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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Wonder Woman: Is it worth the hype?

I feel a little weird actually writing that out. Is it worth the hype??? In my world, eerrrryyyytthhhiinngggg Wonder Woman is worth it. I mean…I am freaking obsessed!

If you are a new subscriber to the blog, you may not understand my obsession with WW, but let me just make it known: it is a fierce one. I channel my inner Wonder Woman all the time….in photo shoots, in challenge groups, for strength…..I just love her….and I’ve been waiting for the release of the Wonder Woman movie for what seems like forever!

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Because of a busy Thursday night, I couldn’t hit the midnight showing like I would’ve preferred, so I hit the theater for the Noon showing on opening day. Naturally I rocked one of my many WW shirts to the theater….one that had a cape attached. I had to make it known to everyone that I am WW Obsessed!

When it comes to things I love, I always get so excited when a movie is coming out that incorporates them. However……all too often I am let down, whether that be a build up I create in my own mind or just a really bad job by those making the movie. Beauty and the Beast is a recent example….it didn’t live up to the expectation in my mind, leaving me disappointed. I hoped this wouldn’t be the case with Wonder Woman.

Let’s talk about the actress who plays Wonder Woman for a second, Gal Gadot. Hello, Im obsessed. Often I don’t agree with casting choices for movies that have to do with a superhero, but this one….this one was perfect. I think Gal is a complete knockout, and not only did she fit the look of Wonder Woman, but she did a great job with the role.

And then there is Wonder Woman’s leading guy, Steve, played by Chris Pine. As soon as I realized Chris was in this movie, I groaned with disgust. I’ve NEVER been a Chris Pine fan (sorry, dude) even though I have tried. As a huge Trekkie, I was disappointed in his role in the Star Trek movies and for some reason he has always annoyed me when I’ve seen him in interviews. Plus, I don’t find him attractive whatsoever, so I didn’t think he was a solid male love interest choice for this movie.

Buuuuuuut……..I didn’t hate him in this movie, which is shocking. I could’ve lived without him wearing weird turtleneck sweaters, but I actually thought he did a good job with his role, and he even made me cry once (I won’t say when because I don’t want to spoil anything).

I wasn’t sure coming into the movie what the story line would be like other than Wonder Woman trying to save the world. While that was the basis, the rest of the storyline was interesting and had me engaged. I’m not going to tell you much about it…you need to see it for yourself!

A couple of additional points I have to mention:

SPECIAL EFFECTS: I was a huge fan of the special effects in this movie….I felt they were done so well and gave this movie such a modern feel.

HAIR: Whomever did the hair for this movie needs to win some serious awards, not just for Gal’s hairstyles (shoutout to those under braids and braided mohawks), but ALL the women in this movie.

ROBIN WRIGHT: Who knew that Robin Wright was so badass??? I’ve always been a fan…from Forrest Gump  to House of Cards…I just love her. Her role in WW completely caught me off guard and I loovvveeddd it!

My honest opinion: Wonder Woman not only met my expectations, but it exceeded them. Not a lot of cussing, barely any nudity (I wouldn’t even say what we saw of Chris Pine was bad), and no gore, which means this morning can be seen by a variety of age groups.

Go see it!!!!!

And tell them the real Wonder Woman sent ya 😉

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May: Sparkle or Dull?

I love the variety of products in the beauty market today….so many options for everyone! Lately there have been so many beauty trends popping up….some intrigue me while others make me say to myself “WTF.”

One WTF product….this charcoal mask thing….which meant I just HAD to investigate!

PRODUCT #1: Beautycounter Balancing Facial Mask

I’m not a stranger to activated charcoal….those of you who follow me on social media know I love using activated charcoal capsules to help whiten my teeth, so when the charcoal mask started popping up everywhere I decided to do a little research.

For my readers who are unfamiliar with activated charcoal, it is created when charcoal and oxygen is combined. I know what you are thinking…..”I grill with that stuff!” Yes, you do, but activated charcoal is a little different than that used to blacken a hot dog. How does it help your skin? It draws out the impurities in your skin, such as dirt, oil, and other substances that clog pores. In addition to helping you obtain flawless skin, it helps fight acne.

Right when the charcoal mask trend started, I ran across a funny youtube video shared by a friend on Facebook. After watching it (it was funny, but definitely eye opening..I shared it below), I did a little research on these peel off masks because I was horrified and not interested in trying something that was ripping off layers of my skin….I knew those weren’t right for me. I wanted something safer and gentler on my skin.

It was like the makeup gods knew because a friend of mine from high school, Bri, reached out to me around the same time asking if I had ever tried any products from Beautycounter. I didn’t know much about the company, but after doing a little research I was definitely anxious to try some out. Beautycounter is a certified B corporation (one of only 900 in the world) which means that they are focused on using their business for the good of the environment. They avoid the banned chemicals and ingredients that are found in many beauty products, making their products safer for you, your health, and your body. I was thankful Bri also shared with me the “Never” list….a list of ingredients to avoid in products…it was definitely eye opening.

After reading the horror stories of the peel off masks, I was a little timid to try the charcoal mask from Beautycounter, but I quickly realized this mask was the consistency of the masks I am used to…and one that required me to use a warm wet washcloth to remove. No peeling off layers of my skin here! After 10 minutes I removed the mask and was very pleased. My skin felt soft and refreshed, and I had zero redness or drying, like some masks. I love love love it and think it is a must have.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!!

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PRODUCT #2: Real Her Lip Kit

We know I love me some lipstick…it’s such an intense love! No one knows this better than my mom, who, unlike me, isn’t as crazy when it comes to lip colors. Recently she gave me the Deep Red lip kit from Real Her, a brand I was completely unfamiliar with but excited to try. When I saw the lipstick said “I am tough” I felt like I was connecting with my soulmate brand.

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I love a bold red lip!

Much like Beautycounter, Real Her is all about doing good. From their website: “RealHer was founded on the idea that, with each application, it can help to inspire the wearer: to be herself, to love herself, to be powerful, to rule the world. It doesn’t ask us to be perfect, to be a mother, to be a CEO, to be the perfect beautiful doll, but rather invites us to continue being ourselves, and that which defines us as an individual—and it’s liberating.” You know I’m all about women feeling powerful in their own bodies and strong, so the mission of this company was totally something I was into. Real Her also donates 20% of all gross profits to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The lip kit, which can also be purchased in Nude or Pink, includes a lip liner, matte lipstick, and a plumping lip gloss. I’ve never be a huge fan of plumping glosses….maybe it is because I naturally have fatter lips and don’t feel like they work the best for me. I tried both with the liner on separate occasions and absolutely loved the liner and lipstick combo. The plumping gloss, like many others, was ok, but not something I would probably use unless I had no other lipstick option. I didn’t feel like my lips were plumper, but I am most likely the wrong person to let you know about that feature. The color and quality of the products were great….they stayed on for a long time without reapplication, and the color was FIERCE.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE! Even with the plumping gloss I still would buy this product…it’s a great value, long lasting, and beautiful!

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I always love a month with lots of sparkle! Here’s hoping June produces some exciting products, too!

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Fill your cup.

Let me let you in on a little secret……my life lately has been HECTIC. That happens when you are an entrepreneur and active in organizations outside of your business….things just tend to compound and before you know it you don’t have time to do the things you love.

About a month ago I sat down and really put some thought into where my focus and energy was directed. It was long overdue. I kept thinking to myself….I need to slow things down….and because of this, I knew I had to step away from something I had been a part of for the past few years and truly loved with all my heart.

The Summit Athletic Running Club.

I joined SARC several years back when I moved to the Akron area with the hope of finding some new friends to run with and the skinny on local running trails. I loved the club immediately and after some time joined the Board of Directors as Membership Director. It was a role I was very proud to have….and a role that led me to many great friendship and runs with incredible athletes.

However, serving on the Board the last year was rough on me. Once my father passed away I had a difficult time making myself go running, and it was challenging to talk about running in a positive light. It took awhile, but I finally got right in the mind with running….but when I started to think about what needed to go in my life, my up and down relationship with running was at the top of the list.

So…..I submitted my resignation to SARC as a Board member and also as the Race Director for my beloved Shamrock 5k and 15k race. I knew it was the right thing to do.

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Interested in a great run club? Join SARC!

I got to thinking that I know many others who load their plate and try to be superwoman. You may be one of those ladies. There’s no shame in trying to do it all….but what’s the sense in doing it all if you are sacrificing things you love….or doing all those things half assed?

Here are some ways to prioritize if your plate is loaded up higher than one at a Golden Corral buffet…..

1. Make lists. People who know me know that I love lists, but this really does help. Make a list of the things you spend the bulk of your time doing. Also make a list of the top priorities in your life, numbering them from most important to least.

2. Delegate when able. We all think we can do everything, right? However, some of the items on our plate can be delegated to those in our family, our coworkers, etc. Don’t be afraid to give up control….it will help you…trust me!

3. Have a tribe! I talk about my tribe a lot….those on my team and the incredible coaches I work with every day within the community. By having a tribe and sharing challenges I face, I am allowing others to potentially help or offer solutions.

4. Always have ME time. This could include reading a book, taking a bath, going for the run…..but make sure you have some time to enjoy something you love. Ever hear the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” You have to take care of yourself, too.

5. Know the difference between importance and urgency. Assign deadlines to complete tasks based on their overall importance. Some tasks on your plate may not be needing as much focus as others, which can help lessen your task load.

It’s never easy to start this process, but if you feel overwhelmed like I did, it is important. Am I sad to leave the Board of Directors for SARC? Absolutely. However, I know I can still remain involved by volunteering when I’m able and running with the club as a member. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that it’s okay to be involved in a lesser capacity.

Listen to Dolly Parton…..never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Thanks for the memories, SARC!

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With Boston marathon great Dick Beardsley

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Doughnuts for everyone…Vegans, too!

Doughuts need to be a food group…I will never stop lobbying for that to happen. They are just one of the greatest things in the world!

If you follow this blog, you know I recently finished up a 21 day detox called The Ultimate Reset. It was challenging in many ways, but I was determined to complete it and decide if I wanted to pursue a lifestyle that leaned more toward vegan/vegetarian. There are many aspects of being vegan/vegetarian that have interested me over the past year; however, I’m a hardcore carnivore so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make the change.

I’m still debating….although I am leaning more toward just cutting out SOME of the animal products and making my diet more 80% plant based and 20% animal product. Time will tell.

Shortly after I started the Reset, I connected with the owners of The Vegan Doughnut Company,  a local company that was just starting out on a quest to share their vegan doughnuts with the Cleveland area. As a huge supporter of local businesses AND doughnuts, I just HAD to check this company out and share with all of you, so I accepted their invitation to attend a doughnut tasting a few days later. I didn’t care that it fell in the middle of my reset….the doughnut tasting was happening, and I was pumped about it.

Since The Vegan Doughnut Company is a newer company, they do not have their own brick and mortar building yet……so the tasting was held at Kitchen 216 in downtown Cleveland, and awesome space perfect for the event. There were two tasting times, one at 10am and one at 11am….and knowing how I’m not a huge morning person, I naturally opted for the 11am timeframe. I wasn’t sure how many doughnuts I would be able to try since I had been on my restricted meal plan…fortunately my friends Julie and Erica attended the same session. I knew between the three of us no doughnut would go untouched!

Before I share a little about the doughnuts, let me give you a little scoop on this company as told to me by owners Kyra and Kharisma!

-When and why did you start the Vegan Doughnut Company?
The Vegan Doughnut Company started back in November of 2016 but was publicly announced just a month ago. We absolutely love doughnuts but couldn’t find vegan doughnuts. Plus we always wanted to own a business together that involved what we loved, which is veganism.

-What did you do before you started making doughnuts?
Kyra: Sophomore Mechanical Engineering Student at CSU and Intern at Dominion East Ohio.
Kharisma: Laboratory Supply Coordinator for University Hospitals.
We currently still have our jobs.

-Where can individuals buy your doughnuts?
Right now, we do orders minimum of 1/2 Dozen and The Cute Little Cake Shop on select Saturday’s

-Do you do special orders?
Yes we do special orders. Anything can be done with a doughnut. Anything from letters to unicorns.

-What is your favorite doughnut?
Kyra: Vanilla icing with Sprinkles
Kharisma: Glazed chocolate cake

-Do you partner with any local businesses for ingredients?
Not currently but we would love to in the future.

-Did you complete any formal training/where did you learn to bake?
Honestly, we both learned the bulk of our cooking in high school home economics. Also, watching our parents when we were younger. That’s where we feel in love with cooking…..we had to learn to make our favorite food in vegan versions.

-What made you want to bake doughnuts instead of other vegan items?
Everyone makes cupcakes and cookies. We like to be different.

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The talented owners of The Vegan Doughnut Company

The doughnut tasting was pretty neat…..and I can honestly say I didn’t know what to expect since I had never been to one before. We arrived at Kitchen 216 and were given score cards to rate the flavors. Since The Vegan Doughnut Company is a newer business, they were eager to learn what kind of doughnuts we the people liked, so we got to try one doughnut hole in each flavor. Give me all the doughnuts! Angels were singing to me….it was that glorious.

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Oh, hello you attractive little babes. 

The flavors ranged from Vanilla Sprinkled to Chocolate Cherry to Chocolate Glazed to Hibiscus to Oreo…..I almost didn’t want to eat them because they were so cute in my little tray. However, we all know me so you know I did.

My favorite? It’s a tie between the Maple Bacon, the Hibiscus, and the Oreo. The only one I didn’t like was the Lavendar doughnut, and that’s because I associate lavender with my baths……it is the scent of one of my favorite Lush bath bombs! They were all so tasty and had a great consistency….sometimes with vegan baked goods they taste a little off, but not these doughnuts.

Want to score yourself some of these delicious vegan treats? The Vegan Doughnut Company will be at The Cleveland Flea May 13th (more dates to come depending on how well they do…it’s their first Flea!) You can also catch them at the Cleveland Bazaar May 20th, July 1st, Sept. 16th, and Oct. 7th.

Don’t forget about Social Media!!!! Like this local business on Facebook by clicking HERE!  This way you won’t miss anything regarding upcoming pop up shops or news regarding their business!

Kyra and Kharisma, thanks for having me at your doughnut tasting! And please know I am ALWAYS available to sample doughnuts!

Is there a job out there as a professional doughnut taste tester???? Because this girl right here would really do well with that…..just saying’.

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Let’s Tacobout it.

Awhile back I shared with you how I clean a jackfruit, and as you probably noticed….there is a TON of meat when you do so! I froze the majority of the jackfruit meat for later use, which is something I encourage those of you who eat jackfruit to do so you don’t waste it.

This week’s meal plan will include jackfruit tacos. I figured that since Cinco de Mayo was approaching and I need to amp up my taco raining for my Friday night Cinco de Mayo downtown Barrio date with the gals, I’d kill two birds with one stone and make some amazing tacos using the frozen jackfruit meat. Here’s a look at my meal plan for the week!

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Want to try the jackfruit tacos? Take a look at how easy they are to make!

                                           Katie’s Crockpot Jackfruit Tacos
Ingredients:
-Jackfruit Meat (I use about 3 lbs of it)
-1 Tablespoon Pepper
-5 oz Worcestershire Sauce
-6 oz Liquid Smoke
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup celery
-18 oz katchup
-1 cup water
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 Tablespoon dry mustard
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 6 hours. Once done cooking, use a fork or the paddle attachment on your KitchenAid mixer to shred the jackfruit meat.

 

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Jackfruit Taco Prep!

You can use corn or flour tortillas for the taco shells and top with whatever you like. I take a coleslaw mix and use that as a topping…it’s really tasty! You can also make your own by mixing 1/4 cup shredded carrots with 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage and 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage. Mix with 1/4 cup olive oil mayo. I prefer to omit the mayo if you wonder where it is in mine!

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Look at these little beauties!


Ready for a successful week in the gym and in the kitchen! I hope you are as well!

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