Category Archives: Be Merry!

Bah Humbug.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The White Envelope Project

2. Try to maintain your usual routine.

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

3. Be honest with your family and friends. 

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

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

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

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

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

6. Always have an exit strategy. 

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

7. Minimize gifts. 

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

8. TRY not to eat/drink your feelings. 

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

9. Volunteer and do good. 

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

10. Give yourself grace.

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

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

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

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Let’s Pee Our Pants…..

……..with excitement!

Ahhhhhhhhh my favorite month!!!!!

If you are a loyal Katetastic reader, you know my birthday falls in the month of July, and I kind of have a little habit of celebrating for a month straight. I can’t help it….birthdays are so fun!

I’ve got to be honest though. My birthday is 10 days away, and I haven’t really even thought about the kind of cake I want this year or anything. I’ve been so freaking busy! In fact, I haven’t even really nailed down how I will be celebrating on my actual birthday or when I will have my traditional birthday dinner with my family. For me, this is b-a-n-a-n-a-s!

This month officially begins an incredible summer/fall jam packed full of amazing amazing events that have me just bursting at the seams with excitement. It also means I am slammed when it comes to my busy-meter, hence why I haven’t as much time to write lately as I would like. Trust me, I have a big announcement coming soon that means lots more blog posts!

Here’a look at some of the exciting things that have been keeping me busy and that are on the horizon!

Engagement Photos

Kyle and I FINALLY got our engagement pics done. I say finally because we have had to reschedule them numerous times because of weather, Kyle being sick, then me being sick, and just plain ridiculousness. Our wedding photographer, Stacy Candow, is just straight up amazing and takes beautiful photos (Seriously, if you are in the Cleveland area and have something going on that requires more than just a selfie, I need to hook you up with Stacy). We aren’t sharing many of them publicly because we do love a little privacy, but here are two of my favorites:

Beachbody’s Coach Summit

I literally have been waiting for this all year long. Last year I won a free ticket to Summit for achieving an awesome goal in my business the first three months as a coach, however, I was unable to go because of a conflict in my schedule. I made sure that Kyle and I could go this year, and I was super stoked when I found out it would take place in Nashville as opposed to Las Vegas, where it had been housed the past couple of years.

Why is this event important? For starters, 25,000 of the nearly 320,000 coaches across the country and in Canada will be there. There will be trainings and presentations by some incredible keynote speakers, super swanky invite only parties (hint: I’ll be rocking my favorite dress designer yet again), workouts with celebrity trainers, and just lots of celebrating our teams and our success throughout the year. In short, lots of glitz, glam, and gams. Kyle and I will get to work out with Shaun T as well as Sagi Kalev, the beast himself. Due to my hard work throughout the year, I will get to have a little hangout session with Shaun T, and you guys all know how I feel about this dude. Most importantly, I will get to spend some quality time with some of my dearest Beachbody pals in a city that is such a blast AND this happens right before my Bday, so it’s an early celebration, too!

Our CEO, Carl, took this shot earlier today. A week from now I will be walking across that stage at LP Field in front of 25,000 coaches. Let's hope I don't trip.

Our CEO, Carl, took this shot earlier today. A week from now I will be walking across that stage at LP Field in front of 25,000 coaches. Let’s hope I don’t trip.

And Some More Shaun T

One of the biggest things coming up in the next few weeks for me is an amazing opportunity I have been given to travel to New York City to film for the T25 infomercial. That’s right….I get to hang a little more with the person who motivates me and in my mind, helped me change my entire life. The day we get home from Nashville I will unpack my bags from Summit and hurry up to pack for my flight the next day. I am nervous, excited, scared, empowered, and READY for this.

As a coach, I am so thankful I get to help my friends and family get to a healthy and happier place. Since the majority of my business is done online, I also have the ability to meet new friends through existing friends and help them get on track as well (thanks Facebook) This opportunity to appear on a commercial that millions of people will see will allow me to (hopefully) inspire complete strangers and give them the strength to make the change I did. All I have ever wanted to do with this opportunity is positively impact as many people as possible. This will be a great way to do so.

I hope Shaun doesn't yell at me at when grab my favorite breakfast: a NY bagel with lox.

Shawshank Hustle

July 25th will be a really fun day for me. Some of my running pals and I are cruising to the Mansfield Prison where we will partake in the first ever Shawshank Hustle. If you are my friend in real life, you know I love The Shawshank Redemption….this Hustle is actually a 4 mile run that includes checking out spots where the movie was filmed. I’ll be in heaven pretending I’m Andy Dufresne.

Yayayayayayaay! Morgan Freeman, narrate my run, dude!

Warhouse Gym

I’ve been chomping at the bit to get us into the Warhouse Gym in Leesport, PA for quite some time. This gym is the exclusive workout facility for Dana Linn Bailey, a former Miss Olympia and another individual I greatly look up to. Kyle and I will get to spend a day the beginning of August working out with her at Warhouse. Yes, between meeting Shaun T and DLB, the chances of me peeing my pants with excitement are preeetttttttyyyyyyyy high. I also love her clothing line, Flag nor Fail, so I may need to leave my wallet at home to avoid bankrupting myself.

Love this pic of DLB, courtesy of Pinterest.

Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party

I probably have the most amazing bridal party in the history of life. Seriously. While I know nothing other than the date, I know that Whitney, Kelly, and the gang will make sure it is a day I will never forget. I can’t wait to rock my bridal shower dress (it is made of scuba material) and the custom made tutu I have for the Bachelorette Party and celebrate with women I am so lucky to have in my life.

Some of my bride tribe!

A-T-L, Baby!

Because apparently I am on a mission to get to every single state this summer, I had to throw a little Georgia in the mix. Atlanta not only houses my favorite Real Housewife, Kim Zolciak-Bierman, but it houses someone very important to me, my success partner, Payton! My quick weekend trip to see her falls on her birthday weekend, and I foresee lots of fun, laughter, and Sephora/Ulta shopping trips in our future.

P.S. Payton hit an amazing milestone in her business today, so congratulate her!

My Induction into Leetonia’s Hall of Fame

The little thing most of the friends I have made as an adult DON’T know about me is that I am one fierce athlete. While I don’t play as often as I would like, I still will take on anyone who challenges me in a game of hoops. In September I will join the Hall of Fame at Leetonia, which makes me very proud. My high school basketball coach, Coach Kornbau, will be introducing me, and my family will be there to support me, which means the world. That reminds me…..I better get to writing my speech……and figuring out an outfit….

Here's a few little highlights of my senior year.

Da Wedding of the Century!!!!!

I can’t believe that Kyle and I have only 85 days remaining until we say “I Do” in front of our closest friends and family. When the wedding day actually comes, we will have been engaged for over 500 days. Everyone told me the time would fly, and they weren’t kidding! I absolutely cannot wait to marry this man…..and for him to finally see my pink wedding dress. Yes, I have been able to keep it hidden from him so he hasn’t seen it….shocker I know. One thing’s for sure: All the craziness will definitely make the relaxing and peaceful honeymoon we have planned even better.


This face right here….this is the face of someone who is loving every minute of life. I remember awhile back posting a quote about how important it is to be in love with every second of your life. I truly believe 2015 is the year I finally embraced that quote. I really hope you all do the same….life is too short to be anything but happy. Now go get your sparkle on!

Sparkle on, my people!