Catching Up... July 2019 Edition

It’s been almost six weeks since my last catch up so I thought it was about time! I already shared my trip to Dallas and San Francisco, so I’m really recapping July at this point. It’s been a fun month but marathon training is picking up so some hard things too!

I spent 4th of July week with my family

I love the Forth of July because it’s the only time of year that my immediate family is all in one place: my mom, dad, little brother, older brother, sister-in-law, two nieces, and even my grandparents! We had a good time just hanging out, playing a little golf, and endlessly passing a ball back and forth with my 3-year-old niece… ha! She loved it. I even had the immense pleasure of sharing a room with her and her older “sister,” their golden retriever Molly, for a night.

Beautycounter launched Countertime

3 years in the making and it’s finally here! Countertime is a new anti-aging (also great for dry skin!) line that uses what we call a “Retinatural Complex” made up of bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose. Bakuchiol is derived from the seeds and leaves of the Asian plant Psoralea corylifolia, and it acts almost identical to retinol — without any of the redness, dryness, peeling, or flaking that's often associated with vitamin A.

There is a great article in the Zoe Report breaking down the line, another in WWD, AND an article in InStyle Magazine. So much good press! Feel free to send me a message at katiebeautycounter@gmail.com with any questions!

Here is a reaction from a fellow consultant:

"It is 100% the best line we've ever made. I adore using it each night - so luxurious, hydrating, and delicious smelling. My skin is so hydrated (no oils or balm required - this takes the place of so many extra products!), even toned and glowing all day! AND, look at how beautiful the glass packaging is! No more plastic + HUGE bottles that will last many months!"

Maddie came to visit

My lovely friend Maddie, who currently lives in Santa Fe, came to visit for the weekend. Sure, she really came to visit her favorite hairdresser but we’ll pretend the pull was me… ;) Just kidding, Maddie. We had one evening here in Denver, which we spent party in downtown Littleton and partly watching a horrible film on Netflix which I did not realize was originally in German and dubbed with English. We about died laughing. On Saturday evening we headed to Colorado Springs to go to Tapateria and, of course, the views. In the morning, we went on a hike that was actually horrendous (solid mile and a half of steep gravely parts we had to slide down… there was some falling) but at least we saw a baby deer?

Marathon training is going well

This weekend I’m going my furthest distance yet: 12 miles! I have to say, I tend to actually enjoy the long runs, but the mid-week runs are always rough. This week I ran 6 miles and I kept stopping to stretch out my legs, my stomach hurt and by the turnaround point my legs just felt so dead. At least I finished? Luckily, I’m focusing on taking this one week at a time and occasionally choosing to do a HIIT workout (or a hike!) in place of a run to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. Any tips from distance runners out there? You can follow along with my training HERE and donate to our fundraising efforts HERE.

Kidney Donor Weekend

This past Saturday, I got to participate in Kidney Donor Athlete weekend, which was a weekend of events geared towards kidney donors. Kidney Donor Athletes is an organization founded by Tracey Hulick. Tracey created KDA because when she was contemplating donation, she had a hard time finding examples of athletes that were able to return to their previous abilities after donation. Now she features athletes on her website and helps both donors and potential donors connect.

Saturday morning, we went on a hike on Mount Falcon Castle Trail. It was a great opportunity to meet some fellow donors in the area and I had a great time talking with a few of the women. There were even people there from other states: Michigan, Maryland and Kansas! That afternoon, we met for pizza and a few more people came that weren’t on the hike so it was nice to see some new faces. They also participated in the Donor Dash on Sunday morning however, I skipped out on that one because I already had quite a long weekend!

I’ve been loving the Bachelorette

When Hannah was announced as the Bachelorette for this season, everyone was incredibly skeptical and many people just didn’t like her. I, however, felt like I related to her so much (minus the pageant queen part… haha) and was really looking forward to her season. Well, she blew me out of the water and I think surprised a lot of people. I think what I’ve admired most about her (other than how she handled Luke on their fantasy suite date…) is how introspective she is about herself and her feelings. She clearly takes the time to work through everything she’s feeling and thinking and then is able to express herself and is honest about it as well. I’m looking forward to the finale!



Are you watching The Bachelorette?

What did you do for the Fourth of July?

What’s a favorite family tradition?

Books I've Read... April, May and June 2019

How have another three months already passed this year?? Well, at least I read some books during them! Anyway, these reviews will prove that my most recent choices did not end up being my favorite books ever (a lot of 2-3 star novels, so bear with me). Hopefully I’ll find some good ones to read soon! Although as an FYI, I am very discerning when it comes to handing out stars. Nothing gets a 5-star review from me unless it was one of the best novels I’ve ever read or one I’d read over and over again. Only 9% of the 741 books on my Goodreads “Read” list have received 5 stars and many of those are based on nostalgia… *insert appropriate emoji face here.*

P.S. If you have any favorite books from the Georgian Era (Pride & Prejudice) or thereabouts, I’d love suggestions!

P.P.S. If you’d like to see all the books I’ve read or my “Want to Read” list, follow me on Goodreads. I HIGHLY recommend using Goodreads to keep track of your books!

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly - 4 Stars

While I've read several WWII novels, what thing I loved about Lilac Girls that differentiated it from others that I've read is the inclusion of very different perspectives. When I began to read, I knew the three main characters would cross paths at some point, but it was difficult to understand how throughout most of the novel. While I understood Kasia and Herta's characters, it was Caroline's role in this story that I never fully understood until nearer to the end, although I appreciated her perspective as someone across the Atlantic from the war. I also liked that the author didn't romanticize any of the characters - they all had honest and realistic faults that affected those around them and themselves.

A Curious Matter of Men with Wings by F. Rutledge Hammes - 4 Stars

This book was a gift from a friend who knows the author and not something I would have picked up myself but I ended up enjoying it more than I expected. The writing was very poetic and the whole story a little mysterious. I did struggle to keep focused at times (hence 4 stars instead of 5) but it was interesting to get a glimpse into an entirely different culture and way of life. The writing also made me feel like I was right back in the south, which made reading the novel all that more enjoyable.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan - 4 Stars

China Rich Girlfriend is the second book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, which was made into a movie last summer. I saw the movie before even knowing it was based on a book but I loved the film so I had to read these novels. This one was pretty different from the first as it focused on very different characters although involved most of the same from the first novel.

The Marquess Who Chose Me by Charlotte Fitzwilliam - 3.5 Stars

I do love stories where a man and a women dislike each other due to a misunderstanding and then end up growing to love one another, which is why this book ended up with 3.5 stars. I got a little frustrated by the plot and felt like the “wrapping up” portion was far too quick, which is why I didn’t give it 4 stars.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover - 3 Stars

I was disappointed in this Coleen Hoover book since I had loved XXX. It took a very long time to get into, although there were some interesting characters. The conflict in the book also felt a little dramatic and I just couldn’t fall in love with Merit, the main character, which I think is key for a great novel. The topics covered in the novel were very important but I didn’t feel they were done as well as they could have been.

The Lord’s Elopement by Madeline St. James - 3 Stars

This story was very short (which is what I wanted in the moment), however also a bit boring. I appreciated that the author took the character to a very different part of London than most of these books take place and introduced a different view of women of “ill repute” as they say. However, it wrapped up far too perfectly but I guess it has to in such a short length!

Keeper (The Morphid Chronicles) by Ingrid Seymour - 3 Stars

While the premise of the book is a story that I would typically enjoy, I felt the characters, plot and world were not well developed. I wanted to know what happened but, at the same time, felt bored and not entirely invested. I never felt like I was getting lost in another world because nothing was quite as descriptive as I would have hoped. I’m hoping the next book in the series will be an improvement!

Ripper (The Morphid Chronicles) by Ingrid Seymour - 3 Stars

I have to say, these books were just not for me. I know most people see Ashby as the villain but I really liked him and was rooting for him even though I had a feeling he would not end up with Sam. I did enjoy a lot of the new characters that were introduced during this novel in the series as well as seeing Sam learn more about her powers. But again, I felt like I was just getting through it to find out what happens at the end.

Weaver (The Morphid Chronicles) by Ingrid Seymour - 2 Stars

Can you tell I’m the type to stick to a commitment? I had to see the series through but the last novel in this trilogy clearly did not improve my view of the series. While, again, I appreciated new characters and the general plot, I felt that a lot of it was distracting such as Finley with a supposed new power that we never actual discover as well as the whole world that Veridan discovers in his cloud of darkness, if you will. Not my favorite.

Hiding a Secret on Seattle's Billionaire Bachelor by Christene Houston- 2.5 stars

I thought this would be entertaining since I love the Bachelor but it was quite disappointing. I guess I should have expected it but it was one of those books where the leads fall in love in less than a minute and everything ends perfectly with very little real drama. While it was was cute and quick, which I wanted at the time, I felt like I was just watching an episode of the Bachelor with a small twist. It didn't feel original. Also, the ending was very unrealistic.

A Sinful Duke She Can’t Refuse by Olivia Bennett - 2 Stars

I literally could not type this tile without laughing. While I appreciated the mystery aspect and solving a long ago crime, the rest of the novel was just too much. Of course, the main characters fall in love immediately and of course there is a damsel in distress. It was just too much and horribly unrealistic.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover - 2 Stars

I decided to read Ugly Love because I know Colleen Hoover has quite a following so I felt like I should read more of her books after liking one or two previously. This novel, however, was very hard for me to get into. I think part of the problem was that I listened to the audiobook and hated the voice for Miles. I also think it took a very long time to get to anything deep between Miles and Tate or find out what happened in Miles's past so I kept getting bored. While I do appreciate the actual topic of this novel and the importance of continuing to be vulnerable and to love despite the pain that can come with it, we didn't actually get that topic until the last few chapters.

Any book suggestions?

What have you read lately?

Summer Tour: TX & CA

I am so excited to tell you all about my trip! Last week I traveled to Dallas, TX and then to San Francisco, CA to visit two different friends and had such a great time with both of them.

First, I left for Dallas very early on Tuesday morning and was picked up by my lovely friend, Julie, who I first met in a small group through our church in Chicago. Julie and her husband are both originally from Dallas and moved back home a couple years ago. She has two ADORABLE little boys and it was so fun to just hang out with her and her family and get to know the two little guys.

After getting in, we went to lunch at HG Supply Co (I got the poke bowl and it was delicious!) and then walked around the little shopping area. There were so many cute shops! That evening, we went to dinner at Meso Maya where I tried their signature Avocado Margarita (not sold…) and had some delicious tacos. Then it was off to see Aladdin the Musical at the Music Hall at Fair Park. I don’t get to go to many musicals so I don’t have much to compare it to, but this was SO GOOD! The dancing and the costumes and the music were amazing. My favorite part was the song “A Whole New World.” While not actually my favorite song, how they did the set was so beautiful and magical. I also loved “Friend Like Me.” The dancing and costumes were spectacular and the song went on for at least six minutes! Haha quite a show.

On Wednesday, we went to the Dallas Arboretum in the morning. It’s close to their house and they have a season pass, which I’m so jealous of because it was such a beautiful place to visit and walk around in the morning and she mentioned they have concerts and events there fairly often as well. Then I got a taste of mom life with a trip to one of her son’s one-year doctors appointment. The poor kid was NOT happy about being there and getting his shots! But he’s so cute, even crying. Honestly, I just loved hanging out with Julie and doing her “normal” life with her. That evening we had dinner at her house and just hung out talking.

On Thursday morning, I was up and out the door for my 7-mile long run! I was very hesitant to do my run in Dallas since it is so hot and humid there but I made it! I took several water breaks and ran slowly and was able to make it all seven miles. I did most of my run around the SMU campus, which was so pretty and all the people were very distracting (key to a long run alone…).

We went out to lunch after that (and a shower…) and then we went to the pool with the boys. Then it was off to the airport and on to my next adventure! Honestly, when I was packing up I couldn’t believe almost three days had gone by. I miss you, Julie!!

My flight landed in San Francisco and I took the BART through the city and to Oakland where my friend picked me up and we went to her apartment in Berkeley for some GF pizza (she’s also gluten free!) and catching up. I hadn’t seen Caroline since Christmas and we had a lot to talk about but good thing we had a couple days of road tripping in front of us to do so.

We were up Friday morning and ready for adventure! We drove to Santa Cruz and from there took Highway 1 down the coast. I had always wanted to drive along Highway 1 so it was very neat to be able to do so and see so much of the coastline.

We also stopped a couple times (once in Carmel - so cute, I would love to stay there!) and made fun of ourselves with some Instagram photo shoots… we’re such good models.

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One of our destinations during Friday’s trip was the restaurant Nepenthe, which is on the top of a hill right out on the edge of a cliff. The views were absolutely beautiful and it was so nice to sit outside overlooking the coast. Even at 2 pm it was crowded but we were seated fairly quickly at some bar seats overlooking the view. As you’ll see below, we had to put up a barrier of menus since a bird jumped onto our table and snagged a french fry. Zero fear! Our hilarious waiter suggested we put up another since they tend to like the walnuts that were on our salad! We thought it was absolutely hilarious and had a great time. I highly recommend going here if you’re in the area.

We continued our way down the coast after lunch stopping only for the elephant seal beach. We saw a crowd of people and figured that must be a great place to stop! It was a very cool sight to see. Once we made it to our final destination, Pismo Beach, we checked into the Cottage Inn By The Sea and then went to explore the town. Of course, we had frozen yogurt for dinner…

On Saturday morning, it was time for the one activity I was most looking forward to: surfing!!! I went surfing last year in March when I was in La Jolla and absolutely LOVED IT. I knew I could not go to California without surfing again and thankfully convinced Caroline to join me. We signed up for a group lesson through Sandbar Surf School but apparently we were the only ones crazy enough to want the 7:30 am class. Caroline actually did very well (she’s a natural!) and I didn’t get as many rides as I’d hoped but it was quite a workout. I was actually very proud of myself because twice I made it out past the surf which was VERY hard on that big board. Once you get out there, it’s so calm and peaceful. 100% worth the effort and I even caught a wave from out there!

After our lesson, we rushed back to the hotel and got ready to head out to our next destination, Hearst Castle! We almost missed our tour time but after some great driving by Miss Caroline and running across the parking lot, we were on the bus just in time.

Hearst Castle is a massive home built up on a hill overlooking the ocean. It was built in the 1920s and a location for many of the family’s friends, as well as celebrities and politicians, to visit and enjoy the pools, tennis courts, movie theater, zoo (yes, he had a zoo!) and beautiful art. Honestly, I was BLOWN AWAY by the art we saw in the Upstairs Suites tour. I mean, these pieces should be in a museum and I can’t even imagine how much they’re worth. When the tour was over, we did a little exploring and wandered the grounds.

After Hearst Castle, we headed towards Paso Robles and stopped at a couple wineries on our way for tastings. The second one was highly entertaining as it was family run and one of the family members was outgoing yet awkward. And there was a serious Instagram photo shoot happening with another group of friends who were sitting outside.

Once we made it back to San Francisco we had a late dinner and watched a movie. For my last day we went to a rose garden, got some gluten free breakfast at Mariposa (LOVED being able to go to a bakery and pick anything I wanted!), walked around some shops and then got a tour of a nicer neighborhood in Oakland by my lovely tour guide, Caroline. Then it was back on the BART and back to Denver!

My first summer trip was definitely a success and it was so nice to see my friends as well as have a nice mix of relaxing and adventures.

Are you going on any trips this summer?

Have you ever been to Dallas or Northern/Central California?