Third Time’s a Charm….Ok, the First and Second were, too.

Do you know that feeling when you are about to embark on something really, really, really incredible??? It’s like a mixture of excitement, fear, trepidation, adrenaline, and happiness. I hope you know what that feels like because it is one of the greatest feelings ever. Can I? Will I? I just love those feelings all mashed into one.

I’ve had that feeling ever since I received a request from one of my clients last week asking me to join her on a very specific journey. The email said:

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In the year and a half I have been a coach I have not had anyone ever ask this of me. Most of what I do is coach and motivate through online support groups, but occasionally someone will prefer a different method, which I always welcome. Without hesitation I called this woman, told her I would do the program with her, and that I would support her the entire journey.

Let’s bring up some feelings again, because I had a pretty strong feeling hit me when I read this email and spoke to this woman on the phone. It was the same feeling I mentioned earlier and the same feeling I felt when I was in the same familiar place as this woman.

Those who don’t know me or don’t follow me on Facebook may not realize that a year and a half ago I was a totally different person. I was someone unhappy with many aspects of my life which led to a domino effect of alcohol abuse, fast food binging, and excuses that overcame my desire to exercise. I was 60 pounds heavier and could barely fit into the very extensive wardrobe I had collected over the years. One day a college friend reached out to me and asked me to join a challenge group. He told me about the special that month, a little program named T25, and how I would be getting this awesome shake called Shakeology to help me curb cravings and help me jump start healthier eating habits. I knew virtually nothing about either.

Like this woman, I had been scared to purchase it….to commit to myself that I would try to be healthier. I remember that feeling when I purchased it…..when the box showed up at my door….how I felt (and how much I cried when I took my before photos)…..how I felt during my first workout….and how I felt 60 days later when I stepped on the scale and realized I had dropped 47.5 lbs. Oh yeah, and three dress sizes.

My first experience with T25. I'd say it was a total success.

My first experience with T25. I’d say it was a total success.

That picture is so much more to me than just a before and after photo. That picture represents two of the most defining moments of my life: The moment I realized I wanted to change more than I wanted to stay the same and the moment when I finally was able to say I DID THIS. I will never forget the emotions I felt in either picture. As a coach, I want everyone I meet to feel those emotions. Beating your inner demons, excuses, and feelings of complacency…..guys, that is something that will change the course of your entire life. It did mine, and it has for so many people I know and have had the privilege to work with over time.

What is T25? Besides being the #1 program in my life for the rest of my life, it is a program created by my main man Shaun T that delivers crazy fun workouts in 25 minute a day segments. The first month you spend completing the Alpha program, the second month is Beta. If you are new to the workouts, don’t worry….there is a modifier, and there is absolutely NO SHAME in utilizing her. In fact, I spent the majority of the first month using her moves, which are not quite as intense, but still killer. Here is a look at the workouts:

To date, I have done this program twice start to finish and have lost a combined 60 pounds. I’m at a point now where I want to lean up in a few areas while building more muscle in others. Is this program still for me? Absolutely. This program is great for you regardless of where you are at in the game. I am pumped to see what my third round will bring me as far as success.

Monday my client and I officially began our T25 journey together, and I decided I would recap the 60 day journey throughout to share more about how it went and so my readers could learn more about it and how I do things.

Day 1 of Round 3!

Whenever anyone begins a group with me they know I expect one thing from them at some point in the game: a meal plan. Meal planning is one of the most neglected areas when it comes to getting healthier. Abs aren’t made in the gym, people. They are made in the damn kitchen. Don’t forget it!

Since my client is doing a one on one approach with me, some things are the same while some are obviously different. She sent me her meal plan Sunday night, and I sent her mine. Here’s a look at how mine is structured for the week. I am in the middle of a clean eating group, so I am following a clean eating meal plan a little different than my usual. I like to repeat a lot of things each week because it is easier and honestly, I like to eat the same thing. I eat to live, not live to eat. If something comes up where I don’t stick 100% to my meal plan I don’t beat myself up. As long as I am eating clean 80% of the time I am a happy camper.

May 18th

After our first workout, Cardio, my client and I messaged each other. She had struggled through the workout much like I had my first time. I found myself pushing myself harder than ever…..telling myself I could get my knees higher when I ran and deeper on my lunges. I pushed the heck out of myself. When I finished the 25 minutes I still felt like I earned my shower.

Now, halfway through Week 1, I can assure you I am just as sore as I was during round 1. I love it. The feeling….that nervous, exciting, adrenaline filled, trepidation lingering feeling…..yep, it’s still here. I welcome it now. After all, it helped me get from the girl on the left in the picture below to the girl on the right.

Stay tuned for updates on how our journey is going! I have no doubt that the third time will be an absolute charm for me….nor do I doubt it will be anything less for  my client during her first round.

I love hearing someone say “I did this.”

In 60 days someone will be saying it that questioned if they ever would.

And that, my friends, is why I love what I do.

Giveup

RANT of the Week: Tradition Schmadition

I haven’t had a ton of rants lately (shocker), but there is one that has slowly been growing to the point that it is time to finally do a little rant about it.

My Upcoming Wedding.

My excitement for my wedding is off the charts….I literally cannot wait. As the countdown becomes shorter and shorter, there is one thing that I am learning. Lots of people seem to have opinions.

I don’t know if you know this or not….but I am a little different. I do things different than most people,  so my wedding will be absolutely no exception. Therefore, this rant is for those who keep telling me how things “should be” or just straight up sharing their ridiculous ideas on weddings. Not that I feel I need to, but I WANT to address a few topics that seem to really hit my nerves the hardest.

  • MY DRESS. I knew the moment I got engaged that I didn’t want a white dress like everyone else. My favorite color is pink….and I wanted pink. Therefore, I went on a hunt to find the perfect pink dress….which was a success. The dress I will be wearing on my wedding day is 100% Katetastic and the perfect shade of pink.I have gotten many looks from people when they have asked me to describe my dress and then hear the color. I think most people think it is some hot pink taffeta masterpiece, but let me assure you, it is not something that will rival the dresses on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding or whatever that TLC show is called. Here’s the thing….you should wear a wedding dress that is reflective of you and your style. It is essentially the most important dress I will ever wear. Why would I want to wear something that isn’t me? You don’t like a pink dress? Cool. Then don’ t wear one on your wedding day. Problem solved.
  • WEDDING WEBSITE. I think most people expected me to set up one of those wedding websites where people could go online, read our story, learn about our wedding party, creep on all of the details, yadda yadda. I get it. After all, a big part of my life is online due to the nature of the business I run. However, there are some parts of my life that I do keep relatively private, and while I may mention little snippets about the wedding here and there, there are some parts everyone doesn’t need to know. Moral of story: stop asking me to make one. It isn’t happening.
  • THE CHURCH. There is NO CHURCH for my wedding. From the very beginning, Kyle and I knew we did not want a church wedding. From my point of view, I wanted our wedding to be an amazing experience for our loved ones, not just any run of the mill event. I wanted things to be different and the day to be something they all would remember forever, just like Kyle and I will. Therefore, we rented a museum so our guests can enjoy the ceremony and reception at a cool location with some really neat things. There will be nothing religious with our ceremony….in fact, one of Kyle’s best friends is marrying us. It is exactly the way we want it to be. A church wedding may be great for some of you; it isn’t us, and that is why we aren’t doing it.
  • ASSUMPTIONS. Oh, there’s been lots of these. They are annoying. We made the decision to have a smaller sized wedding because that is what we wanted. Realistically, we both know a lot of people and could’ve easily invited a ton of people. I can see how people struggle with this, because drawing the line is hard. From the jump we decided on our family (which we have quite a few of) and closest friends. We wanted it smaller…we are keeping it smaller. That is that. I just don’t understand why people Ive talked to like twice in my lifetime feel like they should be invited to the wedding or even be a part of the bridal party (yes, that assumption has happened).Our wedding will be 100% us. I am excited about every little detail we have worked on to ensure it is just that. If you have an issue with something we are doing, go plan your own wedding or event and do it your way.

    After all, your approval is not needed.

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    RANT OVER.

 

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Hotcakes for a Hot Waist!

Many, many things contributed to me gaining that extra 60 pounds I decided to hang out with a few years ago.

Fast food and booze were up there on the list, but there was one little food friend that helped escalate the weight gain process.

Pancakes. Mother F#%&@ing Pancakes.

I am very honest with my love for breakfast food. IT IS THE BEST! I swear I could eat it every meal of the day and be happy, especially my beloved pancakes. Who doesn’t love a pancake (if you don’t, I may need to put you on friendship probation….Im serious). I love them so much that the very first profile picture I had on Facebook was a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

Don't believe me? Go look at my Facebook.

Don’t believe me? Go look at my Facebook.

When I started my weight loss journey, I knew I would have to seriously re-evaluate my eating habits. I was fine with cutting out the nasty processed food, but my heavenly little buttermilk breakfast buddy…..not so much. With time I learned there were ways I could still make pancakes in a healthy way and enjoy in moderation.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite recipes: the Cashew Pancake!

I'm nuts about these.

This recipe is from the 21 Day Fix Extreme Meal Plan, and to be honest, I’m a little mad at Autumn for not sharing it with us sooner. Things I like about it: 1) It’s healthy. 2) It has minimal ingredients. 3) I can make a bunch of them, store them in the fridge, and reheat when needed. 4) Taste great topped with fruit instead of syrup. 5) I can make lots of nutty pun jokes when making them (see what I did there???)

Here’s what you need to make them and the easy instructions, too!

Cashew Pancakes

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup raw cashews

-2 cups oats (old fashioned)

-1 large egg

-Dash Pink Himalayan salt

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

-1 1/3 Cups water

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

All you need!

Here’s how to whip them up!

Step 1: Pulse oats, cashews, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until fine.

Step 2: Add egg, water, oil, and vanilla. Pulse again until batter becomes thicker. If you need to thin it a bit, add a tad bit more water.

Step 3: Heat up your griddle/ pan/ water you are cooking these on (SIDENOTE: the cavemen used to cook their pancakes on rocks) and spray with Coconut Oil. I use this instead of Pam…so much healthier.

My favorite spray!

Step 4: Cook like any other pancake, flipping when one side has browned and the edges bubble.

Step 5: Top with favorite berries or syrup.

Something to mention…..these are more solid than your fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Don’t think you did anything wrong when you flip them and realize they are a little sturdier. They still taste amazing. This recipe makes 10 pancakes, and a serving is 2.

If you want to watch my girl Autumn make them, you can watch here. She uses the same coconut spray as me, so we are basically best friends. Plus the last time I saw her I got to clear a bathroom for her to use, which was pretty neat and made me feel like a jacked sequined security guard. That’s best friend status.

Oh yeah, and get quality kitchen help, like I always seem to have……

On duty 24/7

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No great story ever began with a salad….until the salad met the mason jar.

If you are someone who follows me on Facebook, you know there is one thing I do every single Sunday.

I meal prep #likeaboss.

Back when I started my journey toward a healthier lifestyle, I learned quickly that one of the best things I could do was plan out my meals for the week and prep for them the Sunday before the week began. Initially it seemed like so much work, but after awhile I got into a rhythm where this weekly ritual became just part of my routine.

So why meal prep? Im guessing a few people reading this are asking themselves that question. Let me tell you why I do it.

-IT SAVES ME TIME.

I live an extremely busy lifestyle. As someone running their own business juggling multiple work projects all the time, including planning a wedding, I have no choice but to eat on the run most days. I refuse to eat at fast food restaurants, and it can be pricey to go to sit down restaurants constantly. Plus, let’s be real….I just like the way I cook, and I like to know what kind of food I am putting into my body at all times. Having meals portioned out properly and in cute little containers makes it easy to grab and go.

– IT SAVES ME MONEY.

You may think that it doesn’t, but trust me, it does. When I first started meal planning I went back through the previous month and tallied up how much I spent on random meal purchases, lunches with coworkers or my employees, or quick snacks from wherever I was. It disgusted me how much I spent. Having everything, including snacks ready, eliminates those mindless trips. When I grocery shop, I have a specific list, meaning I am not grabbing random things that aren’t good for my body or my wallet.

-IT KEEPS ME ON TRACK.

I have goals, and I am very conscientious of what I eat. My lifestyle has changed so much over the past couple of years. How I eat is not a diet; it is my way of life. We are only given one body on this Earth, and I am taking care of mine by making healthy choices in the kitchen. I won’t tell you that I don’t ever eat unhealthy things….because I do…I have a cheat meal every week, and I do enjoy ice cream here and there. Since I started meal planning I am more mindful of my choices overall. I like having a plan. I like sticking to a plan, and I like the results I see when I complete a plan.

 

This makes me very, very happy to see.

This makes me very, very happy to see.

One thing that is pretty consistent with my meal planning is that I like to make meals that don’t necessarily take a long time to make. This brings me to the star of this blog article, my mason jar salad.

Mason jar salads are great for anyone because they can be made about a million different ways. If you are a picky eater and don’t like a certain recipe, all you have to do is modify the recipe to meet your tastebud’s needs. I like to think of it as the perfect mix and match food item. The great thing about using a mason jar is the salad stays fresh much longer. Also, they look really cool, and it saves you from container chaos. Before, whenever I made a salad to go, I had separate containers with the cheese, the meat, a dressing if I had it…so many containers. (Sidenote: Mason Jars come in a variety of sizes and are very inexpensive. I got mine at Target).

While you do have lots of options with this, there is a way you want to assemble everything, so consider this when planning out your salad. You want to start with wet ingredients and move up to dry ingredients, if not your salad can be soggy, and no one likes that.

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Here is how you want to assemble your salad.

1. Dressing on the bottom. Ive never been a huge dressing person, so this is often missing from my jars, like the one above. If you use a dressing, use about 2 tablespoons or so.

2. Hard Veggies are next. I love green peppers, so this is a staple for me, but sometimes I use broccoli, cucumbers or carrots. These hard veggies serve as kind of a barrier between the dressing and softer items to follow. I also add nuts to this layer if I am including them. This week’s salad includes some pecans toasted lightly with cinnamon and coconut oil.

3. Soft Veggies. Soft veggies include avocado, tomatoes, onions, corn, etc.

4. Protein. This is where you add your meat and cheese, as well as egg if you choose. This week I chose ham for something different.

5. The very last layer is for your lettuce. You can use spinach, arugula, whatever you choose!

Tighten lid and refrigerate. They are that easy.

I’ve made many variations with my mason jars, but these are 4 of my favorites (minus the dressing). Pinterest has a variety of options, too, so if you are a pinhead like me, make sure you spend a little time cruising through the options. Another favorite of mine: strawberry vinaigrette, strawberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, then grilled chicken, a little shredded cheese, some of my delicious pecans, and lettuce. Great for summer!

Some of my favorites from lexiscleankitchen.com

Some of my favorites from lexiscleankitchen.com

Here are some fun things to keep in mind as you made your salads.

-Do pack your jars super tight and leave as little air as possible. Less air means the salad stays fresher longer.

-Do be creative….you can use pasta, quinoa, rice…whatever you like! Just always keep the lettuce/spinach/arugula at the top away from any wet ingredients so they don’t wilt.

-Do make salads in an assembly line. It is easier to cut up everything and have it arranged in an assembly line for quicker processing time. Also, don’t make just one or two salads……it is more cost effective to make a week’s worth.

-Do stick with the same protein and change up the rest of the ingredients to be cost effective. For example, preparing chicken in bulk saves you money and can be modified many different ways.

-Do buy your mason jars in bulk. Typically a dozen will run you about $10, and you can also use the jars for overnight oats, canning down the road, or other creative projects.

Give meal planning a try, and make sure you add these bad boys to it!

Look how cute!

Look how cute!

 

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Who What Hair When Why.

I freaking love big hair and have no shame in my hair game. To date I think I have had my hair every color and every hair style known to man. I’ve also tried about a gazillion hair products, so chances are I could write a review on the product that you are using.

I get so many questions about how I fix my hair and what I use on it that I figured it was finally time to show you how easy it is to get my look. For all of you hair folks, this one’s for you!

First of all, let’s talk about my shampoo/conditioner situation. I love love love the Way to Grow Shampoo and Conditioner from Not Your Mother’s. I love sulfate free products, and these two really do make my hair grow. Best part, they are about $6 each at Ulta or CVS. I only wash my hair twice a week because I like to keep my hair healthy and use other products to keep my hair looking fab. Also, it takes a while to blow dry my hair, and I like to save time. Side note: Not Your Mother’s has a huge product line to help you reach your desired look (I like the Beach products, too).

 

Always sulfate free!

Always sulfate free!

After the shampoo and conditioner process is over, I emerge from the shower looking like a real hot mess. Exhibit A. Also, it is at this point that I share with you I have naturally curly hair. Obviously.

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Blow drying my hair takes forever, but I have found ways to cut out some time. Exhibit B, this crazy looking thing. You can purchase this hair bonnet that looks like it is from 1950 (or a spaceship) by clicking here….it’s on Amazon for less than $10! You hook your blow dryer into the end so it helps dry your hair much quicker…sometimes I roll my hair in velcro rollers first, but not always. I also rely heavily on my Wet Brush…..I have the classic I use at home and a mini brush in my purse at all times.

People thought I was crazy when I posted this on Facebook!

People thought I was crazy when I posted this on Facebook!

After drying, I sometimes look like my finger was in an electric socket. It’s ok….and a quick fix for me!

Post blow dryer

Post blow dryer

This right here is my secret weapon: Aquage Transforming Spray. I use this before styling and after styling. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find in stores, but you can find it on Amazon (Yes, I love Amazon).

I love this stuff so much.

I love this stuff so much.

Before styling I lightly spray my hair with Aquage. I make weird faces consistently throughout the process.

Making a fun face helps.

Making a fun face helps.

When you get to this step, channel your inner Marcia Brady and brush your hair. I use my Wet Brush and brush probably more than the necessary amount. The Aquage I have sprayed tames my hair a bit, and I am ready to start my fun styling process.

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During the blow drying process, I am heating up my hot rollers. Of all of the rollers I have tried, these are my favorite. And at only $20 at Walmart, they are affordable. I don’t use rollers with the clips….very anti the kinks they leave behind in my hair.

Love the velvet..helps keep my hair in place!

Love the velvet..helps keep my hair in place!

Place the rollers in your hair. The purple curlers here are actually the same brand, just a little bigger. I use these on the top of my head and always leave out the front piece to style later.

It never fails...a piece always sticks out.

It never fails…a piece always sticks out.

Once your curlers are in place, spray a light dusting of the Aquage transforming spray to set them in place.

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While my curls are setting, I put on my makeup. This is the best time to do it because your hair is off your face. I let the curlers set for about 10 minutes, which is the same amount of time it takes me to do my makeup. Winning!

When you start to take your curlers out, your curls will be very tight. Don’t worry….we will fix that in the next step. Just take the curlers out and admire your Shirley Temple-like curls for a minute.

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I then tousle my hair and loosen the curls by shaking my hair a bit and using my fingers as a comb. If you want your curls tighter, don’t tousle as much. Sometimes I brush my curls out with the Wet Brush and make them into waves. The curls keep shape (and volume) thanks to the Aquage spray.

Before I finish up my hair process, let me address the elephant in the room: I get ready in beach cover ups. I have a bunch like this one and love them. I can throw them on and off, and they don’t mess up my hair or makeup after I finish both up. My favorite cover ups (for getting ready and for the beach) are from Target.

So many ridiculous faces. No shame in any of them.

So many ridiculous faces. No shame in any of them.

If needed, I use a curling iron to curl the pieces that frame my face or any weird pieces that curled in a strange manner. It happens. Don’t pretend it doesn’t.

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This may seem like a lot of work, but it honestly isn’t. Drying is the most time consuming part, but the roller/styling process takes about 15 minutes total. I follow the same process on days I don’t shampoo my hair. Ever hear of dry shampoo? It’s one of the greatest inventions ever. This is the one I rely on. I spray a little on my hair, blast a little with the blow dryer, then style as usual.

Worth every penny.

Worth every penny.

Every couple of days, I use oil in my hair before brushing. My favorite oil is this one from Ogx….surprise, it’s coconut….one of my favorite scents. You can buy this at any store, and it costs about $7 a bottle. Last month in my Birchbox I got a pricey oil to try….one that retails for about $40. It couldn’t hold a candle to my coconut heaven oil!

Smells like the beach!

Smells like the beach!

The final result: my signature curly look. I lightly spray Aquage once my styling process is over. As it gets more humid, more spray is used to prevent my hair from turning into a lion mane. Just wait. The time is near.

Fabulous.

Fabulous.

Here’s the thing with hair: It’s weird. It took me a loooonnnnngggggg time to find products that work. The products I mentioned here? All products recommended to me by friends, which is why I wanted to share them with you. I would’ve never discovered Aquage on my own, I initially thought Wet brushes were weird looking when I saw them in the store, and I was convinced Not Your Mother’s was a cheap brand. Fortunately, I trust my friends, so when they suggested these things to me I tried them and fell in love. Moral of the story: be willing to try things, and trust the people you love most. There are lots of great sites that can hook you up with samples so you aren’t flushing money down the drain (my favorite is Birchbox and it’s only $10 a month).

Hair is fun.

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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