Weekly Whirlwind

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Woah hey there, it’s already Wednesday! Apologizes for the lack of posts, I’ll give a more in depth break down to what I’ve been up to in a hot second, but basically I had a quick but rough case of the “Corbin Fever.” Corbin is the name of the residence hall (fun fact: KU doesn’t believe in the term “dorm” and I think it is kinda funny. They encourage our usage of the term “residence hall”)  and it is, generously, very old. Old as in they’re knocking it down to do renovations next year old. Old as in there is A LOT of dirt and grime and getting sick is more of a hobby than a rare occurrence. Starting around 5:30 am on Saturday, I was down for the count and literally did not leave my bed all weekend. Thank goodness for the JCrew website and Gossip Girl to keep me sane. Thankfully I am feeling almost fully better and have been trekking it to all my classes this week!

Speaking of classes…haha welcome to midterms!! I actually only have one real midterm exam this semester but have plenty of projects and Spring Break assignments to make up for that. I don’t mind the assignments keeping me busy, but I am more than ready for a nice break back home.

BEFORE I got sick, my cousin Sam got to come down and hang with me last Thursday! I actually only have one class on Thursday and it ended up getting cancelled which gave us an entire day to just explore campus and downtown. It was 70 degrees, sunny, and the best day. We ate lunch at my sorority, got homemade waffle cones at Sylas and Maddy’s: the best local ice cream stop, got fries and limeade at my favorite pizza place, and got some delish Chinese for dinner. Between all that food, we napped a bit and did a bit of shopping which was SO fun. Lawrence may be a huge college town, but downtown for sure has such a charming and fun personality to just walk and explore.

I am on the membership programming (sisterhood) committee at Alpha Chi and we have been meeting and discussing so many fun events for the spring such as Mom’s Weekend, Finals week, and so many more bonding. Shoot me an email or leave a comment if your sorority does anything super fun I should look into!

Lastly, I have been really trying to go to more daily masses as part of my Lenten promise and last night the campus parish had a surprise birthday party after the 9pm mass for one of our priests! He was so excited to see so many people there to appreciate him, which we really do, he’s the best. 9pm mass is also one of my favorites because the church turns a lot of the lights off and it is just so serene and calming. How are your Lenten promises going if you’re Catholic or practice Lent?

Well I think that’s about it for what I have been up to. I am planning on heading home this weekend after cheering on my Jayhawks in their first March Madness game Friday (fingers crossed for my multiple brackets!) 

Until next time, dream big, xoxo,  Ally

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Stop waiting to be your best you

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I am writing this and per usual haven’t titled it yet, because the way this usually works is that I have a bunch of things I want to say and know how I want to say them, but don’t really understand the entire theme or moral of my story. Literally I am a walking, talking, breathing, children’s story book friends; lots of pretty pictures and a story that takes you through tons of twists and turns before you find out the lesson at the end. lol, would it even be a blog post if I didn’t make a cringe worthy and cheesy as heck metaphor?

February started out FANTASTIC for me. Seriously, Feb 1st was a KU home basketball game v. Baylor (sorry about that, Baylor), I met Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper at the game (and he held my phone to take a video to send to my dad!!! hahah AHHHHH!!!!!), I had stellar seats for the game, the student section was crazy fun during a big season game, I made my ESPN debut (twice!), AND on top of all of that got to briefly hang with a fellow future Jayhawk from my high school who I seriously cannot wait to get to know better & become friends with next year. (Hi Brenna if you’re reading this let’s be friends.) Greatest night of my life thus far at KU. I was dead set on February being the best month of my life, haha, not so much. At least it is the shortest of them all, right??!?!?!

I won’t lie, I spent A LOT of February pouting over things that weren’t going my way or that weren’t working out exactly as I wanted to. I spent more time complaining about my situations rather than working to fix them. Basically, I was not having the best of luck, but also not doing anything to improve that. Moral of the story: I was being very immature and zero help to myself or my bad mood. Sure, a few things happened that I had every right to be upset about, but not for more than an hour max. I saw a quote yesterday that said, “was it really a bad day? Or just a bad 10 minutes that you milked all day?” and it really hit me how negative I was acting about a few downfalls and making it seem like the entire month had to therefore be awful. Quite frankly, just like the very start of the month, a lot of good things happened during February! But I was too busy being so gosh darn caught up in the small mishaps that I didn’t even take time to recognize the good. Big mistake, Ally.

These first few days of March have been pretty good to me. I have realized one big lesson that I keep attempting to learn, but then being scared to fully commit to: you can’t get other people to love you unless you love yourself first. Which goes right alongside: people are going to love you for your best version of yourself, don’t stop being him/her to impress people.

Basically, I’ve learned that pouting about something because it isn’t how you wanted it to be isn’t going to change literally anything, ever. I find myself phsycially letting myself get upset and don’t take care of myself as well as I should be. Aka I won’t dress as nice as I do (yeah tshirts are comfy for class, but sometimes dressing nice is a mentality booster for me, try it!) I will let my desk get messy, won’t consistently make my bed, will find myself not as motivated to do homework, etc. I’m sure you can think of a time in your life where being in a bad mood almost made you feel like you didn’t deserve to be the best version of yourself; as if pouting and not doing the things that make you happy would somehow reverse all of the bad things and fix all your problems. Yeah, as easy and nice as that sounds, that isn’t quite how it works.

Let’s stop waiting around to be the best version of yourself. Back to what I said about people not loving you unless you love yourself. You know what people DON’T wanna be around? Someone who is negative and constantly complaining (guilty as charged on occasion, shoutout to my friends for putting up with me!) You know what people DO want to be around? Someone who is confident in themselves, who doesn’t let little problems knock them down, and who always strives to do their best. We are a compilation of the 5 people we spend the most time with, whether we like it or not. Ask yourself if you would want to spend time around yourself…and let that put your bad mood into perspective.

I know it isn’t always easy to look on the bright side of things. As I said, a few things that made me upset this month were TOTALLY worthy of being upset over! That’s life! That’s being a human! That is having healthy emotions and understanding that life isn’t always going to go our way. However, it is when we let these situations control our daily routine that we then need to take a step back and reevaluate the situation at hand and how we are reacting. Is what we are upset over seriously going to change the person that we are? Probably not, so let’s stop acting like it.

For me, this means forgiving easily. Sometimes it is a downfall, and sometimes I let people walk all over me because of it. But I have learned that staying mad at someone, usually for something they didn’t mean to hurt me because of, isn’t worth it. Your friends are your friends for a reason, and as cheesy as it is, we never know how long we get to have them in our lives, so why wait to hug them and apologize?

For me this also means doing things that make me happy. People are going to love you for you. Your friends became friends with the person that you are when you are happiest. Sure, they are going to be there for you when you’re low as well, but as I can’t seem to reiterate enough this post, allow that to be temporary. Friends encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves. Encourage each other to drink more water (lol, but true.) Encourage each other to laugh and have fun. Encourage each other to pursue passions. Be the kind of friend that is the best version of themselves in order for your friends to be inspired to do so as well.

I have spent so much of my life dreaming about what I will be like when I am older. Seriously, I have had my future home planned out the second I discovered Pottery Barn catalogs. It’s the reason I have a Pinterest board dedicated to ideas for my future kindergarten classroom and organization tips for my junior year at KU when I share a house with my friends. I like to plan things out and dream of the future, when I am eventually the “best version of myself.” However, one thing I realized while evaluating February, was that I need to stop putting off being the best version of myself. I need to stop thinking that one day when I have these certain things and these certain clothes and this certain income and these certain accomplishments, that I will THEN be the best version of myself. Why can’t the best version of myself be the one that does things daily that make her happy? The best version of myself exercises in ways she enjoys every day, such as runs around the campus lake. The best version of herself pushes the dream of going somewhere with this blog and setting aside time to write. The best version of myself compliments my friends and writes them little notes because gifts and surprises are my love language. The best version of myself wears bright colors on cloudy days and always dresses for success. The best version of myself never goes without reminding people I love them, and understands sometimes she needs to work on matching her actions along with that statement. The best version of myself is learning to see the positive in every day, and learning that staying negative improves nobody.

So let’s stop waiting around to finally reach that end goal of the best version of ourself. I promise you, if we keep waiting, we will always find something new we want to wait for. Understand that life gets better when you let it, and that no situation can’t be fixed by your own attitude. You have full power over how you feel, and with a little feel good music, a few personal dance parties, a few good laughs with good friends, and a good mindset, you’ll slowly find yourself having more and more good days.

Let’s show March who is boss, friends.

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

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life update 2/17/16

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UGH has this post taken me forever to write or WHAT? (answer: yes. literally ages. or a few weeks. but I exaggerate a lot.) Basically I am still not ready to really write it all out, but I am forcing myself to because I really want to get on with some fun posts I have planned out but don’t feel like I can hop straight to “getting good sleep in college” or “books you NEED to read” (both real posts coming hehe stick around) after a couple weeks of zero posts and no explanation. So here we are, I’m back and trying my hardest to phrase all of this so you ca maybe somewhat understand where I am coming from or maybe even relate.

Coming back from Christmas break was great, I had a whole new semester ahead of me with some classes I thought I would absolutely love, I was ready to be back with my friends I rarely or not at all got to see over break, and I am one of those nerds who actually likes the learning aspect of school (nerdy is not a bad thing learning is so cool and fun) so I was ready to come back. And the first few weeks? Great! I loved being back just like I thought I would, okay the classes starting getting less exciting the more and more work I was assigned, but I knew I had signed up for that, I joined a food blog organization on campus (!!! more to come on that) and yet was feeling just, well for lack of a better and fancier term: not myself.

Although I am an introvert at heart, I thrive in social situations where I get to lead (aka group projects scare me but just let me do the whole thing and I’m fine with it) and take charge. I usually love alone time and am pretty (not always) good at time management and getting the things I need to done and then having time for an extra long shower or a few episodes of my current Netflix series (Glee, ALWAYS!). However, the past few weeks, I have simply been in a rut. A little funk if you will. I went home for a weekend and being with my family was the best way to cure it for a small period of time, and my mom made it down for a little mid-week adventure yesterday to spend some time with me (see above picture of my desk after she left. Trips to target and my parent’s spoiling me with even Valentine’s Day plates and napkins. Even a cute cookie from the sweetest neighbor girlies!) Things like that have made me realize how truly thankful and blessed I am to have the family that I do.

Honestly, nothing majorly bad happened in my life to make me feel off like I have. Sure I face everyday challenges like everyone else does. I don’t do as well on an assignment as I should have because I spent more time on pointless things, (may or may not have forgotten to do a few questions on my online math homework because of a OT KU game…but hey, it’s the game I’ll remember, not the .0001% off on my math grade.) (Not saying school doesn’t matter! school so matters! learning = so good!) I am not always the best friend in the world, I can be selfish, I have days where I am too absorbed in myself that I forget to talk to God, I have days where all I do is complain to God and ask for help and totally forget to THANK HIM for the simple things that I take for granted like being healthy and being able to live the wonderfully blessed life that I do!

Yeah, I still kinda feel funky, but yeah, I am realizing that there is no way anyone can go through life without a few funky periods. Because quite frankly, a life full of happiness would be pretty boring because all those happy moments would just blend together. The rough days make the good days ten times better. I’ve felt crazy guilty for not posting (trust me I had so many Valentine’s Day plans and ideas ready to go) but it just felt weird writing on love and life and happiness when that is something I am still figuring out myself as well and I would never ever wanna steer you in the wrong direction in terms of any of that good stuff. But here I am, telling you that mistakes happen, bad days happen, pity parties are allowed. But in the end, YOU are what changes that. YOU are gonna be with yourself your entire life, so fall the heck in love with yourself. Find what makes you happy. I am still on a search for the things in life that will forever make me happy (lattes and flowers are great, but temporary!) and ya know what? I am okay being picky with that. I have got a lot of people in my life that I love big time, and my big heart loves to love others and don’t get me wrong, I know that is a great quality and I will never ever stop loving others. But learning to take some of that energy to love myself is really crazy important. I emphasis finding your people a lot around here, but it is because in order to sustain health within yourself, you’ve gotta surround yourself with other people too. Sometimes not always literally, days to yourself are good too, but find those people who will be your “constants” even with all the “new” in your life. They’re real good. Even if they’re a facetime away or just a few floors up. Those people will get ya through the rough days, and you’ll get them through theirs. And then together you’ll celebrate the good days even more!

So there’s my little life update! My pal and I are headed out to a late Valentine’s Day night in KC tonight which I am super stoked about and will for sure have plenty of snaps to share so make sure @xoxoallisonnicole is followed on your Insta feed!

Until next time, stay happy, find your people, love big time,

xoxo, Ally

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coffee + I (a love story)

 

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When I look back at memories of my childhood, my family is almost always involved. I grew up in what I like to think is one of the greatest extended families of all time. My grandparents are the kind that going to their house is more exciting than the actual holiday you’re going there for itself. The grandparents whose hugs and kisses make you feel all of the good things and that believe in you and your dreams and ambitions from when you were five and told them that you were going to jump off the diving board for the first time, all the way up to now and discussing my future career plans while in college. My cousins are the actual coolest human beings I know, and each and every single one of them brings me joy for so many different reasons. My aunts and uncles are all so supportive of one another and I have never seen more giving and selfless people when it comes to family. I honestly like to think that they are my very own angels God sent me to kind of sort out my priorities in life and show me how it is supposed to be done and what I should value in my life.

My favorite memory of all this gang of my rockstar human bean relatives that still follows us around today, is the post-party coffee. From as young as I can remember, I always recall the adults of the family getting just as excited for my grandma brewing coffee around 2pm as the kids were about my grandpa being in charge of the whipped cream when it came to desserts. All the kids usually scattered off to play after all the major holiday celebrations had ceased, and the parents all gathered around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking for hours. Sometimes it turned into card games, other times into watching videos or reading articles people have discovered and wanted to share, but amidst all of that fun is always the smell of coffee beans and the love you can almost grasp in your hands.

Being the oldest girl cousin and the second oldest cousin with an 8 year age gap between the oldest (hey Zach, yes you’ll always hold coolest oldest cousin status) and being the oldest child of my family, I was pretty quick to want to grow up and be a part of this environment. There was something about the way that it seemed like the dining room table could squeeze an endless amount of chairs around it and yours would always find a spot if you had a joke to share or ears to listen. Although I may have started out bringing my slice of cheesecake instead of coffee, I’ve grown into the habit of drinking it and absorbing all the good stuff (caffeine AND family vibes) with the rest of them.

I fell so in love with this concept of the vibes and good energy that I received from this experience that I wanted to somehow capture it and bring it with my everywhere I go. I’ve never actually told anyone that this is like my all time favorite experience, so if any of those super exclusive members of that dining table coffee club are reading this: I think you’re all so so so cool. big time. Anyways, so my mission to find this kind of good soul food love began, and so did my love affair with coffee itself.

I vividly remember the first time I drank coffee (Starb’s frappes don’t count as much as my 14 year old self would love to claim that they do!) I was a second semester freshman in high school and my pal Rachel (who you still hear a lot about around here, who lives two floors up from me, and who is my physical embodiment of a coffee bean and who you will continue to hear a lot about even in this post…so yeah, she’s pretty important people. coffee VIP if you will.) and I were trying out for our school’s dance team that morning. We had spent the entire night before practicing our routines and improv sections and I wanna say got to sleep a lot later than we should have, gossiping about who we thought would make it, all mixed in with the occasional “but it’s totally okay and totally fine if we get cut” nervous statements. (spoiler: we both made it and somehow survived a few years together) My mom made both of us a cup with our breakfast that morning and even though I am pretty positive it was doused with a hecka lot of creamer, it was still coffee. It was love at first sip. But really, driving to the tryouts with her that morning, nervous thoughts in our minds and java in our bellies, I kinda had my first glimpse at that feeling I had been wanting so badly to create for myself of contentment with coffee.

It is no surprise to any of you who have been reading with me for awhile, following any of my social media accounts, or honestly have met me for more than five minutes…that I LOVE coffee now today. I will never skip out on a coffee date at new shop, order it with my breakfast wherever I am, or simply make it for myself at home. I got a french press for Christmas from my grandma this year, and was over the actual moon to be in charge of making some of the coffee for the post holiday chat with all of the coolest people I know. Sure I love the taste of coffee, I love the kick it gives me in the morning, I honestly even am appreciative of the final step of digestion it prompts (how’s that for your visual imagery of the day), but what really does coffee mean to me? Or better yet, why the heck am I even writing this?????? An actual entire post dedicated to coffee….

Waking up in the morning, before the rest of the world minus a few literal feathery early-birds, when the sky is still that magical kind of purple that you would never want to be in a crayon box because it is way to special to use in any sort of circumstance minus this. Listening to coffee brew and it being the only sound you hear minus your internal thoughts and your actual heartbeat. That small period of time where you realize, wow, this is life. I’m living it. The first contact with your mug where your hands are instantly heated and it sends the warmth down your entire body and you’re reminded that you’ve got an entire lifetime ahead of you but all you want to do is live in this exact moment. But then you take your first sip and realize you’ve got places to be and things to do and people to see and guess what? The only person meant to do all the things that you have in store: you.

Coffee has led me through every emotion in my life and then some. I have made some of my biggest realizations over coffee in the mornings with myself and God, and have had some of the best conversations over coffee with people I love dearly. Rachel, who I mentioned earlier, is probably an even bigger coffee addict than I am, and the amount of quick coffee runs we make is probably excessive, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. The amount of giggles and serenades over silly songs we sing on the quick drive to our off campus Starbucks are never enough, the late night we for sure shouldn’t be drinking caffeine at this hour java break runs where you are so in love with yourself and life that you order homemade chocolate whipped cream on top are what I live for, and the quiet drives where she even sometimes knows to ask if I am okay because I am being a little quieter than usual as she pays for my latte because she could sense I needed to get out and coffee is our excuse have gotten me through some of the roughest days.

You need these people in your life, I need these people in my life! I am such an independent person that sometimes asking people for help or telling them the problems or even good things going on in my life is such a hard barrier to break, but there is something about coffee that ever since I was younger and watching my family love each other no matter what the topic of conversation over it, that can put my own selfish independent needs aside and realize that everyone needs coffee. Everyone needs their moments to realize who they are and that asking for help is brave and that sometimes you have to take an entire hour with simply you and coffee and just realize what you want from yourself for that day!!!!!! Not your entire future, not the week, not the semester, just that day. How big are you going to love? Who are you going to remind that they mean the world to you? What are you going to do to better yourself? What can you do to make someone smile today? Those questions. The simple, every day questions that we often forget to ask ourselves and therefore forget to accomplish. We can be so so focused on the bigger picture of getting our life together that we can forget to just look at the 24 hours in front of us and ask ourselves what we wanna do with it! Don’t forget to take your dwelling time to do this. Now disclaimer: I don’t care if you like coffee or not. Drink some gosh darn tea if that’s more your style of meditating figure your life out love your people and take on the world kind of beverage. Quite honestly, I’ll still take my hazelnut lattes.

But what I do ask of you to do, is find this time where you can spend with the people that mean the most to you and talk about the stuff you wanna talk about. Talk about the stuff you wanna get so excited and scream about, I don’t care if it is a new revelation you have made or the fact that you got an A on your test or the fact that Starbucks has a new drink out. Talk about it. Talk about the stuff you wanna cry about, talk about the stuff that makes you angry at the world. That stuff needs to be talked about. But don’t forget that you can’t stay talking about that forever. You still need to hop back to the topics on how to fix it, or things that are good in the world as well. EVERY situation has a silver lining, even if it takes years of hard work and a lot of perspective change to figure that out.

Coffee has helped me discover who I am. Coffee dates and runs help me validate my life and my choices I make. Coffee has helped me to realize that I need other people and that they need me. Coffee has made me realize I am a good friend, a good lover, a good sister, a good daughter, a good niece, a good student, a good Ally. But it has also made me realize that there is room for improvement in all of those areas, and that taking time to understand what I can do to improve is essential to improving. Coffee has taught me never to give up on things that mean a lot to me. Coffee has taught me that times may be tough, decisions may be hard, but if you believe in something enough, and work for it with your best intentions at heart, it will work out just how it is supposed to. Coffee has taught me how to open up to people and to understand the power of asking about someone’s day and genuinely wanting a reply of what they ate for lunch or what their hardest class was or something that made them smile. Coffee has taught me to love.

If there is one thing I am truly hopeful for in life, it is that one day when I have a family of my own, we can have post party coffee. I want nothing more than a big dining room table with everyone I love, loving each other. It is honestly the best experience in the world, to see these people you care so much about just being themselves and everyone else appreciating them for exactly that. That is how I want to live my every day life. I want to live the rest of my life drinking coffee.

Thanks for reading about something so important to me, I hope you can take away at least one lil bean of knowledge and love.

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

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2016 going on ’17

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This is me admitting I have been putting off writing this post for a few days now. My past two years of NYE posts are my two top viewed posts, and two of the posts I am most proud of quite frankly. (2014) + (2015) …In both posts I slightly mention how I am not the biggest supporter of “new year’s resolutions” solely because I don’t think we should aim for the “new year new me” mentality of changing ourselves, but rather look on improving aspects of our lives and daily actions without changing who we are. I also don’t think that waiting for a special day to start acting upon having better intentions for yourself is something worth waiting for; if you have a good intention…why wait???? SO  yeah, those posts were full with the good stuff and I was all full of wisdom. However this past year I have grown so much and learned so many things and my brain is fuzzy of what to spill to you all. Anyways, while I am typing this, we are about 21 hours into 2017 and while I was reflecting over the past year and on what I wanted to make this post about, I was constantly drawn to the areas of the past year that weren’t the best and realized one thing that constantly was a key factor in these areas: myself.

Now I know, I just said I am not a supporter of changing who you are, I am a firm believer that everyone is who they are for a good reason and God made them with personality quirks and all for very specific purposes in this universe, so I promise what I have to say isn’t about changing who you are. (trust me, this is coming from someone who in the past year has learned that she is  t e r r i f i e d  of change, so I wouldn’t throw that at ya.)

A whole bunch of crazy cool and big things happened in my life in 2016! I graduated high school! I moved to Kansas! I started college! I met new friends! I missed old ones! I joined a sorority! I doubted myself in so many areas I thought I was confident in! I found new things I am super great at because I went out on a limb! As I said, I am not super fond of change. I am an oldest child messily “Type A” who is used to pretty much having the things in her life under her own control. So as exciting and big as all of the change in my life was, it is pretty safe to say I am a lot bigger fan of the period of time a few months AFTER the big changes. Needless to say, 2016 definitely had some trying moments for myself, but nothing that didn’t end up working out for the better. As I mentioned, in the end, everyone is who they are and everything happens how it does for a reason (thanks God!!!!!)

Back to what I was saying about finding myself in the midst of all of the times of the past year weren’t the best. Every time when I was feeling lost, when I was feeling scared, when I was feeling like I wasn’t performing to my full potential or that I wasn’t being the best friend/sister/daughter that I could be: all tied back to times where I wasn’t taking care of myself. Now I am speaking from personal experience, but I am positive that we have all had times similar to this in our lives. It is not in any way a bad thing. For most of the time, we forget to care for ourselves when we are too busy caring about others. For example, instead of trying to commit time to each of my friends, I would get so worried that each of my friends was feeling loved or was doing okay that I would get so caught up in them that I forgot one of my favorite focuses: you can’t fill others’ cups when your own has yet to be filled. The same concept goes for so many different aspects of life and can even be applied to things like my academics. When I zoom out and stress too much about the bigger picture and how much work has to eventually be done (which I admit to doing far too often) instead of taking my classes one at a time and doing each assignment to the best of my ability as they come…I end up giving less attention to my studies than I should. Heck! It can even be applied to simple things like when we worry too much about eating healthy, staying in shape, being in a good mental state; we can freak ourselves out about how little progress we are making! However if we just take each step at a time: get a decent amount of sleep each night, carry around a water bottle and stay hydrated, take some extra time to walk to your classes, that huge daunting task of “healthy” seems so much simpler.

So more simply put: learn how to love yourself in order to love others. be selfish in the most selfless way. Quite honestly in order to be fully selfLESS, one must learn to be selfish. There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make other’s lives better, but make sure to include yourself in that. Do you find yourself asking others how they are often? If they’re okay/happy? How their day is? ASK YOURSELF! It is kind of like the golden rule of treating others the way you’d wanna be treated, except reversed and inside out: treat yourself how you treat others and then treat others how you treat yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. However if you choose to be selfish for small and purposefully good intentions, the outcome of how you treat others will show tremendously better.

So what is my 2017 “resolution”, if you will? To love myself and to grow. I triple dog dare you all to do the same. As always, never change, but learn to grow. Learn to accept the big changes in your life for what they are, and decide how you’re gonna see the good side of them. Understand that the big leaps usually mean rough patches which sometimes mean bad days and the hardest part about all of that is understanding that all of it is totally, completely, 100% normal, and you’re gonna turn out just fine. Have a rough week? get some good sleep and work ahead. Not feeling yourself? Surround yourself with friends that make you smile and love ya lots. Miss your mom? Call your mom. (slowly learning there are some things ONLY moms can fix.) (And sometimes you have to FaceTime them at 6am from your dorm bed to show them your bronchitis infected throat. and they’re okay with it. because they’re moms and super-humans.) Do things that make your heart sing and find more things that make your heart sing and do those things too. Pet dogs occasionally if you can too, unless you’re allergic, then that is so so sad but there are cute pictures and videos of dogs ALL over the inter web to make your heart smile as well. Change your sheets, brush your hair, hug your best friends, hug yourself. Let’s all do some stuff to make ourselves happy, and then do some stuff to make our people happy. Because imagine if we all did that. That would be one gosh dang happy world, and one gosh dang happy year.

Here’s to 2017, may it be the happiest + most selfishly selfless one yet.

Love + hugs, xoxo, Ally

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holiday happenings

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Hey friends! I am going to work on a few more posts to put up later this week but for now I thought I would just update you on life!

Well, I have officially survived my first semester of college. Not sure if survived is the best choice of the word, but it is over and quite honestly I am thrilled to begin a new semester filled with new classes, but this time not having to figure out the whole meeting people thing because I have already been blessed with quite a few fun friends to hang around that I already miss so much!!!! I never thought I would say it, but I got home Thursday night, and I already miss Kansas. Although it is super nice to be back in my own room and be able to make my own breakfast (dining hall eggs I am more than over…), it will for sure be a long month without some of my friends that live in other states. Honestly, it was less than 72 hours that I saw Rachel and it was already too long for me.

After dropping off my roomate at a halfway point between us (miss you maddie) my dad and I finished off the drive home late Thursday night and I’d be lying if I said my first stop wasn’t a bath. My mom had just got back from some last minute Christmas shopping and caught me just in time to let me use this and oh my it is the best thing ever! Crabtree&Evelyn has for sure become one of those things that I will never admit to but I am turning into my mother with in terms of how much I adore it. It has always been her go-to spot for gifts for her coworkers and as I am getting older I 100% agree!

I just also designed some bloggy Christmas cards of my own to send out to readers to thank them for stickin with me and joining in on the fun! I have a contact form below I will keep open until Thursday night if you would like one as well!!!

Well that’s about it for the quick wrap up! I am off today to finish up my Christmas crafting and maybe whip up a batch or two of my infamous “cheerio treats”…thanks again for that one mom…check back on the blog later this week for a surprise dealing with those delicious treats…maybe even a recipe who knows…

Stay warm and finish those finals strong to all my pals still pushing through those last days of school! Until next time!

xoxo, “do you think Santa does round trips to NYC and back at a discounted rate?” Ally

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friday thoughts I’m lovin’

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Hey friends!

Happy Friday, normally the day of the week where I would have some  links that I am lovin’ for you to explore and hopefully love as well, but today I have something else I wanna share. I have talked about my faith and relationship with God every now and then here on the blog, and quite honestly it is one of my favorite things to talk about. Since coming to college, I have found myself understanding that it was no longer family mass on Sundays that was going to keep me steady in my faith life.

It was going to take and effort of myself truly wanting this two-way relationship with God and having to put myself out there in some of the hard times in my life and of course the good times as well. But the biggest thing that I have learned from creating this relationship on my own, is that like any other relationship you may have on Earth, communication is key. Taking the time out of your day to TALK to God is 1/2 of the battle of Him guiding you. He is always always always willing and wanting to help us out, and trusting in His ideas is SO important, but you’re going to have no idea what his ideas and plans are if you don’t take the time to listen to Him!

I’ve always been a big writer (obviously…), and so journaling is my main form of prayer. Writing down absolutely every feeling, worry, and gratitude that I have and taking time to reflect on why I am feeling all of these emotions is how I connect with God. Trust me, most days it isn’t even prayerful at all. There is frustration and anger and sorrow and confusion, but there is also trust in Him and His plans for me. There is trust that the pain I feel temporarily in that moment, can’t even begin to compare with all of the joy I will feel when His plan for me pays off.

There is no right or wrong way to talk to God, and I think this is something everyone struggles with. People are scared to initiate the conversation because they simply don’t know how. When in reality, it can be as simple as me waking up in the morning and taking time to just lay there and ask God what my plans for the day are. Now sure, you may not be sent this actual voice guiding you throughout your every move of that day. But taking the time to even just remind God, “hey, I’m in your hands today” is SO important.

I wanna keep this post pretty short and sweet because I don’t want to instruct you step by step how to build this relationship, but I do wish that you understand HOW important having conversations with God is. I promise you He wants nothing more than your happiness and success, and when you invite Him into your heart, the rest is easy.

So that’s all for today guys, just a little reminder that you’re loved and to take some time today to remind others of that too. You have no idea how much a quick text of appreciation can change someone’s day.

Until next time,” I will be eating one and only one of my advent calendar chocolates per day and you all are holding me to this”, xoxo,

Ally

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early resolution + affirmations

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Now I know 2016 still contains a whole month left, but the new year has always been one of my favorite times of year…(not sure how else to phrase that,  I guess its the start of the year not a part of…hm.) Anyways, my New Years posts from the past two years are some of my most popular and well loved posts, simply because they discuss how I am not super huge on resolutions. I am a really big believer that we shouldn’t strive to make changes about ourselves just because there is a new year approaching. “new year new me” mentality is one of my least favorites to be quite honest. If you’re happy with aspects of your life or where you’re at right now, don’t change that?? You are who you are for a reason and the place you are at in life is also exactly where you are supposed to be, even though sometimes we wish we could have the power to change that, myself included.

One thing I DO want to start doing, is to start affirming myself and others. I read an article online about affirmations and how powerful they are to our human brains, and last year in theology class we affirmed our classmates with positive connotations we had about who they were as a person and I truly think this not only brought us closer, but helped us grow as individuals because a positive trait is so much harder to find about yourself than to have someone find for you. For someone whose brain is always searching for the next thing to do and is constantly full of “what if”s and very impractical and irrational possibilities of what my day and situations may bring about, choosing to place more affirmations into my life is something I want to do to reduce the stress and worry of the future, and recognize the good that is already in my life. Although I am a big fan, affirmations are more than just the “you go girl” or “you can do it” that you (admittedly) doodle in your planner to encourage you to get your things done well and on time.

So how exactly do affirmations work? Well it is as simple as turning a question into a statement. Affirmations can apply to SO many aspects of your life and are proven to not only bring a sense of calm, but to empower you and bring out the best version of yourself. For example, instead of saying, “Am I going to be ready for this test?” you tell yourself “with studying and good preparation, I WILL be ready for this test.” Non-academically, you can use affirmations to simply just feel good about where you’re at in life. Instead of constantly worrying about the steps along the way and constantly searching for this final destination of happiness, peace, success, whatever it may be that you’re looking to end up with, feel content about the JOURNEY! Find yourself proud of the every day moments. Think of your days as a day, a moment, a time period, not just time wasted using to get to this impractical perfect goal that you want to achieve.

Now I’m not saying setting goals and taking steps to get there is a bad thing, in fact I highly encourage it! But instead of stressing yourself out about how long it is taking you to get there or the road blocks along the way, make it a point to recognize that the steps you are taking should be just as enjoyable as the final goal.

Some affirmations I want to place more into my daily life are:

-“I am learning new things every day”

-“I am growing as a person”

-“I am proud of who I am”

-“I love my friends and family”

SUCH SIMPLE WORDS like these put into your brain can constantly remind yourself that entirely, it’s gonna be okay and that you’re doing awesome in life. I am a big supporter of positive intention and understanding that introducing affirmations into my life is something that I believe will allow me to remember who I am, and that I am proud of that.

So find your own affirmations. Find the things in your life or about yourself that you are proud of, and tell yourself them! Remind yourself every single day of these phrases and understand that by stating these with confidence, you are loving yourself in the biggest way, by encouraging yourself to be the very best version of who you are. That’s pretty great.

Happy hump day and have a fantastic rest of your week! My daily affirmation is:
there WILL be snow soon. *fingers crossed*

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

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thankful wrap up

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HIYA THERE LONG TIME NO WRITE!!!! I’ve had the busiest few weeks between my sororities semi-formal, being home with family and friends over Thanksgiving break and haha, the semester ending in less than three weeks (crazy!!!!!!) and thought we could play a little bit of catch up on life!

I am actually writing this mid study break for my math exam tomorrow. Fun part about college, when you don’t go to school for 8 hours a day, you get to do things like study for a test you have tomorrow at like, noon, the day before which is oh so soothing to someone like myself whose brain is ready for shut down mode after dinner time. I am someone who would much rather get things done homework wise during the “school day” and then study  “after school.” So weird to me how these concepts are practically non-existent in college where everyone is on their own time. I am almost 4 months in and still in disbelief I am not in high school, people!

My roomie and I met up for a dining hall lunch date (deep convos over dorm food are our specialty) after our 1pm classes and both were in agreement that these next few weeks were about to test our limits and then some. However, I am beyond enthused to say that I was excited to come back to school. A few posts ago I talked about my first semester freshmen blues and all the crazy thoughts running through my mind amongst all the change. After being home for practically a week for the holidays, the longest time I have been home since I have come to college, by Sunday, I was excited to return back to my routine at school. Even if that routine sadly doesn’t include the comfort of my bed, homemade food, my siblings, my dog, or my car, I was ready. I am not sure if it was the first time I was home for more than a weekend, or that I was actually finding my place in this huge school, but it felt really really REALLY good to be able to hop in a crowded car with 3 of my friends and be excited to drive 3 hours back to school.

While on break, I was able to do so many fun things with so many amazing people, and the drive back to Lawrence was nothing short of being filled with gratitude for the adventures that week had to hold. I got to help some younger speech girls on their pieces which was probably more exciting for me than it was for them, got to see ALL my cousins (very rare we are all in the same place at the same time), got to go to Trader Joe’s with my sister, and decorate our Christmas tree full of childhood ornaments before I left. I am beyond thankful for all of the things I got to do while at home, and cannot wait for the adventures the rest of this semester are about to bring. I already have a booked schedule complete with basketball games, christmas parties, and for my dad who I know is reading this…plenty of studying!!! 😉

I am very proud of myself and am writing this for those of you reading it who went through and/or are going through any type of change: STICK THROUGH IT! It definitely can be scary at times, and isn’t always the easiest, but good things come to those who wait and especially to those who wait with a smile on their face! So here are to new adventures in new places, pushing through times that seem hard, and knowing that in the end, God will never ever letcha fail. Life is a whole lot easier when you think of it that way. Stay warm and happy Monday!

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

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31:25

 As you all very well know, I turn to Pinterest for a lot of my life situations. Whether it be going somewhere and looking at my hair and makeup board understanding that my hair nor makeup will ever fully resemble the picture before me or literally having a board dedicated to cute pictures of kiddos (it’s so much less creepy than it seems I promise you should SEE their monogrammed diapers oh my goodness), Pinterest soothes me. Call it materialistic, which my Christmas list board totally is, but there is another side to Pinterest that has gotten me through a lot of tough times and good times as well. I have always been one for words (hence the blog) and finding and reading quotes on Pinterest really resonates with me and helps me to understand what they’re saying on a deeper level. It’s like opening up my Bible and the page I turn to has a verse that directly relates to my current feelings, that is how I feel when I scroll down my feed and see a quote that reminds me that its just a bad day not a bad life when I happen to have a cold or miss the bus, or when I see some Amy Poehler quote right when I am needing a solid dose of girl power and a lil bit of laughter.

One of my go-to boards is linked here: gimme Jesus.  This board has helped strengthen my faith life more than I ever could have imagined that Pinterest would, but today I want to talk about my favorite quote I have come across. My all time favorite verse ever is Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.”

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Now this verse for me is the DEFINITION of trusting in God and His plan. I am a huge worrier. Like, major huge need to be updated on things 24/7/365 or the world practically falls apart for me internally for a few seconds. Although this usually results in people close to me having to constantly giving me the lowdown on things, I have also learned that it can be used as a sense of stability and means I care deeply about things. I like to think this verse can and should be applied to our daily lives, every minute honestly.

What does it mean when God says we are clothed in strength? Strong women (and men) and followers of God are people who trust. These people understand that they are putting their life and their decisions within the hands of God and that they are OKAY with that. It is one of the hardest things God asks of us to do, to full put our lives before Him and say, “here, all yours. what can I do for you?” Being clothed in strength is knowing that you cannot break a woman who seeks happiness from God and who has allowed God into her life. It sounds so cheesy and I KNOW that you’ve all heard it before, but there is zero happiness that can be compared to the joy that committing yourself to a relationship with God can bring you. Sure, God put things on Earth to make us happy while we are here: our friends, our family, our beloved furry friends, heck, Pinterest! These things are all so good because they were created by God Himself, but they are in no way what He was meaning for us to devote our lives to. Simply put, striving to commit yourself to God is what will bring us ultimate happiness. This looks so different for everyone, and that is so so good, for me, it is simply remembering to take a step back when things don’t go exactly how I want them to and remember that who am I to worry when I have someone SO perfect in charge of my life? That is one thing that constantly blows my mind. God loves me. God loves you. God loves ALL of us, and a whole lot too. He wants to protect and provide for us, so being a woman who is clothed in His strength, means trusting that He will do His very best to do so, even if that means not agreeing with our current earthly wants and needs. When life DOES get hard, which is will, there will be days when it is hard to stand, so kneel. Understand that with pain comes joy that is unimaginable. God will never leave you forgotten.

So, part two, what does it mean to be clothed with dignity? Dignity by itself means to be held in a state worthy of respect and honor. So how about God’s dignity? I like to think of it this way: here we all are, all of God’s little human beans that he put on this Earth, doing our thing, ya know, livin’, and all of a sudden we realize we feel kind of empty inside. I promise that you’ve all had the feeling of a really good day and you are ready to go to bed and are still smiling from your adventures and maybe at one point you think to yourself, “okay that was great, but, there is still this feeling of wanting more. there is still a part of myself that is not fulfilled.” Wearing dignity looks like taking that emptiness, and doing something about it. I had a bible study small group tonight where we talked about God in a sense of proposing to us, asking ourselves to commit to Him, and understanding what that commitment means. Revelations 3:20 tells us that God? Has been and always will be simply waiting for us to accept his proposal. He is knocking on the door of our hearts saying he is dying (literally, he died for us, again, HOW FREAKING COOL?!?) to fill that emptiness if we will only say yes. Dignity to me, is accepting that commitment, knowing that is is going to be hard at times, and knowing that just like any relationship, I need to put in effort as well. After doing all this, then you must wear it. Wearing it by understanding that this proposal you just accepted? It’s so cool. Tell everyone about it. Tell your family, your friends, tell everyone how you are now committed to being the absolute best version of yourself! Okay, so maybe you don’t wanna parade around with it on your forehead or post it in your social media bio or even change your Facebook relationship status, understandable, and fixable too. All God asks of us is to use this relationship to do what He has already done: LOVE. (oh cmon you knew this was coming you are reading my blog where love is for sure the most used word here by far) By being a woman clothed in God’s dignity, love your neighbor as you would love yourself. And for a quick tip, you love yourself a WHOLE lot. After all, God made you, so what isn’t to love?

Finally, laughing without fear of the future:

I ADORE this line. First of all, I think a lot of people think of Bible verses and think oh scary and long and big historical words and names I don’t understand nope not for me…this verse literally instructs you to LAUGH! LAUGH! How fun is that? I think that so many of us forget that God is not scary and mean and harsh, he wants us to LAUGH! God wants us to laugh at anyone or any thoughts we have that may tell us that our future is uncertain. I admit myself, this is not at all easy. As I said, I myself am a HUGE worrier and perfectionist and like things to go exactly how I envision them and laughing when these uncertain situations occur is 100% never on the top of my to-do list or even on my mind honestly. But, understanding that after the heat of the moment, settling and realizing that God has a plan for me is the most calming feeling of relief. I really really like a quote on Pinterest I found that says, “faith is not knowing everything will turn out okay, faith is being okay no matter how things turn out.” like, uh, wow?  This really showed me and opened me up the fact that a life without fear of the future doesn’t mean a perfect life, we are human and are all going to encounter fear and hesitation and sadness, but it is HOW we use these not so perfect situations that truly shape us into who God wants us to be. Do we pity ourselves and sulk about it? Or do we turn to friends and family and prayer and understand that God would never put us in a situation that we cannot handle, whether it be just that moment, or our entire lives. Not to go Bible verse crazy on ya, but 2 Timothy 1:7 talks about how God gives us His Spirit, first of all, how amazing is it that He trusts us with such a powerful gift? This Spirit inside of us, does not make us weak and fearful, but instead gives us power and love and helps us control ourselves. So one big hahah to you, future!

So tonight and always, turn your worries into prayers and have so much faith. Because God will do the saving, the delivering, the protecting, ya know, the big dog stuff, and the only thing required of us is to maintain our relationship with Him. For the trillionth time, so, freaking, cool. I hope that I was able to break down my favorite verse for you in a way that you can explain to your people as well. After all, like I love to do over here, tell all you people who tell your people so we can do that whole world changing thing one person at a time. Do you have a favorite verse or quote that you turn to? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email if you do, I am always down to chat 🙂

Until next time, all my love, xoxo, Ally

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