I DONUT live a life without donuts!

Donuts are one of my all time favorite things….I’m pretty sure anyone who reads my blog and follows me on Facebook knows this. I mean…..I captain a running team called Running for Donuts and run the race with a donut on my head. It’s an obsession. I’ve embraced it.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-6-29-43-pm

I go by the running name “Bearclaw.”

Every now and again I like to enjoy a donut from Peace, Love, and Little Donuts….a franchise that makes the best donuts around, but most of the time I prefer making healthier versions of this treat.

I know what you are thinking…they don’t taste like real donuts. If you are after the Fruity Pebbles donuts or Creamsticks, then you are right….you can’t make those kinds healthy regardless of how hard you try. I love chocolate, and I love chocolate glazed, so the recipe that I make the most is the closest thing to that. They are so good!

16776938_10158177165385244_1048086646_o

Donuts that taste like a brownie but fit in any meal plan. 

Here’s my recipe!

                                                                         Katie’s Chocolate Donuts

– 1 cup whole wheat flour (or oat flour)
-2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
-1/2 cup Truvia (you could use Stevia if you prefer)
-3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-1/4 cup egg whites
-8 ounces natural applesauce
-1/4 cup water

Mix well. If batter is too thick, add more applesauce or water until it reaches desired consistency. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees! Enjoy!

**If you are a 21 Day Fixer, I break one donut down to be 1/2 cup yellow, 1/2 purple, 1/2 red.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-6-15-46-pm

You won’t regret these beauties!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

January: Sparkle or Dull?

Back at it with some makeup reviews, friends! Sidetone: Sparkle or Dull has officially turned ONE year old! Yay! I’m so glad you guys like the reviews of various beauty products and enjoy all of your feedback! I hope this segment on my blog has helped you in some way!

Let’s chat products!

PRODUCT #1: Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Palette

If you’ve been around the makeup block for awhile, you know that Too Faced is my main eyeshadow brand.I’ve always loved the pigment of the palettes, the way they smell, and I just think the overall quality is great. As someone who owns literally EVERY palette they have ever made, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about their products.

When the White Chocolate Chip palette was released, naturally it went out of stock almost immediately. Usually I grab these items asap, but for some reason I was slacking around the time it was released and wasn’t able to get it until it was restocked after Christmas….perfect timing since I had a ton of Sephora gift cards (people know what makes me tick).
Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 6.25.30 AM.pngLately I have been gravitating toward more pink hues for my eyes, a color I typically don’t do. I was excited about the colors in this palette because the majority were ones I didn’t really own in addition to the fact that the colors fell into the pink trend I was loving.

Sephora was out of stock in the store with the palette, so they ordered it online so it could be delivered to me. Oh, the anticipation!

And then I got the palette…..and my excitement somewhat diminished.

Here’s the thing about Too Faced products….as I mentioned, the quality is great, but one downfall is that they aren’t cheap. Since I own so many of their items, I know what to expect when it comes to the size of the palettes.

This thing….yeah, no where near their normal palette size.

I opened the box to find an item literally the size of a credit card. WHAT????!!!!!! Besides that fact, it was exponentially thinner . Too Faced, what is happening here?

 

FINAL VERDICT: DULL-ISH
Overall, the colors are great…..the smell of the palette is nice….but I don’t feel like it is a good value. When I can buy one of the Chocolate Bar palettes that feature way more shadows for about $15 more, why would I want to buy something this size? If you don’t care about cost then this would probably be a sparkle in your world….so really this product could go either way for me.

Product #2 Precisely, My Brow Pencil by Benefit

I know, I know….you may be asking yourself “Why is she reviewing ANOTHER brow product”…….

Well, I had to, my friends.

October’s S or D featured a random find from Target, a brow pencil from Elf. I loved loved LOVED this product…even after I realized it didn’t last long (about 7-10 uses). For a few bucks and the great color I was okay with it though…until I went to Target and they stopped carrying my color!

If you are someone who uses the lightest shade, you are still in luck. I’ve been creeping various Targets and stores that carry the Elf brand, and the color I use seems to have magically vanished. Whatever.

I needed a brow product replacement and decided it was finally time to give Benefit a chance. I’ve been hearing about their brow line for awhile but didn’t know if it would be worth a try….which is usually my hang up with a product. And, like many items, I was expecting a disappointment.

WRONG.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!

Let’s cover everything I like about this product:

-The color is spot on….and, unlike many brow products, there is a wider variety of colors to choose from.

-There’s a lot of product in here….I’ve been using this for well over a month, and we are still rocking it out.

-The precision of the pencil is great for shaping your brows with smooth lines.

-The spoolie is fantastic.

100% worth it.
screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-6-38-58-am
Have you tried either product? Tell me your thoughts!

sparkleon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Bucket Time, Baby!

Every December, as the current year comes to a close, I sit down and create a vision board for the upcoming year. The board is full of personal and business oriented goals that I am working to achieve, and I make a cute little graphic to go along with it so I can hang it in my office for viewing every day.

To me, goals are extremely important. It’s not just a business or financial thing; it’s about personal growth for me….about pushing past limits and challenging myself. Do I hit every item on my vision board? Sometimes…some years I fall wayyyyyy short.

Shortly after creating a vision board for 2017 I had a conversation with a friend about bucket lists. She asked if I had ever created one, and I told her that I hadn’t. To me, a vision board was different than a bucket list. The items that I have goaled for myself are things that in my mind I MUST achieve this year to get to where I want to be professionally. A bucket list is something that includes things I would love to do, but that aren’t at the forefront of my mind like my vision board items are.

After that discussion I decided I wanted to make a small bucket list for 2017 and fill it with some of the fun things I always say that I want to do but end up not doing. I like little things like this…you may remember a few years ago I tasked myself with completing 31 things in 13 different categories.

Here are my bucket list items for 2017:

1. Visit Falling Water

I have a mild infatuation with architecture and have been obsessed with this Frank Llyod Wright masterpiece for as long as I can remember. It’s a quick day trip for me, so why I haven’t gone there yet…I don’t know. This year though….I am going.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 12.30.46 PM.jpg

Photo Courtesy of Redbubble.com

2. Build my own Terrarium.

I have zero green thumb skills and zero interest in anything related to plants. However, I love succulents and how cute they look when assembled into a fun little glass container. Sure, I could buy an awesome one (like this one from Doodle Birdie), but wouldn’t it be fun to make my own so it is EXACTLY the way I want it? My office will be happy when I create this.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-12-37-57-pm

Doodle Bird Terrariums on Etsy.

3. Cook Thanksgiving dinner.

I love to cook and bake, but the thought of cooking a turkey has been one of those things that I didn’t think I would ever want to do…I’ll blame the turkey incident in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for that one. Deep down I WANT to try to make one, so this year, it is happening. Mom, I’m probably going to want your supervision on this one.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 12.42.14 PM.jpg

Shoutout to The Huffington Post for this sweet turkey pic…hope mine looks this good!

 

4. Complete the Ultimate Reset.

I’ve wanted to complete this nutrition program since I started coaching over three years ago, but my fear of eating a plant based diet for three weeks has scared me off. Lately I have been doing a lot of research into nutrition , and I really want to complete this to reset my body. Double Whammy: I will be doing this with the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, which will be another hurdle for me….I love intense workouts and haven’t done well with low key workouts like yoga in the past. I can do hard things…..I keep repeating that to myself.

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 8.57.52 PM.png

Image courtesy of Beachbody

5. Make Sfogliatelle!

My favorite Italian treat of all time. When I want one of these I go the lame route and visit a local Italian store to get an authentic one. Why? They are so difficult to make! I look at Sfogliatelle as a lobster tail’s little sister….they aren’t as big but taste similar. A few years ago I bought the stuff to make them and never followed through with the baking process. This year I am not only making these fabulous treats, but I will master them!

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 8.46.58 PM.png
6. Family Photo Shoot

We attempted to get pictures around Christmas with both dogs, but we ran into some photographer issues and schedules, so they didn’t end up happening. This year I want to make sure we get some awesome family photos with the two dogs….we haven’t had a family shot since our engagement photos, and only Bubba was in those!

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-10-18-47-pm

7. Go Glassblowing.

No one ever wants to go with me when I bring up glassblowing! The Glass Bubble Project is a local shop where I can learn how to do this and make some fun creations, and damnit, I’m doing it this year even if I fly solo!

8. See the Rockettes at Christmas. 

New York City is my place….as in the one place I’ll never get sick of visiting, the one place I would love to live in, the one city that I think reflects the way I am as a person. I love the city at Christmas, yet I’ve somehow never seen The Rockettes. I was thisclose to going last minute this Christmas with my mom, aunt, and cousin, but we decided not to since we didn’t plan things out with enough time. I know I can talk them into it this year with some planning!

9. Run a race I’ve never done before.

I’ve run a lot of races during my life, but I tend to run the same ones every year. This year I want to run a 5k (or half or full)  that I have never done before. That shouldn’t be difficult to do…there are so many great races out there!

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-9-55-59-pm

The Hall of Fame Half, April 2016

10. Beignets at Cafe DuMonde.

I can’t wait to finally try a legit beignet! This summer we will be heading to New Orleans for our Coach Summit and visiting the iconic Cafe DuMonde. I don’t care how many burpees I have to do…I need to try one of these….maybe two to be sure 😉

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-9-34-18-pm

Photo courtesy of Onevanillabean.com.

I’m excited to cross these items off of my 2017 bucket list….and I encourage you to join me if you are local!

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

Need some Energy?

I’m a huge fan of energy bites….I have so many recipes I could share! 

I wanted to share the one I make the most…it’s so easy, quick, and delicious! Plus it’s versatile…so feel free to omit or add something to change it up!


Ingredients:

-1/2 cup natural peanut butter

-1 cup oats

-1/3 cup honey or agave

-6 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

-1 tsp vanilla

-2/3 cups shredded coconut

-1/4 cup chia seeds

Combine everything in a bowl (using your hands is best) and place covered in fridge for about an hour. Then roll into bite sized balls and keep stored in fridge for up to a week. 

Enjoy!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Tacos are Life.

Guys, my love for tacos….it is a deep, deep love. They are right up there with pizza when it comes to my favorite foods.

One thing I pride myself on is finding a way to balance the things I love with living a healthy life. This is so so so important! No lifestyle should have you completely eliminating everything you love; that is just setting you up for failure.

Tacos are one of those foods that YOU have the power to make healthy. I brown ground beef all the time and use a taco seasoning (my favorite is the Southwestern mix from the 21 Day Fix plan) and serve on healthy taco salads, as tacos, or, in this case, as taco cups!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-33-59-pm

Super easy….super quick…super delicious.

Here are a few ways you can make your tacos a little healthier:

1. Use corn tortillas. These are actually gluten free and a tasty alternative.

2. Swap out sour cream and use Greek yogurt instead.

3. Utilize ingredients such as black beans and corn.

4. Opt for cheese that is grassfed…stay away from the bagged shredded cheese! Do you know that bagged cheese includes powdered wood pulp (on the bag it says CELLULOSE), which prevents it from clumping? Gross! If you can’t find grassfed, buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Wood pulp doesn’t fit into any meal plan….sorry to break the news.

5. Use lettuce as a taco shell or top with as much lettuce as you can!

This week’s meal plan featured my incredibly easy and delicious taco cup recipe, and I had to share for my fellow taco lovers! This is a recipe that is great for kids and adults, can be easily transported, and can also serve as a great, healthy appetizer for events.

                                                           Katie’s Taco Cups

What you need:

-Corn tortillas
-Ground turkey or beef
-Taco Seasoning or Fix Southwest Seasoning
-Greek yogurt
-Guacamole
-Cheese

What you need to do:

Coat a muffin tin (or two depending on how many you are making) with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray.

Brown the meat and mix in the taco seasoning, just as if you were making regular tacos.

Cut the tortillas into squares. (I take the excess and make homemade cinnamon chips with them to pair with fruit salsa….I can share that recipe later!) Place one square in each muffin cup, spooning some of the meat mixture into each cup. I use between 1-2 tablespoons in each. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. If you prefer, you can top with chess AFTER baking; it’s up to you!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-33-40-pm

Ready for some cheese!

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes…but keep an eye on them. Every oven is different!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-33-50-pm

Watch your shells…no one likes a burnt taco!

Top your taco cups with whatever you want….I use a small dollop of greek yogurt and another of guacamole!

If you are following the fix meal plan, I usually count three cups as one serving, but it all depends how much meat you are using.

Store in fridge and heat before serving! Enjoy!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-34-23-pm

Hope you love them!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Beast Up Cleveland!

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

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

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

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

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-4-38-28-pm

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

So what all went on during the weekend?

FRIDAY

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

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


SATURDAY

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

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-7-41-15-pm

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

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

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

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

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-7-50-03-pm

Barbie and I backstage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a week full of sparkle, friends!

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 7.38.51 PM.jpg

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

 

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

#Lashgamestrong

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

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

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-1-09-20-am

So many lashes, so little time. 

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

Let’s address extensions first and foremost…….

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.37.39 PM.jpg

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

What are the lash products I swear by?

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

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

DSC_5378.jpg

My wedding day lashes.

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

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

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

2. Purchase quality glue (as already addressed).

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

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

5. Tweezers are the best applicator!

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

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

Long live the Lash!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 9.39.10 PM.png

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

                                                  EASY BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES

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

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

How to make:

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

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

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

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

15895306_10157991617355244_1628964964353342453_n.jpg

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

My favorite finds of 2016

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

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

1. Glam Glow Mega Illuminating Moisturizer.

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 9.31.23 PM.png

I purchase mine at Sephora!

2. Matcha Green Tea Powder

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

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-10-04-54-pm

Miss my Pulp smoothies these days!

3. Altar’d State clothing

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

4. Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean Scrubber

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 10.26.00 PM.png

5. Best Friends by Sheri Cuddle Cup Dog Beds

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 10.31.47 PM.png

My little loves

6. Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Coconut Primer

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 10.42.43 PM.png

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

7. Everfitte Workout Tanks

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

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-9-54-26-pm

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

8. Layer Cake Soap by Lush

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 9.37.27 PM.png

Even Murphy agrees…it is fabulous!

9. Beat by Dre Headphone Stand

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 11.04.46 PM.png

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

10. New Balance Studio Skin

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

11. On Demand Fitness Membership

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 11.18.17 PM.png

Best $16 a month I’ve ever spent!

12. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea palette

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

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 10.16.12 PM.png
As always, I could include about a million products on this list, but I have to draw the line somewhere…otherwise your wallets and bank accounts would hate me! The items included in this list can be purchased from multiple sites (for the most part), so do some research and find the best deal for you!

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

sparkleon

 

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

Time to Fly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.09.20 PM.png

30 Days of Accountability, one punch at a time.

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

I was wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Register for my January Challenge Group HERE!

corefinal

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

What if you fail?

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

Screen Shot 2016-12-22 at 7.52.26 PM.png

Woohoo!! Program graduate!

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