Tag Archives: #cleveland

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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 7.59.09 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 7.59.34 PM

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’.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 7.59.23 PM

Tagged , , , , , ,

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:

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.26.56 AM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.10.16 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.33.36 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.33.43 AM

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

Beast Up Cleveland!

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what all went on during the weekend?

FRIDAY

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

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


SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbie and I backstage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a week full of sparkle, friends!

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

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

 

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

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.

Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 8.37.23 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-11-04 at 8.37.36 PM.png

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

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-8-37-43-pm

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!

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 4.11.03 PM.png

So tasty….and good for you!

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

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-53-54-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-52-18-pm

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.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 11.42.37 PM.jpg

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).

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-39-49-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-52-25-pm

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!

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-52-58-pm

Cheering on the Cubbies!

 

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

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!

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.08.19 PM.jpg

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.08.47 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.08.37 PM
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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.28.52 PM

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

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!!!!!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.17.05 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.48.37 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.44.14 PM

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

 

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

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.
Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 10.45.06 AM.jpg
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!

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

What to Expect When You are Expecting…

Ahhhh, yes.

What to expect when you are expecting.

No, I’m not talking about that movie with Cameron Diaz. Or any new additions to the Kramer household.

I’m talking about what to expect when you are expecting……to buy a house.

Kyle and I recently purchased our first home after a year long search, and boy, was it an exhausting experience. I learned a few things I wanted to share with all of you who are expecting to purchase a new home in the near future….a few things that I hope can help you!

2016-05-06 20.27.35

So what should you expect on your house hunting search????

1. It’s pretty much the same as giving online dating a try. I can’t begin to tell you how many people fooled us with the pics they listed of their home. It’s like on an online dating profile where someone claims to be 6’4 but ends up being 5’6. Seriously people….using the panoramic picture option on you iPhone camera won’t work once someone steps into your kitchen and realizes it is the size of a shoebox. Also, much like photoshop, I can tell when a doorframe has a weird curve because of your editing. Not everyone is a moron. Just show the house like it is.

2. Ok, it’s a lot like dating in general. Dating can be an emotional roller coaster. House hunting…..I actually think it can be worse. You find something you love…..you get your heart set on it…..you start visualizing how you will decorate rooms….you might even start putting things into your Amazon Prime cart…then you find out that you lost the house to someone who was faster with an offer. Then you get bummed out. Then you begin the process again. I felt like my heart got tap danced on by football cleats over and over and over again.

3. Have a list of non-negotiables when you start the search. Kyle and I had many long talks about what was important to have in our home before we started looking. We knew things we absolutely HAD to have and things we just wanted to have. This helped us when we were searching by eliminating houses right away. You should never settle with a house, so make that list of non-negotiables so you don’t regret it later.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.03 PM

One of my non negotiables…..an awesome kitchen. Got it!

4. You no longer spend hours on Pinterest…..you spend DAYS! The best part about the house hunting/purchase process was no longer having to explain to Kyle why I was on Pinterest so much. I think he actually realized what a great site it is during the whole process! Honestly though….I logged some serious Pinterest hours and show no signs of stopping soon, but that is ok! Finding DIY solutions for some of the projects I want to do will save us money and be fun……score!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.14 PM.jpg

Part of my beautiful makeup room, thanks Pinterest! All I have left to do is have the Hollywood lights installed!

5. Always do a drive by. I fell in love with two different houses based on the pictures. When we drove by the first one, I realized it was in a shady neighbor where I am positive that I saw a prostitute walking down the street. The other we skipped the drive by and realized when we showed up that the beautiful house pretty much was located on a car dealership lot. After that we made a deal: no drive by, no appointment set to view.

6. Hire the kind of realtor that will get the job done. We started the process using one realtor who was nice but not a good match for us. I am very much a no nonsense kind of person and a shark when I want something, and we wanted a realtor who was the same. After all, if this person had to negotiate for us and go to bat for us, I didn’t want some timid mouse. Fortunately, a friend of mine who knows my style recommended Mark Young, who got the job done. If you are in the Cleveland/Akron area and looking for someone awesome, this guy is the one to call.

7. Cross reference like it’s your job. Don’t just look on one site or one app. Look on THEM ALL! In the beginning I focused on just one app…what a mistake. I found so many different listings on other sites that I would’ve missed if I didn’t check out everything. In fact, the house we ended up buying was listed on a random website when I first noticed it. Thank heavens I did!

8. Strike while the iron is hot. I understand you shouldn’t make any rash decisions, but you don’t want to miss out on your dream house either.Don’t take days or weeks to determine what to do. Go with your gut and make moves. We lost out on multiple homes we loved because we didn’t move fast enough.

9. Be prepared for unexpected expenses. The joys of home ownership means unexpected random expenses. People always say that buying a house can be a money pit, and that sure is the truth! The house we bought had brand new EVERYTHING and we still had random things come up, like the unexpected visit from a fat raccoon and her babies who decided to live in our chimney for a week. Prepare for the unexpected. Pay for inspections. Cover your butts!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.08.07 PM

This raccoon weighed more than our dog!

10. It’s not over until it’s over………So true! The house we bought was put on the market Easter weekend. Since we were out of town we couldn’t see it until Tuesday morning. The minute we saw it we knew we wanted it, so we put the offer in that minute. Seriously, we didn’t want to lose it. Our realtor contacted the listing agent to tell him the news…..and then found out the seller had accepted an offer literally about an hour before. I was so upset. After crying and cussing like a madwoman, I contacted Mark and told him that if ANYTHING fell through on that deal to let us know. The next night he let us know that the initial deal had fallen through. YESSSSSSS! Of course we submitted everything and had an accepted offer late that day.

Kyle and I are still working at getting settled in, but I love how the house is coming together. It’s been a crazy and emotional process for me, but at the end of the day I love that I have closed the nomadic chapter of my life….the one that included 24 documented moves in about 12 years (yes, that’s a lot) and started a new one with my husband. There have been moments of frustration and sadness, as I am finding things of my dad’s as I unpack all of my things and being forced to accept that all of the big milestones in my life will take place without him physically being here. At the same time, there have been so many wonderful happy moments that I know will only continue.

Here’s to FINALLY getting rid of my storage unit and adulting!

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 9.10.30 PM

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

Dinosaurs, Diamonds, and Dancing, OH MY!

You know what’s crazy? Weddings take months and months…..sometimes years…to plan, and then they are over within a blink of an eye. Seriously. I cannot believe that it has been over a week since our wedding, and even though many of my married friends tried to warn me about how fast the actual day would go, I was convinced they were a bunch of liars (Sorry friends). They were right. I felt like it took forever from the time I woke up to get to the moment where Kyle and I did our First Look….then everything else flew by. Time really is so precious.

Our wedding day was nothing short of perfect, and I am so thankful for our family and friends for helping us celebrate. Since we had a smaller wedding, many of you followed our day online by using the hashtag #kramereverafter….that hashtag was great when it came to catching up on the moments we missed, plus it allowed us to share the day with my grandmother, who was unable to attend physically due to health reasons.

Planning my wedding was an absolute blast. I’ve known so many people who shared their terrible bridezilla-like stories with me and who complained about the crazy amount of stress associated with their big day, but I likely did not experience any of this. There was only one brief time period where I had a little bit of stress, and that was over a small insurance snafu with the museum that we had fixed within days. I’m sad the planning is over, so if you are overwhelmed with planning, let me know…I will gladly help. I actually found it really fun!

I had a lot of questions surface about different elements of the wedding because we did things so differently, so I thought I would share some of the common questions I had with all of you to share a little more about the greatest day of my life. Hopefully some of the tips and resources I share can help you with your big day, too!

What kind of dress did I wear and was it really pink?

Yes, it really was pink…..blush pink to be exact. The dress itself was Vera Wang, and as with anything Vera makes, it was beyond fabulous. I knew from the beginning that I wanted this dress and was so nervous when I went to try it on that it wouldn’t live up to the image I had in my mind. Fortunately, the minute I put it on I started to cry and knew it was “the one”. My advice to anyone wedding dress shopping? Don’t settle for a dress….get one you absolutely are in love with. Also, have someone in alterations insert padded cups so you can go without a bra. Trust me on this one, no bra is a good thing, especially on a day you are running around like mad!

The first time I got to try on my dress!

Where was the wedding held?

The ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception were all held at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. We knew we didn’t want to do anything in a church or anything religious, so we opted for a venue that would be a lot of fun for our guests. To us, we didn’t want our wedding to be just another cookie cutter wedding. We truly wanted it to be a memorable experience that our guests would never forget. If you are local, visit it sometime! It really is a cool place!

Click here to learn more about this neat museum!

What an amazing shot our photographer Stacy captured....first dance photobomb with a dino!

Who designed our invitations?

I am a huge believer in supporting small businesses, so the bulk of our wedding utilized vendors from Etsy. Our invitations were custom made by a vendor called Riverkiss Weddings, and even though they were custom designed they were still exponentially cheaper than other places I looked from the mainstream sites. Plus, they were perfect for our theme. I got a lot of weird looks when I told people that I did so much through Etsy, but the truth is the quality is fabulous, and the vendors are very easy to work with. If you have an issue, the vendors I have dealt with were very quick to remedy the situation. I like that they were different and no one else had ever had these, and I found them incredibly whimsical and beautiful.

Our invitations!

Our invitations!

What were the wedding colors?

Since my dress was blush, I chose blush pink for the flowers and tablecloths at the reception hall. My bridesmaids all wore mint green, so the pink looked awesome with the mint. I also accented with a gray and white chevron. The guys rocked bow ties with the exception of my dad and grandpa; they wore the same ensemble as our groomsmen but sported regular bow ties in the wedding colors instead of a bow tie to show their distinction.

What a beautiful bunch!

Where did my girls get their dresses? 

David’s Bridal. I wanted each of my bridesmaids to get whatever dress they wanted and figured this would be the best store with the most options. My bridal party was made up of ladies from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and Michigan, so all of the locations really helped us with our geographical needs.

Were your placecards expensive?

No! Again, I had these made through an Etsy designer named IvoryIsleDesigns. Each card was customized with the name of the guest, their table (which was a dinosaur name) and a small picture of their meal choice. Each placecard cost about $1.10. I highly recommend you be creative and spend some time looking for options for paper products. You don’t have to spend a ton, and if you have time, you can always make them, too. Here’s a look at my friend Heather and her fiancé Alex’s cards:

Sparkle Sparkle everywhere!

What kind of eyelashes did I have on?

One of my favorites….these were the Miami mink falsies from Lilly Lashes. These lashes are amazing and worth every penny! The mink lashes are a higher quality, but the other lashes are just as great!

My main squeeze Marenda who handled all of my makeup needs!

What were our favors?

We didn’t do actual favors…I’m not the biggest fan of knick knacks or things that don’t have a great purpose. Instead we decided to bring some local culture to our guests and rented the Swenson’s food truck. Swenson’s is a classic in Akron….if you have never tried it’s deliciousness, please make time to do so! It showed up the last hour of the reception, so as people hopped on the shuttle back to the hotel they could have a snack…and satisfy their greasy drunken needs. I am obsessed with galley boys and potato teasers, so I ended my night eating both in my dress. It was perfect! I think our guests liked it, too!


Where were our photos taken?

The weather ended up being a really big jerk, but it worked to our benefit. Instead of taking pictures outside at the Cultural Gardens as planned, we went to Metropolitan on the 9. Our best man’s aunt and uncle own the hotel, so they hooked us up with some unique and fun photo spots. This is honestly the best hotel in the area…Kyle and I both had our bachelor/bachelorette parties here and loved the accommodations. Our photographer posted some sneak peeks on my Facebook page, and I am obsessed with how the pictures turned out. Sometimes rain isn’t a bad thing….in this case it really helped us have even better better photos than I had imagined.

This was taken in the main lobby!

Where did Kyle find his socks?

Kyle decided to get the bridal party (including my dad and grandpa) unique socks that matched the wedding colors. They looked awesome! We found the socks from a site called Sockbroker. If you love socks, check it out!

Stylin Feet!

Did you do programs?

Yes! This was the question I got more than any and was sparked after a friend posted one side of our program on Instagram. I purchased a digital download that a woman customized for me on etsy and had them printed for our guests. The programs had some fun random facts, and I was so pleased with the final product! Here’s a look!

Did you really do your center pieces for under $5 a table?

Yes! Let’s get real. No one cares about center pieces. No one remembers them. I wanted simple center pieces that didn’t break the bank. Since our table cloths were pink and the napkins were mint, I wanted to tie in the chevron and dinosaur theme. My mom made awesome chevron squares for the center of the table with fabric we found at Walmart, then we spray painted vases we found at The Dollar Tree and frames. Each vase held a realistic rose we purchased from Hobby Lobby when the silks were half off, and we printed the table name pictures at CVS for $0.17 each. I loved the final look….it was still “us”, but it was classic, simple, and didn’t clutter the heck out of the table.

I honestly would not change a single thing about our big day and felt like our wedding was a perfect representation of who we are as people and as a couple. My hope is that everyone can say that about their big day. Have fun with wedding planning….become friends with Pinterest….and don’t do anything you feel you “should” do. Your wedding day is all about you. As Janis Joplin once said, “Don’t compromise yourself; you’re all you’ve got.” I find this quote to be true about everything in life….right down to your big day.

Kyle and I are so thankful for all of the love and support, not just on our wedding day, but since we have been together. You guys are the best!

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