Home Sweet Home No More.

I’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotion for the past month. Seriously. Front row of the roller coaster, no seat belt, hands in the air. No friends joining me.

This weekend I finally stepped off the roller coaster that has clearly been tugging at my heartstrings. That, my friends, was done by saying goodbye to a member of our family that has been with us for 25 years.

Our house.

Yes, you heard right. My house.

25 years of some of the best memories of my life.

25 years of some of the best memories of my life.

Several months ago my parents shared with me that they had made the decision to sell the home where I had spent a great portion of my life living. I understood their reasoning. After all, there was a substantial amount of yard work, and they didn’t want to have to manage that anymore.

I had never considered them leaving that home, so when my mother first told me I wasn’t sure how to react. At first I felt a little silly that my heart was so torn with their decision. I wanted them to be somewhere they loved and could be happy, and I knew moving to a condo  would definitely help them with that. I was heartbroken to leave behind so many memories and the comfort of a place I could always go to for peace and happiness…..and also leave behind my beloved little Simon, who I had buried after his death near a tree by my bedroom window. At the same time, his death and the reasons behind it had a part of me wishing my parents would move since it happened.

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One of many wonderful moments in our living room.

 

I have always had an attachment to places, and moving has always been hard for me. To those who know me best, you know that I, myself, have had my fair share of moving. Since I graduated from college I have moved 16 times. SIXTEEN. I don’t like doing it….life has happened, jobs have relocated me….I’ve just become best friends with Two Men and a Truck. In fact, as most of you know, 90% of my stuff is presently in a storage unit as Kyle and I prepare to move again, which will happen as soon as we find a house that meets our needs (we need a pump room, no negotiating that fact). Yet, this move is different.

How do you go about sorting through the emotions involved with a move like this? I had no clue with this one. I helped my mother go through items that I forgot existed as they started to pack everything up….clothes I wore as a baby…my favorite books and toys as a child…old trophies and awards….my entire Barbie collection (it was extensive). It was fun to cruise down memory lane while also being so emotionally draining.

Here's an old school pic of my brother and I at our (now) old house.

Here’s an old school pic of my brother and I at our (now) old house.

Yesterday I was able to visit my parents’ new condo, and I absolutely loved it. I am so happy they found a place that was perfect for them. Yes, it was a hot mess because boxes were everywhere and they were just starting the “put things away” game, but I could see the possibilities in it. As my mother said, a home is more than just the building….it’s the memories and people that were in it.

Mama is always right.

As I sit here today and think about the fact that I will never be in my old house again, I also think about what a great house it was.  Im thankful for 25 years in such a beautiful place. I’m thankful for 25 years worth of family dinners together and shooting hoops outside with my dad. I’m thankful for the Sunday morning runs in the cemetery that was across the street and for living in the country so I could appreciate its beauty. I’m thankful for the parties, holiday events, and people who have graced our residence over 25 years. Mostly, I’m thankful for the family I have and thankful that regardless of where we live, we will always be at home when we are together.

Congrats on a new chapter of your lives, Mom and Dad!

The number of pictures we took in this spot cannot be counted. First day of school pics....special events...just because pics.....this one was before my uncle's wedding.

The number of pictures we took in this spot cannot be counted. First day of school pics….special events…just because pics…..this one was before my uncle’s wedding.

 

 

 

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Lip Service

I get a lot of slack for some of the things that I do, but there is one particular thing that seems to get me more grief than anything.

My lipstick use.

I, by no means, try to hide my love of makeup. It is fabulous and amazing. I mean, what else gives you the power to change how you look and be playful in a naturally fun, inexpensive, non permanent way? Makeup allows me to one day rock a bold and colorful peacock inspired eye then turn around the next day to something much more demure. I like a lot of things….and I like the option for variety. One makeup item I could never live without: lipstick. I should’ve seen it coming. After all, I was all about stocking up on my Bonne Bell when I was younger, slowly opting for the shinier, brighter ones as time went one.

These and a few of their friends may all be in my purse right now.

These and a few of their friends may all be in my purse right now.

What most people don’t seem to understand is while I love wearing lipstick, I don’t wear it simply because it looks awesome. There are legit benefits to wearing lipstick, and that is why you will see me wearing it when I run or am doing more active things.

Let’s break down some of those benefits.

1. Did you know lips lack melanin, which helps protect them from UV rays? Because of this you want to make sure your lips aren’t exposed without protection. Wear matte or opaque lipsticks with SPF of 15 or higher to help protect your lips from sun exposure!

2. Lipstick moisturizes your lips. This is singlehandedly THE BIGGEST reason why I wear it all the time. I hate chapped lips. I hate when they feel rough….and this tends to happen when I run, especially in the cold weather. It doesn’t look attractive either. The lipsticks I wear when I run and when I go out in the winter months have some kind of moisturizing additives, like aloe vera and vitamin E.

Lipstick to run in? Yes, please!

Lipstick to run in? Yes, please!

3. Confidence. That’s right, I said it. Numerous studies have shown that people feel sexier and more confident when wearing lipstick, and I will be real here…even if there wasn’t a study done to state this, I would claim it as a benefit because it is 100% truth, and I feel my one person study should matter.

4. Intensifies your eyes. Regardless of the color of your eyes, lipstick can make the color more intensified and bright. Blues appear bluer, and even dirt brown eyes like mine are more colorful. Don’t believe me? Whip out a fantastic Mac lipstick and take a picture of yourself with lipstick and without. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. Dimitri James, beauty expert and creator of Skinn Cosmetics, states, ” those with blue eyes should try lip shades in rose, pink, bronze, copper, and brown, while hazel eyes should go for violet, plum, fuchsia, and red-violet hues. Green eyes look best with mauve, lavender, plum, burgundy, and wine colors, and brown eyes look best with coral, peach, burgundy, purple, gold-red, nude-beige, and dark blue-red lipsticks.” Thanks, Dimitri!

5. Makes your face look slimmer. Yes, SLIMMER! Color draws the attention to your lips instead of the outline of your face!

6. Better posture. A recent study by L’Oreal showed that women who rock lipstick have better posture because we are stretching to apply it, improving our posture, even if it is only for a split second.

7. Brighter Smile. Lipstick brightens your smile by making your teeth look brighter and whiter depending on the shade you wear. I highly recommend determining your undertones so you can find the best color….you don’t want a frosted or dark color to make your teeth appear yellower than what they are either.

8. FUN! Yes, I am making this my own self diagnosed benefit. Wearing lipstick can instantly brighten your mood, make you happier, and help you have a fun, enjoyable day, and that, my friends, may be the best benefit of them all.

What are my favorites? If I HAD to choose. These would be it. My signature shade that most people identify with me is clearly “So Chaud” by Mac. Unbelievable with its color, staying power, and classic look. In fact, this is the lipstick I choose to wear when I run in the Warrior Dash. That’s right…I jump around and submerge myself in mud, and this bad boy stays put and looking fab. Worth every penny.

lips

 

My friends who are reading who are terrified of trying new lipsticks…..live a little. Try something new. Two weeks ago I was down in DC and being that my friend Emily and I were visiting another makeup junkie (love you, Ren), we naturally ended up in Sephora. Emily was hesitant to try a bold lip because she was convinced she would look like she was playing dress up and stole her mother’s shoes. After some persuasive debate from Marenda and I, Emily gave into peer pressure, bought the suggested lipstick, and looked absolutely gorgeous. Super proud of her for living on the edge with a funky color, and I am pretty positive she loves it, too.

Lipstick can be your pal f you give it a chance. The best part? If you don’t like it, you can just wipe it off and start again.

Now if only everything was that easy.

 

 

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There’s no “WE” in Pizza…but there is an “I”…and I love it!

The meme I identify with the  most.  Welovememes.com knows memes and apparently me.

The meme I identify with the most.
Welovememes.com knows memes and apparently me.

If you also agree that there is no “We” in Pizza, then it is obvious you are in the right place.

I do not even attempt to hide my love for pizza. It’s right up there with coffee. If it was good for you, I seriously would eat it for every meal. Even breakfast…..ahhhh, pizza for breakfast is amazing.

Kyle and I have a cheat meal every week, and 99% of the time pizza is the winner. We just love it. During our very early dating days, we actually made a pizza ourselves in the shape of a dog bone. Clearly, we were meant to be.

Let me state the obvious. Pizza is not exactly healthy, nor is it one of the suggested meals on the 21 Day Fix meal plan that I follow. So I did what any person who loves pizza does: finds a way to make it healthy and fix approved. Let me share with you a delicious and easy pizza substitute….you can thank me later.

                                                                   

What you need for the crust:

-1 head of cauliflower
-1 egg
-1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
-1/2 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp garlic powder

****I want to note that I have used oregano instead of basil, and I have also made it without garlic powder, too. You literally can use whatever seasonings float your boat, or none at all. We all have different tastes, so use something you like!****

What you need to do:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I always use a trusty pizza stone and recommend leaving it in the oven as it preheats.

 

Don't worry..the rest of the recipe is as easy as this first step!

 

After you wash cauliflower, cut off the florets and pulse in a food processor. You may think you need more than one head of cauliflower, but I will warn you…if you use that much, be ready to make two pizzas. After pulsing the cauliflower will look a little like snow. This means you are doing it right.

 

Once you are done pulsing the cauliflower, put the bowl in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes. Allow to cool (I usually cheat and put it in the fridge….I am impatient)!

Because you have cooked the cauliflower, it is more watery than you need for the crust. Place all of the cooled cauliflower into cheesecloth (or a towel) and squeeze as much water out as possible. IF YOU LOVE CRISPY PIZZA THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! The more water in your cauliflower…the softer your dough….aka…no crispiness.

Add in the cheese, egg, and whatever seasonings you fancy. You can use your hand to mix it up. Yes, it will be sticky and feel weird, but it’s much easier than with a spoon. 

Mixing with my fingers makes me feel like a little kid...and I like it.

Form your dough into a crust on the pizza stone, which you will pull out of the oven right before this step.

You could even make this in the shape of a dog bone!

Bake the crust for about 9-11 minutes or until desired brown color. Remove from oven and top with your favorite toppings. 

Im making my own version of a classic margarita pizza: spinach, tomato, fresh basil, mozz cheese.

Cook another 5-7 minutes and remove.

Stuff this in your face. 

I drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar once done baking.

Let me break this down to you 21 Day Fixers. My version (per serving) is:

– 1 Green (cauliflower)
– 1/2 Green (tomatoes)
-1/2 Green (spinach)
-1 Blue (Cheese)
-1/4 Red (Egg)

A few things I want to point out:
-How your containers break down will be based on what toppings you select.
-This crust is thin. I break this pizza down to be about 6 servings. Your servings will be based on how many containers you have left though. For me, I will gladly save all of my Green containers to have more of this.
-If you are going for a super crispy pizza, watch your timer. Based on your oven, you may not need to cook it as long.

Pizza is amazing. I hope you try this, love it, and agree! 

 

 

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Gimme Dat Fix!

If I had a dollar for every time I mentioned “the fix” since its debut, I’d be more loaded than Autumn Calabrese.

I’m not joking.

Why do I talk about this “fix” thing so much?

Easy. I love talking about things that I love and,more importantly, things that have positively impacted my life in some aspect. When I mention this program….that is exactly why. By now most people know my story and how I got involved with the Beachbody community…..I ate too much, drank too much, stopped exercising, yadda yadda. One of the most difficult things I had to face when I started making positive changes in my life was the dreaded kitchen. I had modified my eating habits substantially, but I still struggled with what to eat at times and how much I should/could eat. So many people do. Our minds tell us that we are doing a great job if we are eating a salad….what it doesn’t tell us is that salad is large enough to feed a small village. I was one of these people eating for a village.

When the 21 Day Fix made its debut in February of 2013, I purchased it immediately. Apparently I wasn’t alone in the need for this revolutionary meal planning system; it sold out early the first day. In fact, it sold more the first day than what was projected for that entire week. As with any new program, I was worried it may not be up my alley…after all, not everything is, and that is okay. It’s important to find something that works for you. I was excited to break up (temporarily) with Shaun T and try the workouts Autumn Calabrese had put together for the 21 Day Fix….change is good sometimes…but I was elated to break open those cute little containers and start revamping how I ate.

Building Blocks for Your meals!

Building Blocks for Your meals!

Let’s backtrack for just a second. There is a slim chance that you are reading this and don’t know what the heck I am talking about, so I want to break down for you exactly what this elusive “fix” is. If you are one of those people, let me show you a quick video so you can learn a little more!

Time for some Real Talk.

Yes, that was a 71 year old woman who lost over 45 pounds in that video. Yes, the results shared are amazing. Yes, they totally can happen to you. Since getting the program and running challenge groups with it, I have had challengers lose on average 10-20 pounds during their first 21 day round. Those who have continued using it have seen even great results. I have several individuals who have lost over 50 pounds after several rounds, and I have a pal who has lost 100 pounds after 5 rounds. The challenge group I am currently running has a woman who lost 11 pounds her first week. Talk about amazing. This system works, people. There’s definitely a reason why it is the #1 work out program in the U.S. right now.

Beyond the inches and pounds shed comes something greater…..a lifestyle change. So many people talk about fad diets, and I have heard people question whether or not the 21 Day Fix is one. It’s not. Fad diets involve temporarily solutions. This is not one of those….this is a program that teaches you how to eat right for your body type and how much to eat. It doesn’t mean sacrificing taste..or foods you like…it means eating the right amounts. Does this recipe look boring???

Buffalo Chicken is my Jam!

Buffalo Chicken is my Jam!

Those little containers….they really help. I remember thinking I would be so hungry on this meal plan because some of the containers appear small…..I was so wrong! My entire outlook on what and how I eat has changed thanks to this program, and regardless of what workout program I choose to do, I will always use the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan to keep myself on track.

How many containers a day  you eat is specific to each person!

How many containers a day you eat is specific to each person!

SO WHO IS THIS AUTUMN CHICK?

Autumn Calabrese is a fitness guru and national bikini competitor with celebrity clients that include Rachel Zoe and Brooke Burke. As shared in the bio on her website, “Autumn is a rising star in the fitness community, she’s made a name for herself by helping people lose weight and get fit through simple portion control and consistent exercise.

Autumn holds personal training certificates from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA). Her supportive, motivating style has made her a highly sought-after expert among celebrities and the fitness industry.

Building on a foundation of good food choices and exercise habits, Autumn empowers her clients to reach their goals in a healthy, sustainable way. In addition to her celebrity clientele, Autumn is the fitness specialist for ModernMom.com. Her workouts have been featured in C magazine, LA Parent, The Palisadian-Post, and Daily Candy, and on TV shows like Home & Family.”

I’M BRAND NEW TO WORKING OUT……

That’s okay! I think it is perfectly normal to feel a sense of intimidation when you start a new program. I do all the time! The great thing about the 21 Day Fix is that there is a modifier in every workout to help you. What is a modifier, you ask? It is someone completing a less intense version of the moves. You can choose to follow the modifier as long as you need to. When you build up the strength and endurance, you can increase the intensity. And don’t think you won’t be getting a good workout in should you use the modifier….the moves work you, trust me. This is a great program for beginners because of that element.

I’M A WORKOUT JUNKIE THOUGH….

Cool thing about this program is that it is just as great for seasoned workout lovers like myself as it is for someone starting from scratch. You can increase weights for a tougher workout as you feel ready. If you are someone who has graduated from the 21 Day Fix (meaning you completed the entire 21 day program) or have completed numerous rounds and want a change, Autumn launched the Brand Spankin New 21 Day Fix Extreme program in February. So know you are wondering what the difference is between the two…….

Here’s a breakdown of the workouts. Best part: Both are still 30 minutes a week!

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.25.48 PM

 

The meal plan is where the biggest changes can be seen. 100% clean, no treats (if you didn’t know, you can have wine and chocolate on the original 21 Day fix plan…yes, I’m serious).

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.29.47 PM

I DON’T KNOW WHICH ONE IS BEST FOR ME!

The 21 Day Fix is great for beginners, so if you are starting your journey, I definitely suggest this. The 21 Day Fix Extreme can also be for beginners, but it is a little more challenging. My recommendation is this….

If you struggle with eating and portions, start with the 21 Day Fix. Since the meal plan isn’t as strict, it is a great transition into the world of portion control. Once you graduate from the Fix, then I suggest you more onto Extreme if you are ready for a more dialed in nutrition plan. The workouts are both great and can both be used for beginners…..I just think for many individuals baby steps is a better option initially. If you don’t struggle with meal planning as much, then go with Extreme. 

You can do anything for 21 days. Autumn believes so, and so do I.

Guess what else is exciting!?!?! For the rest of the month if you purchase Shakeology you get the complete 21 Day Fix program or Fix Extreme program for just $10. Shakeology is an essential component of this program because it provides dense nutrition and is a great source of energy! It’s also super versatile….not only can you drink it, but you can make peanut butter cups, protein balls, and delicious, healthy cake (Don’t believe me? Watch this video and be amazed.)

To take advantage of the special and get the original 21 Day Fix program, click here! Or, should be want to go Extreme, you can get the 21 Day Fix Extreme special get your click on HERE.I love that they are on sale…..you know me, I am shoppertunistic.  The best part? You get me as your personal coach for free…which means I am here to support you….motivate you…..help you meal plan…all kinds of great stuff!

Summer will be here soon, which means bikinis and short season will be here soon. This is a great way to get you going in an awesome, positive direction!

I can’t wait to celebrate your success with you! But first, I’m off to enjoy my last red of the night!

Colorful meals are the best!

Colorful meals are the best!

Have more questions about the fix? No problem! Contact me here so I can answer whatever they may be!

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That’s Berry Bananas, Yo!

I get really angry when people tell me that eating healthy is boring.

Have you met me? Have I ever cooked/baked for you? It’s not boring, friends. I’m on a quest this year to prove to you that you can make delicious, healthy meals that everyone in your family will love.

Last night I made a great make ahead breakfast option and had to share it with you all. I don’t know about you, but I am really a hot mess in the mornings. I wake up, do my routine, but I really don’t consider my brain to be awake until about 10am. By that time I’ve had my cup of coffee and my Shakeology is down the hatch, so I have energy and am no longer who Kyle would refer to as “Morning Katie.” Because of the fact that I move like a total snail in the mornings, I love breakfast items that are quick, easy, and fall into my meal plan.

Introducing to you my “That’s Berry Bananas Oatmeal, Yo”. (If you don’t get the Yo reference, you need to spend some time with my man, Shaun T).

What you need:

-1 cup Steel Cut Oats
-1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 cup nuts (I use slivered almonds, but choose what you want)
-2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 egg
-1 banana
-1 cup raspberries or blueberries (whatever floats your boat)
-3/4 cup natural maple syrup

Ingredients Needed to Make this delicious meal!

Ingredients Needed to Make this delicious meal!

How You Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 13 pan. I use a coconut oil spray (make healthier choices).

2. Mix together the oats, baking powder, syrup, half of the nuts you have selected, half of the berries, and cinnamon. If you aren’t into Steel Oats (I don’t know how that is possible), you can use straight up old fashioned oats completely, just modify the portions so you have 2 cups of those.

How purrddyyyyyyy.

How purrddyyyyyyy.

3. Mix egg, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Word to the wise….the vanilla milk truly makes a difference. I don’t suggest using plain jane unsweetened almond milk…it just doesn’t have the same ZING.

"Beat it!" -Michael Jackson

“Beat it!” -Michael Jackson

4. Spread your oatmeal mixture into the pan. You want to make sure it is even and pressed into the corners.

It will look thin, but don't worry...this will expand in the oven.

It will look thin, but don’t worry…this will expand in the oven.

5. Pour the milk mixture over the flattened oatmeal mixture.

Drown those oats!

Drown those oats!

 

6. Top with your remaining berries and nuts. Slice banana and top as well. I got crazy and tossed a little cinnamon on it, too!

You can even put bananas in the base layer if you want!

You can even put bananas in the base layer if you want!

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Be prepared for your house to smell amazing.

What a beautiful little number!

What a beautiful little number!

 

Once removed, serve warm or you can refrigerate and reheat when ready.

Let’s go over a couple very important things:

-Prep time is only about 5 minutes, so this is great to make the night before without slaving away in the kitchen.

-This is totally 21 Day Fix Approved. One Serving is 1 Yellow, 1 Purple, and 1 Blue. I did not count the milk/egg because it is divided up into all of the servings, but if you are a stickler, I would probably mark it as 1/8 of a cup or so.

-This is totally customizable. If you are making it for kids that don’t like these berries, make it with something they enjoy. You can use realistically any fruit, and you don’t have to use nuts if you are allergic, hate them, or just want to save your blue container for cheese.

 

I hope you and your family loves this!

ENJOY!

ENJOY!

 

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No Needles Needed!

Pinterest.

One simple word that makes me giddy with joy. I know I am not alone on this one.

When Pinterest graced us with its presence back in 2010, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I remember having a few casual conversations about it with friends who started using it right away and me stating that I didn’t think I would find it very useful. I’d like to publicly state that was one of my most ridiculous thoughts EVER.

I can honestly state here, on my blog, aka my safe space and trust tree with my internet followers, that I am a Pinterest addict. I have it on my computer as a favorite, and I have the app on my iPad and cell phone as well. Monfort, a digital marketing and social media agency posted some interesting stats (which you can access by clicking on their name) regarding this site, and one in particular really made it apparent to me that I have a problem. According to their research, females post about 158 new pins a year. A YEAR!

Hello, Pinterest, I pinned that amount yesterday #nolie.

I strongly feel I can debate the need and relevance of my addiction with Pinterest until the cows come home. After all, I can go there for inspirational quotes. I can find cute hair and makeup ideas. I can find recipes that are healthy and that Kyle would enjoy. I can learn how to properly clean suede should I ever want to or learn how to make magnets out of household items. Yes, it is a devil’s playground, and I love every minute I waste on there (Sidenote: 1 “minute” really equals about 2 straight hours on the damn site). I especially enjoy seeing Pinterest fails….where people attempt something they see on Pinterest and just butcher the heck out of it. Here’s just one lovely example that I found on (you guessed it) Pinterest:

So many great fails.

So many great fails.

This week I attempted something I have had on my Pinterest ” To Do” list for quite some time: arm knitting. You heard right…you knit with your arms. Since I really don’t like crocheting or knitting things due to my lack of patience and large fingers, I was convinced that I would have to own up to this being a fail once I tried it and bombed at scarf making.

Yeah...I did it!

Yeah…I did it!

WRONG! I did it! And I actually liked it so much that the next day, I cruised right on over to the fabric store and hooked myself up with some more yarn. The first scarf wasn’t perfect, but that is okay….I am a beginner….but it was made the way I wanted as far as chunkiness, it was a color I wanted, and it was super soft. Oh….and I only paid about $10 for the 2 skeins (is that how you spell the term….i don’t even know)….and I got 2 scarves out of them. $5 a scarf? Katie likes that.

If you want to try arm knitting, which I strongly encourage you to do, I posted a video on my Youtube channel teaching you how I did it.  Here it is:

Two final comments:

1. Be smart about arm knitting. Go on the internet (hey, you’re already on it), go to the craft store of your choosing, and print off some coupons. There is absolutely no reason to pay full price for yarn. Be shoppertunistic.

2. If you aren’t on Pinterest, I invite you to please abandon my blog, as well as everything else on your agenda, and go there immediately. Seriously.

And please, repeat after me....

And please, repeat after me….

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RAVE OF THE WEEK: Skimm, not Whole Milk!

Lately I have had a ton of raves each week which makes it difficult for me to choose a big winner.

That’s ok, right? More raves means less rants….at least in my world.

My latest rave is a website that Whitterbug shared with me a few weeks back. Since she is one of my best friends, she knows me just as well as anyone on this planet, so when she suggests something to me, she is usually right on with the recommendation.

(Unless of course it involves Jeff Bridges, but that is another story).

Anywho, Whit stumbled across a website called The Skimm and sent me an email right away suggesting I check it out. Honestly, I thought it had something to do with Skim milk, but my mind was in the clouds that day, so tickle me fancy when I actually went to the website and found out it was news oriented.

Now, what my followers may NOT know about me is that I am really into the News. I love to read about what’s going on and have been known to spend a lot of time on CNN (Ok, I also get some news from People and E News…let me just put that out there). What I struggle with when it comes to the news is that sometimes there are so many stories that don’t keep my attention….then I zone out….and then I stumble onto something else. I want to know all of the important stuff, and I don’t consider anything involving Bruce Jenner’s transition into womanhood or Justin Beiber to be considered top news.

The Skimm immediately caught my attention because it is News oriented, but touches on all of the top stories (something I feel CNN has not been doing lately). As stated on their website, “they read, we skim.” I like that. They skim the stories for all of the important stuff, and I can browse through it. Should the story interest me, I can always just read more about it.

What excites me most about The Skimm???? It is emailed to me daily. That’s right…every morning before a sip of coffee even hits my lips I can read the email and be caught up on everything going on. Like everyone else, I have a busy life, so anything that makes it easier is a win in my book.

I like the convenience. I like the straight forward approach. I like that I don’t have to dig to find the hot topics. I like its name. I’m just down with The Skimm. I think you will, too.

Cruise over to their site and check it out! You can even read the most recent Skimm before you sign up just to make sure you like it!

theskimm.com. It just makes sense.

theskimm.com.
It just makes sense.

Chocolate lovers only, please!

I have a big problem, and they come in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I JUST FREAKIN LOVE THEM (Especially the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup eggs…there’s just something amazing about them).

Ok, let’s be honest….I like all chocolate, but since these are my favorite, I am always trying to find a way to work them into my diet. Usually I stick with my trusty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Shakeology recipe, but sometimes I just. want. the. chocolate.

This weekend I decided I would not eat like a pig for the Superbowl, and instead made a fabulous Black Bean and Spinach Enchilada recipe and…. Drumroll…..Shakeology Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They are super easy and super delicious….and being that the entire batch was eaten by Kyle, I can attest that others love them, too.

Here is how you make my PB Heaven Cups….because they are so heavenly.

Ingredients You Need:

-5 Tablespoons Chocolate Shakeology (Don’t have any….you can order some here!)

-2 Tablespoons Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

-3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter or PB2 Mixed with Water

-Muffin Pan and some liners if you so desire

I use Chocolate Vegan instead of regular.....use what you love!

I use Chocolate Vegan instead of regular…..use what you love!

Step 1: Line your muffin pan with your liners (if you are using them).

Step 2: Melt the coconut oil in the microwave until a smooth liquid.

Step 3: Mix the coconut oil with the Shakeology in the bowl. If you don’t like the taste of coconut oil, you can use water in its place (same amount, your call).

Mix until smooth.

Mix until smooth.

Step 4: Add barely enough of the chocolate mixture to cover the bottom of the liner. Put in the freezer for about 2 minutes, then remove.

All you need is a tiny little amount.

All you need is a tiny little amount.

Step 5: Add your peanut butter. I used natural because I didn’t have PB2 on hand (that’s the powdered stuff), but I also mixed the peanut butter with a little bit of water to make it creamier. You don’t have to do this, but I liked how it worked.

I found mixing with a little water helped me smooth it out better.

I found mixing with a little water helped me smooth it out better.

Step 6: Top with remaining chocolate mixture.

Step 7: Place into freezer for about 25 minutes and then get your eat on!

You’re welcome.

Oh hello, lovers.

Oh hello, lovers.

Serving Size: 2 Peanut Butter Cups

Calories: 64, Total Fat: 5 g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 50 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mb, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 3g

Oh yeah, and 21 Day Fix Approved!!!! Yayayayayayayayayayayaya!

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I’m Insane!

I’m always focused on goals. I love them, always have them, and want to achieve them when I set them. This year I decided to do something to make my goals even more present in my life: I had my gal Randa at my favorite Etsy boutique Peppermint Dawn make me a custom keychain that had my specific goals for the year clearly stated on both sides. I attached it to my keys so I could be reminded of them every time the keys were in my hand.

While I have a lot of goals this year, I opted to make my keychain specific to my business goals. This is a big year for my business, so focus on what I am doing every day to reach them is important.

While I am moving quickly toward completing every goal listed on my keychain, this past week I successfully completed one item and knocked it off the list. I became Insanity Certified.

The amazing group that killed it on their certification.

The amazing group that killed it on their certification.

To say I was nervous about this certification was an understatement, but I knew I had to do it. I am a teacher by nature, so I have been anxious to get the credentials behind me to teach at a gym. Getting this certification would be a big part of what I needed to run my own class.

So what does a certification like this entail? For me, it meant driving to Pittsburgh and devoting an entire Sunday to the certification class. 8 hours of completing the workout moves over and over and over….proving I could do them all correctly….proving I can instruct a class….it was a lot! Fortunately for me, I had some teammates joining me so we could all complete this task together. We also were super lucky and had an incredible Master Trainer teaching us.

Elise, Me, Laura, and Laurie showing off our toughness.

Elise, Me, Laura, and Laurie showing off our toughness.

For me, this certification was very personal. Two years ago was the time I was at my heaviest weight and had started my decline with depression and self esteem, alcoholism, fast food abuse, and being a lazy bum. A friend had actually given me the Insanity DVDs shortly after Christmas, and on a cold day in January I actually decided to get started with the program. The first workout in the Insanity program is the Fit Test….and it isn’t really even a workout. It is to evaluate your fitness levels to help you do you best throughout the program.

I quit it. I quit the little assessment.

And I didn’t even quit after I did it. I quit halfway through and let the program start collecting dust on my shelves among Van Wilder, my NKOTB VHS tapes, and a bunch of other items I had forgotten about.

Since then I have completed the program entirely, and I am super proud of myself for passing this certification and taking it to the next level. I am also ecstatic for one of my Sparkle Squad Emeralds, Elise. Elise begins teaching an Insanity Live class in a few weeks in Greensburg, PA, so I am extremely excited for her. Of all us, she had the most pressure coming into the certification….her gym had already put her on the schedule to teach assuming she was going to pass. Of course, she nailed it.

Loving my new Instructor jacket!

Loving my new Instructor jacket!

As for me, I am proud to share with you all that I will be teaching an Insanity Live class starting March 5th at the brand new Empire Fitness Studio in Ravenna. If you are local and want your butt kicked by me, mark down on your calendars that you will be joining me Thursdays at 7:30pm.  I’ll be leading and inspiring you through workouts that will change every week, and thanks to my new wireless headset I can participate right next to you to get you through the moves. Best part? You pay per class, so you can come when it works with your schedule.

My new wireless headset!

Too legit to quit.

So yeah….about that Fit Test. Im happy I failed at it two years ago because knowing I once gave up gives me so much more incentive now to NEVER GIVE UP AGAIN. It also helps give me the strength and power to inspire all of you to never think you are down and out and too far gone to make positive changes. Any one can do anything they put their mind to, even if they failed at it in the past.  You’ve just got to want it.

After all, every positive change begins with the decision to try.

Snow or Sunshine, Everyday I’m Sparklin’

Every January I ask myself the same thing: Why do I live in Ohio? I am not into the snow, cold, driving on icy roads, or wearing lots of layers. I like my flip flops, sunglasses, and beach time. I don’t understand myself sometimes.

Last week I hopped on a flight to spend the weekend in Tampa, and I seriously couldn’t have picked a better weekend to do it. When I left the airport, there was a negative 20 windchill and my car had inches of snow on it. I think the people at the airport thought I was crazy because I had changed out of my Uggs and into my flip flops before I entered the airport, but I didn’t care. I was ready to get to warmer temperatures!

Yes, the weather was definitely something I was looking forward to, but I wasn’t just heading to Tampa to hang with seagulls and sandcastles. This was a business oriented trip, and I have been pumped for it since October. It was Super Saturday Weekend!

Ok, so what is Super Saturday???? Let me enlighten you.

Every quarter beachbody coaches around the country gather for a big team rally. Since they take place typically on a Saturday and they are super informational AND super fun, they are called Super Saturday. I was stoked to attend this particular one in Florida because it was hosted by the 2013 top coach, Lindsay Matway, and there were a ton of top coaches present (myself included…woop woop Sparkle Squad!). In addition, our CEO, Carl Daikeler, and the 21 Day Fix’s trainer and creator, Autumn Calabrese, were flying in for the event. I was excited to see my friends and meet so many of the Florida based coaches that I had only ever interacted with on Facebook. I was stoked to talk to our CEO, and I couldn’t wait to meet and workout with Autumn. Oh yeah, and getting some sunshine definitely was exciting for me, too. The event was totally sold out and had a theme of “Shine”, so everyone was encouraged to wear something full of sparkle. Clearly, I was ecstatic about this idea. Me, wear something that sparkled???? That’s kind of my jam, if you missed it…..

My fabulous friend Shannon was my host for the weekend, and I loved getting to spend some quality time with her. One of the things I underestimated when I became a coach were the friendships I would develop due to the business, and Shannon is one of those friendships. While we are similar in so many ways, we are polar opposites in other ways, so getting to spend some time talking about business strategies and ideas was awesome. Shan took me to some cool dining spots where I got a tad adventurous with my meals (hello, seafood wrap with sriracha mayo and salmon eggs benedict), and I got to see the beautiful water before the big event!

I love you, palm tree.

I love you, palm tree.

Super Saturday itself was amazing. Like I mentioned, I got to meet people who I had been interacting with for months and months and was the recipient of many hugs. I think I shouted “YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA” about 500 times and scared a few who aren’t hip to my noises. Since there were over 1000 people attending, the event was held in the ballroom at a hotel in St. Pete, and it was crazzzzzzyyyyyyyyy. Not only did we get to learn about some of the hot new things happening within our company straight from our CEO’s mouth, we got to hear incredibly inspiring transformations from two women who had both been through difficult times and found their silver lining.

I am in love with what I do because of moments like that. Moments where I can see how being a part of this company has changed someone’s life for the better. I’m not just talking about the opportunity to coach and motivate others. I’m talking about the opportunity to actually see someone get healthier and happier. One of the transformation stories we got to hear was from a beautiful soul named Adriene who had lost 100 pounds thanks to drinking Shakeology daily, modifying her diet, and completing 5 rounds of the 21 day fix. When she got involved with Beachbody, she was in a dark place. Getting to see her talk on a stage in front of 1000 people (all who were crying when she was done talking) was awesome. Knowing she is healthier because a coach believed in her and helped her get out of that dark place and into a much happier one….that is priceless.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.32.58 PM

On the plane ride home, I thought about how much my life has changed because of this opportunity and this company. Sometimes I still can’t believe I get paid to do what I do and meet such fantastic people. I think back to the trepidation I experienced back in August of 2013 where I questioned if I should spend my White Russian money on a challenge pack so I could lose all the extra weight I had hanging out. I lost the weight, I gained confidence, and now have created a lifestyle for myself and family that is allowing us to be healthier, financially stable,  travel on free trips and able to do what we want. Above all, I have been fortunate enough to form friendships with individuals who have made me a better person. That’s what it all is about. PEOPLE. Helping them, supporting them, motivating them, loving them, befriending them, celebrating their victories, laughing with them, and challenging them.

Tampa was a great weekend that recharged my batteries and gave me the sunshine I needed to get back at it. As much as I loved my time in the warmer weather, I was anxious to get back to Kyle and the boys….even if it meant trading my flip flops for Uggs and a scarf.

Until next time, Florida…….

 

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