August Wrap Up

august

I know a lot of bloggers like to do beginning of the month goals; I personally prefer end of the month reflections. So I want to take this time to discuss the progress I made this month.

In Blogging:

This was a great month for Beauty Marks. I accomplished most of the goals I set forth. I wanted a more simplistic and lighter theme, I think my site is looking better, though I am making more layout changes, I want to increase readability. I may begin implementing ‘read more’ tags so that a wider range of articles are visible at a glance. My monthly goal was to post 12 times in August, 3 times a week, which I managed to do for the first time since starting this blogging adventure. I organized my menus, and categories. I’m beginning to have active readers, whom I so appreciative of. The one goal I did not accomplish this month was staying one week ahead in my planning. So that is something I want to continue working on in September, but I’m getting the hang of this whole planning thing. So it’s been a good “first” month for me. This is the new beginning of Beauty Marks and I am loving how things are panning out.

In Life:

August was also a good month for me personally. I think my job hunt is finally coming to an end. I had an interview this week and things seem promising. I’m starting to get serious about my health and fitness. I’ve only been working out consistently for 3 days, but that is a record for me, and I actually see myself committing this time. Overall, I’ve been more organized. & I want to give some of the credit to this site. Sharing my journey with you all keeps me motivated because I don’t want to let you guys down, and I don’t want to fail in front of everyone, so sharing my honest progress with you all is keeping me on track, because I enjoy sharing good news, and I enjoy sending out the message that it’s possible to make these subtle life changes when you really want it. We are all every day people, and we have to stop letting life get in the way of our goals. I am very pleased with my progress thus far.

So this is going to be my last post of August, besides my Currently Obsessed segment coming up this Monday. I will be spending the remaining days getting ready for September. I already have a lot planned and I’m excited about sharing it all.

later lovebugs
krstn.

Learning to Take Care of Myself

In my previous post, I talked about how I’ve been feeling weird lately, just groggy, and lethargic and not myself at all. It made me realize just how much I disregard my health and my well-being. I don’t remember the last time I scheduled a routine check up, or a physical, just to make sure everything is in order. I’m pleased that I’ve come to this realization, because it’s given me the initiative to take better care of myself. I have one body, and I need to learn the importance of treating it well.

The most important thing, I think, is watching what & when I eat. I need to make healthier meal choices. & make a habit of sitting down and having meals, instead of just grabbing a handful of chips and a Slim Jim when I’m on my way  out the door. I also need to stop eating at odd hours of the night. 2am is not the ideal time to have a full course meal. So this week I started having breakfast: fresh fruits, eggs, granola or toast. I also want to cook more meals, & eat at least 2 meals everyday, with light snacks in between to hold me over. I know it’s small, but this will be a huge step for me, in just the few days of having breakfast every morning, I’m feeling less tired, more alert, and not as irritable.

Hand in hand with eating better meals, is my supplement intake. I know eating healthier will help with this tremendously, but I’ve also decided to start taking daily multivitamins, and iron supplements. I’m going to make an effort to drink more water and keep myself hydrated, because that not only promotes overall health, but it will lead to healthy hair, nails, skin, which in turn will lead to an overall happiness.

Other than eating better, and taking in the proper nutrients, I want to put myself on a sleep schedule. This will be a bit difficult given that my work schedule is so sporadic, but I think everyone can benefit from getting an adequate amount of sleep. I want to sleep between 6 and 8 hours every night. I’ve got to pull myself out of the habit of going days without any sleep and then crashing for 20 hours. Or sleeping for so long that I wake up even more exhausted (that a real thing, y’know). I also need to stop taking 5 hours naps in the middle of the day. I’m a sleepy person. I love to sleep, I love it so much that I can fall asleep on queue. & I am admitting this in the hopes that it will force me to recognize it as an issue, and then make the necessary changes.

And last, but certainly not least, I want to start working out. I am most excited about this, because I have been on a roll with this commitment thing lately. I usually don’t stick to workouts, I try it, I get bored of it, & then I quit. My excuse has always been “Well I don’t really need to lose weight, so whatevs.” & that holds true, I do not need to lose weight, but I do need to get in shape. I live on the third floor of my apartment building, and after being here for a year, those stairs still kick my ass most days.

IMG_6324So last night I was skimming through fitness apps on my phone, & I came across 8fit: A personal trainer in your pocket. & then I accidentally bought 3 months of pro membership, so best believe I will be using this app for the next 3 months to get my money’s worth. I did my first routine from the app this morning.IMG_6315 It was a strength training, it lasted 7 min. I was given a series of exercises, and I had to do as many reps as I could in one minute, and then record how many reps I was able to do. This way the app gets a sense of where I’m starting out at, and can tailor the routines to fit my needs. I will be doing the next routine, endurance, tomorrow. So I’m excited about seeing how things go with this.

So this is the outline of my “health plan,” my intention here isn’t to count calories and carbs, or step on the scale every other day.  I just want to acknowledge the fact that I deserve to feel better, my body deserves to be taken care of, & I want to do that. & as always, I want to invite you all to embark on this health journey with me, and see where it takes us.

 

later lovebugs,
krstn.

 

Currently Obsessed: Aleve

At least I still have a sense of humor, right? I kid you not, I’ve had such an annoying headache for about 10 days now. It starts around my eyes and then just seeps into my brain & it’s a constant dull pain. It will go away for a few hours, but alas, it always returns, maybe I need new glasses. So this week I’m obsessed with Aleve. All day strength? Psht, yea right, I pop like 8 of these babies a day at this point. My body has probably built a tolerance against the medicine by now. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I’ve been feeling a little weird lately, constantly thirsty, exhausted (I slept for 20 hours on my last day off, that’s not normal), & now headache-y. Bleh. I don’t know what the deal is. My mom thinks it may be low iron. My whole family is anemic. My friend thinks it sounds like dehydration, which is also very likely because I have a history of dehydration. They shove IVs in my arm literally every time I see a doctor, no matter the reason I went. So this is really just a long ramble about how I feel crappy & I just want my mom to rub my head while I whine :( I’ve got to start taking care of my body & my health. Feeling this way is absolutely not fabulous. Until next time lovebugs.

What I’m Reading: The Goldfinch

Per today’s assignment in Blogging 101, I’ve decided to add a new segment to my blog. This is one that I’ve had plans for for some time now, but I hadn’t been reading much lately. It’s another thing that I’ve happened to slack off on and just let life get in the way of. So this week I took the time to get back into the habit of reading at least every other day. This segment is only going to be monthly, maybe bi-weekly, depending on how fast I’m finishing my books.

But I’d like to present to you, what I’ve been reading in August (or more like for the past 4 months).

The Goldfinch 

  • Author: Donna Tart
  • Publication Date: 04/07/2015
  • Pages: 784
  • Pulitzer Prize Winner

Now this is a book that has taken me some time to get into. I’ve been reading it for a while, because the mere size of this book is a bit daunting to me when I have so many other demands in my personal life. I tend to put it off because I can’t help thinking “Do I have the time to invest in an 800 page book?” So I’ve been reading it little by little which I regret, because this seems like the kind of story that I would normally want to  delve right into. It’s the kind of story that you need to read all at once. Or maybe I just feel that way because I’m greedy with books and I like to kind of lose myself to the story and I haven’t given myself that pleasure this time.

But still it’s been a nice read and I have a feeling that I haven’t even scratched the surface of the depth that is in this book. I have about 30 pages left of chapter 4: Morphine Lollipop, and that will put me at the end of part one of this five part book. I’m on page 175 of 784, so I still have a bit of a ways to go. But thus far I have enjoyed being introduced to the characters and getting to know them, the set up for the story has been truly enticing, and I am looking forward to discovering all this book has to offer and really dedicating the time to finish it. Have any of you read or had an interest in the book? Any suggestions for my next read? I’d love to hear your opinions :)

I Fell Behind

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Community Service.” Week two of being organized and scheduled wasn’t as fabulous as week one. Not in terms of my views or likes, which are steadily rising and I’m so thankful for it, but more in terms of the behind the scenes things. I did manage to […]

Currently Obsessed: Bic Lighters

I know, I know, it’s a weird obsession. But Bic did the right thing when they put patterns and pictures on their lighters because I cannot get enough. Any time I’m in Walmart in line, & I see a pack with a design I don’t have, I NEED to buy it. I don’t know why I’m such an impulsive shopper. That’s why I always end up spending $500 when I meant to spend $50. (That’s an exaggeration of course).

But the funny thing is, I’m not even the friend that smokes cigarettes. I live nicotine free for the most part. Sometimes I’m a social smoker, I’ll have a cigarette when I’m drunk at a party lol, but I’m not an everyday smoker, or even an every month smoker, but I am the friend that always has a lighter on them. ALWAYS lol.

So this post is much shorter than most of my ‘Currently Obsessed’ posts, because there’s not much to say other than I have a weird habit of collecting lighters that I don’t even need :)

later lovebugs
krstn

The Liebster Award

I want to send a HUGE thank you to Kate over at Harps & Heartstrings for nominating me for this award, it’s an absolute honor. A month ago I wasn’t even actively blogging anymore, but I am joyously overwhelmed with the support and feedback I’ve gotten in August.

Here are the rules if you’ve been nominated for this award:

  • Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  • Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  • Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  • Ensure all of these bloggers have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  • Lastly, COPY these rules in the post.

Here are the questions I got from Kate:

  1. What do you like about your hometown?
    -I enjoy feeling at home. That’s about all I can say about my hometown. I grew up an army brat, so I call many places ‘home’ but Canton, Ohio is where I was born, & I lived there the first 6 years of my life, & going there always feels like coming home.
  2. Do you believe that music is essential in our lives?
    -Yes, I believe music is essential in our lives. It speaks for us when we’re speechless, when we can’t seem to formulate our feelings into words. Music always gets you.
  3. What does happiness mean to you?
    -I love this question, because we all know I have that weird obsession with happiness. But happiness to me is more than an emotion, it’s a state of mind, & a way of living. You have to want it to experience it.
  4. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
    -I would want the ability to teleport. That would open up so many opportunities if I had the ability to be anywhere at any time. I could live in Barcelona but work in New York, how cool would that be?
  5. Do you believe in fate? Why or why not?
    -I believe in fate to a certain extent. I believe that all things that happen hold some significance and they were meant to happen, but I believe in working for what you want, you can’t sit around and wait for fate.
  6. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
    -The Great Gatsby 2014 soundtrack. It’s the only soundtrack in my library. I loved the book, and the classic movie, as well as the remake.
  7. What are 5 things that would be on your bucket list? Have you done them? Why are those things on your bucket list?
    -I would like to visit the west coast, go on a cruise, take a roadtrip with no destination, sky dive, and run a marathon. I have not done any of these things, though I will be making a trip out west in April.
  8. What is your favorite video game? Why?
    -Sims 3, the computer version. It’s just simple, and easy to get sucked into. I love seeing my family develop and playing through several generations. I’m also a fan of anything Mario. I recently bought a GameCube just to buy Mario games lol.
  9. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
    -Physically? My legs, I’m only 5’2, but I swear I have legs for days lol. Personality wise? My heart, I put my all into almost everything I do. It’s a blessing and a curse.
  10. What is a dream of yours that you are working towards? Does anyone else know about it?
    -Becoming a superb writer. Writing has been apart of my life since I was 12, so for 10 years now. I enjoy working on my skill, and getting better. & of course I tell everyone every chance I get. I’ve always aspired to be a writer.
  11. How do you try to put a little heart into everything you do? Do you think it’s important to do so?
    -As I stated in question 10, I do put a little heart into everything, just by giving my best effort. I think it’s an important trait to have, you won’t make it very far half doing things.

My Nominees:

Picking nominees has been difficult. I know I’m supposed to have 5-10, but most of the blogs that I interact with, and follow, and read have already been nominated. So I unfortunately only have 3 lol, I’ll come back to this if I think of any more.

  • Continuing with M.E: I’ve not interacted much with this blogger, but I see her in my notifications a lot, and I enjoy reading her posts, she blogs about her daily life, and occasionally how she deals with having a chronic disease, it’s worth a read.
  • Unorganised Chaos: I really enjoy her writing style, and I relate to a lot of her posts, struggling through adulthood, we’ve all been there.
  • Ramblings of a Confused Teenager: She’s just starting out blogging, but the few posts I have seen from her have been quite interesting, I am looking forward to following her blogging journey.

My Questions:

  1. Tell me about your fondest childhood memory.
  2. What is your favorite holiday and why?
  3. What prompted you start blogging? What made you continue blogging?
  4. If you could visit anywhere, at no expense, where would you go and why?
  5. How would you spend your ideal day?
  6. When you’re feeling down, what’s the best way to cheer you up?
  7. Are you content with the way your life is right now? If not, what changes are you making?
  8. What is your definition of ‘bliss’?

 

My Basic Budgeting Strategy

budgeting

Adulting is hard, I can’t believe I spent my whole childhood waiting for this. I wish I could just trade it back in & be a kid again. One of the joys that comes with adulthood is budgeting, and prioritizing your money. When I first moved out, I was awful about saving. My first 6 months, I luckily didn’t have to pay rent, or any utilities, but at the end of those 6 months, I still had nothing to show for. I should have used that time to save my money, but instead I treated it as a pass to do whatever I wanted while I still didn’t have responsibilities. Over time though I’ve developed a system that works for me. It keeps me on top of all my bills, and I usually still have spending money left over.

Piggy Banking:
I don’t have an actual piggy bank, but I do have a huge mason jar that works just the same. I take any and all loose change that I come across and I throw it in there. I also put all my one dollar bills in there, it helps build up the funds in my bank faster. So I never spend my ones, and I never spend my change. This comes in handy when you’re in a bind and need quick cash. Ones build up pretty fast, at least they do for me.

Carry Cash:
Decide how much money you are willing or able to spend for the current month or week, or however you want to work it out, and take the cash out. I think carrying cash helps you become more aware of your spending habits and it helps you make better spending decisions when you are physically handing over money and seeing your stash deplete. This also helps with piggy banking, If you never have cash, you’ll never have loose change or ones to put in your piggy bank.

Add Up Your Monthly Expenses:
This is the most important one for me because all my bills are due on the first of every month, & I have a set, exact amount of what I own every month. It never changes. So to stay on top of things, I add up my monthly expenses, and then divide that by the amount of times I get paid that month. Whatever my answer is, that’s the amount of money I take out of each check and I set it aside. & I DO NOT TOUCH IT, until it’s time to pay bills. You have to be very disciplined with yourself about this one. It’s easy to say “Well I’ll just take $50 more from my savings and put it back next time I get paid,” it’s very easy to fall behind that way. With this strategy you’re not scrambling to make ends meet and the end of the month, and you’re not worrying about whether or not your last check is going to be enough to cover everything, & you will hopefully still have spending money with each check if you’re putting up your bill money little by little, instead of all at once.

I find that these 3 simple strategies help me stay on top of things, it keeps me from stressing, and it makes my money last. What are your budgeting strategies, feel free to share any other tips you have :)

5 Things to Do By Yourself

I grew up with five younger siblings (although now I have seven) so I’m not very used to being alone or doing things by myself. That was one of the hardest things to cope with when I moved out. There was always someone home with me, or someone to go out somewhere with me, take a walk with me, watch a movie with me, anything. So being that I’ve been on my own for a year and half now I’ve discovered how to be alone. These are my five favorite things to do when I’m alone.

Go to a bookstore or a library:
We live in the age of electronics. With the rise of e-readers, people forget about actual books. & I do have a Kindle Paperwhite, & I read the majority of my books on that, but I still love the smell of books, & I enjoy buying hard copies. There’s something satisfying about turning the pages, & watching the left side get thicker while the right side gets smaller because you’re so close to the end. It’s a rewarding feeling, a feeling that I don’t seem to get from my Kindle.

Take a bubble bath:
I’ve fallen in love with aroma therapy, my favorite is a stress relief blend of eucalyptus tea from Bath and Body works (but I’m probably biased because I’m obsessed with BBW). But it’s so relaxing and gives you time to think and breathe and just enjoy being.

Jam out to your favorite song/album:
I love love love having dance sessions by myself. Like I swear sometimes I’m Beyonce, having whole concerts in my room, with my cats as my audience lol. It’s very freeing to just let loose, lose control. You don’t have to worry about looking silly or being off key, just enjoy yourself.

Binge watch a show on Netflix:
We all do it, & it’s ok. It’s ok to lay around and do absolutely nothing for one day. Get wrapped up in the characters, become invested in the story, & feel that sweet satisfaction when you finally finish the series.

Find yourself:
Being alone so often allowed me to learn so much about myself. When you give yourself time to be alone with your thoughts, you discover so much about yourself, what you enjoy doing, you can pick up new hobbies. You can cry and scream and hurt, you can laugh and spin and dance. Learn who you are & like who you are. & if you don’t, make the necessary changes to be a person that you are proud to be. That is the most important thing you can do by yourself. Find yourself.

What do you like to do when you’re alone?

Currently Obsessed: Grey’s Anatomy

I have been watching  binging Grey’s Anatomy for about 5 weeks now. I’m halfway through season six, and my goodness it has been a roller coaster. I’m not going to put any spoilers in this post because I strongly believe this is a show everyone needs to indulge in lol. It’s that good.

I usually try to steer clear of hospital dramas, I wasn’t a huge fan of House or Scrubs, which are the only other two I can think of right now. But House seemed very redundant to me. Each episode followed the same plot. Patient comes in, has undiagnosable/incurable problem, staff manages to save them anyways, House continues to be an arrogant, hate to love him, ass. The end. I got bored after a few episodes. But with Grey’s, there is never any boredom. The drama in this series is so captivating, and urgent, & it feels so real.

The characters have so much depth. You connect with them and you understand them, & you feel for them. You cry with them, and laugh with them & you’re just sucked into this world. This show made me want to be a doctor LOL. Logical me knows that nursing or any type of medical is a field that I cannot handle. I have a weak stomach, I don’t have a poker face, & I would get too attached. But this show made me want to be apart of their world. & that is why I’m in love with Grey’s Anatomy. It’s the kind of drama that engrosses you, and inspires you, and touches you.

Why should you watch it? Uh, why shouldn’t you? It’s easily the best show ever. (Besides Gossip Girl, & maybe Desperate Housewives). But no, really. I put off watching this show for such a long time. I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon after such a long time, and I knew it was an extremely long series. It would take me a while to catch up and I didn’t know if I could commit to that (there’s my commitment issues again, ha). But now, the only thing I regret is not starting it sooner.

This series has depth, and character, you get the chance to know each character individually, & I enjoyed that the most. Even the characters that don’t get much screen time, when they do, they have a story to tell.& it’s always a damn good one. I would highly recommend this show to absolutely everyone. Watch it, & let me know what you think :)