Through and Through

Get to Know Me

Hi! My name is Kalyn, but people call me K, KK, honestly I don’t mind. I grew up loving all things art and photography, but this blog is a little out of my comfort zone. Creating a blog is not really my thing- I tend to keep my lifestyle very personal, however, after this year, I plan on working on opening up more.

Currently I just finished my first year at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and needless to say, I fell in love with every aspect of it, and found my forever friends through my sorority. The campus, the beach, the people. It was and still is my dream school. I grew up always feeling like an outcast, and I now feel at peace with my lifestyle. I am content with where I am, and I work hard to find a balance between my social life and academics, and I am ready to take on the challenge of making a blog.

This year, however, has been emotionally and physically draining. My college lifestyle was no match for COVID-19, and I was left in a coma for over a week due to having it. That is why I have chosen to major in Respiratory Therapy. I truly try to embrace every moment for what it is, and learning how to become a doctor such as the ones that saved my life would be an honor. Learning how to walk and talk again was truly an out-of-body experience, however, it is not something really anyone understands. My hope is that this blog gives me the outlet I need. I have always struggled with my mental health, and now, more than ever, it has been hard to open up to people. I always do my best to see the good in everything. That was my inspiration for the name of my blog: Through and Through. I continue to work through everything, and I embrace the good with the bad.

I plan on using this platform as a way to talk about mental health, my journey in school, and just normal girl stuff, like skincare, apartment decorating, and travel!

I hope you guys fall in love with Through and Through, it has taken a lot for me to finally talk about my truth and find a passion that allows me to focus on myself and my growth. Thank you for being here.

xx Kalyn

October

My Story

By the time we are ready to attend college and become virtually independent, we are faced with the reality that the largest part of our lives is at home, our friends are spread out around the world, and we must begin to find our way in the world without the comforts of the past. My first realization of change came during my first semester of my freshman year in October. No one is familiar with the feeling of your body shutting down, your mind shooting in a million different directions, or being able to understand the idea of not being able to control your body. The only way you know any of those feelings is by experiencing them. But, unfortunately, that was my reality. I constantly have people telling me to tell my story of my strength and resilience, but this is my story. I did not want the media twisting my words of my reality. While a trauma like this is regularly viewed as a negative event, and the negatives emerge from the judgmental reality we life in, mine is a success story. I am thankful for everything that happened to me.

Back in October, I was diagnosed with pleurisy, a lung condition that inflames your lungs and chest wall, creating a sharp pain when you breathe in and out. It is curable, so I was not concerned, and nor was my family. It seemed that the steroids I had gotten from my doctor the week before was helping lessen the pain, and I was due for a check-up in two days. My roommate was out of town due to a family emergency, and I really only had myself to rely on if I needed anything. I was resting most of the day anyway from being sick, so I did not think much of it when my roommate had to travel home. On the night of October twelfth, I was struggling to sleep at one in the morning. I was sitting on my bed, watching Phineas and Ferb, as one does at one in the morning. I had done just about everything I could to help myself sleep, and nothing would help. Eventually, I decided I just needed a shower. A warm shower always helped me get cozy in bed and have a good night sleep. I took my temperature, and I had no fever. As I walked into the hot shower, I immediately passed out. I have never done that before, and I quickly woke up and walked out, wondering what had just happened. I was dizzy from hitting my head, but I laid back in bed and texted my mom, “I need help.” It was all I could muster, and the room was spinning. It was three in the morning at the time, and to no surprise, she did not respond as she was sleeping. Next thing I knew, an instinct kicked in, an out of body feeling. I knew something was not right. I had no pre-existing health conditions, and I have never been hospitalized for anything, so why did I feel the need to call 911? As I dialed my phone, I wondered if I would regret it, or if I was just being dramatic. Could this all wait until morning when my roommate came back?

When the EMT’s arrived, I had on my favorite shirt with Smokey Bear on it and had my phone in my hand with 911 on the line. I was immediately rushed to the hospital, and I quickly went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance. I was not breathing for twenty-five minutes, and I received CPR for over an hour in an operating room. Once my heart started again, I was in a coma, and I was quickly placed on a ventilator and an ECMO, a machine that circulates your blood through an artificial lung, for a week. it was discovered that I had a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot, in between my heart and lung. I had a five percent chance of survival, and most adults placed on the ECMO usually do not wake up, especially with the condition I was in. My family was all the way in Charlotte and quickly rushed down to Wilmington, but due to Coronavirus regulations, the only thing they could do was stare at me through a glass window, wondering if their daughter or sister was ever going to be able to hug or look at them again. When I woke up, I remember my family smiling and waving at me through a glass window. I waved and cried, and so did they. I was automatically overwhelmed with the concern of my family and friends. My family went from being told to make arrangements, to being told that I was recovering well. It was the first step to recovery, and baby steps meant everything and more. My friends were incredible during the whole experience. They made a GoFundMe that went viral to help cover my hospital bills, and the support I had from my friends and family had everyone praying for me at school and back home.

Luckily, to this day, I have fully recovered. I have no more scars or bruises, I can now walk and exercise on my own, and, to all of my doctors’ surprise, my heart and lungs have made a full recovery. I no longer need physical therapy or out-patient treatment. My story sounds unbelievable, and it is something I work through mentally and think about every single day. I still struggle to fall asleep and hear the sirens of an ambulance, but those are all things that are helping me grow and become stronger, and I would not change anything that happened for the world. This is one event I choose to not refine me, but instead define my strength. While it took me a while to understand that these things happen for a reason and make us stronger in the end, feeling weak and broken down physically and emotionally was a feeling that cannot be replicated. I am constantly haunted by the question of why. As I learn more about myself and my condition, I have discovered that there is no real answer to why. Now, there is only time for growth. I can only move forward and grow from my experience.

Through this experience, I have so many things to work through due to my trauma, but writing has always been an outlet for me, and I plan to continue to use it as I grow and change.

Pets in College

What You Should Know

This topic is one that most college students kind of jump into without considering what could happen and the issues behind it, including myself.

In September, I adopted Millie, a 2-year-old Tabby/Munchkin mix. She is easily the cutest thing on the planet, but adopting her at 18 just when I am starting to live on my own led me to discovering the best parts of being a pet owner, and undoubtedly some of the hardest.

When I adopted Millie, she was sick. She coughed a lot, and tended to always be tired. She was a year old, so she was still a kitten. As it turns out, after $1000 in vet fees, she has asthma. I could barely provide for myself in college, and now I had a pet to care for. Another thing to consider is the fact that I had Millie in a dorm room, where pets are obviously not allowed. If anyone caught her in there, I was getting kicked out of my dorm, and so was she! This meant staying in and watching Millie to assure that nothing got destroyed. This meant taking a step back from going out most nights, to now staying in with her. I learned so much from Millie, and I still do. She teaches me that I no longer need to provide for myself, but now for her.

Through it all though, I would never regret adopting Millie. She is such a good girl, and has helped heal emotionally and physically after being sick. I would recommend having a pet, just maybe not in a dorm room.

Respiratory Therapy School

Essay for Admission

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word, live/LIV/ is a verb with many different definitions. 1. To maintain one’s self. 2. To occupy a room. 3. To have a rich life in experience. No matter which definition you inhibit the most, you are living.

If you are reading this, it is safe to say you are very much alive. Your chest is beating in sync with whatever emotion you are enduring. Like so many of us, it is hard to decipher the difference between the definitions of living due to our shifting mindsets with every passing event and action we endure. I experienced an event that challenged my perception and allowed me to break down physically and return back to my emotional roots, leading me to determine my own definition of living.

My luck began during my fall semester of freshman year. I was broken after not having a proper graduation, going to prom with my boyfriend, and especially not being able to go on the infamous spring break trip in Mexico with my graduating class. These are all trivial things that meant so much to me at the time, I felt like my life was falling apart. How could I have worked so hard for something that I would not be able to celebrate? The last hope I possessed was moving into Graham Hall. UNCW has always been my dream school, and I knew that is where I wanted to be. I grew up with sisters at home, and stepping out of my comfort zone by rushing a sorority seemed second nature. I was exactly where I always dreamed of being. My heart was so full meeting new people, and I automatically felt safe, invited, yet somehow incredibly overwhelmed with my newfound freedom. Little did I know, these events would be minuscule to the challenges yet to come.

Throughout the month of October, my chest burned with every breath I took, and walking from my dorm room to Fisher meant a one hour walk. After numerous negative COVID-19 tests, it was presumed I had contracted pleurisy. My symptoms aligned with the diagnosis, and I was in no position to question a doctor during one of the deadliest pandemics in the world. Four days after my diagnosis, my suite-mate had to go home to see her family, leaving me to feel like my dorm room was closing in on me mentally and physically. On the 12th, I decided it was time to go home. I felt awful, and evidently, I needed to be with my family. I could not bear the pain I was feeling alone any longer. Less than 10 hours after making that decision, I passed out in the shower. I had no pre-existing health conditions, and I had never done that before. I knew something was not right. I climbed into my bed breathing as if I just ran a marathon. I tried to call my family, but it was the early morning, I was not expecting an answer, but I knew I had to try. I was longing for a sense of safety and care. After no response, I called 9-1-1. On the phone, I began to mentally repress all the things I had done that semester. My impromptu Disney Trip at midnight with my best friends, the late night studying with the Simpsons on in the background, the sunsets at Wrightsville Beach. My life was slipping away, and I knew I needed help. I was crawling naked, soaking wet from my shower on my dorm floor, gasping for air. The operator was begging me to stay with her, referring to me as her ‘baby’. Her kind voice is one I think about with everything I do. I managed to put on a shirt and crawl to the door, where the EMT’s stood staring down at me. I was constantly questioned, my mind slowly deteriorating, my voice speaking gibberish. I grabbed one of the EMT’s hand, and he took me and placed me on the stretcher, and there I was with my phone and insurance card in hand, getting rolled into an ambulance by myself on a stretcher.

As I exited the ambulance door into New Hanover Regional, I went into cardiac arrest. I remember passing out, the feeling of being limitless, yet hearing the words, “code blue.” Soon after that, it was discovered that I had a pulmonary embolism, which is assumed to be caused by the COVID-19 I kept testing negative for. I was sick for so long that I developed severe pneumonia as well, making my recovery one that was less than five percent likely. I was an eighteen-year-old female college student, alone in a dark hospital, with a five percent chance at survival. I was immediately placed on ECMO, as well as a ventilator with about a million more cords connected to me as I laid in a coma. My father was on a fishing trip in Minnesota, the rest of my family in Charlotte. The hospital called my emergency contacts, including my little sister, Haley. Haley was the one to answer the phone and heard the news first. Haley and I have always had a telepathy type-of-thing, and according to her, she knew something was not right. She automatically sprang into the big sister role I usually possess, and I admire her strength for it every day. No visitors were allowed within the hospital, yet my family was the rare exception, suiting up in hazmat looking suits to stare at my progress through the clouded windows of the Cardiovascular-ICU whenever possible. My mother especially felt comfortable with New Hanover’s Respiratory Therapy team. While I do not remember them, Cody and Mama Veronica would talk to me every day as they took care of me during my early stages of illness, and my family’s early stages of grieve.

Waking up, I had to start back from square one, barely understanding my surroundings or the time that had passed. I first began to learn how to talk. FaceTime kept my family and I sane, and stopped my mom from calling the hospital every hour to check in and it helped me practice my speech. On my first night in the COVID-ICU, I colored a picture of Anna and Elsa from Frozen. The nurses and doctors told me that night that it may be months until I was released, and when I am, I will likely have out-patient dialysis, as well as live at a physical therapy facility until I am able to use my legs again. When the doctor left, I threw myself into the recliner next to my bed to stare out the window at the thought of this possibility. I found myself lonely, tears streaming down my face in complete silence. My emotions could not even keep up with my tears, I felt like giving up. I was at my lowest I have ever been. Dialysis every other day would drain me, I was not able to have my childhood stuffed animals, or my family beside me because of the pandemic. I was frustrated, constantly being told how I could be in this bed until 2021. I began to work on my strength through coloring, eating, or even moving my fingers and toes. My strength would soon become an inspirational story throughout the hospital, with nurses coming to meet me on their way to their rounds, telling me how proud they were of me and my resilience. I felt the weight of their words. This was my breaking point. This defined my difference between plain living and truly living. I had to power through. I wanted to feel the success that I was reminded of daily.

Not even three weeks later, I walked out of New Hanover without a walker, next to my mother without any help. No outpatient dialysis, no kidney transplant, no physical therapy. Not only did I defy the odds, but I smashed the expectations. Your prompt asked why I feel I would be a good fit for the Respiratory Therapy program. I choose to look at what I went through as a positive experience versus a negative one. I never look at myself as the victim, but as someone who gained strength from the people surrounding her, and I have only gotten stronger since. Soon after my release, I finished whatever classes I could with A’s. The following spring, I made Deans List, and won an academic award in Panhellenic’s grade point ranking. I also decided to take summer classes to achieve my goal of graduating early from university, in which I achieved all A’s in as well. My nurses, doctors, and surgeons are absolutely incredible, but knowing how careful my respiratory therapists were with my family and I’s hearts allowed us to breathe easy, both literally and figuratively. I crave to learn and educate myself about the world that surrounds each and every person, and my growth mindset is improving and ever-changing as a result. I am determined and hard-working; it is unlikely to see me doing anything but my best in anything I do. It would be an honor to continue to my growth with the people who saved my life, resulting in an effort to help patients the same way they did for me. My definition of the verb, live, is not one found in a dictionary, but one that I found within myself in light of my trauma.

LIVE/liv/verb

1. To take a breath with every passing experience; to take time everyday to grow and heal.

Freshman Year

Is it What Everyone Says it is?

Oh, freshman year. So many expectations, and yet, so many challenges. I knew that attending my dream school was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me, and it was, but with the good, comes with the bad.

Moving into my dorm in August of 2020, I was weary about COVID-19, and my roommate. I had no idea who she was, and because of Coronavirus, meeting up in person before the year started was not possible. I had only talked to her on the phone. She was kind, but that is about it. As an outgoing person who was excited to meet new people, my roommate was one of the shyest people in the beginning. I went into my freshman year thinking all of these girls I would be living with would be my best friends forever, however, that just is not how college works for the most part. It could work, but as we grow and change from being a teenager into an adult, passions change, mindsets are different, and you begin to truly find yourself and your passions. Being surrounded by eight girls all the time, with no personal space, tends to create drama and rumors. And because of COVID, late night plans or normal daily activities were not possible anymore. As you live with someone in closed quarters such as a small dorm room, anxiety rises, and you truly have no space to yourself. Food is shared, hair ties are stolen, the usual girl stuff. What is mine is now yours. I made the mistake of not establishing boundaries from the beginning. I am very independent, and so living with all girls made things a bit more complicated.

I feel like there was three possibilities when it came to living with someone you have never met. Your roommate could be a slob with no motivation, they could be antisocial and quiet, leading to awkwardness, or they could be your best friend that helps you study for exams, braid your hair, or even just taking a group nap. You never truly know someone until you spend most of your day with them.

My suggestion if you are an upcoming freshman is to not put too much pressure on the whole best-friend-roommate thing. It can lead much worse than that. Go out with new friends, join a sorority, go for a run, meet up with a friend you met online for lunch, or go to class and find a group of friends to study with. If the roommate thing goes down the drain, you’ll want people to turn to that are not biased or judgmental. Also, spending every waking second in your dorm room is not healthy. Go out, live life, go to Disney in the middle of the night! Those are the memories you’ll want forever. Friends (and roommates) come and go, but you’ll know when you find your family. It may be freshman year, it may be in graduate school. But, who cares? You are in control of your time.

Through freshman year, my life was literally a rollercoaster, but, I learned so much about myself, and my true friends. Give it time, y’all, the time will come, and so will your future bridesmaids.

Sorority Life

Is it for You?

Going into college, the last thing I wanted to do was join a sorority. I dealt with all the girl drama through middle and high school, and the last thing I needed was to be around people that did not support me, or that I needed to act like a different person around. Rushing gave me too much anxiety, and I knew I was not bold enough to be pushing myself out of my comfort zone at a new school.

However, I was totally wrong. After receiving an open bid from my school’s Theta Gamma chapter of Delta Gamma, I knew that was exactly where I was supposed to be. Through Delta Gamma, I have a family of sisters that reminds me of the two I have at home. I love having friends that feel like family. I had only been initiated into my sorority 3 days before I was sick (story coming soon), and my big made a GoFundMe for my cause. She knew me for less than 72 hours, and she took the initiative to spread the word and help get sisters from different schools to donate to it. When I woke up from my coma, every sister reached out, telling me they were praying and that they loved me.

Joining a sorority has so much negativity around it, especially in the society we live in with social media. If I did not take the leap to join Delta Gamma, I would not have a family to turn to in Wilmington. Go out of your comfort zone, and have fun! College is about being who you want to be, and figuring out who you are supposed to be.

Through the ups and the downs with my sisters, LITB always.

Mindset

Fixed or Growth?

I definitely think in a time like COVID-19, is really easy to fall into a pattern of a fixed mindset. However as we grow in the world continues to change, we should all be embracing a growth mindset.

Personally, I think there are positives to both fixed and growth mindset. A fixed mindset often gets a bad reputation due to the fact that it causes people to become too comfortable with their lifestyle and not move out of their comfort zone. Life is all about testing the boundaries and changing and embracing different experiences, and a fixed mindset is often against that type of lifestyle. however, I feel like it is everyone’s goal to have a somewhat type of fixed mindset. Having and living a comfortable lifestyle where you are in a happy place mentally and physically is something we as humans strive for, especially in a world of chaos. However, having a fixed mindset, as I said before, can often be limited. I strongly suggest finding a balance between a growth and fixed mindset. After all, our mindset influences how we view society. Growing mentally through experiences and change are natural occurrences, and should not be limited.

However, y’all are probably wondering, “This has to be easier said than done”, but, it actually isn’t! Taking small steps every day to change your mindset is easy and can even improve your daily attitude and mood. Having a fixed mindset means to have fixed abilities and no desire to learn, while a growth mindset means to persevere in the face of challenges, and be inspired by others’ success. To develop a growth mindset, you have to view challenges as successes, acknowledge imperfections in yourself and others, and cultivate a sense of self purpose.

Through having a fixed mindset when it comes to my personal life, and having a growth mindset when it comes to academics or goals, it allows me to embrace change.

Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Daily Reminders

Sometimes We Need Them

It’s finals week, and you know what that means. Stress. Anxiety. Doubt. Exhaustion. Sometimes we all need to hear something to make us feel better. These are what I have been keeping in mind as I finish exams, and start my sophomore year of college next week and start the process of applying to Respiratory Therapy school.

- Having a bad day doesn’t undo the progress you’ve made.
- Celebrate the small victories.
- You are more than your GPA.
- Give yourself a chance.
- If you want to keep growing you have to keep going.
- Focus on intention, it defines your power.
- Stop worrying about the things you can’t control. It is exhausting.
- Breathe.
- Love yourself instead of loving the idea of others loving you.
- You are exactly where you need to be right now. Enjoy that moment.
- Remember that you always dreamed of being where you are right now.
- When you focus on the good, the good only gets better.
- Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it.
- Progress takes practice.
- Embrace the unknown and let it inspire you.

Take these in. You will get through it, just give it time.

Faith

Reconnecting

Growing up I was taught the basics of my faith. The usual religion aspects of my family, the holidays we will celebrate, our beliefs, etc. But, I never truly understood just how much God seems to do for us. Of course, I knew He was watching over us, forgiving us of our sins, leading us on the path He created for us. I have always prayed for Him to take the lead and show me the right way, but, I never fully understood just how strong blessings and prayers are until I got sick. The feeling of being loved and knowing that He has a plan for you is an out-of-body experience. My chance of survival was less than five percent, and He saved me. I tend to wonder about that mid-October day. What did I do to deserve this? Why did this happen to me and not anyone else around me? Why was I so careful to wear a mask and social distance, but the people around me never did, yet I was the one that got sick? These questions haunt my thoughts with everything I do, and sometimes they even keep me up at night. My family and I went through a trauma that barely anyone ever has to endure, especially at the age of eighteen. However, the strength and support of prayers led by myself, my family, as well as my friends, truly changed my point of view on my faith. I now take time out of my day to read and take note of a recommended bible verse on an automated app, as well as go to church on Sundays. Even if I am in bed listening to church, I truly feel His presence.

However, the loss of some of my friends has been heart wrenching. My high school best friends never talk to me anymore, with no explanation. I left my college dorm room when my friends decided that they had no desire to know nor care about me or my mental health. I had been struggling days before my departure and there were other disagreements and rumors that helped in my decision to come home, but the lack of care and silence about my illness was too much for me to handle. Bringing up and discussing my faith due to my trauma and my past brought passive aggressive comments and disrespect. It was evident that being sick taught me who my real friends are. The ones who wear masks and don’t go party and then come home wasted. My real friends are the ones that check in on me, who continually care for me and my mental health. With these negative thoughts surrounding those people, I remember to try to stay positive. I have so much I need to mentally get through, but having Him and the people that matter most to me is what is most important. The path He has made for us will never change, regardless of the actions or experiences we endure. Sure, there are hiccups in the road, but our ultimate path never changes.

Through this, I have learned so much about myself and the path He has made. Take a minute to think about all of the good in your life. No negative or intrusive thoughts. Even if it is about how good that iced coffee was this morning, take the good. Because the bad is never enough to outweigh it.

Current Favorites

Spring 2021

I have so many favorites right now, it is hard to list them all!! I love doing self care and relaxing, all while putting in work in my academics. Finding a balance between the two is hard, however, I think I figured out how to do it.

My current favorite skincare is Bubble! I love the hydrating pack that they have on their website (Bubble.com), and you can use “kalyn10” for 10% off!
- I also love to use The Ordinary Retinol Serum to prevent wrinkling, as well as The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum! Using these products in the morning and at night have completely changed my skin for the better!

My current food obsession right now has to be my personal salad recipe. I use chopped romaine, fresh mozzarella, hard-boiled egg, parmesan, turkey bacon, cucumber with fresh dill, and lemon herb vinaigrette dressing!! So good, and it is less than 400 calories for 2 cups of the salad mixture!
- I also have been living for Kind Dark Chocolate Granola. Literally it is so amazing, and with a glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, it is perfect if you have a sweet tooth.

Millie’s personal favorites right now are probably Hill’s Science Diet for Indoor Cats. And yes, make fun of me all you want, but she loves this stuff, and refuses any other food! She gets so excited for breakfast and dinner time! She also has been enjoying Rachel Ray’s Swirler’s Treats in Chicken flavor.

For all the traveling I have coming up, I recommend getting a new passport cover that holds your vaccination card to keep all your items in tact and in a safe place! (Link below!)

In terms of art, I have been in love with painting, and obviously writing. I have been painting a lot of canvases that are modern with kind of a Barbie twist on it if that makes sense. Think Chanel meets street wear! Spray painting before drawing and painting with acrylic on top of it has been one of my favorite types of mediums and styles lately!

Through all of 2021’s changes, all of these products have literally made my life so easy!!

Bubble Skincare

Use code, “kalyn10” for 10% off!!!

Lemon Herb Dressing

Through their website, you can sign up for emails and get 15% off your first order!

Millie’s Favorites

Passport Cover

(Similar to the one I have)

Local Favorites

Charlotte, NC

Growing up in Charlotte was definitely unique and caused me to have to grow up fast. However, it also helped me find some hidden secrets for everyone of all ages!

Duck Donuts
- Duck Donuts is a local donut shop that is a sad excuse for breakfast. These donuts are definitely classified as a dessert, but there’s nothing wrong with dessert for breakfast. These cake like donuts or melts in your mouth good. With flavors like Fruity Pebbles and Oreo, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Fahrenheit
- While I love Fahrenheit, is definitely for the upper class. A restaurant with caviar on their nachos is definitely a place where you’re going to want to save up your dollars. However, if you’re seated on the deck you get a beautiful view of downtown Charlotte, and the Bank of America building. It is truly a sight to see at night.

Red Eye Diner
- Red Eye Diner is the one and only place you want to go after concert at spectrum Center. This diner is filled with everything you can imagine, and it is good at any time of day. With the retro style setting, it is a great place to get some awesome Instagram photos with friends.

NoDa
- If you love local art and coffee, NoDa is definitely the place for you. With miles of walking you can see graffiti all around downtown Charlotte’s art district. The local restaurants and shops are adorable, and is a great place to get to know local Charlotte.

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
- The Quarry at Carrigan Farms is a no-brainer. This is a great family friendly place to go in for seven dollars, you can have a fun filled day. Bring stuff for a picnic, and get ready to swim!

Freedom Park with Lime Scooters
- This might be one of my favorite things to do in Charlotte. You can find lime scooters all around Charlotte, and they are such a unique way of getting around and seeing Charlotte up close and personal. There’s no need to worry about parking, and during the summer is a great way to catch a breeze.

Mint Museum
- The Mint Museum is a great place to get Instagram photos with friends or family. Located in downtown Charlotte, it is only a $10 ticket to get in, and right up the street is Amelie’s French Café. It’s a great location and is a great way to relax and get some air conditioning in the summertime.

Through these suggestions, you’ll be able to see everything you want in Charlotte.

The Mint Museum

Duck Donuts

Fahrenheit

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms

Red Eye Diner

Local Favorites

Wilmington, NC

As a new local who is young and easy going, these are a must have for anyone who makes it down to the coast of North Carolina!

Port City Java
- Easily the best coffee shop in the area. With made-to-order breakfast, and coffee, it is a no brainer for any college student to study at. If coffee isn’t your thing, don’t worry! They have milkshakes and smoothies, too!

Wrightsville Beach Access #43
- This exit is a hidden secret of mine. It is so quiet and gentle, and there is always so much parking in a neighborhood near by for FREE! Even during peak season. Great place to social distance.

Airlie Gardens
- This garden is so beautiful! With all of the butterflies to come around during the spring and summer season, this place is not one that you want to skip over when visiting Wilmington. If you are local, you can get in free once a month, too!

UNCW
- Of course, I had to add UNCW. This campus is starting to become increasingly popular over time due to the beautiful beaches nearby and the mass construction that they are doing on campus. The campus is growing larger and larger, making it a competitive school with NC State and Chapel Hill. It is definitely becoming one of the most popular schools in North Carolina.

Riverwalk
- I absolutely love Riverwalk! In the summer, you can see local bands that play music, as well as local boutiques and shops that overlook One Tree Hill landmarks!

The Copper Penny
- This is one of me and my family‘s favorite place to eat! Whether you are a young child or a teenager, this place is a great bar. It is family friendly and has great local foods. My sister and I’s personal favorite is the pretzel!

Blue Surf Café
- This local café is closer to Wrightsville than it is to Wilmington, however it is not a place you want to miss. My friend and I used to go after church every Sunday. The seasonal drinks and food options that they have are incredible and all food is made with all natural and organic options. All food is made to order and can be personalized. Not to mention the outdoor seating is beautiful.

Front Street Brewery
- This place is another favorite of me and my families. Front Street Brewery has great outdoor seating and is right in the center of downtown Wilmington. Fridays and Saturdays are usually the most busy due to the large bar that they have.

Islands
- Islands is right next to Blue Surf Café. It is a local Mexican restaurant that has a fast food feel, much like Moe’s or Chipotle. Islands typically sponsors UNCW sorority and fraternity life events, but is very low-key if you were looking for a place to eat after hanging out with friends.

You can’t say you’ve been to Wilmington without going through these places!

Blue Surf Café

UNCW

Riverwalk

Small Businesses

Summer Favorites

Giving back to small businesses has definitely been a highlight of quarantine. People are so creative, and their passions should be appreciated more often! These are my current favorites!

Poppy
- @poppydotco on Instagram is an adorable jewelry boutique that is made of resin with adorable shapes like flowers, smiley faces, or even fruits! They are priced perfectly, and are great quailty! Definitely a staple piece in my jewelry collection.

ItsLuckyThirteen
- I LOVE @itsluckythirteen on Instagram. Her name is Catherine, and she attends Georgia Southern University. She makes stickers, t shirts, and the most adorable posters and digital art! In fact, a lot of my photos on my website are made by Catherine!

LoganPaintsStuff
- I recently found @loganpaintsstuff on Instagram through @itsluckythirteen. Logan is a rising freshman in college who creates pieces using paint and spray paint on any medium! She has painted canvases, and even camp trunks! She is such an inspiration for me when it comes to my art.

Babe Lash
- I actually have worked with @babe_lash on Instagram! The company is a California based company that specializes in lash and eyebrow care. Ny current obsession is their essential lash serum, and it is definitely a staple in my skincare routine!

Cleo & Coco Natural
- I absolutely love @cleoandcoconatural! I have worked with their company owner, Savannah, and she is the absolute sweetest! Their products are all natural and organic, and range from dry shampoo, all the way to deodorant. My personal favorite scent is lavender and sage! While this company is not necessarily small, it is not large either! You can find them at major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Aerie.

Through working with some of these brands, it is easy to see the passions that women have for their community and other women! Check them out with the links below!

@poppydotco

@itsluckythirteen

@loganpaintsstuff

@babe_lash

@cleoandcoconatural

Thank You

90k in 5 Days

Since I made this blog or website or whatever you want to call it, I never expected it to blow up the way that it did. Within the past five days that I’ve had the website up and running, I have had almost 90,000 views on all of my posts. Most of y’all don’t even know me personally, yet you have taken time out of your day to get to know me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My Instagram is my personal account and super small with only 2.5k followers, so this is a dream come true. Thank you, especially to everyone who has read the, “My Story” post. I have never been open to writing about what happened to me or how it has affected me, and my blog truly is helping me grow and work through my trauma, especially with all of your support.

However, there are so many different factors that go into creating this blog. A special thank you to the artists that provide the artwork for the covers of my different entries. I love art such as the blog entry images because the inspirational quotes help guide someone, including myself, when having a hard day. Seeing them on my Instagram feed is such a mood booster, and I screenshot all of the ones I see that I love! Another special thank you to all of the companies that so graciously send me their products. I truly don’t think there’s one product that I haven’t received that I don’t love. I never thought I’d be in the position where companies send me their products that I have never purchased before.

Thank you for reading my entries, and as always, you can work through anything.

xx Kalyn

New New!

I’m Back

Here I am again- after my hiatus. Sorry I was missing for so long. With school starting, my internship beginning, and a new job, my life has never been more hectic. But, I’ll never forget how thankful I am for this platform, and y’all. Still crazy how I get so many views every week.

With a new job, a new internship for Bumble and with their media marketing team, as well as 18 credit hours, my life has never been more busy. My growth in the past 11 months is incredible, mentally and physically. As we are a month away from the day that changed my life, I find myself dealing with a lot of PTSD symptoms. For example, even the slightest stuffy nose can send me into a Google search rampage for hours, and a weekly COVID test sends me into a frenzy, although I’m fully vaccinated. It is important to understand that PTSD impacts everyone involved in a traumatic experience. I struggle to understand how I can be the victim, and a success story at the same time. Two completely different concepts. It does not make sense. As I continue to educate myself for the sake of my wellbeing, I encourage the same from you all too. Down below I have linked a PTSD help number in case things get a bit too hard for you to deal with on your own.

Through this hard month, and these intense changes, I want to assure all of you that I’m back. Thank you for never leaving.

PTSD Help Line

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

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Coming Soon

OH HEY, FOR BEST VIEWING, YOU'LL NEED TO TURN YOUR PHONE