Tag Archives: #ohio

Pretty little fridge.

(I envision the scene from Dumb and Dumber with the bird when I say that).

Sundays are one of my favorite days for so many reasons, especially this time of year with football (Go Steelers) and lots of fun Fall events. I love the chill vibe of the day and knowing that my actions are setting me up for a week of success.

I know a lot of people find it strange, but I feel so much better when I am taking steps to make sure I am having a successful week. What does this involve? It involves things like grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week, establishing when I am going to do my workouts each day, and what goals I have for the week.

Goal setting is something I have always done, even as a young girl. I love making lists and crossing things off as I complete the tasks. As I have gotten older I have realized more and more how important it is to be organized, not just because I like crossing off completed tasks each day, but because having a sense of organization keeps me sane!

Sunday mornings involve a lot of reflection for me. I think about how the previous week went, I think about how I want the upcoming week to go, and I think about what I want to accomplish. I listen to personal development in my office while sipping coffee and listening to my dogs (and husband) snore. It’s my favorite “Me” time.

I think it is easy to say that meal prepping is one of my favorite parts about Sunday. Yes, i actually ENJOY it! Food is the one area that if I don’t plan it out I end up making lotsssss of bad decisions. LOTS. I’ve talked about my process before….I’ve run free informational groups on how I prep and prepare….but it is always worth a little revisiting in my book!

My usual routine goes like this:

FRIDAY: Plan out what meals I want for the upcoming week/check out grocery store sales/draft meal plan. This involves checking my social calendar so I know if I will be at meetings, out to eat, etc.

SATURDAY: Grocery Shop or hit farmer’s markets.

SUNDAY: Prepare everything for the week.

This week I was a little bit ahead of schedule and got everything prepped and ready last night so I could focus completely on my team and some upcoming trainings/groups today. We have a lot going on over here at Sparkle HQ, and it is exciting!

Here is a look at my meal plan for the week:

Since I started my No Crumb Left Behind 21 Day Fix informational group today I have the meal plan color coded to show them how to look at their meals and meal plans. Look confusing to you? Hopefully not! The colors each represent a different food group. (Let me know if you need help with your own meal plan…I can help you make sense of it)! It doesn’t matter what workout program I am doing….I utilize the Fix meal plan for everything!

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers about how it helps to see my meal plan each week, so my goal is to post it for you every Sunday to help give you some ideas for your own meal plan. Eating healthy does not have to be boring or bland….I always love the meals I make and never feel like I am depriving myself. That’s important when you love food!

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Here is a look at how my fridge looks after prep. Lots of containers in there…the only thing NOT mine is the takeout container on the top shelf…that’s Kyle’s leftover sandwich from Melt Bar and Grill. Having things portioned and ready to grab saves me so much time, energy, and money, plus it keeps me on track.

Have a plan, work a plan, my peeps.

Now go get working on your plan so you can have a successful week, too!
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August: Sparkle or Dull?

Guys, can you believe it is September???? I’m having a hard time accepting that summer is over and before you know it Christmas will be here. This year is flying by!

And so is this month! We have been crazy busy with wedding stuff these past few weeks which delayed this blog being posted a bit more than I had anticipated, and this week we had a curveball thrown in with a death in our family. My apologies, makeup lovers!

This blog is all about the eyes!!!!

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PRODUCT #1: Tarte Colored Clay Under Eye Corrector

I think Tarte has an amazing line of products, but I have mostly stuck to their eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks. Since I have a pretty strong love affair with my Kat Von D foundation, I’ve never considered their foundations or concealers (I know…..I’m sorry!). I guess I’m one of those people who sticks with something that she knows works for her and doesn’t like to always change it up…especially with foundation and concealers.

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Shopping with Mikaele!

I recently took one of my coaches to Ulta because….well, that’s pretty much my second office….and she needed some lashes, so of course I volunteered to help her! During our trip and random perusal of the Tarte aisle I stumbled across this clay under eye corrector. Let’s be honest….I’ve been lacking in the sleep department big time lately and my under eye bags needed a little TLC. I tried the product out in the store and loved it immediately. It went on smoothly, felt like silk, and had great coverage. It was purchased immediately, and I can tell you….I am still amazed by this product. As you can see below, the coverage is pretty freaking awesome. Just an FYI, the color I use is Light/Medium.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE ALL DAMN DAY!

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Product #2: Elf Under Eye Setting Powder

This was a product that I was skeptical about. We all know I think Elf has some awesome makeup products/brushes, but for some reason every time I was in the Elf section and saw this little guy I always talked myself out of it. Yeah, it is only $3, but do I really need a setting powder?????? For my eyes????

Earlier in the month I was creeping on a few different youtube tutorials trying to master a specific makeup technique and noticed that all four of the tutorials I randomly selected to watch featured the makeup artist using this Elf product. I told myself that was a sign and decided to give it a whirl.

The purpose of this powder is to do exactly what it says: set the makeup under your eye perfectly. It claimed to leave skin feeling silky and help blend fine lines. Skin also is strengthened because of the Vitamin K and Vitamin C blend in it.

I applied this as a final step, so foundation was on, concealer, eye makeup, etc. The brush I used was another Elf product, the Elf foundation brush. The product itself comes with a small brush, but I like this Elf one better. Even though it is a foundation brush, I hate using it for that and think this one is a better option.

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Few things about this product……

1. It looks a little shimmery when you look at it in its pot. It’s very subtle. I actually used this when strobing last week and liked the look because it wasn’t as in your face as normal strobing is.

2. With that being said, don’t OVERUSE it! A little can go a long way, and if you use too much you will have cakey under eyes and possibly too much shimmer. Once you get the product on the brush, tap it lightly to get rid of the excess. Remember, you can always add to it….it is much easier than having to take it off or looking like a gothic stripper.

FINAL VERDICT: Sparkle!

I’ve been having lots of luck with sparkle products lately! Are there any items you have been curious about? Let me know….I’m always up for ideas to help you make beauty easier!

sparkleon

 

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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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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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O’Kramer for a Day

I’ve always been a fan of St. Patty’s Day.

Back in the day it was all about drinking…..I would hit up every St. Patty’s parade, spend the day at the bar enjoying green beer, and acted like a complete foolish leprechaun. I’m not Irish….not one bit….but I was on March 17th!

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The Old St Patty’s Day Katie

These days St. Patty’s Day is totally different, and I couldn’t be happier! The holiday for me is all about one big event that I am in charge of, the Shamrock 5k and 15k race, which is put on by my running club, Summit Athletic Running Club. I still get to rock green and put an “O” before my last name so others think I have a little Irish in my blood….so I am a happy camper.

This year the race was a little bit earlier in the month of March and took place this past weekend. Thank heavens! Originally it was scheduled to take place when I was scheduled to be in Jamaica, so I was happy we could move the date around and I could be there.

I’ve talked about my running club before, and I can guarantee I will talk about it again. It is a club that I am very proud to be a part of, not only as a runner, but as their Membership Director. Of course I think everyone should join us! We are fabulous! If you ever want to come to a meeting, let me know….I’d love for you to be my guest! (P.S. We serve pizza at the meetings…..we all know how I feel about that).

The Shamrock 5k and 15k is a race that has a very special place in my heart, so I was thrilled when I was asked to take over it prior to it taking place last year. Back in January 2013 I attended my very first SARC meeting, attending with major nerves since I knew absolutely no one and did not know what to expect from the club. All I knew is that I was relatively new to the area and wanted to find some people who shared my love of running. I also had a very lofty goal that year to run 31 races (you can read about that here ), and I was hell bent on achieving it.

The very first race I ran that year was the Shamrock 5k and 15k. Not only was it my first race of the year, but my first race as a SARC member and my first SARC race. Of course I rocked a tiny hat and some green! Since I was just returning to the world of running, I knew that I would be slow and was worried about the cold weather, and I was happy when one of my BFFs, Whitney, agreed to run with me. Fortunately for us, my two biggest cheerleaders, my mom and dad, drove up to brave the cold and support us, even making signs. It meant the world to me.

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During my red hair days

Fast forward to this year, which was my first year running the race completely by myself (Last year I Co-Directed with a fellow SARC member who was retiring, which helped me get my feet wet with directing a running event.) I had a lot of emotions with the race this year, mostly because I knew my dad would not be there physically to support me. Anything involving running gets me emotional…that was our thing. He is so missed.

Race directing is so much more involved than a lot of people think. Last week I felt like I was living, breathing, and eating Shamrock, and my friends and family can attest to that….I was MIA! Following up on permits, police officers, porta potties, food sponsorship, bobble heads for the award winners, volunteers…….there is a lot involved to make sure the day goes off without a hitch!

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Our bagpiper was phenomenal!

I decided to bypass my complete leprechaun costume this year (yes, I have one) to pay homage to my original Shamrock getup, a tiny hat and faux leprechaun tuxedo. Something about doing so just made me feel a little bit better, which may sound a little weird, but it’s true. I found an amazing faux leprechaun tuxedo that was perfect for the day….several people actually thought it was a real tuxedo! I also contacted my favorite hat maker, ChikiBird, who has made several custom hats for me in the past, and purchased a special little St. Patty’s Day leprechaun hat. Look how cute it was……..

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Our crowd this year was awesome! We had 665+ runners join us at Woodridge High School in Cuyahoga Falls to run the 5k or 15k, and I’d like to give a shout out to the weather for being so kind to us….it was perfect running weather! I couldn’t have been happier with how the event with, and I think everyone had a great time! I was super proud of Whitney for running her first 5k since having Baby L….she did great!

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Whit and I before the race

These events could not be the success they are without the many amazing volunteers who help behind the scenes. Many were up before the sun came up to help get things set up on the course, and some were with me until the very end of the day, which was about 5pm…..a long, long, long day. I had two very special volunteers assist me this year….my mother in law, Diane, and my incredible mother, Sherrin. It was wonderful having them both there to see the behind the scenes activity, and I was so happy my mom could be with me to help me if I had an emotional moment or struggled.

Thank you to everyone who ran, volunteered, donated and supported not only me in this event, but SARC. Your kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm for running is so greatly appreciated! I have to give a special shout out to Earthfare, who donated food for the event (and happens to be one of my go-to favorite grocery stores), Eat N Park…who provided their signature Shamrock cookies and coupons for the runners, Acme Fresh Market, who hooked us up with water for the runners, Giant Eagle for the bananas, Winking Lizard for their delicious soup, and Bumble Bar, who provided their gluten free bars for those who aren’t fans of the gluten. Our event couldn’t have been possible without you!

I know my dad was with us in spirit Sunday….. I like thinking that….it definitely helps me get though the difficult moments. Dad, I hope you had fun cracking jokes about my outfit….because I know you had them.

Mark your calendars now….next March you have a date with me to run the Shamrock 5k and 15k!

I’m off to get ready for Jamaica! Keep sparkling, my friends.

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Yes, I’m just really tall. 

 

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