#MDBlog Blogger Dinner Recap

Y’all, I’ve failed you as a blogger lately. Life is just busy, so busy I almost forgot to renew my hosting and my blog almost died a sad, anti-climactic bloggy death. Alas, I fixed it. I’m not done with you yet blogosphere. 

Earlier this week, I paid a stupid amount of money to GoDaddy to restore my blog from that anti-climactic death. My credit card had some fraud and I forgot to update the card. I saw the emails but omg. I failed my blog. Ish happens. You get it.

Since I paid all that bling, I’m committed to doing better. You see, this was all perfect timing for me to get a kick in the bloggy butt.

MD Blogger Dinner

I’ve been slightly active in an Instagram pod with some local Maryland bloggers. Earlier this week, we got together to have dinner at Alexandra’s Restaurant at the  Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City (beautiful by the way!) to talk blogging and make new friends.

turf valley ellicott city md

Because really, what else do you do when you’re around people who – full time or hobbyists – do the same thing as you do? We talked blogging and social media.

turf valley resort ellicott city md

In addition to the fantastic company, we had some delicious food – the meal was Mediterranean dips with pita, buffalo cauliflower with goat cheese and crab sliders. And of course, it would be a blogger event without some adorable swag bags. 

MD Blogger dinner

[Many thanks to Visit Howard County for the adorable swag bags!]

So many thanks to all the fantastic bloggers: Theresa (who set the shin dig up!), Fadra, Jess, Sara, Tanvi, Christy, Alicia, Fatima, Shelly, Pam & Terri, Liza, and Jennifer.

Re-Inspired

That all being said, I’m…inspired y’all and I want to do more with my little corner of the internet. I think I might finally be kicking this rut goodbye! 

If you remember, my blog, back in its heyday six, seven even eight years ago, help me take part in so many fantastic opportunities. I went to conferences. I worked with some pretty spectacular brands.  I tried, back in those good ole days to make as an influencer before influencers were really a thing. 

But friends, while this blog is never ever going to produce thousands of dollars in income or have a large email list, I do want to be more active on my facebook page (because I spend far too many hours on there anyhow), instagram more (because…outfit selfies) and I have some video blogging goals friends – thats right. I’m figuring out how to incorporate it but sometimes? Writing is just too much. I want to nurture my audience the way bloggers should. The blogger dinner reminded me just why I love marketing and social media and blogging to begin with – the community. It’s just a community that needs a little more nurturing.

[Disclosure: Though we did receive dinner and swag for freesies, all opinions of the businesses involved with our Blogger Dinner/meet up are my own] 

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August Must Have Box

I have been lusting over the must have boxes for a while. I like getting packages, I like getting fun mail and this? This was a fun surprise. I’m constantly seeing the Must Have boxes promoted so I’m so excited I received one and am able to review it for you all!

This month’s theme was Celebrate – a special box because the POPSUGAR Must Have box turns FIVE this month! Lisa Sugar and her team of editors have been curating their favorite items for five. freakin’. years. This month has some of Lisa’s favorite brand obsessions to celebrate – birthday style!

Additionally, in celebration of five fantastic years, POPSUGAR is running a different giveaway where each week a limited number of subscribers can be eligible to win products from brands like Kendra Scott, Tarte Cosmetics, and FIVE grand prize winners (!!!) that will win something from Cambridge Satchel Co and a 1 year subscription to Must Have. Yes, please.

So what was in the August  MUST HAVE box?

…All sorts of fun stuff! Check it out…

Meri Meri Gold glitter candles | Fringe Studio Free Spirit Journal (sponsored by Jeep!) | First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask | Dogeared Friendship bracelet with small open heart | Goodie Girl Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free!) | Shoptiques.com gift card | Pastel Cheers Lacquered Tray ]

Seriously – this stuff is so fun. The journal will definitely come in good use for me…

popsugar must have box

As will the Shoptiques gift card. Free money? Absolutely, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

shoptiques

While bracelets aren’t my favorite, this bracelet from Dogeared is so pretty and understated. I’m a big fan.

friendship bracelet

And little man has already tried snagging those cookies multiple times – I’m saving them for Wednesday when I’m done with this Body Back session.

gluten free cookies

Want to enjoy all these fun, celebratory goodies? Maybe you have a pal celebrating a birthday (subscription boxes make FANTASTIC gifts!)? You can get your celebratory Must Have box here – use code PARTY for $10 off! 

[Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary Must Have Box from POPSUGAR. All opinions here are my own. ]

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WHAT I WORE: Summer Florals

Mostly in summer, I tend to wear a lot of dresses. But occasionally, I’ll sport pants on the days when it’s not sweat-your-tuckus off hot. White jeans are great for casual Friday, and most often, I’ll sport black pants for the every day.

When I saw this peplum back top on Audrey’s blog earlier this summer and I bought it up in 3 colors – black floral, red floral and white. Mostly because, like I’ve said, I like to buy things in multiples. Which I do. Often. (I have no shame in admitting this.)

 

I dressed it up with a pair of nice black ponte pants (that were too hot for the weather outside. WHOOPS) but because this top is black, you can sport it with any number of bottoms – white, olive or maroon.

And because I’m original (NOT) I love the black and white look of this same top… in white. With black pants and a pop of cognac with the shoes (though today I’m rocking leopard print heels)

(Also this pic totally captures my summer ‘do that I recently got updated. So fresh and delightfully blonde!)

As for the fit, definitely size down – the black top is a small (though tight in the arms) and the white is a medium but it’s a touch big in the body. Some colors are currently on sale for $29.90 so snatch it up! It’s a great transition/summer piece that I’m sure I’ll be sporting well through the fall even with a bright cardigan.

Summer Florals
Happy Monday my friends! 

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Currently | August

How are we already in August??? Seriously? Where has time gone?!

Anyhow, first Wednesday of the month means it’s time for the Currently Linkup with Anne and her co-host to share what we’re currently up to!

snacking (on) | All of the body back snacks. My favorites? Apple slices and peanut butter (i’m a big fan of the Mott’s pre-sliced organic apples because there is nothing I loathe more than slicing apples). Kudos to me for sticking to my strawberry/cream cheese and toast afternoon snack the other day instead of indulging in left over office cake.

anticipating | “Vacation.” I’ve said repeatedly that going to Connecticut to see family isn’t always a vacation for me – vacation this year was our Disney trip and it was delightful. But since our budget is tight and we couldn’t pull off our Delaware beach weekend for Labor Day, we’re considering a weekend up north and making a day trip to Naragasett in Rhode Island, and obviously tracking down all the fun things with little man because there are many fantastic parks up there.

borrowing | so many library books. My digital hold list is maxed out and I’m plowing through books faster than a dump truck in a snow storm. Recently finished Small Admissions, currently reading The Light We Lost and Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty (because I love a good Lianne Moriarty book! I started this when I was waiting for some books to come up from my hold list), next up: Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue.

admiring | All of my fellow Body Back mamas. Seriously, these women kick some serious butt. This program is no joke and these mamas are driven, motivating and just fantastic to spend two hours a week with. I’m in some serious admiration of these fantastic women.

purchasing | a new curling iron. After my stylist curled my hair so fantastically, I’m really trying to learn how to do that ish on my own…so I’m on the prowl. We’ll disregard my fun finds from the Nordstrom sale 😉

What are you currently up to?

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VLOG: Audacious Goals

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals lately. I have many of them – become marketing director at my company (which I finally told my boss about yesterday – talk about putting yourself out there!), run a sub 1 hour 10k (which I told my running coach about the other day), do a real pushup, run marathon #5 and bike 100 miles…among many others.

The thing is, without sharing your goals, as I learned back in my lululemon days, no one can support you in achieving them. So share them with your support network – family, friends. Find an accountability-buddy to push you to accomplish them.

So after I did my core & lower body workout the other day, I was inspired to put my goals out there in my first ever video blog as part of my blogging goals which is really to evolve – adopt either podcasting or vlogging regularly and get more video marketing skills. I think that’s where the engagement is at and I want to put myself out there more to attract more opportunities as a blogger.

 

It’s a work in progress and a bit rambly. But I’d love your feedback on it!

What are your big audacious goals?

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Weekly Workouts

Friends, we’re up to Body Back week 4. This past week, I fit in 2 of my 3 at home workouts (missing my core workout….FAIL), getting in 2 runs for a total of 8.5 miles for the week, and 3 solid HIIT/total body workouts – 2 of those being my weekly body back classes. I’m feeling stronger, faster, and definitely better. Shit’s certainly fitting me better which is a nice change of pace even though I’m down only ~ 3 lbs (remember, muscle weighs more than fat).

The heat and little man’s bed time challenges affected me the most this week, but my workouts looked like: monday – run; Tuesday/Thursday Body Back; Saturday – run; Sunday – total body.

Wednesday and Friday were off days – unintentionally but Friday I got to catch up with a gal pal and her new baby so that was entirely worth it because sometimes you just need some girl time.

workouts

This is week is a little more challenging workout wise, especially with my running,  since Hubs has drill this weekend and it’s hotter than eff outside all week. We all know I’m not a morning runner, so challenges abound on that front. We’ve also been working on an earlier bedtime for little man – which certainly helped Monday’s run happen – but when it’s still 85 degrees at 8pm, my runs are often effed before I even get out the door.

MondayRun 3.5 (Done)
TuesdayBody Back (Done)
Wednesday – Run 3 OR Total Body (depending on when Hubs gets back from our community organization meeting)
Thursday – Body Back
Friday – Run 3-4
Saturday – TB OR Run 7
Sunday – Core & Legs

I am SUPER jazzed btw! I signed up for the  Fit4Mom Severn Run Club that starts up in August! My coach & Body Back instructor asked what my goals were and I went big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG – bringing it back from my lululemon days!): I WILL hit a sub 1 hour 10k by the end of the year. Maybe it’s the group race, maybe it’s my relay leg for the Baltimore marathon relay or maybe I sign up for the Across the Bay 10k as a last ditch effort but that’s my goal.

I think it can be done. Especially if I’m not running in swamp like conditions for 2/3 of my training.

What’s your big hairy audacious goal? Any fun workouts this week friends? 

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Weekly Workouts

So we’re into Body Back week 3 – I’ve done okay with my workouts, though last week I only got in one day of running, One Body Back class (Tuesday night was canceled because of the 4th), 1 core workout, and two total body workouts. Not the mileage I should be at (I really need to get to three running days and 1 biking day) but in general, I feel stronger.

workouts

Here are my workouts for the week: 

Monday – Run 3
Tuesday – Body Back class
Wednesday – Run & Core video
Thursday – Body Back  class
Friday – Total Body Workout
Saturday – Run 5
Sunday – Either Bike 12 OR pop down to Annapolis for an Annapolis Fit 4 Mom Body Back workout on the beach. I can never say no to a beach workout.

As for eating last week? Ugh, I totally torpedo’ed my weekend food and drink-wise. I mean, I guess I could have eaten worse in Boston when my sister and I were there for a concert, but I certainly didn’t make GREAT choices – especially at the show (I didn’t really need that glass of wine – but after getting down poured on…I made a bad decision). Upon getting home Sunday, I was so exhausted (early flights and a bad’s night sleep) that I just kind of forgot to eat really? We didn’t have a solid lunch and dinner was late and no snacks.

I’m doubling down for the remaining 6 weeks of this to really hit my goal to be OUT of the 150’s by the end of this and to run a sub 2-hour race at the Annapolis ten miler. My long runs are going to be dicey since 4 out of the next 7 weekends (the race is on the 7th weekend) we have either drill weekend (solo parenting ftw!), a trip (we have a trip to CT planned in August) and the weekend right before the race is Iron Girl so no, I probably won’t run 9 miles the day before doing a hilly 16 mile bike ride. #justsaying.

I’ll hit 6 this weekend, probably 5 next (likely treadmilling it), 7.5 the week after, 5 the following (treadmill), 8.5 in CT and then 6 before Iron Girl. It’s not the ideal training plan but summer training is hard man.

Anyhow, all told, I definitely feel stronger, especially during my runs. Last night I ran after dinner while hubs put E to bed and though I’m still relying on my 4 and 1 intervals (partly because I’m still breaking in my sneaks) I feel stronger when I run so there’s that and really, stronger is the goal 🙂

How are you getting your sweat on this week? 

 

 

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Sidewalk Skirt Casual

Monday was a pseudo-casual Monday since it was a half-day before the Tuesday holiday. Needless to say, it was a perfect opportunity to bust out one of my favorite skirts. This is a little more casual than I usually go for a non-friday, but like I said, half day and half the office was off for the day so why not?

[skirt (on sale!)  | Tee | Necklace | Sandals (old, similar)]

I love the sidewalk skirt for its casual dress up and dress down look. One thing I should note about my style is that when I find something I love, I tend to buy it in multiples. For instance, I have about six of these skirts – three for summer, and three for fall/winter. Same with the sidewalk dress from JCrew – I have it in five colors.

….

Whoops?

I digress, dress up with a pair of heels or dress down with sandals and a tee like I did- it’s a super versatile skirt for any weekend or business casual environment during any season 🙂

Do you have an item that you love and buy in multiples???

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Body Back Review: Week 1

So I signed up for Fit4Mom’s 8 week Body Back course. I’d been interested in this program for a while, but I finally bit the bullet since my schedule opened up for the summer. I had done stroller strides in Annapolis back before I went back to work but their evening class options were next to none (until recently) and I didn’t want to drive 25 minutes to a 5:30a workout. So I found Fit4Mom Severn, which is like 15 minutes from us and they have not one, but TWO evening body back options.

It started last week with a goal setting call, and two (separate) HIIT workouts (the classes). In addition, we were to complete 1 HIIT workout at home – I did two and fit in 2 separate runs.

The program comes with special workout videos provided by Fit4Mom, as well as a made-for-moms meal plan, and templates to track our food and workouts. Pretty comprehensive,

Workout review

The workouts are hard. I mean, shit, I know I’m weak and my upper body strength is complete garbage. I’m a runner and a wannabe biker. Strength workouts are not my m.o. Nor are HIIT workouts. I do know, however, that they are a necessary evil to getting stronger. All the research says so.

Thankfully these workouts aren’t like that – well, they are tough, but they’re also fun and I feel incredibly strong after.  The group is fun, super encouraging and the workouts are quite challenging – even our supplemental 20-30 min videos. I finished the Total Body workout last night after E went to bed and Hubs even joined me for a couple of butt kicking rounds.

This week’s workout plan:
Tuesday: Run 3.5 (Check)
Wednesday: HIIT (Check)
Thursday: Body Back Class
Friday: Run 3
Saturday: HIIT Core (before flying to Boston)
Sunday: TBD (either run or bike ride when I get home)

I should note that I’m in Boston this weekend with my sister for a concert, so I’ll do my HIIT workout first thing in the morning before I leave, and hit the run when I get back since my flights are mid-morning to Boston and early coming back on Sunday.

Meal plan

Since we know 80% of weight loss comes from diet, I was really looking forward to the meal plan part of Body Back – the recipes were compiled with a busy in mind (that’s me!!) The meals are super easy and absolutely delicious. I kind of went off plan a little bit this weekend with the family. I don’t want to be a 97%-er but man, weekends in the summer are going to be tough. I indulged (mostly in kiddie-sized ice cream), but I fit in my workouts and kept to my meal plan MOST of the time and meal planned the shiz out of this week. I even packed us super healthy lunches to bring to the pool on Sunday so that was something right?

body back week 1

 

Results so far

So it’s super early but I’m down about 2.4 lbs and on twice now I’ve run a sub 12 min mile (mostly) consistently for 3.5 miles – granted it was 80 degrees and I did 4/1 intervals to account for the terrible heat/humidity *even at 8a – will I never learn?!* I know what matters most is going to be the inches lost at the end of this all but I feel really good. Because I know someone is checking out my food journal 1-2x per week, I know I need to stay #accountable.

All things told, I’m pretty pleased so far. Stay tuned for an update halfway mark and at the end of the program to see how it turns out!

Have you done any of the Fit4Mom programs? 

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Currently | July

Happy Wednesday friends!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend, it’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the currently link up with Anne and Stephanie from Wife, Mommy, Me. Join the linkup on the first Wednesday of each month to share what you’re currently up to!

documenting | my eating habits. Thanks to my Body Back class, we write down our food, and it’s really held me accountable to what I’m putting in my mouth – and making sure that I’m properly fueling myself. Because my food journal gets checked out twice per week, it’s that extra accountability that I think I’ve needed.

accomplishing | Lots of workouts. I started training for the Annapolis Ten Miler at the end of August, plus with the HIIT classes from Body Back, I’ve been feeling super accomplished. The only thing left to do is get my bike out and get to some more spin classes to be ready for Iron Girl (a week before the Annapolis 10 Miler) as I’m the bike portion of a relay team!

enjoying | Quality family time. We really enjoyed the weekend – had some quality family time on Saturday at Port Discovery in Baltimore and then the pool Saturday evening, and then Sunday with friends at a local splash pad. I’m a huge fan of summer and though we didn’t make it to the beach this weekend, the family time with my boys was on. point.

reading | Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. His first two books (Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend) are hilarious and this continues the story. I have about a week to finish it off before I lose my digital download but so far it’s pretty good.

spending | I’m actually trying to limit my spending on clothing until after Body Back is done in August but I do need a new pair of white jeans so I’m looking to replace those (sooner than later! They’re a summer staple for me!).

What are YOU currently up to? 

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