My New Normal

I remember a couple of years ago when my mother was all hot to trot about a show called “The New Normal.” It was a show I somehow never got into, which is surprising because my girl Nene Leakes was in it, but I got to thinking the other day about the concept behind it. The show was based on the family dynamic of a wealthy gay couple who want to have a child, so they move the surrogate mother and her daughter into the home. Thus, a new “normal” regarding a family lifestyle is born.

Last week was the first week of what I like to refer to as my new normal. No, I didn’t do anything like the characters on the show did, but I did make a lifestyle change that once seemed impossible. I left the career that I dedicated fifteen years of my life to. It still is crazy to think that I was able to make it happen.

Let’s talk about my “old” normal. I started working in the higher education field when I was eighteen years old, starting at the bottom of the totem pool in my college’s admissions office. After graduation I fell into an opportunity that made me a department director at the age of twenty-one. I was young, clueless, but eager to learn and make a positive impact. After about a year I made the decision to take a great opportunity in an Admissions department at a college in Pittsburgh, which led to me an even better opportunity, and then another, including providing me with the opportunity to open a brand new campus and obtain various management roles. To say I loved my job was an understatement; I greatly enjoyed meeting with individuals who needed a change in their life and had goals of doing more.

However, as much as I loved the ability I had to help people gain a new career, there were things that I absolutely had grown to hate. I hated that over the years people were seen as dollar signs instead of people. I hated that I worked alongside people and under managers who threw integrity in the trash and lied to pad their bottom dollar. Most importantly, I had grown to hate the hours and expectations. I have always been a hard worker, but working 50+ hours a week was not something I liked. Being forced to work on holidays instead of spending those moments with my family was not something I liked. Getting the third degree if I was sick and had to take some time off was not something I liked. So I made the decision to take a huge pay cut and return to the department where it all started: Career Services.

I remember a conversation with the Campus President soon after I started my new role in Career Services where we discussed my career goals with the company.  During the conversation I had told her that this would be the final school I would work for. I would either choose to remain working for the college and move up within it, or I would leave it and pursue something else. She laughed and said, “that’s what everyone says. This is a great company. You won’t leave.”

Two years after that conversation I came to a crossroads in my life. Not only had my personal life fallen apart, but I had met a new level of frustration with my career. I hated driving to work every single day to feel under appreciated. I hated that my performance was based on things that were beyond my control. I hated that I felt I was one of only a select handful of individuals who cared about the students and their success. And I hated that the combination of a miserable job and a hot mess personal life had led to me gaining 60 pounds. Sunday nights I had such extreme anxiety about driving to a place that I felt was literally sucking the life out of me that I often could not sleep or had anxiety attacks.

So my “old” normal life went a little something like this:

Get up. Go to work. Grab some kind of fast food on the way. Put on a brave face and take on the day. Grab fast food for lunch. Leave work. Grab fast food for dinner. Stop and grab liquor. Go home. Eat fast food. Make White Russian after White Russian. Watch reality tv. Eventually pass out. Get up and start the cycle again.

It was awful.

Around this time was when I made the decision to get started with Beachbody. I’ve talked about it numerous times before, I truly believe that buying that little challenge pack and joining an online challenge group saved my life. I started the end of August and completed the challenge November 1st, losing 47.5 pounds during that 10 week program, while modifying my eating and giving up drinking completely. More importantly, I learned about this little thing called “coaching”, and I fell in love with it.

Shortly after I completed my challenge group, I attended my first online team call led by some chick named Brittany who I had never heard of in my life. I remember her talking about how she had retired from nursing thanks to her income from coaching and the freedom it had brought to her life. Something about that call lit a fire inside me that made me want the same thing. I heard Brittany talk about the same things that I was struggling with……working long hours, being away from family, feeling under appreciated…..I knew deep down I could make this work for me, too. After all, the one thing I knew was that I was incredibly passionate about coaching the products and opportunities through Beachbody. I had seen first hand how they could transform someone’s life because MY LIFE had been transformed, and I wanted to help as many people as possible feel the satisfaction and triumph like I had felt when I realized I had taken control of not only my health, but my life.

I knew going full time with Beachbody would not happen overnight. I knew it would take hard work, consistency, and patience. I knew that there would be ups and downs, but I knew that it would be worth it.

For almost two years I worked my higher ed job in misery, anxious every day to come home to work on my business and growth. My doctor had me take anxiety medication so I could handle my job and the ridiculous management there. After 8 or 9 hours at the daytime job, I would come home and get to cracking at my to do list. Some nights I wouldn’t have much time to dedicate to my business, other nights I would put in some long hours. I never complained. I never felt like I was doing “work”. I had fallen in love with this opportunity and wanted to spend more time doing it.

There were times when I sacrificed activities or events because I knew I needed to get work done for my challenge groups. There were days I did not want to workout but did it because I needed to hold myself accountable and be an example to my challengers. There were days people I “thought” were my friends badmouthed me and made fun of this “stupid Beachbody thing” on Facebook posts and in messages. There were days I got defriended. No one ever said being an entrepreneur would be easy, especially not when so many people have misconceptions about multi level marketing companies. I knew that eventually it would be worth it, and all of the hard work would pay off.

On September 18th, I packed the last of my cubicle up and officially said goodbye to higher education.

Goodbye, Cube life!

I had done it.

I had fired my boss and officially become my own one. That thought I had two years prior….the one that Brittany, now a dear friend and mentor, had gotten me to think about… had left the dream category and had become a reality.

Last Monday was Day 1 of my “New Normal.” Look at how different my daily routine is from that “Old Normal.”

Sleep In. Wake Up Rested and Refreshed. Make a healthy breakfast. Work for a few hours (depending on what else I have going on). Workout. Make breakfast for Kyle. Walk the dogs. Take some selfies. Clean. Spend time with Kyle. Work a few more hours. Chat with my team. Give away prizes. Brainstorm fun and creative groups and concepts.Go to bed when I want. Wake up and repeat.

Just another day at the office with my assistant.

With the wedding only a few days away, my days have had a lot more packed into them like running errands, making phone calls, and organizing events. It’s been so nice to not have to worry about whether or not I can get everything done on a lunch break. Yesterday I woke up with a nasty headache; I didn’t have to think twice about whether or not I should call off work…..I just slept a little later, woke up and felt better.

My driving force this entire time has been my family, not just Kyle, but my parents and immediate family, too. I didn’t want to have to structure my visits around one day on a weekend here and there. I wanted to be more present in their lives and be able to be there when they need me. With Kyle working a nontraditional schedule, I wanted to be home when he was home so we could have meals together and do the things we love. Life is so short….I wanted to spend my time with those I love while also doing something I love….and I wanted to truly live life.

I never in a million years thought this is where I would be at the age of 34. The possibilities that lay in front of me are endless. It is amazing how you see life when a passion and career come together. I still get to help people, just in a different capacity, only now I get to say whether or not I want to wear pants to work, if I want to wear makeup, and what time I want to work.

The greatest lesson I have learned through all of this: Life is too short to spend 40 hours of your week doing something that is harming you more than hurting you. Unhappy with where you are? Do some soul searching. Find something that will make you happy. Then come up with a plan to get you there. Be realistic: Most times this change is not something that can happen overnight. Actually, if something can transform your life overnight you might want to be a little skeptical about it. Good things take time, energy, and an investment in your self and belief in yourself. For me, it took almost two years. I kept my eye on the goal and was determined to make it happen. You can, too.

Maybe you want to do what I do. Maybe you want to own a pet rescue. Maybe you just want to write. MAKE IT HAPPEN!  Trust the dots will connect. Follow your heart. Do Great Work. And never, ever give up on your dream.

Now go watch this and get some goosebumps…..





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Tell Your Man to Get You…..I Mean, MAKE YOU a dozen.

If there is one thing that always make me feel like home, it is my mother’s apple pie. She is an incredible baker, and her apple pie is out of this world.

Since she makes fabulous pie it is no surprise that I love it. Apple is one of my favorites (please note: one of. I can’t 100% commit because I have a few favorites, and that’s okay), so naturally, I use a lot of apple recipes when cooking for Kyle.

Last week I stumbled across a beautiful rose made out of apples while I was mindlessly trolling the internet and immediately decided I wanted to make them. I already had planned on making a pork dish of some sort this week, so I planned on adding the cute apple roses to that meal. After all, apples and pork are a beautiful couple together.

Look at this beauty!

Look at this beauty!

If you love apple pies, especially tiny bite sized ones, or if you just love making cute food items that people will swoon over, I suggest you make these. The prep time is minimal, and you can change things up if you aren’t a fan of the apricot preserves. They are so easy that you could easily make these with kids, and guys, you can 100% make these for your ladies, too!

Here is a quick video I made showing you how easy they are!

More than a #hashtag

Hashtags can be sooooooo annoying!

Am I right, or am I right?

As annoying as they can be, I can tell you that I am 100% guilty of using and abusing them. After all, when you run a business through social media, they just kind of……..#happen (couldn’t resist).

Unless you have been under a rock or are new to the blog, you know that I am getting married October 3rd (eeeekkkkkk, so close) and, like most weddings these days, Kyle and I have a custom hashtag for the event, #kramereverafter. However, this hashtag is extremely important to me for more than the obvious reason that it symbolizes the day I marry the love of my life.

One thing that I talk about a lot is my incredible family. I am very lucky to have a tight knit bunch who have supported me my entire life and have always had a presence in whatever I did. High school sporting events, graduations, college basketball tournaments, marathons, birthday parties… family has always been a part of absolutely everything, and for that I am so grateful. I couldn’t imagine celebrating the milestones in my life without them all with me.

Except now that I have to.

The one part of growing up that I never considered was what I would do without one or more of them at a life event. I think as little kids….even teenagers…we look at our loved ones and relatives as invincible people who will always be there. I can’t help but selfishly wish this was the case.

I have written about my Grandma Bubu on numerous occasions. Over the past 15 years I have slowly watched as Alzheimer’s has taken over her life, and it has been extremely difficult for me to handle. I am convinced that it is one of the worst things that can happen to a person and their family, and while my family and I remain crusaders in the fight to end this disease, we also are heartbroken that this wonderful person is no longer who she once was. In my case, I’ve known for a long time that she would not be able to attend my wedding when the time came, and I somehow managed to accept that idea. I think when it comes to dealing with Alzheimer’s you kind of have to. Some aspects of wedding planning, such as working with a florist, have been more difficult than others because I think about how much Bubu would’ve been involved in the process.

In March of 2014, my family suddenly lost my Aunt Jean after an unexpected heart attack. It was a loss that deeply impacted me and is a loss that I have not fully coped with since it happened. As the only niece on my father’s side, my aunt and I were very close growing up and even though we had some rough patches, I know how much she would love Kyle and enjoy helping in the wedding planning. People laughed at me last month when I mentioned wanting to see The Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, when she comes to Youngstown in November, but the truth is my reason for wanting to see her is the hope that I can make peace with some unanswered questions. I don’t care how ridiculous that sounds.

While I had grasped the fact that both of these important family members would be absent on my big day, I had never considered the fact that my Grandma Rosie, who I am very close to, would not be able to attend. In fact early in the planning process, Kyle and I decided against a small destination wedding because it was extremely important to me that she be able to attend. Several months ago my Gram broke the devastating news to me that due to her health she would be unable to attend my wedding, something that had never crossed my mind. Being almost 93 years of age, I understood the health and travel concerns even though the venue was just an hour away from her residence, but deep down my heart shattered, as I know hers did, too. As someone who likes to find creative solutions and solve problems, I tried to think of a million ways to get her to my big day, but I came up empty.

I love this woman!

Which led me to the hashtag that will allow me to share the greatest day of my life with one of the most important people in it.

Kyle and I have incredibly talented photographers on hand to capture the important moments of the day, but it’s the little candid moments that I want to make sure Gram can see. For all of you who are attending the big day, I’d love for you to snap pictures and take videos like crazy, posting with the hashtag #Kramereverafter. My hope is that I have some incredible memories captured by our guests that will make my Gram feel like she was there as I said “I do”. As much as I sometimes get annoyed by social media and hashtags, this one will mean a lot to not only me, but to my grandmother, as well.

Both of my grandmothers and aunt may not physically be there as I walk down the aisle, but I will have a small piece of them with me as I do. For my “something blue” I have collected a blue shirt from Bubu, an apron from my Aunt Jean, and a handkerchief from my Grandma Rosie that my mom has cut into hearts. These three hearts will be sewn inside my dress and be a part of everything I do October 3rd. All three will be deeply missed but I know they will be in my heart the whole time and be there in spirit.

 My Gram may be hip for being 92…..after all she can text. When I told her I would have a hashtag with lots of pictures for her to see after the big day, I am positive she had no clue what I was talking about…..and that’s okay. She will learn soon enough.

Thank you in advance for everyone who helps me share my special day with such a special lady. It truly means the world to me.

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… 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… 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…, 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.


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… 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… 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!)


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. 

2015-08-02 16.54.59

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)


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

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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.


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 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


Kyle and I slept through our workout with Sagi, and I missed one of the general sessions. No sweat though… 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… 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!



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 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… 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… 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… 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

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, 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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