Category Archives: Lifestyle

7 Stages of Grief as a Grad Student

  1. Shock & Denial: “This prof is such an unreasonable prick for assigning a 30-page group paper and 20-minute group presentation.  Oh well, it probably won’t be too hard.” (7 weeks before due date)
  2. Pain & Guilt: “I should probably start thinking about that assignment soon.” (5 weeks before due date)
  3. Anger & Bargaining: “Fuck this classist education system – I shouldn’t have to get a Master’s to prove I am capable!  If I work on this shit for one hour a day for the next week, I can still finish it early…” (2 weeks before due date)
  4. Depression: “I hate group projects!  My employer is a clear example that executives don’t collaborate in real life.  Why did I even decide to get an MBA?  How the fuck did I get accepted into the program?  I’m such a stupid, stupid bitch.  I should have bought a Birkin instead.” (1 week before due date)
  5. The Upward Turn [Up]: “OMG, I selected a topic and wrote the title page!  I deserve a fun weekend. TURN UP.” (3 days before due date)
  6. Reconstruction & Working Through: “I am almost finished and it’s only 11:20 pm!  Most of my friends aren’t even done yet, so I’m in good shape.” (Night before due date)

6b. “I just want to cry myself to sleep.  Why did I waste so much time writing a blog post that wasn’t even that funny or original?  Maybe I should ask for an extension.  Maybe I can call in sick tomorrow to work on this.” (4am, 30 mg of adderall and 4 cups of coffee later)

7. Acceptance & Hope: “Meh, that wasn’t my best work, but at least I’ll pass.  Nobody cares about GPA anyways.  & at least BAE loves me and has revenue potential to support my dumb ass.”  (3 hours before submissions are closed)

8 more weeks until I graduate and get promoted to SVP of Analytics!… Right?

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Artificial Happiness

I chose the below TED Talk to complete an assignment for my business ethics class.  It really resonated with me – while I’m not the most materialistic person out there, I do place more value than most people do in frivolous things.  For example, when I lost my iPhone in Mexico, instead of just buying an inexpensive temporary phone, I paid for a new iPhone 5S at retail.  It is kind of ridiculous, but I really have gotten a lot better, I promise!

I particularly have a problem with spending ridiculous amounts of money on clothes.  A few weeks ago, a good friend of Brian’s mentioned that he bought everything from Costco, including all of his clothes.  I didn’t mean to react in a way that implied a distaste for his choice in fashion, but he could tell by my expression that I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of shopping for clothes at Costco.  As an experiment, he brought two shirts out to me and told me to pick out the one that was from Costco.  After I looked at them both closely, examining the material and the buttons carefully, I made a choice and he proudly said, “They’re both from Costco.”

After this experience, I thought hard about how I came to be such a superficial brat.  I mean, I work hard for my money, and I felt that I deserved to “treat myself”.  But I was definitely going over the top: I realized I was paying $150 minimum every six weeks for a haircut.  I was wearing $250 shoes that gave me the same amount of utility as another $15 pair I had at home.  But other than the price I’m paying for these silly things, what else am I getting?

Everyday, I receive at least one compliment on my hair.  I’m not even kidding – after I started going to Heather at Image Studios, people have constantly told me that my hair is always perfect and that I have a beautiful, sophisticated, classic look.  The same thing happens with my shoes – many people start conversations by just talking about my shoes and how they wish they could buy some.  But is this really all that I’m spending so much money for?  Why do I care so much… Life isn’t a damn competition!  I guess just wearing designer made me feel better about myself.  I just felt happier knowing that I was wearing an outfit worth over $1,000, even if no one else could tell.

My boyfriend is the exact opposite of me.  He pays $10 for his haircuts, and his favorite pair of boat shoes only costed him $15.  He would not be able to tell if I were wearing G-Star denim or Forever 21 denim, or if I were wearing Tory Burch perfume or a Victoria’s Secret fragrance.

Luckily, this attribute kind of rubbed off on me.  And guess what happened?  I bought a coral maxi dress from Amazon.com for $28 to wear to a wedding.  And I got more compliments on that dress than I ever have on my $300 dress from Club Monaco.

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This is such a simple concept for many people to understand, but for some reason I struggled with it.  Paying more for my clothes seriously made me happy – I just felt better wearing clothes I knew were made in America, or that were made of real silk.  But seeing that I was able to spend a fraction that I would normally spend on a dress I’d wear to a WEDDING of all places, and still feel just as pretty as I would in a more expensive dress, really opened my eyes, and advancing my resolve to overcome my addiction to unnecessary spending.

Following is the TED talk where Benjamin Wallace walks through The Price of Happiness.  It’s a great presentation, and it really puts the concept of conspicuous consumption into perspective. 🙂

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Love Defined.

Until today, I have never before heard such a beautiful definition of love. I cried.

“You said that the wonderful thing about falling in love is that you learn everything about that person, and so quickly. And if it’s true love then you start to see yourself through their eyes and it brings out the best in you. And it’s almost as if you’re falling in love with yourself.”

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The Art of Happiness

This year has been so impactful on my overall outlook on life, understanding of love, & definition of success.

One of the things I wish I could change about myself is how I’m constantly over analyzing and trying to make sense of things. I wish I could just roll with the punches, take things one step at a time, and be happy with what I have. Instead, I’m always trying to think in the long-term, yet a lot of the choices I end up making yield short-term returns.

I’m good at a lot of things, but one of the things I’m really bad at is taking charge of my own happiness. I think it’s because finding happiness isn’t a skill – it’s an art. It takes real creativity to see the beauty in everything and to realize the positive side to any situation. If everyone thought logically, no one would be completely content. We are all going to have goals – even once you reach a certain point, you’ll still want more. There will always be something missing. The important part is that you realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Being happy is a choice, not something that comes naturally.

The other day, a friend of mine told me something really sweet.  She said:

“Gosh Kat, you’ve worked hard as long as I’ve known you, and now you have the perfect life.  I’m so glad to see that you have a sexy, well-paying job, good relationships with your friends, and now you have the perfect boyfriend – you have everything you’ve always wanted.  You inspire me to get my act together and work toward my dreams.”

This felt really good to hear.

But while I know I am in a great place, and I have a lot to be thankful for, my life is not a fairy tale.  I may project it to be perfect, but it isn’t, because I’m not perfect either.  I’ve made plenty of selfish mistakes, hurt dozens of people, and spend a good two minutes every single day regretting some things I can no longer change – and it’s probably safe to say that I’m still paying the price for those decisions.  I just don’t share how broken I truly am because I think it’s important to always stay as positive as you can be.

Behind everyone’s success story is an equally unglamorous one.  Nothing in this world is free – the most rewarding aspects of life require lots of hard work, discipline and commitment.  The two people in a happy couple went through a lot of struggle, past failed relationships, and heartbreak to get to the point of stability and understanding where they are.  An athlete may have been born with natural talent, but also needed to make a lot of sacrifices in order to train to the level of skill they are now.  The CEO of a prosperous company could have possibly led multiple failed start-ups before finally creating something that could compete in the market.

My point is, life is life.  Realize that some people get dealt better cards than others in this game of life, but ultimately it still takes a lot of strategy, skill, and commitment to facilitate the best outcome for yourself.  You’ll have to make trade-offs and give up a lot of things you love, but just keep telling yourself that in the end it’ll be worth it.  You’ll make decisions that you’ll regret, but it’s important to accept that what’s done is done, and move on.  You’ll have times when you feel like a complete failure, but you also have to realize your self-worth and look at how much you have accomplished.

I think the people who are successful and happy are the ones who are just as proud of their accomplishments as they are of surviving hell and back to get there.  It’s important to stay humble, and remember where you came from – everyone is working as hard as you are to create their happy ending, and the degree to which you are able to accomplish your goals depends on your personal drive combined with your family and friends who make up your support system, and sometimes just pure luck.  Opportunities don’t always just fall into your lap, but when they do, don’t take them for granted.

Consistent with all my other posts, my thoughts are all over the place…  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m thankful for every aspect of my life.  I wouldn’t undo any of the mistakes I’ve made over the last couple of years, and I wouldn’t take back any of the challenging times when I felt defeated, because if none of it happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  But I also wouldn’t wish the pain I felt on anyone else… Some people, like myself, just need to learn everything the hard way.

And at this point, I think I’m the best person I ever was because of it all.  I’m still working toward building my own happily ever after – I may not deserve it yet, and it’ll take me a lot more work to achieve than all the other good people out there.  But I’ll get there, because I know I’m capable of getting anything I want.  I think that’s something to be proud of. 🙂

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Self Pep-Talk

In spite of people always telling me that I’ve already accomplished so much for my age, there are often times when I reflect on the last couple of years of my life and can’t help but feel like I could have worked harder, and I could have done more.  What if I went straight into graduate school instead of decided to work?  What if I took a step back into an administrative position in DC, but was able to take two steps forward into the job in politics I really wanted?

And then I snap myself out of it.  There’s no point in questioning the things I can no longer change – I need to dedicate my energy to the things that are under my control.  I worked pretty damn hard to get to where I am now.  Even though I’m not where I want to be, I’m thankful I’m no longer where I used to be… and I know I’ll ultimately succeed in attaining everything I want as long as I continue to work hard, learn and grow.  I know I have so much potential to become anyone I want to be, but I don’t just want it to be potential – I actually want to become that person who inspires others.

Did you know it takes an oyster 5 years just to create a medium-sized pearl?  Remember, the best things are worth the wait.  Don’t rush the process, practice patience, and do not take short cuts.  There is no end to this lifestyle.  Just enjoy it and keep going.  Leverage your strengths, learn from your failures, and never give up.  Continue to identify your weaknesses and set goals on how you’re going to overcome them.  Changes will take effect because you are creating your own perfect pearl.

You can live a challenging, purpose-filled life in pursuit of your dreams or you can relax, sit back and watch others pursue theirs.  Every decision we make brings us one step closer or further from our purpose – the choice is yours.  “The journey won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.”

#cantstopwontstop

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost, 1920

Au Revoir, SLC Mayor’s Office!

Today is my last day at Mayor Ralph Becker’s office. It definitely feels bittersweet – I’m going to miss walking to this beautiful building everyday and all the wonderful people I have the opportunity of working with, but I’m also ready for a new adventure.

It was really rough for me when I started here – I was forced to abandon my fabulous, wine & dine, sophisticated young professional lifestyle in DC, and come home to dull, boring old Utah. I was comparing every aspect of my experience here to what I had in DC, and it really was so hard for me to accept that this would be my life for the next four months.

There are two major things I’m taking away from this internship –

1.) I most likely do NOT see myself working in city government. The issues are just not something that interest me, and working in city government doesn’t really require having much of an opinion, really. The work that needs to be done at the city level needs to be done regardless of if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. There were times when I was super excited about my work here, including when the legislature was in session and working on the Olympic Exploratory Committee, but for the most part, the regular day-to-day business of city government doesn’t interest me all that much. In other words – I want to work in policy that requires stomping-ass on Republicans, not work that needs to be done anyway. The work the city government is VERY important – it’s just not my cup of tea, and I am appreciative of those who work to keep our communities safe, efficient and livable.

2.) On the other hand, my experience here made me realize that Small Lake City isn’t all that bad – it’s a small city, so it’s really easy to network. It’s ESPECIALLY easy to network because we have an even smaller community of Democrats. It hasn’t necessarily found me a good-paying job, but there are plenty of opportunities that I just need to work for. Getting to know the political community and attending democratic functions has made me realize that I would absolutely love to work in Utah Politics someday – and that I want my future office to be at the very top of the Chase Building downtown. Most beautiful view of the mountains I’ve ever seen! Maybe staying in Utah isn’t such a bad choice after all.

DC will always be my happy place, but Utah will always be my home.

I’m so glad to have had this rewarding opportunity to make a difference in my community, and I’m ready for my next adventure – Onward and upward!

Healthy Habits & Tips

I just wanted to stray away from the typical subjects I write about to share some of the most useful eating and lifestyle tips I’ve come across over the last few weeks. I’ve done a pretty good job of consistently hitting the gym and doing cardio for about 40 minutes a day, but I’ve noticed that I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight over the past 2 months – if anything, I’ve tightened up a bit, but I still have a lot of work to do. Now, I know I’m not ginormous, but I guess I’m just stressing about my weight especially because: 1) I have never weighed this much in my life, and 2) None of my jeans fit. None of them! I’d be happy just going back to my original size.

I’m starting to learn that diet is a major contributor to weight loss – Clearly, I’m not a pro. But I just wanted to share some of the tips I’ve learned over the last several weeks. Although I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight, I feel better mentally and I can feel changes in my body. Hopefully I start to notice BIG physical changes soon!

1.Drink a glass of cold water every hour. Sometimes I feel hungry, but my body is just dehydrated. Drinking enough water will also make you feel full and less tempted to snack. But if you’re still hungry after 10 minutes, grab something to eat and the water will aid digestion and you’ll absorb less fat from the food you eat. It’s also good to drink cold water because your body will burn calories just to get the water to a normal temperature to digest.

2. Always, always eat breakfast. After going a whole night without sleeping, your body will start to consume muscle through a process called ketosis if you don’t grab something to eat first thing in the morning.

3. Sleep at least six hours a night. If you don’t sleep at least six hours, your metabolism will decrease to maintain your energy level.

4. Have six small meals a day. Try not to have portions that are bigger than a cup. Your stomach will expand and then you’ll get even hungrier! Use smaller plates if you need to. This will also stimulate your metabolism.

5. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and drink water in between bites. It takes your body 20 minutes to send signals to your brain that indicate that you are full. To avoid overeating, eat slowly so you’ll feel full quicker.

6. Celery actually burns calories. This is because celery holds ZERO calories. Eat a stalk of it every hour, and it will increase your metabolism.

7. Supplements. Not everyone needs them, but I felt like I needed a few. The ones I take daily are:

– 1260 mg of Green Tea. The antioxidants in green tea provide energy, increase the metabolism and work as a detox. I used this to maintain my energy level, and it’s proven so far to be a viable substitute to coffee – I’ve actually been coffee-free for two months!

– 4000 mg of CLA. I honestly am not 100% positive in how this works, but to my limited knowledge, it’s supposed to enhance the activity of the enzymes that extract energy from fat. In other words, it aids in reducing fat mass. Or something like that… I just thought that I would try it, since it was cheap enough – only $9 for a bottle.

– 3000 mg of Glucosamine & Chondroitin. Since I’ve been doing a lot of cardio, my knees have been giving me trouble – glucosamine and chondroitin are essential components of what make up ligaments, tendons and cartilage, as well as lubricate the joints.

– Multi-Vitamins. We should all know what those are!

8. Make sure to shock your body. I was told that low resistance and high speeds was the way to burn fat when I do cardio. The problem is that I felt significant changes in my body when I started in the beginning, but just like those thick people you see running marathons, my body ended up getting used to the routine and I started to plateau. Now I’ve started to mix it up – different programs on the elliptical, biking, the stairmaster, etc.

9. Detox. It’s okay to reward yourself with a little treat every once in a while, but if you end up going a little overboard, remember to detox! Flood your system with healthy antioxidants by eating lots of fiber, fruits and vegetables for a couple of days.

10. Make cuts in calories and fat wherever you can. By this, I mean going from 2% milk to 1% or skim. Or going from white bread to whole wheat. Putting tuna and chicken in your sandwiches instead of ham or steak. Putting less dressing on your salad. Drinking water instead of anything else. Giving up junk food in its entirety, and cutting down on or eliminating your coffee intake – I did it, and so can you! These little things CAN and WILL make a difference.

11. Be more active where you can. This sort of parallels to the last tip, but in respect to physical activity. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Do a couple sets of crunches and stretch before bed. Walk instead of drive to close destinations. These little things will make a difference too!

12. Stay motivated. I often feel discouraged because my old jeans still don’t fit the way I wanted to, or I don’t look the same in pictures as I did a year ago. But I just need to keep at it. Nothing I want will come overnight. I need to keep working hard, and it’ll pay off in time.

As I mentioned, I am NOT a professional, nor have I taken any nutrition classes or anything like that. These are tips I’ve consolidated over the course of reading numerous health articles and exploring posts on Pinterest (Yeah, yeah I promise I work hard at the Mayor’s Office – they just don’t keep me busy!) I found these tips useful, so I hope you do too! Just remember to believe in yourself, and know you can do it!

Reflection: One Year After Graduation

It’s so exciting to see my closest friends get ready to graduate this week. I have such great confidence that whatever their next steps they plan to take are, they will be on their way to do big things.

Exactly a year ago today, I was getting ready to take my last final exams – they were on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Being the procrastinator that I am, I ended up going without sleep all three days because there was just so much material that I had to retain. Finishing my last final felt so weird – I felt happy and relieved to be officially finished with my undergrad, but I also felt slightly sad that the experience was over. I also felt a little freaked out because I wasn’t completely certain about what the future would bring. Will I find a job? Will I get to move out of my parents’ house and buy a new car like I’ve planned? Will I still see my friends? After I had that moment of disorientation, my boyfriend picked me up from class – the sun was down, but it was a warm spring night, and he took me out for pizza to celebrate.

A year later, I’m not at all where I expected to be – working 60+ hours a week, still working for free (but I like to call it pro bono), having trouble maintaining my weight due to stress (I’ve gained 15 pounds and counting), and still driving the same car I’ve had since high school, and the maintenance of which is the source of a large part of my depression and financial instability. It’s not terrible, but it is what it is.

I know I won’t land my dream job overnight. I know it’s going to take plenty of hard work, sweat and tears, and although I feel like the sweat and tears I’ve shed over the past year are more than enough to end the drought here in Utah, I just need to keep on grinding. At times, I find myself blaming my inability to land a job on the nature of the economy or the nature of being a Democrat (the people’s party has no money!), but I realize that nothing worth wanting will come easy. My “problem” is that I want to stay in politics and have a job in what I love doing. If I wanted to take a job for money, I would’ve taken that PAC Manager position I was offered in DC, but I probably would have been MORE miserable since it was for a Republican PAC. Either that, or I would have defected to the dark side and lost my soul, conscience and ability to think rationally.

Regardless, I have so much confidence for my friends and I am so proud of them for all they’ve accomplished. Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment and an opportunity that a lot of people don’t have. I’m excited to see what the future brings for us and I’m optimistic that we’ll all be where we want to be someday – we just need to keep on working harder than everyone else.

My boyfriend helped take photos for Candice’s graduation announcements – So so SO proud of her!

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