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

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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Fashion

November 2018 Favorites

Now that November is over, I’m back to sharing my monthly favorites. This one has a lot of lifestyle things and some clothes because that’s really all I’ve done this month. November has been a heavy month for self-care and improvement. It’s also been sort of a slow month for new products because I was saving to buy the new launch of Something Navy (and it was completely worth it). So here’s some things that I’ve been really enjoying this month. YAY!

1. Breakfast

I am just crazy into breakfast these last two months. It’s such a major part of my morning routine on the weekends and helps to set me up for a really great day. Breakfast with a nice big cup of coffee is like a sign of a good, happy day. I feel the most productive after I’ve had breakfast also which has been a tremendous help for my blogging skills. I highly recommend having breakfast as often as possible!

2. Echinacea

I also got sick early in October and it was awful so I amped up my vitamin game. Once it’s cold and flu season, my intake of vitamin C and echinacea drastically increases. I take vitamin C year round, but echinacea is only during the cold months and I SWEAR BY IT. It reduces the amount of time that you’re sick by several days which is really helpful when you have a busy schedule or just hate being sick. Again, I highly recommend.

3. Slouchy Knee High Boots

I’ve mentioned these boots in a few of my previous outfits posts. These are on a totally different wave length from the typical leather knee high riding boot. These slouchy ones give off a very relaxed, cool but feminine vibe which is how I like to describe my style so they are right up my alley. They look great with a casual jeans and a sweater look but they look even better with a long dress or a sweater dress for a cozy, feminine look. They can be really casual or dressed up and that makes them extremely versatile. I hope these stick around for a very long time. Some of my favorites are from Something Navy at Nordstrom, Zara and Target!

4. Blush/Light Pink

I have never really been into pink as far as clothing goes but this fall I think it’s just the prettiest most feminine thing you could wear. Probably because it is. I love a blush pink sweater or a light pink blazer. I even love pink lip gloss and pink eye shadow! It’s becoming a real issue. The only issue I’m finding is that I struggle to style it with anything other than denim and white shoes? I think it would also look so dreamy with tans and browns but I just don’t have enough of those in my closet to do that. If you have any advice, please hit me up.

5. Jewel Tones

Another thing I’m really loving is jewel tones, especially an emerald green and purple! I really love them as accessories in shoes and jewelry but I also am really loving them for sweaters and coats. I think they are just a really pretty and elegant addition to a simple outfit. I also think they look so pretty together, like an emerald green long wool coat over a pretty velvet purple dress. These are also great colors for the upcoming holiday season,but you knew that already.

6. Simple Habit App

I also mentioned this in my chit chat life update post, but I’ve trying to meditate often to improve my well being. I felt like I needed to try something new because I was losing my motivation to stay positive. I downloaded the Simple Habit app and started doing 5 minute meditations every morning and night to help with sleep and to start my day on a good note. In the last month, I’ve found that it has definitely improved my sleep so that I can fall asleep faster and feel well rested in the morning. I also find that it helps keep my mood a little bit higher or at least more level throughout the day whether I’m having a good day or a bad day. I definitely have a lot of practicing to do but I do feel it’s made a difference in my life so I’m looking forward to exploring more into meditation.

7. Spotify

This one is not really new at all; I’ve been an avid Spotify user for a few years. However, it’s probably my second most used app behind Instagram. I listen to some of my favorite podcasts on Spotify during the day at work and on the weekends. I listen my the Rap Caviar and Get Turnt playlists at the gym. I’m really into the Top Hits playlist for when I’m writing my blog or just starting my day because I like upbeat and catchy music at the moment. I have literally spent like every waking moment listening to music lately because it makes me feel good.

8. Attached by Amir Levine & Rachel S. F. Heller

This was my book of the month for November 2018 because I listened to an episode of Girls Gotta Eat Podcast where they interviewed a match maker and she said that this book along with The 5 Love Languages were what she recommends to all her clients read before they start the match making process. It discusses the science behind adult attachment styles and how they affect your relationships. It’s a brain system that helps to determine how “secure” you are in your relationship based on whether or not your partner meets your needs. I’ve always had an interest in attachment styles and even wrote a paper about it in college so I thought it would interesting to read this book and it did not disappoint! It helped me take inventory of my needs from a romantic partner and more definitively determine my attachment style. I think this is a great book for anyone, single or in a relationship, to read if you want some more insight into why you act the way you do!

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.  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

October 2018 Favorites

October has come and gone and I’m back with my monthly favorites! 2018 is FLYING and I think I say that every month but it’s really true. I can’t believe it’s already November. This month, I have lots of fashion favorites because I finally figured out what my fall style is. I also have some more fall things and life stuff that I’m loving because it’s FINALLY starting to feel chilly and cozy and I’m ready to hibernate for 4 months. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. SomethingNavy at Nordstrom

I’m a long time fan of Arielle Charnas and her blog, SomethingNavy. I think she was actually the very first blogger I ever followed  on instagram about 5 years ago during my freshman year of college so we go way back. I even remember her reaching 100K followers and now she has over 1 million. Anyway, she released her clothing line at Nordstrom at the end of September and now that it’s October and chilly out, I finally was in the mood to throw on some boots and a fuzzy coat. I am absolutely loving her clothing line this month and probably for the rest of my life. I got 5 of her shoes because I think they are so good. She’s got great taste in shoes, honestly. All her pieces are perfectly curated and go so well together. I think she’s really found her niche with creating elevated basics. I’m crazy excited for her November and December collections.

2. Zara

I think I’ve been living under a rock for at least the last 5 years because I just started shopping at Zara in September and have fallen IN LOVE. I completely understand why everyone feels the way they do about Zara. I think my style is finally evolving into a more mature smart casual look and I think Zara really reflects that. I’ve been spending way too much money there and I’m not even mad about it. I think Zara will definitely be my go to store for my work and casual clothes for the fall and winter. I always struggle with spring and summer clothes so we’ll see how I feel when that time comes!

3. Denim

My job changed it’s dress code from Business Casual to “Use Your Best Judgement” which I absolutely love because that means no more uncomfy dress pants for me. This is what I mean in my bullet above about a more smart casual look. Now that I can wear jeans to work, I have been denim obsessed. I’ve recently acquired an absurd amount of jeans because I can wear them all the time. Prior to this I was also a leggings/sweatpants kind of girl but now I even like wearing jeans…on the weekend (UGH THE HORROR). I’ve been getting all my new jeans from Topshop. As you all know I LOVE their Mom jeans and the Jamie jeans. I also found a few pairs of the Joni jeans that I like (cue my leopard pants). I also (sadly) love distressed jeans that I can’t wear to work so I’m trying to resist the urge. I think next I want to try out GRLFRND, Paige and Levi’s for my denim. I’m looking to explore some new brands for denim so please feel free to leave suggestions/reviews in the comments!

4. The Book of Joy

I mentioned this in my What I’m Reading post for this month and thought I’d bring it up again. I really am enjoying this book because I think it’s exactly what I needed this month. Since I’m struggling a lot with not being miserable about where I am in life, I thought I’d try reading this because everyone loves His Holiness the Dalai Lama, right? Him and the Archbishop are world renowned spiritual leaders for a reason. It helps me to put things in perspective and take a step back and remember what it really means to be joyful.

5. Briogeo: Don’t Despair, Repair!

I’m not sure why I haven’t mentioned this before. I’ve been using it since August and have really been loving it. It makes my hair feel really soft and not like I tried to bleach my curly, ethnic hair more than once (cue my 9 million regretful thoughts). In combination with all my other hair care products, it’s been such a big help keeping my hair healthy as I journey to grow it out as far as I can.

6. Dark Nail Polish

No surprise here that I like dark nail polish for fall. But I’m really loving purple/berry color nail polish. It’s such a pretty and flattering color. I think it really looks great on every skin tone because there’s such a wide variety of dark berry pinks and plum purples. My favorites for this month are Bahama Mama by Essie and Maki Me Happy by Essie.

7. Blazers

For the fall, I just fell in love with blazers and denim. Remember what I said about smart casual? Here it’s coming into play again. It all makes sense now, right? Okay, so yes BLAZERS. I love to dress them down with jeans and a t-shirt but keep the look put together by adding in some ankle boots. I’m loving all kinds of blazers and really missing my employee discount from BCBG. They have the best blazers. Very chic and stylish, but still classic. I’m still exploring some brands, but I’ve been looking into what Revolve has to offer and I found this very cool corduroy blazer from BlankNYC. I’m also recently obsessed with &OtherStories so I’ve been looking there for nice blazers also. I’m heavily inspired by Arielle Charnas (of course, see bullet #1 for proof) and Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat.

8. Dallas, TX

I’ve been traveling quite a bit in September and October (and never took any photos because I’m a bad blogger). I went to Dallas for a weekend to go to a Cowboys game and I had such a great time. The atmosphere was just totally different from New York. There’s a real sense of pride in where you’re from with people in Texas. Everyone in Texas loves Texas and it makes it hard to not feel the same way. I felt so happy and comfortable and it was such a great experience. We ate some AMAZING brisket and had lots of beers and even got to try In n Out. I’m definitely looking forward to heading back there!

 

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

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Lifestyle

What I’m Reading: October 2018

This month started out feeling pretty unhappy for me. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but I think it was because I was stuck in a funk of not really knowing how I can move my life forward. Because it was such tough feeling to deal with and it was having major affects on other aspects of my life, I thought I would take some time to read a book about joy. I purchased The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu a few months ago but I just never got around to reading it until recently. It just felt like the right time. So today, I’m going to tell you how I feel about it.

I think this book is quite excellent. It looks at things from a different perspective than most books like this do which is extremely refreshing. It doesn’t take a religious stand point like you’d think it would. The Dalai Lama actually tells most of his stories and teachings based on the idea that we are all related to each other because we are human. We’re not black or white or Christian or Jewish or rich or poor. We’re just human and that’s why we’re all connected. It’s almost profound because the world in general (but especially the US) is obsessed with labeling and separating everyone into categories. But when you think about it, it’s absolutely true. We’re just humans and that’s all. It’s one of the best ways to look at things, but especially when it comes to kindness, generosity, and judgments.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop talk about mental health and how we deal with our emotions. They talk about building up “mental immunity” to the negatives in our lives. It’s basically how we recover from negativity in our lives. If we have strong mental health and high mental immunity, then when negative things happen, we can recover a lot quicker than if we struggle with our mental health. Mental immunity is like a muscle that needs to be trained and worked with every single day to get to a point where those negative thoughts and experiences don’t affect us so much. It’s just like healing from an addiction if you think about it. Sometimes the only way to get better is by working at it every single day for the rest of your life.

Another great point about this topic was that no one will ever completely block out every single negative thought. Sometimes there are situations that you have to just let the negatives be. You can sit and be upset about them and it’s not the end of the world. You get up and you try again tomorrow. The idea is that sometimes you can’t control those negatives, but you don’t have to beat yourself up about it. It’s okay and tomorrow is a new day.

The book goes on the discuss other emotions and how they are related to joy. They also discuss the 8 Pillars of Joy which are absolutely fantastic to read about. Overall, I think it’s an excellent book and I highly recommend it. It can be a lot of information that you need time to understand and digest, though. I found myself reading a chapter or a few paragraphs several times before I felt like I really understood it, but once you understand it it’s very insightful and puts things in perspective. I think if you’re feeling like you want a new perspective on joy and life in general, this would be a great read for you!

 

P.S keep up with me on instagram @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

My Thoughts on Limiting Beliefs

Please note: I’m not an expert on this topic, I only have my own personal opinions and experiences.

Trying to navigate my life in my early 20’s has felt a lot like learning to walk again. I’ve spent a lot of time fumbling around, falling down, and getting back up again just to realize I don’t really know what I’m doing. Eventually, I’ll learn to stand up on my own and then I’ll learn to take a few baby steps and walk until I’m back to being a fully functioning adult, but the in between time has led me to really think about why I’m struggling to learn how to navigate my adult life.

I can attribute most of the times I’ve fallen down to something called limiting beliefs. You can read all about limiting beliefs in just about every self help book on the market (or the planet tbh). Some are better than others, but they all talk about the same things. We all have thoughts and ideas in our heads about who we are, what we’re good at, what we’re not good at, and why. These thoughts aren’t necessarily right or wrong, but they do determine what we say and do, as well as how, when and why we say or do them. Our limiting beliefs are typically the thoughts that limit us (obviously) or keep us from doing progressive things. Sometimes they stop us from big things like quitting our job and starting a business even though we have a million dollar idea. Sometimes they stop us from little things, like reaching out to someone because we think we’re bothering them. Either way, they hold us back.

I think the first step to dealing with your limiting beliefs would be making yourself aware of them. You can’t change something if you don’t recognize that it’s an issue. I’ve found that this comes with spending time by yourself just letting your thoughts flow and seeing how you react to them. Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone because I’m going through a transitional period in my life and as tough as it is, it’s been really helpful. I’m much more aware of the beliefs I have about myself that keep me from moving forward in different aspects of my life: my relationships, my career, my future, my finances. I’m starting to be more aware of the negative thoughts that I have when I think about these things, such as “I’ll be alone forever now!”, “No one really wants to read my content anyway”, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this”, etc.

Once you know what your limiting beliefs are, then you can start working to adjust them or block them out. You should understand why you have those beliefs and what they stem from. Was it a traumatic experience? Abusive relationship? Divorce? It could be a number of things that distort your thoughts and cause you to think these things. Getting to the root of it and solving that will significantly help in reducing your limiting beliefs. Plus, once you are aware of your limiting beliefs and the thoughts that come with them, you have the chance to actually change them. If I were to start thinking, “I’m going to be alone forever and everyone hates me”, I know that I can stop myself and say “No, Karen, you won’t be alone forever. You’re alone right now because it was the right time for that to end and you needed to take time for yourself. When the time comes you’ll meet the right person.” It’s like giving myself a little pep talk.

One last thing that I’ve found has been really helpful in moving past my limiting beliefs is praying. I’m not very religious to be completely honest, but I personally have found that praying most nights right before bed to say thank you for what I have and ask for more guidance in certain areas of my life has made a major difference. In the last few months, I’ve seen a lot of changes happen and some are more difficult than others, but praying was always one thing that made me feel better and more secure about the future. Knowing that God has a plan for me, trusting in that, and sometimes asking for some extra help has made a world of difference.

Finally, one of the major players in moving past your limitings beliefs is being patient with yourself. These beliefs have been working at beating you down for a lot longer than you think. Months or even years. Just like a bad habit, you can’t change it over night. It takes constant work to remind yourself that those thoughts aren’t a reflection of who you really are. They are just your brain working against itself to keep you from taking steps into unfamiliar territory. It comes with time to break down those bad thought habits, but it’s not impossible if you keep at it. I work at it every single day and some days are definitely better than others, but when I look back at myself 6 months or a year ago, I can see a difference in who I am.

The millennial generation is extremely ambitious, very opinionated (or sensitive depending on who you ask), and very impatient which can be frustrating sometimes. We are constantly dealing with issues that stem from our limiting beliefs and an unbalanced society. We wish we were further ahead in life or more successful when in reality, we just started. I hope this was helpful to hear my personal thoughts about this topic, especially for young adults.

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

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