Whether you are having a party, attending a party, or having a mellow night in, appetizers always a must for New Year's Eve. My favorite appetizers at parties are bite sized. I do not want to deal with a fork and knife when trying to catch up with friends and family I rarely see. Here is a delicious, simple recipe for shrimp taco bites.
What a year it has been! I just can not fathom the fact that 2014 is over in two days. I am SO excited for 2015. I am ready to get after it! I have huge things planned for my blog, my life, and my relationships. Before I share my plan of attack for 2015, I want to review the crazy year I had.
2014 was my personal awareness year. I learned so much about myself. I attacked my emotions, inner demons, and did what I needed to do to become the best version of me. I am still no where close to where I need to be, but I am getting there. I am no where near perfect...I still have set backs, I still face anxiety, but I am closer to becoming the best possible Cate I can be.
A year ago I sat in this very same spot and created goals for a new year. I wanted to develop with each possible learning opportunity (check!), find a hobby (blogging), travel with my boyfriend (furthest we got was Anaheim, but we had some amazing memories), find a career (check...for now!), get my own place (it's not MINE, but it's also not my mom & dad's), and relax (I still don't know what means.)
Some of the year's highlights in no particular order:
moving to Santa Clarita
Dierks Bentley concert
a stress-free Thanksgiving
George Strait concert
growing my brand
Colorado for my mom's 60th
transitioning my grandmother with ease into assisted living
Beauty Con LA
Some of my goals/hopes for 2015:
Read 1+ book per month.
Run LA Marathon.
Get fit and STAY FIT.
Learn to change oil.
Have a giveaway hit 100+ entries.
Learn spanish. (again)
Learn to sew. (again)
Volunteer 1+ times per month.
Launch 2nd blog. (There are big plans in the making come July!)
Go on vacation.
What was your favorite part of 2014? What are you most excited for in 2015?
Fall has come to an end! Winter is here--the holidays are in full swing, the temperatures are dropping, and a new year is about to begin. Fall is my favorite season, but I am excited for what this winter will bring. I did a lot of shopping in fall, as well as having my 22nd birthday, so here are 8 of my favorite things from autumn!
I hope you all had an amazing Christmas! I have enjoyed stepping away from my blog for a couple days and have decided that I may blog less frequently in 2015. Instead of 6-7 days a week, I think I will focus on 3-4 days a week. I am having a work day today and tomorrow to get a few upcoming posts done, but I still wanted to get something up today, so here is a tag post I've been meaning to do! Candid Mommy tagged me in the Guilty or Innocent Tag. This was so fun! Even though I don't have kids, I have cared for many, so I use that as reference when it mentions having kids. Questions:
1. Saying you are letting a dish "soak" when in reality you just don't feel like washing it.
2. Restart dryer to avoid folding
3. Hide when eating so you don't have to share with kids
4. Obey the 5 second rule.
5. Say it is an hour later, so you can get the kids into bed.
6. Rewashing laundry because you forgot to switch it over to the dryer.
7. Wiping the dirty spots on the floor with a rag and convincing yourself you "mopped".
INNOCENT...BUT I LIKE THIS IDEA ;)
8. Ask the hubby to pick up take out/call for take out because you forgot to thaw something.
9. Let kids run around in diapers/undies because all their clothes are in laundry.
10. Wash dishes by hand because you don't want to unload dishwasher.
11. Clean more in 10 minutes before a guest arrives than you have all week.
12. Dropping something on floor and instead of cleaning it up call the dog
13. Remove makeup before you go to bed or leave it on
14. Place blanket over wet spot, so you don't have to change the sheets in the middle of the night
15. Wear jeans multiple days in a row if they look clean
16. Eat the scraps off your kids plate because you don't have time to make your own meal
17. Eating kids stash of Halloween or Easter candy
18. Say your child is allergic to something so you don't have to share
19. Put wrinkled shirt back in the dirty clothes even if it is clean so you don't have to iron
20. Procrastinate getting in the shower but then don't want to get out
21. Rehearse argument in head just "in case"
22. Ignoring text for days then saying "OMG my reply never when through"
23. Snooping in other peoples bathroom cabinets
24. Turn radio down in car when lost or looking for a number on a house
25. Use perfume flyers that come in magazines
26. Lied about your age
27. Lied about your childs age to get a better deal
28. Given someone the wrong number on purpose
29. Peed in the shower as an adult
I tag Marquis Clarke, Kandee Johnson, and Marissa Lace.
I don't remember how old I was, maybe five or six, but I remember every other detail like it was yesterday. The fancy dress I wore with tights and buckled black shoes...the headband with a little bow....and the most special gift that I have ever received.
My grandparents built me a doll house by hand. I still have it to this day. It was built up on wheels. Two stories, fully furnished. A family inside. Everything I could have ever asked for. And they built it by hand. This doll house has always meant so much to me. However, it holds so much more meaning now that I'm older.
It holds memories, time, love, and dedication. Although my own children will never get to meet their paternal great-grandparents, they will hold a piece of them in their home forever. I long for the day my own little girls can play with the delicate home that kept me occupied for hours. That they will have a piece of my Grandpa and Grandma.
I am not one for material items. Don't get me wrong, I love the generosity and thought that goes into gifts I receive and I love the clothing hanging in my closet. However, it's usually the memories in this life that I hold on to, not the earthly possessions. I don't remember many gifts I've been given in this lifetime, but I can remember so many moments with the people behind the gift. Knowing how much time, thought, effort, and hard work went into this dollhouse though, makes it the most meaningful gift I have ever received. It wasn't a quick pick up at the toy store down the street, it was hours, days, weeks, and months of labor and dedication.
With the theme of giving, I am excited to announce the winners of the Essie Nail Polish giveaway. Congratulations Amanda Lawson (favorite gift: a gift card), Kayla (necklace from her late brother), and Tanya Homen (birth of her daughter)! Please e-mail me within 72 hours with your mailing address. If an e-mail is not received in due time another winner will be chosen in your place.
Stay tuned to the next giveaway, coming January 1st!
With the year coming to an end, it is time to review the best beauty products of 2014. Many of these products have been featured on my blog throughout the year. After much research, including opinions from friends, family, and Google, I have compiled a list of the best of both drug store and high end products, including direct links to purchase!
Be sure to comment below with what your favorite products were this year!
Disclaimer: All prices posted are subject to change.
This year, more than others, I feel like the purpose of Christmas has been completely forgotten by the world. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not a time about wish lists, shopping, and gingerbread houses. I can shamefully say that this season I have not heard the mention of Jesus Christ once this season while hearing people talk about their Christmas plans.
Something that has always bothered me about Christmas season is giving gifts. I have given and been given gifts in December for my whole life, but never understood why. This season is about Jesus, not about us. Confused, I decided to google why we give gifts during the Christmas season.
These gifts are given to remind us of the three gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus many years ago...frankincense, gold, and myrrh. To me that means we should only get three gifts each. I had a girl in my dance classes growing up whose parents gave her and her siblings three small gifts each year. To me that resembles more about remembering these three gifts than overloading a child with a million toys, gift cards, and all the latest gadgets.
Another reason we give gifts is because God gave us the ultimate gift. "God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life." -1 John 3:16
This holiday season, I pray that Jesus is the celebration in your hearts, and that your world not be owned by decorating, gift giving, and baking. While these things are fun parts of the holiday season, there is no Christmas without Christ. Focus on Him and let the other things follow along.
With Christmas just around the corner, there are many events in need of stylish outfits. However, with all the gift shopping involved this time of year, putting together in outfit becomes even more difficult. Bank accounts get slimmer and waistbands get bigger. However, I have put together four different outfits for various holiday events, each for under $200. Links to purchase items are available with each item listing!
Warning: Everyone will judge me for this list. I don't care. If you don't like Jonathan Taylor Thomas, then I don't like you.
Disclaimer: I have never seen Miracle on 34th Street. Therefore I have know knowledge to place it on the list. Sorry folks.
10. Love Actually: It's the most Christmasy rom-com in existence. I love the intertwining of all the various stories, not only in this film, but in others such as New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. Plus, who doesn't love Hugh Grant?
9. Jack Frost (1998 Michael Keaton version, not the 1997 horror film): To be honest, the look of Jack Frost creeped me out as a child, but this is a heart-warming family classic, regardless of the 20% it received on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. Santa Clause: Between Bernard, Neil's sweaters, and classic Tim Allen this movie is one Christmas success. "Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."
7. Jingle All The Way: Who doesn't love some Arnold? I used to have this on VHS as a kid.
6. A Charlie Brown Christmas: I love all things Charlie Brown. My favorite memories growing up are when ABC would play the Charlie Brown movies the week before whichever holiday and I would watch them with my dad. I love the "Charlie Brown Tree" and the woe is me attitude Charlie possesses.
5. It's A Wonderful Life: A classic film, most would probably put at #1 or #2. A tale of redemption, second chances, and what could have been. My favorite episodes of television shows (particularly One Tree Hill) are the It's A Wonderful Life inspired ones.
4. The Christmas Story: This movie holds some of my favorite Christmas memories. My brother, Ryan, and I used to always wake up around 3am on Christmas morning, unable to sleep, inevitably pissing off our parents who had probably just finished putting gifts under the tree and gone to bed. We would sneak downstairs and watch this movie on the TBS 24 hour loop until our parents woke up and we were allowed to open gifts.
3. Elf: Will Ferrell is perfect in this role and I love the various singing throughout. I never get sick of Elf and often watch it throughout the year. My favorite moment is when Jovie leads the city in singing "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" in order to restore the Christmas spirit and power up Santa's sleigh.
2. Home Alone: "I made my family disappear!" Everything about this movie is great.
1. I'll Be Home For Christmas: Three words. JONATHAN. TAYLOR. THOMAS.
I want to encourage you to join my Diet Bet! There is a $25 buy in and as long as you lose the weight, you will get your money back. If some people don't complete the goal, to lose 4% of body weight in 4 weeks, then their money gets divided between those who complete it.
To get you started, here is a very easy at home arm workout I've been doing lately. Enjoy!
Every year for Christmas, my mom and dad go crazy in the kitchen baking delicious treats for all of our neighbors. Fudge, peanut butter cups, and poppyseed bread galore. (Side note: Best poppyseed bread I've ever eaten. One time my mom mailed it to me in the dorms. The girl across the hall ate half the loaf. I was pissed.)
This year I decided I wanted to figure out what my Christmas treat would be. I love peppermint bark, but a pound of it at the store is about $20. I figured I could make it for way less, and I definitely did.
12 oz. white chocolate
12 oz. milk chocolate
1 tbsp. mint extract
crushed up candy canes
1.) Melt milk chocolate in microwave. (About 90 seconds)
2.) Mix in mint extract.
3.) Pour onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4.) Let sit for 10 minutes.
5.) Melt white chocolate in microwave. (About 90 seconds)
6.) Pour on top of milk chocolate.
7.) Crush up candy canes.
8.) Sprinkle on top of white chocolate.
9.) Set in fridge for 1 hour.
10.) Break into pieces. (This was a serious arm workout.)
Comment below and let me know what your favorite holiday treat is!
Don't forget the Essie nail polish giveaway ends tomorrow!
What a wonderful weekend...I'm sad to see it end. Although physically tired, I feel spiritually renewed. This weekend I had two opportunities to serve others.
Saturday morning my parents and I volunteered with Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to the individuals fighting for our freedom overseas. We packaged 4,000+ boxes full of food, toothbrushes, toys, cards, scarves, letters, books, and more, for them to receive on Christmas. I had the opportunity to work next to a mother with three children overseas who told me that her children prefer the Operation Gratitude care packages over anything their family and friends send them because those are the people they are fighting for.
On Sunday afternoon, 50 sack lunches were made and taken to Bridge to Home, a local homeless shelter. With help from family and friends to get all these items together, we were able to provide the whole shelter with lunches for Monday. Dropping off the items broke my heart. I had never experienced something like what I saw in the ten minutes at the homeless shelter. Because they are at full capacity, there were people sitting outside of the shelter waiting in 40 degree weather for someone to leave so they could go inside. A young man, probably my age, was handed a disposable razor and shaving cream for his shower...something I don't think twice about needing in my daily life, simply because it has always been there. Many people were huddled around a small TV, watching a movie and trying to stay warm.
I too often take for granted this life the Lord has blessed me with. I have never had to worry about where I would sleep at night, where my next meal would come from, and when my next shower would be. Even when I had $0.36 in my bank account for a couple days my junior year of college, I still had a roof over my head, a warm shower, and a full belly.
Because God has blessed each of us, we must serve others in His name. Our money and time are not OURS. They are given to us by the Lord. All these things we have-- luxury cars, the latest Jordans, and big screen tvs-- will mean nothing in the after life. Our deeds, however, will.
"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18
I encourage each of you to look outside your bubble. Look around your community at those in need and do your best effort to make a change in their lives. Don't just do it around the holiday season either! Bring this joy to others year round.
"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19
And with that...we serve because he first served us.
I can't believe it's been a year since I graduated college. This time last year I was on a plane, headed to Texas to watch my brother graduate, then a quick return flight back to LA to finish my finals, say goodbye to my best friends, and move out of the dorms.
I used to always roll my eyes at adults who would comment on how quickly life flies by. But I am finally one of those adults. To those of you entering your last semester of college--cherish it for all it's worth. I would give nearly anything for just one more night in Trinity Hall-- dancing to 2Chainz, helping each other get ready for a night out, and laughing until my belly ached. Rarely again will you be with all your best friends in one place. Rarely again will you lack serious responsibility with bills to pay and work to do. Make every moment count.
The past year has been nothing I had imagined. When I graduated college last December, I expected everything to magically fall into place. I thought I would have such a simple time transitioning from living with my best friends in the dorms to living with my mom and dad in my childhood bedroom. News flash, in case you're just tuning in and have missed out on one wild ride, I DIDN'T.
The past year has been quite the trial for me, but I'm proud to say that I made it. I anxiously attacked the change from living with my best friends to only occasionally texting. I, after many failed attempts, found a stable, enjoyable, and sustainable job. I have moved out of my parents house, out of my hometown, and figured out life in a brand new city.
It feels like just yesterday I was walking out of ED 502 with the extremely awkward, yet rewardingly challenging, Dr. Scheu, calling my dad up in joyful tears to tell him I was done. I had taken my last final. Three and a half years of hard work and resisting frequent urges to give, but I had done it. The proudest accomplishment I have to date. My education is something no one can ever take from me.
That being said, time sure flies by. It wasn't just yesterday. It was actually 356 days ago, not that I'm counting. I am no where near where I expected to be at this moment, but I am okay with that. I have enjoyed (most) of the journey and have fully accepted that God's plans are far greater than my own.
This past year I have learned more about myself than I ever did in 21 years prior. I learned that I am a fighter. I am a strong, hard-working, faithful servant to Christ and I will not give up on him, for he has not given up on me.
The past year since I graduated has been a trial, but I have been given second chances and am on the right path to becoming the woman I was created to be. Although it has been a difficult year, it has been rewarding. Not only do I have a diploma, but I have dignity.
"Only God can turn a MESS into a MESSage, a TEST into a TESTimony, a TRIal into a TRIumph, a VICtim into a VICTory. GOD IS SO GOOD!"
Kiis FM's Jingle Ball was last week and Taylor Swift was looking better than ever. Her Romona Keveza dress was perfect for any holiday party...except for the fact that it cost an estimated $5,000.
Lucky for all you winter beauties, I have found a similar version for MUCH cheaper.
Both of these pieces are from Forever 21. The pleated metallic mini skirt is $17.90. The faux leather cami crop top is $15.90. That's $33.80 total. When you add in tax and get an accessory from Forever 21, you have a whole holiday outfit for under $40...much better than Taylor Swift's cost!
Christmas shopping can get very pricy very quickly. By planning ahead and getting creative, these costs can be cut, while still sharing the Christmas spirit.
This year I decided to make people Christmas Cookies in a Jar. I purchased mason jars and all the supplies needed for Christmas cookies, minus the eggs, vanilla, and butter. I layered the flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chip cookies in the jar. Then I added labels with instructions on adding eggs, vanilla, and butter, as well as how long to cook and at what temperature. A couple days after making these I saw them on sale at Home Goods for $9.99, which is about the price it cost me to make 4 of these.
A few other great, inexpensive ideas:
nail polish "Wishing You Warm & Cozy Mistle'toes' All Winter Long
movie night basket - a favorite holiday movie, popcorn, hot cocoa, candy
chapstick! "Merry Kissmas & a Chappy New Year!"
mugs! Write with black sharpie on a plain white mug, then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT TO ALL OF YOU, I AM GIVING AWAY THREE OF THE "WISHING YOU WARM & COZY MISTLE'TOES' ALL WINTER LONG" GIFTS!
1.) Comment below with your favorite Christmas gift you ever received.
Training for my first marathon has my body in shambles. I don't know why anyone would want to run a marathon, let alone many of them. The pain my body has been enduring recently has me questioning if I actually want to run the LA Marathon or if I want to just go support my friend.
Luckily I have KT Tape. This product has been getting me through the toughest workouts and the pain that follows. This elastic sports tape targets pain relief in muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons. It provides 24 hour relief and stays on in the water. The tape creates neuromuscular feedback that relaxes stronger firing of muscles and tendons.
Lately my left knee has been killing me so I put the tape on about an hour prior to my run and then continue wearing it for a couple hours after. It has pushed me through some serious pain. I wish I had this stuff when I was running cross country and track a few years ago, instead of that awful pre wrap and elastic tape that my equally awful coach provided me with.
The product is reasonably priced between $9.99 and $19.99 a roll, depending on which tape you get, regular or pro. I have only used the pro tape, so I can't contest to how great the regular is, but I'm sure it's just as awesome!
Blue Apron is amazing. Hands down the best product I've ever talked about on this blog. I am so busy all the time and have a crazy schedule between working full time, going to school, blogging, YouTubing, and pretending to have a social life. This hectic schedule can make it difficult for me to find the time to grocery shop and then stick to a meal plan based on what I purchased for the week. However, Blue Apron solves this problem for me.
Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients to your doorstep in the right amount of portions. They leave nothing out. I figured they would send the main ingredients, not including sugar, butter, etc...but nope, those were included to! How perfect! They send the ingredients for three meals for either two, four, or six people. Because it's just me, I ordered for two people and then ate the leftovers the following night. This is basically one week's dinners for me in one simple order! I eat breakfast and lunch at work, so no grocery shopping is needed for me at all by ordering with Blue Apron.
Blue Apron brought me out of my dinner rut and into trying out new, delicious recipes. I felt like a gourmet chef whipping up these meals. I would love to share great pictures of the way the box came, the ingredients, and the final products, but I don't believe in that virtual world called "The Cloud" and my phone had to be reset on Sunday...losing everything. However, I am participating in Vlogcember in the YouTube world (go check out my channel, no one watches me or subscribes to me cause my life is so boring LOL) so I have a vlog there of me making one of the meals!
For those of you interested in checking out Blue Apron, they are offering the first 50 Kick Back With Cate readers to sign up a great discount on meals! Order one meal, get two free! That's 33% off! Redeem Offer Here!
The holiday season is full of family and friends, many of which you don't see all year round. Because of this, you want to look your best at the many holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Lucky for you, I have you covered on making sure your hair is at it's best.
Visit Julie at Lauren Whitney's Hair Salon in Simi Valley, California. She is an amazing hair dresser with 27 years experience. I don't trust many people with my hair, but I've always been impressed with Julie. She is one of the few stylists I have met who truly listens to what I want.
Julie is currently offering a holiday special! Until January 31, she is giving hair cuts for only $15!!! Call her at (805) 405-6242 and mention my blog.
Below are her other prices.
Please visit Julie at Lauren Whitney's Hair Salon. You won't be disappointed!
Hi friends! I AM alive. I didn't post Thursday or Saturday, and I'm OKAY with that! I needed a little time away to relax and just enjoy life.
I'm coming off a great weekend, which is going to continue today.
Friday night I babysat. The girls and I had a onesie party and watched a Christmas movie. It was fun! Kids make Christmas time so much more magical.
Yesterday I went to a Christmas party at the Camarillo Ranch House, raising money for their Send A Kid to the Ranch program. It was a blast with friends and their families. There was great food, great drinks, and lots of dancing. The theme this year was a Cowboy Christmas.
Today I am ferociously pounding away at my keyboard, moments away from hearing the College Football Playoff Rankings, praying for another. TCU appearance at the Rose Bowl....which they're not. Florida State is an extremely overrated team who doesn't even deserve to be in the playoffs. They're only in because they're undefeated. Look at their schedule. THEY NEARLY LOST TO BOSTON COLLEGE. How TCU goes from being ranked third to sixth in five days?
I guess I'm cheering for the Buckeyes now.
Off I go to cry a little, sell my Rose Bowl tickets, and put this behind me to celebrate my sweet, loving, encouraging, amazing father's 58th birthday. You're getting too old Daddio!
Because I don't belong to a gym, I do a majority of my workouts from home. We have a treadmill that I run on, although I prefer to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. I also incorporate free weights into my strength training. However, my main source of getting workouts is Pinterest.
Here's my favorite Pinterest inspired workout for leg day!
I start with 30-45 minutes of cardio, typically running/walking.
After that I follow up with 20 high knees, 15 butt kickers, 20 squats, 10 lunges (each leg), 20 plie squats, 10 standing calf raises, 50 donkey kicks, and 10 side lunges (each leg). I repeat this two more times, for a total of three circuits.
Afterwards I stretch my hamstrings for two minutes.
This is such a simple workout that can be done not only from the comfort of your home, but also in front of the television. My kind of workout!
Last night when I was getting ready for bed I was thinking of all the things I did wrong during the day. I shouldn't have had that ice cream. I didn't run as many miles as I wanted. I caked on foundation which is just going to break me out more. Then I realized how negatively I was talking to myself. If I want to make any changes I need to be more positive.
Instead of focusing on all the things I did wrong, I should focus on all the things I did right. I ran, even though I'm injured. I made a delicious, healthy dinner. I started Vlogcember on my YouTube channel...something I'm nervous about doing, but decided to try anyway.
Besides focusing on the good things I do each day, I am going to focus on making the right choices that I won't regret. If I don't drive through McDonald's for an ice cream, I won't regret it later.
I also want to rid the negative people in my life. The other day I realized that one of my "friends" only calls me when she wants to complain about mutual friends we have. This usually leaves me feeling negative and annoyed with the people she is frustrated with when we get off the phone, even though they did no wrong to me. Cutting people like this out of my life can change my mood quite a bit!
I also want to thank people more often. Simple texts mean the world to me, so I can imagine how much they mean to other people. My goal is to remind the people in my life how important they are to me. A simple text or a note in the mailbox can make a big difference in someone else's day, while also leaving me feeling more positive about the great relationships I have.
The "No Mirror Makeup Challenge" has been going around YouTube for a couple years now and I finally did it. My makeup turned out to look a lot better than I expected, although it was blotchy in one spot and my eyeliner was smudged. Check out this video, then try to do your own makeup without a mirror!
Also...thank you everyone who entered my 1st Birthday giveaway via Blogger and Kickstarter. The winner was one of my Kickstarter backers, Rick. Congratulations Rick! Please e-mail me your contact information so I can get the card sent to you.