So, for my first post of the New Year, I decided that I wanted to share a bit about my goals for this year.

I’m that sappy kind of person who always makes a solid resolution list every single time the New Year rolls around. Actually, most of my resolutions I stick to. A few years back, I made a “read a book a week resolution”, and that actually happened. I’ve made personal, professional, and academic resolutions in years past, and stuck to all of them. So, when 2017 rolled around, after some thought, I surprised myself and decided not to make any resolutions whatsoever.

Isn’t that a bit strange, you might think? Well, for me, yes it very much is. While very uncharacteristic, I actually am so excited about this year. I’m jumping into this year without expectations or standards. To be quite honest, I want this year to teach me whatever I’m supposed to learn, not just what I decide on the first day of the year that I need to learn. I’m letting go of the feelings of perfectionism that come alongside those resolutions that I make every year and opening up my life to a little bit more simplicity.

Now, I think goals are amazing and they are something that each and every one of us need in our lives to motivate us towards bigger and better things. This year however, I’m not going to have an overall goal though. Neither do I have a fancy “word of the year” as I’ve chosen in years past (aka “brave” circa 2015 or “spontaneous” circa 2016).

Instead, I’m taking this year one day at a time. If you’ve come to my blog today to find a post about my future resolutions, this isn’t a post all about my goals for the future. While I do most definitely have those, I also want to be clear that this year, I’m wanting to live a bit more simply, and let whatever needs to change me, change me.

I don’t know about you, but after seeing all kinds of lofty New Year’s resolutions scattered about all of my social media, it left me feeling anything but inspired. For some reason, all of these resolutions left me feeling a bit anxious and not good enough. There is so much freedom that comes with just being gentle with yourself, and letting things happen just the way they’re supposed to…

Each and every year, January 1st brings with it an opportunity to start new and fresh. That is what I’m aiming to do, but I sure as heck don’t have everything figured out. So, instead of stressing that I don’t in fact have it all together to start out the new year, I already am feeling much more relaxed due to the fact I haven’t blown my resolution yet.

All this being said, I still am a fan of resolutions and goals, this was just a much needed resolution vacation for me. While I am on this hiatus from lofty resolutions, I still value and understand their importance. It’s just not something I’ll be doing this year.

I’m so grateful for each one of you and how incredible it has been to have you all follow me on my blogging journey. I’m wishing you a wonderful 2017.

Much love,

Olivia

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Hey friends!

As I sit here typing this, I am all but ready to dash out of my apartment in my college town and head home for Thanksgiving. Just kidding. There’s still about a week more until I can officially head home, but my mind is so incredibly focused on thankfulness and how grateful I am (and yes, the Thanksgiving turkey, haha!) that I can hardly contain it.

That being said, I wanted to share a bit about why I’m filled with so much gratitude right now…and to finally tell you about my secret project that I was working on a while back in Chicago.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation to come to Chicago, one of my most favorite cities in the world, for an exciting collaboration to go behind the scenes at the Kraft Heinz Company Foundation. When I learned about the Foundation’s efforts to eliminate world hunger and malnutrition, it was such an easy choice to jump on board!

I was invited to spend a day helping pack meals that would get sent around the world. The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation wanted to create a momentum of giving back within their company, so they host meal packing events like these to spread the word about their mission of ending hunger throughout all realms of the company.

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It was so wonderful to see the KHCF do something so different than simply just writing a check. As a group, hundreds of employees signed up to work different shifts during the day, in order to package the meals that would then get shipped all over the world.

In these bags, a small (but mighty) packet of micronutrients is included. This is sprinkled on the food that’s included in the package in order to combat malnutrition. These packets were filled with all the healthy essentials that are so important for us to intake, but so often aren’t included in the types of meals that those living in poverty eat regularly.

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Throughout the entire process of packaging meals alongside so many other people, the staggering statistics of how many millions of people are living around the world in hunger really sunk in. Being part of such a movement, I realized that the things I saw firsthand while living in Guatemala could now be helped. When I spent the summer living in Guatemala before I started college, I saw people whose entire meal planning process depended on how much they made selling their wares in the market that day.

There were plenty of people in Guatemala who wouldn’t be able to afford meals after a slow day at work, and that has always stuck with me and deeply impacted me by witnessing that. This campaign really touched me because I was given a tangible way to help people around the world, combatting hunger and malnutrition.

I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience as well as to be introduced to some of the sweetest and most genuine ladies EVER. The opportunity to share this experience with several other college ladies who blog was something that I don’t take for granted. It was so awesome to get to be included in this time of helping others and see Chicago all at once with some women whom I now get to call some of the most inspiring girl bosses I know.

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Now I want to hear from you. What are you grateful for this fall? I want to challenge you to take that overwhelming amount of gratitude and do something special for someone else this season. There’s not really much that beats the feeling of helping others, and I want to start a momentum of doing good and giving back. Let’s get in the spirit of Thanksgiving, friends!

Much love,

Olivia

Kraft Heinz paid for my trip to Chicago for the meal packaging event and I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity. 

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For years, I maintained an on-again, off-again relationship with podcasts. I never had the commitment to consistently listen to them. Now that I’ve found a ton of podcasts that I’m ultra-passionate about, I can’t stop listening to them. I’ve given up my Netflix shows in place of listening to podcasts. The best thing about them is that they only require listening, so, for multi-taskers like me, it’s awesome because you can cook, do laundry, clean your room, etc. without being glued to a screen to know what’s going on!

I love listening to a variety of podcasts that cover all kinds of topics, so hopefully one of the ones I share below will jump out and interest you. This month, I decided to take the budget I have for myself a lot more seriously, so I cut out my monthly Spotify subscription. It was definitely a lot harder than I expected, because I realized how much I use the app, and what an integral part of my drives it is.

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Podcasts have really come in handy since they are a free alternative, and they can be funny, educational, storytelling, or really any kind of thing you want them to be! Here are my top five picks that I can’t stop listening to ~ simply search any of these names in the iTunes Store and they should pop right up!

1. Women, Work, and Worth

This podcast has been so influential in my life the last few months that I’ve been giving it a listen. Mavenly + Co. is such a great resource for young professionals and women who want to excel in their careers. Some of the topics that they talk about on the podcast include things like working abroad, starting a business, taking risks, becoming your best self, etc. The list goes on and on, and honestly you will never be wasting your time by giving one of these episodes a listen. They are such an investment into your own self, and the advice and organic conversations that they have on the episodes are so insightful. One of their last episodes a few days ago was really helpful because it talked about deciding whether you want to go to grad school. Since this is a goal of mine for the future, it was so helpful to lay out a plan based on what I learned from the episode!

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2. Accused

Guys. I cannot get enough of this podcast. This 8 episode series produced by the Cincinnati Enquirer has got me hooked. If you listened to Serial and loved that, then you will be absolutely intrigued by Accused. This podcast digs deeper into a 1978 cold case around the Miami University campus in Ohio. I was so obsessed with this that I listened to all 8 episodes in a little over a day. That should say something right there, because I have never been one to binge watch or listen to anything. Ever. There is just something about true crime that really gets me. All the books, documentaries, and shows lately I seem to be taking in are related to true crime. Years ago, I wanted to be a forensic nurse and work on crime scenes with trauma victims. Now that I’ve gone a different path, I see this as my outlet for the part of me that’s so highly interested in crime.

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3. CollegeFashionista Office Hours

It might not surprise you to see the CollegeFashionista podcast on this list, since I write for their website. However, I really don’t think I’m biased when I say that this is one of my favorite podcasts out there. Specifically, it’s so me. The podcast interviews a girl boss in the fashion industry who has really stood out as a young entrepreneur or had great success. The podcasts are short, usually under 15 minutes, so I can knock out an episode in the time it takes me to drive to campus and find a parking spot. If you’re looking for a quick dose of inspiration, knowledge, and usually humor, this should be your go-to listen.

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4. The Lively Show

This is my newest podcast discovery, thanks to the recommendation of my boss. The entire reason this conversation came up was because I was sharing my love for Brené Brown, and then my boss informed me that Brené actually was a guest on Jess’ podcast. In that moment I knew I had to check it out, so I did. Jess incorporates peace, joy, and fulfillment into each one of her podcasts. Whether it’s her talking nearly the entirety of the podcast, or she has someone on that she is interviewing, those three values are always incorporated. Everything she packs into her podcasts is so uplifting and often geared towards entrepreneurial women. I would highly recommend this if you want to finish an episode feeling refreshed and encouraged.

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5. Young House Love Has a Podcast

Young House Love has been one of my favorite websites for a while, but it wasn’t until later this summer when I realized they had a podcast. That made me love them all the more! Sometimes, you find people that you love on one outlet, but when you follow them on another, you realize, ehhh maybe I don’t like them so much after all. The contrary happened with Young House Love. John and Sherry were able to add in humor and cute quips back and forth that don’t necessarily make it into their weekly blog posts. It’s cute to be able to see people’s personalities in ways like through their podcasts. To me, their podcast is the perfect mix of topics. While of course they talk a lot about DIYs and home renovations like their blog focuses on, they also have a great addition of episodes not related to home reno things like “how should bloggers create sponsored posts?”, “why we quit our blog for 12 months” and “design, blogs, and girl bosses”. This podcast also serves as my outlet to dream about the future and what owning an apartment or a home will be like, with the ability to do all kinds of amazing DIY projects!

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Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorite ones? I’m constantly looking for more because I want to constantly be learning and taking in more information. Any recommendations you might have for me are welcomed in the comments below! Thanks!

Have a great week!

Olivia

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With midterms looming around the corner, my stress is at an all-time high level right now. I’m taking 20 credit hours of classes, holding two internships, working on – campus, and actively participating in a multitude of activities around campus. This is a fun semester full of friends and new things, but it’s also a very stressful one. I’m also currently getting over a sinus infection and bronchitis, so it’s definitely time for me to play catch-up now for some of the classes I missed this last week.

Since there is a lot of stress happening, I would guess you’re going through something similar this semester. It’s so easy for any one of us to get stressed out, so I wanted to share some of the things that help me stay calm! So, grab a cup of coffee, put on some good music, and take a read at some of my favorite calming things.

1. Candles.

Oh my goodness, this semester has been a game-changer for me in the candle department. A few weeks into the semester, I was at my small group leader’s house and she lit the best candle I’ve ever smelled. Well, that got me started on my candle craze. I went directly from her house to Target to purchase the first candle I’ve ever had in may life.

We didn’t light candles often growing up, and since candles are banned in the dorms, it’s finally the point in my life where I’m free to light candles as I please. The first candle I bought at Target, I had it burning every minute I was in my room, and it promptly burned in less than a week! I’ve also realized that one of the best places in the world is Marshalls’ candle section, so if I’m ever missing, you can most likely find me there. Candles are the ultimate way that I can get calm quickly ~ if I light all the candles in my room, I can relax so easily! Try this!

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2. Face Mask.

Ugh. I am a total addict to face masks. I love the way my face feels during the whole process of wearing one, and especially after taking it off and feeling how soft my skin is! It’s just the most magical feeling for me! I’ll put on a face mask, jump under the covers of my bed, and binge watch some Netflix, listen to a podcast, or do some reading with Spotify’s Far North Folk playlist softly in the background.

If you need any recommendations, I’m a huge fan of the Freeman Cucumber Peel – Off Mask ~ it’s super soothing and moisturizes my skin so well because it’s full of lots of cucumbers and aloe! There are so many different kinds of masks out there though, so I’m on a journey to try out many more so that I can find the ones that work best for me.

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3. Tea.

Sometimes there is nothing better than making yourself a cup of hot tea and letting all your worries go away. Tea just makes things so much more calm for me, so it’s necessary to remind myself to make tea often. I’ve always been a self-proclaimed coffee addict, but there is just something about ending the night with a cup of tea in hand. While I’ve always made coffee for myself at night, this semester I’ve switched over to a nightly mug of tea, and for some reason it just puts me in a much more relaxed mood before I go to bed.

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4. Super Comfy Clothing.

Guys. Let me speak from experience here. There is nothing more calming to me than throwing on some comfortable clothes when I’m ultra-stressed out. Although I’m all about the fashion normally, there is nothing better than getting in a comfy pair of shorts and a tank top for a night in. Additionally, I plan my outfit for the next day the night before. I like to plan my outfits before I head to bed with the Hanger app and it makes my mornings so simple! Awhile back, I shared how Hanger and my new clothing rack have super simplified my life, so that is just one more element that helps me stay stress-free in the mornings. This way, I can throw on some super cozy clothes at night, jump in bed, and prepare for a restful night’s sleep so that I am all ready to go for morning.

5. Bath Bombs 

My forever go-to to destress have been bath bombs. There are tons of brands out there, but I have always been a fan of the bath bombs from LUSH. One of the main reasons that I love them so much is because they have such an amazing mission statement; ethical, vegan, fair trade, etc…SO many things that I’m all about! My favorite bath bomb to date is Tisty Tosty, because it releases rose petals into your bath ~ I mean really, could it get any more relaxing?

Whether it’s midterms or another stressful thing, just keep in mind that it pays off so much to stay calm during these times. It only makes things worse to

Best of luck + stay calm!

Olivia

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Since being back to school at Mizzou for the semester, I have definitely made my apartment my little cozy space that I always want to come back to after classes. Last year was my sophomore year of college, and I was only in this apartment for the first semester, since I spent second semester studying abroad. After getting back to the U.S., I’ve put a little more work into making this space feel like home. It’s pretty amazing, especially considering I have my own walk-in closet and a beautiful window looking over the woods and trails behind my house.

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Last year, I always did my schoolwork in my bed, which often resulted in me falling asleep while completing important assignments. This semester, I have designated my desk as specifically my work desk versus when I used it solely as a vanity last year. I have been so much more productive with a designated work space, so it has become clear to me that now + going forward, I need to create a workspace that pushes me to get in the zone for studying. I have a calendar, a map, and a Chelcey Tate print above my desk, which each motivate me in their own ways. Typically on a study night, I’ll be listening to Local Natives, burning lots of candles, and trying to be as productive as possible. The problem with this set up is…I like it so much it’s hard to leave! 🙂

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When I was preparing to host my Teen Vogue Back to School party, I needed a clothing rack to hang all the back to school clothes that I was sent. After purchasing this rad garment rack for the event from Walmart for $9(!!!), I thought that’s all I’d be using it for. Then, I brought it into my room and began creating a color coordinated wardrobe to hang on it, and I promptly fell in love with the way it looked.

I love having a walk-in closet, especially because I feel like I can have everything extremely organized, with all the shelves and hanging sections of clothing I have going on. Unfortunately, it also makes me feel a bit claustrophobic when I’m standing inside. With the clothing rack I purchased, I simply will plan my outfits out using the Hanger app for the week, and then bring them out of the walk-in and onto my rack in my bedroom. It makes things so much more streamlined, and my mornings run much smoother.

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In case you haven’t noticed so far, there is a lot of white space going on in my room. I love color, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted my room to also feature a touch of minimalism. My room at home in St. Louis has a lot going on…there are a ton of things hanging on the walls, lining the edges of the room, and hanging from the ceiling. With my room away at school, I was looking for a bit of a different vibe. After experiencing how little I actually need in my room to survive/be happy, I never want to go back. Since deciding to keep only the essentials in my room, I’m ready to head home to St. Louis and do some serious decluttering to my room at home.

There are a lot less distractions and not only do I feel more productive, but it’s also so much easier to keep it clean. My room looks all put together and just like these pictures 95% of the time, simply because it takes me about three minutes to get it into this condition.

With all of that being said, I love adding in a bit of my personality into the minimalism. So while my style has a nod to minimalism, I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s what it is 100%.

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When my friend and I were at a local Bazaar here in Columbia a few weekends ago, I picked up this amazing Slay banner from The Yonder Collective + I am SO thoroughly obsessed with it. Considering it’s one of the first things I see upon waking up in the morning, it definitely has a way of kicking me into gear for the day ahead of me. Below the Slay banner, of course, are my cacti. Besides these babies, I have 17 other plants in my room, so it’s safe to say that I’m officially a crazy plant lady. I never have liked and will never like cats, so the crazy plant lady is sure to become my destiny!

Finally, for the final section of my room, my bed. AKA where I want to be 99% of the time. But, especially since I’m taking 20 credit hours this semester, the time spent in my bed is rather lacking. 🙁 I love my bed so very much. Not only is it a super comfy place, but it also has amazing storage. I normally keep my school textbooks along the top edge of the bed, which keeps them handy and a perfect place for me to switch them in and out of my backpack to begin the day. I also always have candles on that top ledge, because they just create beautiful mood lighting when I want to have my room lit in a super cozy way. I’ll light my candles, plug in the string lights hanging above my bed, and turn all the other lights off. Immediately, I feel 10x better, regardless of the situation. The power of candles is real, my friends.

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Also, if you like the wall hanging that’s above my bed on the right side wall, you can click HERE for my turoail of how to make one! Just simply substitute the wooden dowel for a large piece of driftwood, and you’ll have exactly what I have here!

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my room in Columbia! It’s definitely a constant work in process, so I’m always changing things around and trying to improve things. Because of this, there is always some kind of DIY project happening. You’re sure to see lots more of those if you stick around reading the blog during this school year.

Do you have a room or even an entire apartment you’re super proud of? I want to see! Leave a link in the comments to a post or a picture of your space that you’re proud of. I get so inspired by seeing how other people have decorated their space.

Have a great week + happy Monday, friends!

Olivia

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