Maybe I SHOULD Talk to Someone

Life felt like it was going so well: a new year, hope on the horizon for COVID-19 and the world returning as close to “normal” as what any of us can recall, my 29th birthday looming, and a fun addition to the family (welcome Forrest, our newest puppy!).

While I don’t have any SUPER bad news to report (no deaths, no loss, nothing severe really), I HAVE been struggling with some mental health issues. Back in late January, I began having headaches that were consistent, not throbbing, and straight up WOULD NOT quit. The first time I noticed it, I took a day off work thinking maybe I was stressed and burning out. I slept in super late that day, took it as easy as I could, stayed away from electronics, and continued trying to live healthy per my last blog post with my yoga practice and clean eating.

After a few days with no reprieve, I began to panic (because obviously, why would I not consider the best case scenarios first?). I tried my best to remain calm, made doctors appointments, and kept trying to pretend everything was fine. Usually with my health anxiety if I make a doctor appointment, my symptom(s) miraculously disappear before my appointment even occurs. This is how I really determine whether or not it’s just my anxiety. After a couple of doctor appointments and increasing my dose of ibuprofen, I saw absolutely no change in the headache pattern or severity. I was dismayed.

I made an appointment with a neurologist, but the soonest I could get was April 1st, so here I am waiting anxiously for that first appointment, which I know is just going to be a consultation.

To say the least, I have been on edge for months now. The headaches began January 22nd, and other than a one and a half or so week span of relief I have been suffering ever since. If I had to describe the pain I would say it feels like a pinch or a knot in the back left of my head. Sometimes it’s the top left, sometimes it’s behind my ear. But always on the left, and and always there. Sometimes I feel like I can’t hear as well from my left ear. Sometimes I feel like I can’t see as well. Sometimes I feel like I keep dropping things. But most of the time I believe those extra symptoms are just my anxiety. The only symptom that is consistent is the pain.

For some brief medical history: I do have family history of migraines and I do also have an arachnoid cyst in the front left of my brain. However, the symptoms I have now don’t mimic my normal seasonal migraine symptoms, which are normally throbbing and painful to my eyes. And my cyst has never caused issues before – it’s something I’ve had since I was child. So these headaches are new and unwarranted and causing some pretty severe anxiety and depression in my life.

Anyway, I didn’t come here just to talk about my headaches (as stressful as they are, and also thank you for listening).

I have been reading so much this year already, and have stumbled across the book “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb. A few chapters in and I was already gripped with crippling anxiety, and yet I couldn’t put it down. This book opened my eyes to emotional pain of others, but also caused me so much emotional pain myself.

If you know me personally, you know I have CRIPPLING health and death anxiety. I am at any given moment thinking about this or that ache, this or that way to die. In my mind, death looms at every corner and with every decision. If I sit too long, I’m convinced I have blood clots in my legs. If I smoke a cigarette, I’m convinced I have lung cancer. If I exercise too hard, I’m convinced I’m going to have a heart attack or pop a blood vessel in my brain and have a stroke. Listen, the list of things is long and embarrassing. I AM NOT PROUD OF IT. But it’s who I am, and it’s something I’ve always struggled with.

Back to Lori’s book.

Some of the chapters focus on a patient named Jessica, a 33 year old who just returned from her honeymoon and ready to begin a family, yet is faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Given anywhere from 1-10 years to live, Jessica struggles with her perspective of life and how to handle what she has left.

Jessica’s story is one of tragedy, hope, and dismay. I really struggled to read it. Each time we came back to Jessica in the book my heart would ache. But it also tore open the pit of fear in me regarding death and my own anxiety surrounding it. What would I do if I was diagnosed with cancer or a brain tumor? What if it was terminal? What if this pain is what I will feel for the rest of what could turn out to be a short life? What if I can never be the positive, happy person for my boyfriend and friends and family that I used to pride myself on being?

Even now the thoughts are SPINNING through my brain.

The past few days things have become so much worse. I wake up and feel the knot of pain in my head and cry. I look at my boyfriend or my dogs and cry. I feel like I’m buried under this weight of the “what ifs” and I don’t know how to live through it. The hobbies I used to enjoy bring me no joy. Today I buried myself in chores and cooking and drinking wine and it helped a little, but as soon as I sat down to relax I felt the pain again and reeled. Work is a temporary reprieve, and walking the dogs on my lunch break in some rare warm Ohio spring weather has helped tremendously. But it seems as if I’m struggling to live just in the moment. I’m always thinking of what’s coming next, and whether I’ll even get to EXPERIENCE what’s coming next.

So, I haven’t finished the book yet. I’m scared to. Maybe things get better, but I doubt it.

From reading it, however, I’ve learned one very important thing: maybe I SHOULD talk to someone. Maybe it really is time to seek help.

And so I reached out to my old therapist yesterday. We haven’t spoken since 2018, but she miraculously had space and was able to schedule me in. AND she takes my new insurance! I feel like this is such a big step toward self improvement. Now I feel confident that no matter what the diagnosis for my headaches, I’ll have the support system to get through anything. Not that I don’t with my boyfriend and family and friends, but those of you who have experienced therapy probably know what I mean.

I’m looking forward to the next steps. I truly hope that it only gets better from here.

xo, Karli

(PS. I am posting this blog post late, it is currently April 13th and this draft was saved March 23rd. There are updates to come!)

A Little Bit of Self Discovery

Every time I feel inspired to come back to this blog and write about whatever is relevant in my life, I’m always amazed at how long it’s been since I’ve written. I handle my journaling a similar way: I’ll be INTO IT and writing every day and then before I know it, it’s been three weeks since I’ve picked up a pen. For some reason, I struggle with follow through. Whatever, it’s personal, I’ll figure it out eventually. I didn’t come here today to talk about my poor writing habits.

I came here to reflect upon my life and my new path to self discovery. Those of you who are close to me may know already that I’ve been making changes in my life recently. Important ones, healthy ones. But before I dive into what these changes are, I want to first start with the most important thing: the “why”. Why did I decide to make change in the first place?

As you can tell with some of my previous blog posts, I was really going through a “health and fitness journey”. Or trying to, anyway. I was trying my best, so I’m not using this time to try to talk bad on myself for not doing enough or anything. But I do want to talk about why I started that journey. I promise, this all ties together.

I believe it was September of 2020 when I decided to take a leap into the world of fitness and really try to shed some fat and change my life for the better. I joined an eight week Autumn challenge through a company called 1stPhorm, where I learned a lot about macro nutrients, macro timing, and developed really good exercise habits. Through this challenge I was seeing some pretty consistent results, and I was so proud of myself. I was crushing protein intake goals and burning crazy calories in the gym and getting 10,000 steps a day, I was Killing It. My friends and family cheered me on, I felt confident and secure in myself for the first time in a while, life was good! I even finally signed up for personal training, something I’ve been wanting to do for YEARS. I am blessed to be working with the best trainer (check her out at who is supportive not just with my fitness journey but with my mental health journey as well. I still attend these sessions and look forward to them each time, even if I am a little nervous about the strength training part (lol).

For a few months of this combination of personal training, app based workouts, meal prepping and protein consuming I felt on top of the world. But slowly I noticed something changing inside myself. It was like a grey, rolling storm cloud becoming visible on the horizon. It surged and darkened and I knew it was coming, so I ran from it. I threw myself into fitness and health research and exercise and athletic gear. I focused all my energy outside of work on meal planning and lifting and trying to get in movement. It lasted a while longer, but eventually I just couldn’t outrun that cloud anymore.

My sky became dark, and I felt lost and exhausted.

Since being diagnosed with anxiety a few years back, I’ve gone through similar situations as this quite a few times. And yet, each time it feels new. New and somehow more terrifying than the last time (or have I just forgotten the sharp edge of the terror, the memory lost to time?). This dark cloud came over me and I became the worst version of me. I lost my motivation and dedication. My exercises began to feel like chores, and I started to overthink the effect of heavy weights on my body. I started to think about my heart too much, and my hypochondria kicked in and I really began to spiral. I worried about EVERYTHING. And with time I felt myself getting worse, and also began to notice the effect it was having on those closest to me. When I realized I was bringing others down with me, the guilt became too much. I was consumed with the fear of death and dying and, uncontrolled, it started to eat away at me so much that I felt nothing. I no longer felt satisfaction in daily activities that used to bring me joy. And it was in this dark pit of emotions that I realized it was time to finally Do Something. I just didn’t know what.

I could do what I always do: I could throw myself into a hobby and try to block out the noise, succeeding temporarily before slipping back into the throes of my anxiety. Or, I could really dig deep inside myself to try and find the root of these emotions. The last time my anxiety was this bad, I had to make some serious life changes to find my happiness again. So obviously there is something that, with reflection, I should be able to pinpoint most of this emotionally worry on.

I picked journaling back up and I would write every day things I was grateful for and things I could do to make me feel better about my life. At first it was filled with your typical things: I’m thankful for my dog, my family and friends, my boyfriend, my house, my job. To feel better I can clean the kitchen, take a bath, practice self care, go for a walk, exercise, etc. Through this journaling I realized without facing my fear directly, I wouldn’t really be able to make myself truly feel better. Yes, I’m grateful for everything I have and yes, I could do those chores to ease some of the stress. But neither of those options had anything to do with fixing the ultimate problem: that I am terrified to die.

Yup. You read that right. You did catch earlier when I mentioned I’m a hypochondriac, yea? I spend so much of my mental energy fretting about medical symptoms I may or may not have, what they may or may not mean, and basically trying to figure out what I’m going to die of at any given moment that I had completely forgotten how to actually let myself live. Even when I was actively doing something with friends or family I would have those nagging thoughts in the back of my mind telling me “you’re going to have a heart attack” or “that headache? definitely an aneurysm about to burst”. I couldn’t silence the thoughts, and they were driving me crazy. Now, this is kind of a big problem and not one that I will be able to handle on my own. Don’t worry, I have started the process of seeking out a new therapist (mine from a few years back is not covered on my new insurance, which is devastating to me). In the meantime, I realized there was one path I haven’t yet tread that could help with my existential woes: the path of finding my spirituality.

No, I’m not talking religion per se. I am, much to I’m sure some of your dismay, talking about that hippie-light-incense-do-yoga-and-meditate kind of spirituality. The kind where you light the palo santo wood and cleanse your surroundings and try to connect to this greater sense of self and being. I believe that by coming to know myself and be one with myself, maybe then I can find some control over my anxiety and fear.

I began my journey just a few weeks ago by trying to pick up a regular yoga practice. I would practice once every couple of days, hating every minute of it. Then, I discovered this 14 day challenge I could try from a couple who call themselves Boho Beautiful. I signed up and got started, and suddenly I was practicing yoga AND meditation every single day. The first few days were tough, but one time I noticed that I was looking forward to my practice. And then a day or two later, I was able to truly sink into a meditation. And then about 10 days in, I found myself no longer thinking about the possibility of death. For the first time in months, I was able to just enjoy living.

For someone who struggles so much with controlling anxious thoughts, this has been game changing for me. I feel like I am able to put my best self forward for my friends and family. I am able to spend quality time without fretting or fear, I am able to bring light and love into my interactions instead of darkness and sadness. The mental clarity I’ve been able to discover through the beginning of this journey is astounding. I feel inspired to just exist, with no goal or need for reasoning. It’s truly everything I needed.

I’m just at the beginning. While still practicing yoga and meditation every day, I’m working on developing some other mindful habits as well. I’m working on getting rid of things that no longer serve me, on curbing my spending and the impulse to feed into American commercialism (fancy talk for trying to cut my shopping addiction), and on slowly transitioning into a more plant based diet (following a bit of an 80/20 rule). I’m only three days into that last bit, but I can tell you I am feeling so energized and healthy. I’m very excited about this new journey and highly encourage anyone else who may be feeling similarly to give this yoga and meditation thing a try.

Maybe all of this is just another hobby that I’m throwing myself into until I spiral again. But it can’t hurt to try, right?

xoxo, Karli

My Four Week Transformation

My journey has just begun, but the progress is undeniable!

I’m proud to report in with some GOOD health and wellness updates. Nothing drastic or crazy, I’m not tuning back in with abs or having run a marathon or found some miracle fat burner. But I AM here to *humble* brag about some of the progress I’ve seen thus far on my journey towards a healthier, happier self.

If you checked out my last post you saw some pretty raw and embarrassing photos. My chubby tummy in all its glory, bared for the world to see. But there is a silver lining to those embarrassing photos: they serve as the BEST measurement of progress.

I know now that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, but Karli a few years back was always set on a number. I don’t even REMEMBER that number anymore, but I do remember it being so far out of reach and so unrealistic and unattainable but striving and fighting to reach it anyway. Back in high school and college I didn’t know how to check myself and find what an accurate measurement of health was for ME. I always compared my body to other girls I saw on Tumblr and wanted their features: their slim waists and broad shoulders and gorgeous glutes. Even when I was at my healthiest I found so many things to hate about myself because I didn’t love myself, and instead wanted to replace those parts with literally ANYONE else’s. I remember at one point back then I was so frustrated because I didn’t think I had skinny enough ankles. ANKLES. And I remember hating how short I was. And thinking that my forearms were too big because I couldn’t wrap my hands around them. I had some serious issues!

And those issues lead to more issues. If you go into any “fitness” journey with a bleak mindset and hatred of your body, you’re never going to find what you’re looking for.

Gaining weight was a slow and steady thing, and I hated every moment of it. I would go on super low calorie or carb diets and then binge at night on wine and any snacks I could lay my hands on. I would workout for a few days then fall off for a week and beat myself up and then just eat whatever I wanted because “it didn’t matter anymore anyway”. It took me a long time to gain this 20+ pounds. But you know what else I managed to learn in that time?

I learned self love. I discovered the things and people that were holding me back and I let them go. I went to therapy. I worked on all the other parts of myself that were rotting in my core and I scooped them up and tossed them away. And what I found buried beneath all of that was this little seed of self love that I’ve been able to nurture and grow and now, even though I still struggle with body image and my weight sometimes, I’ve learned to love and be so happy with ME.

I think that’s a crucial step in any health journey. Step number one: love yourself as you are.

Step number one: love yourself as you are

Oof okay we got a little off track there. Back to the changes so far!

So, here comes my transformation photo so far. Drumroll please…

Photo on left taken October 1st, 2020. Photo on left taken October 25th, 2020.

So I don’t know what you see, but I see a girl who is KICKING A** and not letting excuses get in her way. It’s crazy to me because between these two photos I’ve only lost 2.9 pounds. But I’ve lost four inches all over my body, 1.75 of those around my navel (the most protruding part of my stomach). It’s amazing how much has changed without the weight really dropping.

Things I have been doing to finally see results this time:

  • Tracking macros. I track my calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates EVERY. DAY. No matter what. I include my wings and beers on Sunday during football games, I include that glass of wine I had to have after a stressful day of work, I include that ice cream treat I couldn’t resist at 10pm. Every. Single. Thing. that I eat is recorded and accounted for. This has helped me learn how much food is the right amount of food for me, which it turns out is more than I thought. It also helps me learn proper portion sizing and how to make room in my diet for my treats and cheats.
  • Eating clean. I strive to eat mostly clean whole foods in my diet, which I really thing has the highest impact on my progress so far. Breakfast is usually egg beaters with a large handful of spinach, a light amount of cheese, and some salsa or hot sauce. I will have bacon on the side if I have low fat dinner and lunch planned for later, or I will have toast if I need more carbs. As I’m typing this I just remembered I bought some avocados so I could have a healthier fat so GUESS WHAT I’M HAVING TOMORROW. Ooooo I’m excited.
  • Eating high protein. Another HUGE factor is the amount of protein I’m consuming. I make sure that 20% or less a day is from protein powders, and the rest is from clean whole sources such as chicken, ground turkey, eggs/egg beaters, quinoa, salmon, etc. I use protein powder in the morning in my coffee (but only a low 15g vegan one by Tone It Up), my new Phormula-1 chocolate milkshake protein post workout, and sometimes if I really crave ice cream I’ll make protein ice cream with another 15g of my vegan powder, some almond milk, and some ice.
  • Working out and giving it my all. I used to be a bit of a wimp doing workouts. For the last four years I’d do exercises that I preferred and at weights were I could complete the sets without much resistance. If I didn’t like an exercise (ie. lunges) I would skip them altogether. I wouldn’t even replace them! But now when I workout I give it my all. I do everything I’m told, and I try to max out my strength by going as heavy as I can for the given reps. I’m usually shaking by the end of each set, and the knowledge that I have to do more makes me want to groan sometimes. But I push through and I do it and I feel AMAZING afterwards. In just four weeks I’ve already seen pretty good improvements on my strength and endurance. For my workouts, I do personal training once or twice a week with a local trainer, and the other days I follow the workouts in my program on the My Transphormation app by 1stPhorm. This is also where I track my macros and calories, and have check ins with my amazing instructor for the eight week challenge group I’m in. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this app and finding a group that works for you, it’s so helpful having that team of people behind you cheering you on every single day. Which leads me right into my last point.
  • Being part of a group of like minded people. Since I started the eight week challenge with the My Transphormation app, I’ve been in a group of like minded people who are all in similar parts of their health journeys. There is accountability with daily workout and nutrition check ins, weekly weigh ins and measurement and photo updates, and our instructor is always available and quick to respond with any questions we have. Having this group of people going through the same thing as you are every day is so helpful and so motivating. It really helps keep me going on days when I really just want to eat junk food and binge some TV. I’ve ALSO started weekly competitions on my Apple Watch with a close friend. Loser at the end of the year has to buy the winner dinner/drinks. Talk about a motivator!

So, yea. That’s a high level view of what I’m doing that’s working for me this time around. And the photo doesn’t lie! I’m truly seeing progress, and I couldn’t be more proud.

xoxo, Karli

A New Weight Loss Journey

If you know me personally or IRL or even follow me on Instagram, you know I’m not new to the fitness world. In fact, my first “blog” (aka Tumblr account) was a health and wellness inspired account where I would post daily workouts, full day of eating (FDOE’s) posts, day in the life posts, etc. This was back in college when I used my fitness lifestyle and blogging as an escape from endless hours of studying. And back in college, I did things right! I ate intuitively, making sure to focus on protein intake and vegetables. I ran a couple times a week, did plenty of HIIT and strength training in the gym, and still managed to pull good grades in school and have a social life. Ah, the good old days. How was it so EASY back then?

Oh wait. It wasn’t.

I look back on those years with longing – the lifestyle may not have been “easy” but the habits were formed and I was able to follow them with ease. Here are some of the habits of healthy college Karli:

  • (on a school day) Wake up at 5:30/6:00 am
  • Make a weird healthy breakfast
    • A typical breakfast would be egg whites, two slices of wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, an Oikos greek yogurt, some broccoli because I’m weird, and a bolthouse farms juice or protein drink.
  • Get ready for school and arrive by 7:30, even though my first class wouldn’t start until 10.
  • Go to the business building cafe, get a mocha (this was before I could drink black coffee)
  • Study for a few hours, to go my classes, blah blah blah .
  • When I had my two hour lunch break I would head to the fitness center and get my workout in. I would start with about 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical or treadmill, then followed that with a strength training HIIT workout and some Ab work to finish. If I felt motivated or had the extra time, I would bring a textbook and sit on an exercise bike and study for a while and burn extra calories at the same time.
  • After this I would go to and buy a Core Power protein shake to have during my after lunch class.
  • I would have a late lunch around 2 or 3, there was this wrap place and I would often get a chicken wrap but lets be honest in college I had pizza for lunch 9 out of 10 times.
  • Finish out my classes, go home, eat some kind of meat and veggie for dinner (I lived with my dad at the time, so whatever he cooked I would eat).

It’s amazing that back in school this was just my routine. I used to be so good! And it paid off back then:

These photos above were from 2013. I was thin, fit, and probably eating close to 2000 calories a day. But I mean..I was in college too! So I was walking a TON with a 25+ pound backpack full of books and a laptop and full water bottles all day, taking stairs multiple times a day between classes, and having huge calorie burn days at the gym. My part time job was in a pharmacy where I was on my feet for 6-8 hours and would kill time by walking in circles around the place. And as I mentioned before, exercise back then was my escape from studying all day long.

Fast forward seven years (these were taken October 1st, 2020):

Talk about a backwards transformation! This is a super unflattering photo of me but if you’ve seen me in a swimsuit well you’ve seen it so here you go lol. Sitting at about 33-34 % body fat and 153 pounds on a good day, this is me in all my late 20s adulthood glory. A couple of breakups and lots of bottles of wine and cans of beer and pizzas and ice cream etc later, and wallah! This is how I look now.

Am I disappointed in myself? Maybe a little. Have I had breakdowns about my body image? Certainly! Have I tried crash diets and tons of workout programs in desperation to change, only to revert back to my old habits when my period would start or something bad would happen or simply when I felt depressed? You betcha. Even though I obviously KNOW how to lose weight and be healthy, my emotions or lack of motivation or heck even just information overload in regards to the fitness industry would send me on a downward spiral back to weight gain.

In the past few weeks I’ve really tried to focus on my health. A few months back I downloaded Noom, which was helping me form a healthy relationship with grains and fruit again, a relationship I had damaged with over a year of attempting keto on and off and being told almost all my life that “carbs are the enemy” and “the only way I’ve ever seen change was by cutting out bread” and other similar accounts from other people I knew trying to lose weight. I used the Noom app and started forming healthy habits and routines, the first being eating almost the same thing every single day. At first it was boring, but I quickly became used to the foods I was eating and began to look forward to them.

Since that photo above I have lost only a couple of pounds, but I have lost 6+ inches all over. I’m already noticing changes in my stomach (which is obviously my biggest problem area).

Already feeling slimmer here in the waist only a week later!

Here’s what I’m doing differently on my fitness journey this time around:

  • Eating the same things almost every day. This helps me learn about the macros I’m eating and helps me become more comfortable with proper portion sizes for the foods I eat.
  • Weighing myself every morning. I do this because I am comfortable and confident and the number does not cause me to spiral. If weighing yourself every day is harmful for you emotionally please do not do this. But I like to do it to see how my eating the day before can cause changes. It really puts things into perspective. For example, when I follow my macros and get proper exercise I can see either maintenance or about a half pound weight loss every day or couple of days. If I overeat or overindulge in sodium or ice cream or alcohol I can see that reflected on the scale with a slight increase in weight the next day due to bloating and water retention. It helps me make connections with what I’m doing and the effects those decisions have on my body and on my progress.
  • Taking progress photos and body measurements once a week. I usually update these first thing Sunday morning before I consume anything! Measurements are amazing because sometimes the scale won’t budge but fat will be melting off you. I highly recommend measuring if weighing yourself isn’t your thing!
  • Personal training and an eight week challenge. For YEARS I have wanted a personal trainer. After paying off my car I was finally able to pull the trigger and have been working out with a trainer for a few weeks now, and I look forward to each and every session. It’s pricey but it’s WORTH IT. I am also enrolled in a free eight week transformation challenge with 1st Phorm. I use their app to track my intake throughout the day and work with my group leader to make any adjustments to ensure I’m still seeing progress. On the days I don’t have personal training, I follow the workouts provided within the app. I really recommend this app for people who want a one stop shop for nutrition and exercise recommendations. I pay $5 for the premium version which makes tracking even easier and gives you more exercise options!
  • Protein coffee in the morning. I got this idea from the leader of my eight week challenge group. She puts a scoop of protein powder in her coffee every morning to help jumpstart the fat burn process first thing. It’s a little strange to get used to at first, but I look forward to this every day now. I’ve been using one scoop of the Tone It Up protein powder in the Cinnamon Roll flavor.

I have a long ways to go to get to my college level, and I know I’ll never look the same as that again. But it’s nice to know that the physique I want for myself is attainable, because I’ve kind of been there already. My goal is to get to either 135 lbs or 25 % bodyfat by Christmas, or to fit into size 6 jeans. With the progress I’ve already made the past week and a half, I’m confident I can get there. The support and encouragement I’ve received from friends and family also helps keep me going. It’s going to be a long journey, but I plan on making this a lifestyle and living the healthiest I can for the rest of…well, forever.

Follow me along in my Instagram to see my daily stories with workout selfies, what I’m eating, and other fun stuff along the way!

xo, Karli

August Reading Review

You guys, I’m going to get better at blogging one of these days. And I mean that! This blog isn’t intended to be a book blog, but it’s starting out that way. With COVID there just isn’t a lot of exciting stuff going on in my life worth blogging about (*queue world’s smallest violin*) . So for now: you get book reviews.

In August I treated myself to four books, two from Barnes & Noble and two from Book of the Month Club. If you haven’t checked out BOTM yet and you read on average at least one book a month, I HIGHLY recommend checking them out. For $14.99 you get to choose one book each month, and that includes shipping. The books are hardcover, making them already a great deal! For an extra $9.99 you can add-on a second book, which means for about $24 you are getting two hard cover books, shipped directly to you. GOOD. DEAL. I highly recommend giving them a try, and if you do please use this link to help your girl out! Without further adieu, onto the review!

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

3/5 Stars

Every once in a while I like to dig into a fantasy novel, and Sarah J. Maas has written some of my favorite series! When I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw this title on the shelf I knew I had to have it. I was even happier when I realized it’s going to be a new series. The book itself is thicccc, with 803 glorious pages full of drama, action, mystery, and adventure. Follow protagonist Bryce as she is thrown immediately into a mess far out of her control, and into a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. There are a few raunchy adult bits, as is typical per SJM’s style. If you’re not into that, I promise the story is still worth reading.

SJM does not have very diverse writing. Her characters are always described as super attractive model types with some secret backstory. There’s a hot girl with a secret, a hot broody guy who starts to be nice slowly, etc. But honestly, part of the appeal to me with her stories is that I can go in and get sucked into a story knowing full well what I’m getting into. With just enough surprise and mystery to keep me on my toes, but also while giving me the idea of what might just happen next.

If you like raunchy fantasy fiction, give it a try!

Afterland by Lauren Beukes

3/5 Stars

Follow a mom (Cole) and her son (Myles) as she navigates a world practically void of men to a safe space where they can live freely. And blood isn’t always thicker than water. Plot twist: her sister is out to get them, hoping to make her own riches using Myles for re-population efforts among the financial elite. Do you think Cole and Myles make it to safety? And what must the small family overcome along the way?

I wanted so badly to love this book. The post-apocalyptic world Beukes describes is full of some very real and very compelling concerns, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. For me it may have been the writing style, the constant back and forth between Past, Present, Super Past, Past, Present…too much. I feel the book would have read better if it was written chronologically.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

4/5 Stars

Johnson shows us a world where multiple dimensions exist, and mankind has discovered how to travel between them. This travel is used to collect data from hundreds of other Earths to Earth Zero (the OG) to anticipate anything from stock market reactions to citizenship levels. The trick is: you can’t travel to a planet where your doppelganger still exists. One girl, Cara, is a specialist when it comes to travelling: with only eight doppelgangers between 372 Earths, she can go just about anywhere. But tensions rise when another doppelganger of hers is pronounced dead, unlocking a new Earth for her that comes with a big secret that Cara just can’t shake.

Trigger Warning: there is domestic emotional/physical abuse brought up throughout the book.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

5/5 Stars

There’s…I…. I don’t even know where to begin here. This book isn’t ANYTHING like I was expecting. I didn’t read the reviews, I didn’t even read the description of the book on Goodreads. I expected such a cute, simple, Elin Hildenbrand-esque predictable summer beach read novel and NO. This was so amazing (not that Elin’s writing isn’t…but just..UGH). Read it, I really think you’ll love it.

So. I think we can all agree I’m sub-par when it comes to book reviews. BUT I like sharing what I’ve read, just as much as I like hearing what others have been reading. Sharing stories…does life really get any better?

Have you read any of these books and have any opinions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

upcoming September reads:

May & June Book Picks

As many of you may (or may not) know: I’m a pretty avid reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a child, and that’s never truly changed. Reading leisurely took a backseat during college. Spending hours and hours reading textbooks and studying and scrolling through Chegg for assistance on homework problems took up most of my time and also made me want to do anything BUT shove my nose in a book again.

Fast forward six years (wait…six? really?). I’m settled into my cozy accounting job and get to spend my evenings relaxing at home. And with work-from-home in place due to COVID-19, I’m home just about 24/7. One of my favorite things about this is the convenience of just reading on the front porch or curled up on the couch on lunch. Although I definitely miss socializing with friends at the cafeteria or getting in a good workout, these more relaxing at-home lunches aren’t so bad! And if I do choose to exercise on lunch, I have so much more free time in the evening to read due to no commute. Score!

I get two books a month sent to me via Book of the Month Club. It’s a subscription service PERFECT for book lovers (like me!). The monthly subscription fee is $14.99 and includes one book, but you can do an add-on book for another $9.99. For brand new hardback books and free shipping, it’s kind of a steal. If you’re interested in joining, I would love if you would use my referral link . Each referral will score me one free book credit to help fuel my reading addiction.

I read anywhere from two to four books a month, give or take. Reading is my “me” time – it takes me to a different place for a while and lets me leave my own thoughts and stressors behind. I delve into the characters’ stories: I feel pain when they feel pain, happiness when they feel happiness, anger when they are angry. I empathize with their emotions, every time. Every time! And it turns out that this is actually a form of therapy. Ever heard of bibliotherapy? Well, now you have!

Bibliotherapy allows you to gain insight into the personal challenges you’re dealing with and helps you develop strategies to address the most concerning issues. It can also help promote problem solving, understanding, and self-awareness.

Sara Lindberg. “Bibliotherapy: How Stories Can Help Guide the Therapeutic Process”. verywellmind, 30 Jan 2020, Accessed 7 July 2020

Bibliotherapy can be used by therapists as a tool to further traditional therapy sessions. This type of therapy may help you gain insight to your own personal troubles, can help you see situations through other perspectives by experiencing them through literature, and may even offer hope in bleak scenarios. Of course, therapy needs are different for everyone. Please note I am NOT a doctor and if you need any sort of help please seek a professional. But I CAN say that for me, reading as always been therapeutic. It’s cool to know that it can also be a tool to help with traditional therapy as well!

A lot of the reading I do is within the fiction realm (although I do love a good self-help/personal growth book!). Here are some of the books I’ve read recently that I would recommend, in the order that I would recommend them (from favorite to least favorite). By the way, I’m not great at book reviews. Click on the titles to travel to to read more about the books and also see some pretty great deals (not an ad, I just found out about this website and am obsessed with how many great deals there are!).

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This book broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I was angry. I was sad. I was pulled into so many directions. It’s a heart-wrenching story about young inter-racial love in a modern day and age. I think this is a good book to read in light of current events. It provides a good perspective of how easily situations can be spun to make the wrong person look like the bad guy, and how easy it is to assume the wrong things. 10/10 would recommend.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is just that: a perfect beach read. A heart-warming tale about a young author who moves temporarily to settle her father’s estate. While in the charming beach town she makes a few new friends and makes a surprising bet with a neighbor and rival. Cute, addicting, and simple. I loved this book, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in two days. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for something cute, simple, and easy to read.

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

An entertaining story about a group of rich mom’s living in NYC and a young aspiring musician in need of a job. You travel through the intricate relationships of the group of friends and get to slowly watch things unravel, with a surprise twist at the end that I certainly did NOT see coming.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I both enjoyed and felt slightly ripped off by this book. I enjoyed the thrill of it, and the writing kept me sucked in till the very end. But I also feel like it had SO MANY similarities to that Netflix show that came out, The Haunting of Hill House, that I kept picturing THAT story in my mind while reading it. And much like my opinion of Hill House, I felt that this story was great the first 75% and the last bit of it was just…lackluster? Still worth reading if you like a bit of a thriller novel. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you got the same vibes as I did!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A fictional story of a Hollywood icon, and how she made her life from scratch. I wasn’t too entranced with this novel at first, but I kept wanting to know how the journalist was tied to Evelyn. Why did Evelyn want this girl specifically to write her story? I kept reading for that, and honestly it was worth it. I enjoyed the ride, and loved that the character came to terms with her love and her life, and made big bold decisions regardless of what others thought (but only after struggling for years with whether or not those decisions were worth the public scrutiny). It’s a good story to show that a lot of your life really does lie in your own hands, you just have to know what’s worth it to you.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I so badly wanted to love this book. I liked the characters well enough, and the story was a pretty great rock&roll adventure. What I really struggled with most was the way it was written: interview style. It still paints a beautiful picture and tells a good story, but for some reason reading it interview style stressed me out a little? That’s probably just a weird personal thing. Of all the books I read in May and June, this is the one I probably could have done without.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were! Alternatively, if you have any other great book recommendations, let me know. I need to expand my reading list!

Back to Blogging

Here we go again.

I’m not new to this. I’ve “started” a blog a handful of times now, but I’ve never really stuck with it. In my head, “blogging” is akin to running a Tumblr account. In high school and early college I LOVED scrolling through different hashtags on Tumblr for hours, “reblogging” images to my page that I felt fit my aesthetic. Usually that would be anything from wellness and fitness to nature photography to food. Occasionally on Tumblr I would post something original: workout stats, Myfitnesspal logs, meal ideas, and progress photos. Sometimes I would post something more along the lines of a diary entry. Sometimes I would go full out “emo” and post a stupid self-deprecating quote or some vague depressing song lyric. You know, typical young adult stuff…right?

The nice thing about Tumblr is that it was easy. So easy that it inspired me to start multiple different wordpress blogs. I think some of them are still out there if you look hard enough. But they definitely fall into that young adult “emo” category more than a useful or interesting lifestyle blog. This time around, I have a more focused vision in mind.

Karli’s Kandid Life is a play on words off of my photography business, Karli’s Kandids. I’ve used this as my Instagram handle for a few years now, and it just kind of stuck. It really transitions easily to a blog name, don’t you think? Karli’s Kandid Life is going to be a lifestyle blog. Expect posts from me about hiking, vacations, recipes I’m loving, books I’m reading, clothes/accessories I’m dying for (because as much as I try to escape it, I’m a tad materialistic), cute photos of my cats and my dog, etc. Another type of post you can expect will be those regarding transitioning into a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Those ones will be pretty important to me, and I hope maybe they can convince some readers how easy it is to ditch a “one-time use disposables” lifestyle and replace those things with longer lasting, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Another focus of mine will be small/local business shopping. One of my personal goals for this year is to start taking my shopping habits and redirecting the focus from big brand box stores and billionaires to local artisans and small business owners. If I find some amazing products or small scale brands, I want to share them with others and encourage everyone to try to shop more local business.

My life isn’t glamorous. I won’t be one of those bloggers posting photos of their luxury beauty products on carrera marble counter tops. I don’t wear a size zero (or heck, even a size six) and look amazing in slip dresses and blouses. But I’m excited to share some of the best parts of my normal, simple life. And I hope that any of you reading this find joy in what I have to say, but if you don’t that’s okay too.

Thanks for stopping by. ❤

P.S. Here’s a pretty picture of my hibiscus tree’s blooms. Honestly I’m just uploading this so I can see how the image looks in the post and how it might interact with the rest of the site. However, if you’re like me and love hibiscus flowers and are looking for a tree of your own, I highly recommend checking out Bremec Garden Center. I purchased mine from the Concord location in early May and she’s still doing so well and blooming so nicely, and I’m not exactly a green thumb.