Self Love, Chakras + Embracing the Woo (and you!)

the ultimate self love guide

A few nights ago I was browsing Pinterest + saw the quote, “She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another,” from Sarah Addison Allen.

I have mixed emotions about it because:

a) I’m not going through a horrible time, in fact, I’m really happy.

and

b) I don’t really believe that people have different versions of themselves– I think everyone evolves, but that at the core, we’re all really who we’ve always been.

That being said, something about this quote totally resonated with me and the situation I’m going through. A few months ago (maybe with graduation coming up? maybe with finding myself wanting to take a step back from my crazy, out every weekend lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to? maybe with just growing-up in general?) I found myself asking, “Who do you feel like you really are? Who do you want to be? What makes you feel like you? How can you be the best version of yourself?” 

As a chronic over-thinker + self-improvement junkie (yep, it’s a thing + if it’s not, I’m coining it) I felt like that often– like although the situation I’m in maybe isn’t painful, per se, it’s confusing. Literally, right before, finding this quote too, I did something that just wasn’t like me, wasn’t anything I was (or am) proud of + quite frankly, something that left me feeling a bit scared + ashamed. Is this really who I am? 

Long story, short, I know the answer is that everyone makes mistakes + that if it was one of my best friends I’d tell them that of course they’re good people and that one situation doesn’t define them. But, if you know me, you know I have a horrible tendency to think the worst/be super hard on myself. I was going through a funk when my BFF (please get someone in your life who’s a constant supporter ASAP, plz) texted me a quick reminder that instead of hating myself (dramatic) I should show myself some grace.

So, I finally snapped some sense back into myself + went right back on my self-love/discovery journey.

Now we can get to the point:

Kayli circa early-2015 probably wouldn’t have been able to snap out of a dwell-on-the-bad-mems trip quite so quickly + I’ve gone through a lot of experiences, learned a lot of lessons, implemented tons of practices that have majorly transformed me into the person I am today. I know there’s so much more to be learned (isn’t that way exciting?! just me?) and that my journey is far from over– I don’t think there ever is a time that we suddenly become enlightened know-it-all human beings, ya’ll– but I’d like to share a few of the things that have changed my life (from small to huge) with you guys in hopes that I can help a sista out. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Without further adieu, I’m giving you my ultimate self-love guide to help you live your best life. A PDF with loads of info is coming your way soon so you can always have it on hand (and when it does I’ll link it here!) and accompanying blog posts that go more in-depth with a few of these topics will appear within’ the coming weeks.

Enjoy + as always post any questions in the comments below!

Have you gone through any experiences that have transformed ya lately? What are some practices you’re implementing to live your best life? 

A Morning Routine

I’ve found that since incorporating a morning ritual into my daily routine I find myself having less stress and more productivity! A win-win, right?

Mine looks like:

  • Sitting-up in bed + immediately turning on a guided mediation of my choice.
  • Scribbling down a few things I’m grateful for.
  • Going on a 15 minute walk with Stabler.

That’s my no-bones ritual and I seriously love it. That being said, I’d love to incorporate a few other things into it like tarot cards + some morning journaling. This is one of the points I’ll be sure to do a longer blog post on with further suggestions + such once it gets a little more meat to it, stay-tuned!

Mantras

I like to choose a daily mantra and I make sure to repeat it to myself when I feel overwhelmed or might need a quick reminder during the day. I also repeat this mantra to myself a few times when I’m meditating each morning.

The best part? It can honestly be as easy as choosing an area you’d like to prosper or are struggling in + Googling mantras for that purpose each morning! For instance, if you’re overwhelmed with finances, Google, “Mantras for financial overwhelm” and bam– you’ve got ‘em! 

Journaling

I’d like to say I journal each day, but more realistically, I get around to it around once a week. This is another area I’d like to improve on + do more of because I find it so therapeutic. 

I have a journal where I write down monthly gratitudes, a journal where I recap events, a journal where I keep ideas, a 52 Week List journal and a Self Exploration journal + I love ‘em all!

Card Reading + Energy Healing, oh my!

I’m not gonna lie, this one sounded a bit woo-woo to me at first and it’s also an area that ended up making the most difference. I scheduled a one-on-one session with Jay Diamond after she happened to deliver some life changing news to me through a Periscope chat (it seriously left me in tears, you guys) and it was the best investment I’ve made in forever.

I’ll do a full blog post on this one, too, ASAP, but if you have questions that you want answered right meoooow, you can check out her site for loads of info, here. She’s the real deal, babes.

Crystals

Again, woo woo, right? But I recently have been doing a lot of research on this and truly believe they can make a difference in your life + meditative practices. Don’t believe in ‘em? Totally fine! Still pretty to ohh and ahh at, right?

Also a quick reminder: Self love/discovery/learning is about what works for you! Implement only what makes the most sense for you, but also…

Be open to things that seem outside of your comfort zone! You may be pleasantly surprised. 

A few crystals that I love:

Amethyst

Reduces stress + enhances your third-eye chakra.

Apophyllite

Helps with anxiety.

Clear Quartz

Helps connect you to your higher self // aids in self awareness.

Rose Quartz 

Enhances self love + reduces stress

Books

I’ll continue to update this/do an in-depth post soon because I’m a reading machine but a few that you have to check out right this very second, include:

The Soul Searcher’s Handbook: A Modern Girl’s Guide to the New Age World

This is the one that really changed things + made me understand so many hard to grasp concepts. Also took away apart of the woo factor for me + was put into terms that I feel like my girlfriends + I would get– loooooved it!

 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

 

The Happiness Project

 

Adventures For Your Soul

 

Light Is The New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul’s Callings and Working Your Light

 

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration

 

Ask Your Guides: Connecting to Your Divine Support System

 

 

To Watch

 

MarissaLace

Her #YearOfYou series is da bomb

 

Katie Dalebout

 

Emma Mildon

 

Spirit Science

Helps me understand those pesky hard-to-grasp concepts so. darn. much.

 

Gala Daring TedxTalk

 

Aromatherapy

My Mom got me into aromatherapy last year + my love for it only keeps growing! The scents you surround yourself with can truly transform your mood (+ help with physical ailments!) and I highly recommend them.

To get started, I recommend this starter kit.

A few essential oil faves:

Lavender
Lemon
Peppermint
Thieves

 

Doing More of What You Love

Yep. Easy. I know this sounds so duh, Kayli *sigh*but honestly, embrace the word, “no” and make room for more of what you love. As someone with extreme FOMO (like the freaking worst, you guys!) this has been hard for me, but I think I’m doing a bit better.

Some things I love doing with my extra free-time:

  • Browsing book stores
  • Taking bubble baths
  • Grabbing a green juice with a girlfriend after a yoga class
  • Making big dinners and dancing to music in my kitchen
  • Picking-up one of my sisters + going for a late night drive
  • Attending a concert with friends
  • Having a girls night with bottles (plural, gang) of wine + laughing over bruschetta
  • Taking Stabler for long walks
  • Reading a good book with a cup of tea
  • Going out with my friends and dancing all night (of course, ending with a big slice of my fave white pizza)

One last reminder: It’s all about balance and loving what you do. The most important thing? Loving who you are, unconditionally.

Like what you read?

Share this post with a friend who might need a little pick-me-up + remind them how great they are! xo

Renting an AirBnB In Paris: My Experience

renting an apartment in paris on airbnbDuring my stay in Paris, I wanted to stay in an AirBnB– the idea sounded so amazing– walking down to the boulangerie every morning for fresh baked baguettes, looking out the window to the famous Parisian architecture and walking home from late night dinners…a total dream. While, the AirBnB I stayed at was incredible (and I highly recommend it!) there are a few tips I would have known beforehand, especially in a big city like Paris and that’s why I’m writing this post today. If you find yourself still wondering about AirBnb, or if the one I stayed at is the right choice for you, feel free to comment below or jet me an email at: hello@thepassionpunch.com. :)

à voter santé to enjoying your Parisian stay!

getting into paris apartments First things first, most Paris apartments have codes to get in– make sure to ask your host for this code beforehand! Most will mention it upon booking, but if they don’t, send a note their way– there’s nothing worse than arriving with loads of bags and being stranded on the side walk. And remember, depending on your plan, you may not be able to simply call them right away! Planning ahead is key. I also kept the code along with the address written on a piece of paper that I carried in my purse at all times along with my host’s name, and phone number if needed.

stairwell in paris apartment It’s also worth noting that at the apartment we stayed at (as the case with most residential buildings in Paris) that it was a hike up the winding staircase to the top floor of our host’s apartment. If you’re taking tons of luggage or have any physical ailments, I recommend asking your host what floor their apartment is on before booking.

gifts from airbnb host in paris Our host met us upon entering and had the nicest welcome gift waiting for us– delicious chocolates, teas and fresh croissants from the bakery below the apartment– a welcomed treat after our long travel morning! She was a total sweetheart and also left a list of restaurants and attractions in the area that she recommends. I loved that touch + appreciated it– it was great to get away from the tourist attractions every once and a while and see the everyday life of Parisians.

airbnb in paris tips airbnb in paris tips airbnb in paris airbnb in paris airbnb in paris airbnb in paris view from airbnb in paris airbnb in paris

Location

When renting an AirBnB in Paris, it’s vital that you consider location (+ I can’t stress this one enough!) While I loved how close our AirBnb was to the Sacré-Cœur (one of my favorite places in the city) and the Montmartre district, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking back from locations late at night. It’s also worth noting that it would have been quite the hike to other popular arrondissements!

This AirBnb was in the 18th arrondissement while I would have probably had chosen the 3rd-9th arrondissements had I known the location better prior. You don’t want to feel like you have to say no to that next glass of red wine at dinner because you have to get home before dark, ya feel?

Another thing to consider?

Where the nearest metro location is! While you could easily walk through Paris or take an Uber, taking the metro is often far less expensive and allows you to cut through that horrible Paris traffic.

Hosts

Look in the reviews of your AirBnB and see what people have to say about the hosts– it’s nice if you have someone that’s notably responses in case any questions arise (you’d be surprised how many little things might come up!) I happened to get extremely sick during my stay and my host was able to recommend where to find a Dr. and offered to help in any way she could. While she couldn’t meet us at the end of our stay for the key return due to travel plans, her parents met us and they were delightful and also offered to help carry our bags down the stairs and answer any questions we had about returning to the airport.

Amenities

Look into these before you book! Is wifi a must for you? A washer and dryer to do your laundry? A heater if you’re going during the winter months? You don’t want to be shocked! Remember: Just because it’s a “duh” in one country, doesn’t mean it is in another!

Other tips + notes

  • Remember that European bathrooms are smaller! Don’t be surprised by the size: It’s extremely rare to find an American sized bathroom in AirBnB’s. If this is important to you, make sure you pay special attention to it on your search.
  • Ask your host where the nearest Dr, pharmacy, etc. is beforehand! I wish I would have– by the time I was super sick, it took a while to figure out where everything was and the best place to go. Health care isn’t like it is in America in France, and this was by far the most troubling part of my experience.
  • Learn a few key phrases in French + try to use them as often as possible in the neighborhood you’re staying in! A little bit goes a long way, especially in a city like Paris.
  • Respect thy neighbor. You wouldn’t blast U2 at your apartment at 3 in the morning at home, don’t do it here.
  • Ask your host where the best places to go around you are to embrace the local experience– coffee shops, bakeries, book stores and shops are all good starting points.
  • Leave the house as you found it. Make the bed, clean-up your mess, take out the trash, etc. It’s common courtesy– this is your home during the trip, not a hotel room.
  • If you’re looking for 24/7 help and an atmosphere to help make you feel more at home when abroad, (which I’m not going to lie, would have made our experience so much easier but a lot less interesting) stay in a hotel! AirBnB’s are about fully immersing yourself into the country’s culture.

Everything laid out on the table, I truly recommend it + can’t wait to do it again on my trip to New York City in the Fall! It was an unforgettable experience.

Want to give it a whirl for yourself? Use this code for $35 off your first stay at any AirBnB listing.

Have questions about renting an AirBnB or have one that you recommend? Let me know in the comments, below! xo

 

 

 

Day Tripping: Verona, Italy

From our B&B in Bologna, we decided to take a day trip to the beautiful town of Verona. I was worried that it’d be a touristy spot filled with Romeo + Juliet gimmicks, but what I discovered was so much more as it quickly became one of my favorite Italian cities. If you’re looking for a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with breathtaking bridges, medieval architecture and grand gardens, Verona is the place to wander.

Verona, Italy Exploring Verona, Italy Verona, ItalyThe first thing we did after stepping-off the train was head to Juliet’s balcony. We thought we might beat the tourist rush going in the morning, but it was jam packed, y’all. It was still super cool to see (how can you not?!) and I’d highly recommend going. Just go as early as possible. ;)

Also, don’t forget to leave a love lock or rub her breast for good luck…it’s tradition!

Juliet's Balcony in Verona Juliet's Balcony in Verona Italy Juliet's Balcony in Verona Italy crowds in verona Love Locks in Verona Juliet's BalconyAfter a busy morning at Juliet’s balcony snapping photos and shopping in the nearby gift shop for souvenirs for family, we headed on down to a cute little rustic restaurant for authentic Italian pasta. Make sure to stop-in to Hostaria Vecchia Fontanina for a delicious lunch + a glass of vino.

IMG_5754 IMG_5750 IMG_5710Still hungry? Stop for a gelato at one of the store fronts you pass– so many mouthwatering options– you should get one in every Italian city.

After lunch and gelato we walked on over to the Giardino Giusti and on the way we took in the grand views along the Ponte Pietra.

IMG_5763 IMG_5786 IMG_5785The Giardino Giusti was my favorite stop in Verona. I could spend hours touring the garden grounds, taking in the fresh flowers, watching the turtles that overtake the quaint fountain and walking-up the trail to view the awe-inspiring grounds. At only 7 Euros a ticket (about $8USD), it’s well-worth the entrance fee to see the 16th century garden.

Giusti Garden review Giusti Garden review Giusti Garden Giusti Garden Views from Giusti Garden Verona Italy Giusti Garden Verona Italy Giusti Garden

 

After the best of afternoons touring Giusti Garden, we did what any self-respecting Italian traveller would do…headed for gelato! We stopped at the shop across the street from the entrance to Castelvecchio and I highly recommend you do too. Who doesn’t want a sweet treat?

gelato in verona

Castelvecchio in Verona Italy Castelvecchio in Verona Italy Castelvecchio in Verona Italy Castelvecchio in Verona Italy Castelvecchio in Verona ItalyAfter relaxing by the river for a bit, it was time for a walk to the train station for a short + sweet ride home.

Going to Verona? Pin + print this guide for your adventure and let me know if you have any questions in the comments, below! xo

City Guide Verona

 

 

 

 

 

Day Tripping: Bruges, Belgium

During my trip to Paris, I decided to take a bus tour through Bruges, Belgium. Along with a few other canal cities in Europe, it’s often referred to as “The Venice of the North” and needless to say, it did not disappoint.

A canal in Bruges, Belgium

We took-off from Paris on a double decker tour bus operated through Viator. We chose to go through a tour company because it was easier (and far less expensive!) than trekking to another country by ourselves, and I’m glad we did. Not only were the guides helpful when we had questions, but the ride there was also narrated +made stops on both the way there and home for snacks (praise the Lord.)

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That being said, we didn’t stick with the group. Because of the limited time, we got there and took off to explore our “must do’s” on our own.

De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges Review

First things first, lunch at De Halve Maan Brewery. This centuries old beer-lovers-paradise definitely did not disappoint and I highly recommend stopping-in! The history is abundant and the food delicious. I had the Wisconsin Cheddar (I’m from WI, so I had to try it of course;)) Beer Soup and it. was. phenom.

De Halve Maan Brewery Belgium

Have lunch at De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges!

 

An authentic Belgian waffle in Bruges with toppings

Next stop? Dessert! We stopped in for an authentic Belgium waffle topped with whipped creme and cherries. It was Heaven, you guys. Like, I am still dreaming about it, can I not? 

Note: Waffles are offered just about everywhere + they all looked divine. We popped-in to a little shop we happened to be walking past and encourage you to do the same. The serendipitous yummy eats are half the fun!

Market Square in Bruges, Belgium

Don’t miss a chance to stroll through Bruges’ market square!

 

As if we didn’t get enough to eat during our past two stops, it was time for Belgian chocolate at The Chocolate Line. It’s currently holding the honor of “#1 in the World” for their delectable sweet treats and cannot be missed!

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The rest of the afternoon was spent leisurely popping-in to shops, stopping to listen to beautiful live music in the crisp air (and eating all of that chocolate!) and getting lost in the city’s cobble stoned walkways.

A canal in Bruges, Belgium

A dream town come true, indeed!

Day Trip to Bruges Tips

Is Bruges on your bucket list? 

 

My First Hostel Experience (+ Tips for Yours!)

Tips for Your First Hotel ExperienceThe first leg of my backpacking trip included a short stint in Barcelona. Barcelona was a city of dreams (it ended up being one of my favorites despite my traveling there mostly because it was one of the less expensive cities to fly into, but more on that will be in my Barcelona recap) I had hoped to save a bit of money by staying in a hostel and also wanted to see what the experience would be like.

Upon doing some research I decided to book a stay at the trendy Generator Hostel for 90‎€ (at the time, $95.20) for a two night stay for two (I traveled with my then boyfriend) in an 8 bedroom dorm with a private bathroom. For only about $23 a night per person, I’d say it was well worth it!

Lobby of the Generator Hostel in Barcelona

The Generator was located within’ walking distance to some gorgeous attractions (and many incredible tapas places!), had free wifi, a 24-hour reception desk equipped with a knowledge-filled staff that helped with whatever we needed, an affordable breakfast available for just 4.50‎€ (About $5) and events always happening.

The Rooms

Our room was extremely well-kept with bedding provided, a bed light for private reading or (travel journaling– which I highly recommend!), power sockets (EU adapters only– remember to pack your converters!) + pretty large storage drawer beneath the bunk beds.

The bathroom we shared with our roommate had two sinks on either side of the room with a mirror and the shower was in a tiny little room attached. European bathrooms are often smaller, period, but this is pretty much just enough room to get what needs to be done, done. Don’t expect a luxurious clean-up after long days of travel! But I found it to be a good story and all apart of the experience– especially when the movement automated electricity went out mid shower and I found myself crazily moving my arms in the confined space to turn back on the shower light. :)

I couldn’t get a great photo of the room because there was usually at least one of the roommates in the room + the narrow walkway was super tiny, but enjoy the best of what I could get, below or check out the room we stayed out on their website, here.

Bunkbed at the Generator Hostel in Barcelona

Tips:

  • Unless you’re traveling with someone, choose the bottom bunk! It allows for easier in and out access.
  • Bring along a little flashlight. Especially if you have an early flight/train/bus where you won’t want to wake your roommates!
  • Don’t forget a travel towel! These are often available for rent from your hostel if you don’t want to lug one around, check their website beforehand.

Generator Hostel Review

The Roomies

We stayed in a  coed shared room and this was the part I seemed to be warned the most about. We ended up rooming with great other college-aged people and there wasn’t a time I didn’t feel safe. I mentioned I had traveled with my then-boyfriend (for most people, traveling with a guy seems to equal more safety– especially if your talking to a Mom like mine who spent most of my trip terrified :) ) but the truth is, I would have felt just as safe if I were to stay there by myself or with a girlfriend. In fact, two of our roommates were 18 year old girl’s who had just graduated high school from another country in Europe!

Photo Jun 11, 11 56 16 AM

Tips:

  • Forget something essential? We forgot our locks and they sell those among other last-minute items down at the front desk!
  • Bring earplugs.
  • Bring an eye mask! I loved the quirky one I traveled with + you can buy one for yourself, here.
  • Make small talk + learn a little about your roomies. If you hit it off, don’t be afraid to ask if they’d like to attend one of the hostel events/get breakfast/ explore a nearby attraction together– travel is all about meeting new people and gaining new experiences.

Budget Accommodation in Barcelona

Cleanliness

As mentioned above, the room was kept extremely clean and all other areas of the hostel were as well. I’d give the Generator a 10/10 for their well-kept grounds!

Photo Jun 11, 8 45 44 PM

 

Free Wifi at Barcelona Hostel

Tips:

  • Don’t be the messy Marvin– no one likes ‘that guy!’ Clean up after yourself and keep your belongings organized.

Front Desk at Generator Barcelona

Activities

The Generator had many activities such as tapas tours, a flamenco show, Spanish dinners + a walking tour. We chose to explore the city on our own due to limited time, but we took part in a $10 all-you-can-drink happy hour and met some of our fellow travelers our last night + I’d highly recommend it!

Tip:

  • Take part in a hostel organized activity or two. I wish we would’ve had time to participate in another + it’s always nice to meet new people.

La Boqueria Market

Location

I’d say choosing a hostel with great location is one of my top tips. The Generator was within’ walking distance to so many great restaurants, the metro station and also many attractions including the famous (and stunning) La Sagrada Familia, the La Boqueria Food Market and the Placa de Catalunya.

Overall Verdict:

I’d recommend a hostel for a short-term stay or solo travelers. Because I was traveling with someone, it often wound-up being (surprisingly!) less expensive to get a private hotel room and after a day or two I could see myself getting tired of the lifestyle that came along with a hostel– party oriented (I love a good time, but after 16-hour days walking around a city, sometimes all you want is uninterrupted sleep!), waiting your turn for the shower, having to tip-toe as you come in late at night or leave in the early morning, etc.

I highly recommend the Generator and you can book your stay at one of their locations, below.

Amsterdam

Barcelona

Berlin Mitte

Berlin Prenzlauer Berg

Copenhagen

Dublin

Hamburg

London

Paris

Rome 

Venice

Pin It!

Generator Barcelona Hostel Review

The Best Budget Accommodation in Barcelona

 

Tips for Your First Hotel Experience

Have you ever stayed in a hostel? What would be your top tip for a first time hostel traveler?