Lifestyle

What I Read: March/April 2019

This past month (and a half), I read a really great book about relationships and the science behind them so I thought I would bring back my book of the month series for it. I read the book The Chemistry Between Us by Larry Young and Brian Alexander as I mentioned in my March Favorites.

This book discusses a few aspects of relationships, right down to the science of it. A few topics the authors focused on were how our sexual brain actually functions and why, why we want to have sex, why mother’s care for their children, and why we cheat on our partners. The authors went over A LOT of animal studies, as well as a few human studies to prove their points which was really interesting to read about. It’s shocking how similar human sexual brain function is to mice, voles, and even leeches.

Our sexual brain function mainly comes down to oxytocin but also includes a few other brain chemicals such as vasopressin and dopamine. Obviously, our sexual hormones play a major role also, but according to this book, it’s really oxytocin that makes us do all the crazy (and not so crazy) things we do for love (or sex). It’s the oxytocin in our brains that make us trust our partners, care for our children and ultimately become “addicted” to our partners.

The most interesting part of the book for me, personally, was learning about monogamy versus infidelity in nature and in human relationships. I learned that in nature, social relationships (partner bonded/monogamous relationships) and sexual relationships are completely separate brain functions and the same goes for humans. As an intelligent species, we’ve learned to actually lump the two together, but in reference to our evolution, they are not the same at all. This explains why some people are more prone to cheat on their partners.

There were quite a few startling statistics in this book, but one of the most interesting to me, was that 30-40% of married couples have had extra-marital sex. In non-marital, monogamous relationships, about 50% of people had sex outside their relationship. That’s a lot of people. And humans are not the only species to cheat on their partners. In nature, almost every species that has monogamy, also has a few that will cheat on their partners even in the most monogamous of animals species such as prairie voles.

I think this book was such an interesting, albeit tough, read. There’s lots of science terms but it’s balanced out with real life examples and mild humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to learn about how the brain works, and anyone who wants to learn a little bit more about relationships, in a non-self-help kind of way.

I hope you enjoyed! xx

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping Update

So my friends, it’s over now. My one month challenge of no shopping. Let me tell you, it was not as hard as I thought it would be! I’m pretty proud of myself because I really thought I was going to struggle through this month but I feel like I came out knowing what I can do to keep myself from over spending on clothing.

One of the things that really helped me feel like I didn’t want or need to shop over this past month was keeping myself busy with other activities. Over this past month, I went skiing, went to a brewery, took a cooking class and celebrated St. Patrick’s day. I spent my weekends being out and about and I’d only ever really look at my phone in the morning when I woke up or right before bed. I think being so busy over the last month was something that really made a huge difference in not feeling like I wanted to shop. I honestly didn’t have time to sit down and try to shop!

I also focused on my main goal for this month. I wanted to save money to spend on a vacation with my boyfriend and for my upcoming trips because having experiences is much more important to me than how I look. Being knowledgeable about the world and the different things it has to offer is what makes me feel my best so focusing on my goal of saving for my travel plans was a really big help because I knew I was working toward something that was going to leave me feeling richer than new clothes ever could.

One last thing that helped me was knowing that I would treat myself to something after the month was over. Before I started I decided that I really need some new work out clothes and sneakers because my health and exercising is really important to me and it’s one of my favorites parts of my routine. Keeping in mind that I could reward myself with some new sneakers and a few pairs of new gym leggings was something that really helped to keep me focused on not spending on other things.

However, I will say that the weather getting warmer this past month was something that did not help me! The thought of transitioning my closet into all the pretty spring colors and thinking about what I’d want to wear on vacation really made me want to shop for spring clothes. The change of seasons was probably the one thing that really made a struggle because I was getting so tired of winter when I started this journey. But keeping my goals in mind was definitely more helpful!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping for a Month

Today, I thought I would share a small goal I set for my self over the next few months. Currently, it’s the end of February and I’ve got lots of things planned for 2019 and they are slowly but surely coming to fruition. However, these things I have planned require quite a few coins if you know what I mean. So last week, I set a goal of no shopping for one month and I’m going to tell you all about my experience here, on my fashion blog.

Just to catch everyone up to speed, my plans for this year include mainly travel but I also would like to move into my own apartment next year and I’m considering getting a new car. As of right now, I have 2 trips planned for 2019 with 2 more in the works and those are pretty much my top priorities if we’re being honest because I’d rather travel than have a place to live apparently. Now, I really need to save some extra money for these trips so since clothing is my largest expense, I decided to cut that out for a month (and another month and another one too). Starting on February 13, 2019, I decided that I’m not buying any new clothes, shoes, or accessories until March 13, 2019. Pretty simple, right? Well, we’ll see. Self control is something I struggle with tremendously.

On February 13, I actually bought a heck ton of stuff and had the realization that I can’t do that if I want to actually enjoy my life and have experiences and keep moving my life forward. Currently, there is nothing that I feel I need or am lacking in my closet and I’m not quite ready for spring yet, so I thought this was the perfect time to take a break. I do plan to keep the other aspects of my life the same to ease some of the struggle and still have things to look forward to (such as nights out and dinners). I also plan to reward myself with something special once the month is over because positive reinforcement works every time!

My tactic for this is fairly simple because this is basically just going to be a test of will power and patience for me. I set daily reminders on my phone of why I’m doing this every 2 hours (which is maybe excessive but necessary). It’s to keep me in the mindset that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m not really trying to torture myself. I also plan to really challenge myself to find inspiration in my own closet by experimenting with pieces I already own and trying to make them feel new by styling them with different pieces. Then at the end of the month, I’ll give you my honest experience of how I did!

It’s going to be a very interesting month, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Last Minute V-Day Gifts

So I wasn’t going to do any more Valentine’s Day posts but things happen and now here I am writing about Valentine’s Day again. V-Day is literally in 2 days and not everyone is a great planner or savvy with gift ideas so I wanted to share a few of my last minute gift ideas because this is something I struggle with for every holiday and I don’t want to see you all struggle, you know. Don’t mind the run-on sentence, please. So if I were to get a last minute gift for someone, I’d probably pick one of these!

First, I’m going to start with some of my favorites ideas. I personally think experiences are such a great gift to give someone. It gives them something they can share with someone else and they can hold on to those memories forever (hopefully). The experience can be anything the person enjoys doing or something they’ve always wanted to do. You can purchase a gift certificate for an exercise class, such as yoga or spin which is really popular. You can also buy tickets to something that is a little more date specific (depending on where you look), such as a professional sports game or a cooking class. You can also be extravagant and do something like a helicopter ride or skydiving depending on how much you want to spend. The fun part about gifting an experience to someone is that they don’t have to do it right then! They have the option to do it whenever they want!

My second favorite gift idea is always going to be something homemade. It’s always nice to go to a store and find the perfect gift, but when I know that someone took the time to sit and make something for me, I know how special I am to that person. Not to be mushy either, but some homemade gifts are really cute and sweet too. I really love the “Open When…” letters. They are SO sweet and definitely thoughtful because you took the time to write all those words to help your partner. I also think you can never go wrong with food and everyone loves a homemade meal! Also putting together a little gift basket with all kinds of goodies is fun. Making it a themed basket is always a good idea and for Valentine’s Day, since the theme technically is love, you can do a basket of all the things you love about the person or things that they love. The point of a homemade gift is that it’s supposed to be very thoughtful, so the more thought you put in, the better!

My final suggestion is obviously just to go out to a store and buy something but I’m not talking jewelry or flowers or chocolate. Although those are wonderful gifts and I’m sure plenty of people love that stuff, I’m still a big advocate for thoughtful presents. If your Valentine loves books, get them a really great book that you think they would love. If they love photography, get them a cool Polaroid camera or sign them up for a photography class or a trip to a museum. If they really love chocolate, I mean you can get them some chocolate but if they love other things more than chocolate, maybe get them one of those things you know?

I hope you feel like this was helpful and if not, I hope you at least enjoyed reading it!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

What I’m Reading: January 2019

For the month of January, I decided to read a book that was recommended to me by a very good friend. And actually once I started reading it, a few others told me how great a book it was. Needless to say, I had pretty high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed but I’ll explain why below.

This month I was reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. The book discusses the difference between two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset believes that all of our skills/traits are fixed and cannot be changed or improved. We all have a certain level of intelligence, talent, skill, etc and that’s as good as it gets. The growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that we are all capable of improving and growing in every aspect. We can all get smarter and learn new skills and be more ambitious and so on. She spends majority of the book discussing the difference between the two in various different roles, such as in business, relationships, coaching, etc.

So, my thoughts on this book are very mixed. I think the concept is awesome and I definitely can see lots of pieces of each mindset in myself. In some areas of my life, I tend to have a more fixed mindset such as in things that we typically think require talent, like sports. In other areas of my life, I’m whole heartedly in the growth mindset, such as my knowing skill level at work can always get better. I also liked that she split it up and looked at how the mindsets affect all different aspects of life and didn’t just apply it to business or parenting or something else.

There are a few things I didn’t love about this book and one of them is that it’s really dense. There’s a lot of information in each chapter and it’s not necessarily attention grabbing information. It’s a little bit boring to read after a while, in my opinion. I also felt that because the mindsets are explained pretty well in the beginning of the book, she’s just repeating the same information throughout the rest of the book. Sure, she really drives the information home, but it’s tough to read 4 or 5 chapters that all have the same main idea.

Overall, if this is the kind of information you’re looking for, it’s a great book to get into. Her ideas are awesome and she really teaches you how to recognize these thoughts in your own life. Just be aware, that it might require a little bit more concentration than you normally give to a book because the information is so dense.

I hope you enjoyed this review!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

December 2018 Favorites

For the month of the December, I honestly don’t have a lot of favorites because I really haven’t added very much to my routine this month or tried anything new. However, I do have some fashion and lifestyle favorites that I’d like to share so let’s just dive into it, shall we?

1. Sweaters

I’ve really been into sweaters this month which I know is like, “Karen, seriously? It’s December.” But, hear me out! Of course, during the day at work I wear a heck of a lot of sweaters but recently I’ve really been into wearing sweaters for my more casual days where I probably didn’t even leave the house. I’m all about comfort and not really getting dressed if I don’t have to and this month I did a lot of that. I spent a majority of my days in sweatpants but instead of wasting away and feeling gross all day, I decided to throw on a sweater with my sweatpants. For me, it was like when Carrie Bradshaw had on a pearl necklace with her pajamas in Sex and the City. It really brought the casual look together, therefore, sweaters are topping my list for December.

2. Casual Evening Tops

Again, this is another kind of obscure, weird one but hear me out. This month, I’ve been going out a lot at night for more casual dinners or drinks where it’s not casual enough to wear a sweater, but not formal enough that I need to really dress up. However, I always struggled with figuring out what to wear with my various pairs of jeans and boots. Finding tops that I like is always a struggle but this month, I really embraced my new Smart Casual style and purchased some dressy but still pretty casual tops and they have really changed the game for me. It’s a collection of button downs, printed tops, tops with interesting sleeves, etc and they all look great with jeans which was the whole point! Not sure why I never had these in my wardrobe in the first place! I’ve been getting all of mine from Zara and Something Navy at Nordstrom.

3. Pointed Toe Ankle Boots

For the last 2-3 months, I have been going way overboard with wearing ankle boots and I now have a disturbing amount taking up space in my closet. But to be very specific, I’m just plain obsessed with pointed toe, skinny ankle/sock fit boots that have a 3-3.5 inch heel. That’s my sweet spot and my go to for just about every occasion these days. They work so well for work, for dates, for going out with your friends. Literally for everything. My favorites are from Something Navy (of course) but Steve Madden also has a few pairs that I’ve really been loving.

4. Leggings

Again, because I was in a very comfortable phase of my life, I wore a heck ton of leggings and I may never go back to wearing real pants. The best and only pairs I will wear are from Target’s A New Day brand.

5. The Gym

In December, I really went full force into my workouts. I had been getting a little bit stagnant with my workouts and decided to switch things up and really get back into gear this month. My favorite addition to my workouts this month has been drop sets, which is when you start with your heavy weights and drop the weight down every set. I really put these to work on my leg days and it’s made a major difference so far and I love it. The gym has definitely been my best friend this month.

6. Dior Show Lash Primer and Volume Mascara

I just got this mascara right at the end of December and used it for New Year’s and it is a game changer. I bought both the primer and the mascara and they really work wonders together. I naturally have pretty long lashes, but the primer really extends them even more and the mascara gives me so much volume without being clumpy or spidery. My only issue with this mascara is that it’s not black enough so I still layer my L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara over it and it’s amazing. 10/10 would recommend.

7. My Top Songs of 2018 on Spotify

Not to toot my own horn or anything but I have great taste in music. I thoroughly enjoyed my Top Songs of 2018 playlist on Spotify. Except for a handful of songs, I think it was really reflective on my music taste for this past year. I literally listened to this playlist all month long because I think it’s so good. You can listen to it here if you want!

What were some of your favorites for December 2018?

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

What I’m Reading: December 2018

For the month of December, I decided to read a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I was at Barnes and Noble one day and it sort of just caught my eye so I decided to buy it. It seemed like a pretty good book and it was based around different case studies so I thought it could be really interesting.

To be completely honest, I didn’t love her writing style but I thought the content was very interesting. Basically, she spends the first part of the book explaining what exactly grit is. Grit at the very base is a combination of passion for what you’re doing and perseverance through the hardships that come with getting good at it. It’s more than just being talented at something, although talent does tend to help, it’s more about the effort that you put into your work. She also goes over the Grit Scale that she developed during her research. It’s a series of questions that once scored can help you determine just how gritty you are.

Then she dives a little bit deeper into how grit develops in a person and what you need to be gritty. Digging deeper, she explains that in order to develop grit you need to start with a basic interest in what you want to be gritty about. Throughout the book she refers to athletes who started playing their sport very young and loving it. After interest, you also need to practice diligently and way more than any of the other people who are doing the same thing. Finally after that you develop a sense of purpose surrounding your craft and for most of the gritty people out there, the purpose has to do with helping people.

Next she goes into how some outside influences can also help develop grit in a person. She discusses how your parenting style can help develop grit in children and later in life. A key component of this is that you need to be supportive and demanding as a parent when it comes to your kids extracurricular activities. It’s also important to have a role model outside of your immediate family that can also be supportive and demanding. Another way to develop grit from the outside in, is by surrounding yourself with gritty people. Being in a “culture of grit” is bound to make you raise your standards and develop gritty habits.

Overall, I thought the book was well researched and very insightful. She referenced so many case studies which is really what I’m looking for in the books I read lately. Although the writing wasn’t my cup of tea necessarily, the content was great and I would definitely recommend this book! It made me feel like even though I’m not very gritty now, I can work on it and develop more grit which would come in really handy for this blog!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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