Beast Up Cleveland!

This weekend you guys….what a wicked awesome time!!!!

If you follow me on Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram, you knew this weekend wasn’t just any old Saturday and Sunday combo….it was the weekend we brought Sagi Kalev aka The Beast to Cleveland! I’ve been waiting for this weekend for months!

I was very lucky to have been asked earlier last year to join the Cleveland Market Council, a group of amazing women who head up all of the Beachbody community events for Northeastern Ohio, and I was excited when we decided to try to bring a Beachbody super trainer to the area. Since most of us are relatively new to the council, we really wanted to start the year with a bang and impact as many people as we possibly could. During our discussion it was a no brainer that we absolutely had to bring Sagi to town…..so we got to work!

After securing Sagi we locked down the most historical venue in all of Cleveland, The Agora, known for hosting the best of the best, including Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, and Peter Frampton, but also features many local acts. Those who haven’t been to The Agora before…it’s hard to describe. It has an industrial feel to it….a little grunge…a little rock and roll….a whole bunch of character. I’ve seen many shows there throughout the years and always thought it was a cool place, and we all agreed it would be a great way to show off the historic side of Cleveland.

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In every group of friends, there is a tall tree. Somehow it is always me. 

So what all went on during the weekend?

FRIDAY

The council and I had a private dinner with Sagi and Barbie, a Superstar Diamond Beachbody coach who just happens to be Sagi’s wife. We had a private dining room at Adega, an incredible restaurant located in the best hotel in Cleveland, Metropolitan on the 9. You may remember me mentioning this spot before…we had our wedding photos taken throughout it because we loved the vibe (our best’s man Aunt and Uncle own it, so they hooked us up), and both Kyle and I had our bachelor/bachelorette parties there. If you travel to Cleveland, that’s where you have to stay….it’s the best hotel in the city.

Dinner was great…we had the chance to really get to know this man who most only knew to be a tough meathead from the workout programs Body Beast and Master’s Hammer and Chisel. It was amazing to hear him talk about various nutritional things…he actually is a clinical nutritionist…and just to see how real and down to Earth he was. I had the Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbread…try it…it’s so good! (For those of you who wondered…Sagi had a steak.) As far as attire goes, I rocked a black lace back jumpsuit that I am obsessed with….it can be glammed up or down…and paired it with red suede heels, a red clutch, and red lips!


SATURDAY

I was driving the struggle bus HARD Saturday morning, but there wasn’t a chance in hell that I was going to miss a moment of the day’s events. I left my house a little after 6am after only catching about 2 hours of sleep, hunted down the biggest coffee I could find, and started to search The Agora for a coffee IV drip I never found. The staff at The Agora was fantastic, which meant that the initial set up went very smoothly.

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A few of my amazing coaches! I love this team!

The day was jam packed! Here’s how the day broke down!

9am: Fifty people were able to be a part of a VIP experience with Sagi where he interacted with them all and discussed personal development. Personal Development is huge in our business, and Sagi is such a motivating person that I think everyone walked away feeling enlightened. At the end of the session everyone got a photo with Sagi.

10:30am: Barbie came out and addressed the audience. Those who don’t know about the ranks in Beachbody, a Superstar Diamond is the highest rank you can achieve, and this is what Barbie is. Her knowledge…her passion….I had no idea how strong of a coach she is. I feel so honored to have met her and to have learned from her.

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Barbie and I backstage

11-12:15pm: Sagi took the stage to address the crowd. He has such a great story and so much valuable content to share….he could’ve talked for hours and hours! I wrote down so many notes!

12:45pm-1:30pm: Sagi led a workout for all attendees. I personally didnt participate and spent the workout running around capturing pics and video, but I do know my team mentioned how brutal it was…their legs were on fire!

1:30-2:15pm: Prize giveaway! Sagi and Barbie were so generous and gave away so many great prizes! Attendees won hats, water bottles, watches, autographed posters…and a handful won his book.

Overall the event was a huge success. Our only glitch was that The Agora had some issues with the boilers, so it was a little chilly in the venue. That was eliminated once the workout began though!

Here’s a little recap of the event from my perspective:

Look like fun? The Market Council hosts events every quarter. This has been the biggest to date, but we have big plans to bring other celebrity trainers to the area as well as top coaches full of valuable info. These events aren’t just for coaches….anyone who loves fitness and health can benefit! I’d love for you to join us next time!

Make your mark on this world…..maybe it’s on a wall. Maybe it’s by inspiring someone. Maybe it’s doing a good deed. Regardless, make it.

Have a week full of sparkle, friends!

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The famous graffiti wall! My name is now on it not far from Elvis!

 

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#Lashgamestrong

Oh, lashes…..how I love you. Let me count thy ways.

I talk a lot about consistency with workouts and nutrition and do my best to be consistent, but I’m human….so sometimes I fall off the wagon. When it comes to my lashes though….those…those I am consistent with every.single.day. I never fall off the lash wagon!

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So many lashes, so little time. 

I get a lot of questions about them….like why i love them, what ones are my favorite, why don’t I try extensions, why don’t I try this lash product or lash product, yadda yadda. Let me break down my lashes for y’all.

Let’s address extensions first and foremost…….

I was born with lovely lashes (thanks, parents) and honestly only used mascara up until about four years ago or so. Occasionally I wore falsies for a special event or wedding, but that only  happened a handful of times a year, not daily. As I got more and more into the makeup scene and doing makeup for friends, I realized I loved the look of longer, fuller lashes, so I made the decision to get eyelash extensions.

I waited a while to do this, researching Do’s and Don’ts because I had heard horror stories about lash extensions. On the flip, my dear friend and personal makeup consultant, Marenda, had gotten them done, as had my cousin, and both had fabulous experiences.

My appointment was scheduled over Fourth of July weekend in 2015, and I conveniently made it on the day of my engagement photos. In my mind it was the perfect time to get them done, and I was excited at the thought of these super glam lashes in our photos.

The place….exactly the kind of place I would usually go…trendy and modern, and my lash “expert” was the kind of person who seemed to really know her stuff….at first. I had called ahead of time to ask questions about how they did things and wanted to make sure they did not use a glue with formaldehyde, which is common in glues purchased overseas. They assured me they didn’t.

I’m going to spare you the complete details of the experience because it was wretched, but I will tell you it left me calling Marenda, who was on her way over to do my makeup for the engagement shoot, in tears.  The lashes looked terrible….wonky like Helen Keller had applied them because they were all curving in different directions, and the “expert” told me when I was paying that the glue in fact had formaldehyde in it. Cool.

Ren saved the day for the engagement photo shoot (thank heavens), but the weeks to follow included my lashes falling out and, at one point, me having barely any lashes at all. It was a sweet look, let me tell you. In order to avoid looking scary, I started applying my falsies daily. As my lashes grew back, I continued to wear falsies because they didn’t grow back the way they were before (Spoiler alert: they STILL aren’t the way they used to be). I’ve been in a serious relationship with lashes ever since.

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Thankful for a talented friend for making my lashes look great for this shoot!

What are the lash products I swear by?

I have an extensive collection of lashes ranging from drugstore brands to more expensive ones. My favorites are from House of Lashes and are the Heartbreakers, but I also love the Faux Mink lashes from Lilly Lashes…..I wear these a lot when I want a more dramatic look. My wedding look featured the Miami lashes from Lilly!

The most important thing with lashes….whether they are cheap ones or the more expensive ones is THE GLUE! Having quality glue is the most important thing. I swear by the HOL Glue and recommend it to everyone….trust me on this! It is worth the cost and is the best product out there for lashes. I carry the travel size glue with me at all times, and the full size is always stocked up. This product is formaldehyde, phthalates, and paragons free and great if you have sensitive eyes.

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My wedding day lashes.

Were lashes tricky at first? Absolutely. There were days where I couldn’t get them to stay on…or they were off centered….or I didnt let the glue get tacky enough to apply them so they were a hot mess and my fingers got sticky. It took awhile for me to get to the point where I could apply them in less than a minute per lash.

If you are new to lash wear, here are a few basic Katie tips to help you out:

1. After applying glue to the lash, let it chill for about thirty seconds before attempting application. This is important….they adhere better when the glue is tacky.

2. Purchase quality glue (as already addressed).

3. Realize you may have to trim the lashes down. Sometimes I purchase a pair and realize they are too long to fit on my lid, so I have to cut a small piece of the end off. You want to wear the lash, not have the lash where you.

4. Have a storage system for them. Guys, lashes can be reused again and again. Don’t toss them after a single use….clean them and reuse! I use rubbing alcohol to clean mine…easy and inexpensive.

5. Tweezers are the best applicator!

Here’s a quick video I made awhile back to help you with eyelash application! Give it a try…..and if you DO opt for extensions….do you research so you don’t have a horrible experience like I did.

Why do I lash? I love changing my eye look daily….the love how easy they are to wear….how inexpensive they are…and just how badass they make me feel. 

Long live the Lash!

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Move over Buffalo Wings…there’s a new kid in town!

I am forever trying to find healthier alternatives to favorites in the food department. Buffalo chicken anything is one of my top picks, so imagine my delight when awhile back I stumbled across a recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower Bites!

Hmm….a veggie that had my beloved buffalo sauce (see ya Wing cravings) AND could be worked into my meal plan without guilt? Yes, please!

I shared that I made this recipe on my Facebook page the other day and was immediately flooded with messages asking for the recipe.

Here ya go folks….it is so super easy!

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Want them more wingy? I have an alternate recipe that involves panko crumbs that I can share, too!

                                                  EASY BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES

You will need:
-6 cups of cauliflower florets
-3/4 cup Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
-1 tablespoon butter, melted
-2 tsp garlic powder

****You can use Frank’s Hot Sauce in place of the Buffalo if you prefer!

How to make:

Mix all ingredients minus the cauliflower in a bowl. After cutting up cauliflower, place in a large gallon sized Ziploc bag. Pour buffalo mixture into bag and shake until cauliflower is completely covered.

Spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with light ranch or bleu cheese dressing. You can serve hot or cold!

Here’s a look at the rest of my meal plan for the week! A new challenge group begins tomorrow, and I can’t wait to get back into a groove with my challengers! The cauliflower bites are an evening snack for me.

Hope you all have a fantastic, healthy week full of sparkle!

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It’s a Ghostbusters themed group…naturally my meal planner will be the same!

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My favorite finds of 2016

At the start of a new year I love to share some things that I fell in love with during the year prior. With my Sparkle of Dull monthly segment and just overall love for shopping I always come across way more than I could ever review on the blog, so a yearly wrap up is the winning solution. Plus, I find things that aren’t necessarily beauty related but are worthy of a shout out, too! Here are some of my favorites from 2016!

(And because someone will ask….no, I’m not paid to promote these items. I just really freaking love them, ok?)

1. Glam Glow Mega Illuminating Moisturizer.

I am very focused on taking great care of my skin, and this product line has a lot to do with it. I use the moisturizer every single day, and have some of the masks as well. This product has an amazing smell to it and is lightly tinted, so if you are someone who doesn’t like to wear a lot of makeup, this can help you with a little coverage while still moisturizing your skin. Some people may be scared away by the price, but you don’t need a lot every day, therefore, it lasts quite some time.

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I purchase mine at Sephora!

2. Matcha Green Tea Powder

Before we bought our house I began a very healthy/unhealthy addiction with a green tea smoothie from a local smoothie shop called Pulp (if you are local check them out). After going there countless times I determined I wanted to be able to make my own version of this treat, and I found the secret to the recipe to be a quality green tea powder. You can do a lot with this product….it’s also fabulous when mixed with hot water and a little creamer!!!! To duplicate the smoothie you just blend the matcha powder with soy milk and greek yogurt. All the Yesssssssss!

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Miss my Pulp smoothies these days!

3. Altar’d State clothing

Honestly, the entire store makes it on this list! I discovered this company earlier in the year and spent quite a bit of time trolling on its website. Then, out of nowhere, the shopping gods provided a Christmas miracle and put a brick and mortar store in local mall. I almost peed my pants! This store is full of Boho-chic clothing options, cute home decor, and whimsical gifts, and the company itself has a strong philosophy on charity and giving back. I really like that in a company and support their mission 100%. If you haven’t heard of this company yet, check them out!

4. Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Scrubber

Let’s be honest here…if you are someone doing the dishes, you have probably encountered a little situation called the Smelly Sponge. It’s gross, right? This product (which you can also find on Amazon, Walmart, Sears, etc) is made of silicone and dries faster, eliminating bacteria that can thrive on a sponge. They also come in cute colors! Mine is green to match my green kitchen decor!

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5. Best Friends by Sheri Cuddle Cup Dog Beds

I’m guessing 99% of you know that I am crazy about dogs, but for those of you who don’t know….I’m crazy aboutdogs, especially my little guys. One is a Pug and the other is a Boston Terrier, both breeds known for loving to cuddle. In October I found the Cuddle Cup while wandering the aisles of our local Homegoods and decided to buy one for the dogs. The next day we went back and bought two more for our house and two for my mother in law. They are extremely  soft, come in several styles and sizes, and allow dogs who like to curl up to do so and feel protected. I have two in my office so the boys can hang with me while I work….Bubba (on the left) is in the Deep Dish Cuddler and Murphy (right) is in the Round Cuddler Bed, also known as the Mini Throne Cuddle Cup. The outer part is a gray suede to match my office decor and they feature a sherpa lining. If they were big enough I’d cuddle in them………

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My little loves

6. Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Coconut Primer

For real for real….any time something says “coconut” I have to try it…..coconut is my #1 scent of choice! I had read many reviews on this product earlier in the year and finally gave in to try it….it did not disappoint. The coconut smell is not super potent if you aren’t in the coconut fan club like I am, but the coverage is great and it has awesome hold. It also makes my skin feel super soft after application, and I like that a lot! If you are someone with dry skin, this won’t dry you out or make your skin flake out…it actually doubles as a moisturizer!

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Coconut, how I love thee. Let me count thy ways.

7. Everfitte Workout Tanks

I’ve always favored the small shops on Easy…heck, the majority of my wedding was made possible by the vendors on the site! I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across this shop earlier in the year and immediately fell in love with their sassy workout tanks. They constantly have deals on tanks if you are shoppertunistic, and the quality of the shirts is great…super soft and breathable for workouts or just relaxing! They have a saying that can work for anyone….whether you love workouts, wine, or The Bachelor……

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Because I love carbs….and I’ll never quit them. 

8. Layer Cake Soap by Lush

I am forever raving about my love for all things Lush, but I was pleasantly surprised this year when I traded in my Shooting Stars soap for the Layer Cake soap! I’ll be honest…I was drawn to the product because of its beautiful rainbow colors, but once I smelled it I knew it was a winner. Each piece will look different, some more rainbow-like than others, but all smell fabulous, as it is made up of juices like orange, pineapple, and raspberry to name a few!

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Even Murphy agrees…it is fabulous!

9. Beat by Dre Headphone Stand

This item is a must have if you have headphones! I recently was gifted a pair of Wireless Beats from my coach Laura after hitting the huge business milestone of Success Club Legend, and I knew that 1) I would be using them constantly so I needed them handy and 2) I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be damaged. This stand is sleek, stylish, and a great to ensure my headphones are nearby when I’m doing work (I use them for personal development every morning) and out of the reach of little dogs who may mistake it for a cool toy/bone.

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Ahh…the romantic glow of my Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp in the background…..

10. New Balance Studio Skin

This product is for my fellow sock haters….and those of you who need a little something to help you get your workouts done if you are barefoot. The studio skins have just the right amount of traction and cushioning without feeling like a shoe, and I think they are super cute, too! I heard about them from some of my yoga buddies who had been wearing them for class….definitely worth the investment!

11. On Demand Fitness Membership

Guys….I’ve been talking about this a lot of Facebook because I am just so freaking in love with Beachbody On Demand. This is what I use every day for my workouts and is similar to Netflix….I log in from my iPad, computer, tv, wherever…pick what workout I want to do, and bam! There it is! Last week it was announced that through the month of January there would be a special bundle giving you access to every single workout every created by BB, plus portion containers plus a month supply of my beloved Shakeology for the super low price of $199…..I was floored! All that for an entire year of resources to help you reach your goals? Yes, please! I’m excited to help everyone find their soul mate workout with this system….and did I mention that everyone in your house can use it, too? Talk about a great deal!

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Best $16 a month I’ve ever spent!

12. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea palette

Tarte is one of those staple brands for me when it comes to makeup, and this palette is at the top of the list. It seems like I get more compliments on the colors in this little number than any other eye shadow palette I own. It’s a great combo of browns and purple-brown colors, and they have a rich shimmer to them. This palette is great for those of you who like more natural colors on your lids or don’t like to do a bunch of fancy schmancy smokey eye techniques.

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As always, I could include about a million products on this list, but I have to draw the line somewhere…otherwise your wallets and bank accounts would hate me! The items included in this list can be purchased from multiple sites (for the most part), so do some research and find the best deal for you!

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017 full of lots of wonderful Sparkle Babe approved items!

sparkleon

 

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Time to Fly.

Back in July our company announced the release of a brand new program, Core de Force, that would be launching the beginning of November. Of course, I was over the moon excited.

I always love the release of a new program because it is a new challenge for me, and since I want to educate my clients properly I always do them so I can offer advice and support. This one, being an MMA inspired program, was definitely something I had little experience with but loved the concept of. All I knew was that it would be 30 days in length with workouts ranging in length from 16 minutes to 47, and that it required no equipment.

I was even more excited about the release date, which fell at the very beginning of November. November, by far, is the hardest month for me, and I knew this year in particular would be extremely difficult. The middle of the month brought my grandmother’s birthday, and it would be the first time in my entire 35 years on this planet that we did not get to celebrate with her. A few short days later would mark the one year anniversary of the passing of my father.

I miss my dad and grandma every single day, but just knowing these particular dates were approaching meant that I had to find a way to attack this difficult time. The old me would’ve eaten my feelings…..like wheels of brie cheese and stuffed crust pizzas and ice cream out the ying yang….and I didn’t want that to happen. For some reason these past couple of months I have been a lot angrier at the fact that my dad was taken from our family so young, and to me, a program that allowed me to get out my aggression would be just the perfect solution.

Enter Core de Force.I was determined to make this workout my saving grace as emotionally I was falling apart.

For 30 days I channeled my inner bad ass. I completed workouts that involved Muay Thai, Capoeira, and Jiu Jitsu, and I documented everything on The Sparkle Fitness Babe. Each day I shared with my followers a snippet of the workout I had just done as well as pow punch picture with the day. I NEEDED to document this program this way….I needed my followers to keep me accountable if it was getting late and my video wasn’t up yet. People often give us coaches crap for posting our selfies or our workouts or our meals on social media, but you know what? We use social media as our workout diary….this is what keeps US on track. It might not be your bag, but to me I need to know someone will call me out if they don’t see me post about a workout….and I like to track my progress this way. Don’t be afraid to share when you get your sweat on…or eat something fabulous…if people hate on you for holding yourself accountable then they have no business being in your life.

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30 Days of Accountability, one punch at a time.

When I started this program I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I hoped deep down I would. I love any workout with high intensity, which I knew this program had, but I worried some of the moves wouldn’t be up my alley.

I was wrong.

Every day I felt challenged by this program. Every day I felt stronger. Every day my technique got better. I looked forward to my workouts with this program every single day, which is a rarity for me. I found that I am actually pretty good at these moves and love MMA workouts. I am now considering joining an MMA gym to further explore my new love.

My favorite workout: MMA Plyo. My least favorite: Dynamic Strength. The one workout I still throw in every so often: 5 Minute Core of the Floor….Wowsers does that burn!

Who is this program good for? Any man or woman who likes a challenging, high intensity program. I do not recommend this for beginners, though if you really wanted to challenge yourself you could do it….I just personally think this is a program you should build up to. Some of the moves were incredibly difficult for me at first, and at times I got a little discouraged, even though I knew eventually I would get the move. I’d hate for someone to start with this, get down on themselves, and quit. I personally think this is a great program to toss in for some cross training if you are a runner or if you need to add cardio to your weight lifting routine but hate cardio like running.

How did I do with the program? Overall, I am very pleased!

I always take my Before and After photos first thing in the morning, so I always look like a hot mess, but that’s okay….I didn’t even care that I have the most ridiculous derp face in my after photo.

Overall I lost 5 pounds, which was fine…I’m not really interested in losing any weight…my focus is just to tone up and get stronger so I can kick American Ninja Warrior tryouts’ ass. I lost 2 and a half inches from my waist (it has CORE in the title for a reason), plus a half inch from each thigh and one inch from my hip.

Was I perfect during this program? Hell to the NO. I did kind of eat my feelings a little bit on the anniversary of my dad’s passing….i did indulge in lots of delicious things at Thanksgiving…I did celebrate a baby shower for a friend with a cupcake or two. I’m ok with that. This journey I’m on and this coaching thing I do….it is not about perfection. It’s about balance and has its ups and downs. I had loosened up on my nutrition the few months prior, so I was glad to get my abs back after this 30 days program.

And you know what? It proved to be the best outlet for my grief and emotions during the month of November. Ever hear that saying the exercise is the best form of therapy? It’s true.

I already can’t wait to do another round of this program, which I will be starting February 7th. After completing the first round of Core, I debated if I should do back to back rounds, but I opted to jump back to one of my other favorite programs, 22 Minute Hardcorps, which is a 60 day program for some variety. Once I finish it up I will be back for another 30 days of roundhouses!

If you are someone who has been wanting to make a healthier change, but don’t know how…just know I am here to help. You don’t have to round house or throw punches like I did in this program…I literally have a solution for everyone depending on your fitness level and interests. Not only can I hook you up with a great workout program and structured meal plan, but I can plug you into one of our online groups that help you stay on track and hold you accountable.

Register for my January Challenge Group HERE!

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Remember guys…. we all have the power to get healthier and stronger. You just have to be willing to get over the excuses and make the decision to start. Starting is the hardest part…I remember how scared I was when I got my challenge bundle in the mail….how afraid I was to fail.

What if you fail?

Oh, but what if you fly??????

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Woohoo!! Program graduate!

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November : Sparkle or Dull?

Guys!

This Sparkle or Dull blog….what a headache it has been! The month is nearly over!

I had gotten quite a few requests to review a certain product, and it took me nearly 8 weeks to receive it! Apparently my package got lost in the mail not once, but TWICE, but it finally arrived two days ago, so I jumped right to the review. I was assured that is not the norm with the company’s shipping….so if you order from the same site I share below, don’t fret! Since I was hell bent on reviewing the item AND I don’t do a December Sparkle or Dull (I do a wrap up of some of my favorite finds instead), I had to wait to try the product out before posting!

Product #1: Pantene Pro-V Root Reboot Dry Shampoo

First of all, this isn’t the item I was waiting on…..this you can find at any drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

I recently was reading a Cosmopolitan magazine (Yes, I still like to read them) and stumbled across a list of their best beauty finds of the year. I disagreed with most of them (shocker), but I was intrigued when they named this Pantene product as the best dry shampoo.

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You guys all know how I feel about dry shampoo….I wash my hair about once every two weeks so I rely on a quality dry shampoo to save me the other days. I have been having a love affair with Batiste dry shampoo for quite some time and did not have any desire to cheat on it….but thought just trying out this product would be ok. Who knows, I may love it more!

For starters, they aren’t far off in price. The Pantene product was about $6 at CVS when I snagged it, and Batiste is usually about $8. I always take advantage of the Buy 1, Get one 1/2 off sale on that, and when you pair with a coupon at Ulta it actually ends up being cheaper.

The point of dry shampoo is obviously to suck up the grease or nastiness hanging out in your hair, and Batiste does that incredibly well. When I tried this Root Reboot…..I did not think the same. At first it felt similar to the Batiste, but after I used my token hairdryer trick, I realized my hair still looked greasy and gross. The only benefit to it: It smelled nice, but then again, so does Batiste, and I have options for scents with that one.

This may be a better product for baby fine hair? I’m not sure, but to be named Best Dry Shampoo of the year by Cosmo SOMEONE had to like it…just not sure what hair type that person had. I let one of my pals with finer hair take it and am waiting back for a report from her.

Final Verdict: DULL.

Product #2: Max Makeup Cherimoya Lip Tattoo

Ok….this is the item I waited and waited and waited for!

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Couple of things to talk about first…..I’ve been completely skeptical of these kinds of products since they hit the market. I mean….you put something on your lips, let it harden, peel it off, and the color stays? Yeah right. There are so many different kinds of lip tattoos out there (the one I got was temporarily sold out when I visited the site to link it for this blog) that I had a difficult time narrowing down what one to try. Honestly, I just went with the first one that popped up, and I have tried Cherimoya items before with success, so I figured it was a good option.

This definitely deserved a full video review so this blog is turning into a mini vlog.

My pieces of advice just to recap some of the things in the video:

1. Always look at the before and AFTER color swatches before purchasing…they will be different.

2. Use a lip brush to apply product evenly.

3. Make sure it is completely dried before peeling.

4. Be careful…it will dye your hands, clothes, etc.

5. I recommend exfoliating before use!

Definitely glad I gave this a chance and am excited to try more colors!

Final Verdict: SPARKLE!!!!

If you try a different brand, share your experience with me! I want to know what everyone likes when it comes to similar products!

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Let’s play with Diapers!

If you are like me, you spend countless hours on Pinterest saving potential DIY projects to boards with the intention of someday creating them. Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m a pinaholic who NEVER gets around to this projects!

I finally finished up with the wedding circuit (we had 8 this year!) just in time for baby shower mania. I love that so many of my friends are expanding their families…and determined it was finally the time to make one of the projects hidden away in my Pinterest black hole: the diaper cake!

One of my rockstar coaches, Nancy, had been making them for awhile, so between her wisdom and the various Pinterest boards this project seemed like it would be a piece of cake. It was! I was so pleased with how easy the diaper cake was to make, and I loved that I could customize it for whomever it was going to!

Let me walk you through how I made this super cute dinosaur themed diaper cake for my friend Ashley’s baby shower!

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My diaper cake!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

-Box of diapers, any brand. The amount depends on how large of a cake you are planning to make. I bought a box of around 50 Swaddlers (whatever that means) and used the majority of them for the size I made.

-A base. I used a cardboard cake base, but you could use whatever you want that is sturdy.

-Small rubber bands. I purchased a box of tiny rubber bands for hair (or braces) at the dollar store.

-Large rubber bands to hold the layers together.

-Ribbon.

-Decorations of your choosing. 

-Hot Glue Gun. I used this to secure the ends of the ribbon.

-A center base. I used a paper towel roll. You could also use a wrapping paper roll and cut to the correct size if you want to go a little bit bigger.

To assemble:

The most tedious task of this entire cake is rolling the diapers. Roll each diaper as tight as you can and secure with one of the small rubber bands. I put on an episode of Sherlock and knocked all of these out at once just to get through it! After the diapers were rolled, construction of this cake only took about 10 minutes.

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Who knew there were so many kinds of diapers?!?!?!?

You want to form your layers, but to make sure they stay put you want to secure your center base to the bottom of the base. To make my paper towel roll attach to the base, my mother had the idea to just cut the ends of the roll so the bottom fanned out a bit, which we then taped to the base. Nancy, my diaper cake making muse, actually uses a bottle of Barefoot wine as the center of her diaper cakes….a great option if you know mama is a wine drinker anxiously awaiting the day she can have a sip. Here’s an aerial view of layer one of my cake.

****PIECE OF ADVICE…..those of you who know ZERO about diapers like me…..some of them are printed. I did not realize this until I started rolling the diapers and realized I had bought Winnie the Pooh diapers. Fortunately the green coloring worked with my dinosaur theme, and I hid most of the Poohs, but be cautious!

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Once you have placed the rolled diapers around your center and have the layer the size you want it, you will want to place a rubber band around the ENTIRE layer. This helps keep them all from moving. Some tutorials excluded this step and just advised using ribbon, but I wasn’t taking any chances….I used both.

Repeat this for remaining layers. I wanted a three tiered cake, but you may want more or less depending on your vision.

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Here is a look at all three layers of the cake. Your center base will be hidden by the third layer. Look at all of those Poohs………..

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I really wanted to do a dino themed cake because, well, I freakin love dinosaurs and thought they would be super cute for Ashley’s little babe, Emerson, when he arrives in January. You don’t have to get crazy with decor….I kept it pretty simple using dinosaur onesies and little socks, as well as a teething ring and pacifiers. I tucked the items into the layers of the cake, but in some tutorials I saw people roll them like they did the diapers and place them in the actual layers.

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My absolute favorite thing about this cake? The adorable dinosaur slippers that I used as the cake topper! I found them at Wal-Mart of all places, but when I saw them I knew they had to be a part of this creation. I finished the cake off my securing a piece of ribbon around each layer.

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I was so pleased with how the cake turned out and felt like it was a fun and creative way to bring an item that I know the baby will be needing! I definitely encourage you to make your own for the next shower you have to attend!

Check this off my Pinterest “To Do” List. Only about 11,543,857,344 to go!

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Places to Visit: All Good Things!

Things I like: eating healthy and supporting small businesses.

Living near two major cities, I have never had an issue finding great local joints that are full of healthy options or that cater specifically to a vegan/organic/non gmo kind of lifestyle. The people of Cleveland and Akron have lots of options, and I love it.

The problem has never been finding healthy options on the go here….it’s when I go back to visit my family in Columbiana County when I struggle. Lucky for me my mother stumbled across a relatively new restaurant, All Good Things, not far from her house and suggested we visit. Since her initial suggestion I have visited All Good Things every single time I have been home, some visited two or three times. I guess you can say I like it a little bit…..

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Enjoying a little Pumpkin Nice Cream to go!

One thing that I realized after visiting AGT for the first time was that this restaurant was practically in my mother’s back yard and had been there for awhile….and I had no clue that it existed! Instantly I began sharing my experience there with my local friends who I knew would enjoy the menu and items that were available to purchase, but I wanted to write a quick blog on the restaurant for those of you who are local and don’t know much about this diamond in the ruff local spot!

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All Good Things owners Melissa and Quinn

Owner Quinn Colella answered some questions I had about how All Good Things came to be!

What inspired you to open All Good Things?
Quinn: Years before the conception of All Good Things, we were both into eating clean and high quality food. We enjoyed supporting small, local farmers and would frequent the farmer’s markets on weekends whenever we could. I also spent a couple years on an organic vegetable farm learning the in and outs of farm life. We opened All Good Things in November of 2013 in hopes to fill the void of local and organic food options for our surrounding community. Since then, we have listened to the demand of our customers and have grown into a place for not only groceries, but also a place to stop for lunch and dinner.

How do you determine what items to add to the menu?
Quinn: With the adjustments on our menu we take into consideration a variety of scenarios. We have plenty of individuals who are new to organics, people who are gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and so on. We take all of our customers dietary needs into consideration when placing new menu items on our menu. Another important aspect we pay close attention to is seasonality. We use fresh, organic produce in our menu and have to use foods that are readily available and let’s be honest, more tasty as they grow in season.

How often do you change your menu?
Quinn: We like to offer food items that reflect the seasons, so we tend to offer two menus a year, a spring/summer and a fall/winter menu.

What is your favorite item on your menu?
Quinn: It’s hard to find a favorite item, but without a doubt our jackfruit has a lot of interest from our customers. We have used jackfruit in several dishes and people love it.

Do you grow your own produce? If not, do you purchase from local vendors?
Quinn: As running a business is rather time consuming, unfortunately we don’t grow our own produce. We do however have weekly certified organic produce deliveries to ensure freshness and quality. During the growing season in our area we do support local farmers who grow with organic standards.

What makes All Good Things unique to the area?
Quinn: All Good Things is unique because of the food we carry, the close relationships we have with our customers and the message we represent- to support local. In addition to our food menu we do offer local, pasture-raised meat, grass fed dairy, organic produce, natural groceries and locally made items from artisans from our community. Numerous times throughout the year we offer juice cleanses to customers. We use 100% organic fruits and vegetables and use a cold-press method to ensure there is very little nutrient loss. The cleanses consist of 6- 16 oz drinks a day which help to “reset” and balance your body.

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All Goods Things has a great shopping area with items for your pantry!


As someone who has tried the majority of the items on the All Good Things menu, I have to share my favorite: this Quinoa salad! I love eating it with one of their grilled cheese sandwiches on semolina bread! I’m also a huge fan of their jackfruit tacos and their mocha frappe smoothie! They Nice cream is also a great sweet treat….it inspired my own Nice Cream recipe that I make for myself when I’m not back at my mother’s.

I encourage you to check out this small business and grab lunch. Their menu is fantastic, their customer service is great, and whether or not your goal is to eat healthy, you will be feeding your body a delicious meal made from quality ingredients that is good for you. If you have an upcoming event and want to host it at the restaurant, All Good Things even has special event menus and rates!

I’m so thankful that my mother suggested All Good Things to me and can’t wait to hear what you think of it when you visit! Make sure you tag me in a post or send me what you tried!

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Quinoa Salad! 

All Good Things is open Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm and on Saturdays from 10am-3pm. They are located on South Main Street in Columbiana.

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Why did the Chicken cross the road?

To get to Katie’s kitchen for meal prep time, that’s why!

I can’t believe it is meal prep time again…the week has flown by! And this isn’t just any week…..It is the final full week of Core de Force!

If you have been following me on The Sparkle Fitness Babe, you’ve been watching my journey through the program thus far. I am so excited to share my results with you all when I wrap the program up in just 10 short days!!!!

As I head into the last week of a program I always dial in my nutrition more than usual. This means No Cheat Meals and a lot of repetition because I know that is what helps me be the most successful with my meal plan. You may not like repeating meals, but studies have shown that it is directly related to staying on track with your meals! I can attest to this first hand.

I’ve been craving chicken lately, so I am making my favorite chicken and serving it with two of my standard faves: green beans and sweet potatoes (made in the crock pot of course!) and a dish I haven’t made for ages, ratatouille!

Before we go any further….how do I make my chicken? A simple and delicious recipe, that’s how. Mix 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper and spread over boneless skinless chicken breasts. Bake for 45 minutes at 375! This is how I typically make it and love that it isn’t your same ol’ boring chicken recipe. Try it!

Here’s how my meal plan looks for the week!

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Breakfast: Back to the Basics for me! Egg Whites and Oatmeal (I make with cinnamon) are the perfect combo of protein and carbs to start the day. This may be boring to some people, but for me, it is simplicity at its finest.

Lunch: All about my staples this week…..chicken, green beans, and sweet potatoes. I literally could eat sweet potatoes for every meal, but will just be enjoying them for lunch this week. Like I mentioned, I cook them in the crockpot which is super easy! The weekend includes me traveling back and forth to my mom’s as well as a baby shower, which means I get to visit my favorite local place, All Good Things, for lunch! If you haven’t tried this spot yet I will be sharing a blog on it this week!

Snacks: Canteloupe, Shakeology Protein Bites, and Shakeology at night!

Dinner: More chicken, only i am pairing it with my ratatouille recipe! Whenever I make this and tell people what it is called, they look at me like I am nuts! It’s a great spin on a veggie dish….try it!

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You might still be on the fence with making this….so here is a look at the finished product:

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Last week I make crockpot pork carnitas and had a strong interest in the recipe, so I wanted to share with you here! I love this recipe because it is super easy, flavorful, and it is versatile. I had the meat in true carnita form in a corn tortilla and also made salad with it a few nights. Here’s the recipe!

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Ingredients for Pork Loin Rub:
-2 tsp cumin
-2 tbl chili powder
-1/2 tsp cloves
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic power
-1 tsp oregano

Mix all spices together and rub over 3 lbs of pork loin. Place pork in crockpot with one bay leaf and about 1 1/2 cups of water. I cook mine on low for about 8 hours, checking the pork every few hours to make sure it wasn’t getting dried out. If you notice this, add a bit more water! Once cooked, shred the pork.

You can top your carnitas with whatever you like, but we typically use black beans, shredded lettuce, avocado, shredded cheese, and brown rice. If you like your corn tortillas crisper, place in over for about 10 minutes at 350!

Top with a cilantro lime dressing! You can make this by mixing 1/4 cup lime juice with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and cilantro.

Minimal effort for a great 21 Day fix approved dinner that makes a nice amount for the week or for your family!

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A beautiful dinner!

I’m ready to attack this week….I hope you are, too. If you are still feeling the post holiday hangover and bloat, tomorrow is a brand new day. Make great choices with your nutrition, get a good sweat in, and drink lots of water!

I believe in you!

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Things your Beachbody Coach Wants You to Know

When I began my journey with online fitness and wellness coaching a little over three years ago , I had no clue what I was doing. I did know I was starting something incredible…but I had so many questions that I kept to myself. With so many people reaching out inquiring about programs and solutions….especially with New Year’s and resolutions looming….I wanted to take a minute to share a few things that I, as your coach (or future coach) want you to know.

1. I want to help you….and will continue to help you….long past your initial purchase. My role as your coach is to help you for as long as you need it….whether that be for a month, a program, a year, or forever. My customers always have access to one on one support and all of my challenge groups, as my goal is to help you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself. I don’t mindread though(unfortunately)….so please don’t hesitate to tell me if you need more help!

2. I want to see those sweaty selfies and pictures of your food! I read somewhere recently that one of the top reasons why people are defriended on Facebook is because they post pictures of their food. Are you serious???!!!! I am proud of my clients when they share healthy changes they are making, and it makes me sad that some people are afraid they will be the butt of other people’s jokes when they share something healthy they are doing. Let me be real: I post my sweaty selfies because I need the accountability, and I know there are people who will shoot me a message if I don’t share something about a workout to make sure things are ok. When it comes to sharing what I am eating….I hope it encourages someone to try a new recipe or get past the idea that eating healthy is difficult or bland. When you share what you are eating for dinner, my wheels are turning and I am looking at a new addition for my next meal plan.

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3. I get you free stuff! When you purchase a bundle from a coach, you get a special thank you gift….a FREE workout! Having the ability to be in my challenge groups allows you to win lots of fun prizes, and once you finish a program I help you get your free completion t-shirt! Free stuff is lovely. Don’t pretend like it isn’t. Purchasing from a coach is different from getting programs from a random site….here’s a little more about that……

4. I struggle with workouts and eating healthy, too. I think a lot of people are intimidated by working with a coach because they think they have to be perfect and never mess up a meal plan or skip a workout. WRONG! Guys, I mess up all the time! I practice a life of balance, so I eat clean 80% of the time, but sometimes I overindulge more than I want. Some mornings I don’t want to workout and press the snooze button. Some days my workouts straight up suck and I don’t give it my all. The joy of working with a coach is having accountability and someone who has solutions when these things come up. Fitness is a journey with ups and downs…we all have them….but it sure is nice to have someone in your corner when you are having a down day to help power you through it.

5. I will take you back regardless of how many times you break up with me. Life happens. You may not finish a program. You may disappear in a challenge group. You might ignore my emails checking in on your progress for a month straight. It’s ok….when you are ready to get back on track, I will take you back, no worries.I just want to help you reach whatever goal you have!

6. Yes, I really do love Shakeology. Giving this product a chance was the best thing I ever did for my health. I realized very early on that it played a HUGE part in the weight loss success I had and it is the saving grace every night when my chocolate cravings fire up.  If you are starting a program and not seeing the results you want, your nutrition needs to be looked at, and, as your coach, I am most definitely going to recommend this bad boy. Don’t compare this item to another shake…there isn’t one out there that can compare. Comparing this shake to those is like comparing the rides at DisneyWorld to the horsey ride in the food court at the mall. I don’t just talk the talk with the products Beachbody offers; I genuinely love them and value what they do for my health and longevity.

7. No, I don’t love every program Beachbody has, and I will be honest with you when it comes to them. I’m not some robot….and I am very opinionated. I’ve tried pretty much every single program we have to offer because I think it is important to know first hand what is great or not so great about a program, and I want to be able to answer any question a client has. I’ve fallen in love with many and hated some as well. My goal is to help connect you to the right program, so I will always share with you what recommendations I think would be best based on what your goals are and what you like.

8. I love what I do, and I truly want everyone to find something they love like this. I’d love everyone to be a coach, but I know it isn’t for everyone. I’m sad when people write off what I do, but I have learned that if someone feels that way they don’t really know me and what makes me tick. I live for helping others and sharing my sparkle with everyone I meet. I want to make the lives of everyone I know better in whatever way I can. It look me 32 years to find this opportunity. If you haven’t found something that lights a fire in your soul yet, maybe you are overlooking it. I’d love for you to see what I see in coaching.

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Enjoying the view from our balcony on last year’s All Expenses Paid Cruise to the Bahamas and Jamaica.

My team and I are hosting an online open house that is sharing a behind the scenes look at coaching this Sunday, the 27th. We will be answering lots more questions and sharing more of our hearts with you about why we love this business. Join us! You have nothing to lose and can see if it is something you want to learn more about! Fill out this quick form so I know to add you, and connect with me on Facebook by searching for The Sparkle Fitness Babe!

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