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.

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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

 

I’m a Psycho….and I’m 100% okay with that.

The greatest time of year has officially kicked off in my world, and I am ELATED!

This time, of course, would be the time of year where I can say goodbye to the treadmill and indoor track and take my running outdoors.

Hi, spring! So glad to see you!

Hi, spring! So glad to see you!

Earlier this week I had my first run outside with my running pals, Steve and Gary. Not only was it my first run outside in lovely weather, but it was my first run in over a month and a half since I was sick and out of commission for so long.  While it was a little more challenging than I had hoped, it lifted my spirits and gave me the motivation I had to keep pushing forward. As most of you know, being sick for such an extensive period of time forced me to make a really difficult decision: I had to drop down from the full marathon in Pittsburgh to the half marathon. It did deflate me for awhile, but after my run on Monday, I actually felt okay with it. True, it is something I really wanted to do, but if I have learned anything from the past year it is to adapt…..so that is what I am doing. My new full marathon plan involves running in Columbus in October.

The fact that the greatest time of year is here also means something else…..race season has officially started! The weekend is my beloved running club’s Shamrock 5k/15k, which unfortunately I am not participating in this year. Since I was unsure health wise where I would be on race day, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. Still, I hate missing any opportunity to wear my leprechaun tuxedo.

Maybe I will just wear it to work Monday…..

Maybe I will just wear it to work Monday…..

The Shamrock run is one that will always hold a special place in my heart. Why you ask? It was my very first race as a member of Summit Athletic Running Club (SARC for short) and the beginning of some very wonderful friendships. I made many decisions and changes over the last few years, but one of the absolute best was joining this running club. SARC is an awesome organization, and for those of you in the area that are considering joining a club, let me share a few details about it.

-Clearly, we run. There are various running groups within the club where members meet to run daily, weekly, or monthly based on varying paces and availability. If you are a beginner, there are runners who can help you prepare for your first 5K. If you are a seasoned professional, you can meet up with the Phylers and throw down an easy 20 miler on a Saturday.

-When it comes to club sponsored runs like the Shamrock, many of us participate. If we can’t run, we volunteer. Volunteering is such an important part of the club, so if you aren’t a runner but would like to meet new people or be involved in the running community without actually running, volunteering is the way to go. Our club honestly could not function without the volunteers….plus it is a lot of fun! This morning I volunteered at the Shamrock packet pickup, which is always a good time. It also pays to volunteer and participate in the club. For every activity you participate in, you receive Reach for the Summit points. Those who earn enough are invited to a special dinner after the year ends, plus you can cash those points in for cool stuff at the end of the year. Look what my points helped me get this year….you know these are totally Kate-tastic shoes:

New running kicks in two of my favorite colors….and the bottom is reflective, too!

New running kicks in two of my favorite colors….and the bottom is reflective, too!

-Once a month, we have a club meeting where we eat, socialize, and listen to a guest speaker. I always am amazed what I learn from the speakers the club brings in. This past week we learned about some common running injuries and ways to prevent them….and I found a stretch that makes my entire body feel great after a workout.

I borrowed this picture from SARC's Facebook page…our speaker, Dr. Leo Kormanik, sharing a stretch known as "The Bretzel". I love it.

I borrowed this picture from SARC’s Facebook page…our speaker, Dr. Leo Kormanik, sharing a stretch known as “The Bretzel”. I love it.

-We make awesome friendships. While I have made so many wonderful friends of all ages over the past year, there is a special group of people who I have grown to love dearly. We choose to call ourselves “The SARC Psychos”…..because we tend to get a little psycho about running races together. I always love running with these people…we all run at different paces, but it is always fun to compete with each other and motivate each other along the way. There were a time during the Home Run for a Homeless race on Thanksgiving that I was absolutely struggling, and Steve (who had already finished because he is quick like the wind), turned around to run the last half mile with me. Running friends push each other. That’s why I love having them in my life…they make me run better every single day. Plus this group is an absolute blast, and I always find myself smiling and full of laughter when I am with them.

Andrea, Me, Sarah, Sharon, and Gary. Only one missing is Steve!

Andrea, Me, Sarah, Sharon, and Gary. Only one missing is Steve!

I love being a part of this club year round, not just this time of year where the exciting races and chip parties and fun stuff kicks off, but even during the down time, too. It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent.

Want to be a part of this cool club? We always love new members! Check out our website for upcoming events and information http://www.summitathletic.com!

Brunettes Do It Better.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be a part of a really cool event that involved football, the color purple, and charity. It was the very first year Akron was able to hold such an event , and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

What in the world am I talking about?????

Blondes Vs Brunettes Powder Puff Football, that’s what!!!!

This super fun event was created with one purpose in mind: help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, a disease that I, unfortunately, know way too much about first hand. As most of my readers know, my grandmother Bubu has been fighting a losing battle with this disease for over a decade, and while it has been crippling to her, it has also been very crippling to our family. Each one of us has been forced to deal with this disease in our own way, yet we all have been able to come together to volunteer and participate in the events that the Association has to help raise funding toward research and to help find a cure to such a nasty, nasty disease. Each year we have one of the largest teams at the Boardman area Memory Walk, an event that raises thousands and thousands of dollars every single year. It is an honor to be a part of such a cool event and to walk with Bubu’s Bunch. We also are active participants in the Forget Me Not Gala each spring…an event where my mother was honored as the Inspiration Award Winner a few years back. Still so proud of you, Mom!

When I was approached last year about participating in the newly created Blondes Vs Brunettes football game, I didn’t think twice about signing up. You’re telling me I get to break out my competitive side AND raise money for a charity that means so much to me???? Yes, please! The game was an absolute blast….not only did the Brunettes win, but the Association raised over $10,000! Yeah, buddy!

Team Brunettes with the Win!

Team Brunettes with the Win!

Naturally, when I was approached this year about not only hopping back into my wide receiver role on Team Brunette, but serving as one of the two captains, I was all in. I mean, I even participated in a flag football league this fall to help me prepare! The big game is May 31st, and I hope all of my readers mark that on their calendar and plan to attend! We also have a big kick off event coming up on March 21st at Gone Country Bar in downtown Akron….if you come and hang with us, you get lots of pizza, mechanical bull rides, and a ticket to the game for only $10! Yahtzeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Come to the game to have a good time, but know that your attendance means so very much to all of us. Yes, I am playing for my Grandmother, who I wish desperately could be there cheering me on and yelling my name like she used to at my high school and college games. I am also playing because I never want a family to feel what my family and so many families have felt due to Alzheimer’s. It is a disease that breaks your heart every single day, and it is a helpless feeling to not be able to find a solution. Fortunately, my Blonde and Brunette pals and I are working extremely hard to raise money to help find a cure. The game will no doubt be a blast, but the strides we all are making toward an end to this disease is really what calls for a celebration. We may enter that game as two separate teams wanting to win that shiny trophy, but we all end up as winners with your support.

Ahhhh….victory is so sweet.

Ahhhh….victory is so sweet.

If you would like to make a donation to me or if you want to read more about the event itself, please visit http://www.bvbakron.org. You can also find out more information about other fun events, like the kick off party I mentioned earlier!

Thank you all so much for your continued support. You really have no idea what it means to my family and to me.

I look forward to seeing you all at the big game on May 31st!

Holla Holla: My Obsession

***Disclaimer*** This is a total girlie girl post. Any male reading this probably won’t want to read any further.

I have many girlie obsessions, and I am upfront and honest about them. I like shoes, baking, 80′s music, tutus, glitter, unique pieces of jewelry, Mac lipstick, aprons, trashy television,scarves…..I can go on and on…..

However, something has catapulted to the top of my obsession list recently. My EOS lip balm.

One of the many

One of the many

It is a rare occasion where my lips are without lipstick. I can’t help it…I like when I look put together, it’s kind of my thing. When that moment comes when the lipstick comes off….that’s when the lip balm goes on.

I first purchased this amazing little lip treat awhile back, and I bought it strictly on its appearance. Since I was over the age of 16, I felt it was time to retire my trusty Bonne Bell and move onto something a tad more mature. While checking out Walgreens, I saw a colorful little egg calling my name….and you know me….something colorful and a fun shape…..I was sold. The only thing that could’ve made it better would’ve been if it was covered in glitter.

Such cuteness in such a tiny little package!

Such cuteness in such a tiny little package!

Since that first purchase, I have taken my obsession to another level with EOS to another level (learn more about them by clicking here.) I presently own every flavor, and I rotate them based on my mood. My favorite is the Mint (so freaking great!). Yes, they look a little funny, but they are the best lip balms I have ever purchased…and I’ve tried pretty much anything.

And then…just when I thought my mind couldn’t be blown more….EOS made this:

Whhaaattttt?????!!!!!!!

Whhaaattttt?????!!!!!!!

I can assure you I do not own stock in EOS, I just really love their stuff, and I had to share with my lady followers who also love great things.

Your lips…and now your legs…will thank me.

You’re welcome.

RANT OF THE WEEK: Old Man Winter

I know what you guys are going to say….I live in Ohio so I shouldn’t be complaining about the cold, right?

WRONG.

Because I live in this state and have to deal with the ridiculousness known as winter ever year, I feel I am entitled to complain about it a little bit. Especially this week. Let’s get one thing clear: I don’t always hate the cold, snowy weather. I like it on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. I also like it on days when I can remain at home under a warm blanket or next to a fire. I even like snowboarding, tubing, sledding, and ice skating.

I'm ready for beaches and bikinis!

I’m ready for beaches and bikinis!

What it comes down to is…..I hate winter when it interferes with my life. This week it has done just that.

REASONS WHY I AM 100% OVER WINTER.

1. It drastically impacts my wardrobe. Do you know how difficult it is to look super cute when you go out and have to wear clunky boots? We all know I have kind of a shoe problem, but even though I have some cute boots, sometimes it is too slippery to wear even those. I do rock out my Uggs as much as possible, but sometimes they just don’t work with the outfit I have in mind #whitegirlproblems

2. The amount of times I cuss increases. This usually occurs when I am driving. Do people in this area forget what to do when it snows? Learn to drive…..or let’s get your driver’s license revoked. (Dude driving the Toyota this morning on 77, I am talking to you). Also, why do people park like absolute idiots?

Truth.  Gosh, I love some cards.com!

Truth.
Gosh, I love some cards.com!

3. Running outside is difficult. I don’t necessarily mind running in cold weather or getting snow in my hair, but I do not like running in sub-par conditions where I could injure myself. This weather means ice in weird places and also trails that have not been cleaned off for runners. Some days I will brave the run, most days, I will opt for a treadmill.

4. Why are there animals left outside? If it is cold enough for my Shakeology shaker to freeze in my car overnight (happened last night….whoops), then your animal should not be outside. If you are too much of a jerk to bring your animal inside when it is cold, you should not have animals. You also shouldn’t have kneecaps, and I hope someone crushes yours.

5. Playing the Game happens a lot more frequently. If you have the pleasure of knowing me in real life, you have most likely heard me refer to “playing the game” more than once. When I say this phrase, it means I am refusing to stop and fill up my gas tank because I absolutely despise doing it. That empty fuel light will go on and I will push it and push it and push it until I am pretty positive I am running on fumes. The cold weather doesn’t help the cause…my poor little hands don’t like getting all chapped!!!! And speaking of hands….

6. I feel like I am constantly slathering my hands with lotion. Seriously. I should invest in stock with Bath and Body Works and Jergens because when winter rolls around, I know I am giving those companies a lot of money. My hands feel like elephant trunks, and quite frankly, I hate it.

What a great picture! stillnessmeetsme.tumblr.com

What a great picture!
stillnessmeetsme.tumblr.com

7. Sometimes I fall victim to socks.  I CAN’T STAND SOCKS!!!!! Other than while running or working out, I don’t wear them. They annoy me and make my feet feel strange. However, on those super cold nights, sometimes I have to put a pair on. Ironically, I end up in a state of grumpiness within minutes. Coincidence? I think not.

Just say NO to socks!!! www.google.com

Just say NO to socks!!!
http://www.google.com

8. My shows are between seasons. Hello, Scandal! I can’t handle the suspense. These long breaks between seasons are just killing me softly.

9. I drink more hot chocolate than I should. I’m cold, and I like it a lot, what can I say. I especially like orange flavored hot chocolate…special thanks to Kyla for buying me a huge tin of it yesterday…..I will be ingesting that heavenly goodness like I am going to the chair.

10. Every day at work I tiptoe a fine line of getting third degree burns and staying warm. Yeah, that’s right. I have a heater under my desk that I practically sit on top of, and it runs all day long. Really, it is a lifesaver, but my life is in jeopardy every day due to me wanting to stay warm!

I could keep going, but it is too cold for me to keep going with this.

At least scarves are cute...

At least scarves are cute…

(The silver lining: winter allows me to wear fun scarves, crazy earmuffs, and act like a bad ass in my 4 wheel drive vehicle. )

Get out of my face, winter, I’m ready for warm weather and the chance to stare at some sunflowers and daisies!!!!

Is there anything more beautiful??????

Is there anything more beautiful??????

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