How to: Slay your Goals & Change your LIFE in 2018!

Hey babes! Welcome to 2018! I don’t know about you but I am very happy to see a new year. I just have a really amazing feeling that 2018 is going to top all previous years… I think that main reason I’m feeling so positive and good about the new year is because I have a PLAN. I know what I want, and when, and what my vehicle to get me there will be. I have a clear vision of how my life can change in 2018.
I have evolved so much as an individual, as a mom, as a wife, as a professional, since starting ‘Running with Strollers’, and I thank you for following on the journey. When I started the blog, I really wanted to write career/professional type posts, but at that time my career wasn’t inspiring me as much as I had hoped. I had just gotten pregnant and then had my son, so my focus shifted to everything #motherhood. I didn’t expect my perspectives, goals, dreams, LIFE to change as drastically as it did when becoming a mom. Everything I had come to believe about my aspirations, changed. I no longer wanted to drop my child off every day at daycare and sit at a desk to work on someone else’s dream. I had a strong desire to lead and inspire others outside of a 9-5. I needed FREEDOM, LIKE MINDED FRIENDS and EXTRA INCOME so that I could shift from a professional career to being a #girlboss entrepreneur on my own terms.

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Most of you know that I started a business venture in the beauty industry in March 2017 that has been very successful for my family and I. In December, I came home full time to work my business and be a Mom to my almost now 2 year old. This week, I did a training for my team of 50 women on “5 Tips to Slay your SeneBiz in the New Year”… but I realized that these tips are really applicable to anyone who wants to accomplish big goals this year. I decided that I’d turn my “show notes” into a general blog post for even those outside of my team to read.  I feel compelled and qualified to talk on this topic because I have watched my life change dramatically over the past 9 months. I truly feel if you can master and remember these 5 tips, the details will fall into place and you will always know what the next step towards accomplishing your dream will be. They are really the core of what I do every day, week, month, etc, to meet my goals. Without further ado – let’s get to some life changing realness…
#1 – You must determine WHAT you want, WHY you want it, and HOW you will get it. 
So you want to change your life – what do you want to change, why do you want it to change and what will your vehicle be to get you there? For my team training, we obviously know our vehicle but I always encourage them to dig deep and find their “WHY.” Why are they doing what they’re doing? What was the root cause for them to start a business, become an entrepreneur (#mompreneur as I like to call myself) or add something “extra” to their plate? There has to be a deeper reason than just wanting to sell products. For me, I have a strong desire for freedom from a full-time job, I want to have flexibility, I want to see my child more than 2 hours a day, and I want to give my family an extraordinary lifestyle. No matter how hard I worked at my job, I couldn’t achieve that. Once you determine what you want and why, you HAVE to keep that in front of you. Slaying your goals and dreams isn’t easy – it often takes hours of additional work, there will be people who judge you or question what you are doing, and you’re going to want to quit 2, 3 or 10 times throughout the year. I once heard a quote… “if people don’t understand what you’re doing, you may be on to something.” God sized dreams are never seen or understood by the average Joe. Keeping a WHY (that is stronger than any outside force trying to destroy those dreams) in front of you is absolutely necessary and is the first thing you must identify before achieving a dream.
#2 – Write Down your Goals and Keep them in front of you!
How are you going to hit your goals if you don’t know what they are or if you aren’t looking at them every.single.day? Your goals and dreams are 100% more likely to come true if they are physically written down. Your goal boards can be electronic, on paper, in the form of words or pictures, just get them physically down! I have a goals board in my kitchen that I update on the first of every month. No excuses. I see it every single day and I post it as the background as my phone. We look at our phones what, like, 573 times a day? Now I see what I’m working toward every time I hit that home button. It’s important to remember that just writing them down isn’t going to make them come true, you have to take action every single day (more on that later) but you are sooo soo much more inclined to take that action when they are written down. Just do it. And thank me later. In addition to my monthly vision board, I had my team create vision photos with their faces like this:

#3 – Daily Self Development
There is sooo so much negative in the world today. In the news, on social media, with family and friends – we must rid ourselves of that negativity ASAP. Don’t be afraid of the unfriend or unfollow button. If something you are seeing or consuming daily is shaking your confidence or belief in YOUR path, stop looking at it. Basically you have to stay in your own lane, or else you’ll get run over. I think that is a huge part of self development – knowing what is affecting you and either ridding it from your life, or taking more of it in, if it’s positive. Another way I like to work on self development is through podcasts, ebooks, articles, blogs (such as this 🙂 ) or finding a positivity friend (someone I know I can always contact and we can lift each other up.) Instead of turning on pop radio in the car and listening to songs you have heard a million times and probably don’t even like, turn on an inspirational podcast. Be willing to put so much good in your brain that there is no option but for the negative to be pushed out. Your thoughts are like a muscle, they must be exercised daily in order to get stronger. Your business or goals will not grow or improve if YOU aren’t willing to change. Becoming an entrepreneur, a #mompreneur, or extraordinary, does NOT happen overnight -we must learn from those who have gone before us and found success. Lastly, I like to find or stalk, I mean STUDY, people in my line of business that inspire me. I can then replicate (not copy) or apply what I feel is drawing myself to them, in my own business. I often think about WHY I joined the team I did in SeneGence and try to remember that often so that I can create that same type of feeling with my followers. Here are some podcasts I like that can all be found on itunes:
MLM Nation
The Goal Digger Podcast
The Skinny Confidential – Him & Her
Almost 30 Podcast
I am not great at reading but REALLY want to be – I will work on that in 2018 and hope to have a list of reading material for you all soon. Or you can leave your recos below!
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#4 Build Relationships and Tell your Story
In anything you want to accomplish in life, there’s a great chance you won’t be able to do it alone. You’ll need a network for a business, a goal, or a dream. You’ll need supporters, customers, followers, partners, employees, or encouragers. Whether your goal is to run a marathon or start a blog – you will need these people. My friend Kaitlyn of Essere Blog and Buzzed Bull Creamery is SO GOOD at doing this. She is a business owner, a wife, and a new blogger. She is constantly building her brand, telling her story, encouraging others, which I believe, attracts people towards her. I aspire to be more like her. Build relationships, tell your story, connect, and in turn you will make sincere friendships with others and find your “people” naturally. This can’t be a sometimes thing, this has to be a part of you – connecting with others needs to be a part of what you become great at. What you are putting on social media, or into the universe should be generally positive, honest, and things you care about that others can relate with. This helps to develop your “brand” which is an entirely different convo. Just know that you, are your brand, which is your business. It is all connected. We connect with people and why they’re doing what they are – not what they are selling.

#5 – Consistency ALWAYS Wins. Take Action Every Single Day.
Nothing you set out to accomplish can be a “when you feel like it” thing. Every day consistency will ALWAYS win. Although this is #5 on the list, I think it is the more important. You will see growth, change, and success where your thoughts and actions fall daily. Action inspires action – do you remember the theory from school, “a ball in motion stays in motion, a ball at rest, stays at rest?” It’s much harder to find motivation to take action when you haven’t in a few days, a week, or months. Once you get into the habit of taking action you will naturally want to stay in motion. Taking action yields results and eventually working towards your dream will become a part of your routine. You want to get to a spot where NOT taking action feels wrong, or makes you feel uneasy. Do at least one thing for your dream every.single.day.
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Bonus Tip: Don’t QUIT!
The only way to completely fail at something you have a WHY, a PLAN for, and that you WORK at consistently, is to give up. THE ONLY WAY. Sure, some dreams and ventures will be more successful than others, but the only way to find no success is to STOP. Don’t quit your dream, and it won’t quit you (a quote by Whitney Bray.) BOOM.
If you want to chat with me, please feel free to reach out to me on here, via email (kayla.greenstone@gmail.com), follow me on instagram, or facebook!
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Interested in a new opportunity with makeup and skincare? To join my team of badass boss babes, you can read about our January sign-up promo here or sign-up here with ID 330104.
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Personal Days and Ponchos (& why both are necessary!)

A personal day? What’s that?
If you are asking that question to yourself or thinking, “SERIOUSLY!” – hear me out! I’ve just recently discovered the single best #momhack #lifehack whatever you want to call it hack.
Early on after having Calvin and going back to work, a co-worker gave me the advice that I should schedule days off work to get personal things taken care of.. aka suggesting that I would have to plan ahead to be productive, a super foreign concept to me. I put this in the back of my mind up until now, as it seemed like a waste of a vacation day, or that it wouldn’t be worth setting aside work or emails for a full day.

It has been a busy and stressful summer & fall back at work, and I have slowly started to fall behind on “life.” So at the end of last week, I decided I needed a personal day – to keep both my physical and mental sanity!

My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

[Every vacation day for the past 18 months has been spent traveling (usually to and from holidays), which in itself can be extremely stressful and tiring. If we weren’t traveling, they were spent at home in Cincinnati staying at others’ homes and juggling how we can maximize time with every loved one we want to see and while in town.]
This was not the personal day where I sleep in until 10am, slowly enjoy my coffee cuddled on the couch with a nice book and then make my way to the salon for a day of pampering.  It was time – this mama needed a day to herself to just get. shit. done.

I never thought I would be the Mom that was off work and still taking her child to daycare, but I can now put myself in that category. It is almost impossible to get anything done when taking care of an 8 month old at home, so off to daycare Calvin went. Because my personal time is so valuable, I did not feel bad… he did get to go late and was picked up early. Either way, Calvin loves daycare (thinking of writing a post on daycare pros & cons) so it was just another chance for him to play with his “friends.” 🙂
I honestly can barely even believe I was so productive. I felt “free” and was able to check so many things off of my to-do that would’ve otherwise eaten into my entire weekend or taken a lot longer than 1 day to accomplish.
Some ideas for fully utilizing a personal day:
Drink your coffee out of a normal mug as opposed to a travel mug (it’s the little things)
Clean/pick-up your home
Laundry
Work on your side hustle
Go to a work-out class
Grocery shop/buy items for a new recipe
Go to brunch or lunch with a friend
Shower and actually get ready
Spend extra time with your child in the morning and afternoon
*I may or may not have been able to do all of these things and more*
If you are a busy mom, or hard working professional and feeling overwhelmed with work, life and responsibilities, I suggest putting some time aside for yourself. Even if ‘personal time’ means you are checking things off your list that involve others – if it’ll make you feel better to accomplish these things that you know need done asap, it’s time.
As a mom, you likely schedule everyone else’s lives around you – what about scheduling some time of your own?

So – my top 3 reasons you should take some time for a personal day – 1) get a bunch of shit done in one focused day 2) revive your mental sanity and 3) you deserve it!


OUTFIT INSPO:

Boots (similar)

Dress

Necklace

The poncho I’m wearing in these photos is almost like a blanket, super big and warm. It’s from marshals, or maybe TJ Maxx last year and LITERALLY doesn’t have a brand on the tag. (You can probably tell by now that I’m not a big brand snob – I buy what I like, don’t care where it’s from or what the brand is.) I also swore by ponchos when I was pregnant and they are actually what inspired my very first post.  They are probably my favorite cold weather accessory and I’m so glad it’s finally chilly enough to pull them out! Here are some of my other favorites for you to choose from:

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Image of Steve Madden Faux Leather Trimmed Zip Poncho

Image of Accessory Street Marled Knit Border Ruana

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Product Image, click to zoom

Tasseled Poncho

Fringed Plaid Poncho

Primary Image of Reversible Cape

Here’s to my two favorite things at the moment: personal days & ponchos! How do you feel about either? What is your plan of attack for completing “life” tasks and not getting overwhelmed? Any hacks I should know about?
Talk soon!

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My Summer Post Recap: All things Baby, Back to Work, Engagement, Re-branding & Travels!

It’s been a summer for the books! So much growing, traveling, fun & so many firsts in our life! As I was rounding these up, I went back to re-read some of my posts – I need to take some of my OWN advice and remember why I wrote the things that I did.
The post that hit me the hardest was “The 5th Trimester: Learning to Balance Time & Give yourself a Break.” This post is very near and dear to my heart – definitely the most honest words I’ve written to date. If you are a working mom, or will be…check it out!
The most exciting thing that happened personally this summer, is that Craig and I got engaged! We are so official now!
The most exciting thing that happened blog wise, is that I re-branded from “Kayla Marie” to “Running with Strollers.” I finally found my niche and can’t wait to keep writing & bring great content to all my readers!
Here is a recap of this summer’s posts. I have re-linked for easy reading if you may have missed one in the craziness that summer can bring 🙂
Calvin Turns 4 Months + The challenges & rewards during this time 
Back to Work! + My Working Mommy Essentials
The 5th Trimester: Learning to Give Yourself A Break
*My favorite & most honest post of the Summer <3*
My Favorite Way to Order Prescription Glasses + Pics of this Baby Bear!
4th of July Inspired Family Photos
We got engaged! + Our Favorite Vacation Photos 
Calvin turns 5 Months + How Having a Baby Changes Your Priorities
Our Day Trip to NYC + Getting Out of your Comfort Zone 
Mom goes to Nashville + Increasing Your Happiness + How to wear Shorts & Boots
*Blog Re-Brand!!*
Flying with an Infant + Travel Necessities! 
Calvin turns 6 Months + Remembering to Live in the Moment 
Calvin Tries the MamaRoo!
Shirt Dresses: Perfect for the Transition to Fall
Here’s to a new season, more firsts, and finishing out 2016 strong.
So much love for all of you! ❤

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How often do you get out of your Comfort Zone? + Baby’s Big Day in the City

Hello hello – the first day back from Labor Day weekend! It was a super fun 4 day weekend for me so today was a BIT of struggle city getting back into it!
I don’t think it’s a secret that the past 18 months of my life have been a bit crazy – relocating for the first time away from all friends & family, taking on a new leadership role with increased responsibilities, finding out we were pregnant, moving apartments 3 times, making all new friends, having Calvin, getting engaged, and the list goes on! Yada, yada, you guys have heard it all. That is so much to fit into 18 months and people have often looked at me like I’m crazy or asked me how this is possible.  NOT that I think i’m the expert on any topic, as most of the time I’m writing about something when experiencing it for the first time. I also DON’T think others haven’t gone through crazier changes or experiences in even shorter time frames or that I’m special!
BUT the past 18 months are what have inspired me to write -the challenges and rewards are what inspired me to continue on this blogging journey and allowed me to discover something I love to do.
But why do I keep talking about this? Why do I say the back half of my twenties has been a ‘life changing’ time?
It has all been done completely out of my comfort zone.
None of it this has been comfortable – it has stretched me (both mentally and physically, ha) but all of it is preparing us for our growth, success and new opportunities in the future. I sound so responsible! But for real – Nothing rewarding I have ever accomplished has been done in comfort.
I didn’t WANT to relocate initially but I knew I needed a change and to challenge myself professionally.
I didn’t WANT to move apartments after only 6 months in the other one, but we needed more space.
I didn’t WANT to live away from family when we started our family, but we stuck to the decision we committed to, and have made it work very well for us.
Even going back to college, I didn’t WANT to practice with my dance team 16+ hours a week, but I wanted to be on a team where I could win a world championship more than anything else in my life. *humble brag moment*
Sometimes the right thing isn’t the most fun (initially.) If you want the outcome more than you don’t want to feel uncomfortable, it will be worth it.
I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone more recently than I even care to admit, but making the best of the situation, overcoming, and moving forward, I think, is where you start to see rewards and new opportunities. People may look at you like your crazy but if you have a feeling deep down that what you’re doing is right, you have to try.
I guess my question to you is, are you consistently finding ways to stretch yourself or do you stay with what is familiar? Are you unhappy in some aspect of your life but you keep doing the same thing every day? What have you been wanting to do but are too afraid of what others think?
Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be moving across the country – it can be sending that email or setting up that meeting at work that you’ve been putting off. It could be finally introducing yourself to another Mom you’ve been wanting to connect with in your “circle” of acquaintances. It could be going to an event that takes a hell of a lot more effort to attend than to sit at home on your couch eating chipotle.
What can you do this week to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow a bit? Seriously, I want to hear the “scariest” thing you’ve done recently! Let me know below!

One thing that we’ve made sure to do is to keep living our lives and truly incorporate Calvin into the things we enjoy doing. I’ve learned that having a baby doesn’t mean you no longer have a life – yes things are more difficult, and there are certain things you can’t do, but remembering you CAN still do things is key.
Since he was born, we have never shied away from taking him places – to restaurants, parks, the beach, friends houses, the city.
Earlier this summer my sister and brother in law let us know that they’d be coming into NYC in August and asked if we would be able to meet them for the day. We live in NJ – about an hour outside of the city, a 75 min train ride on the NJ transit. For anyone who has been to NYC, you know it is a different world – overwhelming, mesmerizing, full of opportunity. Before we got pregnant we went into the city a few times, always leaving exhausted but feeling grateful that we live so close to such a buzzing atmosphere. The east coast is no joke – it is fast paced and you can get lost in the shuffle easily.
When given the opportunity to take our 6 month old baby into the city with us, we could have easily said no or come up with a million excuses to why it isn’t safe, he’s too young, or that it’ll be too hectic. We knew it all of these things could be true in some capacity, but we were excited for the challenge and adventure of the day trip with Calvin. Plus, if we can take the babe into NYC and explore, we may just be able to take him anywhere!
It turned out to be the best day – even with an unexpected torrential downpour and we can’t wait to take him again.
Here are some of our fam pics from the trip!
^Cal’s first train ride
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^view from the Boathouse in Central Park^reppin’ the Bengals in NYC^central park

I hope you all have an amazing week and start to your September!!

Talk soon,

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Increasing Happiness: How you Think about Current Life Situations & Apply a Shift (+ boots & shorts style inspo)

Happy Weekend!!! We are in NJ again this weekend, pretty much in chill-ax mode before we are traveling again next week!
Can I be transparent and say that pretty much everything about the past 3 months has been challenging and life changing? It has forced me to be intentional with my thoughts and seek out information that will allow me to grow instead of shrink down into the pit of #stress.
I had a conversation recently with a co-worker and they were asking me what I wanted and made the comment that they wanted me to “be happy.” It was interesting to stop and think about this – because I haven’t actually thought about me, my goals, my future… in a very long time. I am constantly thinking about what will make Calvin happy, what will make my family happy, what will make my co-workers/team members happy, what will make my clients @work happy. Although it’s true that if all of those individuals are happy, so am I, but I also got to thinking about what makes ME happy and how can I have more of that in my life?
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Sometimes it’s the little things, right? Like a cup of coffee in the morning, getting an extra hr of sleep on the weekend, a new lipstick shade, or the feeling when you can tell fall is on its way.
But most of the time in the midst of busy days, weeks, long days and long nights, true happiness takes effort and a commitment to saying, “I’m going to remain positive, no matter what is thrown my way today.” Unfortunately, it does take effort to count your blessings and remember how amazing your life truly is. The realization of this comes from the self-awareness of NOT remaining as positive as I could when challenges or tough situations have come my way in the past.
I also recently listened to a podcast and it was talking about and listing activities that are PROVEN to increase happiness on one’s life. Some examples were silently meditating, journaling each night, committing to 5 random acts of kindness each week, and taking brisk walks 3x a week. While I’m sure these are proven to increase happiness, I couldn’t really relate. Can you imagine me silently meditating each morning in addition to feeding & changing another human being, getting myself ready and commuting to work all before 830am? As a super busy working mom, I’m not in a spot where I can ADD things to my life. Yes I want to achieve ultimate happiness and overcome stress, but I feel like there’s things I’m already doing, that when viewed with a different mindset, could really change my outlook on love, life, and happiness.

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These are some every day realities that could (and often do) weigh on me and prevent me from feeling fully accomplished, fulfilled, and happy. When I change my mindset and develop a PMA (positive mental attitude) these situations are suddenly a blessing instead of a burden:
Situation: Spending weekdays at work, while others get to stay at home with their babes
Shift: You are a strong, hard working, ambitious mom who gets to go to a great job and make money for her family. This job allows you to give your family things and do things together you might not be able to without your income. Your family will look up to you for the things you have accomplished professionally and the success you were able to achieve while balancing both.
You have a long commute
This is YOUR time – time to think, fill your brain with positive info via podcasts or listen to music. Take a deep breath, think your thoughts, and enjoy your cup up coffee the whole way there.
Situation: You’re freaking tired
Solution: Stop and get that damn iced latte if you want it. You deserve it. DUH.
Situation: You don’t have enough time to workout so you’re feeling down on yourself and your body image
Solution: I can’t say we’ll ever have more time, but I’ve been told that if you have a small baby, don’t fret on this. This stage of your life is so quick and fleeting, enjoy it spending time doing what needs to be done (dishes, dinner, baby cuddles, breastfeeding, etc.) Another thing I’ve thought about on this topic…if you don’t have time to workout, you DO have time to eat and drink water (or else you wouldn’t be alive), so make some healthy swaps and it could take some of the stress off of fitting exercise in your schedule.
 Situation: You’re worried about your quality time with your significant other 
Solution: Even being aware of this is key! Keep it top of mind and talk about how you can solve for it. It could be as simple as making sure you eat dinner together, talking about your day each night, or committing to going to bed at the same time each night.
Have you thought lately about what makes you happy? What are your “situations” and “solutions?” How do you view happiness and make sure you are intentional with your thoughts? Any ideas or recos!? Seriously need to hear 🙂

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 *Shop my look*
Black Fringe Boots 
Black MK Watch
White Shorts
Flannel Shirt
Choker
Tank – Similar
More boots/shorts inspo: for when you still want to summer (shorts) but you’re ready for fall (boots!) Love this trend.
Have a great weekend, all!!

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Motherhood & Guilt: How to Stop Comparing & Feel like a Badass

I recently read an article on Women & Guilt, and I can’t stop thinking about it – so you know I had to talk about it here. This blog is suddenly a catch-all for my thoughts – thoughts I think all 20-somethings, new moms, or young women have probably felt at some point. I was actually going to wait until I had the *perfect* images to go along with this post, but wanted to get it published before the start of another week.
 This particular article titled, “Why Women Need to Stop Feeling Guilty About Literally Everything” on Elite Daily, had a bit more substance than most of the articles I’ve read on the site. (Side note: I contribute for Elite Daily but usually have to simplify or make my posts more generic to get them picked up. They are sometimes a ‘dumbed down’ version of what I would post here and the titles are chosen by E.D.) This particular article begins to describe how most women feel guilt in their daily lives, whether you’ve had a child or not…but even more so after they’ve given birth as there is now another human in the picture.
 The problem with the article is that it doesn’t actually talk about WHY we feel the guilt or HOW we can stop feeling this way. It just talks about the issue – yes awareness helps issues, but it doesn’t solve them.

I hadn’t labeled some of my newly found anxiety as “guilt” until I read this – I realized in the past 12 weeks I have felt guilt for some of, but not limited to, the following reasons:
Putting Calvin down for periods of time during the day (Should be holding him or interacting 24/7 instead of trying to get things done? I only have one maternity leave.)
Waking up Craig in the night to help with diapers or rocking back to sleep (I wouldn’t want both of us to feel tired tomorrow.)
Eating a piece of cheesecake at 10pm on a weekday (I’m supposed to be watching what I eat.)
Signing Calvin up for daycare (Will he forget me? Will he have a worse childhood for me not staying home? Which isn’t an option BTW.)
Taking 14.5 weeks of maternity leave instead of the 12 my company expects (Even though most Moms can, and do, take 18 full weeks in my state.)
Missing a company leadership retreat during this time (It was a 3-4 day trip to New Orleans.)
Not living near family (They can only see Calvin during designated and planned times this first year.)
Meeting friends in NYC for several hours on a Sat (Should I never do anything fun independently again?)
Writing this blog post while Calvin watches in his swing (Literally, feeling guilty while I’m writing a post about feeling guilty.)
Leaving a mess everywhere (Dishes in the sink, clothes covering the whole floor, stuff all over the bathroom sink, breast pump parts all over the kitchen counter.)
Being a jerk and making Craig get us coffee one Sunday (His spilled on the way home and he didn’t even get to have any.) 
Only 12 weeks into motherhood and I literally feel bad about everything or am constantly apologizing – in other words, HELLO GUILT.


I think talking about this issue of guilt – how, why, and what we can do, can help some of us to find peace in everything we are trying to accomplish. Your priorities are different than mine and mine are different than yours, yet we still compare and feel a sense of failure when we can’t accomplish the same thing that Suzy Home-Maker, Business Betty, or Workout Barbie accomplished yesterday.

WHY do we feel guilt?

There’s this image that is portrayed in which women/mothers are supposed to have and do it all: contribute financially for the family, take care of both the children and husband, spend quality time with family and friends, cook healthy and well balanced meals daily, remember everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, & special events, exercise and maintain a healthy body image, etc etc etc. The list seriously goes on and if we can’t give 100% in all of those areas (which we, as humans, physically cannot) a sense of failure or guilt beings to creep in. These are the biggest areas I can think of, but then we are hit daily with the small things that cause us to feel bad as well. We take on too much. So basically we are always feeling bad about something.
I believe this sense of guilt is heightened by the rise of social media – a topic I’ve discussed before but is becoming an increasing issue. Even the most popular social media ‘stars’ will tell you that it is not reality. Fitness guru and big name brand with 5 million followers, Kayla Itsines, recently posted on Instagram stating, “On my account, I’ll tell you now, you don’t see a lot of things. Not because I don’t want to show you, but because I cannot physically take a photo of them…the 5am wakeups, the late nights, the constant bullying, the lack of support from friends.” Basically, you can’t always show the tough moments in photos.
I post a ton of smiling, happy, feel good pictures with my family because these are the good moments, right? You don’t see the 4am feedings where I’m so tired I want to gouge my eyes out, the screaming fits he throws when he won’t nap, the afternoons when I pace around the apartment for up to an hour before going to the gym because I’m exhausted and procrastinating from making myself go, the weekend I had mastitis with a fever of 102 and was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed, when I had such a bad cold on Mother’s Day, I could barely taste my lunch. The list goes on. So never look at social media and think that someone has it all – because they are just doing the best they can like the rest of us. I promise everyone has their own struggles/complicated story.

HOW can we eliminate some guilt?

I don’t have the magic answer for this but I am going to share with you all an idea on how we can begin to stop the comparison and feel great about what we have accomplished, opposed to feeling bad about what we didn’t. 
Set nothing in stone. Our priorities will change daily, weekly, monthly, forever. But for the purpose of this, let’s talk weekly priorities. I’m also not going to say, “write this shit down” because then it’s just adding to the list of things you have to do. You’re a woman, you can likely keep 5 billion thoughts in your brain, effortlessly. 
Each week, say Sundays, just think about what is most important to YOU for that week (outside of the given ‘go to work’ or ‘take care of children.’) IF you feel so inclined, or already write in a journal, or already make lists – feel free to jot them down. Maybe they are (1) cook a healthy family dinner 3 nights, (2) get to the gym twice, and (3) spend 30 minutes of quality time talking with my husband each night before bed. You’re going to do a million other things in this week as well, but these 3 are the most important to your well-being, this week. By mentally separating these things, or writing them down, you’ve now organized your priorities. Think about them often, or keep the list in front of you. Feel great when you accomplish these 3 things that you’ve deemed as most important, instead of feeling guilty about the 10 other somethings you may not have gotten to. You’re now focusing your mind on what’s important to you & what you accomplished. Life is a big mind game, anyways – the body will often follow what you focus on and think about consistently.
My 3 for this week, would probably be (1) Pick-up & clean the apartment in its entirety – it’s getting bad, (2) Make a dinner at home with the groceries I just bought, as opposed to going out and (3) tackle the tasks I already have planned relating to this blog. If I can do those 3 things I will feel accomplished.
You guys, this is not tried and true, it’s just an idea I have. Who wants to try this with me and feel badass about what we can accomplish this week?

Let us remember how awesome we are as individuals, give ourselves credit for just being us, and know how lucky we are to be surrounded by the loved ones in our lives.
❤ Kayla

Original referenced article here.

Achieving Body after Baby: 4 Ways to Mentally Prepare

I think I have referenced the #4thtrimester in more than one post – and let me tell you, it’s no joke. What an awesome, yet strange time for Moms everywhere, both physically and mentally! Not only are you trying to learn how to take care of a tiny baby, but you are trying to feel good in your own skin and stay sane at the same time. I think that this is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT – feeling good about yourself. I can’t do anything when I feel bad about myself. I feel sluggish, lazy, and unmotivated. I am a better Mom when I re-charge with physical fitness.
I’m just starting to get into that #fitmom life post baby. To be completely transparent – I lost ~70% of the weight I gained right away (within 2 weeks) of having Calvin. And from 2 weeks until now (9 weeks) post-partum have literally not lost one more lb. I’m not really concentrating on the scale or cutting calories as I can’t risk affecting milk supply, but I did think those numbers were interesting. I thought it would be more gradual and continual over the course of several months. It reminds me how everyone’s bodies are so different. I can already tell it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and even more patience to get back to where I started.
Outside of the physical challenges, I’m trying to mentally prepare, in order to set myself up for success. Although I’m no expert, I want to publicly talk through my thought process in hopes it helps out even one other mom to know she’s not alone, and to know “you’ve got this.” You can go through the motions all day, but the ongoing mental prep is the hardest part.

I’ve been physically active my whole life – I danced for 2o years, have run 4 half marathons, tried every fitness class in the book, started a corporate fitness bootcamp called @sweat_suits, kept up with my high intensity workouts until 20 weeks pregnant, and just generally enjoy working out. Actually, I just enjoy the benefits of working out and being active. The 2nd half of my pregnancy (20 weeks) plus the recovery time after (6 weeks) is the longest I have probably ever gone with so little activity – so you can see why I’m longing to get back into my old habits…the good ones of course 🙂 Here is what I’m trying to do to get back into the routine. These tips are great for anyone wanting to start a physical fitness routine, definitely not limited to someone who has just had a baby:

Start Slow

I’m more of a 0–>100 (real quick) type of person. Kind of like Calvin when he’s hungry. If I get something in my head I have to do it right then, all the way, no excuses. I once ran a half marathon, rested for weeks, and then decided I need to get back into it, so I ran 5 miles of hills at once. I paid for that one later. I’ve done multiple stupid things like that. So this time I’m starting slow. For example, I’ve had to start with slow walking lunges before I can get back into jumping lunges, and I am walking before I begin to run. If I am too sore or tired to take care of my babe, it defeats the purpose of exercising in the first place. If you’re too sore to work out the rest of the week, it also defeats the purpose.

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Set Realistic Goals and Intentions

This one is huge. I’ve seen so many friends decide to start exercising and set goals like, “I’m going to go to the gym every day!” or “I’m going to give up carbs completely starting tomorrow.” No you aren’t. You are setting yourself up for failure, in the nicest way possible. Start with a few days a week, and make them days you are actually likely to go. For example, don’t say every week day if you know you aren’t replacing HH (happy hour) on Friday for the gym, or if the only thing you want to do on Fridays is get home to your family (don’t we all?) I always do a mix of strength training and cardio on days I go to the gym, but I’m setting a goal of doing this 4 out of 7 days/week, doing outdoor stroller walks or a home workout on the other days… with the intention of re-gaining strength, stamina, and increasing my energy levels throughout the day. I’m being realistic in the sense that I cannot go to the gym every day, with a baby. I’m also not being TOO specific as I want this to be a part of my life long term, not consume it and set myself up to give up. I will re-set my goals and intentions after maternity leave when my schedule changes, in order to stay realistic. img_2308-1 
Don’t Compare

Ah, the old “everyone looks better or cooler than me on social media” game. It’s really easy to compare yourself to people on Instagram who likely only post the best or professional photos of themselves. That’s what Instagram is…a place to share your favorite photos. But it’s not necessarily reality. It’s also easy to compare to people you know, who might be going through the same things as you. Instead of comparing, we should use this as inspiration, create a community, and support one another, especially as new Moms.

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Learning to Love the Process

And what a process it is. It’s going to take time, dedication, and patience to start seeing and feeling changes. Learn to mentally love this process of bettering yourself physically. If you know your family and overall quality of life will improve if you commit to your goals and feel good about yourself, what is there to lose? I’m learning to love the process by knowing I’m doing the best I can, as often as I can. A short or small amount of exercise is better than no exercise. My body will likely never be the same again and I’m honestly okay with that. My body is now responsible for another. Changes on the inside result in changes on the outside, and what a life changing 2 months it’s been.  



Here’s to committing fully, reaching your goals, comparing only to the person in the mirror, and learning to love yourself all over again. Who’s with me?

❤ Kayla


Shop this gym look:

Jacket – Lululemon (similar)

Shoes – Nike (similar)

Leggings – Old Navy

 

Looking Toward your Amazing Future

I told myself I was going to hold off on any new posts until the baby was here, but ever since I started this “hobby” of blogging, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing, posting, and being able to connect with so many of you through the process that I just couldn’t wait. I figured I’d give both a personal update and talk about the idea of looking toward the future with optimism in our lives.

I definitely thought my next post (this one) would be the announcement of our little guy – turns out he’s keeping everyone on their toes as we are now almost a week past original due date! This is super common for the first born, but we got our hopes up when one of my midwives said he’d be likely here by the end of the first week in Feb! I’m pretty sure my parents’ car has been packed for a full 2 weeks. There’s finally a light at the end of the preggo tunnel as we’ve scheduled induction for Thursday, 2/18 at 7am (watch him come tomorrow.) We had an appointment yesterday that ended up taking about 1.5 hrs and I’m pretty sure baby was visibly moving for all 90 minutes we were there…it was pretty cute.


The idea of being induced is so weird to me and something that didn’t cross my mind until yesterday, as I’ve basically been told he would be early the entire pregnancy. When it’s a surprise you have no choice but to accept that labor is starting – now that’s it’s planned I’ve gone from being frustrated it hasn’t happened, to excited we have the final date in which our lives will change forever.

As we’re about to enter one of the most exciting times of our lives, I can’t help but look to the future and all that it holds. I think having something to look forward to in life is the key to moving ahead with certainty and making each day the best you possibly can. Right now my “something to look forward to” just happens to be an extremely life changing event. I’m not naive to the fact that there are a lot of tough challenges ahead, just as there has been in the past – I am just choosing optimism and prioritizing what I want to focus on.

“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin

Being optimistic and hopeful for the future can be something as small as treating yourself to Starbucks on a rough Monday morning, or after a tough workout, or planning that vacation that you just can’t wait for. I’ll share both some small and large milestones that I’m excited for and if you’re feeling the winter blues, or “blah” in your daily routine, it’s time to reflect on your own milestones and future. What are you optimistic about for tomorrow, next week, or even next year? What can you focus on to take on each day with positivity? All of our futures are bright, we just have to find what inspires us to move forward.

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Meeting our Son & Seeing the Joy he will bring to our Loved Ones

Not only will this be super monumental for Craig and I – but I am just as excited for our families and friends to see and meet him. I didn’t realize how excited everyone gets about babies until we had one on the way. Never again will it just be the two of us – we will be going everywhere as a family. Here is a photo of a very excited set of grandparents:

Those Post-Workout Endorphins 

After working out or exercising almost every day for 20 years and then suddenly becoming limited in what I can do physically (for the past 4 months), I’ve definitely had the urge for that post-working feeling. You know what I’m talking about – feeling healthy and good about yourself leads to so much productivity in so many other areas of your life. I can’t wait to run, do jump squats, or bicycles – I also can’t wait to post some of the past workouts I’ve created, the new workouts I’ll be creating, and to stop talking about McDonalds & Cookies 🙂

 

*PS- does carrying a baby in my belly give me unlimited approval of selfies? Cuz I’ve been doing way too much of it lately*

A Nice Glass of Merlot 

I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. I really just want to enjoy a large glass of red wine, even if it is from my couch in comfies, while watching Netflix.

 

Visits from Friends & Family

Many of my friends and family have not made it out to the East Coast for a visit just yet, but there are several scheduled for this spring and I just can’t wait. I don’t even care if they’re just coming to see Baby C…what a way to lure them in.

Professional Growth

This one is super on-going and likely won’t be a huge focus again until May. I’m just really feeling like I’ve been given great opportunities in my professional career to date – I enjoy my company, my co-workers, my team, leading them, and seeing all of us grow together. For every ounce of professional growth I’ve experienced, I have felt the personal growth, ten fold. Receiving great opportunities into your life takes commitment, sacrifice, and a lot of hard work…they do not happen by chance.

Family Travels

We have several trips planned for the rest of this year and I can’t wait to experience them as a family. I know that traveling with a baby is going to be much different, but I’m willing to learn how to do this best through on-going experience.

   The Growth of “Kayla Marie”

Putting myself out there and writing is all very new to me – and blogging has a much higher learning curve than one would think. I’m excited to grow this site, my personal brand, take part in some brand and individual collaborations, and give my readers some entertainment & inspiration from time to time. I’m not going to lie, the 4 adjectives that describe my blog have been constantly changing as I am continually discovering what this blog will actually become.

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 I encourage you to think about, get a notebook, and then physically write down what you may be looking toward, working toward, or moving toward in either the near or far future in your life. What keeps you going? I’m really interested to see what you all have planned for the upcoming year – comment below and let me know!

Love you all!

❤ Kayla

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Motivation Monday : Mentally Curing the Holiday Hangover 

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday with family and friends, and that you were able to have at least a few days away from the office, hospital, school, or wherever you typically spend your 40+ hrs/week. It’s the Monday post-Christmas (yawn) and if you’re anything like me I think we all need an extra boost or motivation to get back at it. Christmas is like the ultimate “what now?” holiday. It takes weeks of preparation, and months, if you’re really planning ahead. Then it’s all over so quick and we have to face the realization of how many cookies we ate, and how much we spent on all of those gifts. Also, I’m realizing how much I talk about cookies on this blog – I promise to stop after February.

I have always loved reading, posting, and getting inspiration from quotes that I’ve found online or in books. This ‘ish is 99% mental, so feed your brain accordingly. I was actually searching for quotes on my own earlier this month for a bit of a pick-me-up and decided to compile some of my favorites here and share with you all! No matter who you are, life can get crazy and a few words can remind you it’s okay, or that you’re not the only one in the world that has felt the way you have or do at this moment. There’s really no theme to these, just good ‘ole “life” quotes that at least one of you will hopefully be able to relate with.

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I’m interested to hear where you all pull your inspiration from — any good books or sites I should know about? Which is your fave quote from this list? My grandpa gave me a simple printout this weekend titled “some good thoughts” that he keeps with him, which was so sweet. Maybe you have a person that inspires you most?!

We have been in Cincy with family since last Wednesday and will be here for a few more days. This will be our last visit home for a bit, and once we head back, we have about one month – 6 weeks left before this babe enters the world. In terms of preparation, it’s go time!

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Wishing you all a great week as we head towards 2016!

❤ Kayla