January: Sparkle Or Dull?

It is no secret that I love me some makeup.

I tend to accumulate a ton of beauty products….it’s almost like they multiply when I’m not looking (think of the scene from the movie Gremlins….it’s kind of like that).Because of this, and because of the fact that I just love to share my opinions on things, I’ve decided I will start doing a beauty review monthly on two products to determine whether they are worth buying or not.  I don’t know about you, but I purchase a lot of items based on reviews that people I know share, so my hope is that I can help you find some cool new things or save your money if something is downright terrible.

I’m not doing anything crazy with a rating system or anything like that. An item will either get the SPARKLE seal of approve from me, meaning you definitely should look into purchasing it for your collection. If I review a product as DULL that means it isn’t worth the money. Of course, these are strictly my opinions. I’m not compensated at all by the companies whose products I am reviewing. Therefore, the reviews are 100% Katetastic.

Let’s get to my January products.

Product #1: Thank Me Later Eye Primer

Back in December I fired Ipsy after they sent me pretty much the same stuff two months in a row. I love samples and all, but I don’t like getting the same stuff back to back, especially when they include products I won’t use like a gross seaweed mask (more on that another time). Anyway, my final bag with Ipsy included a primer by Elizabeth Mott called Thank Me Later that i finally decided to try. When it comes to primer, I have always had a difficult time. Some change the color of my eyeshadow, some make it impossible to blend eyeshadow, and some just make my eyeshadow look greasy and strange. For the past year or so I have been in a committed relationship with Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion, and I must say….it will be difficult to break us up.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.11.33 PM

I decided to try Thank Me Later for a few days on its own with my eyeshadow, and one day I used it on one eye while I used my Urban Decay on the other eye to compare. I have to be honest….I didn’t see a difference on the day I wore both brands. Thank Me Later has a good consistency to it, eyeshadow colors don’t change at all, and there was absolutely no creasing. The day I opted to wear it with the Urban Decay I wore my makeup for about thirteen hours, so I really put it to the test. It is similar in price to Urban Decay (about $20) for those of you wondering.

This is definitely a product worth investing in if you are looking for a primer (or if you hate Urban Decay). Will I make a change? Probably not. Had it blown me away, maybe. I liked it and all, but I have been loyal to my Urban Decay which never disappoints and since it was so similar, I will stick to what I know never lets me down.

Final Vote: SPARKLE.

Product #2: Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo

One of my all time favorite stores is Lush……I’ve written about my love for their bath bombs in the past….and their lip balm….I just love them and think they are a solid company. If you don’t know much about their company or philosophy, check them out.

Earlier in the month my mother got to experience Lush for the first time when she and my aunt came to town for a concert and decided to do a little shopping before the show. Of course she fell in love with the bath bombs, but I fell in love with a product she purchased for me while there: Lush’s No Drought Dry Shampoo.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.11.44 PM

If you recall, a few months back I wrote about dry shampoo and a few of my favorite brands. Both of the ones I wrote about came in aerosol cans and contain butane and propane, two ingredients that not every wants on their hair or can have in their hair. If you fall in this category, check out No Drought by Lush. This dry shampoo is made up of various oils and fresh ingredients, such as grapefruit oil and lime oil (if you click the link above you can visit the Lushopedia to learn exactly what every ingredient is), so not only is it a great chemical free option, but it smells incredible. I personally love the smell of grapefruit, so this is makes me very happy. I have been using this for a few weeks now and can report that I don’t need to use as much product, meaning more bang for the buck.  Is this product enough to make me fire my Batiste and Big Sexy? Absolutely.

Final Vote: SPARKLE!

Never let a product dull your sparkle. Fortunately, this month, neither do.

sparkleon

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coming for you, Beast!

Time for a little Hammer and Chisel Update for Week two and three!

So……things haven’t gone exactly as I had hoped with this program. You probably remember me sharing in my last post that I had a little back issue that had me restart Hammer.

Well…..that bitch came back.

Before we get into that, let’s chat about Week Two!

I approached Week Two with the same Badass attitude I ended Week One with…..I mean, I was slowly gaining a new obsession for weight lifting and loving the changes I was seeing in the first week.

Here’s a look at the meal plan I rocked for Week Two! I changed up a few things this week but stuck to some of the same items, mostly because if I love a recipe I tend to make it over and over. I was a huge fan of the egg salmon sandwich I had made for breakfast the week prior, however, the store was out of smoked salmon so I opted for prosciutto as the meat on the breakfast sandwich.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.26.13 PM

How does your fridge look at the beginning of the week? I pride myself in the organization of my food….I’ve found it helps me stay on track when meals are organized together in similar containers. Don’t you agree?

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.35.56 PM

If you haven’t given meal planning and prepping a chance by now, I strongly suggest you do. It saves time, money, and keeps you on track. I can’t stress that enough!

So let’s talk workouts. The first week I was challenged and felt like a sweaty beast each day. I loved it! I knew coming into week two that workouts were going to get a little more demanding, but I was ready. Here’s the thing about Hammer and Chisel….you don’t exactly repeat workouts in the same manner as other programs. As someone who loves variety, this is probably my favorite aspect…..I never know what to expect, I never feel bored, and I am excited for my workout every single day.

Monday: Chisel Cardio Day. Anytime I see the word “cardio” in a workout I get a little bit more excited than normal! This workout was killer, and I found a new favorite move in sword pulls.

Tuesday: Max Hammer Strength. I really enjoyed this workout. It focused on tiring yourself with one move, then going heavier with the weight for an additional 8 reps. This was a mix of all the basics…..lunges, presses, sumo squats, calf raises…..a great all over workout that left my muscles tired.

Wednesday: Chisel Agility. Agility meant one thing…..lots of jumping, planking, and high knees. For some reason, this workout and I did not jive. It consisted of two rounds, and at the end of the first one I was really struggling with finishing it. Some workouts I connect more with than others….maybe I’m just not an agility girl.

Thursday: Rest Day. Much needed. My muscles were still screaming from Hammer Strength.

Friday: Hammer Power. I was just starting this workout when my back said HELL TO THE NO to me. I had messed it up earlier in the morning and didn’t realize how serious it was until I attempted to do a clean. Immediately I felt awful spams in my lower left back and knew I had to stop.

The following two workouts, Chisel Balance and Hammer Conditioning did not happen. Instead, I focused on my nutrition and resting on the couch. I figured a couple of days rest and I would be back to the program. When it came to my nutrition, I knew that even though I couldn’t work out, it was incredibly important for me to stay on track. Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

2016-01-23 14.06.03
For the following couple of days I rotated the heating pad and ice method until I could get into my sports chiropractor. It didn’t hurt to walk, and I was even able to have a quick three mile run early in the week. However, when I sat down or attempted to sleep the pain was unbearable.

Thank heavens for my sports chiropractor. Having one on my speed dial is one of the most important numbers I have. If you are an athlete or you teach fitness classes, I recommend doing the same. The thing with back issues is that all too often we think we can just heal them ourselves with time or some at home remedies. If I have learned anything with this injury it is that I should’ve gone to the chiropractor a few weeks ago when I first had the issue.

During my appointment I found out that it wasn’t actually a back muscle that was the problem, but my sacroiliac joint. Yeah, I know what you are thinking…..I didn’t know what that was either until I saw a diagram. Here’s where it is located:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 12.20.32 AM

Photo courtesy of sportsinjuryclinic.net

The good news is that after some stretching, a little stim treatment, and work with my chiropractor I felt like brand new. Best part? I was cleared to start some light exercise and could resume to normal activity within a week with a few follow up appointments with my chiropractor to make sure my joint was okay.

The rough thing about having an injured back is not just having to skip workouts, but having to cancel my live classes, too. I love teaching in front of people and helping them get into shape. Taking a few days off meant I wasn’t able to help as many people as I could’ve. Fortunately I will be able to return to my Insanity Live and CIZE live formats in the upcoming week!

Since I can’t do anything with weights until the end of the week, I will be doing a week of PIYO before diving back into Hammer and Chisel next Monday.

When life hands you lemons, find a way to turn them into chocolate cake. Find a way to make it work…think outside of the box. I hate delaying a week of H & C, but subbing in a week of PIYO will help me stay on track when it comes to exercise and endurance and allow me to ease back into the weights next week.

I’m ready for you, Beast. I may not conquer you on my original timetable, but trust me.

I will conquer you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Locked and Loaded.

07172015SagiPhotoOp_TF0039
This past week I officially began a new journey with a new workout program featuring Sagi and Autumn Calabrese known as The Master’s Hammer and Chisel…..

For the second time.

I had started the program with a test group two weeks earlier, and, like many of us know, life sometimes gets in the way. Midway through that first week I was horsing around the house and jacked up my lower back enough for me to know I needed to take a little time to let it heal before I jumped back into this lifting program. I hated doing it, but sometimes you just have to listen to your body. My experience with Body Beast and “The Beast” Sagi in the past had taught me how extremely important this is. I completed basic cardio workouts that focused on my lower body and ran instead, as this did not cause any back flare up or issues. Mentally, I now knew what to expect, so I came into this week “locked and loaded” (one of my favorite phrases of all time), meaning I was beyond prepared to go at prepared to go at full speed.

Many people have been asking me about this program, so I figured the best way to answer everyone’s questions is to blog about it each week sharing my thoughts on the week, meal plans, and tips and thoughts that may assist you in determining if this is the next program for you to try.

So what is this Hammer and Chisel program all about?

Hammer and Chisel is a program that combines two heavyweight Beachbody trainers, Sagi Kalev, aka “The Beast” from the Body Beast at home lifting program, and Autumn Calabrese, mastermind behind the 21 Day Fix and Fix Extreme programs. The goal of this program is to shape, sculpt, and chisel your body using 30-40 minute workouts with focus on the SSP Training Method. The SSP Method is a combination of Stabilization, Strength, and Power that  works the entire body using 12 hardcore resistance training workouts. Here’s a look at the complete 60 day calendar.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 11.48.26 AM

Let me share with you a little about the workouts I completed this week.

MONDAY: Chisel Balance More like….what balance? I came into this workout ready to crush some iron and had not thought about something like balance. This workout had great moves that had me questioning if I ever have had balance. I can’t wait for it to improve.

TUESDAY: Hammer Plyo Yessssssssssss! Obsessed with this workout! Plyo workouts are notorious for being challenging, so I came into this one excited. I love a good challenge as well as jump training! My favorite move of the program thus far, the crazy horse, was introduced to me in this workout.  I honestly look forward to doing it again.

WEDNESDAY: Iso Strength Chisel This workout can be summed up in one word: BURN. An isometric 10 second hold takes place between each set of exercises. Yeah, I know what you are thinking….just 10 seconds? No. More like longest 10 seconds of my life.

THURSDAY: Rest Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

FRIDAY: Iso Speed Hammer The tempo and pace of this workout was incredible. When I pushed play and noticed that it was only 22 minutes (including warm up) I wasn’t sure what to expect. This also features isometric holds, but its focus is on a 3 part hold before powering into speed. My muscle were screaming when I was done but I didn’t care. I felt awesome.

SATURDAY: Chisel Endurance  Ummmmmm. My body hates me. I really have nothing to say other than that. Least favorite workout of the week.

SUNDAY: Total Body Hammer and 10 Min Ab Hammer.  My body still hates me from yesterday and now my abs have joined in. I’m questioning if I will be able to lift my arms or climb stairs for a few days. 

A big part of the success with any workout program is what happens in the kitchen. Nutrition is the key that most people overlook and is one that took me awhile to get the importance of. Using the color coded containers that Autumn introduced with the 21 Day Fix, Hammer and Chisel features a customizable program to help you maximize your results and ensure you are eating the right portions for your body.

Here’s a look at my meal plan for the past week. One thing that differs with this program: You consume way more protein. I’m a big fan of all of the recipes I had this week and am even prouder for sticking to my plan. My Cheat Meal was on Wednesday and of course, it was Pizza…Homemade courtesy of my friend Lindsay. Quite a few of these will definitely be repeats each week….the salmon egg sandwich is my new favorite breakfast item!

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 12.09.56 PM

What tips do I have for someone after completing a week? A few.

1. Make sure you have the right equipment! I use a stability ball and do everything in our living room with the exception of pull-ups. I do these at our gym only because my pull up bar is in storage and I don’t want to go digging through my stuff to find it. I definitely think using a bench is better than the stability ball, but if you are using a bench, make sure it is stable. Carpet is rough unless you place a mat under it to give it more stability. Here is an equipment list to make sure you are prepared!

EquipmentChecklist

2. Track everything! I’m not a big fan of tracking weights….for some reason I never have been. I have found that it is very helpful to track with these workouts and strongly recommend it. Track the weights you use, track your meals, track your water intake, track your non scale victories. TRACK!

3. The performance line is my new best friend. I posted a picture of myself holding an electric yellow drink and everyone thought I created a new crazy Shakeology flavor. Nope. This is the color of our pre workout, called Energize. It is such a glorious friend of mind. The performance line is NSF certified and was designed by Harvard trained scientists and physicians to assist with performance. The products in the line are made of plant based extracts and phytonutrients with absolutely no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 12.24.06 PM

Just to quickly break down of what makes up the performance line for you:

Energize: A pre workout that is lemon flavored. 

Hydrate: Designed for consumption during your workout (citrus flavored).

Recover: This chocolate drink is enjoyed within 30 minutes of your workout and helps facilitate muscle recovery and repair.

Recharge: The most delicious vanilla flavor ever! Recharge helps with muscle recovery overnight and eliminates muscle soreness.

Creatine: Assists with muscle growth (NOT SOMETHING I USE).

I definitely recommend trying the performance line with a program like this. If you aren’t sure about any of them, no worries. We have a sampler pack that’s less than $20 that will let you try each of these items!

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 12.21.41 PM

So Week One is done. Tomorrow I will be taking my measurements as I will be doing every Monday (not stepping on the scale until Day 30….I know better than to focus on a stupid number). I’m excited to see what kind of progress I make with this program and sharing my real and raw experiences with you each week. If you have any questions along the way don’t hesitate to contact me so I can assist you!

I’m off to get the meal prep show on the road…and to dream of American Ninja Warrior. You do know that’s my motivation for doing this program, right?

Favorite Finds of 2015

As a self admitted beauty addict, I am always interested in finding products to add to my ever growing collection. 2015 brought a lot of new products into my life….some good, some bad, some cheap, some expensive. I wanted to take a quick minute to share with you my absolute favorite finds so you can check them out, too! My goal was to share my top ten, but I couldn’t….there were twelve items that had me jumping for joy this year, and I have to share them all!

Let’s meet my favorite finds of 2015!

12. Aloha Coconut Chapstick

I am always after great lip products (there are a couple on this list) because  I hate chapped lips. Running outside in the winter often wrecks havoc on them, so when I find products I love that help with it, I get excited. My mom got me this chapstick this year (she knows about my love for all things coconut), and it not only smells great and tastes great, it works great, too.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.00.28 PM

 

11.  The Wet Brush

Hair care is important to me….have you seen this mane? It can go from a perfectly manicured hairdo to a rats nest very quickly if I fail to take care of it. I’ve tried about a billion brushes in my day, but this one takes the cake. I can have a major tangled mess, and this bad boy has worked wonders on my hair. There are various sizes (I always have a mini one in my purse for emergencies), and if you do some searching, you can find these super cheap….even Groupon runs deals on them from time to time.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.08.16 PM

10. Bare Minerals Bareskin Perfecting Face Brush

Makeup brushes are one thing that I do not skimp on. If you buy cheaper ones, I have found you have to replace them more, bristles fall out, and you end up spending more. Invest in quality brushes. Trust me, your face will thank you.  This foundation brush is my favorite ever. See how the middle is kind of cut out? I know it looks strange, but this really helps evenly distribute your foundation on your face for a flawless look.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.15.45 PM

9. Kat Von D Lock It Foundation

Speaking of foundation, this year I finally found my soul mate shade and brand. With my wedding approaching, I went into a Sephora and had the poor sales associate try pretty much every single foundation known to man on my face to find the perfect shade and coverage. Prior to finding Kat Von D I had dabbled with Becca foundation, but having to mix two colors to perfect the shade for my face was not only annoying, but costly. The minute this angelic foundation from Kat was on my face, I knew I had found the one. The coverage is amazing, it is light and doesn’t feel or look cakey, and even though it is a little pricey, you don’t use a ton with application. Worth every penny. Before buying it, I advise you go into a Sephora or Kat Von D retailer and have someone shade match you. You don’t want to spend $35 on a bottle and get home only to realize it is too dark for you.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.18.47 PM

 

8. Lush Space Girl Bath Bomb

I am obsessed with Lush and obsessed with anything that makes a bath feel like a spa day. I’ve had many items from Lush in my day and have never met a product of theirs that I hated, but this year I met the Space Girl bath bomb, and a new favorite was born. The smell is great, there’s some sparkle to it, and there’s some sparkle to it, and it is just cute to look at (I’m such a girl).

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.25.27 PM

7. Nyx Bloody Mary Matte Lipstick

I accidentally found this lipstick when searching for the perfect shade for my engagement photos. We all know I am obsessed with red lipstick (my signature shade is Mac So Chaud), but I wanted something a little different with a bit more of a pinkish/reddish hue. One day I strolled into Ulta and realized Nyx was having a huge sale, so I figured it was worth a shot. There, for about $3.00, I found Bloody Mary. It’s a quality Matte and stays on without reapplication. This purchase started a really healthy relationship with Nyx that I don’t see ending anytime soon.

Bloody Mary lipstick in Action!
6. OGX Coconut Milk Serum

I’ve blogged about this fabulous stuff earlier in the year, but I have to talk about it again. It’s ah-mazzzzzz-ing. Again, I love coconuts and having healthy hair, and this combines both! I take a small dollop of it each night and run it through my hair to keep it healthy and shiny. Plus, I go to bed smelling of the beach, and I’m ok with that. A little of this goes a long way though, so word from the wise…..don’t use too much!

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 9.10.05 PM
5. Lilly Lashes 3D Mink Lashes

False eyelashes are my thing….I wear them pretty much every day, so I like to think I know a thing of two about them. This year I cheated on House of Lashes, my usual go to lash place, and purchased some mink lashes from Lilly Lashes. I was beyond pleased with the quality, how long they last, and the look. I’ve worn them for pretty much every big occasion this year and won’t be quitting anytime soon. My favorites are Mykonos (seen below) and Miami (which I wore for my wedding). If you aren’t sure how to apply them or the hype behind them, I made a quick tutorial awhile back that may help you……you can access it here .

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.46.43 PM
4. Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm

All time best lip balm, right here. This is intensive and has helped me on even the coldest of days. I don’t even know what else to say about it other than it makes my lips happy and has prevented me from problems in the cold weather!

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.52.14 PM
3. Daily Grind Snarky Bar

Oh-Em-Geeeeeeeeeee. As a coffee addict, I usually jump at anything with coffee in the title. When I saw this soap, known as a snarky bar, I had to have it. Made with coffee grounds? Ok! I don’t know if I thought maybe the coffee on my skin would give me an extra boost or what, but needless to say, I tried it, fell in love, and now will always be using one.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.55.00 PM
2. Urban Decay Naked on the Run

I can’t live without this set.Urban Decay is my #1 makeup brand of choice, and when I was purchasing some other items, a kind sales associate suggested I consider buying this palette. Best suggestion ever. In this you get 5 eye eyeshadows, blush, bronzer, highlighter, lipgloss, eyeliner, and mascara (my favorite mascara FYI). At $54, it is a steal. Now whenever I am on the go, I grab this and have pretty much everything I need! I love it so much that it is something I gifted to some friends this year at Christmas. Great for anyone on the go! P.S. Right now it is on sale for $32. Buy it. You’ll thank me!

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.04.18 PM
1. Tony Moly Banana Hand Milk

I cannot live without this item….I’m dead serious. It is my absolute favorite find of 2015 and is with me everywhere I go. Besides loving coffee, I am obsessed with bananas. This lotion is not only packaged like a cute banana, but it smells just like one and moisturizes better than anything else I have tried. You’re welcome.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.13.20 PM

 

Here’s to lots of great beauty finds in 2016!!!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Year, New You, Blah Blah Blah.

Happy Freakin New Year!

2015 was the weirdest year of my life. How do you classify a year where you have your highest high and your lowest low? You don’t. You just say “Bye Felicia,” and you move on.

Up until November 20th, I would say 2015 was the best year ever. I had such a blast planning my dream wedding with Kyle, and the wedding itself on October 3rd was by far the most amazingly perfect day of my entire life.  I had retired from my career in education and officially became a full time work from home girl boss. We had celebrated great friends getting married and giving birth to beautiful babies, met huge business milestones, and gone on fun trips. Things were going absolutely fabulously.

Until they weren’t.

When I lost my dad, my world changed as I knew it. It officially became the worst year of my life. As most of you were celebrating the holidays, planning super fun parties, and deciding what appetizer to make for New Year’s Eve, I was sitting at home wondering how everyone’s lives were moving forward when mine had stopped on November 20th. I still feel like I am in a bubble, even as I write this.

When the clock struck midnight last night and Kyle, my mom, and I watched the ball drop on tv, I had only one thought: this will be the first year without my dad. I got to spend eleven months with him in 2015. I will get to spend zero with him in 2016. My mind was seriously in a bad place.

When I woke up this morning, I thought more about this year and what I wanted it to be like for me. I know that my dad would smack me if I wasn’t approaching the new year going 90mph with big goals and big dreams, and I wanted to smack myself for the same. Thus came a shift in mindset.

I’m a huge fan of quotes (clearly), but one that I have been thinking about a lot lately is this one from Charles Swindoll:

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 10.14.48 PM

I’ve heard this quote so many times over the course of my lifetime but have never really gotten it until now. Have you really thought about it? How the direction of our lives is tied directly to how we react to what happens to us?

FACT: Something really bad happened to my family and to me. It happened. We can’t fix it, we can’t bring my dad back, and we can’t keep living in a bubble of sadness.

FACT: Now is the time for us to CHOOSE how we react to losing my father.

I understand now how so many people spiral out of control when something difficult happens. Trust me, I get it.There have been moments where I have wanted to spiral out of control. There have been moments where I have questioned my choices, like why I have given up alcohol, when boozing seemed like it would cure my sadness and pain temporarily.   I refuse to be someone who is destroyed by the bad hand that I have been dealt. I choose to overcome the sadness of 2015 and be magnificent in my own mind again…..I mean, 90% is a huge percentage!

I’ve never been a big resolution person; I’ve always focused more on goals and achieving them. I have some big goals for 2016 and I’m choosing to approach them with the same happiness, joy, and zest for life that I have always had. Yes, I am different than I was last year. I will learn to live with that. Until then, I will focus on the things that make me happy, being a good person, changing as many lives as I possibly can, overcoming obstacles, and living a life that makes my dad proud.

Regardless of how your 2015 ended up, remember that today was the first page in a very blank 365 page book. This year can be whatever you want it to be and can be filled with whatever you want to fill it with. Dream big, work hard, and react to life in a way your future self will thank you for.

I’m going to own 2016. I hope you do the same!

sparkleon

 

 

Unforgettable

It’s been a long two weeks since I have checked into LifeisKatetastic.

I will be honest…I’ve been avoiding this blog big time. In the past I have had a few times where I have spent an extended amount of time away from it, but that usually was because of the fact that I was overwhelmingly busy. I wish I could say that I have been busy these past two weeks, but that would be a total lie.

It is crazy to think how fast your life can change. I have always been one to think that my life would have seamless transition after transition. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that isn’t always the case.

Two weeks ago I had just finished writing a blog article on Don Draper, one of my favorite characters from Mad Men. It was a show I had fallen in love with and wanted to share a thing or two about with those of you who hadn’t given the show a chance yet. After publishing the article and closing my laptop I decided it was time to get my daily workout in and focus my attention elsewhere. I was happy with the way the article turned out and in a very solid, happy place.

Minutes later, life as I knew it would change.

As I was firing up my Beachbody On Demand, Kyle came downstairs and asked me to sit on the couch. He then said the words I would never forget:

“Your mom just called. Your dad had a heart attack….he didn’t make it.”

What happened next I cannot tell you. I remember throwing my phone and crumbling to the floor as my legs gave out. I remember vaguely talking on the phone to my mother and brother. I did not even know how to comprehend what was happening. How does a heart attack happen to literally the HEALTHIEST guy I know? Someone who, at 61, was in better shape than most of the people my age? I didn’t understand then and still don’t understand now how this happened to such an incredible man, and I know I never will.

The past two weeks have been a series of minutes and days running together. Im not sure how my family and I would have survived had it not been for our family and friends who have been with us nonstop. I always knew my family was strong and our friends were amazing….but I realized they were even more amazing than I had ever even imagined. When my mother and I expressed our desire to not partake in the usual holiday traditions, no one questioned us or expressed disappointment. Instead, they stood by our sides, bringing over Chinese and just BEING there for us.

Throughout the past few weeks I have been going through an emotional roller coaster and have realized grief really is strange thing. Unfortunately, I have many friends who have lost parents who have been trying to help me, and for that I am forever grateful. I know there are stages of grief and have been reading a lot about them in place of the daily personal development I typically read. Right now I am really in the denial stage where I just keep thinking my dad will be coming home. There are moments where I somewhat acknowledge what has happened, but most of the time I just am not getting it. I know in time I will come to terms with what has happened…it just isn’t going to be anytime soon.

One big step I am trying to make is just getting back into my routine. On the days I have been able to eat and exercise I feel like a little part of me is alive again. I’m getting back into my daily routine with my business and team, and getting back to this blog definitely helps. Most people don’t realize that my biggest motivator and reason for this blog even existing was my dad. He was a phenomenal writer and liked knowing about the things going on in my life in detail, so I started this blog to not only share our mutual love of writing, but to keep him informed, too. Even though we talked daily, I know he loved opening his email and finding a notification stating I had a new blog article posted. He liked making fun of me for some of the blogs, too.

I cry a lot these days. In fact, I have only worn makeup twice in two weeks…..and we all know how I love makeup. I cry mostly for selfish reasons….I feel robbed of many more memories with my dad. So many people have said to me throughout the past two weeks that everything happens for a reason. I believe this to an extent, yet I have a difficult time thinking that there is something good that will come out of so much pain and sadness. Regardless of that feeling, I trust that something will. I have to.

I’ve written so many times about how Beachbody came into my life, and it is one of those things that I truly believe happened for a reason. For the past two years, I have thought that reason was for ME. I needed to become healthier, both mentally and physically, and I believed that was what this company and opportunity had brought into my life…..a healthier me. Now, after losing my dad, I realize the reason it came into my life had nothing to do with me.

Instead, this opportunity had come into my life so I could be a support for my mother and family. Had I been working my old job in higher education, I would’ve been given a day or two of bereavement and been forced to return before I was emotionally ready. Now that I work from home, I’ve been able to stay with my mom for two weeks without having to answer to anyone. I can be with my family whenever they need me or I need them. It has been the greatest blessing to all of us. I remember back when I first told myself I wanted to coach full time so I could spend more time with my family….It have never occurred to me something like this would happen, and while I desperately wish it hadn’t, I am thankful I can provide in the ways I have been able.

I could go on and on and on in the blog about my dad, but the truth is, there are no words to describe the greatest man in my life. Instead, I have opted to share with you the eulogy I wrote for his service. I am thankful our pastor was able to read it on my behalf because I emotionally could barely speak.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 5.36.08 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 5.36.13 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 5.36.26 PM

Those of you who knew him….you were very lucky people. I wish all of you could’ve had a few moments to chat with him . So many of you have been sharing stories and funny moments that involved my dad, and I encourage you to keep doing so. His memory will be alive with me as long as I am breathing, and even though sometimes the memories make me sad, I love hearing about them. To all of you who visited, called, sent flowers, made us meals, came to the service, or simply sent your love……thank you so much. It has meant the world to us.

I am proud of the work that I do because I can serve as a beacon of hope and positivity and inspiration to others. These past few weeks I have not been able to exude the positivity I usually do, and for that I am sorry. You all have been MY beacon of hope, and I thank you a million times for that.

File Dec 04, 6 15 35 PM

We rise by lifting others.

You have lifted me when I needed you, and I am grateful.

Please keep lifting others. You never know the battles people are facing. Your kind words, your hugs, even a smile to a stranger….they are all small moments that can impact someone. NEVER question your ability to change someone’s day.

This life event has been the most difficult thing I have ever been faced with. I know the road ahead of me will not be easy. However, I am a fighter, and I am one tough bitch. Losing my dad may have caused me to stumble and fall, but I will get up again, and I will be stronger than I have ever been. My parents raised me to be a strong woman, and that is exactly what I shall be.

I wanted to leave you with a moment of my life that will forever be one of my favorite moments: the dance I was able to share with my dad at my wedding two months ago.

I’m so proud to be this man’s little girl.

We all could learn a thing or two from Don Draper

Earlier this year I finally committed to doing something I had consistently put on the back burner: I decided I would finally watch Mad Men. 

What first world problems, right?

I only like to watch one series at a time…mostly because I become obsessed with it and don’t want anything else to interrupt my viewing flow. Knowing this show had season after season had me skeptical about adding it to my rotation because I just wasn’t positive I wanted to invest that kind of a time commitment.I also questioned if it was the kind of show I would like. Luckily Kyle was also interested in watching it, so we decided we would watch it together and hoped we would like it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.27.52 PM

Photo courtesy of http://www.rte.ie

Like it? I freaking loved it!

Beyond the fact that I am obsessed with clothing from that era, the show was actually really good. I have very few complaints about it other than the casting of a few characters who really annoyed me (Hello, you could’ve cast someone way better than who you chose for Megan).

Besides walking away from the season finale with a severe case of the sads (it happens whenever a series ends for me), I actually walked away with some lessons that are very applicable to my own life and yours, too.

Here are a few things I learned from Don Draper and the cast of Mad Men.

1. Dress for the job you want and how you want to be addressed.
The wardrobe for this show was absolutely impeccable. I can honestly say I have not seen a wardrobe this on point since Sex and the City ended years ago. Every last detail was thought of and took this show to another level.

It didn’t matter who we are referring to on the show….they knew that how they dressed would play into how they were viewed within the advertising agency. Even on casual days Don Draper was decked out and looked more professional that most, but 95% of the time he was wearing a suit that was very well put together. If you are working somewhere where you sincerely believe you could do more and be more, dress like it. No one will take you seriously if you are dressed in clothing that you could also wear on the weekend or around the house. Understand that how you are dressed is a reflection of who you are.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.31.38 PM

Mydigsuises.com

2. Sometimes the quiet riot is a better way to go. 
A lot of people (guys and gals) think that being the loud and obnoxious type will draw people and attention to you. Don Draper was a perfect example of how quiet confidence can help you, not only in your career, but in the dating world, too. Clearly it worked for him if you noticed how many chicks it landed him throughout the series. His demeanor combined charisma and refinement with a quiet, mild tone of voice that usually gave him the upper hand.

3. Everyone is fighting a battle.
It is so important to understand this statement, especially this time of year. On the outside people may seem to really have it all together, but on the inside they may be battling demons or dealing with sadness or turmoil. Don’t assume you are the only one with problems. Don Draper was a great example of this…..on the outside he looked like a classy, successful man who didn’t have a problem in the world. On the inside he was dealing with identity issues, family issues, and sadness. Looks are deceiving. Be kind to everyone, as you may not know what they are going through.

4. Ask yourself, “What would Don Draper do?”
Despite the fact that he was an alcoholic cheater in his personal life, I loved how he presented himself career wise. When a stressful situation arose, he kept his composure and (most of the time) did not let his emotions get in the way of finding a viable solution. He spent a great amount of his time researching his clients and knowing things about them so he could have a strong and lasting relationship with them. Above all, he was direct with those he dealt with and didn’t beat around the bush. I like that in a person.

5. Money does not equate happiness. Don Draper was extremely wealthy and was able to buy his way out of pretty much anything. However, as we know, through most of the series he was unhappy. He had failed relationships and marriages, issues with his children, and the inability to find true happiness for a long time. He masked his problems by working, working, and working to make more money, causing him to miss out on moments that could bring him true happiness in life. Don never was content with what he had; he always wanted more.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.25.18 PM

Photo courtesy of a1genius.com

6. An RBF never goes out of style.
Don’s wife Betty had an incredible RBF (Resting Bitch Face) and had the power to throw a side eye that spoke volumes. Sometimes a strong facial expression is more powerful than hurtful words, as she demonstrated consistently throughout the series.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.30.30 PM.jpg

Cartermatt.com

7. Be the Joan.
Joan was, by far, my favorite character for a bazillion reasons. In my opinion, she demonstrates the perfect hybrid of a classy woman and complete badass, especially when you take into consideration the time frame this show took place in. Joan possessed intelligence, grace, quick wit, and a sharp tongue.

However, the thing that I like best about Joan is that she went through a great transformation during the series. In the beginning I saw her as a judgmental individual who didn’t want success for others. By the end of the series we had watched her transform into an independent girl boss who spoke her mind freely and made tough decisions that, at the time, were often frowned upon by society. I’m not saying she was perfect…we all know she did make some unsavory choices, but her work ethic and ability to be who she is regardless of what others said is something to be admired.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.29.12 PM

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

8. Appreciate the Rogers in your life. 
Roger was a close second to Joan when it came to my favorites. I was fortunate enough to meet John Slattery on the streets of Tribeca several years ago when he was walking his dog and was pleased to know that he was just as kind and funny in real life as the media had made him out to be. When I was able to watch him in the role of Roger Sterling, I instantly fell in love with the zingers and one liners that I came to expect from him. We all have someone in our lives who fills the role of Roger. Appreciate their zany sense of humor and the one liners that always seem to surface at the perfect time.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 1.39.54 PM

Just a couple of chicks hanging with John.

9. You CAN break stereotypes and do whatever you want in life. Peggy Olsen is a great example of this. She went from being a secretary to one of the most creative advertising execs out there. It took hard work and a thick skin, but she loved being creative and had a dream. She wasn’t going to let a society who thought women belonged as secretaries and nothing else to hold her back.

10. Don’t Sh*t where you sleep. If there is one thing this show should tell you it is to NEVER get involved in a romantic relationship with someone at work. Every single person on this show did it at some point or another (some more than once), and it always ended in disaster. If you are going to engage in an interoffice romance, think about the consequences and how it could impact you and your livelihood should it not work out.

If you have Netflix and are looking to binge on a show, add this to your queue. I honestly didn’t think I could ever like a show about an advertising agency. Now it is one of my all time favorites. Watch it!

And when it comes to life and lessons and all that jazz, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the series….one that I think of daily.

In the words of Don Draper, “Make it Simple, but significant.”

I’ll leave you with some funny Rogerisms.

Let’s talk dirty.

Dirty hair that is, ya creeps!

Hair is one of those topics that I feel always come up during a conversations with girls. I guess it’s a good one….I could talk about hair and makeup all day, especially my weird hair routines (we all have them, c’mon).

One thing that I think drives Kyle nuts is the number of hair products I accumulate. It’s just not my fault!!!!

The thing is…..I don’t go through them very quickly, so they do tend to multiply faster than a hamster in heat. I really don’t have a big secret regarding prolonging the life span of a hair product. I just do one thing.

I let my hair get super dirty.

First of all, let me just say it gets dirty in a good way. I’m not walking around with an oil slick on my head or smelly hair or anything. I have just learned after years and years and years of hair abuse a better way to care for my hair and style it.

And that, my friends, is thanks to my little friend……dry shampoo.

Back in the day I would really pull a number on my hair every single day. Wash it, condition it, dry it, curl it (or straighten it), tease it, hairspray it, fluff it later. Oh yeah, and I used to color it constantly, too. Not a good routine when it comes to having healthier hair. On a trip where I didn’t have much time to be focused on hair, a friend asked me why I wasn’t using dry shampoo. I lacked a reason, so she let me try it and <<<<BOOM>>>> Mind Blown.

Let’s talk about what this dry shampoo does for me, and why you should give it a chance.

-I now wash my hair 1 or 2 times a week maximum! This means that I am not going through as much shampoo/conditioner and saving money there.

-Washing hair 1-2 times a week means I am now only blowdrying my hair 1-2 times a week. To you that may be nothing, but to me that saves me a lot of time. It takes me about 35-40 minutes to blow dry my hair…that’s time that could be spent doing other things! It also means I am not damaging my hair like I used to do.

-My hair actually has more texture and holds hairstyles better. If you have ever been to a wedding and needed a great hairstyle, chances are your hairstylist told you to come with dirty hair. There’s a reason! Freshly washed hair cause hairstyles/curls to fall. Dirtier hair makes the hair stay and look great!

Back to dry shampoo….how do I use it?

When I get up and my hair is a mess I follow a very simple process. Here are my easy steps:

  1. Brush hair and remove anything that may be in it (bobby pins, hair ties, etc).
  2. Take the dry shampoo of your choosing and spray it on the oily parts of your hair…..usually for me I spray it right at the scalp, my part line, and sometimes on the tips of my hair if they need some freshening up.
  3. Wait a few minutes (usually I wait about 5 or so). This is a great time to start putting on your makeup, flossing, etc
  4. Using a blow dryer, dry the spots where you have applied the dry shampoo. I usually just blast the rest of my hair for a few seconds. Sometimes I use a brush while drying, other times I use my fingers to finger comb it. This takes about a minute.
  5. Complete styling, whether it be curling your hair, straightening, whatever.

Since I met and fell in love with the benefits of dry shampoo I have tried a number of products. Has anyone else ever noticed how many options we have when we walk down the hair care aisle at the store? Eek! Products for dayyyyssssss. In true Katie fashion I have tried about a thousand of them and have two favorites that I wanted to share with you today, and both are brands that I use presently.

My little saviors.

My little saviors. Batiste and Big Sexy save my life day after day after day after day after day.

Batiste Dry Shampoo : I love this brand because it is inexpensive and comes in a variety of flavors, plus the bottle looks really cute. The kind that I use most is the cherry scent (as you can tell by the cherry adorning the can), but I can say that I honestly have tried them all, and they are all great. You can purchase this at drug stores, Tj Maxx (if it is in stock), or my favorite place, Ulta. Right now it is buy one get one half off PLUS you can use Ulta coupons on it, so be shoppertunistic. It usually runs about $7.99 a pop.

Big Sexy Volumizing Dry Shampoo: This whole product line is amazing, but it is a little pricey. Some drugstores carry the brand, I’ve seen it at Walmart and of course Ulta, and some salons carry it. A small can is about $18. You don’t use a ton of this at a time, so a can will last you for awhile.

Why do I use two brands? Let me share with you.

Batiste is amazing, but when you spray it on your hair it makes your hair white (hello, baby powder). This goes away when I blow dry, and I love it because it is giving me a no brainer where I need to blast with my hair dryer….you know, for those days where Im not quite caffeinated or awake.

Big Sexy does not have any visible markings, so I use this when I need dry shampoo in a pinch and don’t have the option to blow dry.

Both smell great. Both work. Both make my hair happy.

I encourage you to get dirty and see how you feel about dry shampoo. It may just become your new best friend!

Rock Bottom is worth celebrating

Victories.

If you have ever been in one of my online accountability groups, you know that this is one topic I discuss every single group. It doesn’t matter if it is a small victory…..like choosing water over pop at dinner….or a big victory….like losing ten pounds. You need to embrace all of the little steps that help get you where you want to be. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens every day, little by little.

Today is the two year anniversary of a pretty large victory in my life.

Two years ago today I completed my final workout of T25 and stepped on the scale for my final weigh in. It was a moment that was not only a large victory in my life, but a moment that will always be one of the most defining moments of my life.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how I felt on the morning of November 1st, 2013. Somedays I am simply completing another Shaun T workout and think about how far I’ve come since the days I relied on the modifier. Somedays I am talking to a potential client who feels hopeless and like they can never reach the goals they have for themselves. Somedays I am celebrating with a current challenger about their results. As a coach, it is obvious I get to talk about the programs and the impact they can have on one’s life because helping people get results is what I do. My ability to do so and my belief in what I do is fueled by those feelings that took place two years ago today.

As human beings, it is obvious there are moments (both good and bad) that shape us as people. Moments that help us overcome and triumph, and moments that help ground us when needed. Since today is the anniversary of one of those defining moments, I wanted to take  a minute to share with you the two moments that have completely changed my life and that will forever be the catalyst for what I do.

Defining Moment #1: August 25, 2013

This was the day that Sh*t Got Real in the world of Katie. This was the day that I drove to my parents’ house, asked my mother to take my “before” photos for this silly little online group thing I had decided to do in a last ditch effort to regain control over my health and my life, and put on a bikini that I hadn’t worn in almost two years.

I was humiliated by the process. I was embarrassed and angry at myself that I had dug myself into such a deep, dark hole that putting on a bathing suit made me feel so awful. I missed the days where I could wear all of my beautiful clothes. I missed the days where I liked what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I hated feeling the way I felt.

My mother took the pictures, and I made myself smile even though I was crying on the inside. Then I drove myself home, crying the entire way, and proceeded to get drunk so I wouldn’t be as sad about how the whole picture taking process made me feel. I felt like I would never feel like myself again and could never get back to how I used to be.

How did this miserable moment end up being a moment I classify as one of my defining moments in life?

Easy.

I will never ever ever forget how I felt that day. From the moment I stepped on the scale to do my weigh in to the moment my mother took these pictures….I will ALWAYS remember how I felt.

I remember the sadness.
The embarrassment.
The anger.
The feeling of defeat.
The questioning of self worth.
The loneliness.
The shame.

I think back to that day and know that I never want to feel that way again. It is a reminder to me of my Rock Bottom.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.12.15 PM

Defining Moment #2: November 1, 2013

This was the day that, once again, Sh*t got real in the world of Katie. I had completed the sixty day online challenge group, not missing a single workout in the T25 program. I had modified my meal plan and had incorporated a superfood packed shake into my routine to help with my nutrition. Somehow I had stuck to a promise I made to a complete stranger in the group named Theresa that I would not step on the scale a single day during the challenge. I had completely given up alcohol. And as a result of all of that, on November 1st, 2013 I stepped on a scale to realize I had lost 47. 5 pounds.

I cried like a baby. I instantly took my “after” photos and could not believe the difference.

I will never ever ever forget how I felt that day. From the moment I stepped on the scale to do my final weigh in to the moment my roommate at the time took these pictures….I will ALWAYS remember how I felt.

I remember the happiness.
The feeling of accomplishment.
The confidence I had gained.
The strength I felt.
The pride.
The rebirth of a mindset and a person.
The thought that this was only the beginning for me.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.11.51 PM

Why is this a defining moment for me?

I think back to that day and see it as a constant reminder that I can do absolutely anything I put my mind to. I think back to that day and want EVERY SINGLE PERSON I WORK WITH TO KNOW THAT FEELING. I want every single person to someday look back at their after photos and feel the sense of the accomplishment like I do when I look at mine.

The photos I took on November 1st, 2013 serve as a badge of honor to me. They were the end of an awful time frame in my life and the beginning of the most incredible.

Side by Side Results!

Side by Side Results!

Awhile back a stumbled across a quote by J.K. Rowling that I 100% could relate to, which I have shared below.

I hit rock bottom. It absolutely sucked.

However, that rock bottom became the foundation for my life. I could never be where I am now….personally, professionally, mentally, financially…..had it not been for me hitting rock bottom.

Because of that, I will continue to think of these two defining moments every single day of my life and be thankful they both happened as and when they did.

I’m proud of my failures, and I love them just as much as my triumphs. Both have made me who I am. Both have impacted the way I live my life and the way I hope to help others. And both should serve as a reminder to you that regardless of how bad you think things are or how unhappy you may be with yourself, you ALWAYS have the ability to change.

Here’s to all of our rock bottoms and the amazing things that come from them……..

Photo Courtesy of fearlesslifequotes.com.

Photo Courtesy of fearlesslifequotes.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Squash the stereotype….Italians can survive without pasta!

Little Pop Quiz for Ya….

Q: What is the one food item that is the most difficult to give up when you are trying to eat healthy AND have Italian in your blood?

A: Pasta, Pasta, Pasta

Don’t get me wrong….pasta isn’t entirely bad……especially when you eat the proper portions. However, what Italian do you know that actually eats the proper portion of lasagna, spaghetti, etc? I know I struggle with it.

Until Now!!!!

I found a way to disguise vegetables as lasagna!

It was a squash kind of week!

This week I made the most amazing lasagna that allowed me to have a pretty substantial portion. Since I am now obsessed with this recipe (I think I will be making it weekly), I had to share.

                                                      Katie’s Bombdiggity Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

         (I know what you are thinking….spaghetti squash, yeah right. Be openminded. Veggies are good for you!)

What you need:

-1 cup ricotta cheese
-2 1/2 cups of Italian turkey or chicken sausage ( I use the Fit and Active brand at Aldi’s)
-1 spaghetti squash (cooked)
-2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
-1 1/2 cups homemade tomato sauce (I use a family recipe or the one in the Fixate cookbook)

To cook the squash:

-I place mine on a cookie sheet and bake for about 55 minutes at 400 degrees. I literally do nothing to the squash other than plop it on the cookie sheet.

***Sidenote….Aldi’s presently has squash on sale for about $1.29 each! Stock up!

While squash is cooking:

-Brown the sausage (make sure to remove the casing….what a fun, slimy, gross job) and spray a casserole dish.

Once you remove the squash from the oven, set it to 375 (the temp for baking the lasagna). Cut the squash in half, remove those blasted seeds, and use a fork to remove the “spaghetti”.

Then break out your inner Italian and assemble the lasagna in the casserole dish as follows:

– Spoon about 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish
-Place spaghetti squash on top of sauce
-Add the sausage (make sure it is drained…no one likes that extra grease)
-Add 1/4 cup sauce, then 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese
-Spread ricotta
-Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella

Bake for about 15 minutes at 375.

So freaking good!

That’s it! Super easy, and it is absolutely delicious! You can change this up if you want…maybe you don’t want the meat; you can go without. Pair it with a nice salad, and your Italian heart can be happy.

21 Day Fixers, one portion of this is equivalent to ONE GREEN, ONE AND A HALF RED, HALF A BLUE, and ONE THIRD OF A PURPLE.

Don’t be a squash snob…..spaghetti squash is so versatile. And with this recipe the Italian in you doesn’t have to feel guilty about lasagna!

Enjoy, my fellow health conscientious Italians!

File Oct 21, 11 12 07 PM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers