Tag Archives: #girlboss

2017: Year in Review


Similar to the last two years, it was a year mixed with some really great moments and some not so great moments, too. When I look back on years like that it is always so challenging to determine if it was an awesome year or a blah one, and it seemed like a lot of my friends had a challenging year as well. Here’s hoping 2018 is better for all of us.

I’m changing up how I do some things on my blog this year, and one will be a fun monthly review. However, since a year just ended I decided to kick it off with a look back on some of my favorite parts of 2017, broken down month by month.


January started off with a huge huge HUGE event that my fellow Market Council ladies and I put on for the coaches in the community. We brought Beachbody Supertrainer Sagi Kalev into town for an incredible day at The Agora in downtown Cleveland. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to hang out with “The Beast” himself, listen to him motivate the crowd, and run around backstage at The Agora, which has hosted everyone from The Beatles to Elvis Presley to The Rolling Stones. As a former on air personality and hardcore music lover, this was such a cool experience for me. You can read more about this event HERE plus check out a fun video I took that day. Overall, it was a killer start to the year.


Our crew preparing for the event. 


February was a slooowwww month for me. I spent most of the month relaxing at home thanks to the Ohio cold, crushing business goals, and looking forward to warmer weather and the beach. There was one thing that stood out big time in the month of February…..one of my best friends, John Paul, and I decided to try out a new kickboxing studio in the Youngstown area, and I absolutely loved the workout. Little did I know a few months later that same fitness chain would open a location a mile from my house, and I would end up becoming an instructor for them. Crazy how things work, right?

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We kick ass at kickboxing and at life. 


For the past few years my February-March planner has been dedicating to making sure the Shamrock 5k and 15k races for the Summit Athletic Running Club went smoothly. As the Race Director, I had to secure food donations, establish timetables for the event, coordinate volunteers, design shirts…..so many tasks! I also knew this would be my final year in charge of the event, as I was planning on submitting my resignation from the event and club shortly after due to a lack of time and some other reasons.

My final event as Race Director was amazing. We flew in Boston Marathon great Dick Beardsley, and getting to meet and talk to him was really neat. The race itself was its usually chilly self, but overall, it was a wonderful day.


With Boston Marathon legend Dick Beardsley

Besides rocking out my final Shamrock, I also did something that I was pretty freaking proud of: I officially completed The Ultimate Reset, a 21 day detox (99% plant based) AND abstained from coffee for 21 freaking days. Shocker, right? This was by far one of the hardest things I have ever done willpower wise, but my body has never felt better. I am already planning on doing another round of it again in 2018. If you want to know more about this, I blogged about it every single day of the journey, so just search Katie’s Ultimate Reset Journey in here and you’ll learn a lot!

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March also brought something else that was a lot of fun…..a surprise baby shower for one of my oldest friends, Krista. Somehow we were able to lie to her and throw a fun casual shower without her finding out anything. We also recreated this photo taken at the baby shower for her son Wesley five years ago.

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Holy shit. April was probably one of my absolute favorite months of 2017. SO MUCH HAPPENED!!!!

As we planned our April Super Saturday event, I was made aware of something super exciting at the last minute: our event was going to have our brand super trainer in attendance, and I was going to get to introduce him to our attendees. I was so excited because the trainer was someone who lived locally and who was just such a good dude, and I couldn’t wait for everyone to learn about him and his program. However, it was very challenging to keep a secret, as only myself and a few others knew. I couldn’t even tell the other Market Council ladies until the last minute! It was such a great experience, and I was thankful one of my coaches snagged this video of me doing the introduction and the crowd going crazy!

April was also pretty neat because I got to go on an exclusive trip to Punta Cana, which was earned for free from my company. I had never been to the Dominican Republic before, so this was a brand new experience that I was so happy to share with friends. I held a monkey, enjoyed the beach, tried lots of tasty food, and made so many memories. I cannot wait for our Riviera Maya trip in a few months….same awesome people, different location. It’s going to be the best! You can relive my Punta Cana trip HERE.


May started with an exciting meeting…I got to meet Krista’s baby Whitney for the first time! I was so happy to meet this little babe…she was seriously the happiest and sweetest baby ever.

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Later that month I got to watch something I am obsessed with LIVE. Many of you know that my goal is to try out and participate on American Ninja Warrior….it’s been a goal of mine for quite some time. While I have been training for it in different ways, I’m not at the place yet where I feel confident enough to try out, so instead of participating in the Cleveland tryouts this year, I drug my friends Erika and Melissa to a 2am taping of it on a super cold morning in downtown Cleveland. It was such an experience….I cannot wait until I am out there on the obstacles myself.
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Erika and I also were able to be a part of a Cav victory, which was awesome for the city of Cleveland. I love basketball, and I was also pumped to hang with Kevin Love. And our seats were awesome, which didn’t hurt.

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I personally challenged myself to go streaking…..as in running at least a mile every single day for the entire month of June in honor of National Running month. I’ve been very open about my struggles with running after losing my dad, but I made myself complete a run every day this month, and I was really proud of that. I even ran a Facebook group so others could do this with me and we could support each other, and one of my coaches told me she STILL is streaking to this day! I felt very accomplished and strong after completing this goal.

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June 1st was also an important day….my baby Luigi was born, and I paid the deposit to get him in July. It had been a long time since I had a brand new puppy, but I was stoked! And yes, Luigi was named after a Super Mario Brothers character…I do like the gaming world (fun fact).

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July started in the best possible way: Some of my friends and I went to the New Kids on the Block/Paula Abdul/Boyz II Men concert and had a kickass luxury box. My friend Heather and I have been going to NKOTB concerts together for as long as I can remember, so I always look forward to these dates. As always, the New Kids did not disappoint.

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Waiting for the New Kids to perform!

The concert was the first, and since July is my birthday month, it is always the busiest month. I took off for New Orleans for our big Coach Summit a few days later, and while i loved hanging with my team, learning from the best in our industry, and the beignets and Cafe au Laits at Cafe du Monde, I was not a fan of the city. You can read more about that experience HERE.

After returning from  NOLA, I had only a few days of relaxation (including my actual birthday) before taking off to Chicago with my best friend, Whitney. We always do something together each year for our birthdays, and this trip was going to be really special. I shared a lot about what that trip meant to me in this blog from the summer, and I am already looking forward to going back.

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Whit, Kendall, and I taking our obligatory Bean Selfie.

Two days after returning from Chi-town, it was time to get Luigi from the breeder in Indianapolis! He was super tiny but fit in immediately! It’s hard to believe he was ever that small…..those who have seen pics of him recently know he is getting to be a big guy!

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And somewhere in there….between the travel, the parties, the coffees, and the dogs, I accepted an opportunity at the kickboxing studio I mentioned earlier and started teaching a kick ass workout to locals. I’m tired just thinking about the month!


If you read the blog I mentioned above while talking about my Chicago trip, you already know what went down in August: I conquered something personally that was HUGE. I was able to run and finish the Star Trax evening race that I used to always run with my dad. I tried last year, and at the last moment just emotionally wasn’t ready. This year it was hard, but I had great support that got me through it. The moment I crossed this line felt great while also feeling emotionally draining. Sometimes you just have to do hard things.

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The end of the month brought a joyous event, the wedding of my friend Stephanie and her boo RJ. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to, and I had such a blast with some of my bridal friends dancing and stuffing our faces with food from The Funky Truckeria. There’s nothing better than seeing your friends happy.

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The beautiful couple ❤


September brought on more travel, as we flew to Myrtle Beach for a big family vacation. It was the first family vacation in years, so getting to spend an extended period of time with my brother and mom at the same time was awesome. I’m already looking forward to our trip next year. I ate copious amount of seafood and hushpuppies, and it was really nice to relax on the beach without any responsibilities.

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Not a bad view at all.


I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for October because I was so excited to attend Pugfest, an event put on by a local animal rescue that was ALL PUGS. I’m talking pug vendors, pug rescues (including my favorite, Ohio Pug Rescue ), pug contests, and pugs walking around absolutely everywhere. It was heavenly. We brought Bubba and Luigi, and my mom brought Desmond. Everyone had a great time!

A few days later I made another big decision: i finally said goodbye to my beloved Xterra, Farrah, and purchased a new car.

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And the travel continues!

Some friends and I packed up and took off for a trip to Vegas to celebrate my friend Amanda’s upcoming birthday. We hit a burlesque show, Fremont Street (my favorite part of Vegas), ate our faces off, including dinner at one of my all time favorite restaurants The Sugar Factory, and celebrated like rockstars. My friends even talked me into going on The High Roller, which was terrifying and something I will never do again.


December was a chill month, which started with me relaxing and enjoying some downtime, and it ended with me having pneumonia and virtually missing the holiday season. I did my best to embrace the holidays with decorating and Christmas traditions so I wouldn’t be as Grinchy as I was last year, and I even made a kickass gingerbread house. And while I was salty that I was so sick and stuck at home for several weeks consistently, I was thankful I had that time to spend with Bubba since I knew his days were numbered.

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There were definitely many memories made in 2017…many new friendships that I was lucky to make….many new exciting business opportunities….and many changes. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad and do my best to always rise when others consider me down and out. And above all, I grew stronger as a person, which really is the greatest accomplishment of them all.

So 2018…..you may have started off on the wrong foot, but I am confident you will be throwing a lot of amazingness my way.

I’m grateful for all of you and your presence in my life. From the support and encouragement to the hugs to the travel companionship, I don’t know where I would be without you guys! Thanks for always being the best part of any year!


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RBF…I rock them.

I’m not just talking about the Resting Bitch Face I have mastered….I’m talking about my Resting Beach Face, too!

And I rocked that during the last week in Punta Cana!

My trip to Punta Cana was one I desperately needed….and my excitement over the past few weeks was off the charts! I couldn’t wait to get to The Hard Rock and meet up with all of my people!!!!

In case you aren’t connected to me on Instagram (@sparklefitnessbabe) or on my main Facebook page (Sparkle Fitness Babe), I earned an all expenses paid trip to Punta Cana for rocking the heck out of my business last year. These trips are something we coaches absolutely love….Beachbody spoils us like crazy and really goes all out to make sure we are treated like royalty. Last year they chartered The Oasis of the Seas for 3000+ of us, and this year they took over The Hard Rock!

My trip to PC started very early Saturday morning…..3am to be exact, after only a few hours of sleep.  We all know I am very much a night owl, so forcing myself to go to bed super early and wake up at the time I normally go to bed….that was a challenge. Everyone kept telling me to sleep on the plane, but contrary to belief, I really hate naps. With contacts, I always wake up with such a headache and red eyes….it’s easier to just avoid that.

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After a quick layover in Newark (one where I had to spend $7 on a damn pen because I lost mine), I was off to Punta Cana, arriving a little after 1pm. I knew traveling to another country, especially by myself, would be interesting, and I was right. The Punta Cana airport was a little different…lots of flash mobs were going on, and it was hot as hell. I was happy to find my friend Nicole and her husband Stephen as I waited for my bags because I was nervous to find my pre-arranged transportation by myself. We found out that my success partner and roomie, Nichole, and her coach Corey were coming into a completely different terminal, meaning I wouldn’t meet up with them until we got to the hotel. One thing that was for certain…I wish some of the Spanish I had learned over 5 years of classes had stuck with me.

We took our shuttle to the hotel and met up with Nichole and Corey right away….however, we were about to have a fun little afternoon figuring out where we were staying. Since we flew in a day earlier than the trip was scheduled to start, we thought we would be able to stay with Nicole and Stephen until our room was ready Sunday morning. Wrong. Since it was an all inclusive, we couldn’t get past the main lobby, which was a little bit of an issue. The hotel also had told us they were at maximum occupancy and we couldn’t book for the night; this led us to booking a room on Orbitz, as rooms were available.

Oh, if only it was that easy. The reservation with Orbitz was incredibly misleading, and the $400 reservation was only good for ME. After some back and forth, we finally got a room, and it ended up being only a mere $1000 (insert eye roll). I was worried our whole trip would be one cluster after another.

Fortunately our evening was great. We hit up one of the many restaurants on the resort…Mexican because tacooossssss……and I even got to take some photos with a monkey!

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This little babe is 15 years old!

The next morning we were supposed to have a beach photo shoot, which I was really pumped about. However, one of the girls backed out at the last minute, which was extremely disappointing, as we ended up canceling the shoot. I told myself that I would not let the selfishness of others ruin the rest of my trip and made it my choice from that moment on to spend time with amazing people who I genuinely was happy to be around. After all, photo shoots can always be rescheduled.

Lucky for us, the rest of the trip was incredible. I mean, look at this view! I love the beach, but I really loved this one because I was able to hide out under the tiki huts (I don’t like getting tan even though I love the sun) as my friends were able to bask in the sun.

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This trip allowed me to hang with some of my faves, like Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix), Danielle Natoni (Live instructors and Max 30 lovers, you recognize her), and Tania Baron, aka The Machine, who I relied on for my first 5 weeks of T25. I also was able to celebrate my local friend from the 330 and Beachbody’s newest super trainer, Chris Downing, as he debuted his Shift Shop workout. The workout was killer….make sure I have you on my Shift Shop VIP list so I can keep you updated on all the details!

Each day there were workouts with the trainers, a Shakeology bar, and the opportunity for fun excursions. My crew and I spent time at the spa (honestly, the best spa experience I’ve ever been to) and decided to skip the excursions since we didn’t want to have to go off the resort and spend time waiting around when we could be relaxing at the beach/pool. We all wanted to relax and spend time with each other, and as much as I wanted to swim with some dolphins, I was totally okay with hanging with my crew.

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Guys, the community that Beachbody has brought into my life….I can’t even put into words how thankful I am for them. These ladies challenge me, support me, laugh with me, and believe in me, and I can only hope I do the same for them. There are so many misconceptions out there about women…like how all we do is tear each other down and compete with each other. I’m thankful that our community of coaches truly has the mentality that there is enough success for everyone out there. Girl compete. Women empower.

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My Success Partner Nichole and I before Opening Ceremonies

The Hard Rock was an amazing resort…I recommend it to anyone going to Punta Cana. So many pools….so many restaurants…and the people there were all so friendly. I took complete advantage of all of the food options and also enjoyed a doughnut a day (so many delicious doughnuts there for me to try). I did gain 5 pounds over the course of the trip, but I’m okay with that. Vacations are about fun splurges, right?

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I love you, doughnut!

Next year Beachbody is sending us to Riviera Maya….I’m already looking forward to it! I’d love for you to be with me on the trip! If you want to learn more about coaching, shoot me a message at Katie@sparklefitnessbabe.com. I love what I do, and I want to share opportunities like this with everyone.

Here’s a look at the rest of my trip!

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Why did the Chicken cross the road?

To get to Katie’s kitchen for meal prep time, that’s why!

I can’t believe it is meal prep time again…the week has flown by! And this isn’t just any week…..It is the final full week of Core de Force!

If you have been following me on The Sparkle Fitness Babe, you’ve been watching my journey through the program thus far. I am so excited to share my results with you all when I wrap the program up in just 10 short days!!!!

As I head into the last week of a program I always dial in my nutrition more than usual. This means No Cheat Meals and a lot of repetition because I know that is what helps me be the most successful with my meal plan. You may not like repeating meals, but studies have shown that it is directly related to staying on track with your meals! I can attest to this first hand.

I’ve been craving chicken lately, so I am making my favorite chicken and serving it with two of my standard faves: green beans and sweet potatoes (made in the crock pot of course!) and a dish I haven’t made for ages, ratatouille!

Before we go any further….how do I make my chicken? A simple and delicious recipe, that’s how. Mix 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper and spread over boneless skinless chicken breasts. Bake for 45 minutes at 375! This is how I typically make it and love that it isn’t your same ol’ boring chicken recipe. Try it!

Here’s how my meal plan looks for the week!


Breakfast: Back to the Basics for me! Egg Whites and Oatmeal (I make with cinnamon) are the perfect combo of protein and carbs to start the day. This may be boring to some people, but for me, it is simplicity at its finest.

Lunch: All about my staples this week…..chicken, green beans, and sweet potatoes. I literally could eat sweet potatoes for every meal, but will just be enjoying them for lunch this week. Like I mentioned, I cook them in the crockpot which is super easy! The weekend includes me traveling back and forth to my mom’s as well as a baby shower, which means I get to visit my favorite local place, All Good Things, for lunch! If you haven’t tried this spot yet I will be sharing a blog on it this week!

Snacks: Canteloupe, Shakeology Protein Bites, and Shakeology at night!

Dinner: More chicken, only i am pairing it with my ratatouille recipe! Whenever I make this and tell people what it is called, they look at me like I am nuts! It’s a great spin on a veggie dish….try it!

You might still be on the fence with making this….so here is a look at the finished product:

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Last week I make crockpot pork carnitas and had a strong interest in the recipe, so I wanted to share with you here! I love this recipe because it is super easy, flavorful, and it is versatile. I had the meat in true carnita form in a corn tortilla and also made salad with it a few nights. Here’s the recipe!

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Ingredients for Pork Loin Rub:
-2 tsp cumin
-2 tbl chili powder
-1/2 tsp cloves
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic power
-1 tsp oregano

Mix all spices together and rub over 3 lbs of pork loin. Place pork in crockpot with one bay leaf and about 1 1/2 cups of water. I cook mine on low for about 8 hours, checking the pork every few hours to make sure it wasn’t getting dried out. If you notice this, add a bit more water! Once cooked, shred the pork.

You can top your carnitas with whatever you like, but we typically use black beans, shredded lettuce, avocado, shredded cheese, and brown rice. If you like your corn tortillas crisper, place in over for about 10 minutes at 350!

Top with a cilantro lime dressing! You can make this by mixing 1/4 cup lime juice with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and cilantro.

Minimal effort for a great 21 Day fix approved dinner that makes a nice amount for the week or for your family!

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A beautiful dinner!

I’m ready to attack this week….I hope you are, too. If you are still feeling the post holiday hangover and bloat, tomorrow is a brand new day. Make great choices with your nutrition, get a good sweat in, and drink lots of water!

I believe in you!

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Things your Beachbody Coach Wants You to Know

When I began my journey with online fitness and wellness coaching a little over three years ago , I had no clue what I was doing. I did know I was starting something incredible…but I had so many questions that I kept to myself. With so many people reaching out inquiring about programs and solutions….especially with New Year’s and resolutions looming….I wanted to take a minute to share a few things that I, as your coach (or future coach) want you to know.

1. I want to help you….and will continue to help you….long past your initial purchase. My role as your coach is to help you for as long as you need it….whether that be for a month, a program, a year, or forever. My customers always have access to one on one support and all of my challenge groups, as my goal is to help you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself. I don’t mindread though(unfortunately)….so please don’t hesitate to tell me if you need more help!

2. I want to see those sweaty selfies and pictures of your food! I read somewhere recently that one of the top reasons why people are defriended on Facebook is because they post pictures of their food. Are you serious???!!!! I am proud of my clients when they share healthy changes they are making, and it makes me sad that some people are afraid they will be the butt of other people’s jokes when they share something healthy they are doing. Let me be real: I post my sweaty selfies because I need the accountability, and I know there are people who will shoot me a message if I don’t share something about a workout to make sure things are ok. When it comes to sharing what I am eating….I hope it encourages someone to try a new recipe or get past the idea that eating healthy is difficult or bland. When you share what you are eating for dinner, my wheels are turning and I am looking at a new addition for my next meal plan.

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3. I get you free stuff! When you purchase a bundle from a coach, you get a special thank you gift….a FREE workout! Having the ability to be in my challenge groups allows you to win lots of fun prizes, and once you finish a program I help you get your free completion t-shirt! Free stuff is lovely. Don’t pretend like it isn’t. Purchasing from a coach is different from getting programs from a random site….here’s a little more about that……

4. I struggle with workouts and eating healthy, too. I think a lot of people are intimidated by working with a coach because they think they have to be perfect and never mess up a meal plan or skip a workout. WRONG! Guys, I mess up all the time! I practice a life of balance, so I eat clean 80% of the time, but sometimes I overindulge more than I want. Some mornings I don’t want to workout and press the snooze button. Some days my workouts straight up suck and I don’t give it my all. The joy of working with a coach is having accountability and someone who has solutions when these things come up. Fitness is a journey with ups and downs…we all have them….but it sure is nice to have someone in your corner when you are having a down day to help power you through it.

5. I will take you back regardless of how many times you break up with me. Life happens. You may not finish a program. You may disappear in a challenge group. You might ignore my emails checking in on your progress for a month straight. It’s ok….when you are ready to get back on track, I will take you back, no worries.I just want to help you reach whatever goal you have!

6. Yes, I really do love Shakeology. Giving this product a chance was the best thing I ever did for my health. I realized very early on that it played a HUGE part in the weight loss success I had and it is the saving grace every night when my chocolate cravings fire up.  If you are starting a program and not seeing the results you want, your nutrition needs to be looked at, and, as your coach, I am most definitely going to recommend this bad boy. Don’t compare this item to another shake…there isn’t one out there that can compare. Comparing this shake to those is like comparing the rides at DisneyWorld to the horsey ride in the food court at the mall. I don’t just talk the talk with the products Beachbody offers; I genuinely love them and value what they do for my health and longevity.

7. No, I don’t love every program Beachbody has, and I will be honest with you when it comes to them. I’m not some robot….and I am very opinionated. I’ve tried pretty much every single program we have to offer because I think it is important to know first hand what is great or not so great about a program, and I want to be able to answer any question a client has. I’ve fallen in love with many and hated some as well. My goal is to help connect you to the right program, so I will always share with you what recommendations I think would be best based on what your goals are and what you like.

8. I love what I do, and I truly want everyone to find something they love like this. I’d love everyone to be a coach, but I know it isn’t for everyone. I’m sad when people write off what I do, but I have learned that if someone feels that way they don’t really know me and what makes me tick. I live for helping others and sharing my sparkle with everyone I meet. I want to make the lives of everyone I know better in whatever way I can. It look me 32 years to find this opportunity. If you haven’t found something that lights a fire in your soul yet, maybe you are overlooking it. I’d love for you to see what I see in coaching.

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Enjoying the view from our balcony on last year’s All Expenses Paid Cruise to the Bahamas and Jamaica.

My team and I are hosting an online open house that is sharing a behind the scenes look at coaching this Sunday, the 27th. We will be answering lots more questions and sharing more of our hearts with you about why we love this business. Join us! You have nothing to lose and can see if it is something you want to learn more about! Fill out this quick form so I know to add you, and connect with me on Facebook by searching for The Sparkle Fitness Babe!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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March Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

March was the month that I was determined to try one of the products I have been hearing about by Tony Moly, a brand I that I love and have written about before.I am constantly hearing about products that help get rid of dark eye circles, and after our cruise I was in need of something to help me with mine. Let’s be honest…I didn’t exactly sleep much and had some serious raccoon eyes going on.

Product #1: Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch

I’ve always wondered if these kinds of products work, and to be honest, I really haven’t needed to try them in the past. Sleep is something that is very important to me, and I’ve always used an eye cream that I believe helped if I had a night where I didn’t get as much sleep (my favorite is Benefit’s It’s Potent Eye Cream). Of course I forgot my eye cream on the cruise……it was the only thing I forgot! Pair the missing eye cream with all of those late nights/early mornings on the ship…..and you get these lovely sight. Hello, bags! And these bags sure as hell aren’t designer.

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The day we got home from the cruise I decided to enjoy a bubble bath and try these panda things. One pair comes in this cute little packaging, and when I opened the package up I have to be honest….I was already not interested. The eye patches felt like slimy seaweed, and I didn’t like that I had to wear them for fifteen minutes. Without cutouts for my eyeballs these instantly made me want to fall asleep….and in a Lush bath bomb bubble bath, that is already pretty easy to do.

After fifteen minutes (I set my phone alarm to make sure I followed the directions perfectly), I ripped the panda patches off of my eyes and hopped out of the tub with the hopes to see absolutely no remnants of my sleepless cruise.

Not the case.

Below is the Before and After photos. Can you tell the difference? Yeah, I can’t either.

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Product #2: Gwen Stefani Blush Palette

We all know I love Urban Decay, so when they introduced the limited edition Gwen Stefani Blush Palette, I was pumped! I’m a HUGE Gwen fan! However, it has been my experience that product collaborations with celebrities are terrible, and I was worried that this would be the case again, thus causing a ripple effect where my obsession with Gwen would change.

Since my go to blush was already an Urban Decay product I figured that this palette was worth a shot. And then I received the email that sealed the deal: for one day only Ulta was selling the Gwen palette 50% off! Don’t you just love when they have one day deals??!?!?!? I sure do.

This palette does not disappoint one bit! Here’s what’s in it:

4 blush colors: Cherry, Angel, Hush, and Easy
1 bronzer: LoFi
1 highligher: OC

I’ve been using the color Easy (the one in the middle, top row) and LOVE it, but I have to admit…all of the colors are great. I’ve tried each on their own as well as used the highlighter and bronzer to contour with the color Easy. The colors stay put (Urban Decay is known for 8 hour+ wear with their blush colors), and they are light and sheer. Plus they are packaged into a cute little black/white/gold case that Gwen designed herself. Score!


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Moral of the story: Gwen rules at everything she does and Pandas should stay away from face products.


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