It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – IN JULY!

Hello friends! As you can see by the title, we’re less than one week aways from Christmas’ sister, Christmas in July. For anyone who doesn’t know, Christmas in July happens to be the same day as my birthday. This year is a special one: the big 2 – 1!

Last year for my birthday I posted about the 20 things I’ve learned in 20 years. This year, instead of the 21 things I’ve learned, I decided to take a differnt look at things.

Instead of looking back on all the things that I’ve learned in my 21 years, which is a lot more than 21, I’ve decided to look to the present and future.

I’ve decided to try and treat everyday like the greatest season of the year – the Christmas season. It’s the time of the year everyone wants to be a little kinder and love more. Shouldn’t we decide to do this every morning, not just in December.

My goal for today, tomorrow, and the next 21 years is to simply try. Try to wake up and be the kind of person we all try to be during the Christmas season. Isn’t that what we all claim we love about Christmas anyway?

Maybe this is what I’ve learned in my 21 years. I can proclaim my birthday being Christmas in July some more, but I can also act like it means something.

That’s all.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

 

 

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But, What’s a Day Off?

Before it turns to July and more than two months without a post, I thought I would jump on and say “hello”. So, hi.

Today is one of my few days off since starting my internship in early May. A week from Friday I’ll have been at my internship for two months already. The time has truthfully flown by. My schedule has been jam-packed, full of events and lots of experience. I just finished my summer class, and now I’m moving onto some projects for my school clubs for the upcoming school year.

The funny part about having days off is that I’m not sure what to do. I think a lot of people who are consistently going going going also feel this way. I let myself sleep in, drink some coffee, and watch the Today show (three of my fav things). After that, I’m not really sure what to do, especially if the weather is less than favorable.

What I’ve come to realize on my few days off is that it’s okay. Maybe I should do the things I love and don’t get to do often. Of course, I have to do things like planning my dentist/doctor’s appointments and other things I’ve had no time for. In addition, those things are reading a book or watching a movie just because.

For today, the Michigan weather is not on my side (shocker!). It will be a miracle if my skin sees the sun this summer. This won’t stop me, however, from being selfish on my day off and relaxing. The important thing is that you remember to take some time for yourself to feel refreshed. Enjoy your time at home or shopping, whatever makes you feel good.

That’s all I have for this post. Hopefully, because my class is over, I’ll get to post on here a little bit more.

Happy day off,

Krystal, With a “K”

March Wrap

Holy moly, it’s already the end of March. We’ve made it through spring break as well as the first day of spring. Believe it or not, Michigan’s weather is weirdly spring-ish. Most of the snow is all melted and temperatures are slowly rising.

I’m completely ready to leave winter behind and welcome spring with open arms. I’m talking about dresses, sandals, and light jackets. Unfortunately, it’s not that warm yet, but we will get there.

I thought that it would be a good point to check in. Since finishing the JLo challenge, I’ve been all over the place food-wise. I had a HUGE food-cation in Texas on my spring break. From FRIED OREOS (yes that’s a thing and yes they’re delicious) to my first-ever beignet (also amazing). I was lucky enough to be able to work out every day on my vacation because that’s what life’s about, balance.

Spring break in Houston was another great week. I got to spend it with my cousin who is basically my twin and my aunt and uncle. We always have such a blast. They took me to San Antonio because I’d never been. It was such a cool little city. We also went to the Houston Rodeo and saw Panic! At the Disco. I love the rodeo, and the concert was great.

The past couple weeks back have gone by rather quickly, but truthfully, I’m so ready to be done with the semester. I’ve totally had a roller coaster of emotions with transitioning back from Florence to Mt. Pleasant. I’ve had some classes I absolutely dread, not because they’re hard, but because they’re boring and university credits. That being said, I’ve had some good days with great classes too. One of my classes and some of my clubs have had amazing guest speakers that make me truly excited for my future career.

On that note, my future career. I’ve been working extremely hard towards finding and achieving an internship this summer. That entails applying to as many places that I feel qualified as possible and interviewing with anyone who will ask. It’s hard to consistently interview and interview and not get something, but I know everything will work itself out.

Some other fun things to mention was that St. Patrick’s Day was the weekend after spring break. I went out and spent all of Saturday with friends. On Sunday, a friend of mine had a photography assignment, so we went to Midland to Dow Gardens. We went and saw butterflies, and we spent the day laughing and exploring the canopy gardens in Midland. It was truly a fun, relaxing day.

Other than that, I’ve got some big projects in almost all my classes coming up since we’re winding down the year. I only have six weeks of classes left, and I’m getting anxious to know where I’ll be this summer work-wise. I hope to update ya’ll with some more posts before school lets out, but you never know.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

 

I Survived​ JLo’s Challenge

Now that February has come and gone without me posting any new blogs, I think it’s time for me to jump back on and let you know what I’ve been up to.

As you’ve read the title of today’s post, I decided to spend the last 10 days in March trying Jennifer Lopez’s 10 days of no added sugar, no carbs. Yup, that’s right. The pancake queen herself refrained from breakfast sweets, dairy, coffee creamer, bread, fruit, and more.

Now, I first heard of this from Hoda Kotb on the Today show. JLo challenged her at the end of January, and by February I kept feeling like I wanted to get a piece of the action. Fast forward to Monday, Feb. 18. – it was official, I was doing it.

Originally, I took daily video diaries of how each day felt or went, but they bored me to death. I’ll recap what I droned on about for about 20 minutes total: I don’t know if I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t feel like this was the hardest challenge in the world. The lack of fruit sucked and I felt a little bit tired, but I truly did fine for the most part. The weekend was hard, and I cheated a tiny bit when I went out with friends, but I didn’t cheat with food.

Here’s how I prepared and made it through the 10 days.

1. I researched it

I first researched the challenge then I researched any questions I had about it. I spent the majority of my time on the Today show’s website because, after Hoda did it, they had a couple good posts about it.

2. I prepped what I was going to eat

After researching what I could eat, I spend a lot of time deciding what I actually would eat. I didn’t want to waste money on stuff I wouldn’t make or wouldn’t even want to eat. The best way to survive this challenge is to make food that sounds good! I got ideas from Joy Bauer, who helped Hoda plan what to eat.

3. Meal prepping

If you’re hungry after a long day and you have no food, you’ll be more apt to cheat. I promise you that making some breakfast quiches ahead of time or dinner that works for lunch the following days, you will be able to fight the urge of quitting.

4. Have snacks ready

I’m terrible at eating when I’m bored or snacking when I’m watching a show or movie. Make sure you have snacks, like natural almonds around. I also would have carrots with guacamole for less of a dry snack. P.s. sugar-free Jello was my favorite “before bed” snack.

5. Don’t beat yourself up

If you fall off the wagon for half a second (I did during the weekend when I went out with friends) accept it and move on. I spent a lot of time worrying that I was doing something wrong because I didn’t feel as tired as people said I would. I was fine, and I talked myself into doing something wrong for a couple of the days. Don’t let negative thoughts control your time.

6. You can do anything for 10 days

It’s only for 10 days. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself. I did.


That’s all the advice and thoughts I can think of on how I accomplished it. This experience was not at all what I thought it would be, but I found some of the things I was looking for. I needed a change to motivate me to finish February in a better attitude. I don’t want you to think this was the easiest thing I’ve ever done because it wasn’t. It will be different for everyone, but if I can do it then so can you.

If you have any questions about what I ate or want another post on how I felt, where I post “10-day challenge,” feel free to let me know.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

The Art of Being Intentional

Drumroll, please! I’m sticking to the promise I made in my last post (found here) to tell you guys about my New Year’s resolution. The problem is, I don’t want to call it a “resolution.”  That word, in my mind, has come to have a negative connotation with it. I don’t know if it’s the countless years of promising to do something and stopping a week later that’s given me a bad taste in my mouth, or the genuine thought of only having goals because it’s a new year. Either way, count me out.

This year, I’ve chosen to start every day with a phrase. My mom first brought this to my attention when she said she just wanted to “be intentional,” when doing things. The more we talked about it, the more I realized how great of a goal this would be for my life. From simply being intentional about saying “hello” to a stranger to intentionally waking up and making it to the gym every morning, this phrase can be personal to everyone’s needs.

I’ve chosen to hold off posting about this daily goal until now because I wanted to make sure I was serious about it. According to the Today Show, January 17th is the day that most Americans abandon their resolutions. It was on that morning that I had woken up and intentionally dragged myself to the gym despite not wanting to go. When I got home and heard the anchors discussing being done with resolutions I felt so proud of myself. I didn’t do it because it was a goal for the new year, rather, I did it to be intentional about a healthy lifestyle.

Since making this daily change, I have told many people about how my mom and I have chosen to live. One friend of mine told me her friends’ experience with choosing a new word to live by every year. Through the word of the year, this friend has challenged herself to do so many things, for example, stepping out of her comfort zone in huge ways like skydiving.

This even stuck with my older sister, pushing her to write a lovely Facebook post. On the days where being intentional is hard because I’m stuck inside due to extreme weather, her post has added gasoline to my dying fire. Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 11.03.18 AM.png

The thought of “being intentional” hits everyone differently. It can provoke a new way of living for each person who is willing to change their way of thinking.

Like always, I have to say,  life is different for everyone. Some people have goals to lose weight while others want to socialize more. Being intentional makes you stop and think about what you are doing and the underlying reason to why.

Why did I stay in and watch a movie I’ve seen a thousand times rather than going out and spending money to see a new movie? Maybe I’ve saving to make my travel goals a reality. Why did I hold the door open for a stranger? Maybe it’s because human interaction is what I thrive on. It can be little moments like this, or moments thinking about something as big as your career, where we make a conscious choice to be intentional about what we’re doing.

So, what’s my daily goal for this year? Good days, bad days, and every day in between, I’m choosing to be intentional.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

January Check-in

Hello pretty people, how’s it going? Today is the first truly snowy Saturday of the season for me in Central Michigan. I thought that now would be as perfect of a time as ever for me to check-in with everyone since it’s been a month from my last post.

The transition home has been pretty much what I expected. Some days I’m perfectly fine and frankly too busy to think of missing Florence while other days are extremely hard. I try to stay busy and think of the good times and how lucky I am to miss it on those days.

My semester has started off with a bang as I have moved into my first apartment at school, started classes, extra circulars, and jobs. Somehow I am still lucky enough to have free time during the weekends. I’m ready to get started on some big projects to help me learn more about the professional field of public relations. In addition, I am spending some free time applying for summer internships.

I’ve also found some time to catch up with all my friends here at school. It’s a little bittersweet telling them of my travels and experiences, but I love hearing about their recent semester.

Now, to the less boring part of this post. In part because of my New Year’s resolution (which I will soon post about), I’m hoping to post on a more regular schedule, maybe once a week or once every two weeks. I won’t know until I get a little bit busier and make a more definite plan for myself. I have some ideas to write about my school life and (finally) some that don’t have to do with Florence, despite the fact that it is etched in my being at this point.

If there is anything anyone would like to see a post about, leave a comment below or contact me on any of my social media. I’d love to hear from anyone.

Have a great, long weekend and a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

As always,

Krystal, with a “K”

A Week Full of Joy

The day has finally come that I post from America once again. Since my last post, I have finished my time in Florence, flown stateside, and settled back into my life in Michigan a little bit.

Throughout my last week in Italy, my travel home, and my first couple of days back,  I have felt an overflow of emotions. Multiple times I thought to start a draft, but, honestly, I had no motivation or I was overall just confused about what I was feeling. I had no idea what to expect when leaving. I was looking forward to seeing my family, yet I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. My first couple days home felt overwhelming. How was I supposed to transition back to my home when I was homesick for a place I’d only known for a short amount of time?

I found the answer to this question at mass last Sunday morning. On this particular morning, I was looking forward to participating in my first English-speaking mass since August. Luckily for me, I was home just in time for the third week in Advent. For those of you who don’t know, the third week in Advent represents joy. I will spare the details and cut to the chase; the answer to my previous question is joy.

The message during mass was all about finding the joy even in the worst moments of life. I can’t remember every detail to the homily, but the overall message of choosing and finding joy spoke to me. It is completely normal to feel all of the things I am feeling post-study abroad. Instead of letting every negative emotion or thought consume me, it is important to find the joy in even the smallest of places.

I’ve chosen to find joy in the new puppy my mom has gotten. He makes me laugh and forget about any sadness I may feel. I’ve found joy in holding my stepbrother’s baby. All the times I’ve gotten to spend with those I’ve missed, I have felt joy. Snuggling my other dogs and relaxing has also brought me great joy. My family has helped me find the joy in everything. Despite how I may be feeling, finding and doing the smallest things that bring me joy has been the biggest life-saver thus far.

 

I’m not going to lie and tell you that this has cured any negative feelings I may have, but I do know it makes the days a lot better. I’m thankful for the experience, but most especially, I’m thankful for my family.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

P.s. I have attached the link to an 8-minute video I made summarizing the last 3 and a half months.

A Day In The Life: FIRENZE

Each of my days begins quite similarly: slow. I’m not sure if it’s the European lifestyle rubbing off on me, but I have dedicated extra time into each of my mornings to enjoy this new, slower lifestyle. Now that the semester is winding down and I’m headed back to the states so shortly, this routine is more of something I had in the past couple of months. **This post uses the 24 clock or military time because that’s what we use in Europe**

Rise & Shine

Depending if it’s a class day or a day off, I try to wake up around the same time every day. This doesn’t always happen due to my rather inconsistent bedtimes. My alarms go off anywhere from 07:25-08:30. If it’s a class day or I went to bed early, I am usually up and sipping my coffee at the table around 08:30. If I wake up later, 08:30 is my first alarm and I’m not out of bed until around 09:00 or 09:30. My goal is to wake up and not lay in bed on my phone which I sometimes do by lacing up for an early run.

COFFEE

This is an essential part of my mornings. I’m talking Lorelai Gilmore, “I need coffee in an IV,” essential part to my morning. Since moving to Italy for the semester, I have ditched my drip coffee ways for the only option in my apartment: espresso by Moka (or a percolator). Unfortunately, I can’t just drop my American coffee-drinking ways, so I either make a cappuccino or an americano to sip while I scroll through social media and news apps or while (like this morning) writing.

Mid-Morning & Early Afternoon

If it’s a class day I spend much of my day in the classroom or bouncing from one part of the city to the next to make it to class. On Tuesdays, I like to go with my roommate to our school restaurant for lunch before my second class of the day. The rest of the week or the weekend I spend this time walking around Florence, trying to find new places to get caffè and do homework all while enjoying my other favorite places. Lunch is usually thrown in somewhere around 13:00.

Afternoon & Evening

At the beginning of the semester, if I didn’t go for a run in the morning, I would go for a run after my classes, during the golden hour. I loved hitting the city streets while the golden sun gracefully fell down each building or reflected off of the Arno river. Although I still love this time of day, it is much harder for me to see it because I don’t get home from class until around 18:00. For the days I don’t have afternoon classes, I usually end my walks during the golden hour. Other times, I find myself doing much of my homework at my apartment or, more times than I’d like to admit, scrolling through my phone.

Evening

Most of my evenings are spent hanging out with my roommates in the kitchen. Everyone has different stuff going on each day (and even some nights), but during the evening is when we find ourselves spending the most time together. This is also when we find ourselves cooking dinner, exchanging parts of our daily happenings, and whatever else roommates talk about.

Night

Not long after eating dinner, I find my way to my bed where I spend too much time on my phone or laptop. Sometimes I’ll surf the web for more things to do in Florence while others I watch Netflix or scroll through social media. Due to my earlier mornings, I find myself falling asleep anywhere from 22:00-23:30. Even that seems late on my earliest of mornings. Lately, due to my lack of motivation and anxieties for returning to the United States, I don’t find myself sleeping until after around 01:00.

It varies day to day, but for the most part, I find myself in a similar schedule. Despite the exciting city environment, my daily life doesn’t differ too much from my school life at home. Okay, you got me; I do way more exploring here. . .

Leave a comment below if you liked this post or if you want to see more like it.

Ciao,

Krystal, With a “K”

Goodbye Summer, Hello Italy!

The time has finally come for me to start my junior year as a Chippewa in a new country. This is something that I’ve been waiting for since December. I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain my emotions, but I don’t know if that’s even possible. Everyone is wondering if I’m excited or nervous, and, truthfully, it’s a little bit of both.

With every 60 seconds that pass, I am one minute closer to living in Florence, Italy for almost four months. It’s safe to say that waiting for this time to come was a true test of my patience (or lack thereof) because it has truly felt like forever. All of this waiting left me trying to fill my summer with friends, family, and loads of adventures.

I was able to visit one of my favorite places as well as hang out with some of my favorite people (one of my favorite places I visited is featured in this post: Mackinac and St. Ignace, MI). My long summer allowed me to work as well as meet many people for breakfast (one of my favorite activities). Aside from this, I had so much fun with my summer job where I meet some incredible people and made even better friendships.

From little adventures, like exploring a new breakfast place to big adventures, like road-tripping with my friends up north, I had a great summer. Looking back at everything that I’ve been able to do this summer, I realize that I’ve gotten to do a ton!

I know this was a short entry, but I’ve been extremely busy preparing for my trip in addition to working. I’m not sure when my next post will be, but I am sure that it will be posted somewhere in Italy. Ciao for now!

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”

20 Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years

Hello, beautiful people! It has been a week since I turned 20 years old, and it’s very hard to believe that I have been in this world for two decades. I thought about all the things that I have been through and everything I’ve accomplished in the 20 years that I have been on this earth. The list of things I have learned is almost endless, but there are certain things that have stuck with me more than others. That brings me to a narrowed list of 20 (more or less) specific things I have learned in 20 years, those of which I thought I’d share. In no specific order, let’s get into the 20 things I’ve learned in 20 years.

1. Life is Short

In the past five years or so I feel as if I’ve experienced much loss. Family members, beloved pets, amazing friends, and the list goes on. Some of these losses are people who’ve had long lives (in terms of human years) and some not even making it to 20 like me. No matter the case, people don’t live forever thus making life short. You never know if you’ll be granted another day, so why not live each day like it’s your last?

 2. Do More of What Makes You Happy

This kind of goes along with #1. Since life is short, why wouldn’t you spend more of it doing the things that make your heart happy?

3. Spend More Money on Experiences vs. Things

I’ve always loved traveling, going to concerts, and other extravagant things as well as shopping in general. Unfortunately, material things don’t last, but the memories I have from day two of Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert in Chicago will last a lifetime. I will always love buying clothes and decor for my living space, yet as I’ve gotten older, I’m more apt to spend money on the plane ticket rather than a new bathing suit.

4. Family is Forever

My dad has always told me this little saying, and for the longest time, I didn’t think much of it. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really taken this saying to heart as I spend an immense amount of time with my immediate and extended family. People think it’s crazy that at 20 years old my cousins are some of my best friends, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. Self Love is #1

Being a girl in this Instagram obsessed world, I am able to tell you everything I don’t like about my appearance in a matter of minutes. Although this will most likely never go away, I try to counteract these negative thoughts with all the things I like about myself making a mental list of things I could work on. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people, especially as young women, so instead of gawking at another woman’s tiny appearance I try to appreciate what I have that helps make me capable of the things I like to do.

6. You’re Not Always Going to be Right

This was one of the harder lessons that I have had to learn. I’ve always been extremely opinionated and willing to fight for what I believe. This isn’t bad, except that opinions don’t necessarily matter when facts can prove you wrong.

7. The Little Things in Life are the Most Important

Just a couple of days ago my friends and I spent our evening put-put golfing and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan. We all agreed that the simplicity of watching the sunset over the water all together was one of the most fun nights we’ve ever had. What about the times where you’re just driving around screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs? Such a simple thing makes me feel so full of life.

8. Get to Know Yourself

If you don’t know yourself when it’s just you hanging out alone, how do you expect to know yourself when you’re in a room full of people? I find it extremely important to know my morals, likes, dislikes, what makes me feel lonely, and more because everybody needs a little bit of alone time.

9. It’s Okay to be Sad

When I was younger I always felt like I had to be a strong person even in the worst of moods. I started to realize that missing people and missing certain times in your life is sad, so if I want to be sad for a little bit that’s okay. I always make sure that I don’t let myself wallow in my own sadness for too long, and talking about it can always help.

10. It’s Okay to Like Different Things Than Other People

This can sometimes be hard for young people, and it was for me. I always liked something or someone that other people didn’t. It took time to learn that just because other people didn’t like it or didn’t think it was “cool” doesn’t mean that I still don’t like it. In the end, it’s not about what other people like because if I enjoy doing something or if I like something then it doesn’t really matter what other people think.

11. Treat Yourself

I am a huge supporter of treating myself. My parents are very good to me, but every once in a while when I’m at school and it’s been a long day/week, I always treat myself with a coffee or a cookie from someplace on campus. I have to be extremely careful that I don’t do this too often otherwise it will become a habit.

12. Just Have Fun

If you’re not having fun why are you doing something? This is something I’ve had to ask myself so much while at school because virtually everything I do is in preparation for my future. If I’m not having fun creating content and writing at school then what makes me think I would want to do it for the rest of my life? Every day is a new adventure where new fun awaits.

13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Again, jealousy is natural, especially in this day and age. You know everything about someone based on their social media platforms, so it is so easy to get caught up in what you do or don’t have compared to someone else. This can be things someone has or how they look compared to you. Either way, it gets really tiring for you to constantly compare yourself to someone skinnier or someone with a bigger house than you. You will be much happier and healthier if you focus on what you do have, and if you do want to make a (healthy) change, make some goals. No one was created looking the same or born into the same life, so why are we always comparing ourselves?

14. Just be Nice

Seriously. I can remember some of the worst things I’ve said to people where I was so mean. Nothing makes me feel worse than knowing I purposely might’ve tried to hurt someone’s feelings. You may forget a lot as life goes on, but I don’t think you’ll ever forget how you made someone feel.

15. Expensive Things Don’t Define You

Things are just things. You can’t take them with you when you’re gone. Sure, I love shopping and spending money on things. I also like to treat myself with things, but having nice, expensive things don’t determine who you are AT ALL. Don’t judge how great someone is based on what they have; it doesn’t mean much.

16. A Handwritten Card Goes a Long Way

This is something both of my parents have always stressed to me. We live in a world full of ingenuity, so taking five minutes to write out a “thank you” or a simple “hello” could give someone that extra boost.

17. Relationships Are a Two Way Street

Since graduating and moving to college, it hasn’t been super easy staying in touch with some of my best friends. I can admit that I haven’t always been the greatest at it, even with the technology that we have today, I don’t always feel as connected as I could to a friend. In all my relationships, I find it important to shoot a message to them every couple of weeks or maybe once a month if I haven’t heard from them in a while. I know that peoples’ lives are just as busy as mine is, so sending a little, “I’m thinking of you, hope all is well,” text is a good way to keep in touch with friends.

18. Everything Will Be Alright

I don’t really know how or when, but it just will. Things that were so heavy on my heart for a full week somehow ended up working out. I really have no other answer other than prayer and hope because I promise, everything will be okay.

19. Tell People How You Really Feel

Anyone who knows me might say that I do this a little too much. Hear me out when I say I really am trying to not say everything that comes to mind. However, I still believe in telling people how you feel. If someone hurt your feelings maybe you should tell them what hurt your feelings and why. They might not have even known why your feelings are hurt. If you don’t ever tell someone you like them as more than a friend how will they ever know? C’mon people!

20. Just Be You, and Enjoy Life

Big number 20 is that I love my life. I’m the only person put on this earth with exactly everything I like or don’t like at exactly this age in exactly this town. It’s important to remember that we matter, and we were put on this earth to be ourselves. Enjoying life comes after you enjoy who you are and what you love.

Overall, I have learned more than just these 20 things in life, but these are most relevant to me at this time. I feel extremely lucky to wake up with the opportunities and the love that I do every single day. I have most definitely been jealous of people and maybe been a little mean, but the best part about life is learning something new every day. These 20 things are things that sometimes I forget, but I always come back to them in some way.

Sincerely,

Krystal, With a “K”