Cincinnati Coffee Trail

Bored during quarantine? Want a way to get out of the house AND support local businesses? To support my favorite coffee shops in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area, I thought it would be fun to create a “coffee trail” for you to explore new local shops. This trail can be accomplished within a few hours and allows you to see several different spots in the Greater Cincinnati area! If you don’t want to finish the trail all in one day, no worries, just treat it as a list of new shops to try, whenever you get the chance. If you are not from Cincinnati I encourage you to create your own coffee trail in a city near you.

Things to note before you begin:

  • This list goes in order from the NKY shop, to the shops all the way in Hamilton, OH. Depending on your location, you may want to switch up the order.
  • A few of these shops are not open on Sundays!
  • Some of these shops may have different hours due to COVID-19, so do your research and plan accordingly. (I’ve linked each shop’s website to help you plan!)
  • These are just a few of my favorite shops, I know that there are a bunch of shops in between the trail that I encourage you to add to the journey! (Also feel free to add them below in the comments)
  • Lastly, HAVE FUN, drive safely, and wear your face mask!
graphic of a trail

Carabello Coffee- Newport, KY

Photo of caramel latte at Carabello Coffee

First stop, Carabello Coffee in Newport, KY! My favorite shop for when I’m at school. It is the cutest and coziest place, perfect for studying. I recommend trying their caramel latte hot, or any of their seasonal drinks.

Address: 107 E 9th St, Newport, KY 41071

graphic of a trail

Coffee Emporium- Downtown Cincinnati

Photo of coffee cup from Coffee Emporium

Second stop, Coffee Emporium! I have only been to the Coffee Emporium in Over the Rhine, but there is a second location in Hyde Park (if that is closer for you!) I recommend trying their Milky- Way Latte if you love chocolate and caramel coffee.

Address: 110 E Central Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH 45202 or 3316 Erie Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208

graphic of a trail

Cavu Coffee- West Chester, OH

Photo of iced coffee from Cavu Coffee. It is sitting on a marble table next to a vase of flowers

Third Stop, Cavu Coffee! Cavu is a little bit of a drive from Coffee Emporium, but it was my favorite shop when I was in high school. I recommend their Kitty Kat Latte (hot or iced), it’s incredible.

Address: 7755 Cox Ln, West Chester Township, OH 45069

graphic of a trail

Kala Coffeehouse- Mason, OH

Photo of a latte in a mug on top of a wooden table. It is next to a plant and a journal.

Fourth stop, Kala Coffeehouse! My favorite place to get coffee with friends. They have an incredible menu of drinks, sandwiches, and more. My “go-to” is their Iced Cashew Coffee and Eggwich sandwich, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.

Address: 4503 US-42, Mason, OH 45040

graphic of a trail

Coffee Cup Overflowing- Hamilton, OH

A coffee cup that says "Coffee Cup Overflowing" and has the name, "Kate" written with a marker. It is sitting next to a vase of flowers

Our fifth stop is Coffee Cup Overflowing in Hamilton, OH! This is such a sweet shop over by the Bridgewater Falls shopping area. They always have a great seasonal menu, so be sure to try one of their specialty drinks!

Address: 6544 Winford Ave, Hamilton, OH 45011

True West Coffee

Last, but certainly not least, is True West Coffee. This was the FIRST coffee shop that I fell in love with, and the shop that started my obsession with coffee. It is such a cozy and beautiful shop that holds a special place in my heart. I recommend their mocha (iced or hot) and their True West Salad.

A coffee cup sitting on a table. It has the True West Coffee logo and also has "mocha" written on it with permanent marker

Address: 313 Main St, Hamilton, OH 45013

I hope you enjoy these shops as much as I do! Be sure to comment if you have more suggestions, I would love to try new shops myself.

~Katelyn Sinclair

Let’s Talk About Perfectionism

Let’s talk about perfectionism. What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism: refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.

I have struggled with perfectionism for almost all of my life. I noticed a need to be perfect in every aspect of my life, whether it was school, dance, theater, social media, you name it. Even when writing this blog post there was a little voice in my head telling me that it wasn’t good enough and that I should start over (again). In some ways I am very thankful for my perfectionism, it has given me a fantastic work ethic and attention to detail. I often pride myself on being a perfectionist during interviews because of all the good qualities associated with being a perfectionist. However, there happens to be a lot of dark qualities to those struggling, which leads to a sense of failure.

I can think back to the first time I realized that being “perfect” was getting in the way of my success. I was in third-grade about to take a multiple-choice math test, and I was apprehensive. It wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared for the test, I was a smart kid and knew the material, but I let comparison and perfectionism consume my thoughts. When I was given the test, I remember reading the first question and having to read it again. I probably read that question 100 times over and over again because I couldn’t get myself to choose an answer. I was too scared I was going to choose the wrong answer. I sat there on the same question, while my classmates started to turn in their tests. My hands trembled, my face turned red, I looked around and realized I was the only one still working. I quickly scrambled to finish the test by filling in answers. My fear of failure caused me to fail.

I wish I could say that that was the only time I let my perfectionism get in the way of my success. Throughout all of high school and college, I strived to be the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect employee, the perfect blogger, the perfect actor, the perfect dancer, the perfect photographer, the perfect sorority woman. The need to be perfect was making my life anything but perfect. It’s like I was running towards something that I would never reach. And even though I was tired emotionally, physically, and mentally, I couldn’t stop running towards that “perfect life”.

So why am I writing this? Mostly because I wanted to share a little bit about my personal struggles, but to also bring awareness. I have seen a lot of judgment when it comes to my perfectionism, most people don’t realize it’s not something I choose. I get a lot of backlash for worrying about my work, obsessing over small details, and caring about what others think of me.

Others pride themselves in being “a perfectionist” because they like things to be detailed and organized. What they don’t realize is often linked to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer,” says Sarah Egan, a researcher on perfectionism at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

Overcoming perfectionism is not an easy task, it is something that I continue to struggle with myself. By taking small steps of confidence, I am slowly but surely creating a happier lifestyle. Even this blog post is a step closer to overcoming perfectionism. I know it is far from perfect but I am becoming more accepting and trusting of myself. If you find that the need to be perfect is getting in the way of your happiness and success, I encourage you to seek professional help.

Remember, you are doing the best that you can and that is enough.

~Katelyn Sinclair

My Testimony

Everyone has a story, and there is something so incredibly inspiring about a person sharing their story truthfully and authentically.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to build an immense connection with God by doing daily devotionals. I decided to pursue the Bible in One Year 2019 with Nicky Gumbel to help me with this goal of mine, 150 days later, and I haven’t missed a day. This is a pretty big milestone for me! Within the past year and a half, I went from being far from Christ to spending 150 consecutive days with him. This journey of mine has led me to think a lot about how much I have grown and has encouraged me to share my story with all of you.

I have always considered myself a Christian. I was baptized when I was a baby, I went to church on Christmas and Easter, and I thought that there was a God. I spent my entire childhood and teenage years telling myself that I was a Christian, but I never fully understood what that meant. I especially didn’t understand the importance of having a relationship with God.

Throughout High School, I liked calling myself a Christian. I thought to be a Christian was a way to be part of something bigger than myself, plus, a lot of Christians I knew were nice. So, I surrounded myself with friends that were also Christians. These friends had similar values to me and were very encouraging when I questioned my faith. Looking back, I believe God put those people in my life for a reason and I am thankful for them. To this day, they are still some of my closest friends.

My freshman year of college, I knew I still wanted to consider myself a Christian, but mostly to stay out of the party scene. With that being said, I still tried to surround myself with friends with similar values. Pursuing Christ was never my top priority, I put most of the things above my faith such as school, work, relationships, and my sorority. I soon found myself feeling overcommitted, and struggled to keep up with everything.

By my sophomore year, I had overworked myself to the point that depression and anxiety had overruled my thoughts. I was stretched so thin that I could snap at any slight inconvenience, which, surprisingly, did not make me a fun person to be around. Being busy made it extremely difficult to develop meaningful relationships, I was frankly too busy to hang out with anyone. Every once in awhile I would find a small moment to devote time to others, but I would often find myself anxiously complaining to my friends about what I had to do next.

Eventually, all my relationships had had enough. I found a lot of my friends drifting away from me, and who could blame them? I had nothing to offer in the relationships. I started living my life completely alone. I would walk to class alone and I would sit alone at all the dining halls. I rarely spent time outside my dorm. There were days where the only person I talked to was myself, and I was not a joyous person to talk to.

I came to a realization one Friday night in my dorm. I had been alone for so long that I had hit rock bottom. That evening I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, crying, and telling myself that I was the reason I had no friends. That I was the reason no one invited me to hang out or go to parties or get dinner or watch movies or do facemasks, or whatever else I scrolled through that night. I felt like I was physically forced to live a life of loneliness. I threw my phone at the end of my bed and cried into my pillow. And then a miracle happened.

Minutes later I grabbed my phone from the end of my bed and went to open the Instagram app, I remember wiping away my tears while waiting for the app to open. When it opened, I didn’t see my Instagram feed, I saw this:

Picture of Bible Verse: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."

I didn’t open Instagram, I had opened the Bible app. I realized at that moment that opening the Bible app was not an accident, it was God seeking me. Almost as if he was stopping me from comparing myself to other people on social media. He knew that scrolling through Instagram was only going to hurt me more. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 was not a coincidence either. It was God telling me that through Him, I would never be alone. He would always be there to help me up.

Before that moment, I was living in pity. I was the one who had pushed so many people away, including God, and that was why I was living my life alone. When you live your life without God, you find yourself falling with no one to help you. That night I cried out to God and asked Him to never let me live my life alone again, and ever since that night, He has been by my side.

10 Things to Stream During Quarantine

Hello friends, I hope you are staying safe and healthy at home. Since I have a little more time on my hands, I have been focusing on things I enjoy. One of the things I enjoy most is watching movies and shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Here are some of my favorite movies and shows I have streamed while being in quarantine, in case you need some new suggestions!

Movies

Onward (2020) on Disney+

When Disney announced that Onward would be one of their early releases to Disney+, I could not contain my excitement. I saw this movie before the closure of the movie theaters and was dying to see it again! As a Disney Pixar fanatic, I can honestly say that Onward is Pixar’s best movie since Coco. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be on the edge of your seat. Onward is all about bringing magic back, and Pixar did just that with this magical journey.

Shazam! (2019) on HBO

For any superhero lovers out there, this one is for you. As a Marvel fan, I tend to stay away from the DC movies. Unlike Marvel, DC has a much darker reputation in which I am not a fan of. However, Shazam! is an exception. It has the perfect mix of fun and exciting moments and is perfect for younger audiences. Shazam! follows a similar plot to movie Big (1988), but does so in a lovable way. Plus it has Zachary Levi (aka Flynn Rider from Tangled) as a superhero, so you really can’t go wrong with this movie!

Stargirl (2020) on Disney+

If you can’t tell from the past couple of suggestions, I love family-friendly movies. I mean with all that’s going on, who doesn’t want to watch light-hearted content? Stargirl is the exact light-hearted movie we needed to get us through quarantine. Based on the book by Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl follows a free-spirited young girl who touches the lives of everyone she meets. This movie will just make you feel warm and loved after watching it, so give it a try!

Parasite (2019) on Hulu

This movie was a complete surprise for me in so many ways, and it is not the type of movie I typically go for. After watching Parasite, I completely understand why it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Going in blind was the reason I found this movie so fascinating, so I recommend not reading too much into it. Go watch this incredibly gripping film, you will not be disappointed.

Lady Bird (2017) on Amazon Prime

Lady Bird is one of the older titles on this list, but it was just recently added to Amazon Prime so I wanted to include it! Everything in Lady Bird is remarkably believable. The story, the writing, the acting… it’s just one of those real and raw films. Re-watching Lady Bird during quarantine sparked a new love and appreciation for the film. I think we all have had our deals of hardships during this time. Lady Bird serves as a love-letter to all the people in the world who are protecting us during these confusing times. We may feel restricted now, but we know that all of the regulations are meant to keep us safe.

TV Shows

Brooklyn 99 (Hulu and NBC)

I started watching Brooklyn 99 a couple of summers ago and it has surpassed all of the sitcoms I used to consider my favorite shows. Because of school, I fell behind in the 8th season, so I spent this the past few weeks catching up. If you are someone who loves shows like The Office or Parks and Recreation you will love Brooklyn 99. Even if you don’t like those shows, give it a try! Brooklyn 99 is a cop show, so it’s filled with some fun action-packed scenes to balance out the lovable humor. Not to mention the cast is probably one of the most diverse and talented ensembles on television right now! Brooklyn 99 takes the prime spot of being my favorite TV Show.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)

Words cannot describe how much I adore the styles, music, decor, etc. of the 1950s. I have always based a lot of my style on the 1950s, and if I could have any fictional character’s wardrobe it would be Midge Maisel’s. Everything in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is my aesthetic, which is probably why it’s now up there on my list of favorite shows. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is written by Amy Sherman- Palladino, who also wrote Gilmore Girls. So if you are looking for a charming, witty, light-hearted show… Mrs. Maisel is it.

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Ok. I was that person who for some odd reason did not want to watch Stranger Things. I can’t even give you a solid reason as to why, but I am so glad that my family and I discovered it during quarantine! Everyone in my family has different tastes in movies, tv shows, music, etc. but somehow Stranger Things managed to be something we all loved. We binged all three seasons as a family in less than a week! To anyone out there who hasn’t seen Stranger Things yet: Start it right now. Seriously. I think my biggest regret in life is waiting so long to watch it because now I am obsessed.

Tangled: The Series (Disney+)

If you have kids or younger siblings (or maybe you’re just a kid at heart like me) you have to watch Tangled: The Series. I mean come on, we all wanted more adventures with Rapunzel and Eugene! This show even has the original voice actors (Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) PLUS it is filled with broadway actors like Jeremy Jordan, Eden Espinosa, and James Monroe Iglehart. Maybe it’s Disney magic, but this show helps me get my mind off everything.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (Hulu and NBC)

When I first saw the commercials for Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, I was not impressed. But then I asked myself, “how did a show with incredibly cheesy promos have such a great cast?” Like seriously?! Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, and Lauren Graham all in the same show? When I finally decided to give it a chance, I fell in love. My fellow Glee and Smash fans, this is our new musical-comedy to support!

As you can see, I have been indulging in some serious streaming these past few weeks. Do you agree with some of my picks? Let me know below! Also, I would love to hear some of your streaming suggestions.

~Katelyn Sinclair

6 Tips to Conquer Finals During Quarantine

Due to COVID-19, my school (as well as most other schools) switched to online learning. As someone who had only ever taken a couple of online classes, I have struggled to get through the second half of the semester. I was surrounded by distractions that made it hard to focus. Just when I had gotten into a ‘quarantine routine’ I realized that the semester was winding down and that finals were approaching. So, I thought that I would share some of my tips to conquer these online finals!

  1. Create a Studious Environment

The first and probably the most important tip is to create a studious environment. The main reason I found myself struggling, was because of my environment. I am currently living with my family, which is something I haven’t done since high school. Not only am I working from home, but so are my parents, so we’ve had to divvy up our house into office spaces. I recommend finding YOUR space in your house where you can spread out and focus.

If your “office space” happens to be your bedroom (like mine) you may find it hard to focus. I’m not one to do work in my bedroom even when I am at school because I know I will get distracted. When I’m at school, my study spot is at a table at Starbucks. I love the smells, I love the music, and it’s a place I can sit and just crank out all of my assignments. To trick my brain into getting work done, I have created a corner in my room that imitates a coffee shop. Every morning I make myself a cup of coffee (for the smell), I turn on a coffee shop playlist on Youtube or Spotify (for the music), and I sit at my chair and get assignments done. Do whatever you can (move furniture around, light a candle, create a study playlist, make your favorite study snack, etc.) to help imitate your ideal study spot from school at home.

2. Make a List of Every Assignment Left in the Semester

My second tip is to create a list of everything standing between you and the end of the semester. Write every project, homework assignment, test, discussion post, etc. from every one of your classes down on a piece of paper and double-check to make sure there is nothing that you missed. Although the list may seem intimidating at first, it can help you see how much (or how little) there is to finish this semester. For me, nothing feels better than crossing off something on my list. Hopefully, this list will motivate you to finish these assignments. If it doesn’t motivate you, don’t fret! At least now you can feel a little more organized with your courses.

3. Get Small Assignments Out of the Way

If you are really struggling to get started on your classwork, I suggest starting with the small assignments first. If your online classes are like mine, there are always those “busy-work” assignments to prove that you are participating. Go ahead and comment on your classmate’s discussion posts, send in that attendance assignment, or take that reading quiz. These small assignments add up, you’ll be amazed at how many assignments you can cross off your list in just a couple hours. Doing something is better than doing nothing, so start small and build momentum to do more challenging projects later!

4. Make A Schedule

The nice thing about quarantine is that you can really be flexible when you want to do your classwork. But, that also means that you can forget to dedicate time to your classwork. Your schedule doesn’t have to be down to the minute, or even down to the hour, but having an idea of when you want to work on things will help you stay on track. I personally have my “school time” between 12pm and 5pm Mondays through Thursdays. This allows me to sleep in and relax in the morning and have free time in the evenings. It also allows me time to wake up a little bit before starting my workday. My biggest advice with this tip is to listen to your body’s schedule. If you’re someone who focuses better in the evening, by all means, make your “school time” in the evenings! You know when you are most energized and focused, use that energy for your work.

5. Study Away From the Screen

I have been using screens more now than ever, and I have never been so exhausted. Between online school, meetings, social media, movies, and more I can physically feel my eyes straining. Not only do my eyes hurt, but it is also affecting my sleep. If you can, try and do work away from the screen. Try writing your paper in a notebook and then typing it out later, writing out your notes instead of typing them, or creating flashcards instead of using Quizlet.

Staying away from screens also means setting your phone away from your workspace so that you don’t grab it and get distracted. By doing this, I have noticed that it is much easier for me to dedicate time to my schoolwork. I have fewer headaches because of my eyes and I have fewer distractions like notifications on my laptop.

6. Schedule in Time to Take Breaks

Last, but certainly not least, TAKE BREAKS. There is so much going on right now and it is not practical to spend every moment preparing for finals. Personally, I like to take breaks after I finish something or have been working on it for a while. If I finish a small assignment, I will give myself a 15-minute break to scroll through social media or watch a youtube video. If I finish a large assignment I may give myself 45 minutes to an hour to watch an episode of a show. Before starting on an assignment tell yourself, “If you get this done, you can have a break.” But, make sure that you set a timer before going on your break… a 15-minute Youtube break can easily turn into an hour-long break if you’re not careful. If you are working on large projects or studying, I recommend setting a timer for an hour and then working until it goes off before taking a break!

I hope you all enjoyed my online study tips, I am wishing you all the best of luck on your finals in the next few weeks! Be kind to yourself while you are working, with all that is going on it is ok to not have the best grades this semester. If you are really worried about your finals, seek help from your professors!

Remember to stay safe, stay healthy, and STAY HOME. Was there a tip that stuck out to you the most? Do you have any additional tips? Let me know!

~Katelyn Sinclair

Rebranding: A New Start to My Story

If you’re a new friend of the Katelyn Sinclair Blog, I hope you’re thinking, “Wow! I love her blog’s look!” and If you’re an old friend and supporter, you may be thinking, “there’s something different here!” Well, that something may just look like a new logo and a new website… but it’s a bit more than that.

In September, I wrote a post saying that I wanted to post content twice a month. However, that did not happen. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to produce content, I just found myself struggling to feel inspired. I realized that the reason I wasn’t posting was that I was not creating content that I was proud of. My blog wasn’t what I had dreamt it to be and with that, I knew it was time to rebrand.

What’s rebranding you may ask? 

Rebranding is a marketing strategy used to change the corporate image of a company, organization, or in this case brand. A brand can decide to rebrand for many reasons which include: 

  • Connecting with a new audience
  • Reflecting on new goals, products, etc. 
  • Setting the brand apart from competitors

I want to use this blog as a way to build my personal brand. As a PR and Marketing student, I have always found branding yourself incredibly important. I believe that I am a different person than the person who started this blog two years ago. I’m filled with new creative ideas and new experiences to help me make this blog what I want it to be.

Reflecting on new goals

A big part of this decision comes from having new goals. One goal is that I want a blog that allows me to share my story with those who are willing to listen. If you haven’t already, check out my new “About” page to read more about my goals with this blog.

Another goal of mine was to have a place to develop my skills as a Public Relations and Marketing professional. With this new brand, I hope to talk about the things that I am most passionate about, one of those things being my career. This space can be used as a way to publish writing samples, showcase photography, and network with others.

Connecting to a New Audience

My blog before did not have many readers. I would consider a “good post” to have more than 10 page views. I knew that something was off and I knew that the only people my content was reaching were friends and family.

The issue was I was trying to reach a large number of people, rather than creating content for a specific audience. I realize now that a lot of my audience are people my age who share a similar lifestyle as me. I am now focusing more on my content on my lifestyle and personal interests and using social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to reach that audience.

Ideally, I hope to reach an audience of young college students who are a little bit like me: an introvert. It is TOUGH being an introvert and it’s even harder to put yourself out there. I truly believe that I have a lot to say and I hope that my fellow introverted friends can connect with me, my interests, and more.

Setting My Brand Apart

As a blogger, I don’t believe I have any competitors. I think every blogger has something unique about their writing that allows them to connect with people. With my previous blog, I felt like I was trying so hard to be like other bloggers that my writing didn’t reflect me in the way I wanted it to.

With this new brand, my content is transforming into something I am proud of and I am excited to share this new content with all of you. I already feel like my website alone relates to my personality more than it did before.

I cannot wait to see where this new blogging journey takes me. Here’s to a new start to my story, I hope you feel inclined to keep reading!

~Katelyn Sinclair

Staying Thankful

Let me just start out by saying that I am praying for each and every one of you. This is something that each and every one of us is affected by. Some have lost loved ones, some have lost jobs, some have had to cancel important events like graduations and weddings. My thoughts are for you who are suffering. Remember, it is ok to be frustrated and upset at all that has happened. You deserve to be upset.

Three weeks ago, life was normal. I left for a vacation exactly three weeks ago with absolutely no idea what was going to happen next. Halfway through my vacation, I got a text from my boyfriend saying that his school had switched to online classes for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 virus. I was completely thrown off, I remember thinking that it was “too soon” to call off half of a semester of school due to some disease that wasn’t even a big deal in the US. Later that day, more of my friends announced that they were coming home to finish their semesters online. Then I saw on Twitter that my high school had switched to online courses. Then my boss texted me to let me know that I could work remotely from home until further notice. Then Disney closed all of their parks. Eventually, my school followed along and decided to make the switch to online courses. This was all within twenty-four hours. Being on vacation, I felt like I was in a bubble while the whole world was crumbling around me. I was hearing all of this news but I was in a dream-like state of mind and didn’t feel like anything applied to me. I was confused, I was worried, and I honestly just had no idea what the coronavirus was. All I knew was that when I would come home, I wouldn’t recognize my life.

After traveling back to my apartment from Florida I decided it was best to go home to my family. I packed a couple of bags and left my apartment not knowing when the next time I’d be back. I took an empty highway back to my home in Ohio. I passed several signs for gas that was under $1.80. I got off the highway realizing this was the last time I would be out of the house for a long time. It’s unbelievable how drastically our everyday lives have changed in such a short amount of time. My mind is still attempting to wrap my head around all of this change.

As of now, I have been quarantined for 15 days. Meaning I have not left my house, and no one has come into my house. Instead of lamenting about the uncertainty of this situation, I thought it best to be grateful. You see, we all take life for granted. We live our franticly busy lifestyles and compete with each other over how tired we are. This semester had been a challenging one for me, and I honestly saw myself adopting habits that I was not super proud of. I was drinking at least two cups of coffee a day, I was only getting approximately 6 hours asleep each night, and I had practically lost all of my motivation. I was so consumed with responsibilities that I was no longer grateful for all of the opportunities I was given. I took for granted what I had this semester. Three weeks ago I complained about going to my classes, I complained about going to campus events, I complained about going to sorority meetings, I complained about going to work. I know now that I truly do love doing those things. I am grateful for this quarantine because it has helped me become grateful for my life.

No matter how upset you are, remember that there is always something to be thankful for.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I challenge you to identify three things you are grateful for during this time and to share them with a friend or family member.

Mine are:

  1. Time to rest
  2. Time with family
  3. Time to work on my blog

We will get through this together.

~Katelyn Sinclair

Ringing in the Resolutions

I may be a few days late, but Happy New Year! I absolutely love this time of year, mostly for the amount of determination I see in everyone around me. With that being said, 2020 is filled with endless possibilities and I can’t wait all it brings.

I decided to take the first few days of 2020 to reflect on the past year and what I really wanted to achieve. I feel like I start every January with a long list of goals that I plan to achieve in the year to come. However, by the time February comes around I notice that the motivation behind these goals has disappeared. Well, this year I thought it best to document my goals publicly so that I can hold myself accountable. So let’s ring in this new year with new resolutions! Here are my personal goals for 2020 along with the steps I plan on following throughout the year:

  1. Put God first
Steps:
- Pray more
- Start going to church every week
- Trust him
- Do daily Devotionals 

I realized that this has been a goal of mine for quite some time, but I have always put other things above my faith. This year, I pray that God allows me to follow through with my goal of starting each day in his word. He has granted me many resources (the Bible app is a blessing) and I am proud to say that I am on track to finish reading the Bible using the Bible in One Year 2019 by Nicky Gumbel (which is FREE on the Bible App!) This daily devotional plan has already changed my perspective on 2020 and has encouraged me to grow deeper in my relationship with God. If this is also a goal of yours, I encourage you to start this plan.

2. Become a Morning Person

Steps:
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night
- Stop using my phone by 9:30 pm
- Set phone far away from my bed
- Set fewer alarms in the morning

I used to consider myself a morning person but after this past semester, I have discovered that I am most definitely NOT a morning person. I struggled to get out of bed and saw myself setting 5 alarms just to get out of bed by 8am. This year, I hope that I can get up early so that I can have an easy and relaxing start to each day. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll be able to stay off my phone after 9:30 pm… which leads to my next goal.

3. Limit Social Media Usage

Steps:
- Set time limits using iPhone settings
- Stay off phone after 9:30 pm
- No social media before 9:00 am

Social media has not been kind to my mental health, yet I still see myself spending hours every day using it. I hope that limiting my social media usage will allow for more time to have new experiences and happier life.

4. Strengthen Relationships

Steps: 
- Text and Communicate more
- Set plans in advance
- Focus more about the other person

I will admit that I am not the best at maintaining relationships. I find myself so focused on myself and my own personal goals that I forget to spend time with the people in my life. This year, I plan on dedicating more time with the relationships I have simply by setting plans far in advance and communicating more frequently.

5. Bring music back in my life

Steps:
- Don't be worried about what others think
- Do vocal exercises every day
- Learn basic chords for the piano

Music used to be a HUGE part of my life. I played the flute up until 9th grade and then pursued singing for the next four years. I absolutely loved creating such wonderful music and it was something that brought me so much joy. Unfortunately, I let my worries be the reason to stop. I began telling myself that I wasn’t good and became so embarrassed by my voice. Well in 2020 my voice will not be silenced. I hope to bring singing back into my life by learning a few chords for the piano and practicing vocal techniques!

No matter how hard your goals get remember to not give up! It is ok to try again. You can start goals at any time of the year, not just in January. I have a good feeling about 2020 and what it will bring to my life. I hope that you feel the same way! Feel free to share your goals and plans for this new year, I am rooting for you!

~Katelyn Sinclair

Creating a Season of Love

I am absolutely astounded by the fact that we are already almost through with November. This semester has flown by and in the next couple of weeks, I will be preparing for the next one. Not only are we getting in preparation for a new month, but we are also preparing for a new season: winter. For some, winter is a warm time of celebration, it’s a time to be with the people you admire most. For others, their emotions reflect the wintery weather and they start to feel lonely in a cold and dark time. As part of my preparation for the holidays, I thought it would be best to acknowledge and bring awareness to this seasonal depression and share my thoughts with all of you.

Seasonal depression: a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

What causes seasonal depression?

There are so many things that can be the cause of this epidemic. Here are a few that I have noticed for myself.

  • Winter weather
  • The stress of school
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loneliness
  • Old memories

How do we fight seasonal depression?

Remind yourself that you are not alone

First off, anxiety and depression twist your thoughts into thinking you are alone. This couldn’t be more false. You do not need to go into this battle with anxiety and depression alone. Remind yourself every day that you are not alone, God is always there. He is your provider of strength, peace, and help. He will give you grace and help in your time of need. Others are struggling just like you. Reach out to them and go into battle together. Reach out to him and own this season as a season of love.

Fight the “no-motivation monster”

Whenever the holidays are near I get into this weird funk. I just can’t seem to find the motivation to do ANYTHING. Weeks before, I start to realize that a holiday break is near and my flame just seems to flicker out. I like to call this the “no-motivation monster”. This monster just follows me around at the end of each semester and interferes with my studies, relationships, mental health, and more.

This semester this monster has created a bigger and bigger wedge between me and my responsibilities but I am determined to fight it off. Here are a few ways you can fight off this “no-motivation monster”

  • Wake up early! Waking up early and actually getting out of bed has helped me feel so much more productive these past few weeks. Now, some days are easier than others, but doing this has definitely helped me prepare for each day. Get up, grab a cup of coffee and mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come.
  • Remind yourself why. For me, I have no motivation for school. I just can’t seem to focus on my assignments this time of year. Reminding myself why I am at school and why I am studying Public Relations helps me find motivation to finish out the semester. This technique helps me stay focused and on track to my goals for my life.
  • Find someone who can keep you accountable. Find a friend or family member who will keep you busy and focused. Maybe you’re both struggling with seasonal depression, keep each other accountable.

Surround yourself with loved ones

The holidays are a time for family, but the family doesn’t have to mean by blood. To me, family are those who love you and genuinely care about you. They are the people who create a safe place for you. So if you are not close to your family, find a new one. This could be your church family, your work family, your school family, etc. Any group of friends that create a sense of homeyness in your life.

Most importantly, reach out to those who don’t have a family. Maybe this is their first holiday without a loved one, maybe they are far from home and can’t travel this year, maybe they don’t have a community to call their family. Reach out to those who are alone this holiday season and invite them to join your family.

Remember the memories, don’t dwell on them

This season can bring back a lot of memories. Maybe they’re warm memories of your favorite holiday traditions and of how things used to be. Maybe the old memories bring up a sensitive subject. Don’t let these old memories ruin your new ones. Cherish the old memories for what they were, but realize that they are something to celebrate not dwell on. If they’re good memories, let them be a reminder of how much you love them, don’t compare them to what you have now. If they’re bad memories, let them remind you of how much you’ve grown throughout the years. Remember the true reason for this holiday season and recognize the fact that everything happens for a reason. Christmas is a time to be hopeful for what’s to come, be patient and be thankful, and most importantly, remember the reason for the season.

Be generous

Generosity is something I have always struggled with, mostly because I’ve never been financially stable enough to donate. Within the past few weeks, I have been focusing on becoming a more generous person. I have learned that generosity doesn’t have to be related to money, you can be generous with your time and your actions. With that being said, it is my top priority to find ways to be generous to the community around me.

A few things I have been doing:

  • Buying the food/ drink of the person behind me in a drive-thru.
  • Volunteering
  • Being a helpful hand or a listening ear to those who need it

This is a season of giving, and I have to say that giving is so much more fulfilling than receiving. I am not trying to become a more generous person to feel better about myself and this dark season, but providing a little bit of light in someone’s life has definitely helped illuminate my life. Seeing the joy in others has helped me feel joy myself.

I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season. I hope that my thoughts can give some peace and advice to those who are struggling in this season. Remember that you are not fighting this battle alone. Share this post with your loved ones and be someone who is willing to fight by their side.

~Katelyn Sinclair