Holy moly. How is tomorrow July? How is my summer halfway over? I am NOT ready for it to end. It's like I blinked and we were halfway through 2018. June was a fun month. I finished up my first official year teaching, I took my last in person class for my Master's program, and I visited Malibu Wine Safari with some friends. It was busy, but so enjoyable. July has some fun stuff in store for me and my family. My brother is getting married, I have two vacations planned, and I am heading back to work at the end of the month. To soak up the last moments of June, we are going to watch The Sandlot in the park tonight. Here are some of my favorite things I loved in June.

Picnic Dates
We have been trying to save money for an upcoming vacation, as well as a goal to buy a home in the next couple years, so we have been trying to find cheap date night ideas. One of our new favorite dates is to set up a picnic on our patio, enjoying wine, cheese, and playing games. We love this uninterrupted time to catch up with each other, talk about our dreams, and share some great laughs. My favorite part of these picnics, besides the company, is the wine. I recently learned about Revel Wine Club, which ships wine directly to you. You can select the type of wine you like, how many bottles you want, and how frequently you want it shipped. This takes away the overwhelming feeling of choosing from hundreds of bottles at the liquor store and allows you to just enjoy quality wine with ease! I highly recommend Revel for your next date night in!

Parks & Rec
I am so late to this party. I am just now watching Parks & Rec for the first time and it's already a contender for my favorite show. The writing is witty, the characters are hilarious, and the storylines are cheeky. This is a show I don't get tired of watching. While we are only in the end of season two, I envision my love for this show continuing to grow. I can't even choose a favorite character because they are all an important part of Pawnee and the show wouldn't be the same without them. However, Chris Pratt. Hi.

Aromatherapy Associates The De-Stress Edit
Since I have been on summer break I have been moving my body a lot more. Soul Cycle, booty bands, and hilly walks have been a constant in my days. While I am loving the sunshine, mind clearing, and exercise, my muscles have been feeling overworked lately. However, Aromatherapy Associates has a new line that restores balance to the body, as well as the mind. The De-Stress Edit has two bath and shower oils, one for the mind and one for the muscles. These oils have a variety of essential oils, including frankincense, camomile, rosemary, and lavender. The De-Stress Muscle Gel cools the skin and has ginger to soothe achy muscles, perfect after an intense amount of tap backs during spin. The Inner Strength Soothing Face Oil soothes redness, which I need after time in the sun. The camomile and arnica contain probiotics that strengthen, repair, and restore moisture in the skin. My favorite thing of this kit though is the De-Stress Mind Rollerball. This blend of frankincense, camomile, and petit grain help to focus the mind and the body. This whole kit is available to purchase from Aromatherapy Associates for $54.

High-Waisted Bikinis
I haven't put a bikini on for a couple years, just because I haven't felt comfortable in my body. However, I decided this summer it was happening. I have lost a little weight and am continuing to, but I am finally starting to feel comfortable in my body, belly fat and all. Even when I have been in really good shape at points in my life, I still carry my weight in my belly. With an upcoming vacation to a lake, I decided to try out a high-waisted bikini. This one from Cupshe, which I purchased on Amazon, flatters my body in all the right places. It hides my tummy, while accentuating the parts of my body that I love. 

What did you love this month?

FTC Disclosure: Revel Wine Club & Aromatherapy Associates sent me product in exchange for a review. Kick Back With Cate is an Amazon Affiliate. Anything purchased from the links provided may give a percentage of purchases back to Kick Back With Cate. All opinions are honest and my own. 



I have noticed life runs a lot smoother when I have a consistent morning routine. My morning routine during the school year is typically brush teeth, throw on clothes, grab my coffee, and run out the door. However, during the summer I enjoy a more self-care centered morning routine. I can take more time to journal, read, and set my intentions for the day.

Studies show that having a morning routine reduces stress and leads to an overall healthier lifestyle. I have noticed a reduction in my anxiety throughout the summer due to starting my mornings with the same calming routine.

1. Gratitude: Starting the day thinking about what you are grateful for changes the perspective of the day. It increase overall happiness, reduces stress, and opens up more opportunities for things to be grateful for. Thinking about the good things in your life at the start of your day opens up a higher level of vibration and energy to attract happiness and productivity throughout the day.

2. Goals & Intentions: I started 2018 writing 10 realistic goals for the year. I am making great strides in achieving them. One way that I do this is by looking back on these goals first thing in the morning. I create an action plan for the day surrounding my goals. This typically includes working on blog posts, doing homework assignments, working out, and finding ways to serve others. Keeping these goals at the fore front of my mind allows me to be intentional with my day.

3. Meditation & Affirmations: Starting the day with meditation is a positive reminder to just go slow and be present throughout the day. Often I rush through the motions of crossing off my to do list that by the end of the day I wonder what I even achieved. Meditation gives me the right mindset and prepares my body to be relaxed going into the day. While meditating I speak affirmations to myself, reminding me of my worth. Last summer my bestie wrote a blog post for me about Real Girl Mantras, including positive affirmations to tell yourself. Check them out here.

4. Morning Pages: Morning Pages are something I have been doing on and off for a little over a year. I think I have had the most growth in my life by implementing morning pages. This is an uninterrupted, hand written journal, where you write a 3 page long stream of consciousness. This writing was difficult at first because three pages can be a lot. After a month or two it was difficult to limit myself to just that! I have used this time to work through problems I was facing, to write about hopes and dreams, and just to write down random funny things that have happened. Occasionally I go back and read my morning pages, and sometimes when I feel stuck I use prompts. This is a great way to clear your head before beginning a fresh day.

5. Workout: Getting the workout done first thing in the morning reduces the ability to make an excuse for not to do it. It creates a strong feeling of accomplishment at the beginning of the day. It also increases your endorphins, making for a happier day. When you have other activities to tackle the rest of the day, having already worked out leaves you more focused and energized. My favorite way to start a day is by going for a long walk while listening to a podcast or taking a spin class at Soul Cycle.

How do you start your mornings off?



Whenever I spend time with my niece and nephew, I always want to find fun activities to do together. Whether it be making s'mores, going to the zoo, or doing art projects, I love those moments together. When I learned about Gramma in a Box, I thought it was perfect for the time I spend with the kids in our family.

Gramma in a Box is a subscription service started by a woman whose grandchildren moved away from her. She would send them boxes of cookies and treats, then they would make them together on Skype. After sharing this with friends and family, she created Gramma in a Box for others to have a monthly activity to do with their loved ones.

Each box includes baked cookies with frosting and sprinkles, plus two easy candy crafts. There are step by step instructions, with illustrations, included in each box. Some months will have a theme, such as for holidays like Valentine's and St. Patrick's Day.

Gramma in a Box is a steal at only $20 per box! When I think about how much I spend on baking and decorating cookies, plus all the extra random stuff that ends up in the cart that I didn't need, this is actually saving me money! Be sure to place your order for the July box ASAP!



As I share often, one of my favorite parts of blogging is the connections I make with other bloggers. I get to know women from so many different walks of life that I otherwise wouldn't meet. What always fascinates me the most though is when I find someone in the blogging sphere who I would possibly run into in other areas of life one day! 

Today's featured blogger is Halee, has had a career in ABA therapy and is a preschool teacher! For those who have been following me for awhile, you know that I am in the midst of getting my BCBA and my teaching credential, so I basically met my match with Halee! Some of her blog posts are about Trader Joes, wine, and tacos, so yup, basically the same person.

Halee started her blog Real Life With Halee to share her life with others. She gives tips on living a full life without spending extravagantly. She is relatable and wants her readers to feel inspired and know it's okay to be living the life they are living!

A little more about Halee:
Favorite blog post? Wine tasting hacks! In this post she shares how to enjoy this often expensive habit while keeping within a tight budget.

What keeps her motivated? Knowing that people are waiting to see and read what she is going to write!

How she has fun? The 3 B's: brunch, beach, & binge watching TV

Favorite place to shop? Target, Trader Joe's, & Forever 21

Top 3 beauty products? Olay night cream Ouai Wave Spray, Shea Moisture Overnight Face Oil

For more of Halee, peep her personal Instagram and her blog Instagram. They're equally awesome.



Summer weddings can be difficult to dress for because you want to look your best, but also need to beat the heat. Wearing bright colors and cool fabrics can help to combat the heat while you still look stunning. This full look including dress and accessories, is perfect for a summer wedding!

This nail polish, Odeme Dance Hall Days, is a beautiful, bright color. It is a stunning hue for summer, but is not too overwhelming. It costs $12, is quick drying, and is easy to apply. This polish didn't need 2 or 3 coats to look good, one swipe was plenty with Odeme. Odeme's polishes are made without harmful chemicals. There is no Touluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Resin, and Camphor.
Wearing white is the coolest color for summer but an absolute no-no when it comes to a wedding! Unless instructed by the bride, please do not wear white! That is HER color! However to stay cool, wear bright, light colors. This stunning floral printed dress from London Times is perfect with nude heels and dangling earrings. I rented this dress from Le Tote and you can rent it for free here

Dangly neutral toned earrings are a perfect combination to the bright outfit you are wearing. They are subtle, adorable, and add a classy touch to the outfit. These earrings are by Kendra Scott and can be rented from RocksBox for free with code kickbackwithcatexoxo which allows you a month of free jewelry rentals!



When I learned about Talisa from She's That New Girl, so much of her story resonated with me. She started her blog as a creative outlet to express her thoughts and navigate post graduate life, but continued writing as a way to give young women a voice. As an educator, and aunt to a tenacious little girl, I believe this world needs more positive female role models. Talisa is just that.

Talisa is an open book about her personal struggle with social anxiety and mental health setbacks (I feel you girl) and gives personal, effective advice to readers on how to improve their quality of life. A favorite post of hers (and mine!) is Three Effective Ways the Everyday Girl Improves Her Mental Health. Talisa will also soon be sharing her personal struggle with social anxiety. Her bravery and vulnerability is something that inspires me as I toy with the idea of sharing my personal struggles.

"I feel motivated by the fact that someone out there will benefit from what I have to say," said Talisa, "The best moments have been when I get emails from young women saying that one of my posts helped them through a bout of depression or lifted their spirits."

Q & A with That New Girl!

Advice for new bloggers?
Do it for the right reasons and be patient. Your success would depend on your relationship with your readers.

What do you enjoy outside of blogging?
Anything outdoors! I love going for walks in open green spaces and I enjoy outdoor sports too. I am a huge bookworm as well, so put me near some sunshine with a good read and I'll be a happy camper!

What are your top 3 go to beauty products?
Mascara, a red hippie, and a lightly floral scent

For more of Talisa & She's That New Girl, visit her website, her YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.



I have spent the last couple days trying to put my thoughts about the death of Kate Spade into words. She was a designer I admired, an inspiration to women everywhere, and someone I never knew struggled with depression. Then, this morning when I heard about Anthony Bourdain I was angry. In our society we hear about people battling cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, but we don't hear about people battling depression. It's something we as a society don't discuss. And that needs to change.

My heart aches for the family of every individual who has taken their own life. My heart aches for everyone who has struggled through depression, anxiety, and the feelings of self doubt. We need to make it okay to talk about the reality of mental healthy We need to make it okay to ask for help.

As someone who has battled severe anxiety and depression, I can promise you that when you ask for help, it gets better. It doesn't make the hard days go away, it doesn't make the pain any lighter, but it gives you hope. It gives you something to hold on to. It makes you feel better knowing that someone is there for you. I am grateful to have family, friends, and a therapist who have held my hand on the darkest days. But none of them would have known my struggles if I had not asked for help.

So many people loved and admired Spade and Bourdain. I wish they could have understood the power and inspiration that they had on everyday people. What we see is not reality. On the surface, these two people had everything, but inside they were lost.

Please know that it gets better. Please do not be afraid to ask for help. You are worthy of love, support, and living this life.

Please know that help is just a phone call away. Call 1-800-273-TALK if you need it.



Each month I receive a box of love and encouragement on my front porch. This month's Loved and Blessed Box had the theme PERSEVERANCE.

This box included:
-a highlighter, pen, and paperclip set
-a theme card
-a mini poster
-a reminder sticker
-a scripture card
-an encouragement kit (to share the love with a friend!)

Loved and Blessed is a Christian subscription box service with a goal to help women share their testimony. For only $19.99/month (even cheaper if you buy in bulk!), each box includes a mini poster, reminder sticker, scripture card, and small gift. 

I enjoy receiving the Loved and Blessed Box because it provides me with encouraging reminders to remain strong in my faith. It is different than any other box I have received. It is full of meaning, heart, and joy. Place your order quickly to receive your own box of encouragement next month!


The Bachelorette is here! And while I am not doing recaps this season, I am still catching up with past contestants. One of my favorites from last season, Adam Gottschalk, was sent home by Rachel just before hometown dates, but found love in Paradise with Raven Gates. I enjoyed catching up with Adam, who is local to my area, and seeing what he is up to now that he is in Dallas.

Adam ended up on The Bachelorette when a friend from college (University of Arizona) nominated him. The day after JoJo's season aired, the friend texted Adam asking why he wasn't on the show. The rest was history.

When he went on the show, he brought a doll version of himself. This doll, Adam Jr., made cameos throughout the season, and honestly got more airtime than Adam himself. Adam journeyed through Los Angeles, South Carolina, Norway, and Switzerland, before getting sent home and ultimately ending up on the beaches of Mexico.

After the show ended, it took Adam time to adjust. He is working in commercial real estate and has strong partnerships with clients such as W Hotels and Equinox. He loves his career and the connections he is able to form with all kinds of personalities. Adam strives to be a hard working role model for our generation. "The social media blurs out all the hard work that can go on behind the scenes and all we see is the finished product," says Adam.

Nearly a year after Paradise, Adam is still with Raven. The two have talked about moving in with one and another and it is happening soon! While Raven currently lives in Arkansas where she owns her own boutique, Grey Suede, the pair see each other often.

For more on Adam, follow him on Instagram and Twitter.



May came and went in the blink of an eye. I can't believe June is here. I am less than a week away from summer and six months away from finishing school. (Although I am toying with the idea of getting my PhD!) This month was full of fun adventures, including a Taylor Swift concert, spending time with friends I haven't seen in awhile, and meeting my biggest celebrity crush. Here are sthree things I loved most in May:

Rocksbox: Rocksbox is a jewelry rental service that delivers designer accessories straight to your porch. For $21 a month you'll receive three pieces of jewelry to wear until you are ready to either purchase or return. I love this service because it lets me try out Kendra Scott and House of Harlow products I love, but can't afford. It also allows me to borrow some bold pieces for events that I would likely only wear once. To sign up, visit Rocks Box and be sure to enter code kickbackwithcatexoxo at checkout to get your first month FREE!

Soul Cycle: I have always loved Soul Cycle but this month the admiration came to a whole new level. I took a class that shifted my perspective and gave me exactly what I have been looking for lately. I wrote about it in a blog post for my friend's blog, and you can read all about it here.

Everyone Is Doing Great: I had the opportunity this month to chat with my middle school crushes, James Lafferty and Stephen Colletti. I screened their new show Everyone Is Doing Great, which is about two actors leaning on each other as they navigate life after a hit television show. Seeing as both these men were on One Tree Hill, you'd think it was based on their personal experiences. While the series hits close to home for Lafferty and Colletti, most of the series is built from their own creative writings.

FTC Disclosure: Kick Back With Cate is a RocksBox It Girl! This means RocksBox sent product in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.