the pretty now spotlight

Happy Sunday, friends!

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I’m so excited to share some insight to my dear friend’s blog – Molly Osborn’s ‘The Pretty Now’.

Molly and I go back to college, where we both found passion in event planning and finding ways to express creativity through various outlets. Molly just recently launched her blog (her platform she’s been talking to me about for over a year). I want to share her thoughts on blogging, what inspired her to blog, and what her blog means to her (and her followers). Please check out her space: https://www.theprettynow.com/. Enjoy!

1. What does The Pretty Now mean? ‘The Pretty Now’ is a testament to myself. It’s my personal pursuit of a pretty mind, heart, body & soul. It’s consciously working every day to have kinder thoughts, kinder words, kinder actions, purposeful connections with friends and strangers alike. A commitment to strengthening my body, my mind & pursuing only the things that enrich my soul. 

2. What is vision and the purpose of The Pretty Now blog? What are you trying to accomplish using a blogging platform? Number 1 answers part of this question – but as for what I’m trying to accomplish: Simply put, I love to write. For me, the purpose behind the blog is for a creative outlet for myself. But I’m extremely passionate about people and making connections. If people read my blogs and in someway connect to something I’ve written, if they say “yeah, I get that” or “wow, me too” – that would be a dream come true. There’s nothing more powerful than that raw, authentic connection to another person because of shared or similar life experiences.

3. What type of content can your readers expect from your blog posts? I’m someone who really speaks from my heart, so a lot of my content will be reflective of what’s on my mind and in my heart that day. Lessons learned in the workplace, every day life or in marriage. Experiences that cause me to think deeper about things in a new way, I’ll be sharing them and writing them on my blog. You can also expect to see pieces of my life at home, my style and approach to fashion. Another topic I’m passionate about is health. I’ll be sharing my health and wellness journey through classes I love to attend, newest recipes, etc. 

4. Who inspired you to create a blog – what other blogging platforms or accounts have you looked to for inspiration? I wouldn’t say that I was necessarily inspired by any one person to create my blog. Like I mentioned, I love to write. I’ve always loved to write. I often feel really passionate about experiences I’ve had and felt a need to share them. Not necessarily for people to read, but to process what I was experiencing and thinking. Throughout college, I did this in a personal journal. Writing was always so freeing. A way to get things off my mind – good or bad things alike. As I’ve grown and matured, my platform for sharing these thoughts and experiences changed. It started with an Instagram account that I used to keep private from people in my personal life, haha! I was using it to connect with other like-minded creatives and to feel that support for similar interests, struggles and triumphs. The Instagram started to take shape and I began to let down my walls a bit (literally, I stopped blocking people from my personal life who found me) and allowed people to follow along. I set a goal at the beginning of 2017 to finally take the leap and create my personal blogging space and take my writing to a new platform. It took me nearly a year, but I launched it in November of 2017 and I’m incredibly proud and excited to be in this space. 

5. What logistical steps did you take to start your blog? I was really lucky to have a friend of mine who is an artist and blogger (Katie Ryan – @queenikathleeni) to help me with the initial process of creating a blog. She quite literally started my platform for me and showed me the ropes. The first platform I was on was WordPress. This platform offers free templates and is a great place to start for people who aren’t quite sure what they’re wanting out of their blogging and don’t want to pay for a site (which was me at this point!) However, the more I toyed around with WordPress the less I liked it. I ended up switching over to Squarespace and purchasing a template/web domain. It was scary to make that jump into paying for the platform, but I’m so happy I did. Squarespace is extremely user friendly. Especially for someone like me who is NOT tech savvy. I’ve had such a great experience so far and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great blogging space! 

6. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to use blogging as a creative outlet? The advice I would give to someone who’s looking to use blogging as a creative outlet is DO IT! If you’re passionate about something, embrace it. I know there are a lot of fears that come with starting a blog, I’ve felt them myself. What will people think? Will anyone read it? Is it stupid? But if we can shift our thinking and realize that this is something that brings us joy, allows creative freedom, releases stress & fuels a passion in us…then it’s easier to take the leap. 

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xo Karen

post food freedom 30

Hello friends! Happy Sunday. I hope you’ve all had a great (long) Thanksgiving weekend, and enjoyed the many good foods that come along with the traditional holiday. I know I am ready to get back into a healthy eating routine after this past week!

In October I posted about “foodfreedom30”, which was my formal attempt at practicing Food Freedom using my judgement and my knowledge about my relationship with food to drive my nutritional choices. I bought a food journal to document how my meals made me feel, what foods keep me energized, etc. in hopes to expand my understanding of my relationship with food.

I wish I could tell you that my foodfreedom30 went well, because, it really didn’t. It didn’t go as expected because I found out one major detail about myself – I do NOT like food journaling. In fact, I disliked it so much I stopped after the first week. This is quite surprising to me because I’m in love with documenting ideas, creating to-do lists, using pen and paper to write things down, etc., but when it came time to document my meals and snacks at the end of the day, it felt like homework.

I switched from food journaling to using MyFitnessPal on a semi-regular basis, which was much easier for me to pop into my phone or computer during the day and document my meals right after I prepared them. It actually helped me plan my meals since I was trying to be cognizant of decreasing my carbohydrate and sugar intake (these can be my “foods without brakes”). Once I had an understanding of the general macros of the regular foods I eat, I stopped tracking my meals on a regular basis. I will still look up some foods here and there to understand macros, but overall food tracking is not very sustainable for my lifestyle.

At the end of the day, I’m just realizing that I don’t want to feel like I’m putting in excess effort to track my meals. It’s not for me, and the minute my Food Freedom feels like homework rather than a journey of self awareness is the moment I need to take a step back to re-evaluate my approach to leading a happy and healthy life.

With that said, I indulged over the holiday (and even had gluten – trust me, I am definitely paying for it, but the special occasion was worth it). I ran a five mile Turkey Trot and got a free personal pumpkin pie, which I did not hesitate to eat during Thanksgiving weekend! Part of Food Freedom is recognizing when the holidays are over, and bouncing back to your normal routines.

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A couple ways I like to bounce back from a fun week or weekend (holidays, vacations, parties, etc.) are:

  1. Drink lots of water! One can never go wrong with good ole H2O. I recently bought myself a 32oz water bottle and have been motivated to drink at least 2 per day to keep hydrated. If you’re feeling lethargic or your digestion is feeling off, try upping your water intake to help your body recover from foods and drinks you’ve consumed over the holidays.
  2. Make yourself a Turmeric drink (or buy one)! I have toyed around with making “Golden Milk” or “Turmeric Lattes”. They are definitely an acquired taste if you’re not used to drinking or eating a lot of Turmeric, but the drink has excellent anti-inflammatory qualities. If you’re lazy (like I am 90% of the time), try KeVita’s Turmeric Ginger Tonic probiotic drink. It’s fizzy, tasty, and all around a great way to help your body work through some of the junk you’ve eaten over the past few days.
  3. Sweat it out! Up your workouts over the next couple weeks. It will help you get back into your workout routine and will also allow your body to sweat. Sweating is a great way to open up the pores and let your body burn through what was consumed over the holiday. Drink a lot of water and head to the sauna as a bonus!

Food Freedom means something different to each individual person. I don’t think I’ve fully achieved Food Freedom but I am certainly proud of how far I’ve come in identifying trigger foods and foods that upset my stomach or give me migraines. I’m learning to be kind to myself and allow myself time to figure out what the best routines are for optimum health. I’m also trying not to obsess over the fact that I’m not exactly where I want to be. Sometimes, you just have to be happy with your small gains and be present in this moment. With that said, I have decided to commit to a Winter Whole30, and am happy to try another round now that I know that the best way for me to actually practice Food Freedom is to not to track or journal my meals, but rather finding recipes with whole ingredients that I know will give me overall energy and satisfaction. The only difference with my next Whole30 is, I’m going to tweak my rules and allow myself to cook Paleo – which would inspire a lifestyle change focus rather than a food reset focus. Again, my goal is to develop great habits for the long-term, so going a Paleo-inspired route for 30 days will give me that flexibility of using whole ingredients but learning how to also make “fun” foods as healthier alternatives. Hopefully by day 30 the good habits will set in and I’ll have some new favorite recipes to share!

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As you’re probably noticing, I really don’t have it all figured out. I think the major takeaway from practicing Food Freedom is this: every day is a learning experience. You are not suddenly prepared for the rest of your life because you dedicated a month or two to journaling, food tracking, a Whole30 etc. Just like altering your diet, understanding your health is a lifestyle commitment. I love trying new ideas to optimize my health, and if something isn’t working for me physically, physiologically, or mentally, I’m going to stop and change my approaches. Do not feel pressure to stick to something that isn’t working for you, but DO push yourself to recognize what’s hard in a good way vs. hard in a bad way. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into lifestyle changes, food and fitness in particular. Always have a support system to help you through your journey – sometimes you’ll need a little extra push or cheer to get yourself to the next level of self-awareness.

Have a wonderful week all! Mondays after long weekends can be tough, but stick to your routines and you’ll be just fine!

Xo Karen

the minute my Food Freedom feels like homework rather than a journey of self awareness is the moment I need to take a step back to re-evaluate my approach to leading a happy and healthy life.

winter is coming

Hi all! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’ve been so busy lately with work, social events, and spending time with family. It’s getting chilly outside and for those of you living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, we’ve already witnessed our first sticky snowfall of the season.

I am the Lorelai Gilmore when it comes to snow. I live for the crisp air and that cold smell that means snow is on the way. When I was younger I jumped on the “I hate Winter” bandwagon but the truth is, Winter is beautiful. Winter is a season that defines holidays  like Christmas, The New Year, Valentine’s Day, etc.  Winter means HOT coffee, big comfy sweaters, peppermint flavored drinks and treats. Winter is time for warm boots, over-sized hats and mittens. It means heated blankets, movie nights, and let’s be honest… hibernation.

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If you’re like me, you’re really excited for some down time and Winter is the perfect time of year for down time. You might feel like Winter causes us to become lazy and boring. Perhaps it’s true on some level however it doesn’t have to be the case in most instances. Here are a few low-key, but exciting activities to do this Winter (some involve escaping hibernation, though!)

  1. Dust off those books on your shelf (or Kindle)! Winter is the perfect time to start reading your heart out. I mentioned heated blankets, hot coffee, big comfy sweaters – why not enjoy all of these things with a book in hand? There’s nothing I love more than snuggling in bed and reading for at least an hour before getting some shut eye. It’s such a relaxing way to end the night. Put yourself up to reading at least five books this Winter. If you’re looking for recommendations – try www.goodreads.com as a drawing board for your to-read list.
  2. Host movie nights – I use the word host very loosely (you can host a movie night for yourself too!) But instead of going out into the cold, invite everyone in! Movie nights with hot chocolate (or wine), popcorn, and snuggly pajamas is the perfect way to spend a Friday night after work or even a Sunday afternoon when you’re just needing time to wind down after a busy week or weekend.
  3. Make fun dinners at home – skip going out! One of my favorite dinners to make at home is homemade pizza. There are various crusts you can buy at the store for an easy assembly of the perfect pizza. My favorites pizza flavors are Hawaiin or Spinach/Goat Cheese/Mushrooms. The beauty about making your own pizza is that you have total control over the ingredients.
  4. Minimize your belongings – Winter is the perfect time to look at what’s inside your home to assess what’s taking up too much space and what’s causing clutter. We spend so much time outside during the warmer months that we often forget about de-cluttering and organizing inside the home. I’ve been working really hard to get rid of clothing, accessories, makeup, etc. that I don’t use so I am always able to choose my favorite products and outfits when I get ready in the morning. Order a clean-out bag from ThredUp for an easy way to sell clothing (and they’ll donate what doesn’t sell, too!). By the time Spring rolls around, you’ll have a clean closet that’s ready for new, fun items (can you say Spring shopping spree?).
  5. Try new home workouts – My least favorite part about working out or going to a class is physically getting into my car (probably scraping off ice and snow first) and enduring the morning cold just to get a workout in. If you’re feeling intimidated by the cold, try finding some home workouts to enjoy. Tone It Up is a free website with weekly workouts that are accommodating and accessible. There are also many YouTube videos (this can really suck you into a rabbit hole!) that are effective for home workouts. My favorite kettlebell workouts are by BodyFit by Amy. If you’re really wanting to ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable’, try Jillian Michael’s various videos – my favorites are Yoga Meltdown, Trouble Zones, and her 30 Day Shred series.
  6. Get outside and be active! Ski, snowboard, ice skate, take walks, snow shoe, ice fish – there are so many winter sports and recreational activities at the tips of our fingers. Many people forget the Midwest has some inexpensive yet entertaining parks and hills to explore during the winter. Bundle up and explore the outdoors with friends and family, whether it’s in an ice shack, a ski lodge, a state park, or simply around local trails, you’re bound to enjoy the sights and the company.
  7. Visit a local brewery or distillery with friends. Often times Winter forces us to stay inside, so why not do so with a drink in hand while playing board games or trivia with friends? Taste the new Winter taps and socialize with a flight or two.

I hope you’re a little inspired to keep busy during the Winter months. It’s okay and obviously normal to avoid the cold weather. If you’re loving the chilly temps, and you’re really in love with snow, start a weekend morning with a walk outside with some hot coffee. Winter is beautiful and we should embrace it (of course, depending on the wind chill…am I right). Perhaps I’ll be whistling a different tune in a few months, but right now I’m ready for some cozy nights and holiday cheer. 

xo Karen

entrepreneur spotlight: kathy perdzock

I always envy those who have the courage and determination to start their own businesses. It’s amazing how much hard work and planning goes into creating your own empire. Today’s Entrepreneur Spotlight is my Mom, Kathy Perdzock. I didn’t inherit the entrepreneur gene (sorry, Mom!) but I always admire her story and go to her for working-world advise. Enjoy!10557231_10204530449413232_2567558594319826326_nKathy Perdzock: VP of Operations | Fiduciary Partners Trust Company

1. How did you know you wanted to start your own business? What was your ‘breaking point’, or your true motivation for starting your own ventures?

It wasn’t until I was approached to be a partner in a new venture that I thought of starting a business. The idea and challenges of building a trust company from the ground up was a bit overwhelming so I relied on my “gut feeling” to move forward with it. The people involved in starting the business had complete confidence in me which made the decision a bit easier. In hindsight, it turned out to be the best career move I ever made.

2. What are your largest accomplishments and what do you attribute those to?

Our company has experienced many accomplishments over the past 16 years. We’ve grown from 2 employees in 2001 to 28 employees in 2017. We reached a big milestone in 2014 by surpassing $1 billion in assets under administration. This is all attributed to our awesome staff. Our employees are not only well educated and talented in our industry, but they are genuinely good people. I share this accomplishment with all of them.

3. What are your top 3 lessons learned? How did you overcome these shortcomings?

Lesson #1: Take advantages of outside resources and networking – You will never know it all. Take advantage of the opportunities to learn from others and learn from your mistakes. Being in banking and trust for over 30+ years I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself around many experienced people.

Lesson #2: Don’t get too hung up on immediate success – It takes time to build confidence and credibility but with hard work, a positive attitude and a little luck, success will follow. In the meantime, don’t forget to take time for yourself and family.

Lesson #3: Don’t resist change as change is inevitable – This is huge. When I look back when we started FPTC and compare it to now, just about everything has changed. Technology is more advanced, compliance is more complex, succession and management planning has shifted into full swing. We were a very fast growing company so it was necessary to constantly review our policies and procedures to keep up with managing risk.

4. What personality traits and skills do you think are important for future entrepreneurs to have?

Entrepreneurs need to wear several hats, especially in the beginning phase of a new business. However, as the business grows it’s important to be able to build trust in the staff and delegate duties. It’s also important in business to exercise patience, maintain a positive attitude, and have a strong work ethic. In our business, we need to be professional in our decisions, but personable in our approach to our clients and centers of influence.

5. What resources and support systems (professional, educational, personal) have you used to help you through your journey

My best resource in learning this business was always right next to me. We’ve added very experienced and educated people that have worked in the trust business for many years. In fact, several of our employees were people I once worked with when I started out in the trust business in 1989. I also have developed relationships with our systems providers that offer conferences and continued education. I was able to learn specifics about trust operations and security processing by completing a very intensive three-year course provided by an accredited school that specializes in trust and banking careers.

“In our business, we need to be professional in our decisions, but personable in our approach to our clients and centers of influence.”

lazy sunday crockpot chili

Happy Sunday!

I’m sitting on my couch watching the Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings game, and I can’t help but smile because I am in LOVE with lazy Sunday afternoons.

It’s lazy Sundays that really inspire me to food prep in the most efficient and simple ways possible. Some meal prepping requires more effort – but what if you’re just not in the mood to give all of your time and energy to food prep for the day?

The simplest solution = crock pot chili.

There’s not a right or wrong way to make chili. If you’ve ever been to a chili cook-off, you’re exposed to all of the variations of proteins, textures, colors, tastes, etc. of homemade chili. I recently toyed with a new-to-me chili recipe, and it’s my favorite batch I’ve made thus far (this is a really big deal). Because I’m so excited about this, I thought I would share with you all. Enjoy!

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Lazy Sunday Crockpot Chili (GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 bell peppers (diced)
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 can beans of choice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chili infused olive oil
  • ~1 cup of water
  • 1 can (or bag) of sweet corn
  • Chopped kale
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Cook the ground turkey in a stove-top skillet until completely browned. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Turn crock pot to Med-High heat to start warming up.
  3. Scoop the can of tomato paste into the crock pot.
  4. Fill the empty tomato paste can with water, pour the water into the crock pot.
  5. Mix the water and tomato paste with a rubber spatula until combined.
  6. Empty skillet of ground turkey into the crock pot. Stir.
  7. Empty the bell peppers, onions, corn, and beans into the crock pot. Stir. (Pro tip: Most grocery stores have frozen bags of diced onions and peppers! Score!)
  8. Add chili powder to the mixture. This is completely up to you depending on how spicy you like your chili. I start with seasoning the entire surface of the chili and mix it in. Do a taste check and determine if more is needed.
  9. Add the chili infused olive oil to the chili. You can use any flavor of infused olive oil. This not a necessary ingredient but I had some on hand and really enjoy the extra kick.
  10. Add kale to preference. I buy kale frozen and chopped so it’s easy to add to soups, chilis, chicken bakes, etc. I covered the entire surface with kale pieces and then mixed it in.
  11. Once all ingredients are mixed in, let the chili warm in the crock pot for about an hour. If you’re in a rush, heat in the microwave (this is okay since the meat is already cooked) but I like the vegetables to get softer in the crock pot before serving.
  12. Serve with sharp cheddar and your toppings of choice. Try plain Greek yogurt and avocado for some healthier alternatives to sour cream.

This is a CHUNKY chili. A little goes a long way. The batch makes almost 50 fluid oz of chili so if you’re a household of two, it’s a nice staple for the entire week. If you want to thin out the chili a bit, add some vegetable broth in addition to the can of water.

As much as I like this recipe, I think next time I’m going to add sweet potato chunks and chopped zucchini, and possibly remove the beans. It’s fun to play around with different veggies and combinations! Remember – there’s no wrong way to make chili. It’s simple, delicious, affordable, and perfect for lazy (cold) Sundays.

Have a great week everyone!

xo Karen

foodfreedom30

Hey all! What a crazy fall it’s been so far! I don’t know about you but my brain has been going a million miles a minute trying to tackle all of my to-do’s across work and, well, life in general.

In my last post, I talked about planning to do a Whole30 in October. At first, I was psyched about this – my 4th Whole30! What an accomplishment! But then…

I started planning for the Whole30: I was picking out recipes in my Whole30 Cookbook, buying compliant dressings, creating a food prep log so I could prep and track my meals diligently. And then it hit me: I don’t actually want to do this.

As I was preparing, something in my gut was telling me, “You’ve done enough rounds of Whole30”; “You really need to focus on your Food Freedom”; “Why don’t you make your own rules for once instead of following the program?”..okay, okay.

Now, Melissa Hartwig, do not take this the wrong way – Whole30 is an awesome program. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a guide to mend their relationships with food, to break bad habits, and identify any problematic food groups. But I’m totally ready to graduate Whole30 University and put my skills to good use in the real world. 

At first I brushed off my reservations of doing another round and contributed it to FOMO and laziness. However, it’s dawned on me that I need something more, something different. I’ve had SO much success with my three rounds of Whole30. I’ve identified gluten as a sensitivity. I’ve identified baked goods and sugar as problems. I’ve used my food sensitivity test results as a guide to take my elimination diet. I have done my studying and my research. I’m ready to spread my food freedom wings and leave the Whole30 coop.

That is exactly what I need to focus on. How can I apply what I’ve learned and make my own rules?

So, I’m sorry for those who were looking forward to me documenting a standard round of Whole30 – but to me, this is much more exciting! I’m going to post about my Food Freedom. I’m going to share how the program has allowed me to make my own rules and live a life of health, intention, and balance. I’m going to do my FoodFreedom30 (that’s not a real thing to my knowledge but I feel that it completely defines what I’m trying to accomplish) and use what I learn to define my own life and health goals.

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Food Freedom Plan (30 days):

  1. Log my meals and snacks in a food journal. MyFitnessPal is a great app to do this, however, I’m not looking to count calories or track macros. I’m talking about mindfully tracking what I eat with pen and paper (I’m using Eat Pretty’s food journal). Is there a reason I ate that candy bar? Did I really need two servings of that mac and cheese? At the end of the day, how do I feel? Did I practice mindfulness and self-control?
  2. Learn how to portion my food. Portion sizes are a huge problem for me, and well, I know I’m not alone on this. We are tempted with massive portions wherever we go. America is all about being bigger and better and well, our portions are certainly bigger but that does not equate to better. I’ll be using Whole30’s Meal Planning Template to help me with this.
  3. Allow myself one “takeout” lunch per week. Okay, so I usually eat some variation of salad or grain bowl for lunch if I am eating out, however, my goal in this rule is to be diligent about meal prepping. Why do I buy lunch? Well, usually it’s because I did not take the time to prep my meals. Plus, my bank account will certainly thank me.
  4. Define special occasions. A special occasion is NOT a random Tuesday happy hour after work. A special occasion is an outlier in your normal routine that calls for celebration, and gathering with loved ones. Only I can define what special occasions mean to me. Here are a few special occasions that I can think of off the top of my head:
    1. Family visiting/seeing family
    2. Seeing a show or a concert
    3. Vacation/traveling
    4. Attending a sporting event
    5. Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
    6. Holiday gatherings

I can tell you, special occasions don’t happen often. Hence the word special. Nailing down what this truly means to me and following my own blueprint is still a work in progress, but I am determined to tackle this head on. Challenge Accepted. Follow my FoodFreedom30 on Instagram for some inspiring meal prep ideas. A special thanks to Melissa Hartwig for writing Food Freedom Forever ; a book that has inspired to take on this next chapter of my health journey.

Xo Karen

 

**Again, none of my posts are sponsored advertisements for products or programs. These are my own experiences and my intent is to share what’s worked for me, and inspire you all to do find what works for your health and wellness journies**

fall refresh

 Hey all!

It’s finally feeling like Fall! I live for this chilly weather and all of the beauty Fall brings to the trees this time of year. But speaking of chilly weather…

Remember wayyyy back in January 2017 when you may or may not have made some New Year’s resolutions? Maybe some resolutions were made to improve your health, like increasing your trips to the gym, eating less sugar, drinking less alcohol. Maybe some of you have lost sight of your initial goals for 2017 – but good news! The year is not over yet. You still have one more season to give it all you’ve got to work toward your goals.

Sometimes we lose sight of our goals and perhaps lack some discipline during the summer months. I’m here to tell you,  it’s OKAY! Humans are not robots. As much as I love routines, food prep, and schedules, they aren’t always prioritized when we’ve got so many fun activities to do and events to attend during the summer months.

Whether or not you’ve made New Year’s resolutions – ask yourself if you could use a little end-of-summer reset. For me, I’m always feeling a little sluggish and bloated at the end of summer because Minneapolis has too many fun patios and rooftops to frequent during the warmer months.

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My 2017 resolution is to attend 100 group fitness classes. I am almost to 80 classes with only a few months left of the year to finish strong!

If you’ve been nodding your head in agreement to the first part of this blog post, check out these ideas for a Fall refresh*:

  1. Whole30**: The Whole30 program has really changed my life and helped me understand my relationship with food. I’ve done three Whole30s and am about to start another in October (if you want to do this with me, let me know!). For those who aren’t aware of what Whole30 is – it’s a dietary reset and elimination diet that helps you understand which food groups are causing inflammation in your body (resulting in weight gain, brain fog, headaches, digestive distress, skin issues, poor immune system, etc.). It also helps you identify foods that you’re literally addicted to and helps you kick those addictions to the curb. The free program requires you to only eat whole foods (meat, fish, poultry, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, and good fats) for 30 days, which allows your body to reset from processed foods and added sugar. Take a look at the www.Whole30.com for more information about the framework and how to get started. The Whole30 online platform is booming with resources, shopping lists, forums, blog posts, etc. to guide you through your Food Freedom journey.
  2. Cut out the alcohol: Alcohol is a staple in the Standard American Diet. There are countless happy hours, holidays, birthday parties, and weddings that all have some sort of boozy fun involved (a glass of wine here, a pint of beer there). Now that summer is winding down, try eliminating alcohol for a couple of weeks just to see what happens. Does your skin clear up? Does your complexion get brighter? Do your pants fit looser? Is your digestion calmer? Are you sleeping more soundly? Is your bank account happier?
  3. Add in one more day of fitness to your weekly schedule: Is there an area of the body or muscle group you haven’t given much attention to lately, or a type of exercise you haven’t done in a while? Try mixing in some variety to your exercises and perhaps adding in another day of fitness to your weekly schedule. Start a new routine or a class you’ve been meaning to try. Groupon** has great class package deals if you’re looking to experiment with group fitness at local studios.
  4. Get one more hour of sleep per night: Now, this can be difficult for some people but if you can (and I really think you should consider trying), try to get an extra hour of sleep per night. One extra hour of sleep can be the cure for needing that second cup of coffee in the morning. Not to mention, cold and flu season and is right around the corner. Boost your immune system with more rest to keep your body and mind strong during the winter months. Take away the screen time before bed and you may find you have a few extra minutes to dedicate to your pillow.
  5. Colon cleansing: I’m new to colon cleansing, but I did one colon cleanse through Blessed Herbs** in August. I was intimidated by all of the colon cleansing kit options available for purchase, so I chose the “Revive-5 Day Cleanse Kit” since it’s labeled as a “starter cleanse”. This cleanse does not require any fasting and was extremely manageable for me. The cleanse helped me get rid of built up waste and toxins in the body, which in turn helped me de-bloat and feel more energized throughout the day. If you’re interested in trying a colon cleanse, do your research and CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR NUTRITIONIST. Colon cleanses are not for everybody.

I hope I’ve got you thinking about ways you can end 2017 strong. The beauty about health and wellness is that everyone is different; there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to health. Take this time to discover what works for you, and how to finish out 2017 stronger than ever.

 

*Each person has different goals and needs. If you’re interested in changing your diet/nutritional habits, or beginning a new fitness/health journey, make sure you’re working with a professional to guide you through the process.

**This blog post is not sponsored. All products, companies, and programs mentioned above are recommendations based on my own experiences.

entrepreneur spotlight: sarah key

Hey all! If you recall in my pilot blog post, I’m going to be posting bi-weekly Spotlights. Spotlights are blog posts about other people and their passions, experiences, successes, etc. that will hopefully motivate you to be your best self and chase after your dreams. Today’s post is an Entrepreneur Spotlight featuring one of my former college housemates, Sarah Key, as she talks about her business journey. Enjoy!

∗What were the turning points and/or motivators in your life that inspired you to start your own side business?
Honestly, the main thing that made me think about starting my own side business was the fact that I wasn’t able to do the thing that brings me the most joy in life as often as I liked: travel. Starting a business with flexibility and unlimited income potential was a huge motivator. Life is way too short, and I didn’t want to wait until retirement to live our dreams. 
 
My husband and I love to travel and he is a photographer, so traveling is our main priority. We didn’t want to have to sacrifice on visiting a new place on our list because of finances or time. 

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I chose Rodan and Fields because I know the insecurities that are a result of skin concerns. Insecurities take over and crushes any confidence you have, and that is not an exaggeration. I know from experience. No one should ever have to live with a skin insecurity when there is a solution out there. I wanted to be able to help others realize there is a solution and if I could also help others change their life with our business, even better. 
There are plenty of side business options out there. I would highly recommend if you’re not happy with where you are, your finances, or what your life looks like, be open to learning about these options and take the time to invest in yourself. 
∗What are the challenges you’ve faced so far? How are you overcoming them?
People not believing this side business will ever amount to anything. I have big goals for my Rodan and Fields business and it’s hard for some people to wrap their minds around it. I overcome that challenge by focusing on why I’m doing my business and believing in myself to truly make my dream life come true. Why not me? Why not you! Also, when people doubt my abilities to do something, that is motivation right there not to give up.
Another challenge is the big learning curve for entrepreneurship. I never thought I would be going down this path, but here I am, and I am forever grateful for my friend Ali Zieman who introduced this opportunity to me! I knew nothing about skincare before Rodan and Fields, I knew nothing about running my own business, I had no clue how I was going to make this work. But I’m learning while I help others. I’m learning while I earn. I’m learning while I get closer to my dream life. I love to learn and grow, and this opportunity has given me a chance to continually grow personally and intellectually, and in return has allowed me to help others do the same. 
 
∗Although it’s early in your journey, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Never quit. Ever. You started on this journey for a reason. Always go back to that reason when things get real tough. Because they will. It is a roller coster journey, but it is so worth it. Knowing you are working for your dream life (not someone else’s dream) and that you WILL make it happen is so rewarding and motivation enough to keep going! 
 
∗What resources help you succeed? 
A strong support system. Starting on a new path in life that is not considered the typical “right” path to follow is hard. Your friends and family may not understand why you’re doing this, which could make it hard for them to support you. That is ok. Join entrepreneur groups in your town, talk to friends who get it. You aren’t alone, you just have to find your tribe to help you through the struggles of entrepreneurship and to celebrate the best times that come with entrepreneurship. It may take your family or friends time to come around to what you are doing, but know you will be celebrating with them one day soon!
∗What are you favorite books, blogs, and podcasts that continue to inspire you through your journey? Do you have particular role models?

This list could go do FOREVER! I am a sucker for personal and business development in the form of books and podcasts.
 
Some of my favorite books are: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero and “She Means Business” by Carrie Green.
 
My favorite podcasts are: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Your Virtual Upline, and Creative Empire.
 
I also subscribe to pretty much every Travel magazine out there. I am always finding new places to travel to and explore. And when I can’t be traveling, it helps itch my travel bug a bit.
I wouldn’t say I have one particular role model. Any strong woman making a name for herself is my role model. I get so inspired by hearing how other women are out there making their dreams come true and overcoming every possible obstacle. I also really respect women that share their struggles in their journey. This isn’t an easy road and no one should think they are the only one struggling!
 
I am also lucky to have many, many successful women in my company to look up to as role models. One of my favorite parts about being with Rodan and Fields is that everyone is there to help everyone succeed. Whether you are at the tip top of the organization or just began today, we are all trying to help each other out.
Long story short, my role models are women who motivate other women to follow their dreams and make it happen. We have one life to live, mine as well make it awesome!
 
∗How can others join the R&F business?
It’s pretty simple to join our R+F team, just make the decision you want a change in your life and jump in! More specifically, let’s talk to see if this could be a right fit for you. If it is, we get you signed up and then the fun begins! Feel free to shoot me an email sarahvkey@gmail.com and we can set up a time to chat.

values

When I was 21, just graduating college, I wanted nothing more than to be the age I am today, in the position I am today, living the life I am today.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m incredibly lucky. I’m fortunate to have a stable income that allows me to spend time with people I love, to travel, to save money for the my future home and family.

The thing is, I have everything I need but only about six months ago I felt more lost than ever. The quarter life crisis is REAL, and I really had to take a step back and start evaluating what’s important to me and how I want to spend my time.

Introducing: discovering your Values. 

The Minimalism movement and lifestyle have introduced me to the concept of Values and has helped me define what my Values are. My Values should be the basis of how I spend my time and how I progress in life. Common values are the foundation of great friendships and relationships. They are guiding of all of my decisions I make on a daily basis.

*To learn more about values in the context of the Minimalism movement, take a look at Minimal Wellness: Values post and The Minimalists: Values podcast. I challenge you to dig deep and start constructing a list of your own values.

In The Minimalists’ podcast, Values (link above), Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus break down Values into the following hierarchy (the descriptions are my interpretation of the meaning of these different values):

Foundational Values: Highest order, overarching across many facets of life
Core Values: Principles that guide your decisions and behaviors
Minor Values: Things or experiences that make you happy on daily or weekly basis
Imaginary Values: Concepts or things that we perceive to have value but are actually obstacles that prevent us from aligning with our other values

Now, I could list out all of my Values, but I’m not here to necessarily talk about me.  I want you to take some time and become self-aware of what drives you to spend your time and money in specific ways.

I will tell you, I truly thought some of my Imaginary Values were my real Values. It wasn’t until I felt the internal imbalance that led me to discover the reality about myself: I am very much introverted. I value my alone time. I become exhausted and irritable when I am out forced to be around strangers and large groups for long periods of time (like holiday parties or packed night clubs). My whole adult life, I defined myself as a true extrovert, until I started realizing how happy I was to embrace my introvert personality. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I  spend the majority of my time in more relaxing, intimate settings that allow me to easily reflect and escape from the chaos that is life. 

Self-awareness is a beautiful thing. Understanding your Values is absolutely essential to living your best life. 

Happy soul searching!

xo Karen

 

pilot

blog1Hi, I’m Karen. Welcome to my blog! This is a safe space where I will share my experiences, thoughts, and inspirations. This is my blank canvas and I hope these thoughts serve you well (and maybe even inspire you). My end goal is to be happy and healthy, and to find balance and peace in an extremely terrifying world. I’m a millennial woman residing in the beautiful city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. You might ask me, “what do you do?”. I do a lot of things. I try to be as intentional as possible with my limited hours of the day. Why spend time doing things you don’t love? I go to coffee shops to enjoy hazelnut coffee and dirty chai tea lattes. I try new recipes. I sweat my ass off at yoga and barre classes. I run, slowly. I read books to unplug from the constantly rushed world we live in. I frequent happy hours and sushi bars with coworkers and friends. I binge watch Netflix series and spend many weekends viewing various documentaries (mostly about food). I travel as frequently as I can with my love (near and far!) and will share our adventures through this blog. I enjoy taking photos of visually appealing landscapes, skylines, and food. Professionally, I am an IT project manager. I’ll probably get into that in a different post, but that’s all you need to know about work right now.

Regular posts you’ll see:

  • Featured Recipes
  • Bi-Weekly Spot Lights
  • Book Reviews and Recommendations
  • Blog posts born from motivational experiences and inspirational people

Disclaimers:

I’m not perfect nor do I strive to be. This blog would be so boring if that were the case.

I’m not a professional writer; my grammar isn’t perfect anymore so please bear with me.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I like to experiment with foods and holistic lifestyle approaches to discover what works for my mind and body.

I’m not a personal trainer but I’ve experienced ‘falling off the wagon’ and have discovered my own motivators to get me back on track to being strong and healthy.

I’m not an expert. In anything. Literally. You’ll see.

I am, however, real. I’m emotional, motivated, and loyal. I’m inspired to be the best version of myself every single day. I’m a person with feelings, goals, and frustrations. Consider this my journal; an avenue to share real and raw experiences as I navigate through my 20’s and beyond.

If you’re a visual person like me, follow my Instagram account [@kdahl.mpls]. I’ve become good at capturing life through an iPhone lens.

the natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well ~ hippocrates

xo Karen