Your Libido And You (Figuring Out Why It Left, And How To Get It Back): PART TWO

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Last week, we started our discussion on libido and low sex-drive; taking a look at WHY it left us, in the first place. Today’s post is more-exciting; we’re going to talk about action to take, in order to get it back! And you know, that requires a little homework! *insert winky face

**Low libido affects many people (especially women), and in different scenarios: maybe your sex life is put on the back-burner, when life gets hectic and stressful. Maybe sex suddenly goes from a previously-enjoyed activity, to something you no longer look forward to, or even enjoy. Maybe you no longer feel like you have the time for sex, because of schedules, or kids.

REGARDLESS, low libido is something MANY people struggle with, at some point in their life, and unfortunately, instead of openly talking about the WHY, we’re pushed to feel as if this topic is too-taboo to discuss.

Remember learning about the My Q-Life “Essentials”?! True health is about so much more than what we eat and how we exercise; and sex is a fundamental piece of ourselves. When our sexuality goes unnourished, it can further impact our stress levels and result in an essential-deficiency, a primary foods deficiency.


A lackluster sex drive doesn’t have to be a forever problem! In fact, there are many ways mens and women can get their “sexy back”, feeling desirable, and wanting to be desired, again.

Below, I’ll discuss six ways to improve your low libido:

self-pleasure

I remember the first time I learned of what, exactly, masturbation was. It was on a three-way phone call, with two of my male best friends. We were around 12. lol

Unfortunately, in our society, masturbation is still treated as a taboo topic; something that you giggle about, with your friends, on the phone, when you’re a teenager.

However, it’s actually a vital aspect for re-energizing low libido because it increases the physical and emotional connection we have with ourselves. This can increase confidence, and allow us to feel more comfortable in our own body. When we take the time to learn what, exactly, our body needs to feel pleasure, it becomes easier to express our needs to a partner, and get those needs met.

Self-pleasure can also be a wonderful self-care practice, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different types and tools of self-pleasure, paying attention to what feels best for you.

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SLEEP. IT’S IMPORTANT.

You know the ever-popular, “Not now. I’m tired.”?! Yeah, relatable for literally everyone. Most everyone isn’t getting enough sleep, these days, however, rest is essential for maintaining libido. A chronically stressed, tired body will not want to participate in sexy behaviors. Period.

Our bedrooms should be a sanctuary for sleep and sex, only. Leave the bright lights, and electronics, out! Here are a few tips on creating your own bedroom sanctuary:

  • Beautiful, comfortable bedding (maybe eco-friendly, and organic like Coyuchi and Buffy)

  • Removing TVs, computers and anything else that emits light, even phones

  • An excellent mattress (preferably one made with natural materials)

  • Lights with a dimmer option

  • Diffusing essential oils, like lavender, for sleep and ylang ylang and neroli for their aphrodisiac properties

  • Candles because they’re magical and sexy and can totally set the mood. Just be careful!

Aphrodisiac Foods

Aphrodisiac foods are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help decrease inflammation, improve vascular tone and balance hormones.

  • Almonds (and other tree nuts), like Brazil and pine nuts, contain zinc and selenium, which help to reduce inflammation and improve circulation, boosting sex drive and fertility. Plus, they help increase energy, which can help keep you going! *Winky face

  • Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, B vitamins and antioxidants. This mineral is essential to the production of sex hormones. Antioxidants and B vitamins help keep the body free from inflammation, and improve circulation.

  • Figs contain magnesium, as well. They have an amino acid that increases the production of nitric oxide, which is important for expanding blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the genitals, to help with arousal.

  • Oysters have always been known for increasing libido because they are rich in zinc, which is necessary for testosterone-production. They also contain two, rare, amino acids: D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which increase sex hormone production.

  • Pomegranates improve sex drive and mood, in men and women, by raising testosterone. They’re loaded with antioxidants that improve blood circulation, which contributes to keeping sex organs healthy, as well as lubrication. *Bonus: pomegranates can impact sperm quality, too!

**These foods are especially-wonderful to consume during the Ovulation-Phase, of our cycle. I’ll be discussing Cycle-Syncing more, in future posts.

Stress

Stress has a way of affecting everything, doesn’t it? And it’s no different with libido, as stress kills libido physically, emotionally and psychologically. Some natural ways to mitigate the effects of stress include:

  • mindfulness

  • masturbation

  • meditation

  • gentle yoga

  • journaling

  • earthing (standing in the grass with bare feet)

Aside from working on stress management practices, it’s important to take steps to combat stress, in your body, by working with a health coach, or healthcare provider, to balance hormones, decrease inflammation and improve your gut health. Finding balance in the body is the best defense against life’s stressors. Eliminating physical stress will help your physical desire, as well.

Self/Body-Love

Women, especially, will readily point out at least a few things they don’t like about their bodies, including their lady parts. These criticisms can really interfere with feeling sexy. There are quite a few ways women can treat their bodies like someone she loves:

  • Smooth body lotion on, sensually

  • Choose beautiful, flattering clothes you feel good in

  • Practice self-talk, in the mirror

  • Lay in bed and caress your body

  • Get a hand mirror (or look in the mirror) and become familiar with your lady parts

Practice Mindfulness During Foreplay

Does anyone remember the scene in the Sex & the City movie, when Miranda and Steve are having sex, and Miranda goes, “Let’s just get it over with!”?!

Too often, during sex (and intimacy), we’re thinking about unfinished work, which prevents the ability to really get into the mood, and 100% enjoy sex. Mindfulness, especially during foreplay, can really help women and men hone in on their pleasure, throughout the entire experience. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Instead of saying, “I’m not in the mood”, say, “Ask me again in 15 minutes”, and go into the bedroom. Then, take a few deep breaths, or do a quick meditation, and imagine how much fun you’ll have with your partner.

  • Self-awareness during foreplay and sex. Instead of thinking of all of the unfinished business, outside of the bedroom, think of all the unfinished business, inside. Be present to the fact that you’re there, in bed, kissing your partner.

  • If orgasm is an issue, don’t work toward achieving an orgasm. Focus on how great you felt the last time you had an amazing sexual experience, and challenge yourself to enjoy the feelings of pleasure and intimacy.

An important announcement: QUICKIES AREN’T GREAT, FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN TIME!

I know we’ve probably all experienced a situation where our partner (or maybe even ourselves) has suggested having a “quickie”. Yeah, yeah… maybe it SOUNDS hot, but let’s be honest: quickies, rarely (if ever) allow for women to get aroused. And this tends to become all about man, because they get off, and women are left feeling less than great. In any “quickie situation”, always make sure your partner’s needs are met, too!


Birth control

A popular comment I’ve gotten, a lot, recently, has to do with low libido while being on (or recently going off) hormonal birth control.

Remember: Oral contraceptives are very well known for lowering levels of natural sex hormones. They’re creating SYNTHETIC hormones. NOT REAL hormones. Birth control pills are the leading cause of estrogen dominance, in women, since they contain a synthetic form of estrogen that keeps the body from producing its own.

Birth control also increases sex hormone binding globulin, which binds to testosterone, making it inactive and unavailable for use.

What’s even more interesting? SHBG levels may not drop down to normal, after birth control is stopped. They can remain high for six months, and even longer, which results in a significant effect on women’s libido.

I recommend taking a look at my “Naturally Regulating Your Hormones” Ebook, and trying my Estrogen-Detox Green Smoothie, to rid your body of excess-estrogen, and find hormone-harmony more-quickly.


Maybe you found yourself blushing while reading this post. Maybe you think I’m off my rocker for even posting it. But if I’m being 100% honest, low libido is something that affects more people than we know; it’s affected me, and I bet it’s affected you. Instead of holing up, worrying about what someone else will think if we bring it up, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BODY! Being sexual is okay!

So instead of telling yourself that your days of being “in the mood” are past you, try some of these best practices, and/or reach out! Sexuality is just another “Essential” that we owe our bodies and ourselves to value.

xoxo,

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Hormonal Acne: Health From Within (Part 3)

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Recently, I’ve been sharing my story, regarding hormonal acne. I’ve broken it down, into parts, because healing acne doesn’t just come from one area - it’s a process, that takes healing (and time), in multiple areas. Today, I’m discussing healing acne from within - the primary and secondary foods we feed ourselves, and why each is essential.

** Please note: I am not a medical professional, and am not recommending, or promoting any specific lifestyle, or diet. These opinions are my own. I follow the idea of bio-individuality, which means that everybody and every BODY is different. What works for me, might not work for you.


Healing from within is critical in managing your acne; it deals with the food we feed our bodies, as well as the thoughts we feed them. They both are essential.

Primary Foods

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of self-care, and focusing on Primary Foods. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition describes nutrition as a secondary source of energy (secondary food). Primary foods, nonfood sources of nourishment, are what really fuels us. These nurture us on a deeper level. The more we fuel ourselves with these primary foods, the less we begin to depend on secondary food. At the same time, the more we fill ourselves with secondary food, the less space we give ourselves for primary food. These primary foods include: Career, Relationships, Physical Activity and Spirituality.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “How does something like my career affect my acne?” But the matter of the fact is that it does; each aspect of your mental health is JUST as essential in keeping your hormones balanced. Stress causes raised levels of cortisol, which can cause excess oil production, which then results in acne.

Last late-summer (when my acne flared up again), I was applying for a promotion at my job, and was really stressed about it. I was in countless, online interviews that (looking back on them now) were blown WAY out of proportion. It was during this time, my face started to flare up. I stressed myself out, and didn’t have an elimination plan for all of that cortisol.


My Q-Life “Essentials” - helping us find balance.

My Q-Life “Essentials” - helping us find balance.

Speaking of cortisol, circulation (and the flushing of it) is essential to glowing, gorgeous skin. This means that moving your body, as well as getting it on, is just as important for your face, as they are for your body.

The best way to give yourself a stress hormone detox is by having a burst of sweaty exercise, or even a really good orgasm!

** Check out My Q-Life’s “Essentials”, which, when met, can cause true balance, in the body.

Pathways of Elimination

Our skin is our biggest organ of elimination, working with the liver, lymphatic system, and large intestine. These organs all act as one unit. What you put into your body – the food you eat, the products you use on your skin and hair, the cleaning substances you handle – must be eliminated properly, if not, then these chemicals that mimic estrogen will stay in your body circulating around. If all of your elimination organs are not working optimally, then your skin will suffer. The leftover, circulating toxins will show up on your face as acne. A buildup of toxins will cause hormonal imbalance. The excess hormones (estrogen and testosterone) will also be prevented from leaving the body properly and cause you to have all the hormonal symptoms – from acne to PMS (Foods to Avoid If You Get Hormonal Acne).

So, how do we rid our bodies of these toxins, so they don’t have an effect on our skin (or other areas)? We focus on each organ of elimination.

Liver: Consume foods that naturally help the liver detoxify. These include: good-quality protein (amino acids supplementation if you’re vegan), glutathione (broccoli, spinach, apples), selenium (poultry, oats, brazil nuts) and cilantro!

Large Intestine: Consume plenty of fiber, which works to clear out your large intestine. Barley, nuts, lentils, beans, apples, etc. are great options!

Lymphatic System: Find ways, each day, to gently-massage your lymph, so the fluid can be pushed through your lymph nodes. Use a rebounder (small trampoline), wear underwear with a cotton liner, minimize use of shapewear, etc.)

Skin: Take trips to steam rooms, or saunas, or think about a hot yoga sesh. When taking a shower, alternate between warm and very cold water, to expand and contract skin cells. Exfoliate a few times a week.


Liver Health

I purchased the book, “Liver Rescue” by Anthony William (Medical Medium). His take on acne is that it is caused by strep, which has been fueled by antibiotic-use, which has a severe effect on the liver. The more weakened our immune systems get, the harder it is to drain our lymphatic system, so it turns to the skin. Thus, healing our livers is essential in healing our acne; (I’ll get to this later).


Foods To Avoid

Remember when I discuss “bio-individuality” at the beginning of this post? This section has a lot to do with that. While each food affects each person differently, there definitely are certain foods that aren’t great for hormonal acne:

Dairy: Dairy products are notorious for creating sluggish lymphatic systems, as well as including synthetic hormones. It’s a huge inflammatory agent, creating leaky gut.

Caffeine: Coffee, black and green teas can strip us of our B Vitamins, Magnesium, and Zinc (just like hormonal birth control), which disrupts our skin’s immune response.

Peanuts: Many people are allergic to peanuts, and this can have effects on the skin, as well.

Soy: the phytoestrogens in soy can create estrogen overload in the body.

Canola, Safflower, Sunflower, Vegetable Oils: these cooking oils have more omega-6 than omega-3 and produces inflammation.

Gluten: Gluten (similar to dairy) can create inflammation in the body, causing leaky gut.

Am I telling you to eliminate all of these foods from your diet? Not exactly. However, if you suffer from hormonal acne, and DO consume these on a frequent basis, I’d absolutely consider taking them out of your diet, for a while. It’s amazing the havoc certain foods can have on our bodies.

Elimination Diet

And speaking of elimination, sometimes the only way in figuring out which certain foods affect us, negatively, is to go without them, for a period of time, and then gradually incorporate them back in (one at a time). It only lasts 5–6 weeks and may alleviate symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and nausea.

Once you have successfully identified a food your body can't tolerate well, you can remove it from your diet to prevent any uncomfortable symptoms in the future.


Supplements

Supplements are a tricky topic, for a few different reasons: 1. There literally are thousands of them and 2. They all work differently, for everyone. Do I believe supplements help acne? Yes. Do I believe we should focus on getting them from our food, primarily? Absolutely!

Magnesium. Magnesium is an important nutrient for fighting inflammation (acne is inflammatory). Calcium is part of the body’s tissue matrix—comprising bones, cells, and skin—and is important for skin cell renewal. Taking magnesium with calcium combined in supplement form can reduce inflammation and acne.

Omega-3s. Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from fish or flax oil can improve skin significantly. . With fish oil, many women see clearer, softer, smoother skin (as well as stronger hair and nails)in just a few days.

Zinc. Zinc deficiency is a common issue for many women. When we’re deficient in zinc, our pores become easily irritated by bacteria and show redness. Research has shown that zinc supplementation can be  very effective in easing acne even when compared to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Probiotics. We need probiotics for a healthy gut. A common symptom of a damaged and depleted microbiome is acne and other skin issues like rosacea. It’s particularly important with hormonal acne as your microbiome assists your body in processing and eliminating excess estrogen. If you’ve been on the pill or antibiotics for any length of time, probiotics could be key to getting your skin back on track.

B Vitamins. Your skin needs B-vitamins to regenerate and renew as they provide the energy all of your cells need for fuel. Taking a good B-complex every day that includes a high level of B6 will target hormonal or premenstrual acne. B6 prevents skin inflammation and overproduction of sebum (the oil your skin produces that can create acne issues). (Banish Hormonal Acne…)


My Experience

Good, non-processed food.

Good, non-processed food.

Now, again, please keep the idea of “bio-individuality” in mind here; I’m just sharing MY experiences, as a reminder of how important trial and error is.

TRUTH: Eating wholesome, non-processed foods is one of the best things you can do for your body (and your skin). And by “non-processed”, I mean NON-PROCESSED. Apples, spinach, blueberries, celery, coconut, squash, sweet potatoes, etc. The best way you can heal your body is by feeding it fruits and veggies.

I have been “gluten and dairy free” for years, and that did make me feel fantastic, however, I was eating a large amount of processed “gluten and dairy free” foods. These were continuing to cause inflammation in my body.

I recently realized that my favorite dairy-free, oat milk (Oatly), contained canola oil, called “Rapeseed Oil” on the carton. Before making this realization, I was consuming Oatly on a daily basis, and contributing to the continuous inflammation in my body. See? Just because something is “healthy”, “dairy-free”, “vegan”, “whatever”, doesn’t mean it’s HEALTHY, or NATURAL!

The same goes for meats. I don’t go by any labels, when it comes to meat. Sometimes I eat it, sometimes I don’t. What I HAVE tried to make a very conscious effort about, recently, is consuming ORGANIC, HIGH-QUALITY MEAT. Again, the helps with the amount of inflammation in the body, and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin.

Now, let’s talk about healthy foods that don’t always react well in your body: For me, they’re bananas. Bananas are wonderful for your liver; they help soothe the intestinal tract, are anti-yeast, antibacterial and anti-fungal. Bananas are wonderful, yet for me, they can contribute to my acne. This is only a conclusion I have come to from my own trial and error. Do I still eat them? On occasion, but I remain cautious now, knowing what I know.

TRUTH: The more supplements you take, won’t necessarily help your acne go away. For months, I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on supplements, and couldn’t figure out which ones were helping, and which ones weren’t doing a bit of good. Trust me. Supplement, primarily, from healthy foods, and focus on the “essentials”, when it comes to supplements - the ones shared earlier, in this post.

TRUTH: Stress is everywhere, and can wreak havoc on your body! For me, it’s all about not letting it get to me. Remembering to breathe, practice gratitude and not take anything too seriously has helped, significantly.

TRUTH: Celery juice has made my skin clearer, but by no means am I suggesting everyone drop everything they’re doing, and buy their grocery store out of organic celery. Celery juice is supposed to heal the liver, due to the celery’s sodium cluster, breaking down pathogens’ cell membranes, and eventually destroying them. Whether you decide to start your morning with celery juice, or not, I would recommend a solid hydration morning routine. Warm lemon water, water, in general. Hydration, first thing in the morning, is a great way to kickstart your liver!


Acne is frustrating, and there are so many different recommendations out there. Before you try one, or get frustrated when something isn’t working, take a look at your Primary and Secondary Foods, and reach out. Remember, you’re never alone!

xoxo,

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I Hope You Find Your Density

Last week, we learned about the "Essentials" that make up our heart - the things that nourish, empower and inspire us, on a daily basis. The main takeaway? In order to take flight, and live a life full of health & happiness, we need to nourish ourselves in various aspects of our lives. If one of those 11 Essentials is lacking, well then we won't find ourselves in the best health we could potentially be in. I mentioned this being the "Season of Love"; and a main takeaway in my last couple of posts has been on self-love, as well as finding love (and contentment) in being single, and in being alone. As a woman, I know how difficult this statement can be. This post is a composition of stories, opinions and a couple of really-important aspects - things I desire for each and every woman out there.

Being Human

I feel like my 'dating history' consists of a couple of long-term relationships, with a dash of random situations. And in my history, those relationships went one of two ways - the person you're with decides they no longer want to be with you, OR you realize you no longer want to be with the person you're with, but unsure of what to do next. And I think this is usually the story for many women; as women, we're always wanting to "make things work"; we're never wanting to give up on a situation, or a person.

Now, I'm also no idiot. Women, at least a lot of us, tend to cling on, long after we should have let go. This can happen when we're out of a relationship, or if we're still in one. This isn't a 'flaw' no; it's simply just being a woman; it's simply just being caring. Again, being in a situation where we'd be willing to try anything to 'make things work'; putting others before ourselves. But I want you to think about what that 'making things work' does to your own system - or, if you're like me, thinking about what it's DONE to your system...

Staying When We Should Go

I don't speak of my breakup, with my ex boyfriend, because it's something still regularly on my mind, but instead because it was a critical break in the chain I needed, in my life. See, looking back on it now, I can see how severely unhappy I was, for so long; how little I was made to feel, so often; how grey my life felt. Instead of getting out at the first sign of distress, I stayed. Why? For numerous reasons (as we all do) - I thought I could CHANGE him; I thought that he loved me; I wanted to be wanted; I had this grand idea that things would get better; and honestly, I couldn't imagine my life without the person I had experienced so much with. But things didn't get better. And instead of leaving (getting out), I stayed and turned into a version of myself I wasn't proud of. I began to apologize, constantly; and not just to him, but to everyone. Why was I starting to feel apologetic for things I hadn't even done? My view on myself took a turn, as well. I started to question everything I did - everything I felt.

I find it interesting now, but I remember a conversation my dad sparked one night, when he, my mom and I were out at dinner, "So Kate, are you planning on marrying your boyfriend?" I stopped, mid-drink, and looked at him and laughed, "No." Inside, my gut was wrenching, "WHY WAS I CONTINUING TO BE WITH SOMEONE I DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH?" Not only did I not want to marry him, but I knew my parents didn't want me to, either; even if they didn't specifically say so. This example is key for what I plan on discussing later.

Did I end things, there and then, after that conversation? Nope. Instead, I continued to battle feelings of insecurity for years to come. I continued to endure arguments, tears and the curiosity of what it'd be like to be in a relationship with other men.

The end of this ten year on-and-off-again-relationship came easily, astonishingly... for me. After years of waking up, heartbroken about potentially not having this person in my life, one morning I woke up, and knew that it was done. My mind, and my heart were free.

I used to think that women were being "stupid" for staying in an unhappy relationship, "Rip off the band-aid; it'll hurt for a while, but you'll be better off in the long run." This phrase doesn't resonate with me, as well, now (after experiencing it).

Ladies, if you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, unsure of what to do next, listen to your heart. Maybe you know things won’t last; maybe you know sooner or later, things will die off. But at this moment in time, if your heart and soul doesn’t feel ready to be done, don’t be done. When it’s time, you’ll know... this I promise.

I don't share this story as a bashing, of any sort. I don't talk to my ex boyfriend anymore, and that's okay. Do I regret being in that relationship? Of course not! Do I wish ill on him? Definitely not, and just the opposite! Just because you have a really crummy relationship with someone doesn't make them a bad person; it doesn't make you a bad person; it just serves as a reminder that things weren't supposed to work out. I'm so, extremely grateful for those ten years; I'm so extremely grateful I stayed for the length I did. Each one of those days served a purpose - helping turn me into the person I am today.

Boys Drool

After this relationship came to an end, I found myself in a spot I hadn't been in before. For the first time, in ten years, I was single - like emotionally, physically, completely SINGLE. While exciting, it honestly, also, scared the bejesus out of me. Suddenly, I found myself fixated on my appearance, more than ever. I started to take more selfies, flirt and go on dates. I downloaded Tinder & Bumble and was horrified when some dude sent me a dick pic. I remember going on a date once, and this guy told me I had a "nice ass". Another time, a man walked into the store I was working and asked for my number. He texted me, the next week, and asked if I wanted to go out for wings and beer (I was vegan and gluten free). Friends in Humboldt began to try to fix me up with other singles, who were around the same age as me. Isn't it interesting when THAT'S enough common-ground for someone to fix you up?!

Guys, use this as a reminder to treat women with respect, always. Being crude, in any way, isn't going to get you anywhere. It's a turn-off.

For a "relationship girl", this all was so foreign to me, and honestly, kind of draining. I began to pine for that connection to someone. Meeting people was fun, but it was also hard work... I would feel so confident, yet so insecure, at the same time. Feeling "on the stand" regularly is tough work; I felt like I needed to be portrayed as perfect, all of the time.

Being single, especially when you don't necessarily want to be single is the worst. For anyone going through that, I completely empathize. Maybe you don't even necessarily want to be in a relationship, but want to make a connection with someone halfway decent; I get that, too!

During this time, I also started talking to a guy who managed bands, and toured, constantly. While I knew a future with him was impossible, I began to think of one anyway. I think we, as humans, tend to reach for what, in our minds, seems safe and comfortable. Sometimes, putting ourselves out there is harder than imagining a life with someone... even if we know that vision will never come true.

This guy flew me out to L.A. for a couple of days, and a week later, stopped returning my texts. This was around the same time I had been roofied, at a club. While nothing, physically, happened to me, I found myself devastated. For some strange reason, now unbeknownst to me, I felt that my getting roofied and being "vulnerable" was the reason he stopped texting; stopped wanting me.

Ladies, this is something so many of us feel, more times than not. How come, when a dude decides to be a dick, we automatically assume it's on us; we assume it's because of something WE did?! I now know this isn't true, and I hope the same for you. When a guy doesn't call, or doesn't show up the way he should, don't put the blame on yourself; that's all on him. He's not worth your time, anyway.

Making Your List

During this time of being single, my mom told me to make a list of the things I was looking for in a man. The first couple of times, I laughed and rolled my eyes. "I'm not looking for a husband, Mom!" She'd laugh back, and tell me that it didn't matter; creating a list of things you want, in a man, can be really helpful. That 'laundry list', if you will, of the most important aspects. So, I decided creating a list wouldn't hurt (even if I didn't want to get married).

Remembering what you deserve...

Remembering what you deserve...

  1. Gets along with my family
  2. Enjoys spending time with MY friends
  3. Supports me
  4. Is reliable, always
  5. Personable
  6. Gets along, and loves being with his own family
  7. Kind, and courteous
  8. Relatable
  9. Funny
  10. Talks to the old ladies, when accompanying me to church

*#10 was one of those "reasons when I'll know I want to marry him" jokes, I would make with my family

As strange as I thought this list was, when my mom first suggested I make it, I now understand where she was coming from. Regardless of if you are ready to get married, or not, having that list (in the back of your mind) can be helpful; it keeps you in check with yourself, your values and what YOU DESERVE.

Finding Your Equivalent

You know how people say that you'll fall in love when you least expect it; when you're not looking for it? Well, I believed this to be untrue, for as long as I can remember. How can I find love if I'm not looking for it? What if I meet a really nice guy, and he doesn't ask for my number? Did I just lose out on meeting my 'soulmate'? But now this makes a lot of sense, and I think for good reason. When we're not actively looking for 'the one', we're our truest self. We're completely open, and the universe takes that as an opportunity to drop something in your lap.

I remember getting ready, one morning, when I was visiting my brother. My friend, Katie, sent me a text and said, "Dude! I can't believe I never thought of this before, but you and Ryan Nelson would be PERFECT for one another!...ADD HIM ON FACEBOOK!"

We all know that situation, right?! A friend tells you you'd be PERFECT with someone they know?! Similarly to what I mentioned earlier, sometimes you get the impression that two single individuals, with similar mutual acquaintances, AUTOMATICALLY mean TRUE LOVE, in the eyes of a friend. At first, this was where my mind was. I laughed, rolled my eyes, and continued putting on my eyeliner.

I knew who this guy was. I had met this guy before (we grew up in the same hometown). I was pretty damn sure we weren't 'perfect' for each other... (or else, I would have known... right)? Either way, after getting countless promising texts, I decided to add him on Facebook.

Beginning to "talk" to someone is always humorous to me, "What do you do?" "What kind of music do you like?" "What do you do on the weekends?" The questions are always the same; always getting the same typical answers. This is how our Facebook Messenger conversation started, as well. Honestly, at first, I just saw it as any other random messenger convo I'd had with people, in the past; we'd message for a while, but then get bored of one another, and that'd be that. Except this one was different. Ryan seemed legitimately interested in me, and what I was saying; he was kind (which was so freaking refreshing)!

In one of our earlier conversations, I made the joke about how he seemed to be the 'male equivalent of me'; we laughed and decided that in order to know, for sure, we needed to meet.

Quick side-note: For as long as I've lived, people have said that "opposites attract"! Yeah... they do, and for good reason. Opposites DO attract, but what usually happens after this attraction? Do they live happily ever after, or does that spark burn out as quickly as it began? After the experience I've had, instead of trying to find someone that is your 'opposite', try looking for someone more like you - someone who meets your values... your list!

I'm Your Density... I Mean, Your Destiny

Back to the future

Back to the future

back to the future

back to the future

Does anyone here remember in "Back to the Future", when George introduces himself to Lorraine and accidentally calls him her "Density", instead of destiny?! The BTTF series is my absolute favorite, and I was pleased to know that Ryan felt the same. The day of our first date came, and I drove up to Minnesota (he lived there, and I was in the process of moving up there). I remember driving by his house, once, because I was so nervous! After having spent the last week talking to the 'male equivalent' of myself, I began to think that this date might not be just any typical date.

I got out of my car, after taking five minutes (I swear) to park, on the street. We hugged, awkwardly, and went inside the house, for a bit. As we were walking to his car, to go have dinner, he stopped me, "Wait. I have to do what I was originally planning on doing, before I got so nervous..." He took his phone, and in the best awkward George McFly way, read, "Kate, I am your density... I mean, your destiny." I laughed out loud, and we drove to dinner.

I won't bore you with the details of our dinner. We talked about Humboldt, mutual friends and past relationships. Ryan, like myself, had been in a ten-year relationship; a relationship that had changed his whole outlook on life. It was extremely refreshing to have a conversation with someone who had gone through something almost identical, and had the same outlook on it.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

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People would always say to me, in the past, that meeting 'the one' would be easy, "You'll just know because it's easy. Nothing is forced." Again, a phrase I hadn't believed to be true, until I met Ryan. I think that our common-ground, mixed with our similar personalities made conversation easy; I felt like I had known him my whole life.

I had expected to spend the night (since my brother told me I was not welcome to stay at his place, again). LOL Except, I ended up staying the entire weekend. Again, easy. Nothing was awkward, forced or strange; I felt at home, when I was with Ryan.

Each week continued to be similar to our first weekend together, and it didn't take long for me to know that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person. Ryan seemed to balance me out, in just the way I hadn't known I needed, before we met. He had this way of taking any obstacle, and overcoming it with a positive outlook.

In past relationships, I'd find myself worried to share my feelings, or opinions because I would be contradicted, and made to feel inferior. Ryan was the opposite; I remember him telling me once, "Kate, in order to have a good relationship, we have to be honest with each other. You need to tell me when you're mad." WOW... for the first time, I was able to share about things that bothered me, without worrying about him getting mad, in return.

Using Your Past to Define Your Future

Looking back on the list my mom told me to make, now, makes me smile. Every number is met (including #10... when Ryan and his grandma accompanied me to church, on Christmas Eve). The "little things" continue to bring me the most joy: kisses in the kitchen, texts that say "I love you", movie quotes, random laughter, snuggles and smiles, in the morning. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, in order to get what we want, we need to first define what it is, exactly, we DO want; and then, we need to be patient. Create space in your life, and the universe will take advantage of that.

Remember when I said that my past relationships and experiences helped turn me into the person I am today? This is something Ryan and I talk about frequently; it rings true for the both of us. See, five years ago, if we would have been introduced, we wouldn't have been in a place to start dating; wanting to spend the rest of our lives with one another. Sometimes, it's easy, when you're in a relationship, to get focused on the past your partner had. But the next time you find yourself paying attention to that, I want you to take a step back; it was the path you and your partner took that got you both to where you are. If one thing didn't happen, in the series of your past, that could have created a time paradox, "the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the spacetime continuum..." OR, if you aren't into quoting "Back to the Future", if that one thing didn't happen, in the series of your past, who's to say you'd be with your partner now, or with your future partner, to come?


My hope is that you all, someday, find your Ryan, your "density". And even if you don't, my hope is that you recognize how amazing you really are, and the greatness you deserve. Don't continue to put yourself on the back-burner; if you are, I want you to recognize it's happening, and start to make your own list - maybe not a list of what you're looking for in a partner, but what you're looking for in yourself!

 

xoxo,

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Pieces of My Heart (and Yours)

"Love is in the air, every time I look around"... literally. February has been the season for hearts, kisses and showering your loved ones with gratitude. For some, this season is wonderful; an excuse to say "I love you" one more time; a reminder of the love you do have, in your life. For others, this month is torture; maybe you're sad you're not currently with anyone; maybe you're bitter about a past-relationship; maybe you aren't happy in your current situation. Similarly to the theme of the month, this post is on love; but before you start to roll your eyes and exit out of here, hear me out on this: This post will describe the essentials of My Q-Life; the building blocks, or pieces, of my heart (and yours) that nourish, empower and inspire us, on a daily basis. Just like Primary Foods, these are the pieces that I believe to be critical in being happy & healthy; feeling nourished and supported in every aspect of your being.

When thinking about Primary Foods, I came to the realization that those were a bit broad. Creating a life of health and happiness is made up of more than four characteristics (in my mind), and to find true alignment, we need to make sure we are cultivating the ground for ourselves to grow. I decided to create my own list of "essentials"; a guide, if you will, of the requirements for a happy and healthy life.

My Q-Life 11 Essentials for a Happy & healthy Life

My Q-Life 11 Essentials for a Happy & healthy Life


My Q-Life Founding Principles:

1. Healthy Food

This one is pretty self-explanatory; in order to be healthy, we need to make sure we're fueling our bodies properly, with the right foods. Remember, kale isn't the only healthy food out there, but greens are important! Fill yourself with healthy proteins, carbs and fats. Each is your friend; don't deprive yourself of one, for they each serve a great purpose.

Take the time to enjoy the food you're eating; don't rush through eating it. That causes issues of its own. Eat when you're hungry; stop when you're full. Listen to your body. At the point I am now, I know, even before eating something, if it's going to make me feel good or not great. Enjoy the junk food, on occasion. But make sure the majority of your meals and snacks include good, wholesome ingredients. Eating healthy doesn't need to be difficult.

 

2. Meditate

Have you checked out my Self-Care Guide yet? Meditating is one of those 'things I should really do more often' items, always on our bucket list, right? Seriously. Make time to meditate. Schedule it in your phone; just 10-15 minutes is all you need. Give yourself some quiet time; your mind needs to slow down. When our minds slow down, stress automatically begins to reduce. The stress may not go away, per say, but our response to that stress does, and that's something we can control.

So often, the idea of meditating seems easy, until we try to do it; that's why so many of us don't get it done. It's seriously HARD to sit, in silence; I know this! When we take the time to just be, breathe and relax, that's when our bodies start to open up. We can see things clearer, and our bodies become lighter.

 

3. Relationships

Your BFF. Your significant other. Your parents. Your siblings. Your co-workers. Your 'weekend hangout crew'. Relationships come in all kinds, shapes and sizes, and each one is so important in being healthy and happy. We all need relationships, of some kind, to grow.

My good friend, Holly, sent me a video by Will Smith, the other day, where Will asked whether your friends were, "feeding your flames, or dousing your fire". This really got me to thinking. Relationships are important, but GOOD relationships are crucial. Look at the last five text messages, in your phone. Who are they from? Do those individuals build you up? Do they inspire you, and help you want to become better? If they do, good; that's how it should be! If they don't, take this time to re-evaluate your friendships. Relationships give us a sense of belonging; they remind us that we're never alone.

*Don't use this as an excuse to wallow about NOT being in a romantic relationship, either. I know, I've been there; but honestly, being single is a great time to find yourself, and work to create better relationships with others... in the non-romantic way!

 

4. Create

Art. Love. Gratitude. Writing. Music. Inspiration. The list is endless. When we create something, we give our brain and our body the opportunity to grow, learn and develop. You don't need to be 'artsy' to create something; we're all artists. Life is our canvas, and it's up to us to create something that will beautify ourselves, and beautify the world.

 

5. Sex

Before I go on, I want you to take all judgements and throw them out the window. Sex isn't bad. Sex isn't sinful. It isn't something to be ashamed of. It isn't something we should be hard-up for (LOL... I had to), but it's also not something we should go into lightly, either. Sex is natural. It's something our bodies are hardwired to want; something we desire. In a relationship, it's one of the best ways to connect with your partner. Sex, in my opinion, is so much better when you're in love; however, I realize that often, love has nothing to do with it; and that's okay, too.

Maybe you're not in a relationship, right now. Maybe casual sex is something you're doing. That's okay... if you're okay. Speaking as a woman, it's incredibly hard to have sex with someone and not grow attached. So pay attention to your feelings, and only give your body to someone if it feels right.

Maybe sex isn't happening - in a relationship, or out of one. And in this case, I'd recommend you to take a look at your own sexuality, over your sex (for the current time). Do you love your body? Do you touch your body? Being sexual, with ourselves, is incredibly taboo, however, it's a great way we can focus on better loving ourselves, relationship or not. Never be ashamed to touch your body; for touching your body opens up a sexual door to pleasure, discovery and self-love.

 

6. Self

My last post really explains this, in detail. Happiness is an inside job, and before we can love others, we need to work on loving ourselves. I find this especially important when it comes to romantic relationships. Do you love yourself? Can you enjoy the time you have, alone? It's incredibly difficult to love someone else, and give them what they need, when you don't have the same love for yourself. Maybe you're TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF, and struggling with not being in a relationship. That's where having a good sense of self comes in, as well. Be confident with yourself, and your singleness. You don't need someone else to prove anything, or to be someone. Honestly, when we're alone is when our sense of self shines most.

Self-care falls under this category, too. When you legitimately care for yourself, you'll TAKE care of yourself. View it as a garden; your brain and your heart cannot (and will not) grow, or bloom, without taking proper care to make sure the seeds are first planted, then watered and monitored, daily. Do you feel like a good person? Are you proud of the decisions you make - the things you stand up for? Are you a parent? Do you feel like a positive role-model for your child? This all falls under having a positive sense of self. Without ourselves, we don't have anything; remember that.

 

7. Laughter

Laughter is the world's best medicine. It relaxes the body, strengthens the immune system, releases endorphins and burns calories. It's literally the wonder drug! When was the last time you laughed? Truly, whole-heartily, deep-bellied laughed? When you think of situations, or friends that allow you to laugh the most, what/who do you think of? Can you spend more time in those situations, and around those people? There absolutely is a place for seriousness, in life, however, the majority of situations can benefit more from laughter, and optimism.

 

8. Exercise

This one's pretty self-explanatory, also. We know exercise burns calories, it releases endorphins (similar to laughter) and allows us to tone up. I want you to recognize, though, that exercise comes in many different forms - there's not one way to move, nor should there be. Are you tired of running? Stop! Are you sore from overdoing it, at the gym? Stop! Switch things up. Trust me, your body and your mind will thank you.

Something I always recommend, to my members, is to find a form of exercise that they enjoy; because when you enjoy something, you're more likely to do it, often. Exercise shouldn't always be something you dread. I realize, sometimes, this is the case, but always listen to yourself. Push back when you're feeling tired; push forward when you feel you can. Start where you are, when it comes to moving. Even if that's just 10-15 minutes, a day. A walk around the block, a hike in your favorite park, popping in a fitness DVD, dancing in your kitchen... the opportunities are endless! Just get out and move!

 

9. Home

"Home is where the heart is." Sound familiar? This is true, but there's also something incredibly important about having a safe space to come back to, to fall asleep in, at the end of the day. "Home" is important.

I had a college professor once tell our class that it was interesting to listen to people talk about "home", depending on the age they were. In high school, obviously, your house is your house. When moving away to college, "home" is still, usually, your parents' house; the place you'd go on the weekends and for summer vacation. As you get older, and begin to find your own place, spend more time at your own place, that's when things begin to change. Maybe your "home" changes; your comfort level begins to develop at a new location.

My definition of home is anywhere I can walk around naked (honestly). I can pee with the door open. I can lay on the floor. I can take my bra off, at the end of the day, sit in my chair, and snuggle with my kitty. It's a safe space; a quiet place. It's the place I feel comfortable coming back to; it's clean. You need "home"; you need a place to feel safe.

It takes some time to find "home", after moving out of the house you spent your childhood in. I've finally reached a point where I call my house "home", but let me tell you, there's no more comforting feeling I get than driving down that gravel road, into my parents' driveway. That will always be "home". Home is a place you can come back to; it's always a place you're welcome.

 

10. Love

Love should be like breathing. It should be just a quality in you - wherever you are, with whomsoever you are, or even if you are alone, love goes on overflowing from you. It is not a question of being in love with someone - it is a question of being love.
— Osho

Love can carry so many definitions, and this description is very similar. Love for yourself, love for another, love for your pets, love for your family, love for your neighbors. I've shared this quote (to the right), on Valentine's Day, for the past couple of years now...

So often, especially this time of year, we're too focused on being IN love. That's not it, at all! Relationship or no relationship, love should never be about DOING more than BEING. I want you to think about what the qualities of BEING love would look like? And to reiterate, not being IN love - BEING LOVE. How would you act? How would you present yourself? Focus on being love; giving yourself love, first, with the thoughts you create, the words you say, the actions you show, so that you can then go love others.

 

11. Purpose

I mentioned earlier not necessarily loving the four original Primary Foods, just because of their broadness, but also because of the "career" element. See, as an individual who has suffered, a lot, with finding alignment in career, I don't necessarily believe that that factor fits everyone; or be a depiction of a happy & healthy life, or not. Sometimes, we won't have a job where we're making enough money. Sometimes, we're working, but not feeling great about it. Sometimes, we find ourselves without a job, living back with our parents, or digging into Indeed.com, daily.

I wanted to change things a little. Instead of using "career" as one of my essentials, I'm using "Purpose", because that feels so much better, in my soul. Purpose is something we're all searching for; something we all are wanting. A reason to wake up in the morning; something that excites us; something that drives us to push forward. For some of us, maybe that IS a career. Maybe we're proud of the work we do, in the job we're at. For others, maybe we're a parent, or a stay-at-home-parent, and that brings us purpose. Maybe we volunteer, or snuggle with our pet, or visit our parents, or grandparents, weekly. Purpose can be whatever brings you joy - whatever fills your cup up. Whatever it is, you need it; you need to have purpose.

I struggled with finding my purpose for a very long time; some days, I still struggle. My hope is that you never give up searching; that you never feel discouraged to the point where you give up. Look at your interests, your goals, your loves; where do you spend the most time, physically and mentally? Use those as a road map - allowing you to get closer to your purpose.


These are my Primary Foods ("Essentials"); the focal points needing attention, daily, in order to live the best life we can. Each essential makes up part of the heart - flowing in a collage of color, similar to our own self. This reminds us that not one is more important than the other, and that each essential relies on another, in order to flow accordingly. When one is missing, or lacking in color, that's when we find ourselves struggling - in mind, in body and/or spirit.

 

(Thesis), a short statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, etc., and is developed, supported, and explained in the text by means of examples and evidence.
— Dictionary.com

Do you remember in your high school English class, when you first learned about properly writing papers? Do you remember creating a thesis statement?

When thinking of these essentials, I want you to think about it in terms of being your "thesis" - a short statement, summarizing the main points; needing to be explained by means of examples and evidence, later on.

These essentials are all part of our heart; they're explained, briefly, however, in order to explain yourself, and your story, you need to take each one of those essentials and make it your own; creating the color and the collage. Let these Founding Principles summarize the way in which you live, and let the actions you take, and the pictures you paint, be your evidence.


From here on out, every weekly post will cover one of the 11 Essentials. It's my hope that we can start to bring more color to each essential of our heart... one piece at a time.

xoxo,

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