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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Lifestyle

My 2019 New Year’s Resolutions

Now that 2018 is over and 2019 is in full swing, I wanted to share some resolutions I want to work on for this year. These are things that I noticed were pretty big issues for me last year, or at least not productive habits. After taking some time to reflect on the past year and what I’m looking forward to this year, these are some of the items that I came up with!

  1. Be on time and respect not only my own time but everyone else’s
  2. Network with other bloggers
  3. Work on new skills monthly to improve my blog or career
  4. Try a new hobby/activity every month
  5. Read a new book every 3-4 weeks
  6. Invest is a high resolution camera for my blog and instagram photos
  7. Balance my blog content with my regular personal content on instagram
  8. Spend within my means
  9. Save 3 months of rent and utilities
  10. Take a class to improve my skills at work
  11. Take one more trip than I did last year
  12. Listen to a Bible chapter every morning
  13. Meditate every morning and night
  14. Commit to 2 no spend days per week
  15. Put away an extra $10 in my savings and emergency funds weekly
  16. Run or do a full cardio session once per week
  17. Do a full stretching/recover session once per week
  18. Spend a day with myself at least twice per month
  19. Spend a day with my friends at least twice per month
  20. Spend a day with my family at least twice per month

Most of my resolutions have to do with my finances, my mental and emotional health, my physical health and my relationships because those are the areas of my life that I think were really tested this past year. This past year made me realize just how much I need to adjust myself and improve so that I handle these kinds of stressors differently. It was truly an amazing year for me, through all the ups and downs but I am ready to move forward and enjoy the next chapter of my life.

What are some of your resolutions or goals for 2019?

P.S. keep up with me on instagram @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

What I’m Reading: November 2018

For the month of November, I read Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller. As you know, I’ve been reading a book every month since August and I’ve been really into self help books but I wanted to move a little bit more toward science based self help not just the typical “You can do it!” type books that are out there. After listening to an episode of Girls Gotta Eat podcast, one of their guests recommended this book to read. It discusses adult attachment styles and the science behind how we build relationships and why we sometimes act “crazy” in them.

Our adult attachment is thought to stem from our childhood and our attachment to our parents. In the past, attachment studies were based on an experiment called “The Strange Situation” where babies or toddlers were brought into a room filled with toys by their mom. The child was allowed to play and eventually the mom was taken out of the room and the child’s reaction was observed. Some children noticed the mom’s disappearance and were visibly distraught while others did not seem to notice. When the child was reunited with their mother, some were immediately soothed by their mother, some took a lot longer to calm down and some were completely unphased. This helped researchers come up with the three attachment styles: secure, anxious and avoidant.

Research shows that your attachment is flexible throughout your life and can be changed based on life experiences. For example, if you were a secure child but maybe your parents had a nasty divorce where you felt you couldn’t express your feelings about it, you might eventually develop an avoidant attachment style where you avoid intimacy and affection at all costs. Or alternatively, you might develop an anxious attachment style where you crave intimacy and affection because you were missing it during a critical point in your life.

What I loved about this book is that it provides simple tests for you to determine your attachment style and then gives detailed explanations on some of the characteristics of those attachment styles, why they happen and how to recognize them in yourself and your partner. But it’s not just a random person in their basement trying to give you relationship advice, it’s based around years and years of research. There’s lots of studies on attachment styles and the authors do a great job of referencing tons of psychologists who got strong results from their research. That’s what I really liked about this book because I felt like I could trust this source of information.

I feel that reading this book has provided a lot more insight into why I do certain things in relationships and why I have the reactions that I have. It also helped me realize what kind of attachment styles my previous partners have had and it’s helped me make sense of why things didn’t work out.ย  As far as self-help books go, this one definitely not the same as any other self help book I’ve ever read. It builds strong cases for why you can trust the information and it gives very detailed explanations. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be struggling in their relationship or even just wants to learn more about themselves.

Let me know what books you’ve been reading in the comments below!

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

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Lifestyle

Podcasts I’m Listening To

As I mentioned in my life update/chit chat post, I started listening to podcasts as part of my daily routine. I’ve found that I can learn A LOT from sitting and listening to podcasts while I’m driving or having breakfast in the morning on a Saturday. There’s hundreds of podcasts out there covering all kinds of topics, but I thought I would share some of my favorites today. I’m still figuring out what I like and don’t like, but so far these are my top picks!

To start off, my absolute favorite so far is the Girls Gotta Eat podcast. It’s run by 2 single women living in NYC and they talk all things relationships, such as how to meet men “in the wild”, first dates, sex and so much more. They have a lot of (hilarious) experiences and they are super open about it which is the best part. They are authentic and not afraid to share their real life dating struggles with their audience. Two of my favorite episodes by them are “How to Meet Men in the Wild” which talks about how to meet men while you’re out and about in a world filled with all kinds of dating apps. Meeting someone in person alleviates a lot of the trouble because you can tell right when you meet them if you have a connection worth exploring. Another favorite episode is called “F*ck You, Carrie Bradshaw”, which you guessed it, talks about Sex and the City. They go over basically how f*cked up Carrie’s relationship with Mr. Big is and how it skewed the idea of how relationships should be for women.

Another favorite of mine so far is The Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher. On this one she discusses being a photographer turned serial entrepreneur and all the steps she took to get there. She often interviews women who’ve built their own digital media businesses and they share their story and advice for women who are looking to do the same thing. She’s built a million dollar brand for herself and she’s got a lot of insight into this new world of social media. Her podcasts are great for when I’m feeling stuck on how to improve my blog or I’m looking for inspiration.

Some others that I’ve been listening to recently are:

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso

Second Life

What We Said

WorkParty

These are some that I’ve listened to one or two episodes of so I’m still figuring out if I LOVE them or not but I definitely like them! I mean who doesn’t love Oprah, right?

Some that are on my list to listen to are:

Diary of a Female Entrepreneur

On Being

The Skinny Confidential

U Up?

The GaryVee Audio Experience

Ted Talks Daily

Adulting

Guys We F****d

We Met at Acme

These are a variety of career, dating, and health & fitness podcasts (my top 3 priorities in my life at the moment). They’ve been recommended to me by some of my lovely friends so I’m excited to listen to them! I trust their judgement! However, there’s not always enough time in the day to listen to 45 podcasts and get the real juicy details out of them so I’m taking my time with this. Like I mentioned in my life update post, it’s hard for me to listen to the podcasts while doing something else because I miss a lot of the important information. I really like to sit down and focus on it and take notes if I can. I’m looking for advice on these topics, so I definitely want to pay attention to them!

Now I’m wondering, what are some podcasts you like to listen to? Leave a comment down below!!

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

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