Category Archives: My Big 31

525, 600.

For those of you in my life who know about my love of Broadway musicals, you know that is a part of one of my favorite songs in the musical Rent called “Seasons of Love.” For those of you who don’t get into musicals, you may know that those are the number of minutes in one year. For those of you who didn’t know either of those facts, congratulations….you just gained some new knowledge.

With the new year fast approaching, I can’t help but think about the past year. I really think it is important to be reflective…how else can one grow as a person????? If I have learned anything this past year, it is how important that is.

Most of you know that throughout the year I have been working toward the goal of completing my Big 31 of 2013. If you are reading this blog entry, but haven’t read anything about the Big 31…I have to ask..where have you been living??? Under a rock! Catch up on your Katetastic information.

If you read my entry entitled It’s My Birthday Month , you learned more about why I set the goals I did for 2013. As written in that particular entry: ” The point of this has been to improve myself as a person…to be in better shape…to be a better cook…a better photographer…a better friend…a better person……After all, it’s all about being a little better than I was yesterday.”

Earlier, as I was running errands to get some items I needed for this evening,  I did something I rarely ever do. I made the entire drive in silence….no music…no phone calls. Silence. And I started to think about how fast 2013 has gone and how I had changed as a person.

The truth is, when 2013 started I was in a really bad place….I was unhappy…I was unhealthy…and I really felt like I was being a selfish person. In my opinion, my life started to unravel toward the end of 2012 and 2013 had picked up right where that had ended. I knew that things would spiral out of control if I didn’t change things. So I chose to change the direction my life was going. I chose the belief that my life once again would be full of happiness and love. Thus the Big 31 was born.

For those of you who didn’t click the above mentioned click to view the initial entry, The Big 31 took the place of any resolutions and became a “to do” list of sorts that I wanted to accomplish by today, the last day of 2013. The To Do list had different areas…with my goal being to complete 31 tasks in each area. It seemed like a lofty challenge, but I was up for it. Here is a breakdown of what I did (and didn’t) do:

KATIE’S BIG 31 OF 2013

– Run 31 Races: Of all the things included in the Big 31, this was one of the two that I was hell bent on completing. Of course I wanted to complete everything I had goaled myself to do, but this one was different. Running is an important part of my life for a lot of reasons, but so is pushing myself to new limits. I knew trying to run 31 races would be a serious challenge. I am happy to report that two weeks ago I successfully ran my 31st race! You can read all about the races that I did and check out pictures  by clicking here! And just to show this part of the challenge who’s boss, I’m running the Great New Year’s Eve Race this evening with about 700 of my closest running pals. GOAL SHATTERED + 1!!!!!

Running in the snow will not be fun today!

Running in the snow will not be fun today!

– Cook 31 New Recipes: It was really important to me to broaden my cooking abilities this year. I’ve always loved to cook and bake, but sometimes I fall into the habit of making the same things over and over simply because I like them so much. Throughout the course of the year I posted a few recipes of what I made,  and I am happy to report that every recipe I made turned out beautifully….well…except for the butternut squash soup I attempted that exploded all over the kitchen (and dog). My favorite recipe to date: my friend Sharon’s protein ball recipe…..Super easy and delicious! Here’s how you make them!

Protein Ball Recipe

-1 cup instant oats

-1/3 cup honey

-1/2 cup natural peanut butter

-1/2 cup flaxseed

-1 tsp vanilla

-2/3 cup coconut

I also add in 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/2 protein powder.

Other than the protein balls, the remaining 30 recipes I made include: Banana Oat breakfast cookies, stuffed crab rolls, monkey bread, lemon monkey bread (yes two different kinds), turkey taco bake, black bean and spinach enchiladas, pink chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, cauliflower mac and cheese, pumpkin spice lattes, zucchini parmesan crisps, OMG chicken, goat cheese stuffed peppers, peachy keen bars, caprese pasta, lemonade dip, mexican sweet potatoes, egg breakfast cups, guacamole, butternut squash soup, baked pepperoni zucchini boats, peanut butter frosting, fish tacos, tomallito scramble, egg avocado pizza, bacon guacamole grilled cheese, truffle fries, buffalo chicken sliders, and baked fried pickles. I also made about 25 different Shakeology recipes, too. My friends and family definitely enjoyed this part of the Big 31 since they got to try the majority of these items out. GOAL MET!

-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness: This one was right up there with running 31 races. I’ve always done nice things for others, but coming into this year I just felt I needed to step it up a notch. Like I mentioned before, I felt like I was in a bad place and was being too selfish. It was important to me to help those in need and try to do things to cheer up those around me. Throughout the year I donated items, paid for strangers’ food/coffee, wrote letters to soldiers, did kind things for my students without them knowing it was me, volunteered, planned and executed successful fundraisers…..after awhile I actually stopped keeping track because doing these things had become a part of my lifestyle. I really hope that everyone who reads this blog decides to pay it forward and be kinder in the new year. Sometimes the smallest of gestures mean the world to someone. GOAL MET!

I love livelifehappy.com.

I love livelifehappy.com.

– Read 31 Books: My main goal for wanting to read more books was to challenge myself to step away from my hectic life to have some ME time. I’ve always been a big reader, but sometimes I get lost in the hustle of my crazy life to remember how much I love curling up under a blanket with hot chocolate and reading. I went through periods of time this year where I read like a maniac, then didn’t for weeks. I only ended up reading 15 books this year, however, I am in the middle of 6 different ones. Now that my schedule has simmered down a little I am hoping to finish those and start some new ones. I also plan on getting a library card (I know, exciting big girl stuff) in the next few weeks. You can see what I have read and plan to read  by clicking my Shelfari shelf! GOAL NOT MET!

-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: Well, this one didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. When I started the year and the challenge, I was enrolled in school full time pursuing a photography degree to supplement my many talents and interests. When March hit, I decided I needed to take a break from it for some different reasons, and while I still continue taking pictures to this day, I didn’t pursue many photo shoots throughout the course of the year. Many of my subjects were animals, but my favorite photo shoot of the year was the one I did for my roommate, Kyla, and her brother, Max. They wanted to recreate photos from their childhood for their parents, and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result. Overall, I only completed 15 photos shoots throughout the course of the year. GOAL NOT MET!

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 12.40.10 PM

– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: Initially when I came up with this part of the Big 31, my goal was to share stories about the important people in my life with all of my readers. I truly feel I am who I am because of the amazing people I am lucky to call my friends. While I did share stories involving some of my closest friends throughout the year by way of blog entries, I also shared many stories and moments via Facebook and in real life by reliving them to others. So many amazing memories with my friends this year…I am so thankful for each and every one of you! I decided to share a few of my favorite moments of the year in this blog. GOAL MET!

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-Make 31 Crafts: Oh, those crafts! Something else I had planned out with the intention of completing and then life happened…..I only ended up making 14 different crafts. However, the ones I made I absolutely loved, and I did repeat a few. I made my first tutu back in June for the Dirty Girl Mud Run and ended up making two more tutus throughout the year, but I didn’t want to count those multiple times. My crafts included items from costumes to dog bones to dinnerware to business cards. My favorite craft of the year was the box of Sunshine I made for Whit this fall. I had a fun time making it for her, and I know that it brought her some cheer, which was the point of the craft. I guess Martha Stewart wins this round…..GOAL NOT MET!

-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: I don’t really have to elaborate on this one. I think we all know I met this goal about two months into the year. I did donate a pair of shoes for every pair I purchased…I’m not a hoarder! My favorite shoe purchase of the year was a no brainer: the bad boys listed below. GOAL MET!

So many memories and personal goals were met this year thanks to these shoes.

So many memories and personal goals were met this year thanks to these shoes.

I know some people thought that trying to complete all of these things was a crazy notion, but I am so glad I did the Big 31. Not only did this force me to think outside of the box and try some new things, but it helped pull me back among the living. As I write up this blog I can’t believe a year has passed since I came up the idea and started planning. I think about where I was in my life a year ago and where I am now, and I can’t believe how much things have changed. All in just 525, 600 minutes.

To the year 2013….you were a real bitch….not only to me, but to my family and friends. I think I speak for everyone when I say you will not be missed.  Our relationship started out rocky, and I was not excited about the 365 days involved with you. However, I was determined to not let you bring me down. Despite your attempts to kick me when I was at my absolute lowest, I somehow managed to show you who was boss and end up on top. I’m closing the door on you with a smile because you did not beat me this year, nor do I hate the trials you let me face throughout the year. After all, I’m ending the year the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. Bring it, 2014! I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

LifeLoveQuotesandSayings.Com

LifeLoveQuotesandSayings.Com

Take that, Gump!

It’s been awhile since I have blogged….hey, I’ve been busy!  This time of year my social calendar is full of events and holiday functions, making it quite difficult to get anything done unless I pencil it into my calendar. Thank heavens for my iPhone. I would be lost without its calendar function…..seriously.

One thing I have been busy doing: SMASHING GOALS!!!!!

Those of you who are faithful Katetasticans know that I started out 2013 with some lofty goals, of which I have been blogging about throughout the course of the year. These goals, which I titled “The Big 31 of 2013” included various things I wanted to complete ranging from new recipes to books to shoes.  For me, the start of a new year has never given me the desire to have a resolution…it’s always been about goals. I am a competitive person by nature, but the person I am most competitive with is myself. If I set a goal, I’m doing it, and I won’t stop until I’ve done everything in my power to accomplish it.

Of all of the items that make up my Big 31, the one I was most worried about completing was one of the most important to me: Successfully running 31 races. We all know I love to run, and even though I do it all the time, fitting races into my schedule has proven to be difficult for many reasons. When I first mentioned this was something I was going to do, I remember my dad telling me I was crazy. “There are 52 weeks in the year,” he said, “Do you realize you will be spending 31 of those weeks with a race scheduled?” I told him I did, and that even though it would be insane, I was going to do it.

Throughout the course of the year, I strongly questioned my goal setting with this particular task. I tend to run myself down and get sick easily, and this interfered with my race schedule several times. I wasn’t able to run my first race until March, and then I was sick for about a month the end of August, which is prime race season for me. Several races that I had registered for ended with me not being able to participate, which is always upsetting to me. I remember having a moment of reflection on this the end of September as I prepared to run my leg of the Akron Relay. I hadn’t run for nearly a month and knew there weren’t many weekends remaining until the end of the year, and I knew I wanted to avoid as many winter races as I possibly could. I just didn’t know if I would be able to fit them all into my schedule based on race availability and my life.

Today I did it. I ran my 31st race of the year!!!!

Here are the races that helped me get to #31!

Santa Hustle 5K: Coldest Run of my life. Ecstatic it got me to 31!

Santa Hustle 5K: Coldest Run of my life. Ecstatic it got me to 31!

As I reflect back on this past year and these photos, I can’t help but get a little bit emotional. I can’t believe a year has gone by, nor can I believe how much fun I had running all 31 races. I am so thankful I took photos of every single race (well, all but one. Gary and I ran the Steeplechase together, but we didn’t get a team photo)….each race brings back a different memory that makes me smile with jubilation or shudder in disgust. As always, I’ve learned an awful lot this year during my races……………these lessons include:

1. I wouldn’t be where I am with my running if it wasn’t for my decision to join Summit Athletic Running Club last January. I had been scared to join a club, but I cannot imagine not having my running club friends in my life. As evident in many of my photos, my friends Sharon, Andrea, Sara, Steve, and Gary were my running partners throughout many of the races. It is hard to believe that I didn’t know them this time last year, but I am so thankful they are in my life now. It’s pretty sweet to be a SARC Psycho.

2. Friendship can get you through any difficult situation, races included. I was excited when Whitney and I decided to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Nashville for many reasons. The day of the race we woke up to a downpour that I cannot even begin to describe…and I know we both did not want to do it deep down. Yet, we lined up at the start, waiting nearly 40 minutes to cross the start line (yes, there were that many runners), and somehow managed to make it through the 13.1 mile storm in garbage bags. Did it absolutely suck running in such weird makeshift outfits in blinding rain? Yes. Was it an amazing feeling to cross the finish line with one of your best friends? A million times YES. I don’t care how much it sucked…we did it together because friends don’t give up on each other and help get one another through anything life throws at them.

3. I run best when it is really cold outside or there is some form of a food prize. This is especially true for pancakes.

4. It’s a really smart idea to look at a course map prior to starting the actual race.Mayor Alai’s 5k comes to mind. The amount of swearing that occurred when I turned the first corner of the course and saw a mile long hill from hell was off the charts. Same goes for Wigs for Kids at the Zoo…..and here I thought that course was actually flat. YEAH RIGHT!

5. You don’t need to shop for running clothes if you run a bunch of races. Running 31 races means I was gifted 31 sweet pieces of running swag. The perks of being a runner. My tshirt and tech shirt collections thank you.

6. Don’t listen to the haters, big sunglasses help. A LOT! Many people make fun of me because I wear huge Jackie O inspired sunglasses for most races. Do you think I do it to be cute? Here’s a shocker….I don’t. I wear them because they protect my eyes from the elements. They also allow me to mean mug people without being caught.

7. Non-runners need to learn proper race etiquette. I get that not everyone runs like I do, trust me, I get it. But if you choose to run/walk in a race, please keep a few things in mind: It is frowned upon to form a barrier of walkers blocking the path for runners. You may not want to be competitive, but others do….get out of the way! This also applies to people run/walking with a jogger stroller or a dog. Just move over to the side. Thanks in advance.

8. Don’t underestimate the power of Under Armour. All I can say is…..worth every damn penny. Is $35 too much to spend on gloves? No, not when you are a runner outside in the cold. Best money I have ever spent.

9. You don’t need a team of people around you to run, but they sure make it a better experience. I can’t begin to share the laughs, inside jokes, or complaints that my running pals and I have had over the past year. Yes, running is an individual sport, but having people there that are pushing you to do better….that is what I love. I was struggling during the Home Run for the Homeless 4 Miler because my toes were frozen, and even though he had finished ahead of me, Steve looped back and ran the last 3/4 mile with me to help me get through it. Moments like that remind me I am not an individual out there on the roads.

10. You CAN run with a donut on your head. I know because I did it, and I looked pretty sweet doing it as well.

I could go on and on and on, but the biggest lesson I learned this year is to never, ever doubt myself. I know I am a machine. I know I am hard on myself sometimes, but deep down I can do anything if I stay focused. I doubted myself this year many times, but I managed to do it, and I am so proud of myself.  More importantly, this year gave me the courage to do something I never thought I could do….I signed up for a full marathon this coming May.

For those of you who have supported me….from the encouraging text messages to cheering me on in the blistery cold to running alongside me….thank you from the bottom of my heart. I could never have done this without you.

Oh, and the year is not over yet….I still have two more races I will be doing…bringing my year end total to 33…my lucky number. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunshine = Smiles

There is nothing worse than having someone you love go through something unpleasant and not being able to do anything to help them. Even though we all have our moments when we go through these unpleasantries and know that at some point things get better, it’s still a helpless feeling.

Last week one of my closest friends hit a rough spot, one that was a little scary. I couldn’t do anything for her, even though I wanted to. Sometimes all you can do is just hug the person and say as many prayers for them as humanly possible. Which I did, and I hoped for the best. I’m a quirky person though, and I always try to at least bring a little cheer into the lives of my friends when they need it, even if it is something silly, so I knew I needed to figure out something fun to do.

So I decided to give my friend a Box of Sunshine. Yes, sunshine……Katie style.

Clearly I was unable to go grab the sun and stuff it in a box ( I mean, I am awesome, but not awesome enough to do that). Instead I went shopping and purchased a bunch of yellow items. Yellow is the color of the sun….hence yellow items are sunshine-like (yes, this is how I rationalize in my brain).

Lots of Yellow Sunshine!

Lots of Yellow Sunshine!

These items included:

-Lays Potato Chips

-Lemonheads

-Nivea Coconut Soap

-Silly Putty

-Swedish Fish (Before you yell at me, the box is yellow, even if the fish are not!)

-Flarp

-Nail File/Buffer

-Nailpolish

-Slinky

-Lollipop

-Ghirardelli Chocolate

-Juicy Fruit Gum

-M & M Snack Mix

-Candle

The finished product!

The finished product!

I wrapped all the items up in yellow tissue paper and placed them in a fun white box, then topped it with a big yellow bow and fun sign I had made. Luckily I found a huge yellow clothespin that held the sign on for some added sunshine!!!! Overall I loved how it turned out. It was a simple and inexpensive way to spread a little cheer….plus I think her husband really enjoyed making fart noises with the Flarp……

Sometimes you just have to make your own sunshine.

Pictures like this are why I love Pinterest.

Pictures like this are why I love Pinterest.

It’s my Birthday Month!!!!!

You know what that means???? I’m halfway through The Big 31 of 2013. I should be doing some cartwheels and jumping around with excitement, but realistically, I am behind the curve (as I have been most of the year). As with anything, I always pull through in the end, so I’m not worried about meeting the goals I set back in January. While I am doing great in some areas, there are some that I am exhibiting some serious slacktastic behavior. Originally I made a calendar of everything I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it, but of course….life happens, and things got derailed. Welcome to my life.

Love this little quote I found on google.

Love this little quote I found on google.

So, mid July, this is where I stand with my “Big 31”

-Run 31 Races: As of today, I have successfully completed 13 races. I can honestly say that 31 races may have been a hefty goal, but I am so proud of myself for what I have done so far. Not only have I run 13 races, but I have shaved nearly 5 minutes off my 2012 5k time and over 20 minutes off my half marathon time. I know I am never going to run a 6 minute mile, and I am okay with that, but the progress I have made is something I am very happy with. As long as I get a little better every day, I am happy. 18 Races Remain to Meet my Goal.

I love every race I have done, especially those with my running club friends (the SARC psycho crew) , but a few have been really memorable:

The Dirty Girl Mud Run with my cousins, Jen and Laura. It was amazing to get covered in mud with my family.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run with my cousins, Jen and Laura. It was amazing to get covered in mud with my family

The Nashville Half Marathon: 13.1 miles in a downpour. It was challenging in more ways than one, but Whit and I did it, and we motivated each other along the way. There is no way we would have been able to have done this without the other.

The Nashville Half Marathon: 13.1 miles in a downpour. It was challenging in more ways than one, but Whit and I did it, and we motivated each other along the way. There is no way we would have been able to have done this without the other.

Little Sister runs her first 5k! And then we enjoyed some pierogi action after...

Little Sister runs her first 5k! Let’s not forget about the pierogi celebration after

Cook 31 new recipes: I am a creature of habit, so when I make something I really like, I tend to make it over and over. That has kind of been going on with my attempt at new recipes. I’ve really love some of the recipes I have tried (especially the turkey taco bake! Want the recipe…then click here!!!! ) so I’ve become the repeat kitchen offender. Still, I’ve made a dent in the 31 recipes I need to try. 21 Recipes Remain to Meet my Goal.

-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness: Every day I attempt to do something nice, so this has been relatively easy for me. In fact, I stopped keeping track after I met my goal for this several months back. It is really a great feeling to know you are helping someone, regardless of how small the act. I encourage everyone to do something that improves the life of someone. GOAL HAS BEEN MET!!!!!

– Read 31 Books: One of my favorite things to do in the summer is read by the swimming pool, so naturally I am loving this time of year. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to read multiple books at one time….and that is kind of what is going on now. I am presently reading five different books…and I need to wrap them up. My favorite current read is Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, which is a book about a neurosurgeon who goes into a coma and lives to tell about it. 26 Books Remain to Meet my Goal.

-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: Ugh. This one I am so far behind on. Due to a variety of things, my photography has really taken a backseat since March. I still have high hopes of completing this, I just need to find the time to get them finished. 25 Shoots Remain to Meet my Goal.

One of my favorite action shots of my puppy brother, Henry.

One of my favorite action shots of my puppy brother, Henry.

– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: I love my people! To date, I’ve only directly written about four of my pals, but I have mentioned so many numerous times. The reality is, I could write about my friends every single day. I’ve said it before, but they are my heart and soul. Friends, I will do you justice, don’t worry. 27 More Stories to Share to Meet my Goal.

-Make 31 Crafts: Every time I write an update, I want to smack myself when I get to this category. I’ve only completed three crafts: my friendship mugs, the sponge cake, and most recently, the tutus I crafted for the Dirty Girl Mud Run. I don’t even have an excuse…I guess my apartment is like Camp Cupcake and my crafting abilities have been put behind bars. I will get it together. 28 Crafts to Meet my Goal.

-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: Oh, shoes. I love you guys. You never disappoint. Just today, as I got my coffee at Panera, a woman stopped me to tell me how beautiful my shoes were. It was an instant mood booster. I’m halfway to my goal here…this year I have added 15 new pairs to my collection.  Don’t worry people…for every pair I get, I donate a pair. 16 Pairs of Shoes to Meet my Goal.

Some of my new favorites!

Some of my new favorites!

 

I read a little Earl Nightingale quote the other day that said “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” I know where I am going, I always have when it comes to this whole challenge. The point of this has been to improve myself as a person…to be in better shape…to be a better cook…a better photographer…a better friend…a better person. If for some reason I don’t meet all of these goals, the world will not end. I know deep down I’m already a winner, and I am proud of myself for setting the goals I have and working toward them, little by little. After all, it’s all about being a little better than I was yesterday.

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My Big 31: Creepin’ Along!

Does anyone else realize it is May????

I’m not sure where the months have gone, but I absolutely cannot believe that the swimming pool is open, I can now enjoy my coffee on my patio, and that I am reunited with one of the loves of my live:my flip flops. It seems like just yesterday when I was sitting down to pen my blog about the Big 31 of 2013. Don’t get me wrong…I am very, very glad that summer is finally creeping into my life. This is my favorite time of year…the flowers are in bloom, thoughts of summer fun are always lingering, and regardless of how terrible a day can be, feeling the sun beat down on my face always makes me smile. Thank you, summer, for showing up. I was really over your skank sister, Winter.

I’ve really enjoyed the goals I have met so far toward my big 31. It really is a good feeling knowing I am accomplishing little tasks that I feel are making me a better person. To some people, they may find it silly, but who cares. Maybe those people should take a little looksie into a mirror and bask in their perfection. I think it really hit me today that this year is nearly halfway over, which I cannot believe.

Five months into 2013, this is where I stand.

An update on My Big 31

-Run 31 Races: I’ve completed four races so far, three of those being 5Ks and one being the Nashville Half Marathon. A slow start, however, race season has officially started, which means I will be running a lot every weekend from this point on. This is my favorite time of year! I have been so pleased with my running . While I am still slower than I would like, I am definitely getting stronger every single day. My times are faster and my endurance is greatly improving. Above all, running has truly been my saving grace with all of the difficult challenges 2013 has dealt me. My favorite sign from the Nashville Marathon summed it up perfectly: “Running is cheaper than therapy.” Amen to that.

My most recent race, Kelly's Grief 5K, with my running pals Andrea and Sharon!

My most recent race, Kelly’s Grief 5K, with my running pals Andrea and Sharon!

– Cook 31 New Recipes: I started off strong with this goal, but the last month and a half have kind of gotten away from me. I have absolutely neglected my kitchen. Other than smoothies, I really haven’t made much as far as new recipes go. So far the recipes I have made include banana oat breakfast cookies, stuffed crab rolls, sugar cinnamon monkey bread, turkey taco bake, black bean and spinach enchiladas, pink chocolate chip cookies, and homemade granola bars. I need to get it together….otherwise I will keep getting texts from my KitchenAid mixer telling me how much she misses me.

-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness:  I’m still not doing as much good as I would like, though I know that I will never feel as if I am doing enough.  I have mailed letters to troops for A Million Thanks and paid for a woman’s meal at McDonalds.  I have donated clothing and a few winter coats that were older and ill fitting to a local shelter, participated in National Random Acts of Kindness Week…where I did something nice for someone each of the five business days, and I donated two old pairs of eyeglasses that were outdated prescriptions to an organization that shares with those who need help with their vision. My most recent act of kindness is one that is ongoing and is so important to me: planning a huge fundraiser for my dear friend, Andy Buehl, who was injured terribly in a severe car accident December 21st. The fundraiser will take place on August 3rd, and for those interested in donating, sponsoring a hole, volunteering, or golfing, please let me know. You can also follow Andy by going onto http://www.caringbridge.org/ , typing in Andy’s name, and then entering the password “notredamefootball.” If nothing else, please just continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

I can't wait for my friend to laugh with all of us again!

I can’t wait for my friend to laugh with all of us again!

Read 31 Books: I’ve been on a reading rampage lately….so far I have read three books, but I am presently rotating between five, and I am close to finishing all of them. I do the majority of my reading at the pool in the summer, and since my pool just opened this week, I anticipate an increase in completed books here very soon! You can view my updated bookshelf virtually here on Shelfari!

-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: I’m still loving photography, and I am so thrilled that I no longer have to feature barren trees and nasty wintery backgrounds in my images. Bring on the flowers and sun! Last month I shared my awesome logo thanks to my favorite graphic artist and pal, Mandy. I love it! Remember, if you have an animal you want some images of, let me know. I am trying to build my portfolio, so I am all about taking pictures that will do just that.

katie_was_here_logo

– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: Oh, my friends. They are my heart and soul. While I haven’t shared too many stories on my blog (yet), I can truly say I have seen how fortunate I am to have the friends I have.

-Make 31 Crafts: My inner Martha Stewart needs revived. I still have twenty nine crafts to complete here!!!!

-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: I can honestly say this is the only goal of mine that I am over halfway to meeting. Ridiculous? Absolutely. However, to be fair, I have donated a substantial (substantial to me, at least) amount of shoes over the past few months. My feet have been very happy.

To help motivate myself (and others who may be struggling with their goals and resolutions), I share one of my favorite movie motivational moments with you….and a little alliteration, too. The English major in me is also very happy with that : )

Blueballs, Anyone?

It’s no secret: I like obnoxious humor that flirts with the idea of being borderline inappropriate and offensive. This is probably why I love Chelsea Handler and the comediens she surrounds herself with on a daily basis. A few years back, after a lengthy love affair with Chelsea’s show, I started to attend her live performances. The first show I caught in Vegas featured one of my favorites opening up for her, Sarah Colonna…and was absolutely hilarious of course. A few months later, I caught her again when she came in Pittsburgh, only this time there was a pleasant surprise: Heather McDonald was the opening act. For those not into Chelsea or ridiculous humor, you may not know who Heather is, but I can assure you she is HILARIOUS. Her act was actually funnier and ended up being much better than Chelsea’s, which was an absolute shock.

After my live encounter with Heather McDonald, I, of course, continued to follow her comedic acts on Chelsea Lately. I enjoyed her imitations of Celine Dion and loved her level of offensive humor. Imagine my delight when she announced she was writing a book! I couldn’t wait to read it. In fact, I was so excited it took nearly six months to actually do it (Cut me some slack, I have a lot going on!).  Yesterday, after a ridiculous day of letdowns and annoyances, I decided it was finally time to read about Heather and her blueballin’.

heather

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Two hours and 263 pages later, I was done. As in I read the book cover to cover without stopping. I won’t lie…I did sneak a peak online about the reviews before I started to read, which all said how terrible it was. However, after recently watching a little movie called Burlesque that also received horrible reviews, I decided I would give it a chance. After all, I loved Burlesque and still am baffled by the fact that critics had so many awful things to say about it.

Who is two for two in the Prove ‘Em Wrong Category? That would be me. Despite the reviews, I loved this book and strongly recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh. Who doesn’t enjoy a sarcastic memoir about someone who kept her virginity to the age of 27 while blueballing half of USC? I rarely am able to read cover to cover, but I literally kepy reading. It was just the laugh I needed to bring me back to the living. I was even happier to know that I could now start to read Heather’s newest book, My Inappropriate Life.

On a positive note, I am now 3 books closer to completing my goal of 31 reads by the end of 2013. For those who want to know what I’m reading or are looking to track their own reading progress, hop onto Shelfari and create a bookshelf of your own. You can view mine here. Lots more reading to do, that’s for sure. But don’t you dare call me a nerd…after all, that’s a candy. I’m just a little bookworm looking for a laugh and a good story line.

 

 

My Big 31…One month in!

I came into 2013 Guns Blazing, that is for sure. I set goals for myself and am commited to each and every one of them. January is almost over, and I have been making significant strides to meet the goals I have set for myself. As an update, this is what I have done so far:

KATIE’S BIG 31 OF 2013

– Run 31 Races: I haven’t run a race yet, but that will be changing soon. My first of the year will be this Saturday, February 2nd! I am really looking forward to getting back into race mode but really hoping it isn’t a blizzard.

– Cook 31 New Recipes: I’ve been doing pretty well with this. So far I have made turkey taco bake, black bean and spinach enchiladas, banana oat breakfast cookies, and sugar cinnamon monkey bread. I’ve loved every single one of them….they were all fantastic!

-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness: I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be with this goal. So far I have mailed letters to troops for A Million Thanks and paid for a woman’s meal at McDonalds. I know I have done other nice things, but I am really trying to complete 31 acts that truly make a difference to someone, not just be a nice gesture.

Read 31 Books: Slacker alert! That’s me here. Since I started back to school on the 3rd, I have been crazy busy with homework and projects, so the books I have been reading have been school related. I haven’t even updated My Shelfari Bookshelf completely yet! I am going to return to reading Bossypants this week though.

-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: I am goose egging it here, too. Fortunately, that is about to change as I am going to be completing an animal photo shoot this week! Remember, if you have a little person or a four legged pal, I want to take their photo.

– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: I shared two stories thus far, one of my dear pal Kelly and one about my friend, Seel.  I have many more to share about the wonderful souls in my life.

-Make 31 Crafts: The only craft I have completed are my super cute long distance mugs. I am going to attempt a scarf this weekend. This could be a problem since I love scarves.

-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: Shoes Shoes Shoes, I love you! The three pairs I have bought so far are fabulous…and one pair was only $5! My favorite (or course) are the new running shoes I found that are so Kate-tastic…..

The most amazing running shoes I have ever seen!

The most amazing running shoes I have ever seen!

 

Yes, I know I have work to do, but I know I will get things done. I work hard and am committed to what I love, and everything I have made goals regarding are things I truly love. I must say, every time I cross something off of my list, I feel a true sense of satisfaction, not only because I am one step closer to meeting my goals, but because I know that I am becoming a better, more rounded (and better dressed) human.

The Big 31 of 2013

2012 has sucked a big one. Not just for me, but for many of those closest to me who have had obstacles and devastating losses this year. I don’t know about all of you, but I am ready to move on from 2012 and start anew.

I have always been a big goal setter. Never have I been one to sit back on New Year’s Day without a resolution or goal in mind. The only year I have not achieved the goal I set was this year, 2012. Now, I don’t want to make excuses…that’s not how I roll. But I know that there were many things that came up this year that prevented me from accomplishing what I had wanted to. Some physical challenges, and most definitely, some emotional setbacks. Over the course of the past month I have done a lot of thinking and reflection on who I am and what I want to make sure I accomplish in 2013.  One thing was apparent to me: there were many things surfacing on my 2013 goal list. Since I am presently 31 and don’t celebrate my birthday until July, I figured I would incorporate my age into my 2013 “To Do” list. Therefore, I present you with Katie’s Big 31….the goals I have set for myself in the year 2013.

KATIE’S BIG 31 OF 2013

– Run 31 Races:  We know that I love to run, and this past year I did not run nearly as many races as I wanted. I have my race calendar already created for the upcoming year, and I am looking forward to competing in the various races I have selected. The feeling of completing a race is a feeling that I could never duplicate.

– Cook 31 New Recipes: My Pinterest addiction is pretty serious. In fact, it is to the point where I think I should perhaps look into a support group. My relationship with Pinterest is great, however, I don’t always take advantage of all of the amazing things I pin, especially not the recipes. This will change in 2013 when I make 31 of the recipes I have pinned. I hope the people in my life are ready to eat.

-Complete 31 Acts of Kindness: I have been blessed with a wonderful life full of incredible people and opportunities, and I know how lucky I am. I also know how unfortunate so many others are and how badly they need help from others. I have always helped others, but never to the extent I would like to. The world would be a much nicer place if we all were just a little kinder. This year I am going to make sure that I complete at least 31 acts, if not more.

Read 31 Books: There are so many books that I want to read, and I usually read about 2 books a month as it is. Reading is like running for me…very therapeutic.

-Complete 31 Photo Shoots: 2013 is an important year for my new photography business…it is its first year in existence! This year is a building year for me, not a moneymaker. I am looking forward to completing some awesome photo shoots to add to my portfolio and my upcoming web site. Get ready to Say Cheese!!!!

– Share 31 Stories of Awesome Friendship: My friends are so important to me…they are the reason why I am who I am today and are family to me. Last week one of my dear friends was in a horrible automobile..one so awful that he remains on life support today. It occurred to me after I learned of the accident that he probably didn’t know how important he is to me….many of my friends probably don’t. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life, and I want to make sure everyone knows it. Not just when something bad happens, but every day.

-Make 31 Crafts: Back to Pinterest…man, I hate that site….just kidding. There are so many things I want to make. I have a little calendar already made for each month for the crafts I want to make….I’m so excited!

-Buy 31 New Pairs of Shoes: I don’t feel like I need to explain this one. I love shoes. They make me happy. You can never have too many. The end.  

All of these goals mean something to me… they contribute to my health and happiness, and I look forward to completing all of them…and blogging about them all, of course.


I had the privilege of running a 5K with two of my amazing friends this year…it was the first 5K they had ever done. I felt like a proud parent when Christine and Andy crossed the finish line. Andy is the friend I mentioned on life support currently fighting for his life, and I ask all of you to pray for his recovery, even though you don’t know him.
This may have been our first race together, but I know we will do more in the future.
I love you guys.