Fitbloggin ROCKS!

So it took me a few days to recover from the weekend formerly known as Fitbloggin…but totally worth it. Show do you sum up an unbelievably crazy amazing weekend like this? I have no idea, but I’m going to attempt to give a little recap without going minute by minute :)

So Fitbloggin this year was at the Hyatt in Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor. Not only does it have an amazing view of the harbor and the city, but it’s very close to my work and house…so that was greatly beneficial. (Thanks for working that out specifically for me, Roni ;))

I couldn’t join the Thursday visit to McCormick (@Spices4Health) but I heard it was fantastic (aka I’m extremely jealous of everyone who went). I got off work and met up with Annie & Brittany, two of my BMOREtoned gals, and ran over to the badge decorating party! We also got our amazing swag bags this night!

conference swag

Thursday was an early night and I went straight home to bed. Come on…we had a workout at 6am the next morning! Which was AWESOME by the way! Our first Fitbloggin workout was yoga with Sara of Run Inspired. I’m not a huge practicer of yoga, but it definitely felt great. Good way to center before a long day!

yoga

This was happily followed by a delicious breakfast hosted by Weight Watchers Cheese (@WeightWatchers), featuring one of my absolute favorite things of the entire weekend – Muesli Berry Breakfast. We went up for seconds…and thirds (don’t worry – I’ll share the recipe)! We also got to meet the chef and team behind the recipes, which is always cool!

weight watchers breakfast

But don’t think we got a break or anything…we went immediately into the next workout – CROSSFIT! Boom. Reebok (@Reebok) sponsored a great workout featuring help from a group of national trainers as well as some from our local crossfit shops. They split us into teams and had each of us crush it for 6minutes non-stop…it was awesome.

fitbloggin girls

Side note, if you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been using the hashtag #GetAfterIt for a month or two now…I was almost positive I was the genius that made it up. Apparently Reebok had the same idea…haha No hard feelings, I guess. Great minds think alike(?)

getafterit

Thought that was enough? Nope. After a short break, we went to our next workout (no, I’m not kidding) with Cathe, sponsored by Eggland’s Best (@EgglandsBest). I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one; not having the link I just provided and the program just listed “Workout”…not really referencing what type. So, it was silly of me to think this would be just some run-of-the-mill workout. Cathe, a 30 year pro of the fitness industry we soon found out, kicked our bums…and our arms and core and legs. The workout included a lot of amazing moves and equipment, including the continuous resistance bands I’ve been trying to find since my visit to California with Tone It Up! Looking for them? FOUND ‘EM now that I know what they’re called! Buy them here!

resistance band

Ok so then we finally stopped working out. :)
Cathe’s session was followed by yummy hard-boiled eggs from Eggland’s. I’m a huge fan of egg whites so I took two. Plus…who can resist an egg on a stick AND a tiny, baby hot sauce bottle? 

eggs

The next stop we made, and the first real conference-like thing we went to was a session called “Harness the Power of YouTube” with Sarah Dussault (@DietSarah). Sarah has been on YouTube since 2006 and really knows her stuff. Here’s some fun things I learned:

  • 4 in 10 shoppers visited a website/store as a direct result of watching an online video
  • Noise and lighting are imminently important to a good video
  • Use the first line of your YouTube video description area as a link to your blog
  • Watch what music you use – visit sites like JewelBeat and buy the rights to songs
  • When all else fails, do a product review or film a grocery haul.
  • How do you figure out what to do a video about? Think about it. What would you want to show your friends?
  • Need YouTube help? Visit this site  
FitSarah

Up next was “Social Media to Drive Traffic” with Emily Sanford (@SkinnyEmmie). Amazing. The learning continued. Here are some of the gems…
  • Social media is around to connect, NOT to (word) vomit.
  • Don’t split yourself over multiple Twitter feeds…it’s all YOU.
  • PicMonkey – check it out
  • There were totally more but my computer died during this session so…I’ll get back to you on that 

Then, lucky us she got added last minute, we got to heard from one of my favorites Carla Birnberg (@MizFitOnline) at “Attracting Local Media & Finding Success as a Freelance Writer.” Now I’ve known Carla for a little over a year now from working at my last job, but I’d never heard her speak. It was a fantastic presentation, complete with amazing “old-school” paper handouts :) Things learned:

  • To get your foot in the door, produce something ONLY YOU can release.
  • Emails/pitches need to be SHORT – editors don’t have time to read.
  • Know your worth…but be willing to work for a lot less.
  • Everyone loves old school handouts ;)
mizfitonline
Then we got to hear from Amy Nowacoski (@fatgirlscanrun) at “Build Your Brand” and heard some great stuff!
  • Your brand is not your logo. Your logo is like the dress (or pants) your brand is wearing.
  • If you create a clearer profile of who you’re talking to, you’ll be better at addressing them
Finally (at least for me), we heard from the amazingly inspiring Kara Richardson Whitely (@FatWmnOnTheMtn) at “Reach Out from your keyboard and connect!”. She has such an interesting story and it seriously would inspire anyone (except for all you cold-hearted people out there). She’s taken on mountains (literally) and is out there striving for a better world for all of us. Two major points stuck with me:
  • Take on the smaller challenges before the monumental ones. (simple but something we often forget…) 
  • Small things have a ripple effect. You inspire people without even knowing it.
And that was the end of day 1 (for me)………

 

Then came Saturday! Starting with…oh hell, let’s be honest, I missed the first morning workouts. I did get there in time to see Jami & Brittany shaking it sassily at the JumpSport trampoline session! WORK IT!

 

trampoline class

 

I was very excited to join/introduce my local girls to Zumba! Woo woo!

 

 

zumba

 

After we were thoroughly sweaty and gross, we got real close and sat in a room to hear from the nutritionist from Canadian Maple Syrup (@PureCanadaMaple) Did you know you could make a Gatorade like drink with maple syrup? Apparently yes…interesting. We also got to try these amazing snack bars from them too!

 

maple syrup treats

 

We had a quick session with the lovely Amy Lupold Bair (@ResourcefulMom) on “Growing Online Community Through Twitter” where we talked hashtags, groups, Twitter parties and much more. Again, wifi wasn’t working at this point, sooo it wasn’t exactly easy to share while we were talking about sharing. Womp womp.

 

Then to lunch! With SPECIAL TREATS! Ooooh! Puravit (@PuraVit) provided these awesome bags to everyone! There were even a few extra…(hint hint…look for a giveaway from me soon!)

 

 

Then lunch…you’re jealous. That is all.

 

 

After crushing some beautiful radishes, we headed one of the most informational sessions yet with Brandi Koskie of DietsInReview (@DietsinReview) called “Drive More Traffic Through SEO.”
  • Add keywords to your blog post titles – get specific when you can.
  • Keep titles under 70 characters.
  • Use your page titles and your headline. Sometimes they’re the same…but sometimes not. Always make them interesting to people AND Google.
  • Go back and change your titles. It doesn’t hurt. Google is always searching for new content.
  • Put the most interesting information at the front of your headline – it often gets cut off.
  • NAME YOUR PHOTOS. For example, people aren’t searching for “DCM-217”, they’re searching for “spicy hummus.”
  • Add keywords to your metadata but less is more (unlike this post because I felt like I had to tag everyone!). Use 5-10 to describe your post.
  • Misspellings are huge. Add in likely misspells as keywords. For example, Jillian Michaels AND Gillian Michaels.
  • Guest blogging is a great way to boost your SEO.
Next, we turned to the wise advice of raccoon connoisseur Jim Doran (@JimDoran) for “Better Blog Design on a Budget.” Although I knew some of these things, I have to admit, there were a few awesome points Jim made.
  • Visitors scan. They don’t read.
  • Navigation is important – make sure your readers know where they are, where they can go and what they can search
  • Color Scheme Designer, ColourLovers – sites like these help you pick your colors and color schemes
  • Google Web Fonts
  • Remember to review how your content looks on mobile.
  • Check out his slides here
The following discussion was with Dawn Jackson Blatner (@djblatner) , a nutritionist who’s been working with Florida Grapefruit @JuicyScoop! She talked about “RAW” – Realistic Achievable Wellness. I was immediately interested as you can imagine.

 

  • Moderate your inspiration – enough to inspire change and motivate NOT frustrate.
  • Think about how realistic and achievable your goals are – make mini goals. For example, set up buoys (smaller achievements) on the way to your island (ultimate goal).
  • 3 steps to helping you get a healthier meal:
    1) reportion your plate
    2) reinvent old favorites
    3) refresh your recipe repertoire
  • Bean math! 1oz of meat = 1/4C of beans (it reduces your sodium intake by about 40%!)
  • Salt is good because it brightens up the flavors of your food BUT you can use other things like vinegar, citrus and yogurt

 

dawn jackson blatner

 

Oh and we also tried some tasty tasty grapefruit mojitos with grapefruit juice. YUM.

 

grapefruit mojito

 

Then we finally got to hear from the awesomely unapologetic Kelly Olexa (@KellyOlexa). She had some simple but great tips:

 

  • Do your research.
  • Approach by solving a problem.

 

Finally we had a little time to hang out with the new friends we met in a non-learning session and our local spot Blue Agave (one of my personal faves)!

 

Blue Agave Baltimore

 

We got back just in time to try a few recipes from Unilever Spreads “Good To Know” line (aka some healthier options instead of butter). Yum. This turkey meatball actually tasted like Thanksgiving – like that gum in Willy Wonka tastes like a whole meal but without the turning into a blueberry part. 
turkey meatball
I’ve actually purchased the Unilever Brummel & Brown spread since this conference and it’s been great. It’s yogurt based and is less in fat, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol and calories. Just saying…

 

brummel and brown

 

Annnnd break……… Next (and last) was the Fitbloggin 5K run on Sunday morning. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning for the run…

 

Baltimore sunrise run

 

The funny part about this run was that it’s pretty much exactly the run I do on a regular basis…so it was really fun to be like “Oh hey Fitbloggin friends..this is where we live!” haha

 

tone it up girls

 

It was a great run and I actually finished in record time! WOO HOO! PLUS we got some awesome bonus shirts from Reebok! #GetAfterIt SON! :)
girl flexing

 

So, are you asleep yet? I’m sorry. I TOLD YOU there was too much to say! I would have live-blogged from the conference but, as you’ve read, there was something going on every minute. What was I going to skip in order to blog, huh? Yea. That’s what I thought. :)

 

reebok girls

 

Anyway, in summary, Fitbloggin was amazing. I can’t wait for next year!

I CAN’T WAIT for FitBloggin!

Seriously, I CAN’T WAIT! I was lucky enough to join for FitBloggin last year and I’m so excited to join again this year.

Last year, I was still on the cusp of deciding whether or not starting a blog was right for me. The sessions were really informative and fun at the same time! Plus there were tons of workouts! Last year, the FitBloggin 5K was one of the first races I ran in my new running kick…now, one year later, I’ve run 8 already this year (including a half marathon) AND I’m obviously blogging! haha

Last year I also had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. I had followed but was so excited to meet some in person like Eating Bird Food, MizFitOnline, RunEatRepeat, CarrotsNCake, FitBottomedGirl and many more! Seriously, you ladies (& men) were all so amazing to meet and hang out with! 

This year, there’s SO many people I’m dying to catch up with and meet! JustKeepSweating, BurningBabiFat, PFG_dawn & more! Definitely let me know if you’re going – I want to meet up! 

There are also some amazing sponsors coming this year! I learned about & received some really cool products last year like Dr. Praegers (which I have since then been obsessed with) and Attune Foods…And I always have fun when Popchips is involved. :)

Anyway, get ready. I’ll be posting a lot live from the event! Woo hoo!
FitBloggin here I come! 

Ebates. Use it.

Seriously, if you haven’t heard of Ebates yet, you’re as crazy as I was.

Basically, Ebates is a website that connects you to the websites you’re already shopping at, it just provides you cash back for your purchases. It’s not always a lot, but it can be a ton depending on what store/etc. I’ve seen approx. 3-8% cash back from the stores I’ve shopped. I shopped at LOFT, ModCloth, Under Armour…even Amazon. I just got a check in the mail. It was only for like $7, but hey…that was $7 I didn’t have before!

Just do it. You’re welcome. :)

Click here to find (pretty much) all of your favorite brands on Ebates

Oh hey girl, I’m a pizza!

So while Tom was up in NYC for a conference, I decided to make a crazy pizza. Not that he wouldn’t be up for a crazy pizza…just thought maybe I should test it first before I feed it to him. haha

Anyway, I just went to the grocery so I have a ton of random foods in the fridge. I personally don’t like saucy pizzas. Not saucy like “Oh hey girl, I’m a pizza!” but like too much tomato sauce (let’s face it…I didn’t have to explain that, I just wanted to say “oh hey girl, I’m a pizza” hahaha) So I made my favorite, pizza with a bit of olive oil and yummy toppings!


Fancy Pizza Time!  pizza  

Ingredients:

  • 2 C arugula
  • 2 shallots (chopped)
  • 1 orange or yellow pepper (sliced thin)
  • 1/4 C chopped prosciutto
  • 1/4 C walnuts (chopped)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese
  • 1 pre-made pizza dough ( I used Pillsbury thin crust)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 5-8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • S/P

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a skillet, saute shallots and thyme and cook until shallots start to become translucent
  3. Add peppers and prosciutto and cook until peppers are soft
  4. Add arugula and cook until it just starts to wilt
  5. Remove cooked ingredients and place in a bowl
  6. While you’re cooking the stuff in the pan, unroll the pizza dough on a cookie sheet. Lightly brush the top with a mixture of olive oil, salt & pepper
  7. Bake the pizza dough alone for 5 minutes
  8. While dough is baking, cook eggs in pan (I made them over-medium but you can cook them as you like)
  9. Remove the dough, and cover with ingredients in bowl
  10. Add eggs strategically so when you slice it, everyone gets a little bit
  11. Lightly cover with cheese and walnuts
  12. Bake for approx 10 minutes or until dough is crispy on the bottom
  13. Cut & enjoy! 
(This recipe is for the better part of the pizza in this photo above…the fancy side. The other side was just tomatos, fresh basil & feta)

BEACH WEEK: One of the many reasons to love Tone It Up

This past week was deemed “Beach Week” by my trainers at Tone It Up. No, not because all the thousands of girls on the TIU team got together and went to the beach. My boyfriend was very confused…”Wait, but are you going to the beach?” Haha 

Anyway, Beach Week was actually just a week of intense dedication both from the TIU trainers and teammates! It was a bit of a farewell (no no don’t go!) to the summer that included special workouts, live chats, prizes and more.

Personally, it came at the perfect time. Coming back from vacation is always tough. I needed to get back into my groove and still really wasn’t feeling it a few weeks back (although I definitely bounced back quicker than after last year’s trip). Beach Week really helped!

It was SO inspiring and motivating to see my fellow TIU sisters go through this tough week of two-a-day workouts and healthy eating! Here are a couple of my fave pictures from the week..


Um, I seriously need to work on my pancake making…but Brittany aka EatingBirdFood really killed it!


ALWAYS love seeing what my darling Georgie aka Diary of an Aspiring Beach Babe is up to across the pond! Killing it…as per usual.


Tiffanie, you ROCKED this! Also, I adore your face haha :)


Jen had her daughter begging to BeachWeek yoga with her…I love it. I hope my future kids want to tone it up with me!


Megan had me wanting to come over! Seriously, that all looks delicious. :)
Also, a big inspiration for taking better food photos… 


Sarah L….such a hottie! Such a huge inspiration!

Anyway, all in all it was a great week. Just thought I’d throw it out there so no one forgot :) I didn’t lose a ton of weight personally, but I feel great! And that’s what matters! Screw the number of the scale. Hope everyone had an amazing week! Can’t wait to see what the Katrina and Karena have in store for us next! xoxox