Where’s the Blogging?

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Blogging, you say?  Hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar…

We’re a little over nine weeks into 2015 and this is my first post of the year, and there were only 15 posts last year.  I’m pretty sure they’re going to revoke my blogger credentials soon.  So I signed up for a blogging conference, because that makes total sense when you haven’t been blogging much, right?

I recently found out that a couple of local gals, Lauren (Lauren’s Latest) and Christie (Blake & Co. Events), have organized Indulge Conference right her in Portland!

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Part of what sealed the deal for me is that Bev (Bev Cooks) and Kristen (Dine & Dish, Red Faced Runners) are both speaking, and I love them.  However, you’ll notice this is a conference for food bloggers and that’s not exactly how I’d classify myself.  Sure, I love food and I enjoy posting about local restaurants, but I’m not the greatest at cooking food or coming up with my own recipes, although I’d love to get more into that with the way we’re trying to eat healthier these days (a post on Whole30 is coming soon).

It’s intimidating to see some of the bloggers who are coming because they are LEGIT food bloggers, geniuses that make up their own recipes, work with major brands, post 3-5 times a week, and have a bazillion followers.  Not that I should compare where I’m at now with where they’re at now, I’m pretty sure blogging is a full time job for most of them and it’s not for me and that’s okay.

It’s still a bit intimidating and I’m sure I’ll feel a little like an imposter (has anyone seen my self-confidence, I seem to have lost it, haha), but I’m looking for some blogging inspiration and this sounds perfect.  They also posted this about the conference on the website…

  • Are you a food blogger? (new or experienced)
  • Have you heard about the delicious Portland food scene? 
  • Have you ever traveled here to experience it yourself?
  • Do you like connecting with your food-loving-picture-taking virtual co-workers face to face instead of online?
  • Do you like being inspired by others?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Indulge Conference is for YOU!

…and I can definitely answer new—yes—everyday—yes—yes, so I totally belong, right?

Anyone else planning to go to #IndulgeConPDX?

You can find our more on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  They were about 75% sold out a few days ago, so if you’re interested, get your ticket quick!  And then let me know you’re going so we can plan to meet 😀

FitBloggin’ 13 – Day 4 (of 4)

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The final day of FitBloggin’ 13!

Got to Portland around 6:45 and the streets were quiet and empty.

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But not for long because it was time for the FUN RUN!!

Lindsay and I walked the 5k route that followed The Eastbank Esplanade-Tom McCall Waterfront park loop which takes you along the water and over two bridges.  It’s a great route and it was a gorgeous day!

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I wore my pretty new Reebok Nanos for our walk and it was around this point that I noticed the backs of my ankles were getting irritated.  The back of the shoe comes up farther than I’m used to and I just wore my usual low rider ankle socks which was probably a mistake.

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It was around this point that I definitely started to feel pain on the backs of my ankles, especially the left one so I pulled over to check it out.  Yep, half way through a 5k walk I had developed a blister on each one and the left had popped.  Gross, I know.  Don’t worry, I’m not posting a picture!  I love the shoes so next time I’ll try them with higher socks, and maybe a double layer.

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After the fun run there was breakfast and mingling and that was it!

I was home by 10am and walked Koko.  I had a ton of fun at FitBloggin’ but I definitely missed spending time with this furry face!

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Oh yeah, I missed Mr. Won’t Run’s face too!!

Koko was pretty interested in my new cheese, but I was not sharing.  Okay fine, I shared.

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Final day of FitBloggin’ fashion was a Middle School flashback.  Saw this tank at Target and had to have it!  But who cares? No Big Deal. (“NBD” as the shirt actually says at the bottom.)

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No selfie judging allowed, it was 6am.

So there you have it, all four days of FitBloggin’ 13 fun.  Like anything, there were pros and cons, some things that were perfect and some things that could be improved upon.  Overall it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot.  I’m glad I went and I will definitely try to go next year if I can, they told us they’re considering Austin and Nashville, both of which would be so fun to explore but I think I’d need to take a few extra days for that!  Can’t wait to see what happens!

(Additional recaps: Day 1Day 2, Day 3)

FitBloggin’ 13 – Day 3 (of 4)

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I had grand plans for Day 3 of FitBloggin’ but they didn’t work out quite so well.  My plan:

And what really happened:

  • Woke up at 4:45 and started getting ready (and wished I had splurged for a room at the hotel and could have gotten up at 5:45 instead!).
  • Zoned out in the bathroom for 10 minutes hoping the pounding in my head would lighten up, the last thing I needed was a full on migraine.
  • Realized I was so far past the point of tired that my head was foggy and I kind of wanted to throw up.
  • Decided sleep was more important and there weren’t any sessions I wanted to go to until after lunch anyways.
  • Took some Ibuprofen and went back to bed.

Yeah, I’m still a little disappointed but there was just no way it was going to happen.  Friday was certainly a long day, but I’m still surprised I was SO tired.  And still sore from Pyrolates! #weak

I got to The Nines around 12:30 and talked to a few more Sponsors at the Expo and ran into Sara from Go Gingham.  She’s a local blogger and we had connected on Twitter and first met at the conference on Friday, finally snapped a picture on Saturday.  Her blog is so cute, she’s a runner (with an adorable family I got to meet on Sunday), she’s into frugal living, and she does the home swap vacation thing, like on that movie The Holiday!

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Then I ran into Shannyn from Frugal Beautiful and introduced myself.  I’ve read her blog and think she’s great; she’s into running, making smart money choices, and sharing with new bloggers what has worked for her.  We sat down to chat and were joined by Erica from Erica D House.  Both of them were presenting the next Workshop, along with Annabel from Feed Me I’m Cranky, titled “How to Create a Media Kit that Showcases Your Brand and Gets Companies Knocking on Your Door”.  So much good info in this class, all three gals knew what they were talking about!  You can read a full recap here.

Next up was a snack break sponsored by The Laughing Cow and I had my first soft cheese wedge experience.  It was pretty good!  Lindsay (Running With Tongs) and I hung out and chatted for most of the break.  I’m so glad she’s local and hope we can hang out again sometime.

It was almost time for the next session so we started heading our separate directions and I ran into Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers!  I have been reading her blog for quite a few years now and she was one of the few bloggers that I recognized on the Who’s Coming list.  We had connected a little bit on Twitter and she was so sweet when I introduced myself and gave me a big hug.  She was very warm and sweet in person and we chatted for a few minutes before we had to get to the next session.

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The final session was a discussion titled: “Getting Paid vs. Paying Blogger Dues” and was led by Leah Segedie (Bookieboo).  It was really interesting to hear from other bloggers how they work with brands and hear opinions on what’s okay to do for free and when you should charge for your work.  Lots of different opinions and it can seem like a taboo topic, sort of like discussing paychecks at your day job, but it was really interesting to hear what other bloggers are doing and what’s working for them.  You can read the full recap here.

In that class I finally met Kristin from Our Ordinary Life, and Tina from Mad Hatter Mom, they’re both local bloggers, and I also met Beeb from Beeb-Log (she writes a ton of stuff actually!) and Karen from Random Thoughts of a Suburban Mom.  I had classes with Beeb and Karen earlier but somehow didn’t realize they were local.  We all hung out until the evening festivities started at 7 which thankfully involved passed hors d’oeuvres and a nice spread of veggies, fruit, crackers, and CHEESE!  I seriously love cheese!

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The closing event was sponsored by Nutrilite and the speaker was celebrity Chef Jason Roberts who talked about the Bodykey by Nutrilite system.  I’m sure it was really interesting but between the fuzzy microphone and the whole room talking, it was pretty hard to hear him.

I felt bad for the guy actually, I felt bad for some other speakers during the conference as well.  There were a few times where people were talking among themselves or with those at their table which meant the speaker had to talk over them and it was difficult for those who wanted to listen.  It only happened a few times, but seriously!  This wasn’t a high school assembly, we were adults at a professional conference.  Yes, a fun conference, but that doesn’t mean you can be rude.  I was a little disappointed.

I was getting tired by this point in the evening and the music was loud so it was hard to talk and then the dance party started which was my cue.  My hips couldn’t find a beat if my life depended on it!

Oh yes, FitBloggin’ fashion!  You already saw my blouse pictured above, it was a shirt I got in my third StitchFix box, the one and only item I have kept so far, and mostly because it has birds on it.  I am from Portland after all!  I actually got four compliments on it that day so I guess it’s a keeper!  Today’s photo takes us out of the bathroom and waiting for the elevator, still a fuzzy iPhone pic though.

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Stay tuned for Day 4 tomorrow, it’ll be short and sweet!

(Additional recaps: Day 1, Day 2, Day 4)

FitBloggin’ 13 – Day 2 (of 4)

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Day 2 of FitBloggin’ started really early for me, but it was for a baby shower at work!  I was heading up the planning and didn’t pay attention to the date when I bought my FitBloggin’ ticket, but it worked out since I was more excited about Saturday morning’s FitBloggin’ workout options than Friday’s so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  And these are two great girls I’m happy to call friends so I didn’t want to miss it.  They might kill me for posting this picture, but how stinking cute are they??!!

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I got to the conference around 9am and immediately ran into Lindsay (Running With Tongs – a local blogger I had yet to meet in person) and Martha (Radiant Living – also local, one of the gals I speed-dated the night before).  We all headed to the 9:30 session called “Motivating Your Community To Choose Healthy Lifestyles” which was led by Andrea Wenzel (A Doctor in the House).  It was a Small Group Discussion so there was a lot of audience participation and a lot of good ideas were shared.  You can read a full recap here.

We split up after that and I headed to a Demo session from 11-12 called “How Total Gym can Change Your Life”.  Yep, the one and only Total Gym, the one I’ve wanted ever since I saw the first infomercial ages ago.  Sadly, Chuck Norris could not attend the conference, but how awesome would that have been?!!  It was really fun to see it in person and try it out and it just made me want it even more.  So… it should be arriving in a couple of weeks!  Stay tuned for more info on that, I told Mr. Won’t Run that I’m going to look like Christie Brinkley in no time, haha!

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Next up was lunch but first I had to track down a package that had been delivered to me at The Nines.  A few weeks ago I discovered Action Wipes which are “full body wet wipes for when you can’t shower” and I thought that sounded perfect for FitBloggin’.  The only problem is that I couldn’t find them anywhere.  So, I got on Twitter and asked if they were carried anywhere locally and I mentioned how great they would be for FitBloggin’,

The company shocked me by offering to overnight a box to the hotel so I could try them and share with other attendees who were in the same no-shower-but-I-need-to-freshen-up situation.  I had so much fun handing them out and of course tried them myself and think they’re great, especially the ingredients.  I’ll have a full post about them soon to tell you more!  No, I don’t sell them or work for the company, I just think they’re awesome and like sharing awesome stuff!

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After I got the package I headed to grab some lunch which was a nice spread of fruit salad, macaroni salad, and sandwich fixings which some turned into salad fixings.  I got to lunch late and the tables were packed so I just stood in the back.  My nerves got the best of me and I didn’t want to try and maneuver my way through the tables with my bag and my food to find a seat.  Thankfully Sam (Life is Bangin’) showed up and we stood in the back together.  There was also a fun fashion show that I didn’t get any photos of because I was eating while standing and I only have two hands.  I’m not that coordinated.

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After lunch it was a two hour Workshop called “Writing the Perfect Pitch” which was run by Kymberly Williams-Evans & Alexandra Williams (the twin sisters of Fun and Fit), Jamie Walker (founder of FitApproach & SweatGuru), and Margo Donohue (Brooklyn Fit Chick).  Lots of good info and you can read a full recap here.

Next was a snack break sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds that I somehow missed.  I’m not sure where in the world I was and the photo-timeline on my phone isn’t jogging my memory!

Next was an hour long session called “Optimizing Your Post-Game Nutrition” which was presented by Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD (yes, her last name is Bazilian which is the coolest thing ever!).  She was there with Refuel (Got Chocolate Milk) so it was all about chocolate milk and how research is finding it to be an amazing sports recovery drink since it already has that golden 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, along with some other great stuff.  You can read a full recap here.

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In that session I met Alyssa (one of the two sisters at Double Chin Diary) and Erin (Living Made Healthy) who happens to be newly pregnant – yay!

The last hour long session of the day was “Turning your blog into a business: Key to Monetizing Your Work” presented by Laura Yamin and Sarah Beeskow of ShareASale.  This was a great class for me because I am affiliated with a few companies now through ShareASale and there is so much I didn’t even know that I could do with it so I’m excited to play around with it some more.  You can read a full recap here.

After the last session there was an hour to kill before the evening festivities at 7pm and of course my phone battery was very close to dead.  Amana was sponsoring a recharge suite but they were already closed down, however, I ran into Craig who was one of the guys running the suite and he was killing some time as well and let me borrow his charger and we had a great chat while I got my phone up to 40%.

The evening event was called Ignite Fitness and it was sponsored by Attune Foods & Driscoll’s Berries with a yogurt Parfait Bar!  The parfait was delicious and such a fun idea – mine was like a soda pop graveyard drink, it had a little bit of everything in it:

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Fruit, chocolate, coconut, honey, cereal, and a little yogurt in there somewhere!

The speakers for Ignite Fitness were fifteen bloggers who had five minutes each to share whatever they wanted with a slideshow presentation.  It could be about their journey or their fitness philosophies, really whatever they wanted, but it was all about motivating (igniting) others.  You can see the video here.

I hung out with Sam again and we both left before the Karaoke started but I heard it was a lot of fun!  Sam had plans with her boyfriend who came to Portland with her, and I was dead tired after getting up at 5am which is not my usual so it was a long day.

Oh, want to see what I wore for Day 2?  It’s another bathroom iPhone pic, but here you go… denim shirt from Old Navy (is that called chambray??) with a black tank underneath, black & white striped skirt from Target, black flats.  I had just dried my hands and am still holding the paper towel – I’m all about classy selfies, haha!

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Can you believe we’re only through the Day 2 recap?  So much was packed in to four days!

(Additional recaps: Day 1, Day 3, Day 4)

FitBloggin’ 13 – Day 1 (of 4)

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You know that feeling when you get home from camp and your crazy excitement turns into exhaustion which turns into a sad funk?  Yeah, that’s what happens after blog conferences too.

It’s so exciting to meet new people and learn new stuff and your head fills with all the possibilities, and then it’s over.  Just like that.

The new friends are gone and now it’s time to implement everything you learned which is exciting and overwhelming.  Returning to the grind of a 9-5 day job can be a rough transition back to reality, although in my case, I’m left with a taste of that motivation and I am determined to work that much harder on my health, my fitness, and my blog.

Needless to say, FitBloggin 13 was amazing!

I got off work early on Thursday to attend a Pyrolates (Lagree Fitness) class at Firebrand Sports in Portland.  This wasn’t a conference sponsored event, but a local FitBloggin’ attendee, Katrina (Funky Fitness PDX), had an in with the owner and got a class set up for a dozen of us.  The first person I met was Sam (Life is Bangin’) and we both had the same idea – to start things off with a small group so that when the conference actually started we’d know a few people.  Us self-professed socially inept introverts think alike!

Firebrand was a really cool place with bikes on the wall, a Human healthy foods vending machine, a fun Portland painting, a great workout space, and the owner/teacher, Sarah Stimac, was really nice.

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Pyrolates was hard.  No really, it was HARD.  It was an hour long class and I only made it through about 40 minutes, maybe less.  I was shaking with the first plank move we did and then I got to that point where if I pushed myself farther I was absolutely going to puke.

I checked out the garbage can situation and it did not have an open top, it was one of those enclosed ones with a small opening on the side.  Definitely not conducive to puking so I called it quits and was then sore for days.  No really, sore for DAYS!

Thankfully there was a little Portland Juice Press station in the lobby and I asked if they had anything with ginger in the hopes that it would ease the nausea.  It did, and it was delicious!

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After class I headed to The Nines for check-in!

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When we checked in we got a Reebok bag STUFFED with gifts from the various brands sponsoring the conference, and then we explored the Expo area where each Brand had their own table set up and you could chat with them and they’d give you more free stuff.  I’ll admit it, the free stuff is fun, but blog conferences are about so much more than that!

The first table was Reebok and they gave everyone a pair of Crossfit Nano 2.0 shoes AND a tank top.  Crazy generous!  All the brands were generous and it was fun talking to them and learning more about their company, their product, and the ways that they work with bloggers.

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The other great sponsors: Nutrilite, Amana, Blue Diamond Almonds, Total Gym, Soy Protein, Manitoba Harvest, The Laughing Cow, Nature Made, SoyJoy, Enell (sports bras), Taffy, Now, Refuel (chocolate milk), Jump Sport, Driscoll’s, Attune Foods, Shareasale, Sworkit, Hot Chocolate 15/5k (totally want to run this next year), and Handful (sports bras).

Eventually everyone congregated in the ballroom where there were sushi and veggies to snack on while you decorated your nametag, worked your way through a scavenger hunt list of questions to ask people, and filled out some cards (anonymously) telling what you were most excited about and what you were most nervous about.  Then we did some mixers which were lead by Susan Ito (Food Food Body Body), who I was told is a real life camp director so if that’s true she was totally in her element.  She did a great job wrangling us.

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The first mixer was for everyone to group together by zip code and make a big circle in order of smallest to largest.  Those of us that started with 9 found each other and got lined up.  Apparently a lot of what Roni (the conference organizer) did was organized by zip code so now she could put faces with numbers.  It was also a great idea because you found out who was from your general area.

Then they went around and passed out the excited/nervous cards we filled out earlier and they were read out loud.  This was helpful because so many of them were the same and it made you feel not as alone once you knew that everyone was nervous about meeting new people and feeling left out.

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After that came speed-dating!  The chairs were set up with an inner circle and an outer circle so you were facing someone and you could chat and answer the question that Susan threw out there.  Then the people in the outer circle would rotate counter-clockwise and you’d be looking at a new person to chat with.  I thought it was a great idea and these were the beautiful ladies I had the pleasure of dating:

Brittany – My Own Balance
Rachelle – Livin the Sweat Life
Margo – Nacho Mama’s Blog
Melissa – PR Rep with JayBird (Bluetooth headphones/ear buds)
Sarah – Losing Weight and Having Fun
Martha – Radiant Living

After speed-dating was over, we got in a big circle around the chairs we had just been sitting in and Samantha (Simplifying Sam) lead us in a little dance session with some vogue-ing and some shimmying; she’s a Zumba instructor and she knows how to boogie for sure!  My hips have no idea how to move like that, but some gals (cough…Brittany & Melissa…cough) had some major dance skills.  I was quite jealous!

And that was Day 1, although I’m pretty sure I have forgotten a lot of things already.

Oh, since I’m such a fashionista (ha!), want to see what I wore?  No time to change after Pyrolates so I put a t-shirt on over my tank and Target C9 yoga pants and called it good.
The shirt is Old Navy and says:
KNOW
SWEAT
KNOW
FUN

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Hot, right?  That’s the other nice thing about this conference, with the morning workouts there isn’t always time to get showered and changed before the sessions start so a lot of people are in their workout clothes all day long and that’s perfectly okay.  It’s not at all about looking fancy with the perfect makeup.  Thank goodness!

However, it would be nice to wipe down and not feel stinky!  That’s where Action Wipes come in handy and I’ll tell you more about them tomorrow!

Not sure why I thought I could fit my entire re-cap into one post.  If you don’t already know, I like to share every detail, haha!  Come back tomorrow for Day 2!

ETA: I knew I was forgetting something!  After Pyrolates I met up with some lovely ladies at Departure, the 15th floor rooftop bar at The Nines – Erika (Bein’ Rizzy), Heather (Yummy Sushi Pajamas), and Deb (Weight for Deb)!

(Additional recaps: Day 2, Day 3, Day 4)

Headed to FitBloggin’13

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Besides my daily healthy goals, another way I’m hoping to jumpstart this healthy/fit living is by attending FitBloggin’13!  What better place to get inspired and motivated than a healthy living blogging conference?

 

I had heard of FitBloggin’ before and was really excited to see that it was in Portland this year but I wasn’t totally sure it was for me.  I said as much on Twitter, that I was afraid I’d feel like a poser since I’m not super fit, and FitBloggin responded that it’s a conference for anyone interested in fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle, and not at all dependent upon your current fitness level.

Thank goodness for that!

The other thing holding me back was the price.  These conferences are expensive, even if you don’t need to pay for airfare, lodging, or a rental car.  I get it though, they have to pay for the venue, the food, the speakers, the swag.  It’s money well spent but it’s still spending money and I’m trying my best to be better in that area of my life as well.  So, I had decided I’d have to pass this year and put it on the wish-list for 2014.

But then… I was on Twitter one night and saw that a fellow Oregon blogger, Kristin from Our Ordinary Life, had posted a link to a blog post where she had a 40% off discount code.  Now, if you’re on Twitter and you follow more than 10 people you know that it’s impossible to keep up with every tweet in your feed.  So when I get on I don’t scroll down too far, I just see what’s happening at that moment and maybe check out a few specific tweeters to see if I missed anything good from them.  So, the fact that I saw this tweet from Kristin was a sign, it had to be, right?!  Her tweet went out when I’d be sure to see it, and it was a discount code, so that meant I was supposed to go.

Makes perfect sense!

I checked out the FitBloggin’ website and saw a list of who was coming and it showed Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers and that sealed the deal for me.  Recently I mentioned that Julie’s was the first fitness blog I really started reading so I’m really hoping she’s really going because I’d really love to meet her!  Yes, that was a lot of reallys.

So I bought my ticket and immediately got butterflies in my stomach.

Then I started connecting with other attendees on Twitter and the FB group and found out that everyone is a little bit nervous.  And others are feeling the same way I am about my blog not being big/good enough and my fitness level not being at Superwoman level (no marathons under my belt, not even a 5k), but we’re all excited to meet each other and the whole point of a conference is to learn and grow.  I was excited before but I’m even more excited now that I know my feelings are normal!  A conference is still completely out of my comfort zone but it’ll be a good thing and I can’t wait.

I’ll be pushed out of my exercise comfort zone as well and will be trying out a Pyrolates class as well as a JumpSport Fitness Trampoline class (I guess my Grandma was onto something with that mini trampoline 25 years ago?).  I am equal parts excited and terrified for both of those.

I just don’t want to puke!  Especially not in front of others.  Or on others.

That would be terrible.

There are a lot of fun sponsors that will be there as well and I think the one I’m most excited for is Total Gym.  I have loved Chuck Norris ever since Walker Texas Ranger and I have wanted a Total Gym ever since I first saw the infomercial, probably in high school.  Never bought my own (pricey!) or even used one but it looks so fun!  No, Chuck won’t be there, I asked but knew it was a long shot, haha!  I’m still very excited to check it out.

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There are other sponsors I’m excited about as well, but also a few I’m apprehensive about.  I’m trying my best to be an informed consumer and make educated choices, and the more I learn about some of the ingredients in the foods we eat and the products we use, the more concerned I become.  I don’t feel like I’m an alarmist or a conspiracy theorist, and I’m not a scientist, but it seems hard to deny the probable connection between these apparently toxic ingredients and today’s rising issues with allergies, cancers, infertility, etc.

I’d rather err on the side of caution, but how to you respectfully inquire at a conference about a sponsor’s ingredients and their stances on things like bovine growth hormones and GMOs, and why do they still use ingredients that the EU and other countries have banned (even though our FDA approved it).  Knowing me and my “love” of conflict and debate, I’ll probably just smile and say thanks and not even bring it up, but who knows, maybe I’ll surprise myself.

And I say all of that fully realizing that I am FAR from perfect.  Just the other day I was at the grocery store and I passed on a certain product because of GMOs, but then I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home.  Hypocrite much?

Like I said… work in progress!

Have you been to a conference like this?

Ever asked a sponsor/brand the tough questions?