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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Fashion

February 2019 Favorites

For February, since it’s Fashion Month, I have a heck ton of fashion favorites for you. There was a lot going on with the various fashion weeks and so I definitely want to share a few of my most practical favorites from those. I also want to share a few lifestyle changes that I’m really liking this month too!

1. Monochromatic Outfits

Don’t even get me started on this one. This is my absolute FAVORITE thing I saw during NYFW. It was prevalent on the runways of course, but it was much more prevalent in the street style and that’s where I like to pull most of my inspiration from. I was absolutely melting over the bright/colored monochromatic looks. No one has ever made me want to wear a full green outfit until I saw Maria Bernad (@maria_bernad) wear multiple all green outfits. Another favorite has been monochromatic purple/lilac/lavender and monochromatic shades of blue! OBSESSED.

2. Colorblocking

Similar to a monochromatic outfit, I also love colorblocking my outfits. I saw this all over NYFW also and was obsessed. Some of my favorite looks involved red and blue and pink and green! It’s especially cool to mix colors that are opposite on the color wheel. I’m going to keep this up for a few months for sure because it’s so pretty and springy and I just need spring!!

3. Spring Colors

Give me all the pink and green and purple and orange! I am going way overboard these days with wearing bright colors because I’m trying to will spring into existence. The weather has been such a tease (except for the snow earlier this month) and so I’m just hoping spring is on it’s way soon! I love bright green and purple right now but I’m really loving all the bright colors. I especially love to wear a bright color sweater with jeans and matching heels for work or going out at night. It’s such a pretty way to style the bright colors before it’s actually nice outside.

4. No Shopping Month

It’s been very interesting to see how I feel now that it’s about halfway done with my no shopping month. I sort of feel like I’m cheating because I started it at a time where I really didn’t need anything. I also noticed that I’m thinking of all the things I want to buy afterwards which is probably good for motivation but bad for habit building. We’ll have to just wait and see what happens I guess!

5. Going to the gym early

About halfway through the month, I started going to the gym in the morning before work instead of late at night after work. I was feeling really unmotivated and bored with the gym so I thought I might try going in the morning to get a change of scenery. So far, I really like how I feel in the morning after a good work out and it’s nice having an excuse to go to bed early, but it’s a tough transition into this routine. When my alarm goes off at 6:00 AM, I can promise you it takes everything in me not to go back to bed. But it’s definitely worth it to have my evenings free and keep my routine consistent every day.

6. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

This was actually my book of the month for February because I wanted to try reading a different genre and my boyfriend gifted it to me last month so it was only fitting to read it now. To be honest, this book is a pretty scary in some parts that I actually had trouble sleeping after reading it! The stance it takes on God and religion and how humans relate to it is also really interesting and had me nodding my head in agreement most of the time. I loved the way this book was written also which probably stems from the fact that it’s not a self help book! I also can’t wait to watch the movie now that I’m done with the book.

7. Cocu Social

Earlier this month, my boyfriend and I decided to try a cooking class that we found through Cocu Social. It was a Ravioli making class in Manhattan and we were very impressed with it overall. The instructor was really personable and made the process very easy for us to understand. The recipes were really simple (about 2-5 ingredients for the dough, filling and sauce) and they were just delicious. It was also nice that it took place in the lounge area of a hotel, so we had access to the bar during the class for wine or other drinks. Overall, it was such a great class and we are already thinking about which one we want to try next!

8. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

I started using this foundation earlier this month and so far I really like it. I love the way it makes my skin look. It’s definitely a medium to full coverage and it’s buildable but still light. I’m still trying to figure out what primer to use with it to make sure it lasts as long as possible because my skin gets oily, but it lasts a good amount of time. I also really love the concealer! I’m really surprised because I thought I’d never stray from my Nars Creamy Concealer. I also thought it would be similar to the Tarte Shape Tape which I do not like at all so I was pleasantly surprised.

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

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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