Blogfest/IDEA World 2015

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t leave Blogfest/IDEA World this year absolutely exhausted. Happy and with tons of new information, yes, but also terribly exhausted. Our days started around 5am and I didn’t end up getting back to my hotel until close to 10pm each day! Pair that with anywhere from 2-3 workouts per day, and this girl is kaput.

I originally intended to do a day-by-day recap of all of the sessions I took, but I decided to just do a highlight of some of my favorite things and sessions. I warn you that this recap will absolutely not do the greatness of Blogfest/IDEA World justice, but it’s all I can muster up as I’m still recovering from a sore body and full mind. Here we go…

1. Pre-Blogfest Run with Truitt Foods: A few days before Blogfest, Jessie told me about a run that some of the other bloggers were doing before Day 1 festivities kicked off. Since I didn’t know anyone going, I figured this would be a good way to meet some of the other girls. Not only was it a good way to meet the other bloggers, but it was also a perfect way to get in some activity before a long day of sitting. Our route took us through downtown LA, which isn’t the most beautiful city if I’m being honest, but it was still nice to see some of it!Pre Blogfest Truitt Foods RUn(my selfie game is not strong in general, let alone when I’m in motion)

2. How to Increase Your Readership and Market Your Message to the Masses: I’ve read Katy’s blog on and off throughout the years mostly when I needed some social media or blogging advice. She is a great resource, so I was super excited about her session especially after reading recaps of her session from last year on other blogs. Katy Widrick BlogfestMy big takeaways:

  • There are so many social media platforms nowadays so, unless you really enjoy a particular one or it drives a lot of traffic to your site, don’t feel the need to post to them all or you will drive yourself crazy. <— This is so true of me + Twitter. It’s just not my cup of tea.
  • Find your microniche and target them (i.e. something like workouts for special populations like postpartum women or women over 50, etc.)
  • What makes you special? How can you use this to help someone else?

3. IDEA World Expo: I’m just gonna put it out there now – I AM A SUCKER FOR FREE SAMPLES. If you want me to come up to learn more about your company, a surefire way is to lure me in with food. IDEA World ExpoOver the course of the 4 days, I ate my weight in LARA bars, various other protein bars, yogurt, and hummus. Oh, and check out this stash that Ed and I acquired:IDEA World Expo SamplesPretty serious, huh? I knew of a lot of the brands before going to the expo, but hadn’t tried out a lot of their foods because I mainly stick to eating the same things. I’m glad I got to finally try so many of their products!

4. Gabby Reece/HIGHX workout: I knew who Gabby Reece was before Blogfest, but I now officially have a serious girl crush on her. Her outlook on life and fitness is so amazing and real. It’s rare that you meet people (especially celebs/pro athletes) who are so open and honest. You could truly feel her authenticity.Gabby Reece Blogfest Keynote SpeakerShe recently developed a new workout called HIGHX that we got to try out after her session. AMAZING, JUST AMAZING. It has everything I look for in a good workout: challenging, high intensity, variety, and awesome music. It’s basically a circuit workout where you alternate between 2 workouts per station before moving onto the next station. You never have time to get bored of one exercise and you hit every body part. For 50 minutes straight, you are working your ass off to great old school hip hop/rap music. I really hope this comes to San Diego ASAP.HIGHX Workout5. Workout with Beto Perez, Founder of Zumba: My experience with Zumba is limited to 1 session with my sister where I felt like I was being majorly shown up by the 80 year old ladies in the class. After that, I decided it just wasn’t my cup of tea as I usually opt for running, spinning, yoga, or strength training workouts. Well, I am officially a Zumba convert. You guys, it was so much fun! Even though I was fumbling all over myself half the time, I was laughing and had a great time. I especially loved the part after the workout where we had a chance to talk to Beto. His background and story of how Zumba came to be is so inspiring. He had to sell his car in order to be able to come here from Colombia to audition for a job to teach 1 class at a gym. But he did it and look at how huge Zumba is today! It’s really is a testament to following your dreams and believing in yourself no matter what the cost.Beto Perez Zumba
6. The Future of Blogging with Jessica Matthews: Not only does Jessica have a ton of knowledge to share, but she is also hilarious. Her session delved into how blogging has evolved over time. What we used to think of as a blog has morphed into so much more and can be anything from writing our day-to-day activities to content curation to vlogging to micro-blogging via social media. It gave me so much to think about in terms of where I hope to take my own blog in the future. Essence of Blogging QuoteI also had the opportunity to talk to Jess after, which was so helpful. Part of her job is writing for websites like SHAPE and ACE as well as other publications. As I’ve said before, my job involves marketing, blogging, and social media for a San Diego based gym and I also write press releases, blog posts, and handle social media part-time for a few travel/hospitality companies. By the time I’m done writing for all of my jobs and handling social media for multiple companies, the last thing I want to do when I get home is write more for my own blog even though I love it. I’m just worn out on writing by that point. Luckily, she gave me some pointers and a lot of options to think about.

7. SEO Tips & Tricks with Sara Downey Robinson: This session was probably jam packed with the most information and I loved that! Even though I know a fair amount about SEO, it was super helpful to have certain points reiterated and I learned so many things I haven’t yet put into practice. Now, it’s just a matter of actually doing it. SEO is a necessary evil if you want to grow any website. A few resources she mentioned if you want to learn more about SEO: Hubspot and Moz.

8. BODYSHRED workout with JILLIAN FREAKING MICHAELS!!!: This had to be the highlight of IDEA World for me personally. I have loved Jillian Michaels since I was in high school. I’ve watched her on the Biggest Loser, done her workout DVDs, and love her podcast. To have the opportunity to exercise less than 20 feet away from her was a serious life goal accomplished. She is just as amazing and motivating as she seems and the workout was the perfect mix of strength and cardio.Bodyshred Jillian Michaels(shout out to the girl who took at least 20 selfies with Jillian!)

9. Blogfest Networking Party: Like I said earlier, I am pretty introverted overall which makes meeting new people difficult sometimes as it takes me a while to warm up to people. Because of this, I was nervous about going to the Networking Party. Luckily, everyone was so open and inviting and I had no trouble chatting it up with several other bloggers (who I’m sure were also nervous about meeting new people). I especially like the part where we played a game where we grabbed a random question and had to ask it to 10 different people. It helped to break the ice and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise talked to.

10. Hot Topics in the Saddle with Amy Dixon: Amy is a powerhouse Equinox instructor and actually won Group Fitness Instructor of the Year at the IDEA Opening Ceremonies! After taking a session with her on hot topics and new trends in indoor cycling, I can definitely see why she won the award. She has a wealth of knowledge and brings a great energy to her classes. After going over various topics/trends in indoor cycling (i.e. heart rate monitoring, upper body strength training on the bike, etc.), she put us through a vigorous 45 minute workout on the bike. Her cueing was on point, her motivating words helped to push us to our limits, and she made the class so much fun. I left DRIPPING in sweat. I hope to be half the instructor she is one day.As I’m sure you can tell, I had a ton of fun and learned SO SO SO much information. I can’t wait to start applying it all to my blog/job. I’ve wanted to come to Blogfest ever since I saw everyone’s recaps last year and I’m so grateful that I finally got the chance to. I met a ton of amazing people/bloggers and hope to continue to learn and grow from them.

A huge thanks to Sweat Pink and IDEA for putting on such a great event!

Have you ever been to any conferences/workshops for your hobby or job? If so, which one?

People who went to Blogfest/IDEA: What is the ONE best piece of information you took away from the conference?

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Do I Have to Adult?

Hello all!

Well, it seems once again that I’ve failed at my mission to begin writing on this blog more regularly. 2015 has been a jam packed year for me and, while I’m grateful for the many things I’ve been able to do this year, my mind is quite jumbled and exhausted by the end of each day with the sheer amount of stuff I have to do. Some days, the thought of having to throw on clothes and be an actual functioning adult seems too much to do.

Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t seem like it’s going to die down anytime soon because in the 5 months that are left of the year I have 2 trips to LA planned, 1 trip to Vegas, and 2 trips back home to Delaware. And maybe a trip to Lake Tahoe thrown in there for good measure…we’ll see. Sheesh. I’ve officially declared 2016 the year of doing NOTHING. I know, I have some pretty lofty goals.

In between trips and working 2 jobs, I’ve made sure to enjoy the loveliness that is San Diego:

Hiking at Cuyamaca State Park followed by a picnic lunch:
Walking Dead Escape during Comic-Con (they setup Petco Park to look like a post-apocalyptic zombie scene and had actors who chased you around and acted out storylines. Pretty awesome. Sadly, I saw no Norman Reedus.)
Early morning workouts before work:
Ocean Beach for a day of relaxing and getting sunburnt:
A mission to find the best acai bowl San Diego has to offer:
Spin class at a local brewery aka 2 of my current favorite things combined into 1:
Dog park trips with these two:
Oh, and donuts. Of course.
Yup, that’s pretty much it.

The first of my many upcoming trips is at the end of this week to BLOGFEST and IDEA WORLD in LA!BlogfestEek! I’m hoping it will give me the kick in the butt that I need to start working on my blog more. I also write a blog for the gym I work at, so it will be helpful for work purposes also. I can’t wait! Ed will be joining me on Saturday & Sunday since he’s never been to LA before, so it should be an awesome trip!

Is anyone else going to Blogfest/IDEA World? I would love to meet some fellow bloggers/health & fitness lovers!

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Well, hello there!

Holy crap, I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I’ve updated my blog. I feel like a slacker in a major way. I know everyone uses this excuse, but I’ve been extremely busy over the last few months (with all good things, luckily!) and it’s caused me to put this blog on the backburner for a little while. But I’m happy to report that I’m officially back with a vengeance! I have so much to update you guys on over the last few months and I’m so excited to catch up!

Okay, let me just do a quick overview of everything that’s happened over the past few months – I trained for and competed in my first NPC bikini competition, Ed got a new job in IT, I ran a half marathon at the end of May, and I got a part-time job doing PR/marketing for travel and hospitality companies. All of this in addition to still becoming acclimated to living in San Diego and still getting the hang of my (somewhat new) full-time job has been a lot to handle to say the least, but I’m not complaining because I realize how lucky we are that all of these things have been wonderful and exciting developments.

So first things first, my NPC bikini competition. I plan on doing a series of posts relating to this because it truly did consume much of my time and my mind for the 16 weeks I was preparing for it.
NPC - Outside shotIt was something that I’ve thought about doing for YEARS now and a few of my coworkers were competing in one, so I figured I’d finally take the plunge since I had so much help and support from people who had previously done them.NPC - Mint Quest Bar(the joy I had from eating that first Quest bar post-comp can never be fully explained)

I’m going to write a few posts on why I decided to train for one, what my prep was like (i.e. what types of food I ate, my workout plan, my mindset), how the competition went, and my post-competition thoughts and feelings. Spoiler alert: it was a difficult few months filled with lots of early morning wakeup calls, meal prepping, some tears, and plenty of freak-outs.
NPC - Early Morning Training (3:30am wakeup call = gym all to yourself)

While training for that, Ed was fortunate enough to find a job he loves in his industry. This was such a blessing because he now finally a consistent schedule and we get to spend the weekends together! A little after he started his new job, I received the opportunity to work part-time doing PR/marketing/social media for a few travel and hospitality companies. I wasn’t looking to add on another job at the time, but it fell into my lap and it’s something that I think will be a great opportunity and help me to grow in my field so I decided to take it. Fortunately, it’s all done virtually so I’m able to work from the comfort of my home whenever I have spare time so that cuts down somewhat on the stress of having 2 jobs.

And as if training for a NPC competition wasn’t enough, I started half marathon training IMMEDIATELY after my competition. I couldn’t train for them simultaneously since endurance training breaks down your muscles and I was trying to build muscle for the competition. I realize this probably wasn’t the smartest idea since I only had 3 weeks before the half marathon to train, but I’ve always wanted to run a Rock N’ Roll race and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run RnR San Diego. I will be doing another post on how I trained in such a short timeframe and a full race recap.
RnR - AfterPhew, okay I think that’s pretty much everything big that’s happened since we last talked. Like I said, I’ll be elaborating more on my bikini competition and half marathon since there was a lot involved with training and competing in both of those.

What’s been going on with you guys? Any fun and exciting news?

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