The beauty in the ugly


The end of February always seems the dreariest. I’m not sure if its the final stormy feelings that approach when you’re just ready to be done with winter, or simply a gathering of unfortunate events always around this time of year. We all know that February can notoriously be the worst, with all of that snow and a more difficult time getting outside and seeing your friends, it just really isn’t conducive to staying happy.

However, the other night I was discussing these feelings and events with my partner, as well as some of the hardest times that I’ve been through and what got me through them. They quickly pointed out that these tough times also seemed to be some of the happiest memories.

For instance, in my last two weeks of college I found myself dumped and terrified about moving halfway across the country and away from the life and friends I had come to love. The piling of feelings quickly took a toll on me, leaving me in quite the mopey state where all I wanted to do was linger in between being awake and asleep while watching repeated episodes of terrible television. My friends, being the most incredible group of people I can imagine, simply joined me. No questions asked, no hassling about getting showered and becoming a human being, they all simply got out their blankets and pillows and joined me in my living room wallowing. It turned in to be the longest slumber party and one of my fondest memories of my entire college career. Sometimes when your heart is at its heaviest you find waking up to be the hardest part of it all because everything comes whirling back so quickly, but instead each morning I awoke to all of the people I loved, and who loved me, surrounding me ready to be there for whatever I need.

Obviously my current winter blues aren’t anything of comparison to that time in my life, and now most of my friends live all across the world, but I think it is a good reminder that even your darkest moments can turn into the brightest of lights when you look back.

In other news, I decided to start an herb garden! It came out of a combination of studying agro-ecology and, lets be honest, spending too much time on pinterest but I’ve done it! Creating new, green life seemed like a perfect way to brighten up this winter, especially since Minneapolis currently finds itself under quite the ridiculous amount of snow! 

I will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress of my new found hobby! So far I have planted oregano, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil and thyme (aka I bought the “Italian” packet at Home Depot and added in some green smoothie ingredients). All in all it was only about $20, and really brightened my day!

My little seedlings so far – 


If gardening isn’t your thing, check out these other 50 ways to take a break. Some days all you need is that 15 minute brain break in order to get yourself back on track!


Setting the Scene


Hello mom to my latest platform for connection, ideas sharing, and (most importantly) fun.

Over the past few months I’ve been considering starting a blog, trying to pin down exactly why. Am I just searching for a new way to connect with others? Do I miss having a blog, which I used to update on a daily basis throughout my high school years? Do I just think I have a whole lot of great ideas and for some reason, people might want to hear them (that question was more to keep myself in check)? So I did what most people do, and I googled it. What was the reason behind this new craving of mine?

The answers that came up were numerous, but many struck a chord with me. When it comes down to it, I’m about as extroverted as they come. I build energy off of meeting new people, exchanging fun ideas, and engaging in insightful conversation. I love hearing about what others think, and building who I am based on the encounters I have. So, I suppose that is where this leads me. Not only to navigating a new blog, but to Navigating Living.

So here’s the scene – 

My name is Kayla, and I’m a student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, studying International Development and Evaluation. Besides those two obvious passions, I also foster pets through an organization named Pet Project Rescue, go for runs around the lake I live near, and explore as well as practice new trends in living a healthy lifestyle. The last passion is where I’m hoping this blog goes, or at least the goal I’m slowly stumbling (sometimes gracefully) towards. 

While going through basic schooling I constantly felt myself thriving for more. As I got to college, I was able to find my career passions and begin building on those, travelling extensively and engaging in sectors such as International Law, Human Rights, and Conflict Resolution. Quickly I found International Development, and knew I hit my ultimate passion. My life was quickly uprooted from central Pennsylvania, off to the tundra beautiful city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And here is where I have truly learned the most about life and living.

All of the studying, dedication, and hard work to get me here has been wonderful, and it has all brought me to a fantastic life with infinite reasons to be happy. But as I began to really become a part of the Minneapolis culture, I started learning about the reasons that coincide to make this city the healthiest in the US, and the importance of valuing your physical and mental health on the same level that you do for your work and your relationships. I believe that the three of these are incredibly related, but that we commonly toss one above the other, forgetting that they cannot be pulled apart as separate entities. It’s the success of one that leads to the success of the others.

So after finding my passions, exploring different countries, and building my life, I believe that now is the time to really explore the little things that make me happy, and value those in the same way that I have been valuing the other sectors of my life for so long now. This blog will become a collection of the things I find that seem like they can brighten my day, and help to point me in a healthy direction, and will also be a great opportunity to share and bounce ideas off of one another as well.

I hope that you’ll join me in my new journey, and help me build the chapters!