October 2014 Recap

Happy (almost) Halloween! (depending on when you read this)! Looking for last minute costume ideas? Check out this post from the past. If you are going out, be safe and be warm!

  • I’m thankful that the weather has stayed nice this month, so my Traveling Art Pub painting still looks relevant. Pretty soon I’ll have to hang up winter pictures.

Traveling Art Pub Selfie

  • I’m still working on the Couch to 5k program. And the Sketchers sports bra is still calling my name.Sketches Breast Cancer Ribbon
  • If you don’t have plans for the weekend, here is where I talked about what I’m loving on Netflix.

What to Netflix this WeekendIn case you have a wedding still this year, or if your friend just got engaged and you think you might be a personal attendant, this list will help you understand what your duties might be.

Steve Jobs Quote Keep Looking

Bloggers, what was your favorite post from your blog this month? Share the link in case I missed it!

Readers, are you doing anything for Halloween? Or are you as hungry for Thanksgiving as I am?

Late Fall Workout Routine

The weather is starting to cool, so the outdoor runs that I’ve been squeezing in are going to take a little LOT more willpower. Thankfully, I’ve got a full schedule, so I don’t feel too guilty for not getting outside!

*Note: I am not a doctor and have slowly worked my way up to this level of activity. Please go slow when starting a new workout program and consult a doctor if you have any questions.

The Yoga Sculpt classes I teach are up to 4 classes per week, plus varying weekends. I also am helping coach the High School Dance Teams, its so good to give back to my community and work with the high school girls. Plus it gives me something to do on the week nights, which tend to get a little boring.

Late Fall Workout PlanTuesday mornings I am trying very hard to get up at 4:45 so I go to Spin class at the Y in Brainerd. I could/should get on the treadmill after for a brick run. But I’m easing back into it.

Swimming isn’t on this schedule. I really want to be swimming once a week. But can’t dedicate the time yet. I’ve got some space on Wednesday night, but with teaching Yoga Sculpt Thursday morning, I’m hesitant to make swimming a commitment.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon is 4 months away. I haven’t looked into training plans yet, but that will need to happen soon! Anyone have a plan that they love?

 

MNBlogCon 2014 Recap

The 2014 Minnesota Blogger’s Conference was exactly what I needed. This was my third year attending, and every year I like it a little bit more. I was able to see old friend MPLS Gossip Girl, who I met the first time attended, and Being Zhenya who I met last year, as well as made a ton of new friends, friends of friends, and traveled to the conference with my best friend More than Just Dessert. (buckle up for a long post, I’m giving you a full recap on all the sessions I attended).

Katie Looking Forward and More Than Just Dessert

After opening remarks, I headed to Visual Marketing: How to Promote Your Blog (and Brand) with Images by Tai Goodwin. This is something I wish I was a little better at. I’ve come a long way from when I started blogging, and my use of photos has picked up in the last year. But I hope to someday take a class on editing, so I can expanded my knowledge and use better photos. (If you know of one, please let me know!)

The second session I attended was Blogging for the Brain by Katie Konrath. This session could have been much longer because I feel like big topics were touched on, but not expanded on. However you can see my favorite tweet from the session below.

This thought process is great for me, as I tend to be a little too negative when giving feedback. By phrasing it as “wish for” it is much more positive!

After a lunch break, we had a long keynote speech from Dan R. Morris of Blogging Concentrated. He did a great job of keeping us engaged for the entire session, I especially liked his talk about Ironman.

Dan’s thought process on unsubscribing is something I wish everyone could hear! When someone unsubscribes from your blog, it may not be due to your content, but rather that their needs have changed. So someone who’s just getting into 5k’s may follow a similar runner, but once they want to do a marathon, they follow a blogger who runs marathons, and if they decide to do an ironman, they follow an ironman blogger. The 5k blogger never did anything wrong, they served their purpose and now the reader has moved “up the ladder” although I would choose “down the road” as the 5k blogger doesn’t want to feel low on the totem poll, but rather at the beginning of the journey.

For the final two sessions of the day, I was volunteering as room helper. The first session was a panel which was titled Search Engine Marketing for Bloggers.  This is one of those panels where the topic pretty much went over my head. They were speaking from a pretty technical point, and that is not my strong suit. However, I did learn that blog post titles are optimal at 65 characters. Adam Dine was on the panel, and also had a separate session which Emily said was super helpful.

Finally I attended Finding Joy‘s session on The Science of Facebook Reach, while many people claim that “Facebook is dead” and the only way to be seen is to pay. Rachel disagrees. She recommended knowing your audience and when to post (9 pm for mommy bloggers) as well as understanding that any “like”, “comment”, “share”, “see more”, or “click” over to your site, are all rated the same in the current Facebook algorithm. So feel free to write as much as you like before giving the link to your post. If people are clicking “see more” or clicking over to your website then Facebook knows that people are engaging with what you are posting.

Psycho Suzis Parking Lot

Post Conference drinks and fresh air were a requirement. So Emily and I headed over to Psycho Suzi’s for their deck (perk of traveling with another blogger, they take as many photos as you do (if not more!)). I hadn’t been to the new location, so it took a minute to figure out that the upstairs rooftop is actually a different drink menu than the downstairs drink menu. But we got it figured out and enjoyed dinner before driving home.

Did you attend the Minnesota Bloggers Conference? Would you like to attend mnblogcon in the future?

Peace Perspective XXXXII: Your Church

Most Peace Perspectives are found on Pinterest. You can see pins that I may use in the future here. This week’s actually comes from a blog I have in my feedly. Yes and Yes‘s post behind this photo can be found here. My feelings are below!

Your Church from Yes and YesMy church has changed over the years. I was raised Lutheran, although my dad’s side of the family is Catholic. So I can do a rosary, but I can’t take communion at a Catholic church. (which is a silly rule if you ask me).

In elementary school I would have said my church was at church. By middle school my favorite camp had influenced my life so much I would say that my church is camp. In high school, I would have said “wherever my friends are” acknowledging that camp has given me many friends that I rarely see in person, but are always in my heart. In college the question “where is your church” would have silenced me. I wasn’t in a sharing mood.

Post-college the “where is your church?” sentiment is still changing. The friends I hear discussing church are usually referring to where they are getting married, or baptizing their baby. I rarely attend a church service, however that doesn’t mean my faith is suffering. I don’t assume that I’m a bad person for not attending church services. In fact I feel the most trust in God now that I have felt in a while.

If I only focus on the “fills you and thrills you, brings you tangible joy” I think of the people I’ve been working out with. We are all at the workouts for different reasons, some to lose weight, some to train for a race, some for a moment alone, or another reason that hasn’t been shared. There are fast paced high energy days, and days where we go through the motions. Each day is a worthwhile, and there are probably changes to come.

Do you have a “church”? What does it look like?

Fast Friday: Look Around!

This week has been a little crazy. High School Dance Team season has begun, and that means I’m at practice from 5-7 each night. In addition, I taught 5 yoga sculpt classes this week. My body is TIRED. So tired I’ve barely taken any photos (although I did catch this sunrise on Tuesday morning after spin class).

Dark Sunrise RoadI knew I wanted to blog today when I started reading Monica Lewinsky’s article from Vanity Fair. My favorite excerpt is from page 3. But the Washington Post article via MSN is also interesting.

“She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman—not only me, but herself—troubling”

I could rant on Monica and Hilary for a long while, but I”ll spare that for you, and give you a laugh instead. Click the photo for 19 other “Dumb and Dumber” quotes you should still be repeating.

dumbAnd finally the most important thing I’ve read this week from my favorite comedienne, Sara Benincasa here is her amazing article, about Doing it Anyways.

sara benincasaSuck at stuff. Fuck up. Fall down. Get rejected. Get shut down. Get passed over. What the fuck else are you doing with your time? Imagining potential failures? Why not turn that potential into a reality? At least you can say you went for it.

 

And that my friends is Friday. What are your plans for the weekend?

Tips for a Blog Conference

It’s that time of year again! On Saturday I’ll be attending the 2014 Minnesota Bloggers Conference (#mnblogcon) for the third time, you can see my 2012 and 2013 recaps by clicking on the years. And have a nice look at how many blogging has changed!

Minnesota Bloggers ConferenceI have a few bullet points for things to do while at the conference, however before you get there you may want to consider what you wear. There’s a large mix of people: mommy bloggers, professional marketers, and everyone in between. I like to wear something business casual but comfortable. I think I’ll be wearing some kind of boots, dress, and sweater. But once you’re there here’s what I recommend you do!

  • Turn your phone off, save the battery.
  • Have a notebook for writing quick notes.
  • Use your laptop or tablet to follow the twitter feed.
  • Ask questions via twitter, someone in the audience may know the answer and tweet back at you.
  • Share what has worked for you! Don’t be afraid to speak, even if you aren’t the presenter, just make sure to be respectful!
  • Smile! You just might make a new friend.

I have found that most of the people attending Minnesota Bloggers Conference know each other from other events/organizations. As someone who doesn’t live in the Metro some conversations aren’t as applicable to me, however I have learned something each year and feel that is very worth my while to make the trip.

Do you enjoy conferences? Have any other tips for conference attending success?

 

 

Peace Perspective XXXXI: Enough

Sometimes I feel like everyone is so focused on what they aren’t, they don’t take the time to enjoy what they ARE. (Is that grammatically correct? I don’t really care).

enoughI love goals. I love working towards things. I love taking something I’ve never done, giving it a try, and seeing what happens. It’s not about being the best, its about learning something new.

Smart-er, fast-er, strong-er, slimm-er, So what. Where you are right now is enough.

You don’t need to win everything you compete in. You don’t need to finish everything you start. Sometimes doing whatever you can is unbelievably enough.

 

 

Does this peace perspective comfort you? Or are you rolling your eyes? No judgement either way, I’m just curious!

Fall Friday Confessions

  1. It was a long week, so I’m looking forward to some time at home CLEANING this weekend! (my windshield could use a little work) ((See photo below))

Sunset Windshield2. In my last Skechers post, the shoes I received are no longer available online. But they have other great options, so click here to check them out!

Purple Lake Sunset3. I’ve been shopping online like a madwoman. Now I need to donate the clothes that I either didn’t wear this summer, or aren’t fitting properly for winter. (and return what doesn’t work when I go to the cities next weekend).

Sunset Line hwy 1694. The sunsets have been gorgeous this week! I’ve snapped photos on my phone when I can (always safely of course). But am dreading the day when the sunsets while I’m still at work.

Motivating Myself to Run and WALK! (Couch to 5k Update)

*this is a sponsored post on behalf of Skechers, but I always tell the truth. Mainly because I’m a terrible liar.

My motivation for workouts has always been for health AND happiness.  The Couch to 5k training has been a wonderful reset this fall. When I’m having a bad day and getting frustrated, walking is a great way to unwind. But if I’m especially wound up, I find that running releases my stress quickly and safely. Meeting up for a walk with a friend is also a great way to share what’s going on in life, without adding calories that aren’t needed.

Skechers Go Walk AwarenessWhen Skechers reached out to me about the Performance Division shoes and their Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, the GoWalk2 – Awareness shoe caught my eye.

Super comfortable, supportive, and designed to be sockless means that these are the perfect shoe for me to keep in my car. I can meet up with a friend and grab a quick walk without making sure I packed socks. Fresh air is 100% better than a quick beer in a dark bar. I’m especially excited to wear them at Walt Disney World during the Princess Half Weekend!

And as we start to prepare for the holidays, its important to know how our loved ones are doing. October is a wonderful time to do all the checkups you need, especially as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

GO WALK Awareness 2 SkechersSkechers is supporting Breast Cancer research through the American Cancer Association, which is my preferred organization to donate to (but that’s a conversation for another day). Check out the Skechers Awareness shoes and let me know which style you would pick! For those of you near a Skechers retail store, customers who donate $5 or more, will receive a 20% off discount for their next visit!

Thank you to Skechers for sponsoring today’s post.

 

Traveling Art Pub (Painting and Wine!)

Fall is truly my favorite season. I felt like I was going through the motions of living all summer, but I have finally caught my stride. Thursday night I attended my first Traveling Art Pub event. A Brainerd based company (owned by a friend’s family) offers group painting classes with no skills required!

Traveling Art Pub Aitin BeaneryThe event was hosted at The Aitkin Beanery, which is also where I attend wine club events. They had a special deal of $10 for appetizers and a glass of wine (our painting experience had been pre-paid for $35).

Wine and Paint ProcessWith simple colors we were given a step by step instruction for our masterpiece. The last step of covering the trees with leaves was a little vague, but I think it turned out okay!

Painting and WineThankfully I never cleaned my brushes in my wine glass. Although it totally could have happened. There was talk of this being a seasonal activity, and I will definitely participate again!

Traveling Art Pub Final ProductHave you ever attended a similar event? I think this would also be perfect for a girls weekend, bachelorette party or baby shower!