2018 Highlights: What Makes a Good Year

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This morning, my dad texted me and asked about my “2018 highlights”, as he was writing the family’s, yearly, Christmas Letter. I love my parents, and I love the idea of a Christmas Letter; being able to keep tabs on your closest friends and family. However typically, these letters are more used as an excuse to brag about whose family is doing what. And braggy holiday letters are great, on the years you’re really rocking it, but what about the years that are just ordinary? How do your “highlights” reflect those years?

How do you reflect on a year that hasn’t been out-of-the-ordinary?

I thought about this, this morning, because 2018, for me, has just been one of those ordinary years. AND ORDINARY ISN’T BAD! But as I began to think about all of the things I hadn’t done - the trips I didn’t take, the money I didn’t save, the prospective jobs I didn’t get, I got sad and then as I got sad, I got irritated with myself. Why do we have this constant drive to be superior to everyone else?

Instead of moping about it more, I decided to take action, and come up with my own version of 2018 Highlights (feel free to use these in the Christmas letter, Dad)! lol


2018 Highlights

  1. I’ve listened to my body. In the last year, I’ve become much more in tune with my body; I’ve switched up routines, rested (when my body asked for it), and included (and excluded) foods, based on what my body was asking for. Don’t be mislead though; I’ve also pigged out on food and booze, on occasion. Each time, my body has reminded me why that’s not always the best option. You live and you learn. Just remember that your body always does let you know how it’s feeling, and you can learn from it, if you decide to listen.

  2. I joined an awesome Pilates community. Exercise is daunting, I know! Especially getting started. But instead of letting those feelings of concern wash over me (which tend to deter you from working out at all), I continued to focus on WHY I wanted to exercise, and join a new community. REGARDLESS of the why, it helped motivate me to start. I went, for the first time, with a couple of friends, and the accountability helped. SWITCH UP YOUR EXERCISE! It’s fun, and if you’re like me, you’ll get the opportunity to make some awesome, new friends by doing so.

  3. I didn’t save any money, but I didn’t make many frivolous purchases either. Instead, I’d ask myself about the reason behind that purchase. Was it good for my body? Would it help me feel better? Which leads me to Number #4…

  4. I’m working on changing my money mindset. At 28, sometimes it’s easy to question how you’re doing life (especially when comparing yourself to others your age, who seem to have it all, and are doing it all). Trust me. We’re all in debt, or have been in debt. It’s hard to make it on your own, and your wealth doesn’t determine your worth! Money comes and goes, and will continue to do so, the rest of your life. Instead of constantly worrying about not having enough (or putting more on your credit card), be thankful for the money you DO have, and the opportunities you DO have.

  5. Ryan and I have had a wonderful year together. For as many times as I like to give him a hard time about not getting engaged yet, I honestly couldn’t be happier in my relationship. Ryan and I have been through a lot, this past year, but we’ve done it all together. Each day, he does things that remind me of why I’m with him, and each day, I thank God for bringing him into my life. But FYI: We’re getting engaged, next year, so stop asking in the meantime! lol

  6. We’ve begun to turn our house into a home. This has been the year of house projects, as we originally planned to sell our house, this fall, which turned into next spring, which has now turned into longer. But it’s okay! With the economy the way it is, and not knowing about the future, we figured we’d save some money, and live here for longer. The pups love the house, Mona loves the house, and now that it’s being fixed up, we love the house! As new carpet was installed, and we hung pictures on the walls, I realized just how homey this place feels! Sometimes, it’s important to sit back and realize just what you DO have; a warm, cozy house, filled with love and cute pets is just where I want to be!

  7. I get to work from home. My job definitely has its days, but really, whose doesn’t? Whenever I find myself getting irritated about something, I have to come back to the positives: No commute (especially in the winter), no real pants, slippers and the ability to help people become healthier. Two years ago, I told myself I’d be happy if I could get a full-time health coaching job, with benefits. That’s now been my reality for the past two years. Sometimes, it isn’t about what’s NOT happening, but about what HAS happened.

  8. I’ve met some amazing humans. This year, especially, has been wonderful for making new friends. A lot from work, pilates and more! It’s amazing how close you can become to someone, just by sharing some common interests (even if that initial interest is how much you’re loathing your job, that current day)! lol

  9. I spent most of my PTO days in Iowa. A few days earlier this year, and an upcoming week, for Christmas. I haven’t stayed in any hotels, or flown on any planes, this year, but that’s okay. I got to enjoy more than one Iowa, summer (week)night - grilling brats, drinking beverages, and spending hours laughing and talking. And in a week, I’ll get to enjoy time with my family and friends, baking cookies, catching up and taking time - no rush. To me, those are the most-precious times.

  10. I started this blog. And I mean, hey - that’s pretty cool! Here’s to another year of blog posts!


So, if you’re reading this, I challenge you to one of two things, this holiday season:

  • Stay away from “the brag”. Are you beefing up your holiday letter so it sounds better? Or are you legitimately proud, or excited about sharing something? If you were reading that same letter, coming from someone else, how would you respond?

  • Find beauty in the ordinary. Maybe you didn’t think your past year was anything special; maybe you don’t feel like anything great happened. Look deeper, and don’t try to compare yourself to others.


Bottom line: each year we’re here, on this planet, is bragging enough! Let’s all take a bit more time to appreciate the little things we have, and appreciate the company in which we’re connecting with.

Happy Holidays!

xoxo,

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Holiday Gift Guide

December is here and with that comes a lot of excitement: Holiday parties, baked goods, get-togethers, coming home and shopping. If you’re anything like me, the holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially when you don’t know what to get that special someone in your life.

What do you get for a person who (like me) isn’t really materialistic? I’ve got you covered! Below, you’ll find some of my top gift ideas!

In Your Body

Moon Juice offers amazing adaptogens, superherbs, potions, elixirs, you name it! Based in CA, they have three physical locations, and a fantastic online store. One of my favorite products? These dusts, which are full of powerful adaptogens, superherbs and mushrooms that help the body deal with stress. Each dust is meant to aid in a particular area of the body, so if you’re like me (and you want them all), this variety pack is where it’s at!

$35

Tocos is as yummy as it is good for you! This rice bran soluble is filled with tasty vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fatty acids, and helps create glowing skin. My favorite part? It literally tastes like a dream (think the sweet cereal milk you used to drink, as a kid)! I love to mix it in with smoothies, lattes, cookies, you name it!

$22.99 (Thrive Market)

Vital Proteins is a staple! Their gelatin and collagen create healthy bones, joints, gut, skin, hair and assist in sleep, as well! Plus, they contain a great amino acid profile, and are great additions to any drink, or baked good. Their gelatin is something I consume each morning (in my magnesium, warm lemon water). It definitely has helped my gut health, and the best part? You can’t taste it! Remember: gelatin can only be dissolved in hot liquid; collagen dissolves in anything!

$28 (16 oz.)

Lord Jones has become a staple-brand for so many! Their high-CBD products are infused with full-spectrum CBD, and contain no THC. The coolest thing about them (aside from their amazing packaging, helpful products, and social media presence)?! The variety of products! Each box contains nine gummies, 20 mg of CBD per gummy, and come in a variety of flavors (some especially for the holiday season)!

$50 (holiday flavors) $45 (non-holiday)

Four Sigmatic is one of my favorite brands! They combine adaptogens with mushrooms to create some of the best (and tastiest) options out there. Every option comes in a powdered-form, which makes it even more convenient to bring healthy, delicious superherbs with you, on the go. They’re known for their mushroom coffee (which is delicious), but this newer “Chai Latte” is my current fave; it’s caffeine and dairy-free, and contains turkey tail reishi, which are both great for the gut!

$20 (get 10% off with Code “KATE10”


On Your Body

I picked up my first Soaptopia bar at Lakewinds Co-op, a few months ago, and was hooked after first smell! These bars are made from deliciously-moisturizing, natural oils, as well as essential oils, to give it a smell unlike any other. They are “100% Junk Free” and leave your body feeling moisturized, clean and delicious-smelling.

$8.55

Arcona has been my natural-skincare of choice, for the past few years. I absolutely love the natural, but powerful ingredients and the way it makes my skin look and feel. This “Magic Black Ice” mask is a wonderful exfoliator. It leaves my skin feeling clean and cool, and works to minimize pore-size, congestion and oil.

$68

Everyday Oil has been a staple, in my after-shower routine, for the past few months. Containing a blend of organic, cold-pressed plant oils, and essential oils, this product smells delicious and keeps all parts of the body moisturized. This is a beautiful oil to apply after dry-brushing!

$22

Do you suffer from dry winter hands? Yeah, me too. Before trying Weleda, the tops of my hands would get so dry they’d bleed, each and every winter. Since using Weleda “Skin Food”, each night before bed, my hands can cope so much better, with the winter cold, and don’t bleed like before.

$10.39


Odds & Ends

Palo Santo is another staple, in my household. Ancient traditions have mentioned palo santo warding off negative energy, bringing good luck and clearing the space for new opportunities (when burned). Aside from these benefits, I like to burn some, after cleaning, as an additional “natural air freshener”, since I try to stay away from other fragrances.

$12.99

Teeki has been one of my favorite brands since I started practicing yoga, back when I lived in Des Moines. At first, it was their bright, unique and beautiful pant designs that caught my eye. While the designs are worth the purchase, alone, the brand strives to keep plastic out of landfills; their fabric is spun from fibers made out of plastic water bottles. Each piece of clothing is hand hand-sewn, and all made in the US. These pants are literally the most-comfy!

$72

Dry brushes help in many different ways: they stimulate the lymphatic system, increase circulation, can reduce cellulite and exfoliate, creating smoother skin. I like to use mine after each shower, always brushing upward (toward the heart). After dry-brushing, I follow with my Everyday Oil.

$9.95

Alisa Vitti is a hormonal health guru, and has written this amazing book for women looking to naturally-regulate their hormones. I first purchased this book a few years ago, and reference back to it often. I’m currently working to develop a hormone course, based on some of these best practices, and recommend each female I work with buy this.

$10.87 (Amazon)

There are a few essentials I never leave the house without, and my Swell bottle is one of them. Swell is BPA-free, and made from stainless steel. It keeps cold beverages cold, for 24 hours, and hot beverages hot, for 12 hours. The bottles come in different shapes and sizes, and have unique artwork, making them a fashionable add-on, anywhere you go.

$35 (17 oz.)

The Midwest winters are cold. Period. My feet always seem to be freezing, and when my feet are freezing, so is the rest of my body. I picked up my first pair of Smartwool socks a few years ago, and have been wearing the same three pairs I own, continuously, each winter. Made mostly of Merino wool, these babies are sure to keep your feet comfy and cozy all winter long!

$23.95