Summer Bucket List

It’s officially summer! I absolutely love when the weather gets warm and the beach gets busy. This will be my first summer living in LA county and I am so stoked to have the opportunity to be at the beach whenever I want. I know not everyone lives in a similar geographical area, but I wanted to put together my own summer bucket list for those of us on a budget!

  • Street fruit, kombucha and the beach (or at the park!)

  • Hikes and picnics

  • Learn to surf

  • Day trips! (Santa Barbara, SLO, San Diego, Big Bear)

  • Rooftop pools

  • All of the sunsets (or sunrises)

  • Take your work out to a new location - a local park, beach, or other outdoor space

  • Free movies - check your city or surrounding cities for free movies in the park or at the beach

  • Kayaking or stand up paddling

  • Hike to a swimming hole

  • Play a game you loved as a child

  • Read one new book per month

  • Check out a community event - whether it’s a free concert, art walk, or something else entirely

  • Ask one Instagram friend to hang out irl

  • Be a tourist in your own town - see things through fresh eyes

I hope you all have a wonderful, and safe, summer! Tag me in your insta stories if you end up doing one or more of these things so I can see!

My 2019 Goals

My 2019 goals!

My 2019 goals!

I realize I’m a bit late to the “new year, new me” resolution season blog posts. I personally love any reason to take a look at life and consider what I can improve, and this year it took me a little longer than just January 1st to decide how I wanted to move forward. I took time to consider all the main factors of my life and considered what was going well and what needed some work. From there, I came up with a few things I’d like to achieve in the upcoming year:

1 Find passion and creativity in my career.

This is quite the ongoing saga, isn’t it? I swear I change careers like some people change their bed sheets. Slowly I have been pinpointing and fine-tuning just what it is that aligns my passions with a career. In 2019, I plan to make enough money doing what I love that I don’t have to stretch my time with a full time position just to pay our bills. If i calculated how much time I spend on unpaid work (the work that sets my soul on fire) I would probably shed a tear or two. I suppose it doesn’t need much more elaborating than that, the goal being to work just as hard, if not harder, and get paid doing it.

Steps to get there:

Staying grateful for each opportunity

Utilize my Master’s program and education

Stay consistent

2. Read 50 books

For a while I abandoned by most treasured hobby of reading to pursue travel and my education, but now that I have picked reading back up, I want to aim for 50 books this year. I will keep my Goodreads updated throughout the year to measure my progress!

3. Keep growing on Instagram, without focusing on numbers

I hope to continue creating visually appealing photos for my bookstagram page. A year ago I would never guess that this would be a 2019 goal, but here we are! I am wholly unfocused on numbers, I learned that lesson the hard way before. I do want to test various posting times and days, but more for professional growth and skillset than anything. I want to grow in quality, not in quantity. I want to grow in connections via comments rather than hollow likes. There are so many people still to connect with on bookstagram and in the Potterverse!

4. Be approved for one major ARC

An ARC is an advanced reader copy; a copy of the book sent to reviewers prior to the official publishing date. I really want to make connections with publishing contacts and be approved to review one ARC on my social channels and blog!

Steps to get there:

Establish an up-to-date contact list for major publishing companies

Develop an email template that includes what I have done/can do and the monetary worth

Stay persistent and don’t get discouraged!

5. Focus on optimizing my blog

While YouTube is super fun, and I would love to grow there as well, I ultimately prefer writing to talking so I want to place the focus in 2019 on learning more about SEO and how to get traffic directed to my book reviews in this space. Not only do I want to get the traffic, but maintain it!


That’s it! I’m not trying to change my whole life over here (that was so 2018), I’m just trying to improve on the life I already love. What are your goals for this year?

My Journey to the Tarot (What is Tarot, how to choose a deck, and more)

Photo credit:  Sara Myers

Photo credit: Sara Myers

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed an increase in the amount that I talk about Tarot. I have been sharing things little by little, and thought it was time to write it all in one place. This post will outline how I came to the Tarot, what the fuck Tarot even is, how to choose a deck, what Tarot is good for, and how I use it in my own life.


Okay, so what is Tarot?

The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, each with its own imagery, symbolism and story. The deck is made up of 22 Major Arcana cards (Big Energy and big life lessons) and 56 Minor Arcana cards (the things we experience on a daily basis). The Minor Arcana includes 40 numbered cards organized by suits, with 10 cards each, representing various situations that we encounter. To put it simply, Tarot is simply a tool. How you want to use it is completely up to you.

Tarot reading is the practice of gleaning Universal wisdom and guidance through a specific spread (or layout) of Tarot cards via your intuition. The cards do not simply tell your fortune, and one does not have to be a psychic to give Tarot readings.

What can it be used for?

Tarot is perfect for self-development, mental clarity, financial planning, making decisions, manifesting goals, relationship advice, writing a book, meditating—whatever you might want to consult the Tarot about, that’s what it can be used for.

I use the  Starchild Tarot  deck

I use the Starchild Tarot deck

How do you choose a deck?

There are SO many Tarot decks to choose from. There are traditional Rider-Waite decks that are simple that you can find on Amazon that are great for learning. However, I didn’t feel particularly moved by the imagery of the traditional deck. I would recommend that you visit your local metaphysical shop and look through their deck options. Thankfully, a good friend of mine brought me to the Tarot and took me to a shop in Durham, North Carolina that had all of the decks that they sold open so you can finger through the cards and see each one. This is my recommendation, actually hold the options in your hands, look at the photos. If the imagery isn’t speaking to your soul, it isn’t your deck. Now, this is just my advice, you could very easily just choose your first deck to learn with and that will be fine. I plan on purchasing other decks as I get more business so that clients have the option to choose which deck they would like for me to perform their reading with.

How do you choose a spread?

Just as there are many decks to choose from, there are many spreads as well. And you can even make up your own. A spread is how you lay out the Tarot cards and can be anywhere from a 3 card to a 10 card (or more) layout.

If you are new to Tarot, I would recommend getting comfortable with 3 card spreads such as Past, Present and Future or Situation, Outcome, Advice before moving onto the Celtic Cross or other more complicated spreads. Check the booklet that came with your deck, there may be some spread layouts provided to help you start.

Do I need to cleanse my cards?

Yes. It is important that you clean and cleanse your cards regularly to maintain a positive connection. Sometimes very heavy and dark things will come up in your readings, and you don’t want that energy to linger. You will probably know when you need to cleanse your cards, I can tell because they just don’t feel right. Once you start trusting your intuition, you’ll see what I mean. You will definitely want to cleanse a new deck, or if they have been sitting without being used for a while, your cards have fallen, you feel disconnected from the deck. I also clean my cards between readings for other people.

A cheap and easy way to cleanse your cards are with a moon bath. Stick the cards outside or in a window sill on a full moon to charge the cards and clear the energy. Of course you can also smudge the cards with Sage or Palo Santo but be mindful about where it is being harvested from.

My Tarot Ritual

I personally pull a card every single morning and then write that card and its meaning into my journal. Sometimes I pull the journal back out in the evening to see if that morning pull makes sense. This is a great way for me to know what challenges might lay ahead in the day, what tools I might need to tackle the day ahead, anything of that sort. I sit in a comfortable seat, light Palo Santo, choose a crystal to meditate with, and then shuffle and do my pull. This is my favorite ritual, as beneficial to my health as the gym or eating healthy.

I do a more in-depth spread on myself about once a week, or if I have a decision or something pressing that I need Divine wisdom for. If there is an issue that I feel I cannot be objective about, I consult another Tarot reader to have them read for me.

I hope that you found this super helpful and informative. The Tarot has definitely changed my life, and it can change yours, too. If you would like to book a reading with me, please follow the link below.

Tarot Reading
25.00 35.00

Tarot is a powerful tool. You don’t necessarily need to believe in magic, but you do need to be committed to your self growth and believe in your capacity to evolve. I will not be telling you the exact future, but the Tarot will reveal where you need to let go, where you should lean in, and what you should be watching for on the horizon.

Quantity:
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Can Living with Less Make Room for More Joy?

Photo styled and shot  by Boho-tique

Photo styled and shot by Boho-tique

I am continually amazed at the impact that a “minimalist” approach is having on my life. I have certainly baby-stepped my way into the lifestyle, and wanted to finish the year challenging myself to opt out of spending money on “things”. Our culture has programmed us to constantly be on the lookout for the next best thing. I will be finding ways to live better with less in order to make room for more joy. Interested in finding out more or even joining the challenge yourself? Continue reading to learn more on how I define minimalism, what I mean by no more spending and how we can stop being victims to consumer culture.

76 days until 2019. Is it possible to close out the year using what you already have? Is it possible to live with less and make room for more joy? I think it is. I recently moved from my small home in West Virginia to an even smaller apartment in California. I have been slowly ridding my life and closet of clutter, with the move inspiring me to sell and donate over half of my belongings. Since moving into the studio apartment, I just feel more at ease. There isn’t “stuff” everywhere, it’s easier to clean, my mind feels clearer and I don’t have a storage space somewhere filled to the brim with clutter waiting on me. Now, I am 100% not a “typical minimalist” and I’m not asking you to sell your house and live tiny. I own more than 1 pair of jeans, I still own too many shoes, I still like clothes. By no means is this a “who can be the perfect minimalist” challenge. No ma’am. This is more about seeking more joy and less clutter in our lives. This is about impacting our mental health, our creativity, the climate, our humanity in a more positive way.

Minimalism and Mental Health

There are studies that indicate a direct link between minimalism and better mental health. I wrote more about my own experience on Clutch MOV. Since I wrote that article, I have had more time to see it unfold in my life. I feel so much better when surfaces aren’t overcrowded with things, when I don’t have to spend time and energy rifling through my closet or drawers…everything just feels more peaceful. My anxiety still flares up, of course, but it isn’t as triggered by being at home or by this recurring feeling I used to get to clean and clear my space. The awareness of self and the intricate human connection with Mother Nature is lost in this notion that “just one more handbag will make me happier”. All of this “stuff” numbs us and incapacitates us so that we are unable to fully and completely sit with ourselves. It becomes very difficult to practice true mindfulness, peace and harmony with ourselves when we are constantly looking elsewhere for happiness, joy, and the next best thing. Is this resonating? Let’s break the “next best thing” cycle, together.

Living Better With Less

When I say that I am not spending money on things for the rest of the year, I don’t mean a no spending challenge. This isn’t about saving money or spending less money. That is, of course, an indirect side effect, but I just don’t want to spend money on items. I will be spending money on food, experiences or things I might actually need (like medicine). I will not be spending money on clothes, home decor, accessories, technology or knick-knacks. This will be a real challenge for me, but I have some ideas on how I can make it work. If this sounds Big and Scary to you, it’s okay. This is all about making room for more joy in our lives. I will be sending out tips and resources like TED talks, articles, books, my own updates + more via email over the coming weeks.

Re-Imagine and Reconnect

Have you ever lived somewhere that you could run to the neighbor when you were out of sugar? Let’s use this same principle in our #MakeRoomForJoyChallenge by counting on others when we need it. By living with less, we make room for nurturing new and old connections. We can swap clothes at a thrift store, borrow from friends, family or neighbors. If something breaks? Learn to fix it, or ask someone to fix it. Maybe you learn to stitch or use a handsaw. I also really want to encourage using one item for many things. I recently had my mind blown when someone suggested wearing a blanket scarf as a skirt. We get so accustomed to things being only one way, we often stifle our own creativity and imagination by blindly accepting. Let your creativity and imagination run free. Don’t allow consumer culture to dictate what and how much you need.

100% borrowed look, don’t let the media tell you that borrowed isn’t beautiful.

100% borrowed look, don’t let the media tell you that borrowed isn’t beautiful.

Consumer Culture

Every day, all day long, you are being bombarded by clever marketing messages telling you that You Must Spend Money or You Need This Thing. We know we don’t actually need it but we are socially, culturally, economically, and psychologically invested in this system. Our everyday life experiences, our relationships with friends and loved ones, our practices of leisure and amusement, and our personal goals and identities are all tied to the culture in which we were raised. Many of us measure our self-worth by how much money we make, and by the quantity, quality, and newness of stuff we are able to buy.

Is it possible to have a sustainable consumer culture? Even those of us that are critically aware of the implications of production, consumption, and waste, can’t help but want more. Sustainable brands are still dependent on our culture of consumption, they still chant to us “you must buy this”. Yes, there are great options out there that I would recommend, but I am challenging myself and all of you to live with that you already have. This challenge is about becoming mindful of our consumption in order to be creative with what we already have. I think we all might find that what we have is more than enough, and that living with less will make room for much more joy.

Not Ready to Totally Commit?

Understandable! First of all, this challenge is NOT about being “perfect”. I am putting that in quotations because it doesn’t exist so stop chasing it. Don’t feel like you can’t participate in the challenge just because you might end up being something(s). But, if you 100% know you aren’t up to accepting this particular challenge, but want to take steps in that direction, I wanted to offer a few tips on how you could start your minimalist journey.

  • Clean out your closet - I mean, really clean it out. If you haven’t worn it in a month, donate it. If you are holding onto it for a “special occasion” or for your body to be different, get rid of it. If you don’t absolutely love it, it doesn’t have a purpose.

  • Get thrifty - If there are some clothing items you need to purchase check out a local thrift store. My personal favorite places to find cute secondhand items are Golden Trash, Collage WV, Poshmark or Boho-tique.

  • Buy reusable Items - Instead of buying items that are poorly made or single-use, opt to purchase things that will last a long time. Items like reusable water bottles, bamboo cutlery, well-made sustainable clothing rather than fast fashion and quality footwear.

  • Do you really need it? - Ask yourself this question every single time you find yourself about to make a purchase. Do you really need it? Or is the really clever marketing making you believe that you do? Do you absolutely love it? Take a moment to check in, practicing mindfulness in this way will spill over to other areas of your life, as well. . .

Watch my YouTube video  that explains a little more…

Watch my YouTube video that explains a little more…

Want to join the challenge? I will be sending out tips and resources via email (you can sign up here). Use hashtag #MakeRoomForJoyChallenge on social media and tag me on Instagram so I can follow your journey and other participants can find you as well!

Anxiety of Enough + Chill Vibes Playlist

Watercolor  inspired by all things beautiful and natural by  Sophia Longas

Watercolor inspired by all things beautiful and natural by Sophia Longas

Anxiety of Enough

I say I want it.

I mean, I know I do.

Or, I think I do?

But, do I want it badly enough?

Am I working hard enough?

Am I spending all the time I could, or should, be?

Maybe I should be sending more emails

Maybe I should be furiously, exhaustively, writing...

Creating

Maybe it should all be pouring out of me at every waking moment

That's what I've been told, anyway

The only way to make a decent living from creating is to hustle hard enough that you tread water instead of drown in it

That the only way to beat out the competition is to work harder, do more, be better

Give 110% of everything you’ve got

I guess we'll find out, won't we?

I'll either pave my own way or I'll be a victim of the cycle

At a young age, somehow, I understood mortality in a way most kids don't seem to.

I chose time, experiences, over money

I've been acutely aware ever since that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it doing things that I love, with people that I love.

I guess it's possible I will be on my deathbed, wishing I had hustled harder.

Regretting that I didn't say everything that I had to say

But

I think what I will really wish is that I could have one more long talk with Danny

One last good, hard laugh

Time to explore one more new place

In a world that demands output more than input

That puts pressure on being Someone

on creating Something

An expectation to share infinitely, to work infinitely

Go at your own pace

Life is too short

too fleeting

to be so busy.

CBD and Sex: Does Marijuana Make Sex Better?

Want to save this to read later? Pin the post to your Pinterest boards!

Want to save this to read later? Pin the post to your Pinterest boards!

I wanted to address 2 of my favorite topics in one post: marijuana and sex. Many of you know that I am a regular user of CBD (and THC). Does high sex equal better sex? If you are curious about how CBD could benefit your sex life, this post is for you. Or, if you are just curious about how I personally benefit from the uses of marijuana in regards to my sex life, read on.

What is the difference?

I wanted to quickly explain the differences in CBD and THC for those of you that are unfamiliar. Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was THC. This is the most active ingredient in marijuana (and the one that alters the mind and makes you high). Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects on the body. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that you will not be getting stoned.

CBD and sex

Anxiety can get in the way of a great sex life for many reasons. One of the biggest benefits of CBD for me personally is how it helps to alleviate my anxiety. You can read more about my experience with CBD here. I often cannot get out of my head when having sex—arousal, taste, smell, money, what I will do tomorrow, what I will do 14 years from now … the list goes on. Smoking, vaping, or dabbing a high-CBD strain or concentrate before sex can help get you out of your head and into your body. It helps you be more mindful and present with your partner, and this is the greatest benefit for me personally. There are also plenty of people that do not want to get high so CBD offers medicinal benefits without having to experience a psychoactive change.

Foria Wellness’ Awaken deserves a try

Foria Wellness’ Awaken deserves a try

One of the wonderful benefits of CBD is that it helps with chronic pain. I sometimes have issues with vaginal dryness depending on the time of month, and decided to try out this CBD lube. This may not be in everyone’s budget, but if it is, wow. It heightened the sensations and length of my orgasm. I don’t struggle with painful intercourse, but if you do, this is definitely something to look into. CBD is known for its impact on pain and vaginal pain is no exception. Something to note on this lube, though, I do not use condoms because I have a long-term partner and an IUD but this lube is NOT safe to use with latex.

THC and sex

THC is beneficial because it actually shifts your mind. This can translate to heightened sensitivity (things feel better, taste better, etc.) as well as easing tensions and mental blockages. For me, THC is more effective in alleviating my anxiety and stress than CBD because of said mental shift. THC increases my libido as well; I just want to have more sex when I’m high. This is supported by a population-based study by Stanford University's Department of Urology and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology found a positive correlation between marijuana use and the amount that people were having sex.

As with anything, there are cons. THC is known for its dehydrating side effects and this is also true for vaginal dryness. Be prepared with lubrication! Another possible con is that you will be considered “under the influence” and depending on the situation, you could make choices that you otherwise wouldn’t if you were sober. Know your partner, trust your partner, communicate with your partner, always.

The verdict?

What works for me and what works for you will be different. If you are interested in how CBD or THC could enhance your sex life, I would recommend experimenting with various doses and paying attention to the effects on your body and mind. If you live in a marijuana legal state, visit your local dispensary and talk to an expert on different strains and their effects.

Be safe and have fun. And let me know if there are any cannabis-based products you have tried or are curious to try! Do you have a sex, relationship, or intimacy question? Email me at Kate@k8canrelate.com for your topics to be addressed in a future post.

Climate Science Needs Anthropology

1978 snowfall in Culloden, West Virginia (where I grew up)

1978 snowfall in Culloden, West Virginia (where I grew up)

Climate Science Needs Anthropology

Below is a paper that I wrote for one of my graduate courses at Marshall University Graduate College. I had the privilege of being invited to attend this seminar with Dr. Susan Crate who is a a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. An environmental and cognitive anthropologist, she has worked with indigenous communities in Siberia since 1988. 

I did a poll on Instagram and it seemed that a great deal of people would enjoy reading the paper, so here you go, I hope you learn something and enjoy: 


Anthropology, the study of human beings through time, has the means to provide a varied, necessary, and perhaps vital understanding of climate dynamics at the local level. Humans, particularly indigenous humans, are drastically affected by the direct and indirect effects of climate change all over the world. We all share this Earth. All voices, including the politically powerless, need to be heard about climate change and how it is affecting them. Anthropologists have the tools necessary to bridge the gap between science and daily reality for these individuals and for all of us. Conversely, without an interdisciplinary approach, climate scientists, and the public, will not be able to see the larger picture of what is at stake.

Both editions of Susan Crate and Mark Nuttall’s Anthropology and Climate Change help me frame the discussion as to why anthropology is essential to a broader understanding of climate science. In addition by sharing my own climate story, I hope to exemplify how we can enact the tools of anthropology to advocate for our own people. We can only truly understand how our climate is changing when we stop to listen to those being affected firsthand.

Climate change deserves definition, as there are a number of misconceptions. We are all familiar with weather. Weather is what we see changing in the sky, which informs meteorologists as to predictions about what we can expect via our local news station. Weather can be fickle and change from moment to moment and day to day. Climate, however, is the statistical average of weather in an area over a long period of time. There can be the climate of West Virginia, the climate of Appalachia or the climate of the Earth itself. Crate and Nuttall offer this:

We can define climate change as a variation in climatic parameters attributed directly or indirectly to human activities, the growing use of technology, industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, resource depletion, environmental degradation, and consumer lifestyles, all of which is entangled with natural variations in climate. (Crate et al, 16, 2nd ed.)

Anthropology is a fairly broad discipline which focuses on the study of people through time and space. “Anthropology solidly contributes to understanding past and present human adaptive strategies and the effects of climate change, how humans observe and perceive these changes, and how they think about and relate to the weather” (Crate et al, 16, 2nd ed.). Anthropologists consider different aspects to come to a full understanding of the human condition, both past and present. “Historically, anthropologists in the United States have been trained in one of four areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology” (American Anthropology Association).

Climate scientists have traditionally understood climate change as a nature problem. Anthropologists are unique because they see climate change as a human problem. “Anthropologists work on the human rights aspects of climate change; they assess and evaluate the vulnerability and resilience of communities” (Crate et al, 12, 2nd ed.). While both climate scientists and anthropologists conduct important research surrounding the issue of climate change, the two have not always been compatible. Many reasons inform us as to why anthropologists have struggled to be a part of the climate change dialogue. The necessary training and funding are often lacking that enables the two disciplines to work together on research projects. “Fundamentally, anthropologists are methodological individualists. We are not trained in collaborative research, and we are not socialized to work together; instead, we compete for publications, jobs and visibility” (Crate et al, 270, 1st ed.). Anthropologists have since realized, through expanding their awareness of how weather affects populations and culture, the importance of their work in the climate change dialogue. “Anthropologists are engaging research that has a concern with resilience, vulnerability, adaption, mitigations, and displacement. Anthropologists have developed significant work on the politics of climate change, inequality, health, carbon sequestration, and water and energy” (Crate et al, 11, 2nd ed.).

To further exacerbate the difficulties in cross discipline discussions, climate researchers, and natural scientists in general, tend to speak in technical terms. Climate change can be a very scary and overwhelming subject for someone to understand. Not everyone has the education or exposure to climate change information to understand what is happening around them in terms of weather or climate when it is filtered through the vocabulary and vernacular of climate scientists. Anthropology is in a unique position. Increasingly, climate change is being understood as a phenomenon with multiple causes and stressors. Because of this, anthropologists are being asked to collaborate with climate scientists on climate science research and projects to develop “more human-inclusive approaches to understanding change” (Crate et al, 152, 1st ed.).

Anthropology is science of the totality of humans and our existence. The discipline deals with the integration of different aspects of the humanities and human biology. Humans have long used the humanities to understand the world around them. “Contemplating a sculpture might make you think about how an artist's life affected her creative decisions. Reading a book from another region of the world might help you think about the meaning of democracy. Listening to a history course might help you better understand the past, while at the same time offer you a clearer picture of the future.” (Stanford University) Watching a documentary about a mother and daughter documenting how societies are being forced to change their ways of life because of their changing surroundings or a documentary about beautiful photography showcasing the changes in ice over time might help you better understand what climate change is and how it is affecting people around the world. Listening to stories being told from someone in your community about weather from their childhood might help you to make connections to the changes in weather patterns you have noticed in your own life.  

Anthropologists use methods and tools to figure out how local livelihood is affected by any number of factors (Crate et al, 155, 1st ed.). In considering local observations of weather and climate, they gain insight to incorporate into a larger conversation on climate change. If communities are going to truly understand climate change and what it means for them and their families, there has to be “locally relevant information” (Crate et al, 155, 1st ed.) available to them. “Climate change is not something that may happen in the near or far future but it is an immediate, lived reality” (Crate et al, 9, 1st ed.) for a vast number of people. For example, local communities, especially community elders, are able to tell stories of their own experiences with weather and climate. Anthropologists are in a unique position to be able to listen to the communities they work with and also to witness firsthand the changes affecting that group. Anthropologists can use the knowledge and insights they gain from the communities to advocate on their behalf. “Advocacy is key not only in our collaborative relationship with communities but also in representing their best interests in policy and other advocacy contexts” (Crate et al, 148, 1st ed,). Not only can anthropologists affect policy, they can also “link [their] research partners with other communities who have gone through similar experiences” (Crate et al, 148, 1st ed.). In this way, anthropologists are a crucial actor in the understanding of climate dynamics in our increasingly globalized world.

One example of how anthropologists have petitioned for the human rights issues affected by climate change is seen in the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). The ICC was founded in 1977 in order to bring together and strengthen the voice of the Inuit people. The past chair of the Council spoke about climate change as a human rights issue (Crate et al, 15, 1st ed.). Prior to speaking out about how climate change is a human rights issue, the ICC used their meetings to talk mostly about science and policy. As we can see, anthropologists provide crucial information in absentia of voices who are not typically heard. This means they are in a unique position to bridge the gap between the general public and climate scientists.

What can anthropologists bring to the table that has not already been served? In an article “Storying Climate Change” Dr. Susie Crate discusses how local testimony can evoke our deep connection to our neighbor, more so than any amount of scientific fact. “People are more moved by stories about those who are directly affected.” Anthropology and ethnography allow us to use time tested tools to carve out the stories of those affected by climate change. “It turns out that no matter where people live, they are moved by stories that resonate with their sense of place and mode of being on the planet.” We can see this firsthand in the documentary “The Anthropologist” featuring Dr. Susie Crate and her daughter, Katie. As the story unfolds, it forces introspection as to how we are dealing with climate change in our own personal lives. There are many takeaways from the documentary: why climate science needs anthropology, the importance of participant observation in the areas that are being most affected by climate change, and an undercurrent that we should not and cannot force others to change; we can only change our own thoughts, habits and actions and hope that it inspires others to do the same.

Jökulsárlón is a magnificent glacial lagoon in South-Iceland right by ring-road 1.

Jökulsárlón is a magnificent glacial lagoon in South-Iceland right by ring-road 1.

Serendipitously, I found myself traveling to Iceland for vacation in the midst of my climate science research. The scenic country of Iceland is known for its waterfalls, views of the Northern Lights and their black sand beaches. While in Iceland I visited Vatnajökull National Park which houses the largest and most voluminous glacier in the country. I was moved by the size and beauty of the glaciers. I was even more struck by the rapidity in which they seemed to be breaking off and floating into the lagoon. I recalled what I had been reading in Anthropology and Climate Change; many anthropologists are conducting fieldwork in areas that have glaciers and are working alongside glaciologists and climate scientists alike.

The range is extreme, depending on the initial size, location, and orientation of the glacier in question. What will happen if these glaciers disappear? In Leukerbad, local people have varying opinion, from ‘Nothing at all,’ to ‘We will have to leave the valley where our families settled over five hundred years ago.’ Within a couple of generations (by 2050), this community will have to make difficult decisions about water resource distribution and energy supplies that may have implications extending well beyond the reaches of their narrow valley. (Crate et al, 169, 1st ed.)

I wondered if this will be the same reality for Iceland and realized that it already is. The Earth is undergoing rapid changes and the best visual representation of that is in our ice. 

I recently watched a climate science documentary titled “Chasing Ice” (found on Netflix) which is following National Geographic photographer, James Balog, and his team as they photograph and document the changing in glaciers around the globe. “Powerful symbols of unspoiled, unconquered nature, glaciers attract tourists and mountaineers from different parts of the world. At the same time, they are emblematic of cultural identities.” (Crate et al, 92, 1st ed.) Iceland and many other countries as well, have a sense of fierce attachment to their mountains and glaciers. These images are displayed as symbols of their economy and of their culture. “Chasing Ice” opened my eyes further to the important role that the humanities can play in bringing awareness and understanding to climate change. James Balog’s photographs are beautiful and world-renowned. When you compare a photo of the glacier in 2005 with a photo in the exact same spot a few years later it is impossible not to notice the differences. James, like Dr. Crate, is not trying to force anyone to believe in climate change. James and Dr. Crate are presenting the realities and stories of human beings and how they are presently dealing with changes in their landscape.

Through this research I myself keep finding, time and again, that our sense of home and purpose are intrinsically bound together and woven throughout everything that we, as humans, do. When we hear a story about someone from “home” who has been adversely affected by climate change, we are much more likely to listen and to take action. In 2016, West Virginia experienced a catastrophic flooding event. The National Weather Service called in a ‘one in a thousand year event’. If you read the national news on the event, you will not find much in the way of local interviews and instead you will be reading bits from politicians, meteorologists or even climate scientists. Rarely, however, are you able to find the stories being told by elders and locals on just how rare this extreme rainfall and flooding was for southern West Virginia. Autumn Hopkins, an Elkins native, shares her story through the Huffington Post:

My name is Autumn Hopkins; many of you know me just as Aum.  My family and I are from Elkview, West Virginia, for many generations back. You may [have] never heard of Elkview until recently when you saw it on the news. I am the crazy . . . animal lady in Elkview, or people know me from yoga class, or Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, or roller derby, or church, or as Fred’s wife, or Sarah’s mom. I have many titles but now I have one I never wanted: homeless flood victim . . . I lay my head down at night in a bed that doesn’t belong to me, and when the panic attacks stop, I wake the next morning to find the nightmare is real and we start again.

With such stories of individuals affected by extreme weather events, an audience may react with empathy. Understanding another human’s plight in such cases, awareness is better raised about how weather is changing and not returning to more familiar expectations. By using anthropology as a platform to tell our stories, we find a sense of purpose and connection to one another and perhaps listeners can then be motivated to increase their awareness and education, which may lead to action.

Autumn lives in West Virginia, as I do, and West Virginia is part of the larger region of Appalachia. This region is a case in point regarding populations deeply affected by climate change but has had little in the way of voice on the subject. As a youth in West Virginia, I always felt we were up against the rest of the world: I felt that we were looked down upon, made fun of and that we were taken advantage of. Appalachia has long been misrepresented by the media as a degenerate region and these media portrayals have inflamed negative stereotypes of West Virginians. Part of this is due to our terrain, which is mountainous, and lends itself to isolation in some aspects, and therefore, typically voices not heard. The dehumanizing rhetoric has, in part, allowed for the exploitation of our people and our vast natural resources. Take, for example, surface coal mining otherwise known as mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is the process of clearing, blasting and digging away the top of a mountain in order to excavate coal. “If coal mining continues at its current pace, the authors predict the next 12 to 20 years will see Southern Appalachian forests switch from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source — meaning the area will emit more carbon than it takes in” (Foley, Appalachian Voices)

As I read through Anthropology and Climate Change, it struck me how this same sense of feeling inferior can be intrinsically tied into the impacts I now feel on the weather and our climate here in Appalachia. “On a temporal scale, the effects of climate change are the indirect costs of imperialism and colonization . . . These are the same peoples whose territories have long been a dumping ground for uranium, industrial societies’ trash heaps, and transboundary pollutants. Climate change is environmental colonialism at its fullest development” (Crate et al, 11, 1st ed.). Constantly surrounded by chemical-drenched and polluted air, having little choice but to drink contaminated water as well as permanently altering the state of the land to extract natural resources, we have now truly begun to see how the actions of others have impacted our livelihoods and quality of life here in West Virginia. Our region’s cultural identity has been closely tied to the coal industry. This is a deeply personal example of why we, West Virginians, need anthropologists to help us understand climate science and advocate on our behalf.

Despite the obvious collaboration that should be forged between anthropologists and climate scientists, doubt remains. Some may be hesitant or wary about anthropologists and their role in climate science. My grandparents would have been leery because “real scientists” were the only ones that were trusted. However, I also know that they loved to tell stories and speak about their past. Thankfully, the tide is changing, literally and figuratively, and climate scientists seem to be encouraging more and more experts to the table. I imagine that both of my grandparents would have been more than happy to be a part of Participatory Action Research (PAR) in the area. PAR is a research approach that seeks to emphasize community participation and local knowledge and skills on a given topic. “The understanding that reality is socially-constructed and viewed in different ways by different actors in a system points to the need for external researchers to be engaged in processes of joint learning with those directly affected by climate change” (German et al, 10). In Anthropology and Climate Change Button and Peterson talk about the importance of community members coming together to tell their stories in order to create a “shared memory bank” (Crate et al, 33, 1st ed.). Members of the community could come together to tell their own oral histories and understandings of culture and climate.

I believe West Virginians are quite a resilient people, but could certainly benefit from a strengthening and preserving of cultural knowledge especially regarding extreme weather. I conducted a handful of interviews with lifelong West Virginian natives, careful not to use the term “climate change” and instead focused on changes in local weather patterns and local environment. “In general, when asked about ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’, consultants gave summaries about what they had heard from a scientist . . . or media outlets” (Crate et al, 212, 1st ed.). I spoke with a Saint Albans, West Virginia native, Mindy Ilar, who elicited a powerful narrative about the importance of memory, local knowledge and the climate:

I remember playing in the snow when I was a kid. It felt like it was for like a month that we stayed home to play. There were six of us . . . siblings, I mean. It was fantastic, all that snow. We made igloos and tunnels and they stayed intact for days. I can remember having enough snow that we could go sledding up at an old school on the hill and there were lots of us kids that went to play. There was just always plenty of snow in the winter. In ‘85 or ‘86, we had a snow storm that generated enough [snow] that we were able to go sledding. We went at night and there was a group of us, the snow was wet and packed down so it made for great sledding.

Through this narrative we can see how a collaborative effort between anthropologists in the field and natural scientists is ideal. Anthropologists compile local stories and knowledge and look for patterns such as abundant snow in winters past and compare that with real time weather and climate data. Communities are then able to see these climate changes and how they can enact positive change in their own neighborhoods if they realize that conditions require action.

For 26 years, the West Virginia valleys have been my home. My parents cultivated a deep appreciation of the outdoors in me. Living in West Virginia, I think it’s easy to take the outdoors for granted because nature is so vast and so abundant where we live, but my parents made sure I knew how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. I spent countless hours in my grandparent’s garden growing up, plucking cherry tomatoes from the vine and blackberries from the bush and being scolded to stop eating them all. Summers were dedicated to family camping trips, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors. We experienced all four seasons in West Virginia so distinct that you didn’t even need a calendar to label the month. I was never a fan of winter, because I always preferred a hot summer day to a blistery, cold winter day. Yet, I remember playing in blizzards as a child and having white Christmases. As I have gotten older, I have noticed a distinct difference in our weather here in West Virginia. It gets warm enough in the spring to feel like a summer day, and additionally the summers have gotten warmer and warmer as the years pass by. And despite my dislike of winter, I found myself wondering how many more winters we would have snowfall at all.

An interesting juxtaposition is present in West Virginia. Residents always seemed to have a deep bond with the land. Lakes, rivers and streams are worshiped for teeming with life and the mountains stand as a symbol both politically and poetically. However, I remember the smell of dirty air with a faint but constant smell of some kind of chemical from a nearby plant and the way that the Kanawha River ran yellow and stained your light-colored clothes. I remember watching entire mountaintops being blown away and never replaced, wondering where the wildlife would have to run to. My grandmother was the more religious member of the family and I recall her understanding of "climate change" to be tied into religion. There was one specific interaction when I was a young girl, probably seven or eight years old, and we must have been talking about the weather. We were both in the kitchen, facing toward the window and my grandmother was telling me that it was getting harder and harder to distinguish between the seasons. She told me that in the book of Revelations it states that when the end is near you will no longer be able to tell one season from the next.

I grew up in an environmentally-conscious family, even if they wouldn’t label themselves as such. When I was little, my grandparents scolded me for leaving refrigerator doors open or leaving the water running or the lights remaining on. I guess you could say that many of our family traditions were built around sustainable practices. I helped my grandfather take the waste out to the compost to use in the garden. My grandparents always recycled and reused. My grandmother saved every paperclip and rubber band to use again in the future. My grandfather always asked for paper bags rather than plastic. I was too young to ask if it was directly because of their concern for the environment or if it was more because they lived through the Great Depression and knew that it was wasteful to throw things away. Regardless, they planted a deep appreciation in me for doing my part in reducing, reusing and recycling.

When my friends hear about climate change on television or read about it on Facebook, most of them know that climate change is happening and they don’t try to negate the fact of it.  Yet, I also think they feel unaffected in their personal lives. Maybe they are just nonplussed about the changes taking shape across our Earth. They roll their eyes in a playful manner and chuckle to themselves when I refuse a straw in a restaurant for my drink and instead opt for the reusable glass straw that I keep tucked away inside my bag. They brace themselves when I start explaining the effects of animal agriculture on the warming of the planet and the detriment the waste has on our ocean systems. They pretend to listen as I rattle on about glacier retreat in Iceland. My former work colleagues, however, feel that climate change is a political issue. It seems they are mostly blinded by the politics and refuse to unpack the science. They are hesitant to believe what they read because there are so many political opinions dressed as facts; it can be hard to wade through false and true information.

Friends, family and coworkers alike are also enmeshed in the coal culture that we were raised in here in West Virginia, and it can be hard to trust your own logic and knowledge to go against decades of tradition. It is touted that coal is the savior of West Virginia; the propaganda is far-reaching and dates back for years. We are not raised to understand sustainability today. If we are taught to understand sustainability, it is sparingly at best. You rarely hear stories here in West Virginia of the environmental or human impacts that coal power plants have and continue to have. This mindset can be a tough one to shake.

As time has gone on, however, it has become harder and harder to disregard the natural phenomena taking place right here in our own backyards. Winter snow has become elusive and white Christmases seem to be long gone. Uncharacteristic rainfall has led to unprecedented flooding that has devastated the lives and well-being of many West Virginians. Record temperatures are met and exceeded and cannot be ignored.  Most months would be difficult to label by the weather patterns alone, as the temperature and weather patterns are too unpredictable. The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century but most of the warming has occurred in just the past 35 years. The warmest year on record is 2016; eight of the twelve months were the warmest on record for those respective months according to NASA. The well-being of one ecosystem is linked to the stability of dozens of others, making it an indicator of the chain reaction that can occur.

My experiences in nature as a youth pushed me to be more involved in its sustainability in my adult life; I have taken time to educate myself on the climate and various ways that I can make a change. Because of the deep appreciation for the environment that my family instilled in me, I carry my grandfather’s legacy by taking action.  I went vegan almost two years ago for the sake of animals, but I quickly learned how animal agriculture affects the planet.  I have decided to travel back to Iceland this winter to explore the glaciers firsthand. “While a great deal has been written on glacier retreat, very little empirical research has been conducted on human responses to its varied impacts.” (Crate et al, 92, 1st ed.). I hope to gain further insight from locals and guides that have witnessed firsthand the changes in their surroundings. This is how I make meaningful connections between my life and the changing climate around me. Using anthropological tools, we can encourage more individuals to speak up and tell their own stories. Anthropologists are trained to be able to notice patterns in these stories which, in turn, will add to the credibility of climate science.

There are obstacles to overcome, political and also cultural, but I have no doubt that through education and the continuing collaboration between climate change scientists and anthropologists/ethnologists we will be able to have a healthy planet for future generations. I know that my actions, along with the actions of others, can lead to a chain of smarter and more informed decision-making and innovation. Here in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia, storytelling and oral traditions are a cultural characteristic endemic to our culture. Story is a part of being human and has survived all technological advances. Whether orally or electronically, we should be encouraging storytelling about our weather and its changes to help citizens see in a non-threatening way how crucial understanding climate change and taking appropriate action can be.

All in all, climate science would be incomplete without anthropology. Anthropologists conduct in-depth and long term research and community engagement that are necessary to understanding local communities and their connection to the environment. Anthropology allows local observations and knowledge to be brought into the conversation on what is happening to the globe on a smaller scale. Without the connections being made between normal, everyday citizens of the world and the effects of climate change, no real progress will be made. The statistics are out there: the Earth is warming at an alarming rate, ice is melting, sea levels are rising and extreme weather events are becoming the norm. I am not arguing that these statistics pushed out by climate scientists are not vital and highly valuable but these statistics become useless unless citizens receiving the information place value on them. The consequences of leaving anthropologists and their work out of the climate conversation are lethal. Anthropologists are in a unique position to use the tools of their trade to advocate for indigenous people and the larger cultures at risk of climate effects, including story climate change on a local level, contribute to a broader global understanding of climate change and are able to see the human aspect of the climate problem.


 

Work Cited

American Anthropological Association. “What is Anthropology?” American Anthropological Association, www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2150&navItemNumber=740.

Beasley, Jerry. “Weather Patterns and Changes.” 10 Sept. 2017.

Crate, Susan Alexandra, and Mark Nuttall. Anthropology and climate change: from encounters to actions. Left Coast Press, 2009.

Crate, Susan Alexandra., and Mark Nuttall. Anthropology and climate change: from actions to transformations. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

Foley, Melanie. “A Clearcut Connection Between Mountaintop Removal and Climate Change.” Appalachian Voices, 20 Feb. 2013, appvoices.org/2013/02/20/a-clear-connection-between-mountaintop-removal-and-climate-change/.

German, Laura. The Application of Participatory Action Research to Climate Change Adaptation in Africa. International Development Research Centre, 2012, erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/bitstream/handle/11295/40670/FULL%20TEXT.pdf?sequence=.

Hopkins, Autumn D. F. “The Flood.” The Huffington Post, The Huffington Post, 30 June 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-flood_us_57747346e4b0ee1c313daecc.

Ilar, Mindy. “Weather Patterns and Changes.” 12 Sept. 2017.

Vickers, Kim. “Weather Changes.” 11 Oct. 2017.

“What is climate change?” BBC News, BBC, 4 Oct. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772.

10 Misconceptions About Going Vegan

Local farmers market finds

Local farmers market finds

  1. You will never get to have your favorite junk foods again. Wrong! This used to be the case but welcome to 2017. We now have restaurants entirely devoted to cooking up delicious vegan foods like pizza, manicotti, nachos, cheese platters and decadent desserts. You can even find vegan burgers next to the ground beef in participating supermarkets.

  2. You will lose weight. You might, but it isn’t a guarantee. Like I said, there are amply junk foods out there. A common misconception is that because it is vegan, it is healthy. It probably is healthier, but everything in moderation. That being said, you are guaranteed to be healthier in terms of heart health, blood pressure, cancer risk etc. but losing weight is not a given.

  3. You will be ridiculed. Often not the case. With social media and the rise of veganism, you are bound to make plenty of friends with similar dietary and lifestyle choices! There are even apps to meet likeminded individuals, or try going to a Veg Fest!

  4. It’s more expensive to eat vegan. Again, largely not the case. Think about your grocery bill, what is the one food group that costs you less than all of the others? Meat, right? You will totally be cutting this out and therefore saving yourself lots of money. There are specialty vegan food items that can be pricy, but you don’t have to buy those things or you can reserve buying those things when you catch them on sale or feel like splurging. Vegan options abound at farmers markets and Aldi.

  5. You have to go vegan overnight. Nope. You can totally cut things out one at a time and move at your own pace. For some, it’s easier to cut it all out at once but that’s up to the individual.

  6. Vegans are mean. They are human. You will find, though, that most are very compassionate and caring individuals. Often it is their passion that comes off as aggressive, haughty or even mean. Once you have this knowledge that few people want to listen to, it can be hard to maintain your cool. Most are very eager to welcome you into the vegan family and offer their own struggles, tips and personal stories.

  7. You have to become an animal rights activist. You don’t, actually. There are a variety of reasons that someone might choose to go vegan. It could be the latest trend, for the health, for the environment or for personal preference. There are also degrees of activism, a small percent of vegans are fulltime activists and some are activists in small ways, rather than out on the picket line.

  8. I only need to modify my diet. Actually, the term vegan encapsulates a lot more than just what you eat. You don’t use products that are tested on animals or that may contain animal ingredients. This constitutes an overhaul of your house cleaning supplies, the types of alcohol you drink and even the clothes that you wear. Again, you don’t have to change everything overnight. Or you can just opt for a vegan diet and forget about the rest. That’s totally up to you and your comfort level.

  9. You can’t go out to eat or over to friends’ houses. Again, not the case. There are tons of restaurant options. If you are worried about a particular restaurant, call ahead and ask if they can make you anything – usually they will have side options at the very least. As for going to dinner parties with friends, this one gets a little more tricky. You can either accept that you can’t be perfect and just try your best or you can eat beforehand or even pack your own. I have been known to do all of these. But, hopefully, you will have wicked support friends and family who make sure you have at least a couple of options. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas are always rough but be proactive and bring a vegan twist on a favorite dish and you are sure to win over the naysayers.

  10. Veganism will make you unhealthy or weak. Definitely not! There are numerous professional athletes that follow a professional diet. There are even more vegan bodybuilders, professional and amateur alike. As for unhealthy, I encourage you to read through scientific literature about plant-based diets or put on a vegan documentary touting the benefits. If you need ideas or more support, check out my blog posts on going vegan here, and here.

     

     

How To Tell You Met 'The One'

I thought I knew what love felt like. I have loved before, I had considered marriage with another previously.

Coming from a broken marriage, I was always prepared to fly solo here in this world. I never really NEEDED a significant other.

I partied like the world was ending and drank like my life depended on it. Nights consisted of bar crawls and drinking competitions and men whose names I sometimes remembered. I had no real respect for myself or for my body. I let men disrespect me and I looked to feel worthy through the attention of men.

My mom never dated or remarried after my father so the idea of a man was not a constant in my life from my youth. Therefore, I always subconsciously feared abandonment. The men who existed in my love life all seemed as though they had potential, they all seemed like they could be good enough. You know, I could make it work. They weren’t necessarily horrible, I was happy most of the time.

I always figured it was my daddy issues that were part the problem, or that my vast imperfections just wouldn’t allow me to know the love that I listened to others tell about. I have been blessed to date some really great men, but it never quite worked out.

Little did I know I was not the problem at all. The reality of the situation was those people were not meant to be with me and I was not meant to be with them. It’s as simple as that. I know that you have heard it 500 times before, “when you know, you know,” but it really is true. You can never understand what that really means until you FEEL it. If you wonder if you have ever felt that, you haven’t. If you find yourself questioning, then this is not it for you.

I don’t think that your soulmate is the other half to your whole. I adamantly believe you should be whole all on your own. Your soulmate is whole as well, and together? You will complement one another perfectly. But the best relationships are not rooted in magic carpet rides. Rather, they are rooted in chaos and in unexpected crossroads; somewhere between the bliss and the burdens. Somehow my fairy tale has come to include grocery runs, dishes and house projects. Your fairytale must be able to endure heartache, hazards and health risks. Forget the fantasies and embrace reality— because that is truly where happily ever afters flourish most.

It's really hard to articulate something that is such a gut instinct. There is no too fast, or too slow. Like everything in this life, love looks and feels and moves at a different pace for everyone. I can only say that all the weird coincidences supported how I feel, the way we ride the same wavelength, the way he makes me feel alive, supported, loved, peaceful, challenged, admired, lucky, that we both just know.


Here’s how to tell if you are really with the right person:

  1. They love like you do – If you don’t know your love language, I suggest taking the free quiz and reading up about it. This is something I definitely agree with and believe in. Your person will love like you do, because otherwise, you will just be spending your whole life convincing them to change instead of being enveloped in a love that already feels like home.

  2. That grow together type of love – You will feel confident that your love will grow as you do. That no matter how many chapters will be written in your book, they will be there to read each page, to stand by you through life’s many seasons. They don’t feel threatened by the unknown of the future. While you may not see eye to eye on everything, you have similar life goals where it matters. You both want to be moving in the same direction.

  3. It’s comfortable – There is no struggle to be smarter or funnier or more beautiful. You don’t feel like you need to be The Cool Girl or The Girl Next Door. You don’t want to be anyone but yourself around them. And they are just being themselves around you. It’s almost like you have known them before, they are so familiar.  

  4. Unprecedented passion – The chemistry will be 100… in case you were wondering where your sex drive may have been your whole life. This passion doesn't always mean sex, it can make holding hands feel electrified as well. It is not just a sexual chemistry, that you can find all over, this is a spiritual chemistry, your souls are connected.

  5. Intense honesty – Your love is made true and simple by the amazing communication that comes from a place of honesty. You don’t have to be fearful of being vulnerable because they are matching that same honesty and vulnerability. You want them to know all the parts of you, about your day. This honesty will build a strong foundation for trust and connection.

  6. There is more than love – If you have ever loved someone before and it just didn’t work out, was there a lot of love? Probably. Love alone just is not enough. When you find your person you will love them fiercely, but you will also admire them. There will be a deep level of respect. There will be aspects to this relationship that give you confidence that it will carry you through the good and the bad.

  7. Hashtag blessed – You just feel really fucking lucky. You feel like you stepped outside when everything was going right. You wonder what you did to deserve this level of love. You know some people go their whole lives looking for THIS level of love, it feels so magical, and you just feel overwhelming grateful to have found them. This same feeling will also push you to want to be your best self.

  8. Your heart and gut are on the same page – They both just know, This Is It. You and your person commit to each other whole-heartedly and without reservation. You both just KNOW and therefore don’t have to wonder.

Welcome!

Oh my gosh!

This is wild, right? Okay, maybe not so exciting for you, but for me, I can barely contain it!

I know many of you will find me here from Instagram. I have decided to rename my page (from fit_girl_k8) and move forward in a new but fulfilling direction. I wanted to start working on some projects that have been swirling around in my head for quite some time and so this is me finally putting them out into the world.

Why though? Well, I wanted a better platform to be able to reach more women, to share my story and to inspire and uplift as many women as I possibly can. For a really long time (years of my life) I just wanted to be invisible. I have decided to step out of my comfort zone an say F the fear. I refuse to dim my light any longer.

My journey has been pretty wild and I am so grateful to have you here. In the coming weeks I will be posting weekly on this page as well as hammering out some details to possibly launch a weekly column/newsletter or podcast.

As for blog posts, comment and let me know what you would love to see. My playlists? My closet? Life hacks? Recipes? Advice? You tell me what you want and I will get to work! I will say that I have already been working on my IUD post because so many were interested and had questions and that is something I definitely want to share as my body adjusts.

 

 

Recent piece in the daily mail!

Recent piece in the daily mail!