Thursday, August 28, 2014

Skip the Cafe & Pack Gourmet!

We have officially hit Labor Day Weekend and Back to School week is only days away.  It's definitely a bittersweet time of year as we say goodbye to beach days and hello to a new school year, new friends and an exciting new chapter.  Whether you are a student, teacher or working a 9-5 at the office it's time to make the daily decision…cafeteria food or packed lunches?

I have to admit, growing up my brothers and I were spoiled with the best parents ever who made us some pretty stellar lunches….with the best snacks of course too!  Who remembers oatmeal pies, twinkies and hostess apple pies?  Okay, daydreaming done!  Despite their delicious homemade meals, they always made sure we had the option to purchase lunch on our favorite food days as well…Grilled Cheese girl forever right here!  Oh how I wish my metabolism and food tolerances were still as they once were back in good old elementary school.  Memories aside, as I settle into my mid twenties I certainly am more aware of what foods agree, fuel and nourish my body.  As we develop and grow, our bodies need different and even more nourishment than when we were little energizing micro soccer players.  The cafe food might still be tempting and your comfort snacks will always be a treat but with a simple alteration you can still enjoy lunch more than ever before!

Packing lunch does not mean peanut butter and jelly five days a week for the next eight months.  Making a gourmet, filling and metabolism boosting meal is quick, easy and will surely save you a lot of money and empty calories.  Plan ahead of time!  Decide on a Sunday three different meals you would enjoy during the week.  Set aside two hours to bake, grill, chop, sauté….whatever your dish requires…be creative.  I like to have a hot dish, cold dish and then a staple item.  For example: a spicy quinoa, black bean, tomato and bell pepper dish, a salad of some sort paired with a low sodium soup(change it up from week to week) and lastly the peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, flax and honey sandwich!  Be sure to add in some protein filled snacks too, such as hummus and veggies or homemade granola bars. By changing it up, you won't get bored of eating the same old thing and best of all, you'll look forward to lunchtime just like when it was grilled cheese day!

I ask all of you, as you hit the hallways this year, carry that lunchbox proudly and enjoy the best period of the day…Happy Lunch Time!

xoxo Kat

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Perseverance is Key

I'd like to discuss a matter we all face at some point throughout our careers that can cause us to become discouraged.  Whether you are a recent college graduate, newly unemployed, currently working or in the audition/branding process pursuing an on-air role like myself, we all share one thing in common.  There will be a point when we hit a road block.  An assignment, application process, resume building, research, writing, etc. where we can't seem to achieve what we deep down have the potential to surpass.  Frustration, lack of topics or ideas, being a perfectionist… whatever it may be can often cause us to push a given task aside and complete all other assignments instead.  This occurrence can potentially bring concern to supervisors, colleagues or professors as to how committed we really are.  Rest assure, we all hit these road blocks and I'm here to give you the tools to push through and overcome these minor setbacks.

Confidence, perseverance, focus and pure "I am not giving up" attitude are the four essential characteristics you must possess in order to truly set yourself apart from others in your field and exhibit your full potential.  Discouragement, frustration, diversion and excuses are the haunting feelings that can be overwhelming, thus causing us to detach from the problem.  While you may be feeling some of these things it is important to remind yourself of how dedicated you are, how far you have come and how much you still have yet to achieve.  Remind yourself of the positives, your hopes and dreams and that it's totally okay to not be perfect.  This will alleviate some of the pressure and stress you have placed on yourself and without knowing it relax and refocus your mind.  A teacher of mine once said, if you are unable to figure out a problem or experience writers block get up, walk away, eat something, watch a favorite show, exercise, call a friend, etc. for about an hour.  This will undoubtedly rejuvenate your body and mind.  Now, when you take another stab at it, chances are the ideas and answers will be flowing like a river!  

Give yourself more credit and a pep talk every now and then!  I often find myself telling close friends and family who share their struggles with me to stay positive, remember it isn't brain surgery…nobody is going to die, believe in yourself and remember why you chose this career path….hopefully because you love everything about it.  Myself and all of you need to remind ourselves of these things more often.  Learn to accept that we are only human.  The key to succeeding in life is by learning from our mistakes.  We will face obstacles in all shapes and forms throughout our lives.  The strategy is to dig deep, stay positive and push through.  Perseverance is Key!

xoxo Kat

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Get a Little Artsy =]

Hey friends!
It's the absolute best time of the year to start making all those DIY projects you've found on Pinterest over the past few months.  The weather is beautiful, the kids are heading back to school & for those of you 20 Somethings it's great for a girls night or couples weekend!  The possibilities are endless….and guys we have some projects for you too!

Here is a list of my favorite DIY projects to take outdoors as we welcome my favorite month of the year… SEPTEMBER! =]

  • Antique Furniture
  • Build/Paint a Birdhouse
  • Upholster Furniture
  • Customize picture/mirror frames :sea glass,seashells,stained-glass, bottle caps, etc.
  • Mason Jar floral arrangements
  • Fire Pit
  • Family handprints/footprints (display framed)
  • Design outdoor furniture from Pallets
  • Wine Bottle Lanterns
  • Did I mention Mason Jars?!?
The list goes on and on!  DIY projects are the perfect activity to do while enjoying the gorgeous summer/fall weather, hanging with great friends and ultimately having an awesome new creation to add to your casa!

I hope to see lots of pictures of your creations in the next few weeks! Let's get artsy! =]

xoxo Kat

Monday, August 25, 2014

Community Service: Lend a Helping Hand

Signing up for community service projects and events are the perfect way to give back to your neighborhood or a community in need.  Often people become so consumed with their own schedules and agendas that they forget to take a step back and put life in perspective.  While each of us has our own hectic schedules and loads of stress from one week to the next, it's important to look at the big picture every now and then and realize how lucky we really are.  By giving back, you not only help those in need but often they help you even more.  Listening to a struggle or health battle someone is enduring is often the reminder you didn't see coming to slow down and appreciate the life and family you have.  Listening and spending time volunteering is such a therapeutic and positive opportunity for everyone involved.

I ask you to think about these simple questions for a moment:

Will our lives be over if we send those emails tonight or first thing in the morning?  Will we lose our figure if we skip a workout one night?  Will rescheduling a meeting really be that big of a deal?  At the end of it all, will we remember the time we spent working extra hours or the time we spent helping someone in need?

These simple questions turn out to be at the top of the list when we ourselves are suffering.  Often we speed through life spending more time on work than on family or volunteer opportunities.  Community service is one of the most important and wonderful things we will ever have the chance to do throughout our lives.  The impact we can all make on a person or family in need far outweighs any achievement in the career world.  While dedication and hard work in our careers is quite important; volunteering changes lives.

Get Involved:

Volunteering opportunities are available in your community and are usually on an ongoing basis.  There are a list of groups, organizations, events and families that are waiting for someone to reach out.  I encourage everyone to add community service to your monthly schedule.  Giving back through a donation, cooked meal, extra clothes, time spent listening or providing helpful advice or simply making someone smile can immensely brightens someone's day and outlook on the future.  All too often, those in need have no one to turn to.  By lending a helping hand you can change lives for the better... even your own.

xoxo Kat

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School & Better Habits!

I am in no way, shape or form rushing away the beautiful summer months but realistically school is starting and schedules will be changing, so I want to address the new schedule dilemmas that may arise.
Summertime often allows for extra free time in our schedules to improve our health and fitness and form amazing new habits that sadly tend to become extinct once we are back to school or those long work weeks.  I am going to give you a few easy steps to ensure you have a great year and maintain those healthy habits you worked so hard to form!

1. Organize and Schedule:  In all aspects of life, these two habits are essential!  Organization and scheduling allows you to plan ahead and map out events, projects, emails, research, activities, cooking, working out, get-togethers, etc and visualize them on a calendar or spreadsheet.  While this sounds  extremely time consuming, it will be a life saver!  You will save yourself from a multitude of headaches and unnecessary stress in the long run!

2. Cook Ahead of Time:  It's easy to make excuses to eat out or legitimately be tied up with last minute carpools, doctor appointments, unexpected ER visits, late night workouts and practices or study sessions.  This is exactly why cooking meals on a free or semi-calm day are vital to keeping your health and nutrition on track and relaxing at the end of a long day.  I like to write down at least three meals a week and cook them all on Sunday.  I try to make a few snacks as well : granola bars & frozen bananas for froyo just so when I get home late or am running from one thing to the next I can still eat a nutritious meal and save myself time, money, &  stomach ache from fast food pit stops.  Cooking one day a week can be enjoyable, relaxing and allow you to test out new dishes at your own pace!

3. Mix Up Workouts:  A new school/work year often calls for a change up for your workout routine as well.  I suggest adding in or at least sampling a few new programs each season to challenge yourself and maintain your interest and dedication.  All to often, excuses are made for slacking on workouts.  Bored of the same program, music, location, the list goes on & on!  No more excuses!  Simply add in your workouts to your weekly schedule at whichever time you feel most motivated and have at least two totally different programs to jump back and forth to.  This change up is the perfect solution to keep you on track, meet new people & locations and challenge different muscle groups for a fit you this Fall!

Lastly, enjoy this new year of learning and healthy habits!  Give yourself credit for how far you have come along.  If you are just beginning, I would like to be the first to say Welcome & Congratulations on making such an awesome change up!  You should all be very proud of yourselves!  Healthy habits are easier said than done.  The effort, extra hours of prep and long term dedication will undoubtedly have you feeling and looking incredible!  Smile, breathe & enjoy the new season and healthy you!

xoxo Kat

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Get Out While the Sun's Out!

We have hit the point we all dread every year…. the end of Summer.  The sun sets earlier, the weather temp dips a little lower and our favorite outdoor activities and workout regimens begin to move indoors.  Although we are approaching Labor Day Weekend….the fun in the sun isn't over yet.  Here are a list of classes and activities to take advantage of throughout the next month or two if we're lucky!

Yoga on the Beach:  If you're fortunate enough to live along the shoreline chances are there is definitely a yoga class offered at least weekly in your area.  They are often sunrise or sunset classes which are sure to kick your day off to a refreshing start or relax your mind and body at the end of a stressful day.  Outdoor classes give you the benefit of exploring a new area, meeting new people, soaking in vitamin D and enjoying natures beauty.  An extra bonus: classes are generally slightly cheaper than those indoors so you can keep some cash in your pocket for that hot herbal tea after!  Namaste!

Zumba in the Park/Beach:  My absolute favorite class of all... Zumba!  This fun dance therapy workout is offered literally everywhere.  The best part... all you need is great music, a fun group of people and a little bit of space to move your hips to the beat.  In the warmer months, many instructors set up outdoor classes to change things up a bit.  Depending on where you are located geographically, you can find a class at the beach, boardwalk, park, reservoir, mountain range, etc.  Dancing outdoors offers new scenery, plenty of room and often an audience…which only adds to the fun!  (Jersey Shore readers: check out Zumba with Danielle Ippolito at First Class Dance Academy..the absolute best!)

Hiking, Rafting & Camping Oh My!
Be sure to take advantage of your neck of the woods and scope out a few outdoor adventures you have yet to try before the cold weather moves in!  Exploring a new hike or walking a trail, rafting, canoeing, paddle boarding, fishing, crabbing, or roasting marshmallows over a campfire at a new campground can bring out the kid in everyone and be the perfect ending to a fabulous summer!

Remember Summer technically isn't over until Sept 22 so get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

xoxo Kat

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Keep Smiling =]

Hi friends,
I want to take some time and give light to a topic that is often only recognized when a tragedy occurs and then goes silent for far too long.  The recent passing of the oh so talented legend, Robin Williams has raised awareness of the non-discriminating disease of depression.  This terribly sad and devastating loss has felt like a punch to the stomach across the world.  How could someone who lived his life bringing joy and laughter to millions feel so dark and alone?  This is the mind boggling question and all to common scenario for those living with this disease.

Depression is something a majority of us will experience to some degree at some point during our lifetime.  Although you may not have personally dealt with depression, it is highly likely that you know someone currently struggling.  It is important to become familiar with the disease and how to get help as well as help loved ones.  The negative stigma that has been paired with mental health is one we need to eliminate.  It is imperative that people feel comfortable asking for help and not feel judged or ashamed.  All to often, it is the class clown, the nice kid or the person always listening and helping others who is camouflaging their own pain.  Education, awareness and counseling WILL save lives.  There is absolutely no reason people should struggle alone.  If we all took the time to learn, lend a hand and openly discuss depression, those in need may not stay so silent.

This disease has affected my own loved ones as a result of stress, anxiety, substance abuse, pressure, the loss of a loved one….the list goes on.  I myself have slightly felt the weight of this disease in the past as well.  Throughout these tough times, I have come to realize that it is perfectly okay to need help.  We are only human and can only endure so much before we need to reach out.  It takes a strong person to put a smile on day after day and go through the motions to get through school, work, a social function, etc. but it takes an even stronger person to surrender, cry and ask for help.  It is then that you can begin to receive the care you need and heal.

Depression is a disease of many levels and forms but it is treatable.  The proper therapy can and will get you back to the person smiling on the inside and optimistic of the future!

If there is someone you know or if you need help yourself, I ask that you begin simply by talking to a friend, family member or professional you feel comfortable with about what you're going through.  Sometimes a simple conversation letting someone know you care can save a life.
I also ask one more thing, what I feel is the most important of all.  Be kind, welcoming and loving to everyone you meet.  You may just be the person to give someone the little bit of hope they needed.

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a quote I have began to live my life by: " Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."

To the funniest man to ever walk the earth, Robin Williams, may you now experience the internal happiness, laughter and love that you gave to the world.  May God bless your beautiful soul <3

Keep Smiling =]

xoxo Kat