Project 365 Smalls: A Photo A Day Challenge

Project 365 Smalls: A photo a day challenge.

I love a beautiful photograph, there is something so special about catching a fleeting moment for all time. I love the looking at all the photos of my childhood. They contain a lot of memories and my favorite people. I love teaching my kids their family tree through photos. But I am awful about taking pictures of my own family. And that needs to change. So, I am challenging myself this year.

 

Each year I look forward to having our family photos taken. I try to have them taken at the end of Summer each year. My smalls are Summer babies (September still feels like summer here in NC) so I love capturing them as they turn another year older. This year we chose to have them taken at the beach, a first for us even though we have lived here for 10 years. And they turned out better than I could have imagined!

 

Out takes make some of the best family photos
My favorite from the whole session. It’s their personalities in a picture.
Pretty baby on the sand
I’d like to hit the pause button right here!
The girl who owns the world
I love everything about this picture!
Kissing couple at the beach
One of the few photos of just the two of us <3

 

I know everyone is tired of seeing perfectly posed family photos posted all over Fakebook Facebook, but I love seeing everyone coordinated, smiling, being silly or even pouting. I also love them because the whole family, including Mom, are in the picture. We all know it’s not how everyday looks, we all have our own mess. And as much as I enjoy the “real” pics of day to day life I appreciate the effort and the beauty of my friend’s family photos. So keep them coming!!

 

Every parent knows what it took to get that one great “everyone is looking at the camera, most of us are smiling, no one is blinking/sneezing/hitting/yelling” shot. The picking out of the “right” outfits that coordinate enough without being matchy-matchy and went just right with the location. I’m sure someone was making crazy noises to keep the kids attention, there may have even been a bribe or two to get a toddler to sit still… and the magic of it all, a great photographer.

 

Family Beach Photos
As close to perfect as we will ever get!

One that can capture that precious moment in time, a split second of beauty in all the chaos. A moment that you will want to look back on and cherish the time when your kids were those ages because by then the trauma of the day-to-day struggles will have worn off.

 

Luckily we found an outstanding photographer, who was able to capture the personalities of our family.  If only she could follow my family everyday… but not in a weird paparazzi way.  And Mother Nature was finally on our side (after having to reschedule 3 times due to weather) and provided an amazing backdrop with a breathtaking sunset that I felt honored to witness.

Sibling fun
#reallife
Beautiful sunset at the beach
The colors of the sky were breathtakingly beautiful.

I love photos, so why am I so terrible about taking them? I’m not even trying for amazing/good/decent, I just want to remember to take the dang photo in the moment! Not say to myself “that would’ve been a cute pic”!

 

I am serious. I have a handful (and that’s being generous) of photos during my 15 years with my husband. I have hundreds of photos of our first born, before she could move then they really drop off. My poor son, totally the middle child and will probably require therapy due to the lack of photos during his early years. And the baby… well she will be happy that cell phone technology advanced and the cloud existed during her life.

 

Inspired by Project 365, I am challenging myself to take a photo of each child, all 3 of them, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY of 2016! And wouldn’t you know it, the year I decide to do this… a leap year!! So 366 x 3 = 1098 photos!!

Project 365 Smalls: A photo a day challenge. Taking a picture of each kid everyday this year.

I can’t wait to see how it goes and what a treasure the final album will be! I’d love for you to join me in taking a photo a day. Any subject matter or combinations of subjects work. (I’m just focusing on my smalls, because I need to make up for the HUGE gaps in their baby books!) Share them with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #365smalls.

 

Follow along on Facebook to see my progress on Project 365 Smalls!

Photo A Day Challenge: Taking a photo of each child every of the year.

xoxo,

kate

Oh, and if you are vacationing near the Cape Fear Region of North Carolina…I highly recommend Megan Hsu Photography!!

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One Word of 2016: COMMIT

commit. succeed

I love the start of the year, with the flip of a calendar page we are filled with optimism of what’s to come. I’m not one to make a lot of resolutions… because I never follow through. Do you? Does anyone?

 

That’s why the One Word posts I have been seeing EVERYWHERE spoke to me. One word that keeps you on track. A focus. If you choose the right word, it can work for anything.

 

I kind of, sort of did this last year… you see I’m a little wishy-washy. I tend to over commit and under deliver. It drives me crazy.

 

My focus last year was fitness. I chose GET FIT. Last year was also the year I found Tone It Up. And it was the first time I stuck with a fitness for an entire year! Did I get the body I dreamed of? No. Did I have setbacks and feel like giving up? You bet. But I always found my way back and changed my mindset on fitness. It was no longer something I dreaded, I actually look forward to it. And overall I did get more fit and I am continuing my fitness journey.

 

So this year, I chose my word very carefully. I have taken on a lot more in the last year and have felt like I was always failing at something.

commit

My One Word for 2016: Commit 

 

I commit to my family. They will always be my priority. 

 

I commit to my health. I have this one body, I will take care of it. I may not get that “perfect” body, but I will have a healthy heart and a healthy mind. I’m starting the year strong with another Tone It Up challenge and Yoga Camp. Follow me on Instagram to keep tabs on my progress.

 

I commit to my business. My Rodan + Fields business is good to me, when I focus on it. My focus has been a little all over the place because I took on a bit too much last year. Back to the basics of network marketing – TALK TO PEOPLE! I love sharing this business and these products, so I will be doing more of that in 2016!

 

I commit to this blog. This was my new endeavor for 2015 and it is so much more work than I thought it would be. The business behind it, the social media aspect, the writing… it’s a lot. I have so much respect for all of my fellow bloggers. I’ve learned so much, it has made my head spin. But I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me! 

 

I commit to kindness. Simply because the world needs more kindness. And kindness is contagious. 

 

I commit to fun. Because this thing called life should be FUN! Sometimes we get so serious about things we forget we should be having fun while we are doing it, otherwise what’s the point?

 

And most importantly I commit to myself. I want to make myself proud by accomplishing the goals I set. I will have to be a little selfish. That will mean saying “no” a lot more. I can’t be everything to everyone or do everything myself… as much as I would like to. I will only say “yes” to the things I truly want/can to do, outside of my normal mom duties. Who wants to change more diapers? Maybe I will commit to potty training!! 

Do you have One Word for 2016? I’d love to hear why you chose yours! Leave it below in the comments.

 

xoxo,

kate

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A Note

a note

There was a note. She did at least leave us that.

Were there answers? No. Just page after page of rambling rage. Her words cut me like a knife, wounds so deep they will never heal. Actually the lack of words specifically for me, hurt the most. Only her sister by blood… ouch.

I read that note at least 100 times in the days after. I was looking for more. More of her, more of a reason… I just needed more.

Then I stopped. Stopped torturing myself, stopped looking for answers from the words of a madwoman, stopped needing to hold onto the last thing she held onto. I put that note in envelope, put that envelope at the bottom box and put that box in my closet.

I know it’s there.

And every year on the anniversary of her death (I hate that we refer to it as an anniversary. As if I would want to celebrate.) I go into my closet, pull out the box, dig to the bottom and find the envelope that holds those precious papers that she last touched.

I allow myself to read her rage. To try and feel what she may have felt. To understand how she believed there was not another way. I have a good cry… a really good, ugly, need to take a shower because no amount of tissues will clean up this amount of tears cry.

Then I place that note back in the envelope, the envelope in the bottom of the box and the box back in the closet. Where it will remain for another year.

It is my last ritual with my sister. One I never imagined. But it is ours and I will continue to cherish it.

sisters
I will forever miss seeing your smiling face, Meg.

The aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide is messy. It never gets easier. There are never answers, only more questions.

But you are not alone, sadly there is a large community of people dealing with the same devastating loss. Find info and support here and here.

In crisis? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255. There is always hope and help is just a phone call away.

xoxo,

kate

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Make It: Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

Pretzel Bark

The holidays are upon us and sweet treats are all around. I know a lot of people participate in Cookie Exchanges this time of year, so I wanted to share my favorite quick and tasty treat to share at yours. It’s a non-cookie option, because trust me there will be enough cookies!!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark - quick and easy treat

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag Pretzel Crisps
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cup chocolate chips
  • sea salt
ingredients
All you will need… plus salt!

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay a single layer of pretzel crisps down. I like the Pretzel Crisps because they are larger than regular pretzels and flat so you can get more of the caramel chocolate goodness. (And let’s be honest it’s the real reason for making this)
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and the brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir continuously, let it come to a gentle boil, until it starts to stick to the bottom and forms a nice smooth caramel. Let it bubble a little and thicken up.
  • Remove from heat and pour evenly over the top of the pretzels (this doesn’t need to be perfect). Put in the oven at 350 degrees for five minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Put it back in the oven for one minute.
  • Spread the chocolate chips around with a spatula until melted.
  • Sprinkle with salt. (It’s up to you how salty you want to make it)
  • Let cool on the counter for a few minutes and then pop in the freezer for at least 2-3 three hours.
  • When it comes out of the freezer, break it up into uneven chunks with your hands and serve.

**Disclaimer I doubled the recipe for the photos. That’s the only way we have enough share!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark Steps
Line up your pretzels… it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark making caramel step
Bubbly caramel goodness ;)
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark Pour on the caramel
Pour on the caramel
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark chocolate chip step
Add chocolate chips and put back in oven for 1 minute
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark ready for the freezer
Ready for the freezer
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark makes a yummy treat
Time to enjoy!

 

I like to store this in little freezer safe containers. It’s an easy little treat that I give our mail carrier, delivery people, garbage men and neighbors during the holidays. I also keep a personal stash in the freezer to grab when I’m craving something sweet. It tastes great straight from of the freezer… it’s the best place to store it, as it will melt quickly at room temp.

 

Let me know if you try it! You may want to double (or triple) the recipe. This one gets gobbled up fast!

xoxo,

Kate

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Try it: Running my 1st 5k

Turkey Trot 2015

I love lists and I love the satisfaction of crossing things off my list. Especially when that thing is something I have put off for a very long time. Running a 5k has been on my list for years. And as I posted here, I’ve always wanted to be a runner but have never stuck with it until recently.

So on the morning of Thanksgiving, I crossed the finish line and this item off my list! I ran the Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot 2015 and finished in 33:36. Not a great time, but I didn’t care one bit. I ran the whole thing and I did it by myself (not my usual style). My husband and smalls waited for me at the finish line and snapped this pic. Which I am so grateful for, photographic evidence of accomplishing a goal!!

finish line WB Turkey trot
Crossing the finish line 33:36! My starting point for future running goals.

The toughest part was running with so many people. I had to walk/run in place for the first bit until the pack thinned out. Then dodging runners as their pace changed or they waited for friends. It was wonderful to see people of all ages and athletic ability out on Thanksgiving morning. It made me realize how silly I had been for thinking about what the “real” runners would think of me. These races are about bigger causes and it’s awesome that people are willing to run, jog and walk these races to raise money for great charities. This race was raising money for Habitat for Humanity to build a family a home in our community. And all along the race course, there were Habitat families cheering everyone on which made running it that much easier… especially at the 2.5 mile mark. (Thanks guys!) :)

My smalls decided not to run this year, fear of the unknown. But now that they know what it is, and saw so many children running, they are excited to try it! Which is another accomplishment and the whole point of me getting out of my comfort zone.

pre race
Ready to run. Realized moments later that I had dressed way to warm! Rookie mistake!

We left the race and spent the beautiful 70 degree day cooking and playing outside with all of our family that came to visit. We enjoyed a lovely meal and lots of reminiscing. Once again, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday filled with lots of gratitude, good food and maybe a new tradition!

I tried it and I actually enjoyed it and can see myself doing many more… and setting bigger running goals!

xoxo,

kate

 

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Gratitude with a Twist

Gratitude with a Twist - Sometimes a change in perspective makes all the difference.

It’s that time of year again, Halloween has passed and the Holiday Season is upon us. I love the holidays, but Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite. I love the traditions, the food and the fact that it’s the one holiday not centered around gifts or sweets. (But bring on the carbs!) Since November 1st my social media feeds have been flooded with posts of gratitude, which is lovely to see. Of course people are grateful for all of the wonderful blessings they have in life and it’s fantastic that so many are making an effort… but after reading so many similar posts year after year, it starts to feel a little empty.

A while ago, I noticed my friend, Lisa, posting about challenging situations throughout the year. Something we are use to seeing on Facebook… but Lisa’s posts were different. She acknowledged the challenge and at the same time found a way to be grateful for it. These posts always jumped out at me, how was she so upbeat and thankful for each of these situations? I always liked her posts and commented on how positive she was… and when November rolled around and she posted again, I asked her what the deal was.

Thankfully, Lisa is a good friend and was more than willing to explain. A few years back she wanted to make a change and set a good example for her daughter, whom she noticed was having a hard time seeing the bright side of things. Lisa is a self proclaimed “anxiety ridden, impatient pessimist”, which you would never know by her killer smile and adorable dimples, so finding the positive in things doesn’t come easy.

“The whole concept is that instead of posting your typical “thankful” post, you pick the thing that made you crazy that day, that ruffled your feathers, that would typically have ruined your day – and you TRY to find the good in it. It could be as simple as someone cut me off in traffic, but I am grateful I have a reliable vehicle to drive and great music to listen to on my way to work. It’s important to start small – chores mean we have belongings to care for, rain means trees can grow and we can have air to breath, a dirty kid means they were able to explore and learn… and so on. You can’t force yourself to become a positive person overnight, it takes practice.”

gratitude-transform-300x300_gallery

To me, this is such an amazing, yet simple, concept and it just takes a little change in perspective. It may take more than 30 days to accomplish this, but that’s another reason why you should try it all year long. Gratitude should exist daily, not just in the month of November.

One thing Lisa said really struck me, “Finding hope and awareness that each moment has something good in it, is a journey. But just changing my perspective on one small thing a day, snowballed into me really changing how I viewed life.” Find the good.

One of my favorite sayings <3
One of my favorite sayings <3

So for my Gratitude Challenge, I’m challenging myself to change my perspective in the difficult and challenging situations. I will find the good in the undesired moments. I will take this journey, which I already know won’t be easy. And I would love if you would try it too… who knows what could happen?

xoxo,

kate

p.s. Comment below or on my FB page with your change of perspective, I’ll be posting mine on my Kate & Smalls FB page! Can’t wait to see who’s up for the challenge!

 

 

 

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#NovemberScopers

30 days of prompts

If you have read the blog or follow me on social media, you know I LOVE Periscope! Or should I say the lovely group I found back in September! To keep things going, Lauren from Working Mom Magic and Julie from Girl on the Move Blog, have done it again with #NovemberScopers!!

30 days of prompts
30 days of prompts

They have provided 30 prompts to encourage people to Scope daily. The prompts are simply suggestions to get you going, they are not requirements. You can Scope about anything… this just helps those of us that struggle with coming up with topics to talk about daily. Simply follow the hashtag on Periscope, Twitter and Instagram to see fellow Scopers.

This fantastic group now has weekly events that provide lots of laughs and entertainment!

Follow @Twitchetts for #PassThePen
Follow @Twitchetts for #PassThePen on Tuesday Nights
Follow @MothrhoodMerlot for #WednesdayWineChat where we pass the glass and discuss a type of wine each week and play a fun game.
Follow @MothrhoodMerlot for #WednesdayWineChat where we pass the glass and discuss a type of wine each week and play a fun game.

We have Pictionary-style fun with #PassThePen with Twitchetts on Tuesdays. Our weekly #WednesdayWineChat with Joanna from Motherhood and Merlot. There is also #TriviaScope on Thursday nights with @katiechiavarone from Views From a Step Stool and @RufflesandRain from Ruffles and Rainboots. And the always hilarious #DirtyScopeMinds with @oneruudemom from One Ruude Mom.

You do NOT have to be a Blogger to join, there just happen to be a lot of us in this group! The group has grown so much in the last two months and we hope to continue growing during November. It’s fun getting to know people from around the world from the comfort of your home. So join us for #NovemberScopers! Try it, you might like it… and make a few new friends in the process.

xoxo,

kate

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Diagnosis Inspired

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It’s October, a month that use to mean a change of seasons. Bringing out the jeans, sweaters and boots; it’s my favorite time of year. As I’ve gotten older it signifies something different. Instead of the colors of changing leaves we are surrounded by a sea of PINK. For October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October-National-Breast-Cancer-2015

Everyone knows someone that has been touched by Breast Cancer. Mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, breast cancer knows no age. My own mother had a scare 10 years ago, at age 44, which resulted in a lumpectomy. Thankfully they only found, and removed, pre-cancerous cells and she didn’t require chemo or radiation. She had to have mammograms every six months for a few years and is now back to once a year. She just received an all clear this month… after a bit of a scare. She is diligent about her checkups because she knows she is at an increased risk, which in turn makes me aware of my increased risk.

But what about women under the age of 40, without a family history of breast cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 13,110 cases of breast cancer will be in women under age 40 each year. And there is no effective breast cancer screening for women under 40!!! Young women have to be diligent with their own self breast exams each month and pay attention to any noticeable changes.

Scrolling IG (my obsession) one evening, I came across a really cute hands-free wristlet… which I immediately liked and commented on. That started a conversation with @hkellydesigns, aka Heidi, she was an open book! Heidi is a breast cancer survivor and her story really struck me. Which is why I asked her to share her inspiring story here.

How were you diagnosed?

I actually saw a dent. I originally thought it was a bruise and when it did not go away I started to suspect something was wrong. It took me a couple of months to build up the courage to go to the doctor and when I did she sent me straight to get a mammogram and ultra sound that day. That day we found out it was a tumor and then about a week later we found out that it was positive for breast cancer from the biopsy. I was 38 years old and no history in the family!

You were diagnosed with cancer, and decided to start a business?

HKelly designs was born from me having breast cancer. When I was feeling good enough I would sew and people were always complimenting me on my bags. One day my husband said why don’t we make this a business and have a go at it and so here we are. I have been through 2 rounds of breast cancer, 4 chemo rounds and over a month of radiation and I’m still standing, still making purses and really just loving life!

How is your health now?

I am doing well now. I actually had it come back a second time on the scar and since we did not do chemo and radiation the first time, we did do it the second time.  The first time I only did a double mastectomy and meds.

Heidi of HKelly Designs
Heidi of HKelly Designs

I love your attitude and I’m so glad you are doing well! Now for the fun stuff… tell everyone about that adorable wristlet that caught my eye.

This wristlet is the perfect accessory for hands free fun! You never have to put it down, it’s basically a bracelet with room for your phone, lip gloss, keys and of course your cash, credit card and license. Take pics with your phone… it’s there on your wrist, dance the night away… it’s there on your wrist, party it up at a concert… it’s there on your wrist!!! For you travelers, your passport will fit right in there!

There are currently 3 styles in the Black Label, black, brown and gray. The really fun part about the bag is the surprise interior fabric, no two are the same! I have been considering adding a completely customizable one for those who want something crazy original, that will include a consultation via phone or email and an upcharge.

The wristlet in black, brown or gray
The wristlet in black, brown or gray

I’d love to offer your readers $10 off on the wristlet. Use coupon code KAS10, it’s good until Novmeber 21st.

We also have a Breast Cancer Awareness Shop on the site, a portion of the sale of every Gemma bag to a Breast Cancer Charity: Young Survival Coalition. This group works wonders for women who are diagnosed under the age of 40.

Where can people find you?

First, my website all my products are available there. I also have a blog on the site and I talk a lot about fun and funky things as well as life with cancer. I also spend quite a bit of time on Facebook.
 I am on TwitterPeriscope and YouTube too!
Lastly, since my blog is all about trying new things… What’s something that you would like to try?
I guess it would be travel everywhere. Lol. I love to travel and have been to many places but there are so many more. My biggest is Paris in the Spring time, I did go in winter once but would love to see it in the spring and get all the way up the Eiffel Tower. Also on the list is the Alaskan Cruise. I have never been on a cruise and my husband, father in law and I are headed to one this spring. Cannot wait! I would love to travel the world and see everything!
 I wanted to share Heidi’s story, and cute bags, because I love that she was inspired by her diagnosis. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end of the world… it could be the beginning of something you were always to afraid to try. Heidi fought like crazy for her life and created a business for herself. So whatever it is that you want to do, but are scared to try… do it! Life is short, so don’t wait!!
This was the image that grabbed my attention on IG
This was the image that grabbed my attention on IG
The Perfect Wristlet in Gray $45
The Perfect Wristlet in Gray $45
Each of HKelly Designs bags has a unique lining. I just love this one!!
Each of HKelly Designs bags has a unique lining. I just love this one!!
On my way to Costco with 3 kids... thank goodness for free hands! The bag easily fit my phone, keys, cards and a lip gloss.
On my way to Costco with 3 kids… thank goodness for free hands! The bag easily fit my phone, keys, cards and a lip gloss.
p.s. I wanted to get pics of the wristlet at Costco with the kids… but I was at Costco WITH 3 kids!!! It wasn’t happening!! Let me know if you purchase a wristlet and what you think! I think its a lovely gift idea for the upcoming holidays 😉

 

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My Go-To Breakfast

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In my ever growing quest to find more hours in the day, I’m always looking for things to automate. Lately, I’ve managed to do that to my breakfast. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a creature of habit and when I find something I like, I stick with it. And I’m totally fine eating the same thing 5 days out of the week…without having to think about it.

I’ve always struggled with eating breakfast. I know, I know it’s the most important meal of the day… I’m just not a fan of eating as soon as I wake up. So when I heard Kelly Ripa talking about the breakfast she eats everyday, I was intrigued. I’ve been a super fan since her Hailey Vaughn days and simply love her upbeat attitude that early in the morning, since I tend to wake up more like Grumpy Cat until the coffee kicks in. This is nothing new… not reinventing the wheel or anything, but it is delicious, satisfying and keeps me full until my workout recovery smoothie or lunch.

Avocado Toast

  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • your choice of toast or English muffin
  • salt & pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Mash avocado with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Spread on toast or English muffin. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Simple Ingredients
Simple Ingredients
A quick and easy breakfast for those busy mornings
A quick and easy breakfast for those busy mornings

It’s that simple! And you have the other half of the avocado and lemon for the next day. I usually add a hard-boiled egg (which I prep on Sundays) and some fruit for a well rounded meal. But it’s great alone and works on the go. Plus the red pepper adds a little metabolism booster too! To me, it’s the perfect breakfast!

Try it, you might like it!!

xoxo,

kate

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Try it: Tone It Up

share love inspire sweat

The week leading up to the New Year is always difficult for me. The rush and joy of the holidays are over, the weather is gross and I miss my Dad and sister a little more than usual. So I take inventory on the past year, decide what I want to change and plan to attack my New Year’s Resolutions… until February when, like everyone else, life gets in the way and I fall off track.

I was almost 5 months postpartum and things were not snapping back into place after Baby #3. Granted I started off pregnancy #3 a little squishier than usual too, exercise has never been something I stick with. I knew I wanted to get healthier and to be totally honest, I really just wanted to look better. I knew I would be limited with an infant’s demands and schedule, so it would have to be something I could do quickly and on my own time. Childcare at the gym didn’t start until the baby was 6 months old and classes at other studios were out do to lack of childcare. I had a drawer full of exercise videos, but I knew myself well enough to know I wouldn’t stick with them.

Then I remembered watching a show on Bravo while I was pregnant. Toned Up, featured two super fit, quirky and inspiring BFFs, Karena and Katrina, who created workout videos on the beach in Southern California. I was instantly addicted to the show… I mean it was on Bravo, and I am a Bravoholic to the core. But I was pregnant and not looking to workout, so I had forgot about it until I was staring at my lumpy postpartum body. I checked out Tone It Up, and found they were starting their Love Your Body Challenge on New Year’s Day. I decided to give it a try.

My fitness buddy on our first workout together.
My fitness buddy on our first workout together.

I started January 1st, just like everyone else. But a few weeks in I realized, I had finally found what I was looking for… and so much more! First, I could stream the free YouTube videos to my living room television. The videos were easy enough for a beginner, but still challenging as my fitness level improved. The weekly workout schedule takes the guesswork out of what to do when and keeps me from getting bored. The videos are quick and efficient, perfect for first thing in the morning (#tiubootycall) or fitting in during nap time, your lunch break or after work. At first I struggled through the workouts, but Karena and Katrina are so inspiring… it’s like they are there with you and know you are about to give up and they will say “stay with me” or “remember why you started” and just like that I could push through and finish. It sounds a little silly, but here we are in October and I haven’t given up… I’m actually in the middle of the Fit For Fall challenge!!

Getting fit and giving back!! These girls do things right!
Getting fit and giving back!! These girls do things right!

The best part of Tone It Up, and the part I had no idea I was looking for, is the community. I started an Instagram account for fitness accountability, you can follow me @kateandsmalls.tiu. There I found the most amazing group of real, inspiring, and always motivating women. If I’m feeling lazy, I scroll through my IG feed and see women from around world that have killed their workouts and it really motivates me to get up and do something. If I’m having a hard day or had a bad workout, there are women who sympathize, support and encourage me. When I feel like I’m not seeing any changes, there are women that share their journey, progress pictures and reminders that these changes take time. Everyone’s journey is different, we each have our own struggles and goals, but we, as the TIU community, are there for one another through it all! And I know I’m not the only one who’s day is made by a little trainer love, @karenakatrina are always encouraging the TIU team on IG.

<3 what these two have created

Not only are these women gorgeous, but they are smart too! Growing an empire of their own. They now have 3 Beach Babe DVDs full of amazing workout videos in fabulous locations. Their book, Tone It Up: 28 Days to Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous, is a great way to help create new habits and focus on your health. They have created Perfect Fit protein powder, quinoa crisps (which are amazing!!) and tea. They have Tone It Up apparel which includes new affordable workout clothes and helped design some amazing Maaji bikinis… totally a goal of mine to wear one some day! And the Holy Grail, the TIU Nutrition Plan filled with tons of recipes and guides you to make better choices. It has taught me not only what I should be eating but when I should be eating certain things. They also include updates for life!

These pictures are mortifying to make public, but you can't deny the progress.
These pictures are mortifying to make public, but you can’t deny the progress.
Half way thru the Bikini Series. Four weeks being on the Nutrition Plan = progress!!
Half way thru the Bikini Series. Four weeks being on the Nutrition Plan = progress!!

It took me 4 moths of sticking with the workouts to reward myself with the Nutrition Plan… and what a reward! The biggest changes I saw were when I started following the Nutrition Plan during the Bikini Series this past April. It was the missing piece. I still struggle with following the plan 100%, but I’m aiming for an 80/20 lifestyle. However, it is nice to know what to do to see results. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m getting there. I’m finding some balance, changing my body for the better, getting stronger, faster and more confident all while setting a good example for my smalls (who love to join in from time to time)! I have Tone It Up to thank for all of it! You don’t have to wait for the New Year to start, start now – go into the holiday season equipped with a plan! Do it for you, who knows you just may like it!!

xoxo,

kate

p.s. This is not a sponsored post, these are 100% my personal opinions. TIU has changed the way I view my body and think of exercise! If you are looking for a community of great women find them on Instagram by following #TIUteam for daily fitness inspiration and motivation.

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