Blog Fest 2018

I’ll be perfectly honest, before attending this event I had NEVER heard of BlogFest OR Idea World.
When I received an email about attending I was expecting there to be a few hundred people attending some workshops and training seminars about fitness. When I arrived at the convention center I was completely floored to hear AND see that there were about 14,000 PEOPLE in attendance. I was both impressed and intimidated at the same time!

The premise of Blog Fest is that it’s a leg of the Idea World Fitness Conference that is full of Fitness professionals and bloggers who come to learn about the latest new workouts, equipment, nutrition, networking and great education! Since it was hosted in San Diego this year I was able to run stay at home and then drive into the conference each day. During registration they provide a great HUGE schedule for the Blog Fest events AND Idea World events showing all of the workshops, workouts, and seminars. They had some amazing speakers this past year and it was great to sit back and learn about how to share your story, integrate fitness into your brand, and even some social media information! There were also a TON of amazing brands that showed up to sponsor food, workouts, and even some amazing swag! Another great feature of the conference is that each day there is a HUGE expo put on full of so many amazing fitness brands that would allow you to sample their products (food), try out their equipment, and buy some amazing clothing!

The highlight of my entire time outside of all of the great education, swag, and general awesome environment was my workout with Blogilates / Pop Pilates Cassey Ho! I’ve been following her youtube channel for YEARS and I love her workout videos and find myself finishing them feeling stronger and more encouraged to be healthier! The workout itself was HARD! She basically walked through her whole new course with the group and she started it off by saying “There is no pause button in this workout, I know you pause at home!” HAHAHAHA. I was like, this woman is looking into my soul!

So the real question is….Would I Attend Again?
In a heartbeat!
I think now that I know what I would be walking into I wouldn’t feel as intimidated and would better know how to plan for the event.

Here are a few of my takeaways from Blog Fest 2018:

  • Wear realistic workout clothes. The conference was split between two locations which meant LOTS of walking in and outdoors to get to the seminars and workshops. You need to be comfortable and able to break a sweat if you’re trying to make a class in 10 minutes.
  • GO TO THE WORKOUTS. They put them on, make an effort to go! This year I wasn’t able to really hit ANY of the workouts because I was dealing with taking Tobi to and from the vet after he was missing for a few days.
  • Bring a water bottle!! The event did an amazing job at hosting some great meals together (including breakfast & lunch) sponsored by some kick butt companies and there were always PLENTY of bars to grab to get through the day. I talked with the representatives, grabbed some of their product and then had snacks for the rest of the day when I felt my energy lagging (I’ll actually be doing a giveaway with one of these awesome companies soon!). Just remember that water is KEY! They have plenty of water re-fill stations and trust me with all the walking you’ll be doing, you’re going to need the water!
  • Have business cards! This is a great networking opportunity that you don’t want to miss. You can get to know other bloggers and fitness trainers and make sure you have your information on hand to hand to them.
  • Put yourself out there. I consider myself a pretty outgoing personality but for some reason I didn’t really do that this time. Maybe I felt out of my element and that I wasn’t “in shape” enough to talk to these women, but I know that was just me limiting myself and not really getting to know others. It IS a little intimidating since a lot of these women have been going to this event for years and kind of have a girls club situation happening, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break into it.
  • Notepad + Pen = IMPORTANT. There are so many good presentations and speakers with such wise words that you’ll want to take note of. I learned some great information that I hope to apply to my brands moving forward.
  • Go to the EXPO and participate! If they are doing demonstrations on new cycling bikes or TRX workouts, just give it a go. No one is really watching you so it’s ok to look like a fool!

5 Ways To Naturally Help With Stress

Who all here has some stress in their lives? **Raises Hand**
The last few months I’ve truly felt this sometimes overwhelming feeling of being stressed and just not knowing WHAT to do with those feelings. There have been many nights where I find myself pacing the house to just get out the jitters that built up throughout the day. Instead of living in that moment of stress I’ve been trying a few different things to help walk through it and better myself from it.


Stretching

Take a few minutes and try a few different stretches.
Getting moving will help your mind to refocus on the task at hand vs the to-do list piling up in your brain. I try to stretch in my bed every morning before I get out of it as well as every night before I fall asleep – it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s definitely on my mind! I’ve round walking through a laid out routine will help me to walk through a few stretches to just relax. ((Feel free to check out this pinterest board for some good ideas!))

Essential Oils

I know so many people are on the EO train, but y’all they really did change so much of my day to day life! I was super skeptical and didn’t think that they would actually work the way everyone said they did, but my gosh they did! Here are some of my favorite: Anxiety Ease, Balance, Worry Less, Uplift, Bergamot Mint, Ylang Ylang, etc and I also LOVE this diffusor!! ((PS there are SO SO SO many good essential oils for anxiety, stress, depression! You can see some of the resources I use for my essential oils (like books, and favorite oils) back on this old post!

Practice Self Care

If you’re anything like me in the business of our day-to-day lives I find myself pouring into other people and activities that I’m not pouring into myself. That can lead to burn out and feeling completely overwhelmed which leads me to the fact that taking care of ourselves is SO IMPORTANT! So make some time to do a mask, watch a favorite movie, have a mug of herbal tea, read a book, or even take a bath using these amazing Lavender Magnolia Bath Salts, etc.

Go For A Walk

There is something so calming about getting outside and moving.
You can go on a quiet walk to just absorb what is around you or use that time to listen to an audio book, a podcast, or catch up with a friend. Getting yourself into some fresh air and getting your blood flowing is SO important to help your body process out that stress!

Meditate / Pray

I’m all about spending some time in the quiet and honestly I don’t do it as often as I should.
Carve out some time, turn on some nice white noise (or no noise at all!), and quiet your mind. Spend that time praying, I LOVE doing Lectio Divina during this time and if prayer isn’t your thing then walk through a meditation practice (there are plenty of apps to help with this). If you’ve never heard of Lectio Divina I’m adding a little How-To below so you can just bookmark this page and easily come back to it!

Try Praying the Scriptures using these three steps:

Pick out a portion of scripture (just a few verses is fine) and make some time for quiet. You’ll read the verses three times, listening for a different thing each time.

  1. As you read the scripture this first time, listen for the word or phrase that leaps out at you. What word or phrase calls to you or sticks in your memory? As you hear the word, gently take it into your heart and silently recite or ponder the word during the silence.
  2. As you read the text this second time, meditate on the word or phrase that speaks to you. Let it interact with your thoughts, your hopes, your memories. Consider how the word or phrase is touching your life today.
  3. As you read the text this last time, consider how God is calling you forth into doing or being through this scripture. Allow God to use these words to touch you and shape you in your life today. Before you return to your activities, spend a few more moments in prayer and meditation. If you keep a journal, make some notes about this time apart. When you are finished, go in God’s peace and love.
    (Source)

What are some of your tried & true ways to walk through stressful times in your life?

Homemade Granola

I LOVE GRANOLA.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten the excitement out of the way, let’s chat about being functional.
I’m a huge fan of pre-buying healthy items to help save some steps but I’ve bene noticing that when I reach for some store-bought granola the sugars are super high and it may not have all the flavors I want. I decided to buy a few things to start making it myself at home because not only is it healthier and I can make smaller batches to change up flavors, but it’s also way cheaper in the long run and it helps me to be more aware of what I’m eating. Another huge bonus – your house will smell amazing after cooking this!!

How I’ve been using granola lately:
+ Strawberries + Granola + A Little Honey
+ Yogurt + Granola
+ Apple + Peanut/almond butter + Granola
+ Add Granola To Oatmeal


INGREDIENTS

Rolled Oats (I did 2 cups)
Nuts (any kind, I used macadamia nuts & sliced almonds)
Seeds (I used chia & flax – you could also add pumpkin and sunflower!)
Coconut Oil
Cinnamon – lots! (5+ tablespoons)
Salt (literally 1 teaspoon, it’s just to add a little flavor)
Honey*
Coconut Flakes**
*You don’t have to add honey because it is added sugar, but it helps with the flavor to be a smidge sweeter!
**Do NOT add the coconut flakes to the granola until after it’s cooked and cooled off otherwise it will burn (same with chocolate/dried fruit/etc)!

Feel free to add extra things to spice it up: like other nuts, dried fruits, etc

DIRECTIONS

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Mix everything together (*minus coconut flakes / dried fruit)
Spread out on a pan and throw into the oven
Cook for 15 minutes – If everything looks good (aka no burn) cook for another 5 minutes!
Let cool
Add in extras that didn’t go into the oven (coconut flakes, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc)
Store in Air-Tight Container (I often re-use old glass pickle/peanut butter jars before buying new jars)

Let’s Keep It Real

Weight sucks.
Comparison sucks.
Feeling less than sucks.
Clothes not fitting sucks.

That’s a whole lot of suck, so sorry grandma if you’re reading this post.

I have been stepping on the scale recently and have had tears well up in my eyes every single time, and not good tears.

My weight has been a struggle for a long, long time.
If you’ve been around these parts you know all about my weight loss journey. For those of you who are new let me give you a little refresher.
At my heaviest I was about 215. I started slowly changing my lifestyle towards healthy in 2013 and by 2015 I straight crushed it! I got down to my goal weight of 145 and it was so freeing. I had never seen my adult body at that weight, heck I probably hadn’t seen it since my freshman year of high school. After seeing where I was and how I felt I knew I wanted to drop a other 10 lbs. Instead I fell in love and we got married; I got super comfortable because Eddie loves me no matter what, we moved a lot (4 times in one year!), and dealt with a ton of stress and change. All legit excuses but still excuses.
The weight piled back on and today I’m sitting at an uncomfortable 165. Writing that makes me feel shame. I feel sadness and frustration and this ugly sense of self loathing – and thats no longer okay with me.


I can be A LOT Of talk with no action sometimes, can’t we all? So instead of simply just saying I need to make a change I am really trying to step up my routines and make better choices. The truth is – I do not struggle with working out, I struggle with food. I don’t eat poorly all the time, in fact I eat rather healthy, but my portions are way off. I eat too much and too often. That’s my kryptonite – food. Here is what I’m planning to do moving forward.

Food:
Cooking at home
Limit eating out
Eating real food

Physically:
Orange theory
Running
Hiking
Stretching

Emotionally:
Motivation on my mirrors (you’ll see a post on that soon)
Praying
Diving into a bible study


NEW GOALS

+ 30lbs by 30.
I turn 30 in about 6 months (eek!) and I really want to feel my absolute best moving into my 30s. I want to hit this new goal weight and feel stronger than ever.

+ Limit processed everything.

+ Practice and nail down portion control.

+ Have more positive self-talk.


Do you have any fitness / health goals?
What are you doing with working toward accomplishing them?
Or maybe you some tips for my journey, I would love to hear them!

 

Healthy Food Choices On The Go

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC®, The Coca-Cola Company, and Conagra Brands but all my opinions are my own. #PowerfullySmart #CollectiveBias

This week has already turned out to be super busy.
I was working on a blog assignment yesterday when I got called to some free studio space an hour away for some photography work. I jumped on the chance and organized all the things I needed to take and was spontaneously gone for about 5 hours. When I got back home I was starving, exhausted, and still had so much work to do before falling asleep. Today is about the same (minus spontaneous photoshoots unless they come my way!!) with a to-do list a mile long for house stuff, a TON of blog work to catch up on, photography emails, workout classes, meal prepping…OOPHHF.

Y’all while I love having a crazy busy schedule I don’t love feeling like I’m not putting forth good judgement with those last minute food options (especially when paying for a gym membership). I’m a lover of cooking and most mornings/nights I am able to actually cook a full meal and enjoy it – but then days like yesterday pop up and I’m left too exhausted or too rushed to cook something when I get home OR before I run out the door. For that reason I always keep a few frozen meals on hand that I know will help fuel/re-fuel me. The more I educate myself the more I appreciate when companies actually put forth real effort into making those frozen meal choices healthier and more satisfying! The Healthy Choice® Power Bowls are made with an intentional combination of bold flavors and simple ingredients; they are balanced full of vegetables, proteins, and whole grains so all bases are covered. I also just found out that they now intentionally create their meals with antibiotic free chicken and all natural USDA choice beef – hallelujah hands all around.

Speaking of crazy busy schedules; do you know what I have been intentionally trying to focus on the last few weeks?
HYDRATION. I posted about it a while back with how I’m drinking a big glass of water in the morning – but what about when I’m on the run?! I always have a water bottle with me – but I feel like I plow through those and don’t always focus on how much I’m actually drinking. Enter smartwater; vapor-distilled for purity, inspired by the clouds (hello beautiful clouds!) and my favorite part, full of electrolytes for a uniquely clean taste. No only will the water help hydrate but with those electrolytes it helps me to keep wanting to drink the water because they can make you a little more thirsty = MORE HYDRATION!

What are some of your go-to quick meals when you’re feeling the time crunch?
Also, how are you doing on your hydration game, seriously??

Pssst…. Earn .75 cash back when you purchase Healthy Choice® Power Bowls at Walmart (any variety – any size)!!!!


I grab my Healthy Choice Power Bowls & smartwater when I hit up Walmart on the weekend for other essentials.
What are some of your favorite grabs from Walmart??

Smart Food Choices For Your Day

This post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC® and The Coca-Cola Company, but all my opinions are my own. #SnackHonestly #CollectiveBias

Would you like to know one of the biggest struggles I’ve found working from home?
Making healthy food choices.
Seriously, It’s so easy to fall prey to that hunger strike and purposefully (and mindlessly) snack throughout the work day on any and everything you have laying around. I will completely admit that I am a huge snacker and find myself trotting down to the kitchen far too often than I want to admit. A week or so ago I talked about creating a morning routine to keep myself on track with living a better lifestyle. One thing I have been trying to incorporate at some point in the morning is preparing snacks for my busy days.

With trying to up my hydration game sometimes I need something a little more tasty to drink. Lately I’ve been grabbing one of the many Honest Tea® flavors because they are just a tad sweet and still help to keep me on track with making better choices. They also pair perfectly with Lorissa’s Kitchen which is a delicious, prep-free protein snack using only responsible raised proteins, like 100% grass-fed beef, and responsibly raised pork ! It is also high in protein, low in carbs, fat, has no MSG or preservatives and is gluten free – WHEW, what a great snack option right?!

I’ve been really good about portioning out my snacks lately (so I don’t overeat) and when I’m on the road all day traveling to and from photography sessions, meeting friends, going to meetings – I need snacks that are going to keep me on track. I’ve been hitting up Walmart to grab some of my essential snacks to prepare at the beginning of the week and keep on hand for when that “I’m hungry” feeling strikes!

My Go-To Snacks Lately:

  1. Nuts (pistachos, cashews, almonds, etc)
  2. Lorissa’s Kitchen flavors!
  3. Dried fruit!!! (with no added sugar)
  4. Dried plantains…give me all the things!
  5. Honest Tea – gives me a different flavor to keep my hydration game strong!
  6. Apples & Bananas

 

All of these snacks help to fuel my body to keep me from being starving all the time. The more I learn about nutrition, fueling my body, and becoming stronger,  the more I realize how important it is to plan ahead and make the best choices when it comes to my in-between moments. Since I am a lover of learning; I would love to know what some of your favorite snacks are to keep the hunger at bay!


( ^ Also Tobi was meowing sooooooo hard at wanting a piece; this was me taunting him and I definitely didn’t feed it to him, poor guy #badcatmom )

Earn $1.00 cash back with purchase of following combo, exclusive at Walmart.

  • Honest Tea® – Any variety – Single bottle only
    • Both products must be purchased on the same receipt to receive credit for this rebate.