My Bride Tribe!

Im really really really really really really really REALLY excited for tomorrow!

I’d like to emphasize the “really” part.

Just so freakin' excited! Thanks pop sugar for this pic!

It’s my bridal shower and bachelorette party day! It is so hard to fathom that Kyle and I are getting married in 50 days…..it seemed so far away, then suddenly BAM! Things are creeping up! We are both super excited and can’t wait to celebrate like crazy on October 3rd!

I’m just as excited for tomorrow and can proudly say Kyle and I haven’t peeked at the registry once (I swear) and somehow I have been left in the dark with the events of tomorrow. Those that know me know I don’t like secrets and am very investigative, so this is really a rare occurrence!

Knowing I will spend the day tomorrow surrounded by family and friends makes my heart so happy….I don’t think I ever have had all of these amazing people in one room, so that will be a really wonderful feeling getting to see them all meet each other and finally talk to people who they have heard me talk about or seen pictures of on Facebook.

There are many elements of my wedding day that I have kept private mostly so our guests will be blown away on the actual day and not know what’s going on in advance. I don’t like secrets, but I sure enjoy keeping them!  Kyle and I have worked really hard to ensure our wedding will be a fun experience for our guests and one that is truly reflective of our personalities. It will be neat to see the enjoyment of our guests!

One element that is by no means a secret would be our wedding party. I am extremely lucky to have an incredible group of friends, and while I have added many great friends in my adult life, my bridal party is made up of individuals who I have had in my life pretty much for all time….or at least it seems that way. I know many of my readers follow me on social media, so these faces are all people who you have seen countless times, but I wanted to introduce you to the ladies of my bride tribe!

Matron of Honor: Kelly

Kelly and I literally have been best friends our entire lives. We met in preschool, lived right down the road from each other, and have more memories together than I could ever even count. It is such a cool thing having someone in your life who has been present for EVERY stage of your life and EVERY big moment. Having someone in your life for 30+ years means they know the best and worst of you, and the fact that our friendship has lasted means one very simple thing: she is just my soulmate, and we will be the old ladies causing a ruckus together in a nursing home someday.

Matron of Honor: Whitney

There’s a saying I once read that stated that every female needed to have a blonde and brunette best friend. I am lucky to have both. Whitney and I became immediate friends about ten years ago after her husband started working with me, and I’m not 100% sure why it was facilitated, but Ryan, her husband, hooked us up on a  friend date at Wal-mart (random, I know). The rest has been history. Our birthdays are a week apart, we have the same sense of humor and love of coffee, and both quote Mean Girls more often that it should. It was a match made in heaven. I’m positive that Whit will be in the nursing home with Kel and I, and I am also positive she will still be able to show a spreadsheet what’s up even then.

Bridesmaid: Erin

Erin and I met through Kelly back in junior high when we all decided to play in a summer basketball league together. While Kelly and I were Leetonia Bears, Erin played for one of our rivals, the Crestview Rebels. Once school resumed we started a friendly rivalry in volleyball, basketball, and track. Our friendship continued to grow once we graduated college and Erin chose to move to Pittsburgh. We got an apartment near the city and lived together until I made the decision to relocate back to Ohio. It was Erin’s encouragement that got me to sign up for an online dating profile, and without her support,I most definitely would not have met Kyle and this blog would definitely not be happening.

Bridesmaid: Krista

Krista and I met through Erin (funny how this all works, out, eh?) in the same summer league I mentioned earlier. She was also a Rebel and I immediately loved her sarcastic and witty sense of humor. Since our circle was very intertwined, we were able to see each other and hang out often once we hit the adult world. Once I moved back to Ohio, I moved nearby Krista, and we started having regular American Idol and chinese takeout dates…which led to Super Mario Brothers dates…and then puppy playdates, as my pug Simon and her puggle Harley were close friends. It is such a cool thing seeing her now as a mom to one of the cutest little guys I know, Wesley, yet still having the same spirit and zest for life that she had when I first met her.

Bridesmaid: Jodi

Jodi and I met through Erin and clicked absolutely immediately. I’m not sure if it was our love for running, the weird and random inside jokes we seemed to have right away, or our love for shopping, but our instant connection led to us signing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon together on a whim. This led to us running it together with no training, then taking on countless races and marathons together since. We even have shirts that are like the old school best friends necklace where my shirt says “Running” and hers says “partner”. Beyond our love for running, her house has always been my getaway spot and there have been many times I have felt like her couch was a therapist’s chair. I can always count on Jod to tell it to me straight, make me laugh, then hook me up with my favorite crab artichoke dip to feel better, and I can always count on both her and Krista to warn me about puddles.

Bridesmaid: Laura

Laura….well, Laura had no choice when it came to her involvement in my life. As my cousin, she has been there since I was a brat in diapers. Lucky for me, she decided I was okay and decided not to torture me as a little girl. Since our family is small, we have many fun memories at our Great Grandparents’ house (pretty sure most involve some kind of amazing Italian food), and since she is only a year older than me, we were able to be active in many sports and events in high school together. Some of my favorite memories during high school involve hanging out in the hot tub at her house and just chillin out. I’m so happy to have her as a partner in crime, especially in events that involve mud and obstacles.

Bridesmaid: Julie

Julie (aka AF)and I became friends when I decided to join a sorority in college. We ended up in the same pledge class and quickly realized we had the same ridiculous  personality and sense of humor, thus, an obnoxious and everlasting friendship was born. My days were always instantly better when we got to have lunch and the Thiel cappuccinos together, because I always knew I would leave with a side stitch from laughing so hard. Besides being one of the best pool players I know, I can always count on this chick for the best food recommendations, incredible musical suggestions, and really down to earth advice. She has stuck by my side through some pretty rough times, and I could not imagine my life without her.

Bridesmaid: Em

Emily (aka Em) is my sister from another mister. Somehow she ended up in my big family in our sorority, and I honestly believe that was on purpose so we could meet and have the bond we do.  Our first meeting involved a visit to Thiel with my pug, Simon, which led us to realize we both were obsessed with pugs. Now, as adults, we are still obsessed with pugs, only now we can have playdates with ours, and we both have our own cars so we don’t have to “borrow” them without permission. I’m so happy our friendship and shenanigans have not fizzled over time.

I’m so so so thankful to have such a Ride or Die group of friends in my life. When I think about all of the good and bad times of my life, these ladies have all been there to cheer me up, laugh with me, and support me. I truly would not be the person I am today without each and every one of them, and it is an honor to have them stand next to me on the most important day of my life! But can someone promise to make sure I cross my legs in pictures???? I don’t want a repeat of my preschool picture when Kelly is seated politely next to me, and I’m…..well…..you can see what I’m doing.

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Here’s some more fun memories I just had to share!

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The Domino Effect of Life

Life is a crazy thing.

You wake up, you go places, you do things, you meet people, you eat, you exercise, you go to bed, then you wake up and do it all over again. Every day you have the opportunity to start over and do something new. Every action, every decision, every person has the ability to set forth a change of events that can forever alter your life.

Have you ever sat down to think about how actions and choices have the ability to lead you into other directions that perhaps you would never consider? How certain people may not have come into your life had it not been for certain events?  I really started to think about this last night after our Summit Athletic Running Club meeting and almost reverse engineered my involvement with the club. Let me break down to you how running led me to an awesome evening last night:

Many of you know that my father is an avid runner and a real life Benjamin Buttons, as his racing times get faster the older he gets. Because of him and his love for running, a domino effect of choices and decisions took place to bring me into the running world.

I made the choice in 2010 to run my first 5k with the hopes of someday beating my father in a race. (I still haven’t)

I then relocated, gained 60 pounds, fell in love with alcohol, and gave up on running because “I was too fat.”

I entered into a sad relationship with my couch, and one day decided to type running clubs into an internet search engine, realizing there was one in my area named the Summit Athletic Running Club.

I decided to get healthier so I could run with my dad again. After losing most of the 60 pounds with at home workouts, I finally reconnected with my inner runner and made the impulse decision to show up at the Summit Athletic Running Club monthly meeting. I was terrified.

I knew no one at the meeting, and chose to sit at a table in the back of the room. Sitting to my right was a gentleman who told me he ran the Naked mile previously. Sitting to my left was the club president. I didn’t know what to think. Over the next three years, I became friends with many club members. I ran countless club races, volunteered at many events, met incredible speakers, and found myself immersed in a wonderful, supportive running community. That naked miler, also known to the world as Steven Sisco, is now one of my dear friends and one of my favorite people to run with (especially with headlamps). The club president, Steve Hailer, is not only a friend, but a mentor. Steve eventually asked me to serve on the SARC Board of Directors, an invitation I greatly accepted.

Throughout this time I remained motivated, not only by my father, but by others in the running community. I loved stories of hope and positivity and would often find myself searching youtube videos for inspiration and reading articles in various running magazines. One night I came across the story of  Rick and Dick Hoyt, and I truly realized what a gift running is. Two years ago I read a story about a local duo also inspired by the Hoyts, Zeke Petrie and Andre Travis, and followed their story. I was fortunate to watch them finish their first marathon together in Akron, cried like a baby with pride for them, and thought to myself, “those are the kind of people I’d like to know.”

Fast forward to a board meeting back in the spring when Steve asked us members to think of some speakers for our upcoming club meetings. I knew I wanted someone inspirational to come and talk, so I got creepy on social media, located Zeke, reached out to him and asked if he and Dre would be willing to come talk to the club. They agreed. I was elated.

Last night was our monthly meeting and the meeting where Zeke and Dre were finally able to speak to our club. It was incredible. I loved hearing more about them and their journey, and I loved their message. Both men came from rough backgrounds….Zeke had been imprisoned in Haiti and later cleared of all wrongdoing; Dre had a difficult life coming through the foster care system with a disability. They came into each other’s lives by happenstance, Dre asked Zeke if he would take him running, and the rest is history. Here’s an awesome video taken after they completed their first marathon together:

I am always looking for inspiration and motivation….it is good for the soul! To hear a young man who is confined to a wheelchair talk about how running makes him feel and how his dream of becoming an athlete came true….it is a feeling words cannot describe. It also puts into perspective that our excuses are only as big as we let them be.

Running really is a neat thing because anyone can do it and truly enhances the lives of those chose to partake in it. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow, what you wear, what kind of training you have done, how strong you are….anyone can get out there and start!  You just have to be willing to try. I’ve often referenced a quote that sums up running to me. “I don’t run because I like the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living.”  

Zeke and Dre have been able to experience this feeling of living through running together and motivate not only each other, but everyone who sees them as the beacon of inspiration that they are. The two continue to run together and last week actually finished their first half Ironman….such an awesome accomplishment!

Had my dad not inspired me to run, I would’ve never tried it. Had I never started running, I would’ve never known the feeling it brought into my life and the feeling I fought to get back in my life. Had I not surfed the web, I would’ve never found SARC. Had I not attended a meeting, I wouldn’t have gained the friendships and support I have gained through events. Had I not participated in these events, I wouldn’t have formed the relationship that would result in obtaining a position on the Board of Directors. Had I not taken the position, I wouldn’t have thought to reach out to Zeke and Dre. Had I not reached out to them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear more about their story. Had I not learned more about their story, I would never have had the opportunity to have these two badasses as friends. That domino effect…..man, it is crazy.

Zeke and Dre, thank you so much for speaking to our club! I’m proud of you both and am proud to call you my pals!

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Me, Zeke, and Dre.

Make sure all of you Facebookers are following Team Dre to learn more about their races and accomplishments!

 

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Rant of the Week: Negative Nancys.

It’s 5am, and I need to rant.

Honestly, before 10am a lot of things could push me into rant mode….we all know I rely on coffee every morning and that I don’t truly wake up until about 10am. This particular rant has been on my mind for awhile, and while I have ranted briefly about it on social media before, I feel it needs addressed again.

Negative Nancys.

Ugh!

I think often about a quote I read awhile back about how strong women build others up as opposed to tearing them down. It is absolutely true. In my industry I have been very lucky to meet so many women (and men) that are uplifting, kind, and supportive. If I ever need a self esteem boost or pep talk, I know I could go to any one of them and feel rejuvenated within seconds. It is a really great feeling to have a solid support system of people who truly want you to succeed.

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Why are there not more people doing that? Encouraging, supporting, cheering on others? The constant cutting down, especially on social media, is like a silent hate crime, and it makes me incredibly sad.

This morning I had to get up early to take Kyle to the bus station for a fun guys’ weekend away, so I was able to knock out my workout and some office tasks early. The first thing I saw when I signed onto Facebook was someone posting about a particular product that she was very excited to try and several people jumping all over her for trying it. It made me feel so bad for her because you could see in her response the negativity deflated the excitement.

I think back to when I was beginning my health journey all the time…I can’t believe that the end of this month marks 2 years since I was at the awful, sad, scared, uncomfortable, embarrassed stage of my life! While I was uncertain about so many things back then, the two things I did know were 1) I needed to find something that worked for me and my life and 2) That I needed a supportive community to help me. I was lucky enough to find both, which ultimately led me to losing 60 pounds and starting a career that really means the world to me. I hate to think what would’ve happened if some negative nancy started riding me about my decisions back then.

Please laser focus in on one point I just made. needed to find something that worked for me and my life. 

There are a lot of products out there that can help you. A whole freaking lot. Sometimes it can be confusing or overwhelming because you have no clue what to try or what to do. I chose my vehicle for a healthier life carefully. Things I knew before I got started: I wasn’t interested in any of those wrap things or “magic” pills to help me lose weight or become healthier. I knew I needed something to help with being on the go (insert Shakeology here), and a workout program that wasn’t too long and that I could do at home at weird times of the day based on my work schedule (hello, T25). I also knew I didn’t want a quick fix, rather something that was a lifestyle change. Before purchasing those two I had failed miserably at many other products, had tried products that I hadn’t done research on, I tried diets that had me mass eliminating food groups, and overall, I felt like a lost puppy. Finding the right workout program sometimes is like dating…..you have to give some things a shot before you find “the one.”

Clearly I am over the moon about the products and programs I have used with Beachbody because they have completely changed my life. THAT IS ME. I know some things may not appeal to everyone, but that doesn’t mean I am going to stop supporting you if you do think that a wrap or weight loss supplement is the way to go. Yes, I would love to be able to help absolutely everyone on the planet feel better about themselves, but part of doing that means you are supportive.

I could keep going on and on and on, but I am going to close with this…..this is not Mean Girls. No one should sit around behind their computer and try to cut people down for trying to find a way to get their life going in a healthier direction. Let people try things and figure out what works for them. Everyone is wearing their own pair of shoes, and unless you can find a way to magically walk a day in their lives, stop telling people that what they are doing is stupid or a waste of time. You may believe in yourself and your abilities, but not everyone is so lucky. Some individuals really need the encouragement and support to know they can do it…..be the person who builds them up instead of cutting them down. It can make all the difference in someone’s life.

If you are reading this and you are one of those people who have been negative nancied, ignore the comments and nastiness and know that you can do absolutely anything as long as you want to succeed. If you need me to pep talk you every morning, it can be arranged.  And sometimes you just have to know when to say #byefelicia to negative nancys in your life.

Be the good.

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Cheesecake for Eeeeerrrryyyyyyyyybody!

Things we should know about me by now:

-I like to eat healthy.

-I like to meal plan.

If you are a Life is Katetastic blog regular, you know that this is a very important part of my weekly routine and equally serves as part of the success I have found with losing weight and feeling better overall. From time to time I share my meal plan for the week with my Facebook followers, and usually it sparks at least one person asking for a particular recipe. This week I began the 21 Day Fix with a new batch of Fix challengers and wanted to show how diverse your meal plan can be while eating healthy……and, as usual, had some requests for some of the recipes. I figured I would share two of my favorites so you can spice up your meal plan next week! Here’s a look at my complete plan for the current week:

Don't think eating healthy is boring. I assure you, in my world, it's not.

Don’t think eating healthy is boring. I assure you, in my world, it’s not.

A few weeks ago I, like a million or so others, purchased the newly released Fixate cookbook, a cookbook created by Fix created Autumn Calabrese that shares 101 recipes. This week I made a few of the recipes and have to share with you one of my favorites to date….ladies and gentleman, let’s talk Caprese Chicken.

(Let me preface this by saying the Italian part of me generally gravitates to the Italian dishes….I can’t help it!)

CAPRESE CHICKEN

Ingredients Needed:

-Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

-2 tsp pesto sauce

-Large tomato

-Fresh Mozzarella

-Balsamic Vinegar

-Pepper and Salt

-Fresh Basil Leaves

I prepared my chicken on a stovetop griddle….it is just easier, plus it allowed me to prepare everything else to save me some time. You could use a grill or even bake it if you prefer. Tip: I always opt for a coconut oil cooking spray for a healthier prep option. 

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Here’s a little secret…I prefer Roma tomatoes aka maters over those big guys….not sure why, but find a mater you like and use that. Cut the mater up into slices, and cut the fresh mozzarella up, too!

Once your chicken is completely cooked, top chicken (while on your grill/griddler/whatever) with a spoonful of pesto sauce, a slice of tomato, some fresh basil leaves, and a slice of mozzarella. Cover and cook at a reduced setting for a few minutes until the maters are soft and the cheese is melted. Then plate!

Here’s how I plate: a spoonful of pesto on the plate, a splash of balsamic vinegar, the heavenly chicken breast, then some fresh basil on top. Doesn’t it look fab? I like serving it with spaghetti squash.

Seriously, so easy and delicious. My fix friends, this is one red, 1/2 green, one blue, and one teaspoon.

A+ from Kyle.

A+ from Kyle.

 

Another item on my meal plan that always seems to catch people’s attention is cheesecake. Yes, I have found a way to eat cheesecake on a healthy eating plan. Best part? Super simple!

Katie’s Fix Approved Cheesecake

-Ricotta Cheese

-Splash of vanilla extract

-dash of cinnamon

-Squirt of honey (the natural healthy kind)

-Strawberries

Mix up everything (minus the berries), then top with them. You could also use peaches or cherries, whatever you want. I usually mix it up in my red container (that’s what the ricotta is) to save on a dish and keep me on track.

Easiest dinner life hack.

Easiest dessert life hack.

There you go, folks….a healthy dinner and dessert/snack idea to add to your meal plan.

I like food. I like food a lot. Know what else I like? Sharing these healthy and delicious recipes with you so you can still have an exciting and amazing meal without feeling bored or disappointed. I think many people avoid eating healthy because they think all you eat is veggies and water……not the case at all, my friends.

Those of you who haven’t purchased this yet, get it…..especially all of my fixers!

Life is too short to eat boring. Enjoy!

Pie, Cake, OMG!

Pie, Cake, OMG!

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Brooks Was Here; So Was Katie

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” -Andy Dufresne Isn’t that an amazing quote? I cannot think of a single human being that cannot connect to that quote in some way. Ahhhhh, The Shawshank Redemption. One of my absolute all time favorite movies. I literally will watch it every single chance I get like it’s the first time, and if you have cable and TNT, you know that’s pretty often. I’m okay with it, though. It is a classic with an amazing message, and it just makes me feel great when I watch it.

Take this as your instruction to watch it if you haven’t. 

Speaking of favorites, I have blogged many times about my love of running, so when I learned about an event several months back that combined running with Shawshank, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. That event, my friends, was The Shawshank Hustle, which took place last weekend in Mansfield, Ohio.

This building is just amazingly cool to look at it.

This building is just amazingly cool to look at it.

I am fortunate to live not far from the Mansfield Reformatory (it’s only about an hour from our house), and I frequently pass Mansfield as I go back and forth to Columbus….yet after all this time I have never visited. To be 100% honest, part of me has refrained from visiting because I have heard countless ghost stories about the prison, and I think we all know I am a little bit of a wuss with that stuff. My family has continually brought up doing the overnight ghost tour throughout the years, and while part of me is intrigued….the other part is terrified. I figured if I can handle the prison during the daytime, maybe I could consider the overnight thing.

Back to the Shawshank Hustle, the run itself began in front of the Reformatory and ended in front of the Reformatory with a lovely hilly 5 mile run through Mansfield in between (lies I was told….I thought it was only a 4 miler). This was the first year for the event, and being a seasoned racer, I had some trepidation knowing that often first time races are a hot mess, as there is typically a lack of organization and mass chaos. For those of you who love running, creepy places, and Shawshank, here is my review of the race.

-Running Course: I found the course to be really great. There were some crazy hills, but the run itself allowed me to see what a cute town Mansfield was. I found it challenging (the heat had a big part of it), but it was a good kind of challenge, and I loved seeing the Reformatory displayed in front of me as I ran the final half mile, known as Redemption Road (those of you on Periscope who tuned in saw me live broadcast as I ran into the finish).

Gary, Sharon, and I getting ready to start the race!

Gary, Sharon, and I getting ready to start the race!

-Water Stops: One area that could be improved next year. There were two within the same mile (mile 2), and for a hot July morning, I definitely feel like there should’ve been another and they should’ve been spaced out some.

-Race Swag: The swag was pretty cool. All runners received a Shawshank Hustle tech shirt that glows in the dark, a custom medal upon completion, and free entrance into the Carousel and the Reformatory.

We just love medals!

We just love medals!

-Post Race Food: There was a good selection of your typical race food for all runners (Nans, mixed nuts, corn thins, chips, apples, and water). The post race food also included vendors with a variety of fair like foods if you were interested in gyros or funnel cakes.

-Pre/Post Race Party: The atmosphere was awesome….the individuals pumping up the crowd did a great job, fun music, plenty of Port-a-johns, and some great vendors around with merchandise and giveaways, like Saucony, hooking people up with cool headbands and other items.

Got to run another race with one of my BFFS, Jodi!

Got to run another race with one of my BFFS, Jodi!

-Transportation to and from race: This was my biggest complaint. Nearly 3000 runners participated in the Hustle, however the Reformatory was only able to accommodate 300 cars in its parking lot. Due to this fact, all runners who did not arrive in time to park at the Reformatory had to park at the Speedway about a mile away. There were shuttles to take runners back and forth, however, there were only three school buses that were actually transporting. When Gary, Sharon, and I arrived, the line to get onto the buses was over a mile long (this is not an exaggeration), and by the time we got to the front of the line, it was definitely closer to 2 miles. The delay in transportation actually caused the race directors to push the start of the race back a half hour.

Selfie as we wait? Sure!

Selfie as we wait? Sure!

-Post race tour of the Reformatory: Due to the amount of runners, we all did self guided tours. I was a little concerned at first because I was interested in hearing some of the stories, but I figured if I enjoyed the tour I could always come back and take advantage of a guided tour in the future. We were able to check things out at our own pace, including the Warden’s office, the tunnel Andy Dufresne climbed to freedom using, the room where Red met with the parole board, and several other sites from the movie. In addition, we got to actually walk through the jail cell area, which was super creepy to me. Some may know that I have a little thing with heights, so the small catwalk I had to scale across past the cells was extremely uncomfortable for me. Not only did it feel like it took forever (the corridor is extremely long and narrow), but it gave me a chance to see the cells up close and personal. I must say, that is how a jail cell should be……very small and confined, gross, and uncomfortable.

This place is def not the Hilton.

This place is def not the Hilton.

Because you should take a selfie with Brooks......

Because you should take a selfie with Brooks……

-Creepiness Factor: Somehow I missed some of the creepiest locations in the reformatory, including the tuberculosis room, however, I still felt really strange in most parts of the building. Sharon and I experienced a weird feeling of extreme pressure on our chests as we passed by one of the strange closets, but it was gone once we were past the doorway. Honestly, some of the creepiest locations were allegedly after we got out of the jail cell area, but since I was still in half panic mode because of the heights, I missed them. Maybe that’s a good thing….

After I got home, I did some research on the Reformatory, which I wish I had done before. Even though it is creepy and I was uncomfortable, my level of intrigue greatly heightened after reading some of the tales and talking to some of my friends who have completed the overnight tour. I won’t say Im sold on doing it yet, but I am way more on board with the idea than I was a month ago. We’ll see.

Bottom line: If you are a runner, this race was absolutely worth the entry fee. The minor hiccups of the shuttle system will most likely be addressed next year, and the rest of the experience was so fantastic I would highly recommend it to others. If you aren’t a runner, but you like cool places, absolutely check it out. And if you are into ghosts and have experienced something crazy there, I would love to hear about it.

Learn more about the Reformatory by visiting http://www.mrps.org.

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Coaches Gone Wild!

I have sat down to write this post about 5 different times. Every single time, my mind diverts to something I think about from the past week, and I lose focus on this blog entry.

I CAN’T HELP IT!

My brain is so overloaded with amazing information and my heart is just bursting at the seams from our trip to Nashville for Coach Summit, that I think it is only natural to be a little A.D.D. with things…at least that’s what I tell myself.

I know there are a few of you who may not know exactly what Coach Summit is, so let me take a quick moment to share with you a little bit about it. Each year, Beachbody holds a HUGE event that combines celebration, recognition, and mastermind trainings with the release of incredible new products and programs. This event is known as Summit, and this year it took place in Nashville for the first time ever. Recent years held the event in Las Vegas, so needless to say, I was happy with the change of venue because 1) I love Nashville and 2) Kyle and I could drive there easily.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter were exposed to glimpses of the experience….especially those of you on Periscope! I hope you felt like you were right there in the action with me! Those of you who don’t follow me on any of those social forums but follow me on here (Hi, Papa), here is a breakdown of the trip!

Wednesday, July 15th: Day 1

Kyle and I got a later start on the day due to the fact he didn’t get off work until 8:30am that day. After he got a little sleep, we were off! Nashville from our house is about an 8 hour drive, so by the time you factor in stops for coffee, gas, the one hour time difference, and one random stop at a Waffle House, we didn’t hit the Nash until about 11pm our time/10am Nashville time. Throughout the trip I found quite a bit of enjoyment in the stupid city markers on Snapchat. I am convinced they need to hire me for artwork.

I was THRILLED with the location of the hotel, thrilled with our suite, and beyond thrilled with the jacuzzi whirlpool tub in our bathroom. Much needed. We literally chilled for about 10 minutes then decided to grab Kyle a drink on Broadway so he could scope the city.

The stache also joined us.

The stache also joined us.

It was mass chaos……as expected when 25, 000 Beachbody coaches roll into town….but we found a little bar that we frequented the rest of the trip called The Second Fiddle. I was stoked to see walking by one of my favorite pals, Julie! After Kyle had a quick drink, we were off to sleep.

Still rocking the sweet car ride outfit #noshame

Still rocking the sweet car ride outfit #noshame

Thursday, July 16th: Day 2

Officially the first day of Summit! Woohooooooooooo. Lots of fun things going on!

Our morning officially kicked off with a team breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, don’t skip….even at Summit!

Fit Buzz Squad Breakfast

Fit Buzz Squad Breakfast

After breakfast, Kyle and I had to officially sign in to get our medals and lanyards, workout bands, and the rest of our exclusive bracelets to rock thoughout Summit (you’ll see them throughout the pics). I was amazed how organized Beachbody was with this….I mean, they pretty much shut down the town for us. I like that.

Next up was our big Dynasty United Photo. Our team is so amazing…not only are we led by the number #7 coach in the company (Love you Brit), but we seriously have such a close knit and supportive group. There were about 150 of us in attendance….that’s a lot of orange. Can’t wait to see the final group pic, but here are two women super important to me!

My coach Laura and I!

My coach Laura and I!

Love this girl....so proud of her accomplishments!

Love this girl….so proud of her accomplishments!

After the group photo, Kyle and I had a very important date: a workout with Shaun T! Not just a Beachbody on Demand workout, a legit live workout with the man himself. I was so excited. I think everyone knows (or should by now) how I feel about T25 and this trainer, so to do one live with him….awesome.  I also got to meet up with a friend through Facebook I had never met, Amy, and she joined Kyle and I for our workout.

Just as inspirational during a live workout as he is in the DVDs.

Just as inspirational during a live workout as he is in the DVDs.

I think my favorite thing about the workout with Shaun T was what came after…..Kyle told me he liked the workout and wanted to start doing it. I was ecstatic. His first workout with the program will be Wednesday, and yes, we will be doing before and after photos and all that jazz!

Thursday night was the opening ceremony, and Beachbody made sure we had plenty of space…..they were held at LP Field, as in the stadium where the Titans play! Those of you on periscope know I got to walk out of the tunnel where the players come out, parade across the stage, then cruise up on the stage facing all 25,000 people in attendance. I actually did a broadcast live as I did it so you all could see how neat it was. It was awesome……and I think that now I want to be a rock star so I can be on a stage more often.

On the field before the ceremony!

On the field before the ceremony!

I cannot even begin to describe how hot and sweaty this tunnel was....we were housed back here for the first 30 minutes of the ceremony!

I cannot even begin to describe how hot and sweaty this tunnel was….we were housed back here for the first 30 minutes of the ceremony!

Leave it to me to dance like an idiot.

Leave it to me to dance like an idiot.

That's me in the aqua dress!

That’s me in the aqua dress right in the center!

My chickadees and I!

My chickadees and I!

The ceremony also let us coaches in on some new products coming out….The Master’s Hammer and Chisel (a hybrid program with Sagi and Autumn)…..a sneak peek of this will be released in October on Beachbody on Demand. Plus the brand new Boost line for Shakeology! This company never ceases to amaze me…..always on the cutting edge with new programs and products, plus cool techy things for us as coaches to run a more effective business.

After the ceremony, I was like SSSLLLLLEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP. So that’s what happened.

Friday, July 17th: Day 3

Whoops…..

Kyle and I slept through our workout with Sagi, and I missed one of the general sessions. No sweat though…..at least I wasn’t rushed to get ready for my photo opps! Since I was one of the top performers in May, I was awarded a photo opportunity with Sagi, Chalean Johnson, and SHAUN T! I was so excited to meet him and get a chance to personally thank him, and that’s just what I did.

There’s something about that moment that will always give me goosebumps. After getting a big bear hug from Shaun, he told me how great I looked, and I told him what I did with T25. I honestly think he was more excited than me at that moment. I guess when it comes to this industry, having the ability to influence someone and inspire them to do more and become healthier and hearing about it never gets old. I was able to tell him how much he changed my life and saved my life (No, I didn’t cry..surprisingly), and I was able to tell him about the commercial, too! Those of you who watch his channel on periscope saw him give me some massive high fives and give me the one piece of advice that I wish everyone would listen to : “Always be yourself because you are amazing.” Thanks, Shaun!

An amazing birthday present!

An amazing birthday present!

Meeting Chalean was pretty cool, too! She complimented me on my style and was so sweet. She also was…..so tiny. I wore flats on purpose, and even with her in heels, I tower over her. Here’s a proof from that meeting!

Hi, Im a Giant.

Hi, Im a Giant.

Finally, I got to meet Sagi aka the Beast! I love Body Beast, so I was excited to meet him. I DID NOT tell him I slept through his workout, instead, just chose to flex with him!

Ive got some work to do to catch up.

Ive got some work to do to catch up.

While it may seem like a lot of fun was being had (trust me, it was), the training that went on was priceless. I took notes furiously and had a fire lit under me like I have never had before. As I listened to some of the workshops led by some incredible leaders, I cried, I laughed, I related, and I saw a vision that I cannot wait to come true. Oh, and guess who I got to sit next to and chat with? Just some of my ladies from the T25 DVDs, Tania and Susan. No Big Deal.

It was cool to thank these ladies, too!

It was cool to thank these ladies, too!

I also got to spend lots of quality time with my pal, Heather, who I had never met in real life prior to this trip!

Berry!

Berry!

Thursday evening was the Exclusive Invite Only Stars, Stripes, and Success Party for coaches hitting a certain benchmark  in the months of May and June. I was excited to wear my fabulous Red Nha dress and hang with my friends. Beachbody shut down a certain park in Nashville near the hotels, hired some fun bands, catered food, and let us rock out. It was a blast.

Don't let the smiles fool ya....it was so hot!

Don’t let the smiles fool ya….it was so hot!

After the party, a huge group of us gathered at the second fiddle to hang out. Being the nondrinker it the group, I worried I wouldn’t have any fun, but that wasn’t the case. Our group is such a crazy, eccentric, unique group, and I honestly know I am better because of their presence in my life. Im thankful that I no longer have to rely on alcohol to help me have a good time…..my pals are enough.

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Saturday, July 18th: Day 4

Friday was exhausting. Sleep was minimal. That’s okay, Saturday brought the Superworkout, which was INSANE! The workout started at 6am and was led by Autumn Calabrese, Chalean Johnson, Sagi, Tony Horton, and Shaun T. Beachbody, again, got crazy and shut down all of Broadway. This occasion made me break out the selfie stick.

Please note: third cup of coffee right here. Not even 6am yet.

Please note: third cup of coffee right here. Not even 6am yet.

My Selfie Stick is like a go go gadget arm.

My Selfie Stick is like a go go gadget arm.

My success partner and dear friend, Payton!

My success partner and dear friend, Payton!

Oh yeah, and I was part of the Guinness Book of World Records New Record for largest workout ever that day. Pretty neat!

Confession…..I skipped out of the workout early. I know, i know!

I was on a mission to get to The Core aka the Beachbody Mall when there wasn’t a line. Lines had been nuts…like 3 hours long nuts. No thanks, I have the patience of a two year old. Since everyone was at the super workout, I snuck out and got right in at 7am. It was perfect! Not only did I score the brand new workout CIZE early (it is now available for purchase on my site!), but I loaded up on Autumn Calabrese’s new 21 day fix cookbook, Fixate!

These recipes.......yes!

These recipes…….yes!

Saturday afternoon brought more trainings…more tears…more feelings of pride for what I do. I don’t care what anyone says. You can think that this is a Pyramid Scheme all you want, but I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that this role I have….the ability to be a coach and make a difference….and the ability to work for a company who believes that everyone matters…..nothing has made me prouder or feel such a sense of self fulfillment and accomplishment. NOTHING.

Sadly, Saturday night was the closing ceremony. It’s hard to sum of the awesomeness of the evening. When one of your VPs zip lines into the stadium with fireworks to open the show, you know it is going to be bananas. I was proud to see the Beachbody challenge winners share their stories, I was proud of my friends who walked the stage, and I was exceptionally proud of my friend Brittany Legette Shumard for being in the Top 10. The theme of the event was country chic, but for me, i also made it whirlpool chic, as I hit that tub up in our room as soon as we left the ceremony.

Mirror Selfie for the Win.

Mirror Selfie for the Win.

Coming home was difficult…..I love the time I got to spend with my team and friends. Good news…..we are already registered to head back to Summit in Nashville next year, the rooms are secured, and my team in rolling in with sooooo many people. Already looking forward to it!

We got home late last night, and I spent about 12 hours at home before taking off to New York City, where I am now. Im up bright and early to start shooting for the T25 commercial, so Im going to get to bed so I can avoid looking like a puffalump in the shoot. Cant wait to blog about that experience soon, too!

Night, Y’all!

Someone was excited to see me last night.

Someone was excited to see me last night.

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Sunday Morning Brunch, Freezer Meal Addition.

My Facebook followers may have noticed I was a wee bit absent this morning/afternoon……..which is very much unlike me. Don’t worry….I had a good reason! No, I wasn’t brunching (though I do brunch well)…….I was getting down and dirty with some goodies for my freezer!

Sundays are typically the day I meal plan and prep like a banshee, and technically that’s what I did today……just in a different format. I guess you could say that I kicked it up a notch.

Those of you who know me know that I am one busy bee. I’m always coming or going or doing two things at once. Heck, that’s the fun of being an entrepreneur. Because of that, I love how meal planning cuts out time and even thinking and hooks me up with a healthy meal that I can heat up in seconds. I’ve talked about it before, but meal planning and prepping seriously has been a HHHUUUGGGGGGEEEEEE help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, plus it saves me a ton of money. I’m sure most of you can relate…..life is busy!

Awhile back I noticed my cousin Kirsten, a Pampered Chef consultant, posting about some freezer meal workshops she was hosting at her house. I thought they sounded really neat, but couldn’t make it because she lives in the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach area….not exactly an afternoon drive. My mom and aunt also liked the idea of them, but since they were in the same boat as me (aka 8 hours away), we sadly did not partake.

About a month ago my mom was hard at work getting things organized for the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk. Many of you may remember that my Grandma Bubu suffers from the disease and has for about 15 years, so this is a cause we all are very passionate about. My mother has handed the silent auction portion of the Youngstown walk for years and is always working tirelessly to raise funds for Bubu’s Bunch, the team we have that walks in honor of my Grandma. Kirsten, a cousin on my mother’s side, approached my mom about doing a Pampered Chef fundraiser. Not only would she donate a portion of the profits, but she would hold a freezer meal workshop for us. YYYYEEESSSSSSS! My mom and Kirsten coordinated it to fall during a weekend trip that Kirsten had planned to Ohio for a wedding.

Today, my friends, was the highly anticipated workshop!

Kirsten emailed us a list of all of the possible meal choices to choose. There were so many…..one for vegetarians, one for grillmasters, soups and stews, kid friendly, gluten friendly, etc. I chose Paleo since I know meat and veggies is what this household prefers. Once you chose the menu you wanted, you purchased your spices and received a grocery list and brought everything, along with a cooler and freezer bags to the workshop.

Bright and early this morning I loaded my car with seriously about 500 pounds of meat (my entire fridge was packed with it) and a cooler and was off! On the way I swung by my BFF Whitney’s house to pick her up since she was joining me for the event, grabbed a coffee from DD (duh) and hightailed it to good ol’ Leetonia! (SIDENOTE: Today was Whitney’s birthday, so if you haven’t make sure you send her some birthday wishes!)

One thing I learned upon arrival: people in my life like to meal prep and have delicious healthy meals they can pull from their freezer and make in a crock pot. Joining in on the fun: my aunt, cousin, other BFF Kelly, my mom’s BFF Bobbie, two of my mother’s coworkers, and a few family friends. It was an awesome turnout!

Here’s how a workshop like this goes, and let me tell you….it seriously is a meal prepper’s heaven.

Each workshop attendee has a small station with cutting board and all of the awesome tools you need to cut, zest, juice, measure, or grate the items in your recipe collection. Apron on, fun begins! You follow each recipe by dumping all of the ingredients into a nicely labeled gallon ziploc freezer bag, then move onto the next recipe, and so on.

Each menu provides 10 freezer meals that will feed between 4-6 people. Do the math…that’s a lot of prepping! Whitney and I decided to split the meals between us, but still…..there was a ton of food.  Here’s a look at the meals we made from the PALEO menu:

-Chicken Lettuce Wraps

-Apple Pie Porkchops

-Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

-Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

-Lemon Herb Chicken

-Chipotle Shredded Pork

-Savory Jerk Chicken

-Moroccan Beef and Butternut Squash

-Dill Chicken

-Mongolian Flank Steak

When I was shopping for everything, there was a time I did think to myself….man, this is expensive, especially when I was carting around enough meat to feed a small army.  When looking at that menu, I’m guessing you may think that, too. However, all of those servings and all of that food break down to about $4.50 a person per meal. Pretty Darn Cheap. That’s what I love about meal prep, my friends….I know I am eating good quality healthy food AND sticking to a budget.

Once everyone had their meals prepped and in their baggies, the coolers were loaded and that was that! Several hours of prep for 10 meals???!!!!!! That means 10 nights you can spend more time with your family. 10 nights you can do something you love rather than slaving away in a kitchen. 10 nights you can feel good about the food you serve your family.

My favorite part? I got to hang out with incredibly fun cousin who I haven’t seen in years AND her husband AND my loved ones, all while getting things ready for the week. It was a great day! As soon as I got home Kyle requested I heat up the Mongolian Flank Steak, and based on his snap chats and my taste test, it was freaking the bomb.com.

Some of our crew had already left by picture time. Thanks so much to everyone for attending!

Some of our crew had already left by picture time. Thanks so much to everyone for attending!

If you live in the Chesapeake/Virginia Beach, VA area, you definitely should have one of these fun workshops, especially if you are newer to the meal prepping world and not sure how to make it work. This is an awesome way to get the ball rolling. If you are interested, email my cousin at mcginn_pampered_chef@yahoo.com, or message me and I can connect you with her!

Kirsten, thanks so much for helping us raise funding for Alzheimer’s AND stocking our freezers. I can’t wait to come visit you and Mike soon (and whoop his butt at Cards Against Humanity)!

 

 

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Let’s Pee Our Pants…..

……..with excitement!

Ahhhhhhhhh my favorite month!!!!!

If you are a loyal Katetastic reader, you know my birthday falls in the month of July, and I kind of have a little habit of celebrating for a month straight. I can’t help it….birthdays are so fun!

I’ve got to be honest though. My birthday is 10 days away, and I haven’t really even thought about the kind of cake I want this year or anything. I’ve been so freaking busy! In fact, I haven’t even really nailed down how I will be celebrating on my actual birthday or when I will have my traditional birthday dinner with my family. For me, this is b-a-n-a-n-a-s!

This month officially begins an incredible summer/fall jam packed full of amazing amazing events that have me just bursting at the seams with excitement. It also means I am slammed when it comes to my busy-meter, hence why I haven’t as much time to write lately as I would like. Trust me, I have a big announcement coming soon that means lots more blog posts!

Here’a look at some of the exciting things that have been keeping me busy and that are on the horizon!

Engagement Photos

Kyle and I FINALLY got our engagement pics done. I say finally because we have had to reschedule them numerous times because of weather, Kyle being sick, then me being sick, and just plain ridiculousness. Our wedding photographer, Stacy Candow, is just straight up amazing and takes beautiful photos (Seriously, if you are in the Cleveland area and have something going on that requires more than just a selfie, I need to hook you up with Stacy). We aren’t sharing many of them publicly because we do love a little privacy, but here are two of my favorites:

Beachbody’s Coach Summit

I literally have been waiting for this all year long. Last year I won a free ticket to Summit for achieving an awesome goal in my business the first three months as a coach, however, I was unable to go because of a conflict in my schedule. I made sure that Kyle and I could go this year, and I was super stoked when I found out it would take place in Nashville as opposed to Las Vegas, where it had been housed the past couple of years.

Why is this event important? For starters, 25,000 of the nearly 320,000 coaches across the country and in Canada will be there. There will be trainings and presentations by some incredible keynote speakers, super swanky invite only parties (hint: I’ll be rocking my favorite dress designer yet again), workouts with celebrity trainers, and just lots of celebrating our teams and our success throughout the year. In short, lots of glitz, glam, and gams. Kyle and I will get to work out with Shaun T as well as Sagi Kalev, the beast himself. Due to my hard work throughout the year, I will get to have a little hangout session with Shaun T, and you guys all know how I feel about this dude. Most importantly, I will get to spend some quality time with some of my dearest Beachbody pals in a city that is such a blast AND this happens right before my Bday, so it’s an early celebration, too!

Our CEO, Carl, took this shot earlier today. A week from now I will be walking across that stage at LP Field in front of 25,000 coaches. Let's hope I don't trip.

Our CEO, Carl, took this shot earlier today. A week from now I will be walking across that stage at LP Field in front of 25,000 coaches. Let’s hope I don’t trip.

And Some More Shaun T

One of the biggest things coming up in the next few weeks for me is an amazing opportunity I have been given to travel to New York City to film for the T25 infomercial. That’s right….I get to hang a little more with the person who motivates me and in my mind, helped me change my entire life. The day we get home from Nashville I will unpack my bags from Summit and hurry up to pack for my flight the next day. I am nervous, excited, scared, empowered, and READY for this.

As a coach, I am so thankful I get to help my friends and family get to a healthy and happier place. Since the majority of my business is done online, I also have the ability to meet new friends through existing friends and help them get on track as well (thanks Facebook) This opportunity to appear on a commercial that millions of people will see will allow me to (hopefully) inspire complete strangers and give them the strength to make the change I did. All I have ever wanted to do with this opportunity is positively impact as many people as possible. This will be a great way to do so.

I hope Shaun doesn't yell at me at when grab my favorite breakfast: a NY bagel with lox.

Shawshank Hustle

July 25th will be a really fun day for me. Some of my running pals and I are cruising to the Mansfield Prison where we will partake in the first ever Shawshank Hustle. If you are my friend in real life, you know I love The Shawshank Redemption….this Hustle is actually a 4 mile run that includes checking out spots where the movie was filmed. I’ll be in heaven pretending I’m Andy Dufresne.

Yayayayayayaay! Morgan Freeman, narrate my run, dude!

Warhouse Gym

I’ve been chomping at the bit to get us into the Warhouse Gym in Leesport, PA for quite some time. This gym is the exclusive workout facility for Dana Linn Bailey, a former Miss Olympia and another individual I greatly look up to. Kyle and I will get to spend a day the beginning of August working out with her at Warhouse. Yes, between meeting Shaun T and DLB, the chances of me peeing my pants with excitement are preeetttttttyyyyyyyy high. I also love her clothing line, Flag nor Fail, so I may need to leave my wallet at home to avoid bankrupting myself.

Love this pic of DLB, courtesy of Pinterest.

Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party

I probably have the most amazing bridal party in the history of life. Seriously. While I know nothing other than the date, I know that Whitney, Kelly, and the gang will make sure it is a day I will never forget. I can’t wait to rock my bridal shower dress (it is made of scuba material) and the custom made tutu I have for the Bachelorette Party and celebrate with women I am so lucky to have in my life.

Some of my bride tribe!

A-T-L, Baby!

Because apparently I am on a mission to get to every single state this summer, I had to throw a little Georgia in the mix. Atlanta not only houses my favorite Real Housewife, Kim Zolciak-Bierman, but it houses someone very important to me, my success partner, Payton! My quick weekend trip to see her falls on her birthday weekend, and I foresee lots of fun, laughter, and Sephora/Ulta shopping trips in our future.

P.S. Payton hit an amazing milestone in her business today, so congratulate her!

My Induction into Leetonia’s Hall of Fame

The little thing most of the friends I have made as an adult DON’T know about me is that I am one fierce athlete. While I don’t play as often as I would like, I still will take on anyone who challenges me in a game of hoops. In September I will join the Hall of Fame at Leetonia, which makes me very proud. My high school basketball coach, Coach Kornbau, will be introducing me, and my family will be there to support me, which means the world. That reminds me…..I better get to writing my speech……and figuring out an outfit….

Here's a few little highlights of my senior year.

Da Wedding of the Century!!!!!

I can’t believe that Kyle and I have only 85 days remaining until we say “I Do” in front of our closest friends and family. When the wedding day actually comes, we will have been engaged for over 500 days. Everyone told me the time would fly, and they weren’t kidding! I absolutely cannot wait to marry this man…..and for him to finally see my pink wedding dress. Yes, I have been able to keep it hidden from him so he hasn’t seen it….shocker I know. One thing’s for sure: All the craziness will definitely make the relaxing and peaceful honeymoon we have planned even better.

received_10207085400713063

This face right here….this is the face of someone who is loving every minute of life. I remember awhile back posting a quote about how important it is to be in love with every second of your life. I truly believe 2015 is the year I finally embraced that quote. I really hope you all do the same….life is too short to be anything but happy. Now go get your sparkle on!

Sparkle on, my people!

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No skin off my bones.

I have lived my life to this point very, very opposed to one item that so many people seem to love…..

The chicken wing.

I know what you are thinking. Whhhhhaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttttttttttt? Yes, you heard right. I have been leading the anti chicken wing movement with no solid reason why.

Thinking back, I can blame my disgust for chicken wings on my hatred for sauces. I don’t like salad dressings…..not a fan of BBQ Sauce or ketchup, and until recently, I was not a fan of mustard. I understand that to many of you, this is strange. When it comes to the aforementioned condiments/sauces, I have given them all the effort to say with conviction I DO NOT LIKE YOU. Mustard and I got together by happenstance, and we have been doing well ever since. I have tangoed with sriracha….may have a future there….the jury is still out. I am trying new things and attempting to add some sauces to my cooking arsenal.

Back to that wing.

This past weekend Kyle and drove back to my hometown to take my dad out of dinner for Father’s Day. Since it was his celebration, he got to pick where we went, and he chose Quaker Steak and Lube….always a crowd favorite. The Lube is known for their wings, but me….being the wing hater I am, opted for a healthy chicken salad instead of living on the edge. Kyle was the only one of the bunch who got boneless wings. The order was huge, and for some reason he didn’t clean his plate, so we had some to bring back home.

Later in the evening during our Mad MenOITNB date, Kyle decided he was ready to have the rest of his wings and offered me a bite. I had a little trepidation….I mean, the flavor he chose was called “Boom Boom”, and I am not the biggest spice person either. However, I decided to try the wing bite.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.MMMMMMMMMMMM.GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Why has no one force fed me a wing before? It was the most delicious thing ever! In fact, I was so obsessed that we ended up ordering a takeout order from Chili’s to share because #cheatmealshappen.

My deepest apologies to you, boneless wing. I promise I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you.

If you haven’t consumed a wing, first of all, congratulations on being part of probably 0 .000001% of the world, but do yourself a favor…..go to Quaker Steak and Lube, get some Boom Booms and rejoice.

New favorite cheat meal right here.

New favorite cheat meal right here.

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Birchbox Vs Ipsy: The Great Debate

I am obsessed with makeup and beauty products…..pretty sure everyone knows this by now. I’m also pretty into samples. Getting to try something gives me the opportunity to try things out before I choose to invest in them….i like saving myself money.

Insert into this discussion a concept that I embraced several years back: a sampler box being delivered to my door every month. At first I was apprehensive….do I really want to spend money on samples and products I have never heard of….is it worth it? Finally I bit the bullet and decided that I would give Birchbox a chance.

So what is Birchbox? It’s a company that launched back in 2010 by two individuals, one a self proclaimed makeup connoisseur and the other a makeup novice. Their objective was to provide beauty product lovers of the world the opportunity to try some quality products in an inexpensive way. Their idea ended up being a monthly beauty box that arrives monthly…… all for the lovely price of $10. Each box comes with 5 total items, 4 of which were sample size and one full sized.

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Then there is Ipsy. Ipsy was created by Michelle Phan, an individual who was known for her Youtube beauty tutorials. Much like Birchbox, Michelle wanted to get great products she loved out for others to try. Ipsy’s monthly Glam Bag is $10 a month and delivers five samples including full sized products.

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The two sound similar, right?

On the surface, they seem like they are the same fabulous deal. To be honest, they are both great. If you are a beauty lover like me, getting new products to try is a great thing…..especially when one is full sized, so it’s hard to not love samples. I can honestly say that some of my favorite new beauty products were discovered after I gave a sample a shot. With both companies you create a profile based on what kind of beauty products you like so they customize the samples they send you, which makes it even better.

I have declared a winner in the Birchbox/Ipsy debate. If you are trying to determine the best of the two and where your $10 should go, let me share with you my thoughts. After all, this month I officially canceled my subscription to one of these companies and now only subscribe to the company I think it better. Who would that be?

My winner!

Ipsy is my winner! Let me share my reasoning:

1. The packaging. Birchbox does come in a different box each month that has a fun design….and don’t get me wrong….I love the boxes, but I don’t really have much use for them after I take the items out of it. Ipsy not only comes in a cute metallic pink envelope (screams Katie), but each month your samples come in a different bag. The bags are great for traveling, plus they are very modern and chic….nothing lame like some of the bags you get from department store makeup counters (Clinique comes to mind).

2. The Quality. I have gotten many great products from Birchbox, but I don’t think they hold a candle to the products I get from Ipsy. The past couple of months my Birchbox items included fun products, no doubt, but the only brand I really knew about prior to the box arriving was Benefit. In addition, sometimes I got items that I didn’t want….like shampoo and conditioners when I had specifically asked not to have any of these items sent. With Ipsy, I have received Too Faced Melted lipstick (one of my all time favorites), Smashbox, OGX, and Not your Mother’s (if you read my article on hair you know how much I love this brand). I’d much rather receive the items I love…..great for having on hand for trips and to meet airport regulation size, and I have yet to receive something outside of the profile I created when I set up my account.

3. The Benefits. If I wanted to purchase anything from my Birchbox, I didn’t feel like I saved much, sometimes 10% was the max. With Ipsy, I save 40%. That’s called being shoppertunistic.

You may agree with me, you may not. Regardless, I truly support anyone who gives either a try. $10 is a great deal for the items you add to your makeup vanity and can help you save money in the long run. You won’t be sorry….especially if you are new to the beauty game and want to determine what you like.

In the meantime, I’m leading Team Ipsy.

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