Are muffins just naked cupcakes???

I used to think so, but then I started to find delicious recipes that made me love muffins as much as their cousin cupcake….and this recipe is one of them!

Since it is October, I can completely embrace my status as a Pumpkin-a-holic! I know I’m not alone with this….and my fellow basic bitches will agree. All pumpkin everything errrryyyyyddayyyyyyyy.

Lately I’ve been baking like a maniac, and everything seems to incorporate pumpkin in some way. It’s a great way to make (some) dishes healthier, but the recipe I’m going to sure isn’t one of those, but it is a tasty one!

Whether you want a nice pumpkin snack or a pumpkin muffin to pair with your morning coffee, this is the recipe to make!

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These are super easy and great for Fall!

                                    Katie’s Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins
Ingredients:

For muffins:
-2 large eggs
-1 3/4 cups flour (I use whole wheat but you can use all purpose)
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tbl pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-15 oz can of pumpkin (make sure it is pure  pumpkin puree)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 packed brown sugar
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 tbl vanilla extract

For cream cheese mixture:
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-8 oz cream cheese
-1 large egg yolk

Line muffin tin with liners as oven preheats to 375 degrees. Combine pumpkin spice, baking soda, flour, and salt using a whisk. Set aside after well combined. In a separate bowl, beat vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs, then whisk in the flour mixture until smooth. Fill muffin tin with mixture until each cup is about 3/4 cup full.

Beat the cream cheese in a separate bowl until smooth, then add in egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar until well combined.

To swirl the cream cheese in the muffins: top each muffin with about one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the mixture into the batter.Don’t worry if it looks a little strange; once it bakes it will have a nice swirled look.

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Bake muffins for 20 minutes (keep an eye on them; every oven is different, and you don’t want them to burn). Store in the fridge in an airtight container after baking.

Enjoy!

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Give me S’more S’mores!

Last week I was in complete Fall mode and was craving S’mores like nobody’s business. Since I have yet to buy a fire pit for my backyard, I decided on a different solution to making S’mores: an easy, yet fabulous cookie recipe that I loved.

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The best S’mores cookie ever!

I shared a picture on Instagram and instantly was bombarded with people asking for the recipe. I have to preface this by stating these should be eaten in moderation because they will NOT fit into any meal plan, regardless of how hard you try.

                                                 Katie’s S’mores Cookie Recipe

-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-1 package mini marshmallows
-10 oz melting chocolate
-1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed

If you have a specific chocolate chip recipe you love, I encourage you to use it. I use my family’s recipe (which I keep secret because some things should be). Obviously, you want to make the cookies first and let them cool completely.

Crush the graham crackers completely as you turn the oven on to BROIL. This is extremely important…you don’t want to have the BAKE setting on!

Place 7-10 marshmallows on each cookie (depending on the size of the cookie), pressing into cookie slightly before putting cookie sheet into oven and broiling until the marshmallows are golden brown. This happens FAST, so keep an eye on them or you will be really sad when you have burnt marshies!

Remove from oven and allow the cookie to cool completely. Once cooled, melt the chocolate, dipping each cookie in halfway and then sprinkling with crushed graham crackers. Transfer to cooling rack to allow the chocolate to harden completely.

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Sorry, Murphy. No cookies for you!

These are so easy to make and are always a huge hit, especially with kids! Enjoy!

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August: Sparkle or Dull?

Lashes, lashes, lashes. They are one of my favorite things and a part of my daily routine…and I’m sure by now you all know that!

When the magnetic lash debuted over the summer, everyone and their mother tagged me in the product post on Facebook, and it was at that time that I knew I would have to review them whether I liked it or not.

Product #1: Magnetic Eyelashes

This was one of those products that I had to do a video review of…check it out below!

FINAL VERDICT: DULL x 1,345,633,832. Just don’t buy them….unless you like wasting your money, then do it.

Product #2: Too Faced Peach Perfect Setting Powder

I’ve shared my love for Too Faced products before, especially their eye shadow palettes, and I was excited when they added to the Sweet Peach collection. Their Peach eyeshadow palette is one of my go to palettes because of how great the colors are, so I hoped that the rest of the collection would be just as great.

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Photo courtesy of Sephora

When it comes to a setting powder, I have used Ben Nye Banana powder for ages. The color is great for balancing out my skin and I love the velvety finish. I wondered if this powder would have the same coverage and feel the same (Too Faced is known for their fantastic quality of their products and a similar velvet-like finish).

One concern I had about this product was the color. It appeared more orange than my skin tone, and I did not want to end up like an Oompa Loompa. I’ll be honest: the first time I put it on my face, I was a little too heavy handed and did have an orange like color to my skin that made me look a little unnatural. However, I learned my lesson and tried again the following day using much less, and I was very pleased with the product. It lessened the oil in my T-zone, did not feel heavy on my skin, and stayed put all day.

What I loved best? The smell! It is a blend of peaches and figs and smells delightful.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle!!!!!!!! I definitely plan on continuing to use this product and look forward to trying the others in the Peach line!

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Peach Perfect setting my foundation!

What products should I review next month? Let me know! I love hearing about the items that interest you and giving them a try!

sparkleon

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Me gusta Mexicano!

Food, food, food…..I love you! I know it is pretty clear if you follow me on social media, but I really love Mexican food, especially tacos. There’s just something about the flavors in Mexican dishes that make me happy!!!!

Several years back I experimented with a dish that has become one of my favorites to make when entertaining because it is a) simple to make b) something that puts a spin on your regular stuffed shell recipe and c) absolutely delicious.

Mexican Stuffed Shells! Yes, you heard right!

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I made these last week and posted some snaps on my snapchat and IG story, and so many of you messaged me or snapped me back asking for the recipe. Here it is, friends!

                                                Katie’s Mexican Stuffed Shell Recipe
Ingredients:

-1 lb ground beef
-1 package taco seasoning
-4 oz cream cheese
-1 box of jumbo pasta shells
-1 1/2 cups salsa (you can use any kind you prefer or make your own)
-1 cup taco sauce
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-Black Beans, rinsed (optional)
-Corn (optional)
-Green onions, chopped
-Sour cream OR plain greek yogurt

Directions:

Cook the ground beef as oven preheats at 350. Once beef is cooked, mix in cream cheese, taco seasoning, corn, and black beans if you are using. I have made this recipe both with corn and black beans and without, and I definitely prefer with!

As you cook the ground beef mixture, bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the shells. It’s all about multitasking, friends!

Use a 9 x 13 baking dish (I use a stoneware baker from Pampered Chef because I love how it cooks them),  and pour salsa on the bottom of the pan to coat. Spoon meat mixture into shells and place in pan. Drizzle taco sauce on top of shells, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

After your timer goes off, remove foil from shells and add shredded cheese, baking for another 15 minutes. Once completed, remove and top with sour cream and green onions.

***I provided the option of Greek Yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. This IS a recipe you can make healthier, and this is one of those healthier swaps.

These are so tasty and are different….prepare to share this recipe because once you make them for friends, they are going to ask you for the recipe!

I often get asked what I pair with these since your traditional garlic bread and salad may not go as well. I typically make homemade guacamole and chips!

ENJOY!

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We can do hard things.

This summer has been a crazy one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, working on my sparkle empire, celebrating milestones with friends, and adjusting to a new puppy in my home. Overall, it has been a very happy summer with lots of wonderful new memories.

I entered this summer with the thought process that I wanted to have an amazing time, but I also knew that there were a few hurdles I wanted to tackle, and they both involved moving forward in the grief process with my father.

I’ve talked about this many times before, but I always feel like I need to remind people that the grief process is one that is different for everyone, and for many people, it is one that never ends. November will mark the two year anniversary since my father’s unexpected death, and while I am more capable of talking about the loss now, I still struggle with it every single day. For me, it helps to face things/situations/places that I find to be the most emotional and connect to my dad. Somehow, facing them head on and working through those emotions allows me to get a better grip on the reality that my dad is no longer here.

As those of you who have been following my blog for awhile may know, one of my best friends, Whitney, and I have birthdays exactly a week apart. Each year we try to do something fun and different together to celebrate. We’ve done a lot of really cool things over the years, including meeting Brett Eldredge , my favorite country singer, last year. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to top that because it was such a neat moment. However, when Whit mentioned that one of our friends, Steve, would be doing a rollerblading half marathon in Chicago the week after our birthday and thought we should go, I knew that this was the moment for me to cross off something major from my list of grief hurdles.

I had to go to Wrigley Field.

My dad was the World’ Biggest Cubs fan….his tombstone actually has the Cubs logo on it, and his love of the Cubs is one my entire family shares. Going to Wrigley with him was always something that we were going to do, and once we lost him, I didn’t think I could emotionally do it. Going to any baseball game was a challenge for me after the loss, and there were times during the past year and a half where I could not physically make myself step foot into a baseball stadium. I missed a good friend’s bachelorette party because I had panic attacks at the thought of watching a baseball game live. I cried throughout an entire game once I finally worked up the nerve to attend and missed everything. It took a lot to get comfortable with freaking baseball. If I was that emotional watching teams I didn’t even like how in the world could I get through a baseball game watching a team that I had an emotional connection with and that had been a part of my life since the day I was born????

We arrived in Chicago Friday and were able to explore the city and do some things before Steve’s marathon Sunday morning and the Cubs game Sunday night. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t anxious as hell the whole trip. So much of my life is in the public spotlight, which I am okay with, but one thing I try to keep out of it as much as possible are the moments where I have a complete meltdown, because they aren’t pretty. I was terrified I would have one of these meltdowns inside Wrigley Field.

Surprisingly, I held my shit together, but I cannot begin to tell you how I felt walking through Wrigleyville, walking up to that iconic Wrigley Field sign, sitting down in that stadium, or singing “Go Cubs Go” with a stadium full of my fellow fans. I had a few weird moments inside of the stadium, but I was able to get past them.

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This was such a cool moment. The W flew for you that night, dad!

I shared on Instagram that it started to rain in Chicago hours before the game. Deep down I was so worried that the game would be canceled and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get over this milestone in my grief process. However, as we got dropped off in Wrigleyville, the rain stopped, and the rest of the evening was perfect.

I believe very much in signs, and as I sat there eating my burger before the game I couldn’t help but realize that this had to be my dad’s way of letting me know that he was missing me and sad that he wasn’t there to walk into the stadium with me, too.

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Enjoying the view of Wrigley and the city.

That same sign came from him again two weeks later as I prepared to tackle something that most of you know I have been dreading for a long time: The Star Trax 5k he and I used to run together.

Last year I had every intention on running it in honor of my dad, but emotionally, I just wasn’t able to, so I backed out of attending. This year I HAD to do it. I signed up a few months back and invited my friends and family to come and run/walk/or watch in support. In my mind if I had a bunch of people coming there to support my family, I knew I wouldn’t back out of it even if I wanted to. I encouraged everyone to wear Cubs gear (or blue or red if they weren’t a Cubbies fan) and had about 50 panic attacks the day of the race. Somehow, my mom and I got there.

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My mom and I before the race.

As challenging as I knew it would be for me to run a race and not have my dad there waiting for me at the finish line, I knew this race would be so emotionally hard on my mom if she was a spectator. She supported us every year and watched both of us finish every race. Only getting to see one of us do it this year would be hard on her heart. I was so proud of her….she ended up signing up and walked the 5k with my uncles and her best friend. We had so much support that night….it meant the world to us. We had family there. We had our best friends there. It felt good to be surrounded by so much love.

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Our crew! Love these people so much!

As the race start inched closer and closer, it began to rain. Again, I couldn’t help but think of my dad and this being his way of letting us know he was missing up and was there in spirit. If you know me, you know I absolutely loathe getting my hair wet. However, for some reason, at this moment, I didn’t care. The rain continued through the first mile then let up.

I was worried about two specific moments in this race: starting and finishing. Those who have run this race know that you start it inside of Salem’s high school football stadium, taking a lap around the track and then hitting the streets before entering the stadium for the finish. My dad and I always started the race together, and it wouldn’t be until we hit the street when he would take off and leave me in the dust. When the race started, my tears started. All I could do was keep my head down, not look around, and focus on Skrillex, which was the bulk of the playlist for the night.

The rest of the race I did okay….no weird emotional moments. Instead of changing up my playlist, I listened to my favorite Skrillex song, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, on repeat the ENTIRE race. For some reason the song helped me hold it together.

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My cheer squad at the finish!

After making the final turn into the stadium, I started to get really weird. I felt tears in my eyes, I felt puke in my throat, I felt lead in my legs. Again, I just kept my head down and powered through my feelings to the finish line. My dad wasn’t there at the finish line for me, but I wasn’t running into a stadium with no support. Two of my besties, Erika and Melissa, drove down from Cleveland to cheer me on and give me hugs when I finished. They also were able to capture some footage of me starting and finishing.

Once I finished the race and the rest of our crew had finished, I had to split. The longer I stood around the more emotional I got, so my mom and I made the decision to get some Arby’s, eat our feelings, and go home.

Moments like these two may seem so trivial to others, but to me they were a huge deal. Every time I cross off one of those milestone moments or events I encounter a new range of emotions. I’m proud I overcame something challenging, and I know my dad would be, too. At the same time, my heart hurts because I had to do something alone that we would’ve done together. That mixed emotional state can really do a number on someone, but I continue to try to see the good in the challenging times. That’s really all I can do.

I continue to be reminded how lucky I am to have the people in my corner that I do. They say that in really happy times and really sad times one’s true colors come out. There have been a few friends who have completely ghosted me since things happened, but the majority of my friends have continued to show me that they are ride or die and will be there for me whenever I need them. I know that throughout our lives there will be more challenging times, not just for me, but for them, and I’ll be there for them when they need me.

As this summer comes to a close, there is one last major milestone I am going to be doing without my father: buying a new car. Due to her profession, he was always the person to get me the cars I wanted, check out their backgrounds, and help me get everything rolling while also serving as my voice of reason. I’ve been putting off the car search for awhile, not only because he won’t be able to help me, but because I have such an emotional attachment to Farrah, my Xterra, because that was the last car he got for me. Even though I’ve done well with avoiding the emotional attachment with most inanimate objects, my car is one that I can’t seem to shake. We will see how this pans out.

Those reading this that are going through the grief process like me…..I have to encourage you to not run away from those milestones…..those moments you are scared to face because they now are different. I know it’s scary. I know crying isn’t fun. I know feeling that hole in your heart is painful. But sometimes you just have to push through because this is what our lost loved ones would want for us.

I used to run with my dad at Star Trax; now I run for him. Every year moving forward I will be having a team of people join me to do the same because this is how I can continue to keep his spirit alive with that race.

Find a way to make those moments meaningful.

Find a way to keep your loved ones alive in your heart.

Find a way to turn your pain into purpose.

And always remember……..life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

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#IrunforDSS

 

 

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July: Sparkle or Dull?

This month I decided to do something a little different and review something I have gotten so many messages about: My summer Fab Fit Funbox!

Chances are if you have Facebook you have seen at least one sponsored ad from a D list celebrity talking about this quarterly box of goodies tailored to you. I would see these posts daily and wonder if they were as awesome as they appeared to be, and with so many of these boxes being out on the market, why this one? Is it better than its competitors, like Bless Box, Ipsy, Birchbox, Boxycharm, Beauty Box, or Babe Boxx to name a few?

If you dig far enough back in this blog, I’ve reviewed both Birchbox and Ipsy before, as I used to subscribe to box. Both were a lower price point at $9.99 a month, but I ended up canceling both due to the fact that I felt they weren’t paying any attention to the profile I had created. For example, I had been very specific that I didn’t want hair care products in my box, as I am very weird about what I use on my hair and was more interested in makeup/skincare items. Several months in a row I ended up with duplicate items, all hair oriented, and customer service never seemed to give me an answer why this was happening. For me, it didn’t end up being worth it.

So back to Fab Fit Fun….with a $49.95 quarterly price tag, I was a tad bit skeptical. However, my mom had ordered one the previous quarter, as did my aunt, and they both loved it. If it passes the Mom test, it’s golden, right???

My mom actually had secretly ordered one to be delivered to me, so when it arrived on my doorstep, I was super excited! I couldn’t wait to see what was in it!

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My Fab Fit Fun box!

Here’s a breakdown of everything I received in my box! You can click the link to view the item, learn more about them, and see the cost of each item individually if you don’t believe me when I share!

Mystic Bar necklace by Kris Nations: I love jewelry, and I’m really into the color turquoise, so I loved this necklace immediately. It is simple enough that I can layer with other necklaces, but substantial enough to wear it on its own. It retails for $58….right there the price of the entire box has been exceeded!

Bkr Little Water Bottle: I have been using this thing constantly! I received the Romeo bottle; my mother received Rosy, a pink color. This product retails for $35. They have lots of colors and styles based on your preference!

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Cargo HD Picture Perfect Highlighter: As a makeup lover, I can honestly say that I had never heard of the Cargo brand, which meant I wanted to try this product first. I love highlighting, and my go to is an illuminator from Urban Decay. I love that product so much and didn’t anticipate liking this product as much as I did. It has a great shimmer to it, goes on smooth, and looks amazing in photos and when the light hits it (it retails for $30). I definitely will be giving this brand a chance moving forward and this highlighter will be replacing my Urban Decay!

Juice Beauty Eye Concentrate: I’ve seen the Juice Beauty brand at Ulta in the past, but, again, never tried it. When it comes to under eye products, I am a big fan of Benefit Cosmetics’ It’s Potent! Undereye cream….it is a killer product that I have been using for years. I replaced my Benefit with this Juice Beauty product every day for a week and loved it….it had a great smell and texture, and it wasn’t heavy if worn under makeup. At $29, it is cheaper than the Benefit product I use, but I didn’t like it as much as what I currently use. I still think this is a great quality product that I would recommend.

Eau Thermale Avene Hydrating Sunscreen: I have yet to use this product, as I haven’t been in the sun or to a beach since I received it. However, I have a few beach trips coming up that I will allow me to try it out! All I can attest to is that it smells great!

Understated Leather On the Road Again Travel Set: Guys, I am obsessed with this! As you know, I travel a lot, and surprisingly one thing I don’t own is a cover for my passport. I’m not sure how I have lived so long without one, but I love the quality and texture of this! It came paired with a matching luggage tag and retails for $28.

Klorane Dry Shampoo: I’ve been very upfront with everyone about my love for dry shampoo….it’s my secret to only washing my hair once every two weeks or so. I’ve been a loyal Batiste user for a loooooonnnnggggg time. This product intrigued me because it claimed to not leave a white residue after application and was made with oat milk. Even though I have perfected a system to ensure no white is hanging out in my hair, I’d still love a product that allowed me to cut out that step. Surprisingly, this product was awesome and lived up to its hype. I loved the smell, and it did the same for my hair as Batiste. The only negative to this? It has a $20 price tag as opposed to the $8 one of Batiste, so I don’t know if I love it that much more to fire my trusty faithful brand.

Michael Star Ruana: I was most excited about this ruana! I love anything that is versatile, and I loved the colors of the product! I’ve been wearing it with a belt and love that look, but I’m also a huge fan of how it looks when it is loose and flowy. Allegedly I can wear this as a scarf or sarong, but I haven’t tried either way yet. This ruana retails for $58 (I included the website for others similar since this one is sold out) and if I hadn’t received anything else but this item, I would’ve still been happy.

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Items in the box differ based on how you complete the profile. My mother got the ruana  in black, and she also got an art kit instead of the travel set. Some people received a himalayan salt kit, and some also got a massage oil instead of the dry shampoo.

Overall Verdict: SPARKLE!

This Fab Fit Fun box was a great value and was full of amazing products. I 100% recommend it to you if you’ve been on the fence about trying it!

sparkleon

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Bye, Felicia… I mean New Orleans.

I’m bbaaccckkkkkkkkk!!!!!

It’s been a crazy two weeks with lots of travel….I’ve barely had any time to hop on my blog and chat with you all! July is usually a little nutty since it’s my birthday month, and you all know that I love to celebrate all month long. This year was no exception, but it did include back to back trips to New Orleans and Chicago, plus the addition of a new puppy to my crew…..talk about crazy! I’ll share more about the Chicago trip in a later blog and probably a lot of puppy spam, too, but I wanted to give you guys a recap of Nola!

When it was announced at Summit last year that the 2017 Coach Summit would be in New Orleans, I wasn’t sure how I felt. New Orleans wasn’t one of the cities on my radar when it came to places I wanted to visit, but I was interested to see what the city would be like with 25,000 of my closest coaching pals. It ended up being an interesting and eye-opening  experience, and I wanted to share a little about my time in Louisiana.

                              Lessons from Beachbody’s biggest event of the year

1. Cockroaches are freaking gross. 
Friends…….I am from Ohio, and fortunately for me, the most annoying insect I’ve had to deal with is the wretched stink bug, an insect that only graces us with its presence a few months out of the year. I haven’t had to deal with cockroaches THANK HEAVENS.

My team and I rented out a large house on the outskirts of the city, which was awesome, except for the first night when we returned from dinner and realized we hadn’t left the outside light on. As we approached the door, I saw something move across the pavement that could’ve been a small dog and immediately asked what it was….deep down I was scared it was a toad. I was quickly educated on the fact that it was a cockroach. Shrieks followed, as did some additional shrieks after we found one later on inside the house. I’m thankful one of the girls in the house was from the South and not afraid of the cockroaches, unlike the rest of us.

I’ll take my cold ass winters any day over cockroach city…..you can keep those, Dirty South.

2. I’m basically Oprah.
I am such a nerd…..one thing I love about Summit: the keynote speakers. Last year we got to hear from Gary Vaynerchuk, someone I admire greatly, and this year we had Darren Hardy and Brendon Burchard. Talk about setting off my inner geek flag! Darren Hardy wrote The Compound Effect, a book I read several times each year, and Brendon is someone I basically stalk on Youtube and social media. He is a high performance business coach and author with some big time clients,  one being Oprah Winfrey. Since Brendon taught us some of the things he teaches Oprah, we are pretty much the same now, right?

In all seriousness, I was on Cloud 9 getting to listen to these guys, especially Brendon. I really love that our company encourages GROWTH as human beings. We should all be doing it anyway, but be honest….are you really spending a little time each day reading/listening/watching something that expands your mind? If you arent, start! NOW!

3. Beignets are made of angel wings and rainbows.
I knew going into the trip that I was going to eat EVERYTHING that Nola was known for: beignets, chicken and waffles, po boys….and I was okay with that. Once I actually got to the city and realized I didn’t like it and most likely wouldn’t go back, I wanted to make sure I capitalized in the food category. I’m a foodie, what can I say? Being healthy is about living a life of balance, and even though maybe I was more 20/80 than 80/20, I came home feeling like I truly did enjoy the city from a food perspective.

Everyone told me to go to Cafe du Monde, and we finally did our last night there. Since most of the coaches had already left, we got in and out without a wait, which was awesome. The beignets were tasty, and the cafe au lait was out of this world. I’d like to find a way to get these treats without going to Nola again…maybe we can get this place to open one in Ohio? #goals. We also had beignets at an awesome random place that I couldn’t even tell you the name because they were so good my mind was blown.

I do love my sweets, and macaroons are one of my favorites (a close second behind doughnuts). We visited a place in the French Quarter called Sucre which was Ah-ma-zing! If you visit the city, please go there! We tried several of the sweets that were there besides the macaroons….so worth every calorie.

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My girl Meghan and I with some of our desserts!

Speaking of calories…….a fellow coach, Dan, brought me the mother of all doughnuts from Round Rock Donuts in Texas……how cool was that? I was actually planning a trip to Texas to visit this place because it was at the top of my doughnut bucket list. MY GOSH WAS IT GOOD! I did share a few bites with some of the girls in our house, but I pretty much crushed it. Again, worth every calorie and the million burpees I need to do to burn it off. It also produced one of the greatest pictures ever taken of me and my success partner, Nichole. Dan, thanks for being my doughnut hero.

Some people may ridicule me for my love of food (including the bad ones like those I indulged in while in New Orleans), and that’s okay. I bust my ass every day with grueling workouts and will never feel bad about the food choices I make. I truly believe all things are good in moderation.

4. Uber drivers can be shady AF.
Prior to this trip I had no experience with Uber, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like knowing that I would using it for the majority of my transportation while in New Orleans. It was…..different.

We had many drivers who were incredible….but we had some that were just….not ok. One guy picked us up the morning of the Shaun T 6am workout high as a kite, and I’m pretty sure we all had a contact buzz from him.  Another day we were awaiting a female driver named Lupe, only to have a male driver show up that was a completely different age and race claiming to be Lupe……um, ok dude. It was strange. Needless to say I was happy to get back to my own city where I could drive my own car…because I really don’t want anything to do with Uber again unless I have zero options.

5. You can do anything you put your mind to. 
Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to get to introduce Beachbody’s newest super trainer, Chris Downing, when his program debuted to the entire Beachbody community. I was so honored to have the opportunity and am so thankful he became a part of my life. Since then, I have gotten to know him and his family , have organized events at his gym, and can honestly tell you that this guy has a heart of gold. What you see is the real deal, and the emotion he shares with you as he is motivating you during his workouts….it’s as real as it gets.

When his program officially launched at Summit, it was such a neat moment to see. His emotion….his happiness….and the impact you saw him have on everyone around him….it was beyond infectious. Chris was brought onto stage during the opening ceremony and immediately got choked up. You could see how much that moment meant to him, and it’s the kind of genuine love for helping others that you want to see in someone who has the opportunity to inspire millions.   I was a proud, proud friend.

I have to say this….yes, Chris’ Shift Shop program is killer, but even if you don’t like working out and never try it, his story is beyond proof that you can change the course of your life if you believe in yourself. Check him out on Youtube…listen to him speak…..embrace his motto of “Love. Empower. Inspire.”

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6. You CAN refill your cup at anytime. 
A saying that I hear over and over again is “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, meaning you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Over the past year and a half after losing my father, I have had to remind myself of this more times than I care to admit.

As I mentioned earlier, our company is one that wants you to grow as a person, and it is one thing I have been skimping on. Prior to my loss, I would spend at least 20 minutes a day reading something regarding business development or leadership, but then my reading turned to books on loss and coping. After awhile I stopped reading pretty much altogether.

As I sat there at Summit I realized how important it was to get back into my daily routine of reading. I realized I missed that extra time I would take for myself each day, and I realized that I, as a leader and person, was suffering because I wasn’t taking care of my own mind and working on those areas where I struggle. Since returning from Nola, I’ve been back on my reading game and feel so much better.

Guys, if you are struggling with something, find a book and read about it. There are books, podcasts, Youtube videos, you name it……find a resource on the topic you need to develop within yourself and start incorporating that into your day. Fill your cup up. You deserve it.

7. Likeminded people make you better. 
Just as personal development is important as growing as a person, so are the people you surround yourself with. Know that saying “Iron sharpens Iron?” I feel like I am constantly being sharpened, and that is because of the incredible women I surround myself with, especially those in this community. Many of those women I only get to see a couple of times a year, so when we get together, my brain is going a million miles a minute. They make me want to do better, push myself harder, and establish even bigger goals for myself. If your friends don’t make you want to do the same, find people that will.

8. My team is such an eclectic group of women, and they are proof that anyone can rock this business.
I feel like I am the kind of person that can fit into many categories if someone is trying to describe me, and I like that. I always knew that I’d want my team to be as eclectic as I am…..being like everyone else is boring, and having people around you who are so similar yet so different makes everyone better.

This year we rented a big house so we could all stay together and it further solidified why I love this coaching opportunity so much. The ladies who accompanied me this year are some of the top leaders on my team, and every one of them is so different than the next. I feel so lucky they chose me as their leader and can’t wait until the day comes when ALL of the amazing coaches on my team and in my downline can join us!

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9. Bourbon Street, you’re just gross.
Ok, I only went because everyone said I HAD to since it is an iconic part of New Orleans. Guys……it was so gross, and it’s not because I don’t drink. I honestly can still smell the puke smell that the street reeked of. I HATED IT! Part of me thought I would enjoy seeing some of the bars on the street….I’m a huge BAR RESCUE fan and knew about the ones that had been on the show. Nope….not even into that. Seriously wanted to take about twenty showers after we left.

Overall, I really didn’t like this city. I thought it was dirty, smelled awful, not tourist friendly (surprisingly), and disappointing. I’m glad I can check it off of the list of places I’ve been, but I have zero desire to go back. Fortunately, next year we take over Indianapolis, which is such an awesome place!

I love these events, and I won’t ever stop talking about them! Despite the nastiness of the city, I loved being with my team, reuniting with my friends, learning from the best, working out with Shaun T, and getting to experience new things. It’s still crazy to me that this is my job.

Running a business is cool. Traveling the world with friends is cool. Making a difference is cool.

Thanks Beachbody, for helping me find my cool.

Want to find your cool? Fill this out and we’ll chat!

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June: Sparkle or Dull?

When it comes to the beauty items I review, I always try my best to not just review the higher end brands but also the cheaper items that can easily be found at your local drug store. Some of the cheaper products I have reviewed have become staples in my makeup collection, beating out those that are more expensive by a long shot….and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t excite me! It’s always a great thing to save money!

Last July I reviewed a waterproof eyeliner by Stila (read that review here) after having a disastrous time with the cheapo eyeliner I had been using for awhile. I loved it…it was essentially an easy to use magic marker for my eye, and it stayed on like a champ. However, one negative thing about it…..well, about me….is that I use A LOT of eyeliner, and I felt I was going through this pen like crazy. At a little over $20 per eyeliner, I wanted to see if I could find a more cost effective product.

Product #1: Nyx Super Skinny Eye Marker

Whenever I am trying to find a more cost effective beauty product, one of my go to brands is always Nyx. Nyx can be found at Ulta, but also Target, Walmart, and various drug stores. Ulta often has buy one Nyx item, get one half off, so I timed this purchase up with another Nyx purchase (Im a huge fan of their HD powder), making it about $5.

As I mentioned, I loved that the Stila pen was like a large marker…that helps with precision when drawing on your eyeliner and also draws on a cleaner line in my opinion. Since this item had “marker” in the title, I figured it would be a great one to try.

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For starters, I wanted to share with you the two side by side. Not only is the Nyx product cheaper, but it is larger. I like that. I like that a lot. Once you remove the lid, the items look basically identical. Like Stila, the Nyx liner comes in a variety of colors for those of you not into jet black liner like I am.

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I was really impressed by this product. Everything I loved about the Stila liner I loved with this one as well. The only negative: the color wasn’t as bold as the Stila, but it was still enough for me to be satisfied…I think I’m just used to that super black in your face color.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle! Use the money you save by buying this product and hook yourself up with something else fun!

Product #2: Elf Makeup Remover Pen

Elf is a lower cost brand that is right up there with Nyx. I’ve reviewed their products many times before and am always pleased. They are extremely affordable, great quality, and can be found in most stores, including Target and Walmart.

A while back I was watching a youtube tutorial when the girl in it mentioned she always carried an Elf makeup remover pen with her. Surprisingly, I had never heard of or tried this item, and immediately went to Target to snag one. At $2.99, I hoped this product was as good as she claimed.

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Here’s the thing with me: I know I know what’s going on with makeup application, and during the application process I rarely make a mistake. Buuuutttt……I always seem to sneeze right after I put on my mascara and/or lashes, so I am constantly ending up with black dots or lines that aren’t attractive. Sometimes this means having to redo the entire eye, which is such a pain in the ass. I hoped this product would be a little lifesaver. Fortunately for me the day I wanted to try this product I went on a sneezing binge.

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See those cute black dots? Thanks mascara/liner/whatever. Instead of freaking out, I opened up my makeup remover pen and simply ran it over the mess. It immediately was gone. There was a very small area that needed touched up….easy with a little concealer…..but other than that my eyes were safe from destruction.

The only negative thing I see with some Elf products: they don’t last nearly as long as others. I’ve only used this pen a handful of times and am wondering how much life it has left…I’m guessing I’ll know the answer this week when I take it to New Orleans and will be using it for photo shoots and other fun things.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle. It’s definitely something you want to have on hand for emergencies and can save you a lot of makeup aggravation.

I always love 2/2 months! If you try these items, let me know….I always love hearing from you guys!

Hope your day (and beauty routine) is full of sparkle!

sparkleon

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Muffins are naked cupcakes.

And sometimes that’s not a bad thing!

While I love me some cupcakes, I am growing quite fond of the healthy muffins I have been making lately using only my blender. Yeah, you heard right. I’m making muffins by throwing stuff inside this guy. How easy is that?

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If you know me, you know I am forever trying to make things I like healthier. It’s not always for the health benefit (though they are great), but mostly because my body reacts in a strange way to some ingredients typically found in the foods I love. I have a gluten intolerance as well as issues with lactose, and if I eat things that fall into those categories I tend to blow up like I’m 9 months pregnant immediately after eating….not to mention I feel awful.

Muffins, you fall into this category.

So how about some flourless muffins without oil or anything weird?

YEAH!!!!

This recipe is one I have come to love, not only because of how easy it is, but because it also helps me with that crazy sweet tooth I am always battling. Remember these Hostess bad boys? This recipe reminds me of them…only healthier, and you won’t feel as guilty when you eat three packs worth. We all know we could demolish the whole box in one sitting, so let’s not even pretend.

                                    Katie’s Double Chocolate Blender Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

-1 medium ripe banana
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 large egg
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3 tablespoons honey or agave
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

How to make:

Spray mini muffin pans and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips into blender, blending until smooth (this usually takes about a minute or so). Once blended, stir in chocolate chips (using spoon, DON’T use the blender for this step). I prefer Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips…they are dairy free, soy free, and also nut free!
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After the chocolate chips are mixed, spoon into mini muffin pan. I’ve found the best tool for this is the small cookie scoop from Pampered Chef; it helps them come out perfectly rounded after baking.

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After spooning mixture into tins, sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top, then bake for 8-10 minutes. The final product is a mini muffin that looks like absolute perfection!

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When I make these I typically make a double or triple batch. Each batch makes about 20 mini muffins, and I count 4 as a serving if you are a 21 day fixer. If you prefer to make them in a regular size muffin tin, you can!

You know what’s awesome about these? NO ONE EVER KNOWS they are healthy! Trust me on this…….they pack the right amount of chocolate to satisfy a craving and make you feel like you are indulging in something that is a total cheat.

I hope you love them!

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Treat Yoself.

If there is one topic I could argue about until I go blue in the face, it is how important a life of balance is. Surprisingly, this is a topic that I get a lot of crap for….and I know I’m not the only one.

Let’s play Captain Obvious for a second…….

-Yes, I am in the health/wellness industry. Not only am I a consultant, but I’m also a fitness instructor and entrepreneur providing support to hundreds and hundreds of individuals.

-Yes, I have had a massive health transformation of my own. I’ve lost (and kept off) over 60 pounds by incorporating at home workouts, eating a healthier diet, and eliminating alcohol.

So that should mean I only drink water and eat kale, right?

No. Noooooo. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

The one thing that gets really frustrating in this industry is that some people look at you like you have three eyes if you eat ANYTHING other than kale on kale on kale with a side of kale. Let’s be real people! That’s not happening!

I truly believe that it isn’t healthy to eliminate food groups…and if you do some research you’ll see that most people end up gaining back the weight they lost temporarily once they reintroduce whatever food it was they eliminated. There are better ways to lose weight and get healthy, friends, but we can chat more about that at a later date.

Back to the balance thing….

Since the beginning of my journey I have made it clear that I will never be someone who eats healthy 100% of the time….I love doughnuts and pizza and tacos too much! Instead I focus on the 80/20 rule…..I eat healthy 80% of the time and indulge the other 20%.  I bust my ass hard enough that I don’t feel bad about myself when I do eat those things, and I focus on portions. Regardless of what I am doing I always focus on the portion amount; it’s a great way to still eat those foods without feeling awful after. Thank you, Fix, for teaching me about the importance of this. Some foods I have perfected healthier alternatives to, like my beloved Nice Cream, but some things are best in their original form. Chocolate Pretzel doughnut, I’m talking to you.

Awhile back I got a little heated on social media when everyone was all hopped up on the Unicorn Frapp from Starbucks. Did I go get one? You bet your sweet ass I did. ANYTHING that has Unicorn  in the title is something that is a must for me….I am obsessed with Unicorns! I was all about trying it to see the hype, and I was prepared for some comments about a health coach choosing to try it, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the insane amount of unicorn haters!

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I’ll be honest….I actually liked seeing this pretty little drink pop up in my newsfeed all day when it was launched. What a breath of fresh air! Instead of seeing so many of you posting gruesome images related to crimes or animal abuse or racially charged statuses or political garbage….I was seeing something that people were associating with happiness. That’s a win in my book.

At 59g of sugar for a Grande, I can tell you it obviously isn’t the healthiest choice. I was prepared for some shade thrown at me since I’m a health coach indulging in a sugary drink; what I wasn’t prepared for was the fat shaming and straight up rudeness I saw people demonstrating……OVER A FRAPPUCINO!!!!!!!!!

Guess who was at the center of all the ridicule? Fellow fitness lovers. No, I’m not just talking about my fellow coaches, though some of them got hit pretty hard, but friends of mine in the running community, friends who are vegetarian, friends who own yoga studios, etc. It was like all of these people who spend time working out and taking care of their bodies were not allowed to try this Starbucks specialty drink.

Here’s where I get super irritated with that kind of behavior: the people who were doing the dissing and posting ignorant comments are the same people who go through fast food restaurants every.single.day…..people who go out and drink in excess every single weekend….people who eat 3x the recommended serving amount….and the people drinking soda after soda after soda. You want to talk to me about sugar? C’mon, hypocrites.


Friends, if you want to drink a silly colorful drink, drink it. Don’t do it every day all day, but every once in awhile, treat yoself.

There’s a new fad drink in town, and I am hoping people don’t treat those who indulge in it the same as #unicorngate….and you better believe I gave it a whirl as soon as i saw it was advertised.

I am a huge cereal fan…..I rarely eat it anymore because it is one of those things where I cannot exercise portion control. To me, a whole box is a serving size (I know I’m not alone with that). Lucky Charms is up there as one of my favorites right behind Apple Jacks and Fruity Pebbles, so when Burger King launched their Lucky Charms shake, I decided to take one for the team and try it out.

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When it came to the Unicorn Frapp, I wasn’t into it……I’m just not a huge berry fan and I didn’t like the sour sprinkles. When it came to the Lucky Charms shake, I was super disappointed. I wanted to like it so much….especially since I have had a sore throat for a few days. Katie logic: milkshakes help sore throats.

Thinking about trying it? Here’s what you can expect:

Lots of milk full of soggy Lucky charms bits (and I’m not talking about the tasty marshmallows), some weird marshmallow syrup on top, and a guaranteed stomach ache. I was prepared for it not to look like the pictures, but I wasn’t prepared for how nasty I would feel after I was done. It was GROSS.

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I’ve always been upfront with my desire to live a balanced life and my love of food, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.  It’s OKAY to be in the health and fitness industry and like things that aren’t the healthiest. It’s OKAY to talk about them.

And it’s OKAY to try a drink when it comes out to see if it lives up to the hype.

To my brothers and sisters who believe in living a life of balance, cheers!

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