Tag Archives: #cleveland

You need some flea in your life.

There was a time in my life when I associated the word flea with filth. No one likes when their dog gets a case of the fleas (it is the worst), and for most of my life any flea market I went to was dirty, full of used garbage, and left me going home smelling like a mixture of rotten produce and a barnyard explosion.

When I moved to Cleveland I spent quite a bit of time looking into neat things to do around the city. I’ve always loved to explore the culture where I live and try/visit new things or places that are hidden gems of the city. I knew about some of the more obvious cultural musts in Cleveland: The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, the museums, the West Side Market to name a few….but as I started to look around one summer event kept popping up everywhere I looked: The Cleveland Flea.

Immediately I thought back to my previous flea market experiences and cringed. I’m not one who likes second hand items or garage sales, and to me flea markets are larger versions of those things. I resisted going the first few opportunities I had to attend one, then finally decided I would go. At least I could say I checked it out, right?

The Cleveland Flea takes place once a month from June to October in the Asiatown neighborhood of Cleveland and exists with the mission to promote small businesses in the area. The Cleveland Flea, much difference from the other fleas I have been exposed to, is actually a small business incubator. While there are some vintage vendors, the majority are local Cleveland businesses eager to get their products in the hands of the nearly 10,000 visitors that check out the flea each year. The vendors range from clothing to succulents to dog treats to my favorite local vegan donuts from The Vegan Doughnut Company…..and the food trucks and options for feasting are out of this world.

Last weekend was the first flea of the year, so I had to go. Luckily one of my bffs Melissa was free to go with me and check it out for the first time!

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Waiting in line for strawberry lemonade!

I never go to the flea looking for any specific item…..that way i have zero expectations, but I do look over the vendor list before I go. When I saw my donut friends were there, that was the first stop for us….luckily they were right inside the gate! I know from experience that they sell out every time, and I wasn’t going to miss out! The glazed twist is a classic favorite, but I had to snag a strawberry shortcake and a few cookies and cream! I cannot tell you enough how tasty these donuts are…..and in case you forgot, I’m not vegan and no, you can’t tell that the donuts are.

One of my favorite finds at the flea: these super cute dish towels! Notice how many of the things i love involve foods??? I love the simplicity of the black and white, which matches my kitchen perfectly.

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One absolute must when at the flea: wear elastic waist pants. No jeans. You’ll eat a lot, trust me on this. I was excited to see one of my favorite food trucks, The Funky Truckeria, in attendance…..their tacos and goat cheese risotto balls are the dreams are made of!

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Mark your calendars for July’s Flea on the 14th….you don’t want to miss it! I’ll see you guys there!

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Do you believe in magic?

I do!

I have always had a secret love for magic…and I’m pretty sure that my brother is to blame for it. I remember one year he received a variety of magic tricks as a gift, and even though they were very simple tricks for his age, they were still interesting. Then came the David Copperfield specials on television….then David Blaine, and my interest in magic continued. I love anything that challenges your mind and makes you say “How did they do that?”

However, as I got older, I felt like the magic scene had dwindled down a bit. I caught a Criss Angel show in Vegas on one of my trips, but other than that and a few random magic acts at various kids’ birthday parties, I didn’t see much around my area.

One day I saw one of my friends posting on his social media pages that he was doing magic. I remember thinking…”I never would’ve pegged Jason as a magician.” Jason and I had gone to high schools in the same part of Northeast Ohio, then we ended up going to the same college for undergrad. I remembered him being a college athlete at Thiel, but nothing involving magic rung a bell.

As time passed I saw Jason getting busier and busier with magic. Eventually I noticed he had gotten married and his wife, Stacy, was getting involved in the magician life, as well. I saw photos and videos of their various shows and of them performing strolling magic throughout the area, and it was obvious that they were a top magical act, not just around where we were from, but the whole country.

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Jason and Stacy on their wedding day

The Alans now do magic full time and can be found anywhere from private events to corporate functions to my favorite brunch spot, Town Hall, where they not only perform magic but make incredible balloon animals for the restaurant guests. If you are looking for a great date night idea, they recently signed on to be one of the acts performing at The Metropolitan on the 9 and have a variety of dates you can choose from.

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Balloon creations Stacy made for us while at Town Hall for brunch. 

I recently chatted with The Alans because I had questions that I wanted to know, and no, none were related to how they perform the tricks they do.

How long have you been practicing magic?

Stacy: I’ve been practicing magic, mainly mentalism for around 5 years. I always loved watching magic growing up but didn’t begin learning how to perform until I met Jason.

Jason: Magic has been a part of my life since I was 13.

Do you specialize in any certain area?

Stacy: I specialize in mentalism which focuses on psychology and effects involving the mind. Some people may call it psychological illusions. I’m not a medium or psychic but rather use observation skills, psychology and body language to pick up on information from people and things.

Jason: I specialize in standup comedy/magic and close-up sleight of hand. Originally, I focused on a magic philosophy made famous by David Blaine and his mentor Paul Harris titled “Astonishment”. The idea was to strip away all of the stereotypical sides of magic (rabbits, corny jokes, glitter) and perform something with the least amount of words that was truly unexplainable.

When I began performing for larger crowds I found a passion in stand-up comedy and storytelling. I started attending open mics honing my comedy chops which complimented my sleight of hand.

What was the A-Ha moment that made you want to get into magic?

Stacy: For me it was when I first met Jason and watched him perform with such passion and could truly see that he loved what he did. I wanted to be part of that. I started off assisting and helping him set up and tear down. This was okay at first, but I realized I wanted to contribute more. I loved the idea of us being in business and traveling together. The other big push for me was early on in our marriage when I was working as a full-time therapist. Jason was performing in the Bahamas and I was at home in Akron getting stuck in my driveway full of snow. I knew then that I really wanted to have more freedom with my work to go places with him.

Jason: While visiting family in California I watched a street performer at Venice beach and I was instantly hooked. Around this time David Blaine was becoming big and I would watch and study his specials. I performed for friends and family then turned professional when I was 22. A few years later I was hired to work on a cruise ship in the Bahamas on and off for 2 years.

What differentiates you from other magicians?

Stacy: The biggest thing for me is being a female who has a lead role in our show. Most people only think of women as assistants in the magic world. We also stand out being a duo act…..again being a husband and wife act who don’t fit the typical magician and assistant mold.

Jason: I think the amount of hours I’ve spent performing in restaurants and bars has allowed me to be fully in the moment and aware of my environment. Why does this set me apart from other magicians… Performing sleight of hand is like patting your head while rubbing your stomach as you ride a unicycle on the edge of a cliff. The difference being.. nobody can know you are doing all of those things at once.
When a magician first learns a “trick” they are focused on the sleight of hand and not on how to make a human connection. I hope and think that years of working in the trenches has allowed me to pay attention to the person in front of me, to notice what mood they are in and to know which way to steer the current effect I’m performing.

What kind of events do you do?

Our main area of focus is corporate events. We travel nationally bringing our show and strolling magic to sales meetings, conferences, trade shows and corporate holiday parties. Our newest venture is our very own theater show in downtown Cleveland. We just got the news that our show has been picked up for the entire 2018 season at the Alex Theater which is on the second floor of the Metropolitan at the 9 hotel. In years past the bulk of our performances have been for private events…..now with the Alex Theater we have a monthly show that’s open to the public. It’s really exciting for us; we wrote a brand-new show just for this unique venue.

The Alans Stage

What is your favorite thing about magic?

Stacy: My favorite thing is the reactions. I love creating real moments with people that hopefully will stick with them for a while.

Jason: My favorite thing about magic… with the current volatile climate we live in it’s hard to find something that still makes us think…. Magic does that. For over 2 years we have performed at TownHall in Ohio City (Cleveland)… the most successful restaurant in Northeastern Ohio. Each week we interact with thousands of people visiting, living or passing through the city. Each week I approach people who are left wing, right wing, American or Foreign, White or black and when I start performing, none of that matters. For a minimum of 60 seconds we are just two people sharing something truly unique.

Just a week ago, during a performance in my hometown of Salem, Ohio I pulled a 6 year old girl onstage who didn’t speak English. After 10 minutes of being onstage with me she went from a shy scared little girl to the star of the show. Watching someone smile through something so simple and nonjudgmental is worth doing what we do.

Are you self taught or did you complete formal training?

Stacy: Jason taught me a lot of what I know; he also supplied me with a library of magic and mentalism books to read and study.

Jason: I’ve had hundreds of mentors over my career. From people who directly taught me to those who have passed single lines of inspiration to me.

In 2008 I traveled to Las Vegas and learned under an amazing performer by the name of Steve Daily. Steve was on Criss Angels original television show Mind Freak and currently performs on the Las Vegas Strip.

What can a guest expect from one of your shows?

Guests can expect to be directly involved. Our show is highly interactive. We are not a typical big illusion magic show. We use objects and thoughts from the audience to create unexplainable moments. Our real hope is that people come into our show not really knowing what to expect or thinking they know what magic is and we take them in a whole new direction. We want people leaving knowing that they loved it but not sure how to explain what they just experienced.

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Have you always practiced magic together or when did you become a duo?

Stacy: I’ve only ever performed with Jason, however I will be doing my first solo show for a client in April.

Jason: When we first met we had a deal.. Stacy would never perform with me. During this time I was working on a cruise line in The Bahamas and to travel with me.. she had to be onstage. During this time she would walk onstage and hand me props as an assistant. I noticed her passion for being onstage and began teaching her sleight of hand. We quickly realized it wasn’t for her.

With her background in Psychology we saw an opportunity for her to take center stage. I pointed her in the right direction and she began training as a mentalist. Around this time she spoke at the Youngstown Ohio TedX talk on breaking boundaries about woman in magic and how she is perceived.

Currently we both learn new tricks and try to fool each other.

Can I just say I have some seriously talented friends???!!!! These guys are the real deal, and I know they are just getting started with their career in magic. You need to fit one of their shows into your calendar and fall in love with magic all over again!

If you want to learn more about The Alans or book them for an upcoming event, please visit their website by clicking HERE!

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Doughnuts for everyone…Vegans, too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The talented owners of The Vegan Doughnut Company

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

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Oh, hello you attractive little babes. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rock the Reset: Day 14

ONE MORE WEEK!!!!!!!!

Can y’all hear the jubilation through my typing????!!!!!

Don’t get me wrong….I love how I am feeling internally, how I’m sleeping, and the food I am eating, but I definitely am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine.

Coffee….Energize….workouts….I can’t wait to be reunited. I honestly cannot believe I have not cheated with COFFEE once!!!!! I’m very impressed with myself.

This week is the Restore section of the detox, meaning legumes and grains are eliminated and my focus is on simple nutrition. I also add in a new supplement, Revitalize, which helps restore the healthy bacteria in my digestive tract.

So how did Week Two end up? Well, let me tell you…..

Earlier in the week I connected with two local bakers who own a start up vegan doughnut company in the area. I loved all of the info on the company, and they invited me to a doughnut tasting they were hosting today. Knowing this was something awesome and something my bloggers would absolutely love to know about, I attended the tasting with my friend Julie and new friend Erica. I’ll be blogging about the company very soon, so be on the lookout, but let’s just say…..this happened:

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I can’t wait to share about these beauties!

The bonus to trying the doughnut samples….I had extra calories, so I was able to get in a lovely 3 mile run. On this beautiful March day, I have to say….it was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries and refocus me for this final Reset week. Tomorrow, back to yoga…but only for another week.

Here’s a look at my meal plan this week:

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My final week!

This week I am finally giving tempeh a try. I’ve heard many great things about the recipe that came with the program, and since I’m trying lots of new things with this Reset I figured I would build it into this final week. Other than that I am incorporating my favorite recipe thus far, the zucchini cashew soup! It’s so easy and good!

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Let’s see how this goes. 

Tomorrow I will weigh in to see how I’m doing, as well as take measurements. I’m not super focused on the numbers on the scale….I’m more focused on just getting through this week!

Shoutout to my Shakeology for pretty much saving my life. It’s nice to still have a serving of chocolate every day…makes me feel like I’m having a cheat when I’m not.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! This week is going to be a great one, I just know it!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

 

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Just call me President Squash

More like President of the Squash fan club!

Over the last year I have become particularly found of the squash family….why I avoided it for so long beats me. I am consistently integrating spaghetti squash and acorn squash into my meal plan, but it was only recently that I gave their sister, butternut squash, a chance.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I’ve been making this recipe for awhile and wanted to share with you all! It is great for Fall, for those of you doing the 21 Day Fix and needing to get your green containers in, or anyone looking for a great addition to your table at Thanksgiving in a few weeks. You know why I love it? I kind of feel like I’m eating a carb (sweet potato), but I’m not! Trickery at its finest!

Here’s what you need:

-1 large butternut squash
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
-1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

To prepare, you first want to skin the squash. I cut the top and bottom off with a sharp knife, then I use a vegetable peeler to remove the rest of the skin. Rumor has it that Costco has butternut squash already peeled and cut up if you want to skip this step.

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Such a beautiful color!

After you have skinned the squash, preheat your oven. You can do this before if you want; honestly it does not matter. I also prepare my baking sheet at this time. I’ve found that I prefer lining the sheet with a piece of parchment paper as opposed to spraying it with a cooking spray.

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Make sure you scoop out the seeds….no one likes seeds with their squash…at least not in this case. Cut into chunks.

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After cutting up your squash, drizzle with the EVOO, Maple Syrup, and Cinnamon. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. I rotated my baking sheet halfway through just to make sure everything was cooking evenly. Serve with whatever you want, and ENJOY!

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So tasty….and good for you!

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As I sit here writing this blog we are minutes away from the first game of the 2016 World Series. I can’t begin to share how excited I am for the Cubs and Indians to battle it out for the title.

I am excited for the city of Cleveland and for the Indians…they have had an amazing year and Cleveland is such a great city….I like that good things are happening here and that the fans who have suffered many disappointments over the years have had some reasons to celebrate. I root for the Indians 99% of the time…..

The 1% of the time I don’t is when they are against the Cubs.

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Cubs Hat, Wild Thing Shirt. Baseball Balance. Until now.

I have to be honest…the moment the Cubs won the National League pennant I became extremely emotional. How incredible that after years and years and years of baseball heartbreak they would be heading to the big dance! I could watch this moment over and over again.

I was so excited they were heading to the World Series but was so brokenhearted that the #1 Cubs fan ever would not be able to see the game.

My dad.

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My dad at Wrigley Field in August 1999. 

This week I was called a bandwagon fan by more than one person. It irritated me. I understand any championship creates a plethora of bandwagon fans, I do. My family and I….yeah, we don’t fall in that category. You want to call me a bandwagon fan? Go ahead. But I know that if you do you don’t have the slightest idea who I am or anything about my dad, and that makes me kind of sad.

My brother and I were raised on the Chicago Cubs. Our basement was a Cubs fortress…the epic man cave. My dad not only loved his beloved Cubs, but baseball in general, and anyone who walked into our house knew it. There were so many unique pieces in my dad’s collection….from legit seating from Municipal stadium to autographed home plates to statues of baseball icons. So many wonderful memories in that space of my dad’s…..Christmas mornings (he even had a Cubs tree)…..laughter….runs on the treadmill my dad had positioned to still be able to catch the Cubs games on the tv….so many memories I miss more than I could ever say.

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When our two golden retrievers had a litter of puppies, the bulk were named after Chicago Cubs players….Ryno was named after my dad’s favorite, Ryne Sandberg….Gracie was after Mark Grace, the Cubs first baseman at the time….Sammy after Sammy Sosa. My brother and I each got to name one puppy, but we opted for the basketball route because at the time we were obsessed. Mine was Pippen, after my favorite athlete of all time, Scottie Pippen, and Zack named his Barkley after Charles Barkley (yes, my brother was a Suns fan….his room was once purple and orange).

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Man, we look sweet here. 

The majority of my dad’s wardrobe…..Cubs clothing. His tattoo: the Cubs logo. He lived for Cubs baseball, and because of his love for the team, we all grew up loving them, too. His tombstone even has the Cubs logo etched in it because they were that important to him.

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My dad lived his entire life waiting for this series. Even though he loved the Cubs, he always respected Cleveland teams and enjoyed watching and cheering on the Indians as well. I remember watching the fireworks at the Indians game with him last year the night before my wedding. The hotel we all stayed at provided the best view of them after the Indians won. I remember telling him this year we had to make time for a game. This series would have been the ultimate for him to see. I wish this was the game we were going to together.

This series will be as painful as it will be exciting. It’s exciting to see your team get to this point….but it is another sad reminder that the person who would enjoy it the most isn’t here to watch the games with us. I will forever cheer on my Cubbies…not just for me, but for my dad as well. Even though I selfishly want to be watching this with my dad, I can’t help but think that he had a front row seat watching it with Babe Ruth and Harry Caray and all of the other baseball greats that he loved.

Saturday is my dad’s birthday, and I’m hoping for a Cubs win to celebrate it. In my mind there couldn’t be a better way to honor him that day.

Bandwagon fan? Hell no.

I’m just a Daddy’s girl who grew up wanting to be like her daddy and loving the things that he loved.

Let’s go Cubbies….this series is for DSS!

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Cheering on the Cubbies!

 

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Life is Short…Eat Dessert First.

Pinterest has it out for me.

Honestly…..If I cooked five meals a day for the rest of my life I STILL would have recipes left over to try! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

This week I made dinner for Kyle and my mother in law and thought it was finally time to try out one of the recipes I had pinned way back when…..lemon soufflés. These weren’t just any soufflés though….they were made in an actual lemon.

You know me, I am all about presentation with food, so off to the store I went for some lemons and ingredients! I was surprised how easy these little guys were to make!

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Look at these cute little beauties!

Katie’s Little Lemon Soufflés 

Ingredients:

-8 lemons ( go for the larger ones, trust me. Size matter here!)
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-Confectioner’s sugar
-2 Tablespoons Flour (I used Cake Flour)

Instructions:

1. Line a pan with parchment paper and preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Slice just enough off of the bottom of the lemon (stem end) so that it can sit level. Don’t slice it to where you can see the inside of the lemon!

3. Cut off the tip (that’s NOT what she said….sorry, I had to) approximately 1/3 of the way down from the top. You can choose to keep the lemon tops if you want….they can be your soufflé hats!

4. Using a knife, spoon, or some form of wizardry scoop the pulpy inside of the lemon out and place in a bowl. You will need the juice for later, so don’t get rid of that! For me, this was the hardest part, so if someone comes up with a really easy way, please let me know. Next time I may try a melon baller.

5. You will need 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, so extract it at this time.

6. Mix egg yolks (save the egg whites for later) in a heat proof bowl with the lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and the flour. I used a simple whisk for this task.

7. Place a large pot on the stove with water and bring to a bowl, then place the heatproof bowl inside of it, whisking for about 7-8 minutes.

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I used a Pampered Chef mixing bowl. It worked great!

8. Once thick, remove and beat with an electric mixer for about 8 more minutes, then move to a different bowl and set to the side.

9. In a bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the egg whites and beat until frothy. I used my KitchenAid mixer and started on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes, then slowly increased the speed until the meringue had soft peaks.

10. Mix about 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Once combined, fold in the rest of the meringue, then fill each lemon, stopping just a bit shy of the top so it doesn’t overflow.

11. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown. The mixture should have risen about an inch above the lemon.

12. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar and top with a lemon hat if you want. Serve immediately!

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Lessons learned while making these:

-They were tasty, but very, very light.
-I should’ve cooked them a smidge longer.
-I need to buy mutant sized lemons next time.

Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I was a happy camper.

And so was my kitchen help for the night, Murphy.

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May Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

I feel like I was just writing a review for April’s Beauty Finds……oh wait….I was!

Happy to report that I am back on track with my blog and back to my usual posting schedule!

So let’s chat about some possible new beauty additions for your collection!

I get a lot of questions about makeup every day, and lately lipstick is the hot topic. I like to think of myself as a lipstick connoisseur, and while I tend to gravitate toward certain brands that I know to be tried and true, I am always up for trying new brands. My go to lipstick is a matte finish….I’m not a huge gloss person because I don’t really like the stickiness or the fact that my hair can get stuck in it if it’s a tad windy outside. Because of this, I haven’t encountered many liquid lipsticks/glosses that have worked for me (To date, only the Melted liquid lipsticks from Too Faced have passed my test). This month I decided to give another liquid lipstick a try!

Product #1: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

I am a big Anastasia fan….I use their brow pomade and pencil as well as their glow and contour kits daily, but had never given their lip line a try. This month it was time for the liquid lipstick that they claimed had the matte finish that I love so much.

The color I selected (and that can be seen here as well as in my previous post which you can read here) was Electric Coral. I will be honest….I was hoping it would be a little more tangerine/orangey, but was pleasantly surprised when it had a reddish hue to it (we all know that I love my reds). I opted to try this out on a weekend where I had a lot to do….days when I am go go go I need a lip product that stays on without a lot of reapplication.

Let me share with you what I liked about this liquid lipstick: darn near everything! I applied it first thing in the morning and did not need to reapply until about 4pm…which was after I had eaten…I always reply after lunch. The color was rich and a true matte, so I was very happy. The only thing that I noticed was that it slightly dried my lips out the first time. When I wore the lipstick again, I applied a little plain chapstick before application and I was perfectly fine.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!!

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Product #2: LA Girl Pro Concealer Set

Concealers are always tricky. I feel like I’ve tried about a billion of them, finding some that I like, but not love. I used to rely heavily on them when I was younger because my skin would break out and do all sorts of weird things, but thankfully I don’t have those issues anymore (Shakeology and water intake….my secrets to clear skin). Nowadays I rely on concealer to help me when I don’t get enough sleep and have pesky under eye circles.

I chose this particular concealer set to review because I have been curious about the color correcting formulas that I have seen on the market and thought it could be a great cost effective solution for someone in need of a great concealer.

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Three colors for me to try!

Here’s the skinny on color correction: you may think the different colors look funny in their tubes, but they actually have a purpose. Ipsy shared this graphic with their followers awhile back, and I think it is great for breaking it down.

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Photo courtesy of Ipsy

The LA Girl concealer set I reviewed for this piece includes orange, yellow, and green concealers, colors I felt would be best for me to try out. I specifically chose to try them out for the first time on a day when I had very little sleep and woke up looking a bit wretched, and I tried out all three colors since I had a tiny bit of redness, too.


Initial thoughts: What the heck is this???? The orange color made me look strange, and I was worried the green hue would show through any foundation. The yellow was closer to what I was used to, and I applied that after I had blended in the orange hue (Note: I used a blending sponge for this). Once blended I didn’t look as scary with the colors and applied my Kat Von D Foundation and Ben Nye Banana Powder as I usually would. You can see my before and after using the concealers below. The photo on the left: zero makeup up; the right photo features the blended concealers, foundation, and powder.


I liked this product….I really did…but I am not sure if it worked any better than the Nyx concealer I typically use. Using three concealers instead of one is a bit more maintenance, but if you are someone seriously struggles with redness, dark spots, or blue tones I truly think this product will help you. I just didn’t have enough of those issues going on to truly see a difference.

The good thing about the product: the price. I purchased all three for about $9, which is great. La Girl is also a product line relatively easy to find…you can purchase it at Walmart, Drugstore.com, even Amazon.

FINAL VERDIT: Semi-Sparkle!!!!!

Off to find some fabulous products to review for June!

sparkleon

 

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The Last Straw

I knew this blog post would have to happen. I just knew it!

Yesterday I shared with my followers over at The Sparkle Fitness Babe that I had found a three pack of stainless steel straws during my Starbucks stop and was beyond excited! I had been looking for some this week and was very happy to randomly find them while I was getting my caffeination on. Since stainless steel straws aren’t super popular yet, I knew I would have a bunch of people asking me why I wanted them and what the deal is with them.
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This blog is for you, questioners of the straws.

As we know, I pay a lot of attention to my health and the quality of things I put in my body. Something that is just HUGE to me that I have been working hard to eliminate: chemicals. Something that is also pretty huge to me: lipstick. Yes, I love wearing it, and I don’t always want to mess up cups with my “Katie was here” lipstick marks, especially when I am drinking my frothy daily Shakeology….milkshake mustaches and bright pink lipstick shades can be messy! Because of that, I have always been a straw gal. Prior to this purchase I was using biodegradable  paper straws.

Reasons why I opt for stainless steel straws (say that five times fast):

-They are reusable so you are eliminating waste. I really try my best to do little things daily that can help impact the environment in a positive way. By eliminating the use of plastic straws I am eliminating the daily tossing of plastic, so they are better for the environment. They are also extremely durable and unbreakable, meaning they will live a long and happy life in my kitchen cupboard.

-They are cost effective. A three pack of stainless straws from Starbucks runs you $5.95. A twelve pack of plastic straws from Target costs about $3. Those, obviously, are for a one time use. I can use my stainless straws over and over and over and over, saving me money. When I was using the biodegradable straws, six straws would cost me $2.

-They are chemical free. Many plastics have traces of BPA and Phthalates, toxic chemicals that can harm your body. Stainless steel: none. They are BPA free and non toxic.

-I love how they look. There are other kinds of great reusable straws on the market, such as glass straws or bamboo straws, but I just love the look of stainless and prefer those over the others.

You may not be a straw person, and that’s ok, but if you are I recommend going a more eco friendly route and trying stainless!

Off for my daily straw and shake date! Have a happy Friday, friends!

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