Realistic Resolutions for the New Year

New Years resolutions can be hard to keep, especially if they’re major life changes or something you have to work hard to maintain. Aside from the fact that it takes a minimum of 21 days to break a habit, such as going to the gym instead of binge watching Netflix, the added pressure of reaching your goal can be daunting which makes it harder to focus on the desired results. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite yet simple ways to ensure you’ll have a fabulous year in 2018!

Drink more water. This sounds like an easy task but even if you’re just sitting around the house, your body requires roughly 64 ounces of water each day! How funny is it that we can drink several glasses of champagne in one sitting but the thought of drinking our daily required amount of water feels hard! I love water and always have so for those of you who find it difficult to drink enough, I suggest investing in a fun water bottle like a S’well or a bottle that encourages you to want to drink more water. Also, take note of how many ounces are in the bottle of your choice and make a mental note of how many bottles of water you need to drink to hit your goal. It won’t seem as horrific as drinking eight, 8 oz glasses of water each day.

Stretch more. How silly does that sound? “My New Years Resolution is to stretch more” … but I’m serious! Take some extra time in the morning, literally 2 additional minutes, to stretch your body. Wake your body up the natural way instead of running for the  nespresso machine in your kitchen. Now, I’m not saying to stop drinking your favorite lattes but you will notice a difference in your energy level first thing in the morning simply from stretching your body.

Sign up for a new workout class. Workout classes are 100% different than casually going to the gym because with a workout class you’re held accountable to be there or you’ll be fined. I don’t know about you but I’m not about paying money for something I didn’t do. So, sign up for a spin class or a TRX class or even just a beginners yoga class. Do something you wouldn’t normally do! You’ll probably really enjoy the challenge.

Practice daily self affirmation. Tell yourself each day through writing or by speaking that you deserve to have a great day! Tell yourself that you’re a boss ass b*tch and remind yourself that you deserve that raise. Tell yourself that you’re going to do a great job today. At the end of the day, reflect on what happened. Did you meet your goals? Did you lose hope in your words of affirmation? If so, what can you do better tomorrow? Live your best life!

Try something new at least one time each month. So, this was a resolution I came up with for myself a few years ago. At the time, I had never been on an airplane, I had never been out of the country, etc … and I was itching for new experiences. During the year I flew across the country to visit one of my best friends, I went to Canada for the first time (my friendly neighbor to the east), and at the end of the year I had at least 12 new things I did that year. It was absolutely incredible to reflect on the memories I made, the laughs I shared, and the challenges I had. Each month set a goal to do or try something new to you and when you accomplish it, write it down either in your notes on your phone or physically on paper. Even if you didn’t like what you tried, you still pushed yourself to do something new!

Meatless Day. Pick a day of the week and go meatless. I’m not here to preach to you about veganism or vegetarianism but I am here to say that I really monitor my animal product consumption for my own health reasons. I’ll still eat a cheeseburger and love every second of if but I’ll always have multiple days per week where I go completely meatless. If you’re skeptical, feel free to reach out! I have a ton of self-created vegetarian recipes that I’d love to share with you. Who knows, you might actually prefer the vegetarian option to the option made with meat. Plus, this can be your “something new” to try for the month!

I hope you celebrate the New Year and have the most amazing time with friends or family. If you’re watching the ball drop in your jammies on the couch or if you’re decked out in sequins at a VIP party popping champagne at midnight, I wish you the best start to 2018!

xx, Kaitlyn

2017: “The Worst Year Ever”

Before I start, I want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for sticking around and reading my content. Thank you for following my ever-growing Instagram account. Thank you for supporting my brand, Collectively Kaitlyn. I work so hard to produce the type of content you guys like reading and seeing and the type of content I am proud to display. Now, this blog post is going to be completely different. I won’t be talking about fashion, lifestyle tips, or crazy deals you need to snag. Instead, I’ll be talking about my year in review. What happened, where I went, what I did, and how I changed. So, keep reading if you’re interested and I hope by the end of this post you feel inspired to be your best self in 2018.


It’s hard to open up about your personal life on the internet, like, you have thousands of eyes judging you all at once, but, when you have a platform and a voice that you can use to help someone else, you need to use it. 2017 was amazing… in some aspects. I was promoted within my company, I traveled out of the country to the beautiful city of Toronto, I traveled to so many wonderful cities in the USA, a handful of my favorite friends got married, another handful got engaged, I had the opportunity to work with SO many absolutely awesome brands, I got to celebrate the many successes of friends and family, etc…

I felt alone. I felt numb. I felt nothing. 

Rewind to give you a very short, very quick, little background story. My entire life I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression to an extent I just never knew it. It was always manageable or I always had so much going on in my life that I could push the anxiety away and completely forget about the emotions I felt. In 2016, I graduated college, after 6 years. I left a job I had loved for over 5 years. I became an alumni of my sorority. I went from working 9-5 in an office to working from home. I moved into a new house. Everything in my life was changing. I began to feel extremely withdrawn, sad … constantly sad, I stopped going to the gym which was always a positive outlet for me, I would cry for hours on end in my dark bedroom by myself completely unable to move. In late 2016, my depression and anxiety reached an all time high. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t even breathe most days. I wrote several letters to loved ones explaining why I simply couldn’t live my life anymore. I wanted to leave, leave all of the positive things I had surrounding me. I wanted nothing more than to crawl into a shell and never come out. The end of 2016 came and I felt like I had nothing to show for it. The anxiety was overpowering everything I tried to do all while taking everything I did have away from me. The depression was so severe I couldn’t be trusted to be alone. I felt like my life was completely unwrapping before my eyes and I had no control over it.

Fast forward to February 2017 – I was finally referred to a therapist who was willing to help me through all I had been dealing with on my own without prescribing medication to me. After months of talk therapy, I “graduated” from mark to severe to extreme in all categories (anxiety, depression, and panic disorder). My therapist told me she could no longer help me alone and that I needed to see a psychiatrist in tandem to meeting with her.

My heart sank into the ground.

I never wanted to be medicated. I had heard the horror stories of people gaining weight, becoming addicted, etc … and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of that. However, I went along with her recommendation. In August 2017, shortly after my 25th birthday, I met with a psychiatrist and was prescribed a medication to help me work through my feelings and to feel grounded. Against my will, I knew I needed this type of help. I knew I had let things go on for so long untreated that I needed to correct the imbalance happening within me. I’ve never been more thankful. I’m not “cured” and I may never be, but I can function like a normal human. I’m myself, actually, I’m better than I have been in a long time. The road is still rough and I’m not negligent to that but I can say that the view from where I am compared to where I was is magnificent.


2017 was a year of growth. I became dedicated to Collectively Kaitlyn and my passion for blogging was found once again. I found myself and I found something that makes me happy, creating content. I grew within my role at my company, even received another promotion! I nurtured true friendships and let go of friendships that no longer served me. I took time to be selfish and put myself first. I traveled, I experienced new things, and I tried to pick up new hobbies. I became friends with unexpected individuals both in person and via Instagram. I had my life touched by so many of you through kind words and encouraging comments. I’ve made connections with some of my favorite brands and public figures through my brand and I cannot express how eternally grateful I am for those opportunities.

2017 might have been hard but it most certainly wasn’t the worst year ever. In 2018, my goal is to continue to become the best version of myself that I possibly can be. I want to continue growing my brand, working hard to produce quality content, work with more brands I admire, excel in my career, put my mental health as a priority, and use my platform to help others who may also be struggling.

Wishing you the absolute best end to 2017 and the most amazing start in 2018! I have a blog post launching this weekend about “realistic resolutions” to have in the new year so be on the look out for that one.

Cheers to you and yours!

xx, Kaitlyn

Gift Guide #1: Self-love

Happy December 1st! Can you believe that December 2017 is already here? Like, I’m still trying to get over the fact that 2005 was literally 12 years ago (who’s with me on that?). So, to welcome December with open arms, I’m kicking off the month with a series of themed gift guides for those special people in your life.

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Self-love is something that I take very seriously. I think it’s so important to take time out of each day to do something that fills you with joy, no matter what it is. Too often we forget to love ourselves first, we forget that we’re the only version of us that we’ll ever have. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, it’s critical to fill our souls with good energy. There are many ways to show yourself some good old self-love, I personally like to take time out of each day to decompress from the day and calm my mind. The best part is that, because there are so many ways to relax your body and mind, you’ll never have to fall into a stagnant routine.

One of the best ways to completely relax is to make a date with your favorite, local spa. I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with Mojo Spa in Wicker Park to bring some of the best deals of the holiday season to my readers. Mojo prides itself on their handmade soaps, skincare, and cosmetics that are made in small batches with good-for-you ingredients and formed into fun, creative designs! This Chicago-based beauty company has shared their ideals of merging beauty and comfort with celebrity fans and customers all over the globe. For over ten years they have been manufacturing, developing, and testing their own recipes! I’m all about handmade products that are made with fresh ingredients which makes this collaboration with Mojo a perfect fit!

I received my very own pumpkin pie bath soap, which is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The time, dedication, and attention to detail is just phenomenal! The best part about this soap is that it has anti-inflammatory benefits and is packed full of antioxidants.

With the holiday season in full swing, Mojo has launched their special Golden Ticket offer with any $200 in-store or online product purchase! A Golden Ticket could be anything from a $25 signature mani/pedi to 30% off products. This offer is only valid until December 24th so jump on this opportunity while you can!

If you’re a Chicagoland local, you can book a nail appointment at Mojo or stop by the store to pick up a few of their products. Gift sets are available for any occasion but especially for the holidays and at such reasonable price points. If you’re not local, no worries! They ship worldwide!

I am so excited to continue this gift guide series and I hope you are too! Other guides you should be on the look-out for include a gift guide for her, a gift guide for him, and a gift guide for the person who has everything! Happy Holidays!

xx, Kaitlyn

 

Black Friday Steals and Deals

When you think of Black Friday, some words that come to your mind are probably “chaotic” or “crazy, but I’m here to help you navigate some of the best deals you can score this year! Personally, I’m a huge fan of Black Friday. I love the thrill of finding deals, saving money, and buying gifts for others (… and myself, of course)! When I’m Black Friday shopping there are a few places I always, always have to hit up because the deals are usually unreal. I’m going to walk you through three places I know I’ll be headed this Friday.

One of the first places I head to is always Target. Target is amazing all year long, but, Target always has the best Black Friday deals. I’ve compiled a list of some of the items I’m most excited to get my hands on for friends and family this year.

Fitbit Charge 2 – $99.95 which is a savings of $50

Beats Studio2 Wireless headphones – $159.99 which is a savings of $220

iRobot Roomba 614 robotic vacuum – $199.99 which is a savings of $100

Ninja Professional kitchen system – $99.99 which is a savings of $100

Threshold fuzzy blankets – $18 which is a savings of $21.99

Google Home – $79 which is a savings of $50


*** I have a $300 Target giftcard giveaway live on my Instagram right now (ending 11/22/17). Feel free to enter here! ***

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The next store I always head to is Express. I typically stray away from Express just based on the price for the quality but Express always runs a 50% off everything deal during Black Friday. This is a great time to stock up on sweaters and other layering pieces! Here are some of my favorite items included in the sale!

Extreme Circle Hem Cowl Neck Sweater – $34.95 normally $69.90

Editor Pick Cold Shoulder Sweater – $29.95 normally $59.90

Off The Shoulder Balloon Sleeve Sweater Dress – $34.95 normally $69.90

(Minus The) Leather Jacket – $64 normally $128


I’m all about being able to buy gifts for friends that I know they’ll love and Sephora is always on the top of my go-to list, especially during Black Friday. I can find so many small add-ons to gifts that are affordable and practical. A lot of the best deals at Sephora can be found online or on their app which is where I head to avoid crowds and be an efficient shopper. Here are some of the items in my shopping cart!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – $15 normally $42

Benefit Bestseller Blowout – $15 normally $43

Bite Beauty Mini Multistick Duo – $15 normally $20


Are you Black Friday shopping? What are some stores on your go-to list? Let me know in the comments.

xx, Kaitlyn

 

Rooftop Season

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Rooftop bar season is possibly my favorite time of the year, especially in Chicago. With so many unique, fun rooftops to choose from it’s often hard to pick just one! I’m here to give you in the inside scoop on one of the best I’ve been to. I classify best based on price of drinks, atmosphere, and view. Raised, one of my favorite rooftops in Chicago, is located just south of River North in The Loop district right on the river. As you can imagine, the views are absolutely killer!

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Raised has an upbeat, urban vibe complete with some of the friendliest mixologists around. One of the best things about this place is that there is an indoor section too so you can enjoy Raised all year long! Personally, I feel like this place is a hidden gem in the rooftop bar scene because, while steadily busy, it’s not overly packed like some locations are. Okay, let’s talk about the goods, the cocktail menu. Every signature cocktail on their menu creates a special euphoric experience hand-crafted for patrons to enjoy in good company. They don’t pay me to say this, I swear. My favorite is called the Jenever which is a beautiful blend of lavender, strawberries, lemon, and Bombay Sapphire – SO good!

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Next time you’re in the windy city make sure this place is on your list of go-to’s. Go get yourself a Jenever, an order of Truffle Frites (or any type of French Fries on their menu tbh), and grab a seat overlooking the Chicago skyline. Trust me, you’ll thank me later! Check out their Instagram page for more stellar views and pretty drinks (@RaisedBarChicago)!

What’s your favorite rooftop bar? 

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p.s. slightly embarrassed, slightly proud – this is me actually gawking at an order of the truffle fries I mentioned

xx, Kaitlyn