RAVE OF THE WEEK: Because, Hey! It’s Been Awhile!

Let’s just address the elephant in the room: 2014 is the year my blog has been neglected. It is what it is. Sorry, little blog. Sometimes things just happen.

My last blog entry was such a difficult thing for me to write about, and as much as I would like to think it hasn’t affected my writing, the truth is, it has. I have logged into my blog several times a week since Andy passed away, but never am able to write anything once I revisit my last blog post, which in this case was about him. I am very much a creature of habit with my writing, and the one thing I do when I log in is read what I last wrote, then I proceed to start a new entry. In this case, I still get very emotional about the loss of my friend, and that usually results in me shutting my computer and telling myself I will write later in the week.  Sometimes you have to just push on, even if it is tough. So this is me pushing on with my blog. After all, life has been quite Kateastic lately.

I have about a million and five things I need to blog about because it has been so long, but I have decided that after a lengthy hiatus, I am bringing back my Rave(s)of the Week. These entries always were my absolute favorites to write, and since this is my blog and I do what I want…..Raves are back. And I think they deserve the first of the million and five entries.

Let’s talk about some Raves, shall we? And since it’s been awhile, I’m sharing some of my favorite Raves of the last two months.

- I SAID YES! Ok, we all know I jubilantly said YES when Kyle proposed in May, but since my last blog, we’ve been busy. The date has been set, the venue, caterer, cake, wedding colors, and lighting company all secured. And I said Yes to the Dress! Naturally, I can’t be sharing those details on here because Im superstitious and don’t want Kyle to see the dress or know much about it until the day I walk down the aisle, but I will share that it is very unique and very Katetastic. I can’t wait to wear it, and the chances of me refusing to take it off ever are high.

Here's a shot of where our reception will be held! Photo courtesy of our amazing lighting company, Solus Lighting Ltd!

Here’s a shot of where our reception will be held! Photo courtesy of our amazing lighting company, Solus Lighting Ltd! Yes, that is a dinosaur you see.

- SQUIRRELS, SQUIRRELS EVERYWHERE! I like animals, especially baby ones. However, I don’t like when they are hurt…or when I can’t keep them. Imagine my delight when Kyle called and told me not to be alarmed but he had rescued a baby squirrel from the dogs and placed in a box in the garage. Unfortunately, he found it next to a dead sibling (we imagine they fell from the nest in the tree). This then became an all out homework assignment on what to feed this little guy, what to do with it, etc. Fortunately, I have many animal loving friends in the veterinary field and was eventually directed to a Squirrel Rescue by our house. We were able to deliver the baby squirrel, named Alfred Corn (or A Corn for short) to a caregiver to be rehabbed back to good health. It was amazing to learn how many Squirrel rescues were nearby and all the special things needed to care for a squirrel. I’m happy we were able to save little A. Corn.

 

- DONUTS ROCKED THE HOUSE! Once again, my trusty Donut headpiece held up during my 5.5 leg of the Akron Marathon Relay in September. I write about this race every year, and I look forward to it every year….in fact I was strongly opposed to having our wedding in September next year because it could interfere with this race (fortunately this didn’t end up being a problem). I do so many individual races where the end result is based strictly on what I do and how I perform. This race is a team event, and while we are all so competitive, it is just an absolute blast to run with my friends through such an amazing course. This year we ended up 269 out of 849 teams! Yes, we ran three minutes slower than last year (I take the heat for that since I haven’t been running as much), but we still did awesome!

Holly, Me, Jason, Mandy, and Jodi

Holly, Me, Jason, Mandy, and Jodi

-I JOINED THE SARC BOARD OF DIRECTORS. I am so excited about this venture with SARC, short for Summit Athletic Running Club. The running club has opened up so many doors in my life and introduced me to so many wonderful opportunities and people. To be able to serve as one of the few members on its board is such an honor. Honestly, anyone who is considering running one race should join. We meet monthly, eat pizza (yes, pizza), and do so many cool things. You can visit out website, http://www.summitathletic.com, to learn more about the club or read our monthly newsletter (P.S. This month I wrote a fun article…check it out).

 

-HEADBANDS, HEADBANDS, HEADBANDS! I am an absolute headband freak…I love them and wear them daily. Fortunately for me, one of my dear friends, Sharon, has been my own private headband maker for the past year, so I always have new and exciting sparkly numbers to show off. I was super excited when Sharon finally opened up her headband shop to others this fall! If you are active, you know that some of these headband makers (i.e. Sweaty Bands, Boulder bands, etc) charge you an arm and a leg to have a cool headband. I purchased a few sweaty bands before for a race and they cost me $20 a piece. I was really happy when Sharon started making her own because they are so much better than those fancy ones, they can be personalized to my interests (Yes, she even made me an Adam Levine one), but they are such a reasonable price. If you are after some cool headgear and are on Facebook, find the group Blossom’s Originals and Sharon can hook you up, too. I’m all about supporting small businesses, especially when I can tell you first hand how great something is. So proud of you, Sharon!

Just a few of what Sharon has made me.

Just a few of what Sharon has made me.

-GO TEAM BUBU’S BUNCH! Last weekend was the annual Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, and as always, my family and I were there to represent our love for our beloved Bubu, my grandma who is battling the disease. This year brought a change of venue, but the same energy and support that I have grown to love. My mother once again led a successful Chinese Auction….and I, for once, won something. It was a beautiful day for such a great cause, and I am so thankful that so many people support out family every year.

Team Bubu's Bunch 2014

Team Bubu’s Bunch 2014

 

-THE SPARKLE SQUAD IS BRINGING IT! My business has continually been in the forefront of what I am doing, and it has just been blowing up. When I celebrated my year anniversary in August, I couldn’t believe how much has changed since I began this venture last year. We went from a team of one (me) to a team of nearly fifty individuals. I had no idea what coaching for Beachbody would bring into my life, but I am so thankful. This past week brought the rank advancement of one of my coaches, Britain, which is a big deal for our team. And with so many of my other coaches close to getting their business to that level only means more celebration to come. I am so proud of what my team does every single day and am so lucky I get to call this “work”. The best is yet to come for The Sparkle Squad!

Congrats to my team for their hard work and special thanks to my coach, Laura, for this cute announcement.

Congrats to my team for their hard work and special thanks to my coach, Laura, for this cute announcement.

I could keep going and going with my raves, but the day is beautiful, and I’m off to enjoy it! Fall is my favorite time of year, so that is a rave in itself!

Have a lovely Sunday, friends!

The Real Warrior.

Define “Warrior.”

Did you ever look up what that word means? I can honestly say I never had until earlier today. I looked through various dictionaries to see what they all said, and while they all had variations, the consensus was that a warrior is someone who overcomes all obstacles to become successful. Hmmm. I disagree.

I spent the majority of my day focused on this word.

When my alarm went off this morning at 6am, I awoke with a sense of jubilation and excitement…it was Warrior Dash day, and I sure do love me some muddy races. This race was going to be extra special, as I wasn’t just running it with my cousin Laura, but with my fiancee Kyle…and it was our first race together.

I love the Warrior Dash for a multitude of reasons. Contrary to belief, I don’t mind getting dirty and like jumping around in mud. I obviously love running. I love challenging myself and taking on crazy obstacles. And you better believe I love getting a furry helga helmet. When I get to do all this with the people I love most, I love it even more.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Seriously, the weather couldn’t have been any better. The mud was perfect: messy but challenging. As with any Warrior Dash, we had no idea what obstacles we would encounter. I was so proud of us for killing it on the obstacles and showing incredible teamwork….and then the next to last obstacle presented itself: the Goliath. Let’s talk about the Goliath for a second. From the ground it doesn’t seem too bad. I mean, you climb up a high cargo net, then walk across a little beam to a huge slide that in turn spits you out in a giant mud puddle. Fun, right?

WRONG. That little beam is very small and takes place about 15 feet in the are over a shallow little mud puddle. It’s long, and all you have for balance are two small ropes. I don’t need to elaborate, but I was scared to death. Thank heavens for Kyle being there to help me through it. It was terrifying. Once we crossed the finish, the terror of the Goliath disappeared and I began to felt like a real warrior. I had beat the obstacle course; I was awesome. Being a warrior means doing that, at least according to the dictionaries I consulted.

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One of the greatest moments one has after a race like this isn’t that moment when they finish, but that moment when they get a hot shower, wash all of the dirt away, and hop into bed for a cat nap. This was exactly my plan for the remainder of the day. After my shower, I found myself feeling the same jubilation I had when I first woke up: time to rest! And right when I went to put my head on my pillow, my phone lit up.

Nap over.

My phone blows up all day long. As an entrepreneur, it’s just how it is. I  have to be available to take the calls and respond to the messages when those who I coach need me. This text though wasn’t one of those messages. It was one of the worst messages I possibly could’ve received.

My friend Andy, who I have written about several times on here, had lost the battle he so bravely fought for the last nineteen months. As you may remember, he was involved in a terrible car accident that left him in the ICU for many months before he was able to move to an assisted living facility where he could receive proper care. His journey had been a rough one, but I don’t think any of us ever questioned whether or not Andy would be okay. I honestly believe we all felt in our hearts that someday he would be back to his old ways, that he would laugh with us and talk to us all again. After all, Andy is a warrior.

Let’s go back to that definition the dictionaries shared with me: a warrior is someone who overcomes obstacles successfully. Andy left us this morning after being found unresponsive. Over the last nineteen months he had faced more obstacles than I can even imagine. He fought and fought and fought and overcame so many things that most people couldn’t. To me, that is a warrior: someone who fights until the bitter end giving everything they have. This is what our Andy did.

To get a furry helmet and jump through some mud puddles…..that doesn’t make someone a warrior. Staring the worst of the worst in the face, looking it dead in the eye, and still taking it on…..that is a true warrior. And that is what Andy Buehl did.

I’m heartbroken to have my lost my friend. Im heartbroken that a family lost a son, a brother, a stepbrother. And I’m heartbroken that the world has lost one of the greatest guys I have ever known to walk it. As heartbroken as I am, I am so thankful I was fortunate enough to know such an awesome human being and call him my friend. I know a lot of people can agree with me when I say Andy truly made the world a better place.

When someone close to you goes through something crazy and terrible like Andy did, you can’t help but think about life in general. Life is so short….we never know when our last day could be. Love with all your heart….passionately and completely. Evaluate your priorities…spend more time with those who mean something to you. Forgive for pain and hurt….learn from it, but don’t grudges. And when something scary comes your way, think of my friend Andy and the warrior strength he showed until the very end.

I’m proud to have known a real warrior.

We'll miss you, Buehl. May you rest in peace knowing how loved you are and how much you meant to so many.

We’ll miss you, Buehl. May you rest in peace knowing how loved you are and how much you meant to so many.

 

 

 

Hail to the victory…..rolls

I like to think I’m known for a lot of things. Bright lipstick and big hair are definitely two of them, and I’m okay with that.

When it comes to my hair, there is one trend that I love love love and do often, and even though I love and adore it, I am always surprised when someone asks me “what’s wrong with your hair?” That, my friends, is my beloved victory roll.

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I love the pin up culture, and while I sometimes dress in the way the beautiful pin ups do, the victory roll is a piece of the 1940’s that I choose to keep alive.

Do you know what victory rolls are and why they are called that? No? I’m about to educate you.

Back during World War 2 there was a major shortage of metal meaning women did not have access to bobby pins. Because of this women had to be creative with how they curled their hair, often using pipe cleaners and other random household items to create the curls they desired. For those off in war, this hairstyle proved to be helpful, as it held the hair off the face.

Some say they are called Victory rolls because of the “v” shape that is associate with the curls; others claim it is because women wanted a connection the the war effort, and repurposing and recycling helped them have a connection and bring a sense of victory within the household while their men fought in the war. I personally think they are called this because it is a fun, creative victory for the hair, but that’s just me.

I’m a huge fan of this hairstyle and love what it symbolizes. I also love how things once were and how unique a victory roll can make you. I do all different kinds of victory rolls (the Classic example below that I found on Pinterest is one of my favorites), but I will strongly state that these tend to take a lot of practice, so don’t give up if you don’t get it just right from the beginning.

Want to know how to rock out an awesome victory roll? Here’s a great resource to show you how!

Click here to watch a great tutorial!

 

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Like sands through the hour glass…..

My poor, poor little blog.

It’s true…..you have been neglected lately. I’m sorry.

Now, I’m not one that likes excuses, but I have had a A LOT going on. When I say a lot, I mean a freakin lot. I can’t believe that the summer is almost over. Usually I am really sad about this, but the truth is that I am so excited about everything that is to come that I can’t handle it! My busy lifestyle had forced me for awhile to prioritize how I spent my time, and sadly, blog, you didn’t make the cut. However, things have simmered back down and you are once again an integral part of my lifestyle. Welcome back.

So what has been keeping me so busy? Let’s do a quick recap of some of the greatest happenings of the summer so far!

HE LIKED IT SO HE PUT  RING ON IT

For starters, I do have some pretty big news. In May I got engaged!!!! If you are my Facebook friend, this is old news, but it still feels like just yesterday that Kyle popped the question, and I love talking about it and thinking about it. We are planning an awesome destination wedding, and if I have learned anything about wedding planning, it is that a lot of people seem to have ideas of what you should and shouldn’t do. Fortunately for me I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, so doing things that others don’t view to be “normal” or “traditional” is A-OK with me.

Can't wait to marry this guy!

Can’t wait to marry this guy!

 

BRANDON ALSO LIKED IT SO HE PUT A RING ON IT….AND SAID I DO!

Not only have I been celebrating my engagement, but I was also lucky enough to celebrate a very special wedding on July 4th. My oldest friend…and when I say old I mean we have been friends since we were in preschool….got married to her longtime long, and I got to be a part of the fabulous wedding party. It was a beautiful event, fantastically unique, and a great night. When it comes to amazing moments in life, seeing your best friends happier than they have ever been is right up at the top. Congrats, Kell and Brandon!

What a beautiful bride!

What a beautiful bride!

 

BRUNETTES DO IT BETTER….WIN OR LOSE.

This spring I was also fortunate enough to once again participate in the Blondes Vs. Brunettes charity football game to benefit Alzheimer’s and this year served as Captain of Team Brunette. It was a crazy game, and even though the Blondes managed to sneak by us with the win, we were still able to raise over $12,000 for Alzheimer’s . I’d say that’s a pretty big win. Not only was it a blast to participate in, but it was awesome having my friend and incredible photographer, Brian Keith of Rustic City Photography, there to photograph the event. He did an awesome job capturing the spirit and competitive attitudes of the players, and I am already looking forward to seeing his work next May when we have our re-match! Mark your calendars now…it’s going to be a great time!

LET’S BECOME SUPERMODELS!

Speaking of awesome photographers, I have to give mad props to my fabulous photographer friend Danette Anderson, owner and head photographer of Ensepia Photography. Danette has been taking some of the most stunning photographs of the leaders in the Beachbody community, and I was fortunate enough to have a photo shoot with her the end of May. Her images are flawless, and I am already excited for my next photo shoot with her in Tampa the end of October. Sidebar: Make sure you watch the Miss America pageant this year! Danette is the current Mrs. Virginia and will be competing for the big title! Here is a look at some of her magic!

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ENDING THE TREND OF OBESITY ONE PERSON AT A TIME!

One thing that I have been devoting a ton of time to is my growing business. I can’t even begin to express how excited and and proud I am of my team, The Sparkle Squad. Day in and day out they are helping people meet their health and fitness goals, and that is such a good feeling knowing I am a part of that. All of the growth has created some pretty big and exciting opportunities for me, and it just blows my mind that a year ago I didn’t know a thing about this whole Beachbody business and here I am getting to the point where I have the option to do this full time.  Thanks so much for all of you who have supported me on this journey, and thanks to all of you who have joined my team! 2014 is the year of  Glamazon Fitness and The Sparkle Squad!

 RUN, FOREST, RUN!

As always, running has been a part of my schedule as well. Last year I was running like a mad man, but this year I haven’t been nearly as much. Earlier in the year I had to drop down from the Pittsburgh full to the half due to being sick for almost two months, and that interfered greatly with my training. Still, I rocked out the Half in the Burgh and followed that up with a great run in Cleveland two weeks later. Now that the fall is approaching, so are a bunch of races that I am anxiously awaiting, including the Warrior Dash, Akron General Birthday Bash, and Akron Marathon. I should state that I did injure myself pretty badly in Pittsburgh, so train properly, folks!

Team Awesome in Pittsburgh....Gary, Me, Jodi, Wendy, and Hahn.

Team Awesome in Pittsburgh….Gary, Me, Jodi, Wendy, and Hahn.

Julie and I after the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon sporting our beautiful hardware.

Julie and I after the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon sporting our beautiful hardware.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

Oh yeah, and then there were the birthday celebrations! You guys know how I roll. This year we took the birthday celebrations on the road and celebrated in two fabulous cities. My other BFF, Whitney and I celebrated our birthdays together as we do every year and went out in my old stomping ground in Pittsburgh. Ah, I love that city. The weekend of my actual birthday, Kyle and I went down to Columbus where I got to spend time with my brother and celebrate with our friends Rick and Kelly. Kelly has the same birthday as me, so it was double the celebration  and so much fun! Of course we had a family celebration back in Leetonia and a few other random celebrations, but overall it was an incredible birthday. I am so lucky to have the people in my life that I do.

 

Ahhh…..so many things going on! I forgot to mention I also threw another move in between all that chaos. Now that Kyle and I are living together, I am getting back into a routine and promise that my love for you, blog, will become apparent. I’ll make it up to, and to all my readers.

Have a Kate-tastic night!

I’ve got Pep in my step!

I’m down with some Pep.

No, not that kind of pep..though I do love a peppy, careful, happy attitude. I am talking about the kind of pep that is colorful and delicious. My little lovers: green, yellow, and red peppers.

It occurred to me over the weekend that I haven’t shared any recipes lately. Don’t worry…I haven’t stopped cooking or baking, I still do plenty of that. It is amazing to me how much my cooking has changed over the course of the last year. I used to cook crazy, fatty Italian dishes and found a reason to incorporate bacon into pretty much anything. In fact, one of my favorite snacks was chocolate covered bacon (Mmmmm…so good).  Now my cooking focuses on healthy recipes that are just as good (unless Im cooking for Kyle….he gets his own special meals since his diet is a little different than mine).

My current 21 Day Fix meal plan focuses on portion control and is amazing. Initially I was worried I would be eating bland, gross items that would bore me and cause me to jump off of the health wagon and back on the fatty express. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. I have loved loved LOVED exploring different recipes and still being satisfied with my appetite. SCORE!

Just so those of you reading don’t get confused by any lingo or jargon I drop in this blog, let me explain what the Fix is all about. It is focused entirely on eating the right portions for your body. Based on your weight and what you want to achieve, you determine how many portions of specific food groups you eat and then use the color coordinated containers for each food group. So when I say “red”, I am referring to protein…..”green” vegetables, and so on. It really has helped me maintain a more consistent eating plan, as well as give me a whole new way of looking at my food. Every time I go to eat, I equate that dish to the corresponding color containers.

Back to the pep. I really love stuffed peppers and was on a mission to find a recipe that would work for me while also being delicious. I found a variety of recipes online and finally did what I always seem to do: take a couple of recipes and mix them together so the end result would be a surprise. I like trial and error with recipes and figured I couldn’t mess this one up. The end result: fabulousness.

Your taste buds (and waistline) will thank me.

Your taste buds (and waistline) will thank me.

 Katie’s Fix Approved Stuffed Peppers

- Peppers (you can pick the color. I tend to always go with green, but I sometimes throw in a red or yellow)

-Black Beans (measure using the YELLOW container. Those non fixers, you will use 1/3 cup)

-Brown Rice or Quinoa (use YELLOW container or 1/3 cup)

- Corn ( 1 use 1/2 a YELLOW container)

- Low fat Ground turkey (2 RED containers. A red container is equivalent to 1/2 cup)

- Tomato Sauce (1 GREEN container or 1 cup)

-Shredded Lowfat Cheese (1 BLUE container or 1/4 cup)

Ahhhh I love that these little containers double as measuring cups!

Ahhhh I love that these little containers double as measuring cups!

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cut the tops off of your peppers and hollow them out.

3. Prepare rice or quinoa. I have made these using both ingredients, just cutting the portions in half so it is still equivalent to the 1/3 cup serving size. I will say….I prefer brown rice over quinoa in this recipe.

4. While that is happening, I brown my meat. Fixers, you can use the 21 day Southwest Seasoning recipe. I don’t use seasoning though…Im not really into it.

5. Drain and rinse your black beans while microwaving your corn (if you are using frozen).

6. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, browned meat, and the rice/quinoa. After stirring that all up, add tomato sauce.

Ready to be stuffed!

Ready to be stuffed!

7. Stuff peppers with mixture and sprinkle cheese on top.

Remember, 1 blue container of cheese! Don't get cheese heavy!

Remember, 1 blue container of cheese! Don’t get cheese heavy!

8. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Make sure the cheese is melted!

Make sure the cheese is melted!

This recipe yields 2 peppers, but keep in mind that these are easy to prepare, so just adjust the portions accordingly if you place to make more. Have extra filling? I did and used it throughout the week in wraps or on my salad or a little healthy Mexican lunch! Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Curly Haired Girl That Could

Back to back entries about running! Woohoo! Those of you who dislike running and reading about running are probably sighing with disgust. Oh well.

Today was the Cleveland Half Marathon. I was not sure what I was going to do about the race since I was injured two weeks ago while running Pittsburgh. I do have a  tendency to ignore injuries and advice from my elders, but this time I took the responsible route: I rested, refrained from working out and running, and generously applied my coveted Deep Blue Rub religiously. Friday night I was pretty confident I would just suck it up and run the half. By Saturday morning (and after a talk with my dad), I decided I would just drop down to the 10k. I don’t think either of my parents wanted me to run in fear of a possible injury or flare up, but I had to run some part of Cleveland! I love the course, and I knew it would still be a great race. Plus I could see how my leg felt, and I would still get a medal. So that’s what I did. For the second time this year I made the responsible decision to not over-do it and took the smarter race option.

I’m so glad I did. I ran a quality, consistent time over the 6.2 miles and felt amazing when I crossed the finish line. And when I mean amazing, I mean my legs felt like those of Steve Prefontaine.  I didn’t run as fast I was was running pre-illness in February, but it was consistent, and that’s what I was looking for. My speed workouts will help me get back to my fast pace eventually. t won’t lie….my spirits were a little deflated after Pittsburgh. I hate injuries, I hate disappointment, and I hate not meeting the personal goals I set for myself (Yes, I did say I was down for whatever since I hadn’t trained, but deep down…..I still had some goals. I can’t help it…It’s who I am!). After my race today, I got my running mojo back…and just in time since race season is in full swing. The curly haired girl that could is back with a vengeance, running community! My sights are set on qualifying for Boston next year, and I am up for the challenge!

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Earlier in the week I was telling Kyle how I go through various stages of emotional distress on a race day. Today was no different. Im not sure if every runner goes through this or if this is just me….probably just me since I have so many weird traits and habits. Fortunately today I was able to capture these emotions.

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EMOTION #1 AKA ANGER: On race day I am always angry when I wake up. Probably because getting up at 4am isn’t exactly fun and that moment is always when I am my most comfortable position in the bed. Also, I come up with a lot of excuses about why I shouldn’t run. I always do, but I get angry at the fact that I actually paid money to get up so early.

EMOTION #2 AKA TREPIDATION: Before the race starts there is always that moment of “Oh Shit, can I do this?” I know that I can, but that moment still passes through my brain. Today my level of trepidation was through the roof. I was scared to death that I would injure myself again or worse than I did in Pittsburgh, and the thought of not being able to run terrified me. To the majority of you, running may be silly and a waste of time. To me, it is a part of my soul, my therapist, my release, my internal challenger, and my happy place. I felt like I was on Press Your Luck as I entered the corral earlier…..instead of saying “No whammy, no whammy, no whammy” I was chanting “No injury, no injury, no injury” pretty much the whole race. At least it worked.

EMOTION #3 AKA RELIEF: It’s over! I feel relieved that I finished and can collect that banana I worked so hard to receive. Today I was super pumped that there were fruit popsicles along with the cheese curls and chocolate Moo Milk. I’m not excited at this point or even happy. I just feel like an elephant got off my body , and I can breathe. Relief moment #2 comes when I get into my car and begin the descent home.

EMOTION #4 CELEBRATION: The moment of celebration always comes at the same time after every race: the time that I turn the shower on and hop into the hot water. Seriously, there is not a feeling more satisfying than getting that water (especially on those cold race days).

EMOTION #5 AKA JOY: After the shower, eating, and things have resumed to normalcy, I reach the happiness and joy level. This is also usually the time that I am hanging my medal up with the others and have realized that another race is in the books. I then begin to plan out my next big race and get excited about it.

EMOTION #6 AKA PEACE: The moment of peace comes at the moment I climb into my super comfy bed and go to sleep. Being totally exhausted from a long day of running and getting up early means a very heavenly sleep just like that of a baby. It’s also the emotion I am feeling right now…..

So Goodnight all!

 

Here’s how my Feelings Sound.

Photo courtesy of The Inspiration Network.

Photo courtesy of The Inspiration Network.

Ahhhh…Music. Quite easily one of the loves of my life. (Please note…..ONE, not THE).

Music is something I have always had a very strong connection to for so many reasons. It is my motivator, my therapist, my feel good friend, sometimes my enemy, but always omnipresent. I cannot function without it. I play it when I get ready for work…I rock out in my car to it….I stream it all day long while at work….I work out to it….I fall asleep to it. I love it so much I studied Communication in undergrad, ran my own slightly ridiculous and eclectic radio show throughout my college days, accepted an internship with Froggy, and upon graduation accepted a job offer to be on the air full time as a personality.

Enter into the equation another love of my life: Running (Again, please note…ANOTHER, not THE). I’ve spent many posts rambling on about the love affair I have with the sport, so it is no secret that I like to lace up and cruise around outside. Fortunately in my world, Music and Running have a very strong relationship and work well together. I run a lot of races but refrain as much as possible from those races where I can’t wear my headphones, such as mud runs, color themed runs, etc. I need my freaking music. When it comes to races (especially half marathons), one of my favorite things to do is create a new playlist. I know that the playlist is directly connected to my success…..at least that’s what I tell myself, and usually this really pumps me up the week of a race.

Well, except for this week.

Sunday is the Pittsburgh half marathon, which I HAD been looking forward to for a long time. I had signed up to run the full marathon and had been ecstatic to run the bridges of Pittsburgh once again. Pittsburgh means a lot to me for many reasons, but when it comes to running it is a reminder of how far I have come as a runner. Several years back Jodi and I made the decision to run our first half marathons ever together in Pittsburgh. We didn’t train or know the importance of Body Glide, and we just showed up the day before the race with matching shirts and no real expectation. It wasn’t the smartest decision we ever made, but we did it….we did it together…and we haven’t stopped running since.

Note to self: Reeboks are terrible running shoes.

Note to self: Reeboks are terrible running shoes.

When we both made the decision to run the full together, we were both excited. Then life happened…and by life I mean that illness that had me out of commission for almost two months.  I was angry that I was sick, but I was even more upset that I knew I would most likely have to drop down to the half marathon. I knew I could run a half without proper training, but I felt confident that I absolutely could not complete a full without it. Making that call and completing the paperwork to drop down to the half was a sad day in my world, but I hoped my excitement would eventually grow and I would be pumped to run Pittsburgh again.

Ummmm…..yeah. It didn’t. The race is this weekend, and I am not even the slightest bit excited. I know I am hard on myself when it comes to running; I always have been. I also know that I won’t run as fast or as great as I want, and that will upset me. At this point I have no expectation for the race and all that matters to me is finishing, getting my medal, and going home.

The silver lining to this is that I had to create my new playlist for the race. As I mentioned, I love doing this, and every playlist is such an eclectic crazy mess. Earlier today I was talking to one of my friends about music we like to run to, and she asked if she could see my list for Pittsburgh. Her response: “That’s totally what I would expect. A hot mess”

I present to you my “hot mess” aka part of my Pittsburgh playlist.

1. O’Fortuna. I start every race to this song. It’s nostalgic for me. And seriously  who doesn’t get pumped to an orchestra??!!!

2. MGMT “Kids.” Creepy music video. Good beat for me to start out to.

3. Krewella “Alive.” Could listen to this song on repeat for the entire 13.1 mile race.

4. NKOTB “Step by Step.” No judgement. Also, no shame.

5. Beastie Boys “Sabotage” This reminds me of our basketball warmup my senior year in HS.

6. Foo Fighters “Best of You” I just love Dave G’s voice.

7. Wicked Soundtrack “Defying Gravity.” Does not require explanation if you know me.

8. Drowning Pool “Bodies.” This comes on right when I realize I am ready to kick some serious ass.

9. Katy Perry and Juicy J “Dark Horse” I don’t like the song itself, but the beat is quite lovely.

10. The Alters “Every Good Thing” Randomly found this song after realizing I was listening to a Jesus station on the radio. Surprisingly, I really like this song to run to.

11. Bastille “Pompeii” Because Bastille is awesome.

12. Florence and the Machine “Shake it Out” Just one of those songs that I have a very strong emotional connection to.

13. Bob Seger ‘Wildfire”. We all know how I feel about Seger. This song (Now) is connected to something that pushes me to do better.

14. Fitz and the Tantrums “Out of my League” I like this song because I first heard it when I was trying on a dress 3 sizes smaller than I was wearing….and I just connect it to a happy place!

15. Janet Jackson “Escapade” Because the 90’s rocked and I am still living in them.

16. Michael Penn “No Myth” Romeo in Blue Jeans can never go wrong.

17. 30 Seconds to Mars ‘Kings and Queens” Neither can Jordan Catalano.

18. Mayday Parade “Kids in Love” This is one of those secret bands no one has ever heard of but I am obsessed with

19. Trapt “Echo”. Gets me angry and fired up if I have lost motivation

20. Big Country “In a Big Country” I love the 80’s…favorite song from that time period right here.

21. Jane’s Addiction “Jane Says”. Have you noticed I throw slower tempo songs in with my crazy ones? Helps keep me balanced.

22. Parade of Lights “Just like Falling in Love” Another secret band that I discovered while watching a Sunday marathon of “The Hills”

23. Cobra Starship “Good Girls Go Bad” I only have this in here because Gabe Saporata has one of my favorite male voices.

24. Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc” Hahahahahahahaahah.

25. Metallica “Enter Sandman” Every playlist needs at least ONE Metallica song.

26. Tegan and Sara “Closer” I finally omitted this as my cell phone ring tone, but I had to put it somewhere.

27. Rent Soundtrack “Another Day” Upbeat and fun!

28. Emblem3 “Chloe” I have no explanation for why this is here. It’s fun to run to I guess.

29. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin” Hello, have we met?

30. Wham! ‘Wake Me Up Before you Go” A special song between my love and I :)

31. Cher ” Strong Enough” If you don’t run to Cher you need smacked.

32. Jessie J “Domino” I just think Jessie has one of the strongest female voices ever.

33. Avril Lavigne “Smile” I am maybe a little ashamed of this….I wouldn’t be if she hadn’t married the guy from Nickelback.

34. Randy Houser “Runnin Outta Moonlight” Country music makes me smile.

35. Lil Wayne “Project Bitch” Just in case I need to break out my inner thug.

36. Cartel “Honestly” I’ve never run a single race without this song playing at some point.

37. Eminem and Rhianna “The Monster”. For some reason, this song makes me feel invincible.

38. WuTang Clan “Gravel Pit” Obsessed with Wu #sorrynotsorry

39. Coheed and Cambria “A Favor House Atlantic” Again, a strong beat that pushes me

40. Tegan and Sara “Alligator” Makes me want to punch people….and it fires me up.

 Yes, it’s only a snippet, and yes, sometimes I like to just repeat songs if I’m in the groove. I love the craziness of this playlist because it really makes no sense to anyone else but me. If nothing else, I can’t wait to run listening to it Sunday.

Speaking of listening, THE  love of my life (Yes the ONE and ONLY) got me a fun “Just Because” present to help me along the way Sunday: the Skullcandy Supreme Sound Hesh Headphones I have been wanting to maximize my listening abilities on the course. I have been after these bad boys for awhile, so I am super excited to now have my own pair and also have a little piece of my love with me since he can’t be there to cheer me on. This also means we now have matching headphones when we work out at the gym (kind of….his are green of course).

Love them!

Love them!

For all of you who are wishing me well and supporting me from both near and far, thank you! I may not be excited now, but I know that I will barely be able to sleep Saturday night because of the excitement that is awaiting me Sunday. And I will be even more excited when that medal is around my neck and I’m hugging my mom at the finish.

Good luck to all my fellow runners!

 

 

RAVE OF THE WEEK: Lots ‘O Sunshine!

Since I absolutely had to rant about the creeptastic Easter bunnies flooding my news feed, I felt it was only appropriate to follow that up with a rave…or in this case, some raves. It’s been a pretty awesome week for me, and since I am one who likes to celebrate the little things in life, I can’t hold back and only recognize a few. Really, in this day and age when there is an influx of negativity and sad, depressing things happening around us, you really do need to focus on all of the small wonderful things that happen daily. Some may say I celebrate the little things too much, but I don’t care….every moment is beautiful and should be celebrated as such.

 

Preaching to the choir.  (Thanks, wideopenspaces.squarespaces.com for agreeing!)

Preaching to the choir.
(Thanks, wideopenspaces.squarespaces.com for agreeing!)

MY RAVES OF THE WEEK!!!!

1. Shine bright like a diamond! This past week was pretty awesome for my team, The Sparkle Squad, and for me as their leader. I officially advanced my rank to Diamond, which means I now fall in the top 4.3% of leaders in the Beachbody community. Out of 145,000 coaches, I think that is pretty freakin’ awesome. It also means I am one step closer to achieving the personal financial goals I have set. To say I am over the moon is an understatement, and knowing that after such a long time I have finally found my calling is just such a cool feeling. I am so excited for the future of the Sparkle Squad and feel so fortunate to have these people on my team. Sidebar: Since my business is growing, I am currently taking applications for new health and wellness coaches. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in awesome shape or have a degree in nutrition to coach…you just must have the desire to help others! If you want to talk about these opportunities, you can click here!

sparkle_squad_LOGO

2. Color Blaze! It is no secret that I adore my family and any time I get to spend with them. Add my family to a running event….and I am stoked. This past weekend my mom, Aunt Sheila, cousin Jen, and cousin Taylor ran the Color Blaze 5k in Canfield. While it was unorganized and a muddy mess, it was super fun putting on a tutu and participating in a healthy event with my family. Now if only I could get my dad to agree to something where color is flung at you….

What a beautiful day for a 5k!

What a beautiful day for a 5k!

3. I had a hot date with a hot stud. And by hot stud, I mean a little man almost two months old! I always enjoy getting to spend time with my BFF, Whitney, but I am finding our coffee dates and visits are even more exciting now that little baby J is in the picture. He is such a cute little nugget, and I just love any time where I can stare at his cubby little cheeks and super tiny fingers.

4. I said Yes to the Dress! Not mine though…..my other BFF, Kelly, is getting married July 4th, and I had to go pick up my bridesmaid dress this week. Since there was a little bit of a mix up initially when ordering, I had never seen the dress or tried it on, so I was worried it may be a hot mess when I finally got a chance to pick it up. I was extremely happy that it fit perfectly and was super comfortable. I can’t wait to be a part of such a fabulous day for someone who I have been friends with since we were practically in diapers!

5. I got to run outside in the sun! With two marathons fast approaching, I have been trying to get in as much running as I possibly can. I’m well aware that I am going to do terrible when it comes to my standards since that little sickness I had to deal with for a month and a half kept me on the sidelines, but I am still going to give it hell. When the sun exposed itself on Wednesday I took the opportunity to get in a quick run with one of my fellow Phylers, Steve. Ahhhhhh….just knowing that pretty soon it will be warm and optimal running conditions every day excites me. Plus, the sun being out gives me a reason to wear one of my favorite accessories: oversized sunglasses.

Big sunglasses are definitely my trademark.

Big sunglasses are definitely my trademark.

6. Short work week.  I was extremely happy when I realized that we had off Good Friday. First of all, I needed the break and a day to catch up on sleep…but it also meant I got to spend an entire extra day with my other half. We got to work out together, go to lunch together, cook dinner together, and just be goofballs. The best part? We get to it all over again the next two days. I think he is probably pretty happy he doesn’t have to do anything involving me in a tutu this weekend.

Awwww…..

Awwww…..

7. Farrah went in for a checkup. For those of you who don’t know, my Xterra is affectionately known as Farrah…and as much as I love her, I hate spending money on her. She really is a pain. Last year I put in over $700 on new shoes for her, so I feel that is sufficient for awhile. However, the check engine light kept coming on, finally forcing us to take her in for a checkup. Fortunately, Farrah got a clean bill of health and I spent $0. Thanks, girl.

8. BVB Practice officially started! I’ve mentioned it multiple times in my blog and on Facebook, but being a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes Vs. Brunettes game is such a cool experience. This week officially kicked off our practice season, and I was very happy to be back on the field. Our big game is May 31st, so if you don’t have any plans, come and see us! You can also visit our site http://www.bvbakron.org for more information about game day, sponsorship opportunities, player biographies, etc. The best part of this event? Everything goes toward the Alzheimer’s Association, which is my charity of choice.

Even if it something as small as visiting your favorite hole in the wall restaurant, appreciate the small joys you are lucky enough to encounter this weekend! Have a wonderful Easter, all…and I hope a non-creepy Easter bunny brings you lots of chocolates and Peeps!

London Pickleworks….one of our favorites!

London Pickleworks….one of our favorites!

 

 

RANT OF THE WEEK: Da Bunny

Yeah, you read that right….and the bunny I am referring to is that lovely little white haired gentleman set to visit lots of chocolate craving kiddos this weekend.

I’m using the term “lovely” loosely.

As always, I feel I need to include a preliminary statement or two for those of you who get nervous when I rant. Yes, you exist, and yes, I know who you are. ***Disclaimer*** this post has nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs associated with Easter, but strictly focuses on looks. In this case, the looks of the Easter bunny.

I vote to make Easter Pugs the new mascot of the holiday.

I vote to make Easter Pugs the new mascot of the holiday.

In my pretty little head, the Easter bunny should be a cute, welcoming fella. When I think back to all of my years going to see him at the mall, I can’t recall a single time that I was scared or felt the bunny was creepy. In retrospect, I am wondering if I was just blinded by the chocolate eggs and looked past his looks. After all, the purpose of the Easter bunny is to be fluffy and friendly and bring candy to kids. Of course he would be cute, right?

WRONG!!!!!!

Confession time: The past two weeks I have been terrified to log into Facebook, and the reason for that is solely the thing pretending to be an Easter bunny. Please tell me you know what I am talking about. No? Here’s a little gem to shed some light on this topic….

Thanks, pinterest, for this adorable family photo full of memories.

Thanks, pinterest, for this adorable family photo full of memories.

 

I’m not sure what happened in our society that prompted the change in the Easter bunny’s looks, but it is obvious something did. It may come as a surprise to some of you that know me, but I am a big fan of tradition, especially with timeless items like the Easter bunny. I know over the last few decades many things have been modernized….the Easter bunny should never be one of them! Other things the Easter bunny should never be compared to: a creep, a child predator, or a character from the movie Sinister….all ways I described the bunny the past two weeks as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed.

In the event that you did not see any screaming children on a scary bunny’s lap, please visit one of my favorite sites, Buzzfeed, to catch 19 Vintage East Bunny Photos. I think some people I know got to visit with some Easter bunnies that were just as terrifying…..

You can view the article by clicking here!!!!

The Silver Lining

Is it summer yet?

Seriously, I am over this weird winter and all of the nastiness that comes along with it. This includes being sick…..it sure seems like everyone I know has had some kind of awful illness since 2014 entered our lives.

I am no exception, only my illness stayed with me for an entire month. 30 freaking days. Yes, February, you were an absolute delight.

Yeah, pretty accurate in my case.

Yeah, pretty accurate in my case.

I am not exaggerating when I say I was sick for an entire month, which seemed like an eternity to me….probably longer to the loved ones who took care of me and had to deal with me on a daily basis. It started with a little bit of nausea and loss of appetite….then extreme dizziness….then a headache that felt like someone was using a jackhammer to drill into my brain…an off and on high fever…super strange rash…..extreme dehydration….total weakness of the body….overall a blast. I got to spend lots of time in hospitals, lots of money on prescriptions and orange jello, and way too much watching Gossip Girl.

Sick and in the hospital? Still able to be textually active!!!!

Sick and in the hospital? Still able to be textually active!!!!

Being down and out really ticked me off. I never like my routine being disrupted, especially when the disruption means I can’t work out, go to work, or do the things I like. My sickness also forced me to make two decisions I didn’t want to make: I had to cancel my tattoo appointment, and I had to withdraw from the full Pittsburgh Marathon in May and opt to run the half marathon instead.

Regardless, I still did what I always do: looked for a silver lining. Now I know this may be a surprise to those of you who think I am cynical, but you should know that below the consistently wicked sense of humor and constant sarcasm lies an extremely optimistic human being (yes, I am discussing myself). What is a silver lining? It’s some element of hope and optimism in a difficult situation, not just a movie starring Bradley Cooper, and I look for them in every less than desirable situation. In this particular instance I found several.

THE SILVER LININGS OF BEING SICK

1. I learned a lot about myself. No, this had nothing to do with quiet reflections or affirmations. It has everything to do with one of my favorite sites, Buzzfeed, and the quizzes it pumped out to allow me to learn who the true Katie is. Thanks to Buzzfeed.com, I determined the following:

-If I was a food, I would be sushi.

-If I was a wrestler, I would be the Macho Man Randy Savage

-If I was one of the  Mean Girls, I would be Regina George

-If I was a character in Orange is the New Black, I would be Taystee

-If I was a rock band, I would be Fleetwood Mac

-If I was a member of a high school club, I would be in the drama club.

-If I were to die a Game of Thrones death, I would be decapitated.

If I was a Batman Villain, I would be Mr. Freeze.

If I was a pie, I would be Strawberry Rhubarb.

And now, thanks to Buzzfeed, I have a better understanding of who I am. Can’t believe I lived all these years not knowing this information.

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 10.44.11 PM

2.  I got to spend a lot of quality time with some very handsome fellas. Three of my best nurses were four legged attentive little men who brought me many laughs and kisses during my illness.

Bubba and Murphy took their role of nurse very seriously.

Bubba and Murphy took their role of nurse very seriously.

3. Orange Jello is even more delicious than I imagined.  I am not even embarrassed by the fact that I walked into a Walgreens and bought every single four pack of orange Jello they had in stock. I also am not embarrassed by the fact that I purchased them to help me digest the horse sized pills my doctors prescribed. Yes, I am a grown adult. Yes, I trick myself into taking my medicine by hiding it in Jello. No shame here.

My daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner while sick.

My daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner while sick.

4. I learned a creative new way to rock a heating pad. Like I mentioned, I had a headache that literally felt like a midget was tap-dancing on my head wearing football cleats. It was awful. While the medication the doctors prescribed me helped a little, laying on a heating pad and then using a headband to hold it in place around my cranium really did the trick. Did I look like a mental patient? You bet. Did I care? Absolutely not.

This may look ridiculous, but it sure helped with my headache!

This may look ridiculous, but it sure helped with my headache!

5. Sometimes it is fun to have others poke fun at your age. Kyle enjoyed giving me drinks in cups that said things like “Grandma” or “Sexy at 60.” I have to be honest, it did make me laugh quite a bit.

Hahahahahahaha.

Hahahahahahaha.

6. You get addicted to new television shows. During this month, I got addicted to Glee. Once I wrapped that up, I got started with Gossip Girl. Unfortunately, I am still trying to make my way through GG, but am proud to report that I am close to finishing the fourth season. Getting addicted to a new show is like starting a new job…..you feel like you have to put in some serious hours. I don’t mind though, but many questions have been raised. Does anyone else notice Chace Crawford’s eyebrows never move?  Who else wants to punch Georgina in the face? I have so many comments and questions.#teamchuckbass

7. You save money on shampoo and makeup. Seriously, it was kind of nice being a bum. I won’t lie. Don’t be thinking omitting showers took place, that wasn’t the case, but I didn’t feel the need to spend much time on my out of control mop top. Speaking of omitting, I did avoid pants as much as possible. We all know how I can’t stand them.

8. Others overlook your grumpiness. To those of you who were fortunate enough to interact with me while I was sick, thank you for letting my grumpiness slide. I am well aware that I could be compared to a toddler while I am sick, so it means a lot to me that no one attempted to suffocate me with a pillow during the month of February.

9. When the moment comes that you can exercise, you jump for joy. Literally, I did. Fitness is not just something I love, but it is a career of mine. Not being able to do ANYTHING was awful. The moment I was cleared to resume a normal workout routine, I took full advantage of it. This did include jumping around.

Yes, I was that excited.

Yes, I was that excited.

Thank heavens I am back to normal FINALLY. Turns out that I didn’t have Parvo, Meningitis, Vertigo, Mono, or any of the other illnesses suggested during my little bout of fun….it was just a really, really bad virus. While I am happy that I can resume my normal routine, I am also happy that I could find the silver lining.

Always look for one, they are there.

 

Found this on another favorite site of mine, the berry.com

Found this on another favorite site of mine, the berry.com

 

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