Traveling to Amsterdam?

As a writer and blogger, it’s no surprise that planning and making lists are some of my favorite things in life. When the chaos in my mind gets translated into actual words, plans, directions, I am a happy lady.

Speaking of plans, there is nothing more exciting than making travel plans. Okay – there’s one thing that’s maybe a little more exciting. Making travel plans with your best friend that currently lives on another continent!!! *jumps from joy because ALL OF THE EXCITEMENT*

We’re starting our trip off in Brussels, where I currently live. I’m just about to book a hostel for a night in Ghent and we’re potentially going to look into a night (or maybe even 2?!) in Amsterdam. Ghent is one of my favorite places in Belgium, and I’ve never been to Amsterdam before, so I’m sure that’ll be a good experience.

Have any of you been to Amsterdam before? I could use some tips / hostel recommendations / advice! 🙂

Everything is happening in about two weeks and I’m so excited to share photos and stories on here.

-PositivelyCurvy

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Cool bits and pieces

The sun is slowly starting to show its face more and more frequently, and with that come little shopping trips where you get things that aren’t (necessarily) necessities, but they make you smile. Today I’m writing to you from my balcony, as I soak up the sun on a gorgeous weekend in Brussels.

Yesterday I discovered a store called “& other stories”. There were a lot of gorgeous pieces of clothing, although a bit on the pricier side (but nothing too extravagant). What really caught my eye was their sleek and minimalist skincare collection. I left the store with one skincare item, one accessory, and all the willpower in me to not spend all of my money in there.

First off, I got these really cool sunglasses! They have clear frames, they’re mirrored, and I feel like they fit my face perfectly. I was in desperate need for sunglasses, but I kept passing up buying any because they didn’t feel right. These, on the other hand – they’re beautiful, and edgy and I’m in love. Also, they were 15 euros which is a total steal.

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I couldn’t find the exact ones on their site, but you can have a look around at the other models they have:
http://www.stories.com/be/Accessories/Sunglasses

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Next, skincare. I wanted to try everything they had in the store but I convinced myself that I needed to try the formulas first before committing to buying everything that looked magical (which was everything, to be honest with you). I opted for the Moroccan Tea Body Soufflé and I couldn’t be happier that I did. It smells like mint, and tea, and cinnamon. The scent is clean, soothing, calming, and it has insane staying power. I applied it all over my body after a bath last night, and I woke up smelling amazing. I’m certain that the contents of this pot are going to vanish quickly. It’s 12 euros, which again, not exactly the cheapest, but we’re definitely not talking high end.

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You can get it here:
http://www.stories.com/be/Beauty/All_beauty/Moroccan_Tea_Body_Souffle/590775-562080.1

And last, but not least – let’s talk clothing. I’m a curvy girl, and lately – my body has gone through a lot of changes. I’m happier, I’m healthier, and I feel way more comfortable in my body. I even got a top that I was always told wasn’t for curvy girls. Oh yes, the dreaded horizontal stripes. They might not be the most flattering, but I don’t need to look the thinnest version of myself in order to be the happiest version of myself. I love the fit, the crazy sleeves, and I think the stripes are cute!

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I picked it up from Pull&Bear:
http://www.pullandbear.com/be/en/irregular-crepe-frilled-t-shirt-c0p100149515.html

Cool, I think that’s all I’ve got for you today. Remember to do little things for yourself because you’re worth it, damn it.

Yep, that’s definitely all of it.

-PositivelyCurvy

Flight anxiety: Tales of an adventurer

Airplanes: my one true love, and my absolute worst nightmare.

I am an adventurer with a bold spirit. I love mountains and rivers, valleys and hills, cities and streets, shops and parks. I love the beach, and I love the snow. New places excite me to no end. I used to be unable to sleep before flying, from the sheer excitement of embarking on a new adventure. I used to dream of soaring through clouds made of cotton, and floating mid-air with nothing but the sun above. I used to.

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Somewhere along the way, something changed. On a flight from Philly to Vegas, I sat stiffly in my plane seat and waited for take-off. My heart was beating way too fast, my palms were sweating, and worst of all – I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. Like someone was gripping my lungs with their bare hands. Where were these feelings coming from?

Nobody enjoys turbulence, but I used to just be able to ignore it. Seriously, the plane could shake however much it wanted to, and I would just look out the window, or scribble my way through a sudoku. On this particular flight, everything felt wrong. The moment we hit a rough patch right above Vegas, I broke down. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, all I could really do was cry. Tears were streaming down my face as turbulence shook the seat under me, not even that severely. All I wanted was to be safe on the ground where I could fill my lungs with the air they longed for. My parents tried to calm me down, but couldn’t understand why I was acting in this strange manner. I’ve flown frequently my whole life, often traveling overseas, and often traveling alone. Turns out, this was my first in-flight panic attack.

That was half a year ago, and since then, I’ve flown 9 more times. My life has always consisted of movement and travel, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Unfortunately, the panic and fear got worse before it got better. I’m well aware of the fact that, yeah – airplanes are safer than cars, and yeah – turbulence isn’t a life-or-death situation. Reading reassuring fact on the internet did not help me one bit. I tried tackling the problem (and failed) so many times before I made some fairly minimal progress.

What makes me feel better:

I don’t want to lie and tell you that my flight anxiety is cured, because that would be a lie. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to manage it (for the most part). A piece of cloth with lavender essential oil on it (it relaxes me and calms me down), a pair of headphones (to make the plane noises softer, rather than for music), and breathing exercises. The most important of these is definitely the last one.
Breathing exercises have been a life-saver for me. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 7, breathe out for 8. In 1-2-3-4, hold 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Simple, but effective.

I also prefer to travel alone. While traveling with someone can be comforting, I find that when people worry and care for me, it makes me all the more anxious. A stranger on the other hand, is someone you can make a fool of yourself in front of, because you’ll probably never see them again. I can’t even fathom the amount of wonderful strangers that have held my hand as I’ve tried to take control of my anxiety. Thank you, you nice people.

*Pro tip: if you inform the flight attendants about your anxiety beforehand, they’ll give you free alcohol, which is never a bad thing.

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If you take anything away from reading this post, let it be one thing:

Fear attracts fear. The moment you learn to control it, is the moment you’ll learn to be free. 

Now, go hike those mountains. Play in the sand, run through the snow, spend the day at central park, or make love under the stars. Just try not to get caught.

 

-PositivelyCurvy

Creative Potential

I’ve hit a wall where it seems like all creativity has ceased to exist. This is nothing new, it’s actually been a thing for a while now. Starting today, I am taking the initiative to change that.

The only way to make something of quality, is just to consistently create. Between this blog, and my youtube channel – I’m ready to start creating on a somewhat regular schedule. Come say hi on youtube if you’re into that sort of thing!

-PositivelyCurvy

How to [stick to and get through] Ideal Protein

I know you might be thinking, what makes this girl so qualified to talk about low carb diets? Has she lost 100+ lbs? Is she some huge success story? And you know what? I’m here to tell you that no, I have not lost copious amounts of weight, and I’m actually still on the diet itself. I’m making my way through my journey, day by day, bite by bite. What I do have though, is experience – and if you’re looking to start a diet such as Ideal Protein, Axodiet, Eurodiet, Protekal, etc (depending on where in the world you are), or if you’re simply in a rut – I’m here to share my experiences with you.

I learned about Ideal Protein while I was living in the US, and I had met a few people that had amazing results from it. I’ve never ever (ever) been a fan of diets, so as exciting as Ideal Protein seemed, I was also dreading it from the start. To clear this up, my eating habits are generally fairly healthy. The problem I have is that my body creates (or used to create) nine times the amount of insulin it needs. This is scary for many reasons, but mostly because once your insulin runs out, it’s out – and that’s it. The other reason my insulin spikes were unfortunate was because whenever I would manage to lose weight by diet and exercise, I would always regain it back almost immediately. These were the moments that I would lose all hope and give up, stuff my face with junk food for a period of time, and walk away from the experience both unhappy and disappointed.

I decided to give Ideal Protein a go in July of 2015. I was determined and pushed through two months of the program, losing about 25 lbs in the process. At that point in time I was living with my boyfriend, and temptation was everywhere but I was sure that this would be the last diet I would ever be on. Fast forward to September, things happened (quickly) and I was on my way from Wisconsin to Brussels, Belgium. I abruptly stopped the Ideal Protein diet (I didn’t phase out – bad idea), and went on to indulge in everything Belgium has to offer: Waffles, Fries, Chocolate and Beer (all capitalized for their holiness). In about two months, I gained back 15 of the 25 lbs I had lost and I was miserable. All of the determination I had built up beforehand got lost along the way, and if you know me, you know that I’m not a quitter. I researched and researched, and found an identical diet here called Axodiet. I started this diet on January 5th, 2016, a month and a week ago. I am currently down 20 lbs from that mark (so technically 35lbs down from the summer, and nearly 55 lbs down from my heaviest). This results are coming along twice as fast now, and I will happily share what I’m doing differently.

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Let’s talk about the first few days on these diets, because they’re truly horrible. The night before I started my diet I had my parting meal, which consisted of a piece of baguette and Nutella. Don’t ask why, I wouldn’t know how to answer. I started my new life the next morning, and while the first few hours were fine, at around 1pm I found myself in bed with the worst migraine of my life. Going from Nutella to absolutely no sugar was a huge shock to my body. The migraines lasted about 48 hours, and they were accompanied by emotional breakdowns. Something I later learned was the fact that there are hormones in your fat cells and during the process of entering ketosis, your body releases them and goes absolutely nuts. I cried a lot and said that I was going to quit this diet – but I never did. Once these few days are over, you drop a large amount of weight (mainly water and some fat), but oh my goodness does it feel amazing. This is the moment you get hooked and decide that it’s worth it. Try to keep this feeling around as much as you can because you will doubt yourself in the process.

 

Things that make have made me more successful (this time around): 

  1. The weight loss starts out crazy fast, and then it slows down and you have to remember that that’s normal. The thought that in this diet you literally pee out fat is still so cool to me, that I find myself drinking a lot (and I mean a lot) of water. 
  2. I’m not putting my life on pause for this diet. I’m treating it as if it’s a completely normal thing to be doing, and I actually go to restaurants and out for tea (that’s me with a burger salad, completely fine with the fact that my friend was eating an actual burger).
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  3. I’ve replaced my daily milk intake with sugar free soy milk (in my coffee) and it’s saving me so many carbs.
  4. I weigh myself every day. I know that coaches usually advise against this but it’s a good way for me to keep track of what bloats me and what works well. I’m never strict with myself if I’ve gained, because little gains are absolutely normal and temporary.
  5. I cook real, flavorful food. Like, actually cook. I also make sure to never have the same protein two nights in a row because that leads to boredom and discouragement.
  6. I exercise! I was advised not to do it for the first three weeks, but now I try to get four days of 30-minute at home workouts. Youtube is your friend.
  7. I take progress photos (I started this recently, because we all know how much it sucks to take photos of your body when you really dislike it).
  8. I took up a hobby which is probably the thing that helps me most. I’m guilty of eating when I’m bored, and now I’m learning to play the ukulele instead. I seriously get so much practice in, just so I don’t end up snacking – it’s great.
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  9. I reward myself with new clothes, and especially workout clothes – motivating and cute!
  10. Last, but not least, I set a timer on my phone and make sure to take all of my supplements which makes a huge difference (because I would often forget to do that in US).

I've been playing the ukulele for about 4-5 days and I love it. #me #singing #ukulele #cover #uke

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#BeginAgain: 2016

To say that I am a fan of the concept of beginning a new year is an understatement. The idea of beginning anew excites my inner butterflies and sends an adrenaline buzz down my arms and through my fingertips.

I’m welcoming 2016 with arms wide open. Instead of resolutions, here are things that I would like more of in my life, in 2016:

*More blogging, more writing, more journaling

*Coffee shops and books (they go hand in hand)

*Creativity, opportunities to create, do and be

*Health – both physical and mental

*Ideas – thought up, shared and developed

*Friends and Family – from near and from afar

*More DOING. Physically doing things, starting routines, being active.

 

For me, 2015 was a great year, full of ups and downs. Living and working in New York City, graduating from college, living in Madison, Wisconsin for the summer. Realizing that I have amazing friends and people that love me. On the other hand, more anxiety than I’ve ever experienced in my life. A severe fear of flying that I’ve never felt before.
Weighing everything out, I wouldn’t change the last year for the world.

 

Cheers to a year of happiness. Cheers to a year of fulfillment.

Together

Dearest blogger friends,

It’s been a little while since I last wrote to you. The reason being, is that I had many beauty related posts planned, but with current world events – none of them felt particularly relevant.

My heart goes out to anyone affected by the tragedies of the last few weeks. I’m right here, grieving with you.

I’ll be back once I gather my thoughts some more. As for now, they’re scattered to an unbelievable extent.

Sincerely,

PositivelyCurvy

 

Book Recommendation: The Defining Decade, Why Your Twenties Matter – And How To Make The Most Of Them Now

Hey friends!

I wrote an extended enthusiastic blog post about this book, but in the end there were too many things I wanted to say and I couldn’t get my thoughts cohesive enough since I’m still processing all of the information.

The book is called “The Defining Decade, Why Your Twenties Matter – And How To Make The Most Of Them Now” by Meg Jay.

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Read this book if:

  • You’re in your twenties, whether 21 or 29
  • Feel anxiety about committing to a path in life
  • You classify yourself as “funemployed” but the fun is nowhere to be found
  • You’re underemployed / working a job that you’re overqualified for
  • You feel like there are things you “should” be doing, but aren’t
  • You feel like you’re doing things because you “should”, but aren’t happy with them
  • You want to gain insight on what life is like for young people in their twenties today
  • You feel no sense of direction
  • You don’t know where to start

The author has also done a similar TedTalk, so check that out if it interests you.

I’m coming back to you soon with a lighter post next time!

PositivelyCurvy

Adventures: The importance of getting away

I’ve always been into the concept and thrill of adventure. I wouldn’t say that I’d be the first one to sign up for rock-climbing, but I find it extremely important to take a break out of whatever routine you’ve gotten yourself into, and just go. Having the ability to just leave everything and go, surprisingly requires a lot of planning. This is why, the next time you see an opportunity to do anything that you feel like you’ll remember for the rest of your life – anything that you’ll look fondly back on, I dare you to do it.

Today, I’m going to share with you photos of a time my best friend and I went on a little adventure of our own. We had just finished our junior year of college, and I made sure to book my flight back home about a week later than I would have otherwise. We got into her car and headed to Cape Cod. See, I’ve never been to Cape Cod, and she’s spent her summers there, yet I’m pretty damn sure it felt like an adventure to both of us. We packed our backpacks, a tent, sleeping bags, a stand up paddle board, and lots of snacks.

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Adventures and trips don’t need to be extravagant. No need to whip out your credit card and book that cruise in hopes of getting some peace of mind. You can start by turning the music up in the car and singing at the top of your lungs – but only after you’ve gotten a coffee big enough to get you through the first hour.

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Once we got there we set up our living are for the next two days. Again, we really just enjoyed the set up process and took in the beautiful sceneries that surrounded us.

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When you’re in such a setting, you don’t need to plan any further. You’re not on any sort of schedule, and you really can just do what feels right. Whether that’s sitting on the beach, going into “town” (i mainly mean grocery stores and restaurants), or simply just exploring your surroundings. Our adventure took its own pace, and was filled with all of the above.
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By “took its own pace” I mainly mean that we ate a lot of fried seafood. No one’s ever going to complain about that. But more importantly, we took the time to appreciate the sun, the wind, the waves, and the sand.

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Upon watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen (Cape Cod sunsets are magical), we got into our tent and wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and slept and slept and sleeeept until we naturally woke up happy and rested. I think that my favorite part about camping is that you can take your time waking up. And you can have breakfast in bed because where else would you have breakfast otherwise?

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Being rested means more energy for exploring. We spent the rest majority of that day on the beach, and went on to eat more amazing food.

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Now go, do something that you can write a book about later on in your life. Create memories that will not only inspire others, but that’ll continue to inspire you. Enjoy the thrill of adventure, no matter how big or small. 

Till next time,

PositivelyCurvy