Top 6 Workout Moves

Happy last day of 2013 (can you believe it?), everyone!

This past year has honestly been one of the best years of my life. Sure, there were normal ups and downs just like most of us experience, but as a whole looking back I know that this is one of those years that I will look back, remember, and have a huge smile on my face. If you've been following along for a bit, you'd know I love my trips. They were definitely a highlight this year and I hope to continue much more of that in 2014, but what takes the cake and is the most important to me is that feeling of contentment and true happiness in my everyday life. 

It's easy to be happy when you are on vacation tanning in the sun with your favorite cocktail in hand (not that I'm wishing I were doing that right now or anything since it's 20 degrees out, snowing, and putting on a sequin skirt tonight sounds less than appealing...), but being happy to me is what I like to call, "showing up with a smile everyday". Cheesy, I know, but it's about finding joy in the little things and not just when the timing is right for you. I've really tried working on that this past year.

I'm getting to the point of this post eventually, I promise. :) Another huge contributor when looking back at this year with such positive thoughts has been my health and fitness. I have been at my fittest and healthiest this year, by far. I cut out gluten, dairy (with exceptions here and there obviously), and took up spin class once a week along with my normal workouts for the majority of the past year. I have never felt better, honestly. Spin class is my exercise saving grace. I mean, it must be good if I'm singing it's praises after averaging nearly 16 miles each class and walking out drenched in sweat. That's saying something, right? If you want to burn a lot of calories quickly and get your legs, abs, and butt into shape...start taking spin.

I also started focusing more on strength training than I have in the past. Each time I go to the gym, I head to one of the empty studio's where I can do exercises on my own and get down to it...

workout moves gym fitness top workout exercises

These are the moves (keeping it basic today) that you will find me doing and focusing most of my time on if you were to see me at the gym. I always start out by warming up with 50-100 jumping jacks and then I get into these 6 exercises. No breaks-just running through them straight through, one after the other.

For the squats and lunges (forward and backward), do them with weights (start out low if you want-even 5 lbs). I typically use a 15 lb bar behind my head for these. Earlier in the year, I started low and did maybe 30 squats and 30 lunges, but nowadays I typically try to do at least 60-70 squats and 40-50 lunges. Work those legs and booties, girls.

I try to do at least 20 push ups (real ones-none of this knee stuff) per workout. Some days I will do more and other days I will do less. If you start and can only complete 2 or 3 real ones, that's OK just work your way up. As for the sit ups, this is probably one of my stronger areas. Have I mentioned I can beat Billy any day of the week when it comes to sit ups? (and make sure not to brag at all to him about this..) On an average day I do around 45-50 sit ups. Planks-hold them for a minute. Do 3 sets. I will also do side crunches and regular crunches just to work my abs a little bit more.

If you make these moves a part of your exercise routine, you will notice a difference and you will feel stronger.

Speaking of working that booty, who saw the preview for Toned Up last night?

If you want to get some fitness motivation for the new year, watch the first episode this Thursday on Bravo! I hope this answers some questions about what my workout routine looks like. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me. Be safe tonight everyone!


Make A Decorative Tray from a Cardboard Box

jewelry storage jewelry box do it yourself tray perfume bracelets

Oh my goodness.

Yep, going there. Checking in today with one of my favorite projects thus far for an end of the year project. A solution, per say, for all those cardboard boxes you are about to store away, or throw away. 

If you're like me, you might hate clutter and things that take up a lot of space up in your house.  And more often than not you throw away items (in this case: gift boxes) just so it's out of the way and is one less thing to store away for a year. Or, who knows, maybe you are a box hoarder? If you can spare one to make a pretty tray...here's a quick and inexpensive project for you!

Your supply list:
Cardboard box + another piece of cardboard to fit into the bottom of the box
Fabric (I got a yard of this awesome coral print from Hobby Lobby and used a 40% off coupon so this project cost me less than $5.00-if you already have fabric, then this project could be free!)
Hot glue gun
What you do:

Find an empty cardboard box of the size you want for a tray. I just used an Express box we had on hand. I would try and use the sturdiest box you can find so that the sides of the tray stay put and that it's not very flimsy.

Add tape around the sides and corners for extra support... 

Cut another piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of your tray. You want the finished piece to fit nicely inside the bottom of the tray. Cut a piece of fabric about 1/2" bigger on each side than the piece of cardboard you just cut and use your hot glue gun to fold and seal the fabric on the back:

For the fabric on the box, you just want to cut pieces of fabric that are long enough to go around all four sides of your box. Make sure it's wide enough and add a little extra room for the bottom of the tray:

Now all you have to do is hot glue the fabric all around the bottom of the box using that 1/2" seam allowance you allowed for. Fold the corners as you go around it and hot glue them. Then, your box will start looking a little bit more pretty...

Your last step is just popping the already finished piece into the bottom of the tray. Bam...you've got yourself a brand new tray to store anything you'd like!

These trays are so awesome because you can never have enough of them. You can literally store anything and everything on them. I wanted one for all my bracelets so that I could see and access all of them easily, but you can use this for perfume, watches, etc.

So if you're looking for an easy project and you have 10 minutes and $5.00 to spare, you too can have yourself a pretty tray. It's that easy, trust me.

And because I love me a good tray like I said above, you shouldn't be surprised that I have another tray tutorial using a shadow box picture frame if you're interested.


Four Christmases {Scenes From Ours!}

How to sum up Christmas?

Family Togetherness. Blessed. Happy. Cozy. Love. All of the above!

It's one of those things that is too hard and too great to put into words! This year we celebrated Christmas with my parents first (and I got to see my Mom's side!) before we left to head to Cleveland for a few days to be with Billy's family. The most special part this year for me when celebrating with my parents was watching home videos of myself as a kid. Oy vey! Billy got a big insight into how mini Katie was back in the day... ;) #crazy.

After we opened up all our gifts, my Dad had one last gift for me and it was my Mom's music/mini jewelry box. It's made by the San Francisco Music Box Company and plays the song "Edelweiss" from the Sound of Music, which was one of my Mom's favorite movies. 
{melt my heart...}

They also gifted us a buffet from World Market that we have been looking at getting. We are beyond excited about putting it together this weekend! We are going to make it a bar cart of sorts on the top, so stay tuned for a post once we have it all put together and looking pretty. I can't wait to style it! If you have any must have items for a bar, please send them my way! 

And no, I did not buy Moscow Mule mugs before we even received the buffet. Never. I mean, if you were wondering... ;)

Billy and I always exchange gifts just the two of us at our house with Rocky and this year Rocky got a new stocking from Pottery Barn that we loved but they didn't send us the pet size, so we are going to return it (it's even bigger than ours, ha). He was pretty excited (and had total crazy eyes) about the gifts inside though...

Husband did real good and I thought I was dreaming when I opened the box...

My first pair of Tory Burch riding boots. You know how crazy I am about boots by now...

While I didn't get any good pictures of what I got Billy (#fail), I got him two pairs of work shoes that he needed so badly, clothes from J.Crew, a new coffeemaker that he had been wanting, a travel bag, and some other various gifts! He loved them all and I think I did pretty good this year shopping for him. 

Our time spent in Cleveland felt way too short but we had an awesome time visiting with his family. Billy's Dad returned the home video favor to me and I was able to watch Billy (and his twin sister and brother) in their home videos growing up and shared MANY laughs over this!

{top: J.Crew (similar here), leather skirt (similar here)}

 {vanilla rum cola's with whipped cream on top!}

{a beautiful white Christmas...this is my favorite room at Billy's parents house}
{Billy and his brother}

 After we got back from Cleveland, we got to celebrate again with my step mom's side of the family (12 grandkids!) which was so much fun.

2013 Christmas was good to us, but I'm not going to lie...I'm looking forward to Christmas with a little one! Baby fever? Maybe. :)

What was your favorite part about Christmas?

I loved being able to spend time with all sides-my Mom's, with my parents, my stepmoms family, and both of Billy's parents side of the family! We feel so blessed getting to see everyone within such a short amount of time (especially this year....was it just me or did it feel extra short?!)

By the way...TWO more things...

1. Don't throw away or store those cardboard gift boxes just yet! I have an awesome DIY project to share with you next week that you can put one to good use. :)

2. I've listened to your requests and am finally delivering next week. Many of you have written saying you would love to hear more about my workouts / exercise routine and I thought with the new year being next week and many new goals being put in force that it would be the perfect time. about health/fitness for the new year! Anything specific you would like for me to share? Email me or leave a comment below so I can make sure I hit the good areas! :)

Happy weekend! 


After Christmas Sale... Hint: 50% Off

Dear ASOS,

Thank you for having almost all of my favorite items 50% off {yep, fifty!} right now. And for the nice little break from eating way, way, way too much. My wallet, husband, and stomach are appreciative. I mean, look...

 Tartan Coat (absolute fav & only $60)


 Sandals with Metal Trim {they have them in nude too}

 Oasis Check Coat {can you tell I love the pattern coats?}

Shopping is the only logical thing to do when one is as stuffed from food as I am (and you?), am I right? So many good deals that they are hard to pass up! That's what I tell myself, at least.

Will you be heading out to find some good steals or who's taking a shopping break? I'm almost ready for a little break. :)

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! More about ours soon!


Merry Christmas!

We have officially made it to Cleveland to spend a few days with Billy's family! We even made it without hitting any traffic which is a first. Since Christmas is in the middle of the week this year, it made it a little bit more difficult but we are so happy to be here and spend the time that we do have with them. We were actually able to celebrate the holiday with my parents before we left, so it's like the best of both worlds. :)

I did want to stop in quickly and wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and to say thank you {1,000x over} to each of you for reading my blog this past year. I never imagined all the joy I would get from coming to this space and writing everyday, but it has become such a huge blessing to me and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I absolutely love connecting with all of you, so thank you for putting up with me on a daily basis. Truly, you deserve some kind of award... ;) 

But since I can't personally give you all one, just promise me you will have one heck of a holiday with your loved ones and if you are traveling, please be safe!

Got it? 

Anddd cue NSYNC's 'Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays' song here...


Holiday Party Wear

Untitled #38

Details: Blue Lace Dress / Halogen Katrina Bootie / Nude Heels (also love these) / Wrap Blouse (more colors) / Cardigan / Plaid Top (on sale) / Black Heels / iPhone case (bling bling!)

The best time of year is officially {almost} here! I don't know about you, but I'm mentally already there. Everyone is in the holiday spirit and a little bit more relaxed, you get to spend extra time with loved ones, and getting dolled up for holiday parties and new years is the name of the game.

I actually wore this blue lace dress (which is now 20% off) to my girlfriend's wedding this weekend. I almost always turn to lace when dressing up in the winter...it's so classy and I absolutely love the blue color on this one! This wrap blouse would be perfect with leather pants or black skinny jeans and heels. If you're looking to dress down a bit, I would throw on this warm cardigan or a plaid top with your favorite pair of skinny jeans.

Since I can never make up my mind on what I want to wear (seriously...), I always try and have both dressy and casual outfits with my favorite items picked out that I can turn to quickly.

Now, who wants to start the Christmas countdown? I'm so excited to have a nice holiday break with our families! It's a happy Monday over here, and I hope the same goes for you (and that all your shopping is complete by now...if not, I will send some prayers your way as I've been there before. :))

PS: $100 Gas Gift Card is up for grabs here! Go enter! :)


Easy Canvas Prints + Five Things


I've started re-doing our family room gallery wall. 

Two things checked off my list and many more to go (changing frames, spray painting some gold, adding fun decor, etc.) I got a 16x20 canvas from Easy Canvas Prints, and am so happy with the quality of the canvas. Not to mention, the shipping was really fast and I got the canvas before I was supposed to. When does that ever happen these days?

Easy Canvas Prints has such great customer service and hint: they are almost always running a special/sale, so be sure to order from them if you are in need of a quality canvas. In fact, right now everything is 25% off + free shipping. Highly recommend you jump all over that... :)

The second update? Gold antlers (the whole collection is now on clearance)

I kinda love them and think they will look even better once I change out some of the black frames with gold/white ones...


I can't tell you how nice of a feeling it is to have ALL of our Christmas presents wrapped and under our tree. Those of you who get it done early, props to you! I see the appeal, I really do. Not only do they look pretty, but it is just one less thing I have to do before next week.

 My girlfriend did an excellent job wrapping and I did the gift tags. We both wined and made a girl night out of it. You can't tell, but I used twine to attach the tags by the bows! She was happy to head home with some wine in hand and I was happy they were all complete and not looking like a toddler did them (because that's what they look like when I do them...)

{all the paper is from TJ Maxx}


I spotted this trunk at Home Goods the other day and decided I couldn't live without it. I asked your guys' opinion (via instagram) and you agreed it was a keeper. She is going at the end of our bed and I plan to store sweaters and winter accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) in it.


Remember how I mentioned Fireside and Mahogany Teakwood were my favorite B&BW candle scents?

THIS one just took over...go buy it. You will love it.


What are we going to do when all the Christmas decorations have to come down? Our house is just much more bright and cheery with them around...

Now, only one and a half days of work stands between me and a little holiday break..I.got.this. We actually have a wedding tomorrow night and I'm really excited to see my beautiful girlfriend, Jessie, as a bride and to go to a winter wedding. I don't think we have been to a wedding in the middle of winter before, but the weather says it's going to be 55 degrees so that is definite plus for us ladies in dresses. Amen.

We are also celebrating Christmas early with my parents and my Mom's side of the family since we are heading to Cleveland for Christmas!  

What are you doing the last weekend before Christmas? 

You can follow me on instagram for more weekend updates if you'd like!

Happy weekend! 


Spoil Yourself For Under $100

It goes without saying...we all deserve a little something special from time to time.

Especially if your gifts are all purchased and under the tree (this might be me rationalizing things...) A pretty dress or a sweater you've been wanting are perfect ways to treat yourself for the holidays without putting a major dent in the wallet. Besides, you've got to look cute for these holiday parties coming up, right? Someone's got to do it! ;)

party dresses cardigans lace dress cosmetic bag cute gloves camo jeans

Here are some of my other favorites that are all under $100...happy shopping!


The Best Free Gift Tag Printables

I have a confession to share with you all...

My girlfriend is wrapping all of our gifts tonight at my house. To my defense, she loves to wrap and jumped at the chance when I told her I would throw some wine her way. Some may call it bribery, I call it smart.

I hate wrapping gifts. I suck at wrapping gifts. I will do anything to avoid busting out the scissors, tape, and paper. Now, do I enjoy shopping for the cutest wrapping paper around? Ab-so-fricken-lutely (and hit the jackpot this year on some great gold Kraft paper designs from TJ Maxx.)

I'm also one of those who would rather find cute, free gift tag printables online rather than pay for the generic ones at the store. Today, I rounded up the best free gift tag printables from all over the web to help you with your wrapping. All you have to do is click the links and print them out! Easy peasy.

gift tags free printable gift tags christmas gift tags
 {hello cute chalkboard ones!}

{the "never judge a gift by its wrapping" is perfect for me...ha}