Crack isn’t always whack….

At least when it is crack chicken we are talking about!

I made this super easy chicken recipe for dinner the other night and had to share. It’s one of those recipes that everyone always wants seconds of, begs for the recipe, and requests over and over. Best part? I made mine in my Instant Pot, but you could use a crock pot if that’s easier!

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Katie’s Crackpot Chicken

Ingredients:

-2 pounds boneless chicken breast
-8 pieces of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
-1 packet of Ranch seasoning
-8 oz cream cheese
-1 cup water
-4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
-3 tablespoons corn starch
-chopped green onions

Place cream cheese and chicken in your Instant Pot, sprinkling the ranch seasoning packet over the top. Add one cup water then cook on high pressure for 25 minutes (do a quick release once complete). Remove the chicken and shred (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment), then return to Instant Pot, adding in cornstarch. After water has been absorbed, mix in cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions. Serve on a bun, in a wrap, over rice, or on its own.

Enjoy!

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2017: Year in Review

2017.

Similar to the last two years, it was a year mixed with some really great moments and some not so great moments, too. When I look back on years like that it is always so challenging to determine if it was an awesome year or a blah one, and it seemed like a lot of my friends had a challenging year as well. Here’s hoping 2018 is better for all of us.

I’m changing up how I do some things on my blog this year, and one will be a fun monthly review. However, since a year just ended I decided to kick it off with a look back on some of my favorite parts of 2017, broken down month by month.

JANUARY

January started off with a huge huge HUGE event that my fellow Market Council ladies and I put on for the coaches in the community. We brought Beachbody Supertrainer Sagi Kalev into town for an incredible day at The Agora in downtown Cleveland. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to hang out with “The Beast” himself, listen to him motivate the crowd, and run around backstage at The Agora, which has hosted everyone from The Beatles to Elvis Presley to The Rolling Stones. As a former on air personality and hardcore music lover, this was such a cool experience for me. You can read more about this event HERE plus check out a fun video I took that day. Overall, it was a killer start to the year.

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Our crew preparing for the event. 

FEBRUARY

February was a slooowwww month for me. I spent most of the month relaxing at home thanks to the Ohio cold, crushing business goals, and looking forward to warmer weather and the beach. There was one thing that stood out big time in the month of February…..one of my best friends, John Paul, and I decided to try out a new kickboxing studio in the Youngstown area, and I absolutely loved the workout. Little did I know a few months later that same fitness chain would open a location a mile from my house, and I would end up becoming an instructor for them. Crazy how things work, right?

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We kick ass at kickboxing and at life. 

MARCH

For the past few years my February-March planner has been dedicating to making sure the Shamrock 5k and 15k races for the Summit Athletic Running Club went smoothly. As the Race Director, I had to secure food donations, establish timetables for the event, coordinate volunteers, design shirts…..so many tasks! I also knew this would be my final year in charge of the event, as I was planning on submitting my resignation from the event and club shortly after due to a lack of time and some other reasons.

My final event as Race Director was amazing. We flew in Boston Marathon great Dick Beardsley, and getting to meet and talk to him was really neat. The race itself was its usually chilly self, but overall, it was a wonderful day.

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With Boston Marathon legend Dick Beardsley

Besides rocking out my final Shamrock, I also did something that I was pretty freaking proud of: I officially completed The Ultimate Reset, a 21 day detox (99% plant based) AND abstained from coffee for 21 freaking days. Shocker, right? This was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done willpower wise, but my body has never felt better. I am already planning on doing another round of it again in 2018. If you want to know more about this, I blogged about it every single day of the journey, so just search Katie’s Ultimate Reset Journey in here and you’ll learn a lot!

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March also brought something else that was a lot of fun…..a surprise baby shower for one of my oldest friends, Krista. Somehow we were able to lie to her and throw a fun casual shower without her finding out anything. We also recreated this photo taken at the baby shower for her son Wesley five years ago.

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APRIL

Holy shit. April was probably one of my absolute favorite months of 2017. SO MUCH HAPPENED!!!!

As we planned our April Super Saturday event, I was made aware of something super exciting at the last minute: our event was going to have our brand super trainer in attendance, and I was going to get to introduce him to our attendees. I was so excited because the trainer was someone who lived locally and who was just such a good dude, and I couldn’t wait for everyone to learn about him and his program. However, it was very challenging to keep a secret, as only myself and a few others knew. I couldn’t even tell the other Market Council ladies until the last minute! It was such a great experience, and I was thankful one of my coaches snagged this video of me doing the introduction and the crowd going crazy!

April was also pretty neat because I got to go on an exclusive trip to Punta Cana, which was earned for free from my company. I had never been to the Dominican Republic before, so this was a brand new experience that I was so happy to share with friends. I held a monkey, enjoyed the beach, tried lots of tasty food, and made so many memories. I cannot wait for our Riviera Maya trip in a few months….same awesome people, different location. It’s going to be the best! You can relive my Punta Cana trip HERE.

MAY

May started with an exciting meeting…I got to meet Krista’s baby Whitney for the first time! I was so happy to meet this little babe…she was seriously the happiest and sweetest baby ever.

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Later that month I got to watch something I am obsessed with LIVE. Many of you know that my goal is to try out and participate on American Ninja Warrior….it’s been a goal of mine for quite some time. While I have been training for it in different ways, I’m not at the place yet where I feel confident enough to try out, so instead of participating in the Cleveland tryouts this year, I drug my friends Erika and Melissa to a 2am taping of it on a super cold morning in downtown Cleveland. It was such an experience….I cannot wait until I am out there on the obstacles myself.
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Erika and I also were able to be a part of a Cav victory, which was awesome for the city of Cleveland. I love basketball, and I was also pumped to hang with Kevin Love. And our seats were awesome, which didn’t hurt.

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JUNE

I personally challenged myself to go streaking…..as in running at least a mile every single day for the entire month of June in honor of National Running month. I’ve been very open about my struggles with running after losing my dad, but I made myself complete a run every day this month, and I was really proud of that. I even ran a Facebook group so others could do this with me and we could support each other, and one of my coaches told me she STILL is streaking to this day! I felt very accomplished and strong after completing this goal.

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June 1st was also an important day….my baby Luigi was born, and I paid the deposit to get him in July. It had been a long time since I had a brand new puppy, but I was stoked! And yes, Luigi was named after a Super Mario Brothers character…I do like the gaming world (fun fact).

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JULY

July started in the best possible way: Some of my friends and I went to the New Kids on the Block/Paula Abdul/Boyz II Men concert and had a kickass luxury box. My friend Heather and I have been going to NKOTB concerts together for as long as I can remember, so I always look forward to these dates. As always, the New Kids did not disappoint.

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Waiting for the New Kids to perform!

The concert was the first, and since July is my birthday month, it is always the busiest month. I took off for New Orleans for our big Coach Summit a few days later, and while i loved hanging with my team, learning from the best in our industry, and the beignets and Cafe au Laits at Cafe du Monde, I was not a fan of the city. You can read more about that experience HERE.

After returning from  NOLA, I had only a few days of relaxation (including my actual birthday) before taking off to Chicago with my best friend, Whitney. We always do something together each year for our birthdays, and this trip was going to be really special. I shared a lot about what that trip meant to me in this blog from the summer, and I am already looking forward to going back.

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Whit, Kendall, and I taking our obligatory Bean Selfie.

Two days after returning from Chi-town, it was time to get Luigi from the breeder in Indianapolis! He was super tiny but fit in immediately! It’s hard to believe he was ever that small…..those who have seen pics of him recently know he is getting to be a big guy!

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And somewhere in there….between the travel, the parties, the coffees, and the dogs, I accepted an opportunity at the kickboxing studio I mentioned earlier and started teaching a kick ass workout to locals. I’m tired just thinking about the month!

AUGUST

If you read the blog I mentioned above while talking about my Chicago trip, you already know what went down in August: I conquered something personally that was HUGE. I was able to run and finish the Star Trax evening race that I used to always run with my dad. I tried last year, and at the last moment just emotionally wasn’t ready. This year it was hard, but I had great support that got me through it. The moment I crossed this line felt great while also feeling emotionally draining. Sometimes you just have to do hard things.

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#IrunforDSS

The end of the month brought a joyous event, the wedding of my friend Stephanie and her boo RJ. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to, and I had such a blast with some of my bridal friends dancing and stuffing our faces with food from The Funky Truckeria. There’s nothing better than seeing your friends happy.

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The beautiful couple ❤

SEPTEMBER

September brought on more travel, as we flew to Myrtle Beach for a big family vacation. It was the first family vacation in years, so getting to spend an extended period of time with my brother and mom at the same time was awesome. I’m already looking forward to our trip next year. I ate copious amount of seafood and hushpuppies, and it was really nice to relax on the beach without any responsibilities.

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Not a bad view at all.

OCTOBER

I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for October because I was so excited to attend Pugfest, an event put on by a local animal rescue that was ALL PUGS. I’m talking pug vendors, pug rescues (including my favorite, Ohio Pug Rescue ), pug contests, and pugs walking around absolutely everywhere. It was heavenly. We brought Bubba and Luigi, and my mom brought Desmond. Everyone had a great time!

A few days later I made another big decision: i finally said goodbye to my beloved Xterra, Farrah, and purchased a new car.

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NOVEMBER

And the travel continues!

Some friends and I packed up and took off for a trip to Vegas to celebrate my friend Amanda’s upcoming birthday. We hit a burlesque show, Fremont Street (my favorite part of Vegas), ate our faces off, including dinner at one of my all time favorite restaurants The Sugar Factory, and celebrated like rockstars. My friends even talked me into going on The High Roller, which was terrifying and something I will never do again.


DECEMBER

December was a chill month, which started with me relaxing and enjoying some downtime, and it ended with me having pneumonia and virtually missing the holiday season. I did my best to embrace the holidays with decorating and Christmas traditions so I wouldn’t be as Grinchy as I was last year, and I even made a kickass gingerbread house. And while I was salty that I was so sick and stuck at home for several weeks consistently, I was thankful I had that time to spend with Bubba since I knew his days were numbered.

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There were definitely many memories made in 2017…many new friendships that I was lucky to make….many new exciting business opportunities….and many changes. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad and do my best to always rise when others consider me down and out. And above all, I grew stronger as a person, which really is the greatest accomplishment of them all.

So 2018…..you may have started off on the wrong foot, but I am confident you will be throwing a lot of amazingness my way.

I’m grateful for all of you and your presence in my life. From the support and encouragement to the hugs to the travel companionship, I don’t know where I would be without you guys! Thanks for always being the best part of any year!

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One Starfish at a time.

 

I have always loved starfish. I’m not sure what started my enjoyment of them….I think a lot of it had to do with the summers my family and I would spend in Chincoteague Island. There were a few local shops that we would visit each trip, one in particular named The Brandt. I loved going to that shop because it had all kinds of starfish trinkets that I remember just loving looking at. There’s just something about starfish that are a little magical to me.

As I grew older, I continued my love for starfish, but that was because of a story (found below) that I once read that resonated with me so much. I love it so much that I have a starfish in my office to remind me of the power of ONE.

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Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out ‘Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?’

The young man paused, looked up, and replied ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean.’

‘I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’ asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.’

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, ‘But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!’

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, ‘It made a difference for that one.’

I think about this story every single day, and it has a lot to do with what I do for a living.

All too often so many people question what I do. I get it though….there was a time that I thought the concept of being an online wellness consultant was silly and probably made up, but here I am…..four and half years into my career as one, and I can tell you that isn’t the case.

That young man on the beach throwing the starfish back into the ocean…..I see what I do as the same thing.

There are millions of people on the planet who are struggling with their health….and obesity is at an all time high.  To many, there is no way I could possibly make a difference. But to me, I KNOW I am making a difference…..one person at a time.

This year I have pledged to help even more people than I have in my entire FOUR+ years as a wellness coach…I’m THAT focused on making a difference, and my team is doing the same…..one person at a time.

If you want to learn more and help us on our journey to make a difference in the health of the country, let me know HERE! I’d love for you to help us so we can get ALLLLLLLLLL of the starfish off the beach and into the ocean. Let’s be starfish throwers together!

Remember, you can ALWAYS make a difference to someone.

ALWAYS.

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I didn’t choose the pug life, the pug life chose me.

In 2005, I made a decision.

I wanted my own dog.

At the time I was living alone in an apartment in Pittsburgh, working at a college nearby and juggling graduate school. I was lonely, and I felt I was ready to finally get my own dog to keep me company. It was a no brainer for me: I had grown up with dogs and knew that this was a smarter choice than a cat or chinchilla or any other critter. But what kind did I want?

Shortly after I let my parents know my intentions, my dad and I went to our local mall and visited the Walden Books Store (I don’t even think they exist anymore) and started looking at some different books related to the breeds I was interested in. I knew I wanted a toy breed, but I was in between a Yorkie, King Charles, and a Pug, and being that we had always had larger breeds, I was clueless to the little guys. After looking through some books on the breeds, something inside me kept going back to one breed: the pug.

My dad found a local breeder, and I trusted him enough to go and find me the perfect puppy since I lived a little ways away from my parents and was scared the available puppies would be claimed before I could get home and pick one. He assured me he had selected the perfect fawn male pug and told me he had a great demeanor and was the runt of the litter. I was stoked.

A month or so later, my mom arrived at my apartment with a tiny delivery: my puppy. I decided to name him Simon, which was inspired by a song sung by one of my favorite bands, Lifehouse. He was perfect!

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Baby Simon

Throughout the years, Simon and I became the best of friends. He would travel with me wherever I went, and he would often spend longer periods of time with my parents, which was great because they had a strong bond with him, too. In fact, he was such an amazing dog that it inspired my parents to get a pug of their own, a black pug that they named Desmond, and he and Simon became close very quickly.

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Simon and Desi

Unfortunately, in the summer of 2012, I lost Simon after he was poisoned by my parents’ neighbors. I was unbelievably devastated. It took everything in me not to go after these people, and because he had been cremated, once evidence surfaced that they had poisoned him, I had no legal recourse. Five and a half years later I still harbor tremendous feelings of hate for these people…..hurting animals is NEVER acceptable. NEVER. I was robbed of time with my dog, and he was taken way too soon for no reason.

After losing Simon, I became very depressed and told myself I never wanted to have another dog, and if, for some reason, I ended up getting one, there was NO WAY I would ever get another pug. Never ever ever.

Fast forward to 2013 when I met Kyle. One thing that drew me to him was his immense love of animals, and I quickly found out that he had a pug of his own, a black pug named Bubba. The first time I met Bubba I was shocked at how similar he was to Simon. He may have been a different color, but his looks, his chill attitude, his movements…..everything reminded me of my dog. As I spent more and more time with Kyle, eventually moving in with him, I became very close to Bubba. He would sleep next to me every night and during the day he would spend all his time on my lap. In the event I was working on my laptop, he would lay next to me until I would move it, then he would capitalize and take over my lap. I loved every moment I got to spend with him.

Once Kyle and I moved into our house and moved Bubba and Murphy with us, we started talking about getting another pug. Bubba was 11 years old at this point and wasn’t all that interested in playing with Murphy, and we thought a pug puppy would be perfect. I was finally {{mentally}} ready, and I know my time healing from Simon’s loss and time spent with Bubba helped me get to that point. My friend Katherine had found a breeder in Indianapolis that had a litter of pugs that would be available in July, so I paid my deposit for one of the male pups, and she paid hers for one of the females. Almost twelve years to the day I got Simon, I picked up my little Luigi, and, as an avid Mario Brothers fan, no one was surprised by the name. He was tiny spitfire and the perfect addition to the my fur fam.

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Luigi and his sister Penny!

I am forever grateful that we took the plunge and got Luigi when we did. He and Murphy quickly became inseparable, which was what I wanted. I knew Murphy was high energy and needed a playmate, and Luigi ended up being the perfect amount of crazy for him.

Unfortunately, Bubba’s health had started to decline not long after we brought Luigi home. He not only suffered from myelopathy, a common condition in pugs as they get older that paralyzes them over time, but had started to lose control over his bowels, was refusing to drink water, and struggled to eat normally. I am very sad to share that Bubba crossed to the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday. I know my dad and Simon were waiting for him and that he is no longer suffering, but my heart has shattered into a million pieces with his loss.

I truly believe that pugs are one of the greatest breeds of dogs out there. They have the funniest personalities, are loving cuddlers, and are just downright amazing. If you don’t believe me, check out this article that will let you know why pugs are majestic:

41 Reasons Why Pugs Are The Most Majestic Creatures On Earth

Sometimes I like to think back to that day in the bookstore when my dad and I were looking through books trying to determine the best breed of dog for me and for my lifestyle. I still don’t know exactly what it was that clicked to make me realize that a pug was the best choice.

Maybe the pug life just chose me.

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Sparkle or Dull: December’s Winter Box

Isn’t it crazy how fast this year has gone???? I can’t believe 2017 is almost over!!!!!! I’m ending the year with a bang….and when i say bang, I mean PNEUMONIA. Yeah, I’m pretty pleased about that…not! On a positive note, being stuck in my house doing quiet activities will allow me to get all caught up on administrative things, and I am pretty excited about that.

Last week, back when I was feeling normal, I was excited to open the door to see my winter Fit Fab Fun  box had arrived! The problem with having a mom, aunt, and cousin who all get one means that you get to see the fabulosity in their shipment if theirs arrive before yours does….and that was the case this time. Everyone had received theirs, and I was jealous!

Let me share with you what was in my winter box!

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Pointe Studio Aloe Infused Socks : Now I’m not a huge sock person….for some reason I really like to be barefoot, but when I wear them I love the super fluffy cozy kind, and these ones are top notch! The aloe infusion is supposed to soothe your feet post workout or when you are just relaxing….and since I’m sick I figured it was the perfect time to try them out. Oh…..my…..goodness. These socks are the absolute best. I don’t know if it’s their fuzziness or the aloe, but I felt really comfortable in them. Definitely encourage you to purchase them to see for yourself!

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Love these socks!

BB Dakota Poncho: I’m a huge poncho fan because they make me feel very Olivia Pope-ish, and this one is super soft and a great quality. I got the charcoal color (good job, Fit Fab Fun) and layered it with a long sleeve black vneck and leggings for a casual look last week while I was grocery shopping. If you follow me on Instagram (@sparklefitnessbabe), you saw it on my IG stories! This item is $70 by itself, so if you are looking for value in the box, this item alone is worth it.

Doucce Freematic Eyeshadow Pro Palette: You guys know me and makeup….I’m always up for trying new brands and products, and the Doucce brand was one I had never heard of. The palette is made up of 8 eyeshadows and a highlighter (I received the smokey palette), and I have to say….they are a great quality! I used them for a simple casual look and was impressed at the quality pigmentation as well as how silky smooth they went on. Let’s talk price though…..I know I like high quality makeup, but I don’t think this is a product I would spend the money on by choice. Many of my favorite eyeshadow palettes are (in my mind) better quality than this palette and exponentially cheaper.

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Homemade by Ayesha Curry Mug: Ok, I’m not a fan of Ayesha Curry whatsoever…..but I did enjoy this mug…..and I was pleased with the one I received. There were a choice of three…one that said “I love you a latte’, one that said “I’d rather be in bed”, and then the one I received that says “Coming in Hot.” Naturally I gravitate toward black and white, so I was happy to open the mug box and see the “Coming in Hot” mug staring at me. It is a very sturdy mug and one I have already used multiple times.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment : I was SUPER pumped to try out something from Kate’s line. I have been curious about it for quite some time, but as some of you may know, I have a pretty solid relationship with the entire Glam Glow skin care line. Many of the Kate Somerville products have a higher price tag involved, so I wasn’t too excited about spending that much on a product that I didn’t even know if it was worth it…especially since my Glam Glow isn’t the cheapest out there. That’s why I like these boxes…I’ve gotten to try some of these brands to see if they are worth it or not. This one? Worth it! This exfoliating treatment smelled great, and I loved how it made my face and skin feel.  The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the tingling sensation I had while it was on my face….it felt a little strange, but I did get used to it after a little while. My Glam Glow is still my number #1, but if I ever parted way with that line, I definitely would be looking into Kate Somerville’s line.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray: ONE OF MY FAVORITE THING IN THIS BOX! I am all about creating a wonderful sleeping environment and for some reason, I never tried a pillow spray. This spray, which was the wellness choice item in the box, is made up of chamomile, lavender, and vetivert, a blend that helps you sleep better and reduce anxiety. I started using it immediately and loved how I felt when falling asleep/waking up. I know it sounds silly, but I can tell a difference. Pair this with some oils in the diffuser and you are good to go. GET THIS! I’m serious!

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Nelson J Beverly Hills Moisture Healing Hair Mask: This was the beauty choice item (each box gets one wellness and one beauty item chosen for them). I tend to get a lot of hair oriented products, so I wasn’t surprised by the fact that my item was this hair mask. I am all about hair products with argan oil AND that smell like coconut (I typically use Hask products), so I was excited to see this product had both. I did enjoy using this product and felt like my hair had a nice silky feel to it after it was style.

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream : This is a MUST if you live in Ohio! I don’t know about you, but my hands in the winter here are a complete mess. I’m talking knuckles that feel like elephant knees. I have a difficult time finding lotions I like that don’t leave my hands greasy or oily that actually get the job done. This hand cream is made up of Dead Sea minerals, witch hazel, and allantonin and really moisturizes your hand quickly. It’s been in my purse ever since I tried it!

As always I enjoyed the items in this box, but after some discussion, my mom and I decided we are going to take a little break from them for awhile. There are a lot of other boxes out there that we are interested in trying, so we decided we would do that. Be on the lookout to see what we try!

 

 

 

 

 

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Rant of the Week: Susies!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a rant, but today seemed like the perfect day to get something off of my chest. I’m so sick of the Susies!

For those that don’t know me in the real world, I am 100% what one would refer to as a hot head. I go from 0 to 100 really fast when I feel like someone is trying to trash something I am really passionate about. It’s hard to get me to that level, but when I do, watch out!

I used to think that having a personality like this was bad, but after some time I realized that it wasn’t. You see….when I get fired up about something….like REALLY FIRED UP….it is because it is something I am extremely passionate about. Passion is good!

I’m passionate about so many things, especially helping people get into a happier and healthier place. I try my best to share my sparkle with everyone I meet and help them reach whatever goal it is that they have, and I run a team of motivated men and women who do the same. We want to leave the world better than how we found it. That should be everyone’s mission!

I recently have seen a few fellow ex-coaches taking to their social media platforms to try and trash Beachbody. When I see this my heart always hurts a little bit. Most just want to trash the company and say that it isn’t a good company or that the market is saturated and that there isn’t a need for coaches.

Am I going to defend this company? Abso-FREAKIN-lutely.

Listen, people. We need to have a little REAL talk moment here, because I’m noticing a trend with some of you who are actively trying to trash my company, and this is a major bugaboo of mine, so I have to address it.

-With any business….NOT JUST BEACHBODY….if you don’t put in time and effort and TRY, you aren’t going to be successful. That goes for our company, that goes for Wall Street, that goes for McDonalds. You can’t expect to go to your job every day, sit around, do nothing, and end up making a million dollars at the end of the year. It just doesn’t happen. So before you start trashing a company that you **USED** to love, please take a moment and think about your work ethic or lack thereof. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you didn’t put in the work, which means you weren’t as successful as you wanted, which means you quit, which means you jumped to another MLM company thinking that would make you more successful. Bitch, please. The only place Success comes before Work is in the dictionary. It doesn’t matter what you are doing: your actions are tied directly to your result!

-Trashing any company, especially when you are making it a point to make your status updates about said company like every other day, makes YOU look like a real asshole. Do you think people will be drawn to you because you just want to bash a company? Negativity breeds negativity. I see these people who just post status after status on Facebook about Beachbody, and the people commenting on that post are all the same Negative Nancy’s who, much like the status maker, didn’t make Beachbody work because they thought signing up to coach meant the next day the sky would be raining money just because they smiled. Furthermore, when I see someone who is posting negative statuses of comments about there companies on the reg, they lose all credibility with me instantly. It’s one thing to have an opinion, but it’s another thing to try to spread hate and nastiness without sharing the whole story. Remember, WHAT SUSIE SAYS OF SALLY SAYS MORE OF SUSIE THAN OF SALLY.

-Saying that the coaching market is saturated is THE. MOST. RIDICULOUS. statement you could possibly make, and it also makes me sad because it tells me you don’t see what is happening with this country’s health as a whole. This country is more obese than it ever has been….and child obesity is off the charts! Millions of people need a solution and to be connected to a person/product that can help them reach their goals. Now I’m not saying that what I do is the only option…there are so many great options out there, and everyone needs to find the best solution for their situation/lifestyle/goal….but what I am saying is that what I do and the products I am able to connect people with….THOSE ARE THE SOLUTION for many, many, many people out there.

I recently went out to Las Vegas with friends to celebrate a friend of mine’s birthday. One of my favorite parts of Vegas is Old Vegas….aka Fremont street…where there are the old school lights and casinos….the people watching is also pretty amazing there, too. As we were walking around I noticed a restaurant promoting the World’s Highest Calorie Burger, called the Quadruple Bypass Burger, and all kinds of unhealthy options. The menu even included cigarettes (that’s the vegan option). I was instantly disgusted. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a greasy hamburger and cheese sticks, but this is taking it to another level. This place was actually promoting poor health, high cholesterol, and heart attacks! And you are telling me that there isn’t a need for individuals to help those struggling with their health????? Yeah, mmmmooookkkk.

(Sidenote: I did look into this place when I got back home. It is part of a chain and there have been quite a few deaths as a result of the food. Several of the locations have closed, and the spokesman for the company actually died in 2013).

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-Sometimes things don’t work out. We have all been there…..a job didn’t work out the way we hoped, a relationship didn’t work out, etc. Does that mean something better is out there? Chances are, yes! Use whatever it is as a stepping stone and acknowledge that while it isn’t the final destination on your journey, it helped get you to where you should be. I’ve had a ton of failures in my lifetime….and I can guarantee you Im going to have many more. But…..I’m where I am in my life because of those failures. I wouldn’t have the career, the people, or the life I have if it wasn’t for the stumbling I did along the way. I won’t bash all the things that helped me get here. I acknowledge that they didn’t work out but I choose to see the positive in them.

Look, maybe you’d rather sell wine or makeup…..COOL! This isn’t about saying Beachbody is the only MLM out there….it’s not! There are many amazing ones depending on what you want to do and what you are passionate about (I have friends in pretty much every MLM out there….and I support them 100%, so don’t even go there). Sometimes you do have to try one before finding the right one for you. I’m not saying that’s not ok!

What I am saying though…..for those of you thinking wanting to build a business…. creating a staircase of people you have stepped on won’t get you the success you want.

I want everyone to find something that makes their heart so incredibly full that they want to spend every minute of every day rocking whatever it is. That’s how I feel. I literally wake up every morning excited to chat with my coaches, my challengers, the customers I work with one on one, my kick boxers…..I feel so happy knowing I am just one small piece of their success story. That’s what makes me tick. That’s what drives me. That’s where my passion is.

And that’s what has driven this rant.

Now let’s go about our day….and let’s be positive, ok?????

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Bah Humbug.

Yes, that’s how I feel this time of year, and I don’t even feel bad saying it. As much as I try I just don’t see the holidays as the same joyous time as everyone else, and it is really challenging when you feel like you have a heart made of coal when everyone else is rocking a heart made of candy canes and sugar plums.

November marked the second anniversary since we lost my father, and since his death came right around Thanksgiving, the holidays that year and ever since have changed for us. That first year I refused to acknowledge the holiday, and I did not put up a tree or any decorations. The gifts I purchased were wrapped in paper that could pass for a birthday present. Last year, I kind of tried….I did the tree thing, baked a little bit, and still refused to send out Christmas cards or wrap in festive paper.

This year I am trying a little harder. I put up two gorgeous trees in my house; one a frosted pine that has all of the ornaments given to me by my parents over the years, and the other a glitter tree that is Kate-tastic with a capital K. Our mantle is decorated, and I will be baking like crazy in a few weeks. Wrapping…..well, let’s just say I found Christmas doughnut wrapping paper, so that’s the theme of this year. I ordered Christmas cards, and if I ever finish addressing them they will be in the mail. Im trying.

From the outside it seems as though I’m into the holiday this year, but don’t be deceived. I am actually struggling more this year than I did that first Christmas, and I’m not sure why I am stepping back in my grief journey.  I was talking to some people in my grief support group about it and don’t know if it is because since my dad’s death I have lost both my grandmothers, one just a few months ago, and this entire time of year is laced with dates tied to their passings, funerals, or memorials, or if it is something else.

As I sit here and try to deal with my own grief I often think about how insensitive I was before my family suffered these losses. I remember giving friends grief when they told me they hated the holidays. I remember trying to push certain friends into partaking into holidays traditions with me, even when they made it clear they didn’t want to. I just couldn’t get that people could hate such a beautiful time of year.

Now here I am, one of those people. Nothing is worse than someone saying “Are you excited for the holidays?” and answering with “No”, then given either a dirty look or a hard time because of your answer. It’s also the time of year where there are parties and events going on constantly, and I struggle being able to go to any of them. To me, I am that Grinch in the group that doesn’t want to participate, and I am always afraid if I attend I will be the Debbie Downer in the group that will ruin the fun for everyone. It’s not a good feeling. And, unfortunately, I have many friends who have recently suffered significant losses that are joining me in the “Eff the holidays” club.

For those of you struggling this time of year, here are some things that I have found are somewhat helpful, at least to me:

1. Incorporate your loved one into the holiday in some way. 

This is probably the hardest thing to do. For me, I struggle with family gatherings and the traditions we used to do because I sit there the entire time and can’t help but think about the empty chairs at the table and who is missing. And yes, I know that our loved ones are there with us in spirit, but that doesn’t make it easier. An important thing to do is decide what traditions you want to keep and what you want to change, then add a new tradition for your loved one(s).

Last year my mom and I learned about The White Envelope Project, and we decided to make that a new tradition in honor of my dad. I supported a pet rescue last year and will be doing the same this year, as my dad was a huge dog lover.

Every year my dad would request I make him a batch of anise pizzelles when I made the basic ones for the family. I continue to make him a batch now. I cried the entire time last year, and I guarantee I will this year, too, but making these cookies that he loved makes me feel a little comfort.

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The White Envelope Project

2. Try to maintain your usual routine.

For me, that includes getting in my workout every day, completing the basic business tasks that I do daily, and acting like the holidays are just another day. I need that routine to keep myself from falling into a deeper black hole. Doing things that make you feel normal will help.

3. Be honest with your family and friends. 

It’s challenging for me sometimes to tell my friends the reasons why I don’t want to attend certain holiday functions. I know that just because I am dealing with grief doesn’t mean they are, but you need to open the lines of communication. Let others know you are needing support and a little extra love this time of year. There’s no shame in saying “I need help” or “I can’t do this” in relation to a certain event, and your loved ones will understand.

4. Connect with a grief support group online or in your area, or seek assistance from a counselor. 

DO NOT feel weird about talking to someone about your feelings and issues this time of year, or any time of year to be honest. I do it regularly, and I have found a lot of comfort from individuals in these groups. Sometimes just talking to someone who has gone through the exact same thing you have gone through helps.

5. Do not feel guilty if you do something that brings you joy.

I’ve struggled with this one a lot…..how can I have a good time when a huge part of my heart is missing?  Your loved ones want you to continue living life, so do things that may make a dark time a little lighter. Laughing and spending time with friends and family doesn’t mean you don’t miss them like crazy. I do my best to still talk about my dad if I am having a good time or hanging out with people who maybe didn’t know him because I feel like he is still a part of things if he is in the conversation here and there.

6. Always have an exit strategy. 

One thing that has happened to me since losing my dad is that I have moments that hit me where I go into a complete emotional meltdown without warning. Sometimes a song comes on…..sometimes I just see something that reminds me of him and it hurts my heart….I never know. But when it happens, I need to get the hell out of dodge, and I need to get out fast. Since this happens a lot, especially this time of year, I always drive separate so I can make sure I’m not stuck where I am and can get home or out of the crowded area I’m in fast. Have a plan in case this is something you are experiencing. For me, it helps me feel as if I have a little control over those moments.

7. Minimize gifts. 

I feel all too often people go overboard with the holidays. Do we really need ALL that stuff? I used to be one of those overboard people….I just loved buying and getting gifts.  Ever since my dad’s death my thoughts have changed. I don’t need things. I just want to be around those I care about and spend as much time with them as possible. Things are just things……but people and memories….those are what matters. Focus on the important things instead of trying to one up someone else with a bigger, shinier, more expensive gift. In the grand scheme of life it won’t matter.

8. TRY not to eat/drink your feelings. 

As someone who used to do this all the time, I know how tempting it can be. I’m not saying to not #treatyoself here and there, but don’t sit down in front of the cookie table and inhale dozens. It won’t help things, and you will end up feeling worse about it in the long run.

9. Volunteer and do good. 

I feel good donating for The White Envelope project, but I also try to get involved volunteering or helping others in need. There are soup kitchens needing help with holiday meals for the homeless, people who don’t have jackets to wear during the cold, animals who need shelter, children who won’t have any gifts to open on Chrismas day….do something that can help them but also make you feel good.

10. Give yourself grace.

Not everything has to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all together, and it’s okay if you cry. Focus on the things and people who make you happy and can’t help you get through these challenging times.

And for those of you reading this who may ask things likes “Are you excited for the holidays?” or “Why don’t you like Christmas?” etc, think before you ask….and if you do ask, don’t give someone a hard time if they don’t answer how you think you should. And DON’T call us Grinches, Scrooges, Assholes, whatever…..we are doing our best to get through the holidays and not ruin yours.

Thinking of all of you who are doing your best to get through the holidays and sending you peace and comfort.

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October: Sparkle or Dull?

I waited just a tad to get up the October Sparkle or Dull reviews since I dropped the ball HARD in September with my Fit Fab Fun box review. I didn’t want to overload y’all with beauty everything!

I’m constantly trying to determine if the high priced beauty products at Sephora and Ulta are worth the price tag…..and honestly, I love this challenge. Sometimes I find huge wins at the drugstore, other times they are a massive fail. This month I reviewed two drug store products to compare to products I previously reviewed.

If you have been reading my Sparkle or Dull monthly reviews, you know back in July I reviewed an eyeliner I loved by Stila (you can read about that here). I loved the product and gave it a sparkle review, but I was going through it like crazy because I love love LOVE eyeliner. At about $20 a tube, I went on a mission to see if there was a drugstore alternative that was as great as the Stila but more cost effective. I reviewed a similar product by Nyx that I liked, but even though it was much cheaper, it didn’t have as much product in the tube and I didn’t like it as much as the Stila. I’ve had several readers ask me to keep checking into a cheaper eyeliner version, so I opted to try another for October. I listen to you all….I really do!

Product #1: Colour Precise Eyeliner by Rimmel London

I’ve always loved Rimmel’s products. For the cost they have been great quality and have not disappointed, so choosing one of their eyeliners to try was a no-brainer. It claimed to have a heavy pigmentation and precise applicator, two of the basics I look for when I try out an eyeliner, and at $3.99 was a great price point.

One thing I liked about this eyeliner was the intensity of the color…..I always opt for the blackest of the black color, and this was pretty good. That applicator though….not so much. It was very challenging to draw a quality line on my eye, especially when I went to do a winged look, and it wasn’t as fine of a tip like the Stila and Nyx brands had. I also felt like the color faded quickly, and I caught myself having to apply a different eyeliner on top of it a few hours after the initial application.

Overall verdict: DULL AF. I know the low cost is exciting, but you probably would have better luck with using a black eyeshadow as a liner than this actual one. Just say no.

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Don’t mind the overly rosy cheeks here…I was battling a little cold!

Product #2: E.l.f. Lock on Liner and Brown Cream

Ohmygoodnessgracious friends….brows are so so so important! I can’t begin to tell you how much I cringe when I see people who have super skinny brows that aren’t manicured or brows that are not maintained…..they frame your eyes and make or break your face! The worst part….a lot of the people I see who need some brow help are selling products like Younique or Lipsense…..Y’all SELL PRODUCTS to help with this!!!! Use them! Because I’ll tell ya something…..I’ll never buy anything from someone with piss poor brows! Complete your freaking look!

Ok, now that my mini brow rant is over (sorry, I’m passionate), I’ll shift to my brows. See that picture above with the liner? Those are my brows without any product, so they are completely naked. For a long time I never did anything with them, and now looking back I wish some friends would’ve told me what was up. Those old pics of the 1990 and early 2000 Katie brows are just UGH!

These days I rely on two products for my brows: Precisely, My Brow Pencil by Benefit (reviewed here) and Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. They are both fantastic products and worth every penny. I line with the Benefit and fill in with the Anastasia. Super easy.

As always when I go to Target…I ended up in the makeup section and had noticed Elf had a brow cream that looked a lot like my Anastasia one. Elf is a great brand and very affordable, and since I am typically pleased with their products, I purchased one of these $3 brow creams and decided to give it the test.

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And when I say test…..I mean one brow rocking the Anastasia cream and the other with the Elf cream for a true side by side analysis.

After applying the creams to my brows and taking quite a few pics in different light, I was pleasantly surprised with how similar the colors were. Honestly I could’ve gotten away with going into public with both products represented because no one could’ve noticed the difference.

My thoughts on the Elf? I’ll be using it over the Anastasia moving forward. It felt the same, looked the same, stayed on the same, but the price tag….exponentially cheaper. They are about the same size (Elf’s jar is a little taller; Anastasia’s is a little wider). Overall, it’s a great product.

Final Verdict: SPARKLE! It’s a drug store win! My brows are happy, too.

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Until next month, beauty babes…….

sparkleon

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Carbs are out, clouds are in!

Listen, friends….I’m all about that carb life…like 99% of human beings. But…..I have some issues with gluten, so I have to be careful. If I’m going all in with gluten, it’s going to be something really satisfying, like a huge doughnut!

My breakup with gluten meant that my bread intake went from a thriving relationship to pretty much non existent. That makes spaghetti dinners and lasagna and all things Italian a little sad, right???? And don’t get me started on things like egg salad or chicken salad, two of my favorite quick lunches!

Fortunately for me, I stumbled across a recipe awhile back that has been a lifesaver and serves as a wonderful bread substitute: CLOUD BREAD!

For starters, the name Cloud Bread is just fabulous as it is….but there is something to the name. This “bread”, made with only four ingredients, comes out light and fluffy like a cloud. The best part??? It is a protein! Yes, you read that right….nothing carby about it! You’ve got to make it!

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                                                    Katie’s Cloud Bread Recipe
Ingredients:

-3 large eggs
-1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
-Dash cream of tartar
-Dash of salt (optional)

How to make:

Heat oven to 300 degrees, then spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Separate egg whites from egg yolks, placing in separate bowls. Add dash of cream of tartar to egg whites and beat on high until peaks form (between 3-4 minutes). Set aside, then add yogurt and salt (if using) to yolks, beating until blended completely. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Using a spoon, scoop mixture onto cookie sheet, pressing mixture down to resemble a pancake. Bake for 30 minutes or  until golden brown. The “bun” should be crispy when touched. Once you remove from oven, loosen with spatula, then allow to cool. If not serving immediately, store in tupperware container.

***Few notes***

-Don’t over mix when combining the egg whites and yolks.
-When scooping out mixture, make sure scoop is about 3 inches in diameter.
-This recipe makes three servings. A serving is two pieces of “bread”.
-One serving has 94 calories and 9 grams of protein.

ENJOY!

 

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Halloween in Doughnut Form

I am as basic as they come when it comes for my love for all things pumpkin, and I’m okay with that!

When I think of pumpkin+a sugary exterior, I always think of the Halloween parties we had at school when I was younger….you know the ones with apple cider and those pumpkin sugary doughnuts???? I loved them! And where I am from, the doughnuts usually came from the greatest fall doughnut place ever, Whitehouse Fruit Farm. Seriously, if you have some time, make the drive there and grab some doughnuts and fruit from the orchard. It’s worth it, I promise.

Recently my kickboxing studio had a Halloween themed dj night for two of our classes, so the instructors made Halloween themed treats for the class. I kept thinking of those doughnuts from when I was little, and since I was going as a giant doughnut, I figured I needed to make a doughnut of some sort. I ended up making my delicious and always popular pumpkin spice doughnut muffins. Everyone loved them and asked for the recipe….here it is!

INGREDIENTS:

-2 tsp baking powder
-1 3/4 cups flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 cup canola oil
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-6 oz pumpkin puree
-1 egg
-1/2 cup milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
-1 cup sugar
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp pumpkin spice
-1/2 stick of butter, melted

Grease mini muffin pans and preheat oven to 350. Combine baking power, salt, flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In another bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, egg, and milk until well combined. Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and blend until smooth. I use a Pampered Chef baking scoop (medium) to scoop mixture into muffin tins. Bake between 10-12 minutes.

As muffins bake, melt butter, then mix in a separate bowl the remaining topping ingredients. Once muffins have completed baked and have cooled for a few minutes, dip in butter then spoon the sugar topping mixture over the doughnut muffin.

I love to keep these chilled, but you don’t have to. Be careful though….you’ll want to eat the whole batch! Enjoy!

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