five on friday : february 24


I wish that I could say that this week flew by...but honestly? It crawled. It creaked. It creeped. And now, it's feeling like it's time to exhale. I was going to put together a "five on friday" list of interesting links/reads, but I think I'll go with a gratitude list instead. As this loooong week comes to a close, five things that I'm super grateful for...

1. Family. I text with my brother nearly every day. We might miss a few days here & there, but that's clearly his fault. (just seeing if he's paying attention) He makes me laugh, reminds me that I'm mostly getting life right, and sends me fun podcast links Good combo. I also talked to my Mom this week (on her Birthday!), texted with my Aunt Betty, messaged with my Bigs, and texted (often) with Dan's Mom. Grateful for love & support. 

2. Friends. I've said it a million times, and I will say it a million more...I have a gold-star tribe. Seriously. They showed up in text messages, emails, laughing-until-we're-crying chats at work, Facebook posts, and impromptu after-work pizza dinners. Grateful for all the feels.

3. Dan. #winning with this guy. Did you say it? I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life. Did you say it? <- b/c vintage Grey's Anatomy quotes are sometimes all you need. Grateful that we're creating this life together.

4. Light! We have insanely awesome morning light in this house. I am so grateful for the return of light, the hints of warmth (upper 60s when I was in Jersey yesterday!), and the longer days. Grateful for signs of spring.

5. Online Shopping. In the category of "grateful for little conveniences." Being able to handle things online is a lifesaver as my travel schedule ramps up again. I never loved filling my days off/at home with running I try to accomplish a lot through without leaving my couch/desk/hotel room. Grateful for technology that adds ease to my errands.

What are you grateful for today? 

exploring the world of essential oils...


I mentioned in my February Intentions post that I'm diving into Essential Oils with Young Living™ this year! My story with essential oils goes way back...mostly b/c of the business that I am in (no, I am still not a chemist). The naturals industry has used Essential Oils for y'know, a really long time, and so I've been involved in many a project that utilized EOs in some form. I used them at home, off & on, primarily for nighttime relaxing. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I even though I knew better, I got into a habit of picking up oils at local discount stores...somehow justifying the marginal quantity, and accepting marginal results. 

I started really exploring EOs about a year ago, when I was doing a lot of reading about sensory challenges for our wildman. I read about friends who saw that benefits of using EOs with their Littles, and I thought "why not?" Fast forward through a lot more reading, many bottles of just okay oils, and just okay results...and it was time to get serious. 

And so I signed up with Young Living™. 

It was that simple. I emailed a friend who I knew was in the oils business, asked her what to do, and viola...I had a premium starter kit on the way. I've had my kit for about a month now, and let me tell's a whole new world. I'm loving the effects that quality EOs are having on our family. A few of our favorites...

Frankincense - I loooove this oil. I diffuse it during meditation. I diffuse it with Lavender when I get home from a crazy day. I just ordered a bottle for Austin to use at university. It's my favorite

Stress Away - This little bottle stays in my work bag constantly. I literally do not leave home without it. There's a handy roller ball fitment that comes with the starter kit, so you can just pop it in the bottle and roll on your wrists/temple/neck. Stress Away is super-handy for bumpy flights! 

Lavender - Confession...I used to really dislike the smell of lavender. Now? I adore it. Not sure what changed! Anyway...we use lavender nightly, both for Littles and adults. I add a few drops to a small spray bottle of water & spritz it on the Littles' pillow...Mackie calls it "magic sleepy spray." 

R.C.™ - The Littles seem to have a perma-cough. Thanks, winter + school! R.C. diffused, or applied with coconut oil to the bottom of their feet, really helps. This one will be part of my monthly order of oils, for sure! 

I'm starting to explore other oils & blends now (all still Young Living™, of course). I've already ordered another diffuser, b/c the Littles fight over who gets it in their room. Ha! I'm still reading a ton, and learning about lots of uses for EOs. 

Want to learn more about the Premium Starter Kit? Click here! 

Note: Statements made on this blog about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. I am not a medical professional. Information for educational purposes only.

my brother challenged me to read 100 books...

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At the end of last October, I got a text from my little brother, offering up the challenge that we should both read 100 books in a year's time. By the end of December, we each had read approximately 1.5 books, so we considered those two months a head start. I can't say that 2017 is on pace to meet the 100 book goal by end-Dec, but I'm certainly not giving up yet! What I've read so far...

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality - I really wanted to like this book, but found it arrogant and somewhat boring. 

Everything We Keep - This was a fun vacation read. Look at me, reading fiction!

Conversations that Matter: Insights & Distinctions - Landmark Essays, Vol 2 - An excellent way to stay connected to the distinctions & learnings of The Forum. I read an essay or two a day. 

The Book of EST - Super interesting! This is a portrayal of the The Forum before it became The Forum, when Landmark was EST. 

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day - A few interesting tidbits, but mostly geared toward a younger/bolder traveler. I've also come to the place where I want some ease & comfort in travel...and I'm willing to pay for it. 

The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joys of the Simple Life Through the Danish Concept of Hygge - Hygge is trendy. This book is terrible. Save your $0.99. 

How to Live a Good Life - I listened to this one as an audiobook...and kinda wish that I'd bought the Kindle or paperback instead. Day-by-day instructions and bulleted lists just don't translate well into audio. That said, I really enjoy Jonathan Fields' writing. 

Getting Noticed: A No-Nonsense Guide to Standing Out & Selling More for Mompreneurs Who 'Ain't Got Time for That' - a FABULOUS read. Lindsay's style is fun & authentic. This is a must-read for anyone starting out in a side hustle (y'know like Young Living). Lindsay has made serious bank in a short period of time, and she shares openly about how she did it. 

Only 92 books to go!! 


intentions : february 2017


It's February!! I've really come to enjoy this month. There's more & more light, which makes the bitter cold slightly more tolerable. There's Valetine's Day, which I get to celebrate with my crazy handsome fiance. And...there's a lot of chocolate and wine b/c it's bitterly cold and it's Valentine's Day! Woo hoo! 

I'm going to greet each month this year with intentions around completing, creating, and celebrating. Ready? Let's go! 


  • A debt management plan that I started a number of years ago. I am really proud that I paid it off more than a year ahead of schedule. 
  • Austin's December medical bills. Navigating Canadian medical care with American health insurance was a bit complicated...but I've made it to the other side! 
  • An unexpected dental repair. I thought that I had lost a filling, but I had actually lost a chunk of tooth! Happy to have that repaired.


  • My 2016 Project Life album. It has been so emotional (in the best way) to sort through photos of last year. We had such an amazing, full year! 
  • Ease in business travel. After a short break, I'm on a plane again tomorrow. I'm being intentional about creating ease around travel this year. 
  • A new Young Living Essential Oils business!! Even though I work with essential oils often, I have so much to learn. Excited about this new adventure.
  • New communities. I'm thrilled to be connecting with local Bonus Moms. I'm delighted to have people reaching out about essential oils. I'm inspired by Landmark graduates. And I'm having a lot of fun connecting with Mattress by Appointment "Plus Ones."


  • McCartney's sixth birthday! Can't believe that our sweet & sassy girl is going to be SIX!
  • Extending the lease on #thepalace. We really love our home, and we are so happy to be staying in it for the next few years! 
  • Valentine's Day. Cue the mushy hearts & flowers nonsense. It's not lost on me how extraordinary it is that I get to create a life with my best friend, and the love of my life. D&K for the win.
  • The richness & fullness of our life right now. We're definitely in a busy season...and I'm reminding myself that these are all possibilities that we've created. 
  • The return of Scandal! We may have lost Obama & Michelle, but we still have Fitz & Olivia. Deep sigh.
  • Leggings and wool socks. Because: February.

Wanna play along? Post a link to your blog in the comments OR simply answer the prompts! I'd love to do a roll call of who still checks in here. Raise your hands! 

Happy February, friends!


thoughts on completing & creating...


Dan & I attended a Special Evening About the Landmark Forum last night in Montreal, mostly b/c it was led by our forum leader, Barry Grieder, who we were eager to see again. There's something undeniably special about all Forum Leaders, and there's something super-special about the connection with the person who leads your Forum. Listening to Barry speak was inspiring and extraordinary.

(except for that part where I had an epic breakdown b/c I was never called on to share, and Dan was, and WHY DOES DAN GET ALL THE ATTENTION? And while we're at it, why can't anyone remember that my name is Katrina, not Katerina or Ekaterina or Kristen or Katherine, but EVERYONE KNOWS DAN? And why is everyone FALLING OVER THEMSELVES to get why Dan is postponing his ILP, but no one cares that I am also postponing? And I had all of that be REAL and mean that Dan is a superstar and I am not. -- shared as proof that I am, indeed, a graduate, but I am not a Landmark Jedi.)

At the end of the evening, we did an awesome exercise to complete 2016 and create 2017. Y'all know that I'm a fan of the reflecting/reverb-ing and a fan of the looking forward, so this was right up my alley (the same alley in which the aforementioned breakdown was happening). Sharing my prompts & responses...

What are 3 accomplishments that you were proud of in 2016?

1. I am proud of exceeding my sales goal at my job. It was a very busy year, with lots of travel, and lots of work...and the results were exceptional. Our entire company did fabulous work.

2. I am proud of handling Austin's medical situation. Honestly, this wasn't just about the December reached back to a summer of tests & uncertainty. 

3. I am proud of completing the Landmark Forum in Action seminar, the Advanced Course, and the Communication: Access to Power Course. 

What are 3 things that you loved in 2016?

1. I loved traveling with Dan. Adventure is important to me/us...and learning to travel well together is an adventure! 

2. I loved sharing our home with Bigs, Littles, and lots of family & friends. We surrounded ourselves with love, laughter, and light.

3. I loved parenting the Littles. It's definitely a lot of work, and sometimes feels like deja vu...but man, I love having these Little ones in my life. 

What are 3 things that you promised to do in 2016 and didn't?

1. I didn't lose 10lbs. I lost a few. A few is not 10.

2. I didn't write an e-book. Outlining doesn't count. 

3. I didn't eliminate worrying/giving energy to negative people. Their drama is not mine to manage, yet I let it affect me at times.

What are 3 things that you wish didn't happen in 2016?

1. I wish that the Littles hadn't been moved farther away from us. 

2. I wish that I could erase every argument with Dan. Thankfully, there were only a handful, but I didn't like them one bit.

3. I wish that Austin's seizures didn't happen.

So, here's the deal...all of those things? The "good" and the "bad"...they happened (or didn't). And life went on! 2016 is complete. Looking ahead..


1. I am free from credit card debts & parent university loans. 

2. I am excited to travel abroad (Europe?) with Dan. 

3. I am committed to writing & releasing 2 e-books.

How 'bout you? What are you completing and creating??

creative projects in 2017

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At the start of every year, I start thinking about which creative projects I'm going to commit to. And in the past few years, that's been about the extent of it...I commit, but don't actually complete. Will this year be different? Time will tell! Here's what's on my creative mind...

Scrapbooking - I am a lapsed scrapbooker, and I am in good company. I may get back to traditional layouts this year, and I may not. I've been thinking about cardmaking a bit. I had been scheduled to do a card project with MC's class, but had to put that on hold due to the unexpected BC trip. I'll get that back on the books and see where the inspiration takes me. 

Project Life - I only completed spreads through March of 2016, and I'm still committed to having an album for last year. I've organized photos into Smart Albums, and narrowed down to a handful a month. My plan is to "print & pocket" and pretty much be done. I still love the idea of PL, I'm just not sure how extensive I want my 2017 PL to be. Digital maybe? Hybrid? 

One Little Word - I signed up for Ali's class in 2016, and never completed a month. I wasn't really connected with my OLW. This year already feels differently. So, I may follow the prompts from last year & complete a "Celebrate" album.

Photo Prints - One of my 2017 creative intentions is to print more photos. Chatbooks, Collage Posters, and simple 4x6 prints are high on my list. I love the idea of having a small basket of 4x6 prints that the Littles can look at when they are with us. It's so inexpensive to have 4x6 prints done these days that I won't worry about them getting torn/fingerprinted/etc. 

Photo Collections - I've done photo collections (in the form of scrapbooks) in the past - A Week in the Life, A Day in the Life, December Daily, etc. - I've had other collections on my mind lately - photo collections about our house, about what the Littles are into, about our travels, etc. I'll likely end up dong Chatbooks instead of scrapbooks.

and finally...non-photo related...Writing! Once upon a time, I not only blogged a lot, but I was also a contributing writer for Parenting Squad, and P&G Everyday. Given that I have Littles in my life again, I may delve back into the parenting world. Or perhaps I'll pursue a new path? Either way, I think that I'll rekindle my relationship with the written word. 

What's your creative plan for 2017?

dominican republic : january 2017


Hello Punta Cana! Yes, we spent almost 10 days in December enjoying the Caribbean. Yes, we went back last week...'cause, y'know, why not?? Actually, it just so happened that Dan's company incentive trip was scheduled for January. SO MUCH FUN!

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We went zip-lining! Totally out of our comfort zone, and I am so glad that we did it. We couldn't take any photos (what with holding onto the cable for dear life and all) go check out Canopy Adventures Punta Cana for a look at action.

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We had an amazing day trip to Saona Island - speedboats there, with a stop for starfish, and then a catamaran back. Beautiful beaches, fun with friends, AND a chance to use the underwater camera that Dan bought me for my birthday!


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So love celebrating life with this guy.


celebrating forty-six.


I turned forty-six yesterday! It was a wonderful day, full of celebration, friendship, & laughter. In honor of both my birthday and my OLW, here are 10 (b/c 4 + 6) people, experiences, and things that I plan to celebrate this year...

  1. Dan. Sometimes I'm sad that I missed out on so many years with him...and then I remember that we have so many years ahead of us. 
  2. The Bigs. My baby girl will be 25 years old this did that happen? I really do celebrate the fact that she still calls her Mom pretty regularly. And Mister Mister certainly keeps us hopping with medical challenges...but aside from that, he's just a super interesting & creative guy.
  3. The Littles. McCartney is learning about a million new things every day, and that is worth celebrating! We love crafting together, and I hope that we'll celebrate a few roller coaster rides this year. Wilder Our can be a handful, AND he has the best laugh ever. He is learning & growing, and is so full of energy. I love when he gives me a kiss attack and says "you my best fwiend, Tweena!"
  4. Our far-away family. Our sets of parents, my brother, Aunt Betty Jo, and a variety of Aunts, Uncles, cousins...looking forward to celebrating the love that brings us together, despite the distance.
  5. Getting hitched! We're planning a very small wedding in Hawaii in May...and then all the parties when we're back on the mainland.
  6. Coffee, wine, brunch, etc. All the coffee. I'm looking forward to the return of coffee dates at Scout...especially with Dan, and with Mary Beth. Evenings hanging out with Dan & a bottle of wine. Brunch at The Spot is always a win.
  7. Friendships. I seriously have the best tribe ever. I'm looking for more ways to celebrate them in the coming year. 
  8. Our neighborhood. I've missed a few Lake Ladies get-togethers due to travel, so I'm really looking forward to reconnecting in the new year. We made great use of the park & the bike path last summer, and I'm looking forward to even more outdoor fun this summer.
  9. Travel. As I type this, we're finishing up packing for a trip to the Dominican. Exploring & adventuring is my favorite
  10. Creating a life that I love. That is definitely worth celebrating.

martinique & dominica : december 2016

Finishing up posting our December vacation photos before we head out on our January vacation (see how we're avoiding winter??)...



We docked in Martinique after a sea day...perfect timing since I spent most of the sea day recovering from a stomach virus (which many people succumbed to over the course of the week). We walked & explored a bit, but were a bit disappointed that many of the cultural sites were closed! 


Love this group! 


Our next dock was far, our favorite. We took an excursion into the rainforest, and hiked to the Emerald Pool. 


Waterfalls are surprisingly difficult to photograph!


Definitely happy to be in the nature.


After the rainforest hike, we spent a couple of hours at a cute little beach (made even cuter by the rum punch).