore year! As you get further into college, the stress gets more and more overwhelming, and I am trying to adjust to that. Going to yoga, though, has helped me have at least an hour a day to find time to relax and forget about all of my worries.

Even if it isn't yoga, find something that de-stresses you, and allows you to have some relaxation time! It is invaluable to have an activity to alleviate stress, so go out and find one, and feel better. Your mental health will thank you.

How do you manage stress?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Casual Winter Outfit

The weather is still pretty cold here in Seattle, so I have been dressing in layers. My brother actually lives in Virginia, and he has over 26 inches right now, so I really shouldn't complain about the cold! I cannot believe the snow storm that is happening right now back East, so if you're there, I hope you are doing well!
I thought it would be good idea to share what I've been wearing this winter, so today I'm going to be doing a little OOTD!

 I wear this outfit probably every week (oops), but when you're in college, you tend to recycle OOTD's pretty frequently!

 Scarf: I actually crocheted it myself with giant yarn!
Sweater: Pacsun
T-Shirt: Pacsun
Jeans: Paige jeans from Nordstrom
Shoes: Macy's

 This cowl has been my favorite thing this winter! It's so chunky and warm, which is perfect for this colder weather we've been having! I always feel so much warmer when I have a scarf on, are you the same way?

These shoes are always a go-to for me, because they go with everything! I really need to get a new pair of booties, though, because I've had these for so long.

We've had a couple of sunny days, so I am really dreading going back to the rain here in the city! The little rays of sunshine that have poked through the clouds have been so nice, and I'm excited for the spring, even though I have been loving giant sweaters and scarves!

What have you been wearing this winter?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sweet Start to 2016 | Giveaway!

I have never done a giveaway on my blog, so I have some very exciting news: I've linked up with a couple of other bloggers to host a giveaway worth $300! I thought this would be a really great way just to show how grateful I am to all of my readers, and also a wonderful way to start off the new year. Shall we get to the prizes?!

 How pretty is this pallet?! I have swatched it, and these colors are so opaque and gorgeous. I don't personally have this Naked pallet (I wish I did!), but I have the Naked 1 and 3, and they are two of my favorites! Urban Decay makes such good eyeshadows.

 Wrap bracelets are super popular right now, and the black, white, and gold combo is so gorgeous and timeless!

 I also really love the clear glass bead; it makes these bracelets look so graceful!

 Okay, can we talk about how cute this mug is? I love the meaning behind this saying, because hard work often goes unnoticed! Good things really do come to those who work for them, and that reminder on a coffee mug (a.k.a. life in the morning) is perfect.

This is one of my favorite face masks. Ever. In fact, I just used it today after my shower! I use this once or twice a week, and it keeps my skin radiant! I always notice a difference after I use it, and it really helps to keep my pores nice and clean. Plus, it's always nice to have a face mask on hand for pamper nights!

On top of all of these products, you will also win a $150 Visa gift card, and $10 Starbucks gift card! Overall, this prize package is worth $300, which is amazing! So, how do you enter? Just follow the directions in this nifty little box, and follow all of the other bloggers in the giveaway! Also, the giveaway ends at 12 AM on Tuesday, January 26th! Have fun, and good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 15, 2016

How to: Actually Enjoy Running | Fit Friday

I always hated running while growing up; I was a swimmer and a dancer, so running was never an activity that I had to do outside of P.E. during school. I dreaded the mile runs that we would have to do throughout the year, and I knew I would end up having an asthma attack at the end. That was part of the reason why I never ran, because I had asthma pretty badly while growing up. As I've gotten older, my asthma has gotten a lot better, and I only have to use my inhaler when I'm sick, or run outside.
When I got to college, I decided I would start running, because I no longer had my swim team to keep me in shape. To preface this, I also had this irrational fear of treadmills, because I was convinced I would end up falling off tragically. I haven't yet (knock on wood!), so all is well with that. I ended up starting to love running, and I was shocked. Running used to be the absolute bane of my existence, but now I look forward to my morning runs. I know there are a lot of people out there who hate running as well, but I really wanted to write this post on how I started to love it! So, here is my guide to how to enjoy running.

Start out slow
I think one of the biggest reasons why I hated running when I was younger was trying too much in too little time. I would throw myself into it full force, and not give myself a break. I like to really push myself when it comes to physical activity and working out, and it frustrated me so much when I couldn't run for miles on end, or very quickly at all. When I started to run last year, I did a lot of HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) for beginning runners. Those helped a lot, because I was able to push myself for a couple of minutes, and then take a much needed rest. This really helped to build up my endurance, and I was still able to get a good workout in. I still do HIIT's on the treadmill to this day!

Don't go into it with a negative mindset
This goes for everything in life, but if you are already dreading a run, you are going to be miserable the whole time. You will be counting down the minutes to being done, and you will hate every second of it. It really helps to keep an open mind about it, so you will actually enjoy the run. Running can be very therapeutic, and it provides you with a lot of time to think about anything in your life. It also releases endorphin's, so you will be happy afterwards! If you are absolutely unable to not dread the run, just think of how good you will feel afterwards! Which leads me into my next point...

Think of how great you will feel
I always feel so great after workouts, so the initial getting out of bed part is a little bit easier when I realize I will feel better afterwards. Running, and exercise in general, is a huge stress reliever. This is so important in college, because stress and worrying can quickly consume your life. For me, I feel so de-stressed after a workout, and I am ready to take on anything. That's why I like working out in the morning; I start out the day happy from the workout, and with so much more fresh energy to tackle classes, work, tests, papers, homework...the list goes on and on.

Take it day by day
When trying to get better at something, it can be very easy to get frustrated for not improving over night. I am guilty of this, because I like to improve quickly, and it drives me insane when I can't get something down. Gaining endurance for running takes time, and actually enjoying it does as well, especially if you don't particularly like it. You can't just give up after a week and you still don't feel like it comes easily, or that you still hate it. Trust me, it's going to take you a while to love running, but it's really worth it!

Make sure you have good running shoes
Being physically comfortable while running is very important. If you don't have good running shoes, your feet will definitely tell you the next day. It's super important to make sure that your feet are well-supported, because it can cause a lot of issues later down the road. I have a couple pairs of Nike Free's for running, and I really love them. Some people don't like Nike's, and that's totally fine because there are a ton of different brands out there! Some of my friends swear by Brooks running shoes, so I would just look around and find your favorite pair! Try and get your foot fitted by the store, since sizes vary a lot.

Go on runs with friends
If you have friends who are trying to get into running as well, go on a run with them! This can be intimidating at first because you might be scared you can't keep up with them, but just explain to them that you are a beginner and may need to go slow or stop often. I'm sure they will be totally fine with that, and it can be really fun to exercise with friends. This will help you enjoy running more, because you will be able to be social while doing it, and you can grab breakfast/lunch/dinner together afterwards!

Put together a great soundtrack
I love blasting fun, upbeat music while I'm running, because it really helps to pump me up! There are tons of workout playlists out there, so you can listen to one of those, or make your own! I like to just listen to my iTunes library, because I have a lot of upbeat songs on there, and my personal favorite bands to listen to while running are Bastille, Imagine Dragons, or basically any popular pop songs. 

Alternatively, if you are running on the treadmill, you could watch Netflix or Hulu
I love to do this, because I don't have a lot of time to stay caught up on my favorite TV shows, being a busy college student. This way, I can watch TV and run at the same time, so it's really a win-win situation.

Do you like running?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful weekend! :) 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why Cutting My Hair Was The Best Decision Ever

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you know that I've had long hair for the greater part of my life. I started growing it out around fifth grade because I always had short hair when I was younger. My mom always cut it into a bob to thicken it up because I had thin hair when I was a wee little tot, and that backfired because now I have enough hair to share with about five people. Okay, maybe it's not that thick, but cutting it into a bob really must've done the trick.

Summer 2015

Because I had short hair, I always envied the girls who had long and flowing hair in my classes. I became obsessed with growing it out, and it was uber long until I cut it about a month ago. I loved my hair once it was long, and had no desire to cut it. That was all well and good until I started to really rely on it; my hair became my security blanket, and having it long made it easier for me to hide behind it in a way. I never did up-do's for events like Prom, rather preferred to have it down and curled. I did not feel comfortable having it up because I truly felt naked without it. When I was in one of my best friend's wedding a couple of summers ago, everyone suggested I put my hair up for the wedding, precisely because I never did. I actually went along with this, and felt super self conscious at first. As the day went on, I got more and more comfortable with it, and I began to put it up a lot more after that.

Spring 2014

The last couple of times that I've gone in to get my haircut, I played around with the idea of cutting all of my hair off, but I never did because I always chickened out. It wasn't until I got six or seven inches cut off a month ago that I realized I relied on my hair way too much. I felt that it was kind of the last transition I went through in my 2015 journey to loving myself. (Will I ever stop mentioning The Year I Learned How to Love Myself? Probably not...) In order to be comfortable with myself, I wanted to challenge myself, and so I finally made the decision to cut off my hair. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but when you've had long hair for most of your life, it's a big decision! All of my friends said, "Oh it's just hair, Kendra..." and that was well and good, but to me, my hair had been my security blanket for the last ten years or so.

Summer 2015

I went to a new hair stylist to get my hair cut, and I'm really glad I did, because she didn't know that I usually chicken out of cutting my hair. She just said okay, and chopped away. I think I worked myself up so much before, that I had no energy left to feel worried or stress about my decision. (I'm a very indecisive person, if you hadn't already gathered.) After she cut it, I was so happy! My hair is so much lighter now, and it really fits where I'm at in my life, if that makes sense. I changed a lot last year, and learned just as much. I'm so much more comfortable with myself, and a lot more outgoing, so having short hair just felt right. It's so much fun to play around with (is it strange that I feel sassier?), and I feel like it makes me look a lot older. It's also a great decision logistically, since I workout every morning, and simply don't have the time to deal with fixing long hair. Not that I make too much of an effort with my short hair, but it's a lot faster to wash and look presentable.

The day I got my haircut! December 2015

My hair is still auburn, but it's a lot shorter. I seriously couldn't be happier with it, even though I can't braid it anymore. That's probably the only thing that I miss, but I can braid my hair into half-do's at least! It's so cool to have a different length of hair to play around with, instead of my ultra-long hair that I was getting pretty bored with. I think my short hair is around to stay for a while, and it's a really good thing for me right now! I don't rely on my hair to hide behind anymore, and having it short makes me feel a lot more confident.

January 2016

All of my family commented on how much older I look now, and that my this length really suits me. I just couldn't say enough good things about this decision, and I have no #ragrets. I'm sorry, I had to. This was the perfect way to end 2015, and the transformation of learning to love myself! It forced me to take a different look at myself, and take a risk of absolutely hating my new hair length.

Do you like taking risks with your hair?

Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day! :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Goals

2015 was a year of growth for me. I was able to learn how to love myself (see my post on that here and my video here), gain a much more positive outlook on life, and it was a year of growth for myself in general. I want 2016 to continue with that pace, and to be an incredible year. I'm going to try my hardest with everything I do, and I have big plans for my blog and channel. I thought it would be a good idea to put my goals up on my blog, just to be able to check back on for myself, and to share them with you! So, here they are.

For my blog and YouTube channel:
1. Stay consistent. I am going to post one video a week on my channel, and try to post at least twice a week on my blog.
2. Schedule my time out so I am able to keep this consistency.
3. Make sure ahead of time that I have posts and videos ready - that way I know I will always have something to post when life gets crazy.

For my life in general:
1. Schedule my time out, so I stay on top of school.
2. Remain positive about myself, and my life.
3. Continue to love myself, and be comfortable in my own skin.
4. Forgive myself, and give myself a break when I make mistakes or have a hard day.
5. Spread positivity to those around me.

I like to call my aspirations for the year "goals" instead of "resolutions," even though they basically mean the same thing. It makes me feel like I'm striving towards something throughout the whole year, and makes me work harder. Call them what you will, I think it's important to set intentions for the beginning of the year so you feel like you're working towards something, and don't feel lost!

Check out the video I did on my goals as well! :)

What are your goals?

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day! :)