Blog refresh!

It’s been a long time coming…

My sweet, patient husband helped me set up good ol’ Sunshine & the Bear a while ago and it’s been great, but I’ve been wanting to update my look and feel for a while. While helping a friend update her website (coming soon!!), we came across this awesome designer on Etsy and BOOM…the blog got a facelift!

I’m also going to hopefully start doing some more fun things, including interviews with some of my favorite inspirational people, featured recipes from my kitchen & others, bringing back more workouts, etc. I’m sure there will also be more photos of our cute, sleepy dog. :)

Can’t wait to share more with you guys! xoxo

Thanks to Kate & the 17th Avenue Designs team for such an awesome theme!

Currently…

So I just saw my lovely blogger friend Kerry post this cool “Currently” post and thought I’d pass on the fun! It totally reminded me of those old chain emails my friends and I used to send around with billions of questions haha We were SO silly ;) 

CURRENTLY…

Reading: the endless abyss of emails…
Deciding: on wedding invite colors!
Making : dinner
Cooking : salmon, brussel sprouts and rice/quinoa
Drinking : orange juice (it’s not just good in the morning! haha)
Wearing : my favorite sweatshirt from Hawaii
Wanting : spring to FINALLY arrive

katekatebear daffodil

Looking : for a place to go on our honeymoon in the fall (anyone know anything good in Costa Rica?)
Deciding : how to update my blog
Wishing : we had more money so we could go anywhere for our honeymoon haha
Watching : Face Off on SyFy…it’s one of Tom’s faves
Hoping : to sleep through the night for once (Kerry & I matched on this one haha ehhh)
Marveling : at the small numer of days left before our wedding! EEK!
Opening : a sweet (adorable) thank you note from my friend molly from her bday 

anchor thank you card

Needing: more time
Smelling: hopefully not the dog (love love love these odor-eliminating plugins)
Sorting: blogs I want to write
Bookmarking: how to do a poofy updo!
Disliking: the LACK OF room I have on this couch…

katekatebear crowded couch

Giggling: COUGARTOWN haha
Snacking: a new favorite – Glutino gluten free pretzels 
Coveting: a week off to get myself together haha
Hearing: the washing machine…don’t they make them quieter these days? 
Following: interesting new reporters on Twitter (found through Muckrack newsroom)
Helping: the dog get all of her millions of toys from under the couch
Loving: that new show About a Boy
Noticing: how much laundry we have to do…hmm…
Thinking: I feel like there’s still SO much to do to plan our wedding…
Feeling: exhausted
Admiring: bloggers who do/can post regularly
Enjoying: the last few days of SOMEWHAT warmer weather
Knowing: I really need to get to the grocery store so I can get ahead with our meal planning
Liking: my new 3x per week schedule with my training team at Under Armour
Wondering: what workout I’m going to do tomorrow morning
Considering: if we were to move, where would we go?
Pondering: what to wear to my upcoming bachelorette in Miami next month

Well there you go. That’s what’s going on tonight :)

Now I want to know what YOU’RE doing! 

What are you WATCHING?

What are you MISSING?

What are you EATING?

2012: Look how far we’ve come

So back on December 31 of last year I posted my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions. And, like many, I’m positive I didn’t complete ALL of them…That being said, I didn’t do terribly. So, because it’s that time of year again, I wanted to do a little check-in and update on where I’ve been through the year and where I plan to go in 2013!

Ok let’s start with the ones I DID do:

Blog more.
Done. You’re looking at it, son.

Maryland Double Run the Maryland Double.
DONE! Woo hoo! This was HUGE for me. Not only was it my first half marathon…it was my first TWO half marathons…in the same year! Big step for me and my hatred of running. Felt great! :)

Eat better.
I didn’t do fantastic with this ALL year, but I’m definitely working towards it on a more regular basis.

Write more thank you cards.
Done. Again, such an easy thing to do to show your appreciation.

Set aside at least 10 minutes to check in with my Tone It Up community every day.
I try to do this! 10 minutes may have been setting the bar a little high, but I think I try for 2-5 for this. Check in with the girls on the team, tell everyone what workout I did or healthy recipe I made…trying!

Save money. Again, trying… :)

And now for the ones that DID NOT happen (whoops):

Try one new group fitness class every month and attend at least one meeting of it each week for that month.
I tried a few but I couldn’t keep up! Molly & I started training with a trainer and it just didn’t happen. I’m hoping to get into more classes this year! Especially because I realized this year that I can go to 3 months at the MAC gyms with my Merritt membership through a partner pass! WIN!

someecard

Text/talk/call my best friends at least a few times a week.
As much as I wish this were true, I fell short. I love you girls. I’m sorry work has made me insane and I don’t call as much as I should. I’ll do better I promise!

Make at least one recipe out of every cookbook I own.
I just have SO MANY cookbooks! I’ll get there…I will!

Read at least one book every month.
I read a few…just not that many. I’m thinking maybe a Kindle will help me…Any thoughts?

Ok, so what’s the plan for 2013:

Here’s hoping that these are achievable…

love more, worry less

Worry less. 
Yea yea yea…I know that’s a lofty one. But hey, realizing it needs to be done is the first step, right? “I’ve got to let it go and enjoy the show…”

Blog more – yes, even more!
I’m hoping to bring back Workout of the Week and maybe add in a Recipe of the Week, a page or day for link love, and much more!

Run the Maryland Double AGAIN!
I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I’m really thinking I should do it again. Run while you can, right?

Pull together my recipes! 
So I’ve been saying this for like three years now, but one of my goals is to pull all my favorite recipes together in a little cookbook. There are a few companies (I really like Blurb) that help you make your own books with your own pictures and everything. I’ve been slowly taking photos of the food as I make it, but it just hasn’t ever come together. This year, IT’S HAPPENING.

Make at least one recipe out of every cookbook I own. 
This WILL happen. Especially because I just bought myself a new cookbook (yes, it’s as amazing as it looks) and realized I really don’t have room for it. SO I need to do a little purge. I think this will help me really weed through the books I have that are pretty versus the ones I have that I’ll actually use.

Use the Merritt/MAC pass 
I love my gym, Merritt, but MAC does have some cool classes I’d like to try out. I have to get this pass and USE IT.

Text/talk/call my best friends at least a few times a week.
This is so worth the effort. Get ready to get annoyed with many messages and calls, ladies. Yes, even as you have your baby Alli! :)

Eat clean (as always) 
Yes, we constantly say this BUT shouldn’t it always be a goal to eat well? I think so.

Ok so that’s enough for now, right? What are YOUR 2013 goals?

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!