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.

10891870_10203571290074848_5444424279295524071_n.jpg

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

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