MN Blog Con 2013 Recap

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending my second MN Blogger Conference. I attended last year, and you can see my recap here. Below are the sessions I attended this year!

  • Opening Panel “How I got started Blogging”
  • Blogging Your Passion – my favorite session of the day. I happen to follow 2 of the 3 presenters, and will be adding the third.
  • How To Grow Your Blog via Community.
  • The Non-Designers Guide to WordPress
  • The Future of Blogging.

I won!!! #mnblogcon or rather I asked a question 😉

A post shared by Katie Cummings (@katie_lf) on

I was able to receive this free mug by asking a question during “How to Grow Your Blog via Community” I was wondering “What kind of rules we should follow in terms of social media?”.

This year we were at Concordia University in St. Paul, it was a great site with free parking! We were also given breakfast and lunch. It seems like this year was a little more “bare bones” compared to last year. But for a free event I cannot complain!

Since I wasn’t a rookie this year I was able to reconnect with a few people, as well as make a few new friends!

Here are my top 3 favorited tweets from the MN Bloggers Conference!

  • Social Media shouldn’t make you sad.
  • Less is always better. Simplicity is never a bad choice.
  • You have to define success on your own terms, not someone else’s.

The MN Bloggers Conference is a diverse group, whereas the Healthy Living Summit was 200 women that seemed very similar to me. I will continue attending the MN Blog Con in future if only because it gives me exposure to people I wouldn’t otherwise meet.

Do you prefer to network with people exactly like you? Or do you want to meet people who are different?

Looking Back: Moving Back

One Year Ago….I moved.
I packed up my two bedroom apartment.

Townhome Door

That was my first and only time (so far) living without a roommate.

Packing a TrailerI had a gorgeous last sunrise, which really soothed me and assured me that I was making the right decision.

Duluth SunriseI also left my first (and so far only) corporate job, which included insurance and a company vehicle.

Company Ford Escape

Want to know more of the back story? This post says it all, click here.

A year later, I’m glad I’m home. My work/life balance is questionable, which is what happens when you live with your boss. However I am in a better place. I’m not in my deep funk anymore, although I still have my funky days. In an ironic twist, one of my good friends just moved to Duluth, which makes me super jealous. Depending on what happens this weekend I may just drive up and tour my old favorite spots!

What was the last big change you had? Where were you one year ago?

I’m a loser (TC10 Miler) and a Winner (Liebster Award)!

I got some sad news this week. I was NOT selected to run the Twin Cities 10 Miler.

I was however selected as a recipient of the Liebster Award from Sinful Nutrition!

Liebster Award

I tried to search for the origin of the Liebster Award, but my 30 second google search didn’t show me anything. Basically, its an award that celebrates and highlights blogs that have less than 200 followers. (although it doesn’t clarify what qualifies as a follower.) Anyways….below are the 11 questions that I was asked, you may learn something new about me!

1. What’s the story behind your blog title?

I wanted to call my blog “Katie Moving Forward” but a few friends thought it sounded negative. So I said Looking, and they agreed it was perfect!

2. Do you choose food for health, taste, or a little bit of both?

Taste! And sometimes health, but mainly taste.

3. Coffee, tea, or neither?

Both! I have a cup of coffee every morning, and drink hot tea in the winter at night, and iced tea (unsweetened) in the summer!

4. What’s one thing you can’t live without?

My teddy bear. I’ve had him since I was a baby and he’s wonderful.

5. Sweet or Salty?

Salty.

6. What motivates you to stay active?

Looking good! It might be shallow, but when I’m happy with the way my body looks (Strong not skinny) I have more confidence, make better choices, and have a lot of fun!!

7. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?

“One Step at a Time” is something I started saying the week before Grandma’s Marathon weekend, and it really applies to everything in life.

8. Who’s your biggest role model?

I really admire my friend Nedra, she babysat me back in the day, but now we hang out and have fun girls weekends with our other friends!

9. What’s one thing you are grateful for?

My Brother John, I don’t talk about him on the blog much, but he is the coolest.

john barney

10. What has been the coolest place you’ve traveled to?

I’ve been blessed with a lot of family vacations. My favorite place to go is Mazatlan Mexico. (which is where the header picture was taken!)

11. What has been the highlight of your year so far?

Finishing Grandma’s Marathon. It was a long rough road, but I finished it in 5 hours, 58 minutes, and 17 seconds.

And now I will nominate 11 people and ask them the below questions, hopefully they accept and send me the links to their responses!

More than Just Dessert (one of my HLS13 roomies),

Apartment Wife (a new blog who found me, so I followed her)

The Twenty Something Table (one of them I went to college with!)

Finding a Balance (Hyedi has given me great running advice this spring)

Running Bun (As a former dance team member, I appreciate a good bun)

Daily Cup of Kate (a wellness director, which I would love to be one day!)

Running for Cupcakes (living in Mankato, near where I went to college).

Olives and Wine (Anyone who likes wine is good in my book!)

Greens & Chocolate (delish food that seem easy enough to actually make!)

Fit Foodie Finds (Lee recently went to part time work, full time blogger!)

Not So Perfect Life (hoping to do a half marathon in each of the 50 states!)

1. What was the first blog you read?

2. Where do you go to get your favorite lunch?

3. How long have you been blogging?

4. What is your favorite beverage?

5. When did you last workout?

6. Where is your favorite place to relax?

7. When do you usually write blog posts?

8. What time do you usually go to bed?

9. Do you set New Years Resolutions? If so, what was 2013’s?

10. Planning or Spontaneity?

11. What is your favorite song right now?

Calling All: Minnesota Girls

When I first started blogging I followed 3 blogs (you can find their links on my blogroll). And the more I looked around on different blogs I realized there had to be other female bloggers in Minnesota. There was no way I was the only one, but I didn’t know how to find anyone. Slowly but surely a world opened up to me. And while right now I’m just looking at these women’s blogs and have yet to actually meet them, I know I’ll have a chance to meet some of them at the 2013 Healthy Living Summit!

Here’s a little list of everyone I could think of (in no particular order).  Beautifully NuttySota is SexyBombshell BeautyFiercely FetchingApartment WifeBeauty BetsKristy Runs KatoFinding a BalanceRunning For CupcakesOur Styled Suburban Life, Sellabit Mum, Fit Foodie Finds, Wild Ruffle, Pinch of Yum, MPLS Gossip GirlOlives ‘n Wine, and The Twenty-Somethings Table.

Now for those of you who don’t read many blogs, I encourage you to click over and see what these women have to say. Also, if you want to start following multiple blogs I really recommend Feedly. It has been  24 days since the death of Google Reader, and I’m not sorry to say that I already like feedly better!

Do you have a Minnesota Blog that I don’t have listed? Please share it with me!!

 

YOLO, FOMO, and Comparisons.

Does everyone know what those first two title words mean? Yolo (pronounced yo-low) stands for You Only Live Once. While this is true, it has a connotation of doing what you want, not worrying about the consequences, and living life to the max.

While FOMO (pronounced fo-mo) is Fear Of Missing Out. This is a phenomena that I believe is most prevalent in 20 somethings. As we graduate from college we start to worry that we’re doing the right thing, at the right time, with the right people.  If a 20 something is sitting at home on any given night, you can bet they’ve opened up their facebook newsfeed and gotten a little jealous of whatever their “facebook friends” are doing.

And then there’s the final piece of the puzzle that doesn’t have a catchy name (that I’m aware of). Comparisons. Even if you’re out with your friends, Yoloing, not Fomoing, you’re still watching what others are doing and making sure you are keeping up with the crowd/trend.

Two different blogs I read have commented on these feelings. Theodora mentioned FOMO in passing. And Katie of Running4Cupcakes (aka not me), wrote specifically about comparisons.

I’ve spent most the week trying to post this blog but haven’t felt I’ve been accurately able to say what I’m feeling. But the Healthy Living Summit Facebook Page post this photo that makes me feel a whole lot better.

blog to the beatWhile I may not be the most elegant or sophisticated blogger, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t need the false bravado of YOLO, or have to monitor my actions to ward off FOMO, or worry about what others are doing and how I measure up.

As long as I’m happy, healthy, and not harming myself what does the rest matter? RIGHT?!?!

So this weekend I’m going to do my best to do what I want. Which means I will be trying a 1 hour bike ride and going to the Beanery tonight for wine and listening to a good friend sing. Saturday I may attend an outdoor workout in the morning, and then I hope to drive to Duluth and use my Duluth Run Co coupons before they expire. Saturday night I might go out with a good friend. And then Sunday I may go to church with my family and then in the afternoon I have to teach the Miss Aitkin Candidates their opening number dance.

What are your plans for the weekend? Have you experienced YOLO or FOMO?

June 2013 Recap and Nisswa Firecracker 5k Recap

Its July 11 People. And I am in DENIAL! If you asked me, I’d say it was the last week of June. Because most of June I thought it was still May! I have such a hard time believing that the summer is passing us by.

However I really packed the activities in during June. I ran a half marathon, attended a bachelorette party, ran a marathon, and was a personal attendant in a wedding.

Then the fourth of July came and I taught a sculpt class, before spending time with friends!

4th paddleboardsJust a portion of the group, and those are Costco Paddle Boards in the water, the smartest purchase ever!

On July 6th I participated in the Nisswa Firecracker 5k. Which I will do a recap right in here. If you’re up north in the Brainerd Lakes area for the 4th of July I cannot recommend this race enough!! The course is part road, part trail, and not closed to traffic, however I had no issues, and saw plenty of people running with strollers. They had a 5k, 10k, and a kids race. There was a finish line slip and slide, as well as beer and crawfish. The best thing was, the race started at 8 am, so as long as you can get up in the morning, you don’t have to battle traffic and you don’t miss out on lake time!

Nisswa Firecracker 5k 2013My friends that I did the race with also did Grandma’s with me (or ahead of me, they’re speedy!), so we all had no idea where our pacing would be at for a 5k. I set my garmin for 10 minute miles, which was way too ambitious. I started out too fast and my knees and ankles hurt right away. Once I slowed it down my knee pain went away, but my ankle pain persisted for the entire race.

While I’m not thrilled with my performance, I am very happy that I took the time out of the long partying weekend to do this race. And I’m sure I will participate again next year, hopefully with a better strategy, and overall better finishing time.

There’s still time to vote for my next race. And one of my favorite bloggers posted a flashback of her first triathlon. But I am leaning towards the Irongirl Duathlon, and am happy to say I found a discount code on the Beautifully Nutty blog!

Now I just need to find a training plan and enjoy what’s left of July!

What are you up to this month? Are you surprised by how fast the summer is going?

Fitting in Fitango!

Remember this post? I’ve come along way in the last month. I did participate in Run to the Lakes, but I ended up doing the 10k and having a great race! My knee still isn’t 100% but I’m still planning on starting Grandma’s Marathon, and hope to finish, but don’t want to long-term damage. Which means the Twin Cities Marathon is still an option that I might sign up for!

Fitango has made a few changes since I first spoke with them, you can find their website here. I was given a free trial of their Twin Cities Marathon Actionplan, if you sign up today you’ll be right on schedule for their 21 Week Plan. I read a lot of different websites for running info, and get quite a few “daily tip” emails each day. What I like about Fitango is how straight forward they are!

Here’s a quote straight from My Daily Log “Today’s session simply involves walking or cross-training at a low intensity for around 20-30 minutes. Even though this session is quite easy, remember to thoroughly warm up and go through a rigorous stretching routine.” However, they then go on to give stretching tips and there’s a spot to record your workout and your thoughts.

You can share those thoughts on facebook, twitter, or with other people using the Fitango Actionplan.

If you’re trying to plan your workouts in advance, it is possible with their system!

fitango calendarSee that “Show Future Dates” on the bottom? Click there and you’re able to click on a calendar and select any date you like!

Fitango would be perfect for anyone looking for a low stress way to start marathon training! They give you small goals to work on each day, plus you have the option to contact an expert via webcam, chat, or email should you want to touch base with someone to discuss any roadblocks in your training plan.

So whats stopping you? Enter the code below for 25% off a Fitango Actionplan!

Code: 56702cb2

*I was not paid for this post, however I was given a free trial of the Twin Cities Actionplan. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! katielookingforward (at) gmail (dot) com

 

Also…I follow Fitango on Twitter, and happened to find this gem.

So not only can you save some money, but you might also win some money!

Hello! Highs! Horoscopes!

On Saturday I was pleased to receive a new high for views on my blog! So thank you new readers! Please please please contact me if you have any questions, or even suggestions! I like making new friends 🙂

Do you check your horoscope ever? Or everyday? While in college I got in the habit and have checked it almost every day since. Its not something I HAVE to do in order to start my day, but I usually check it at some point. Below is my horoscope for today, but you can check yours here.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20). It’s pretty clear that you need more stimulation. There’s not enough in your environment now to motivate your hard work. Put yourself in a more demanding or risky situation.

This could mean any number of things, but I’m choosing to focus on two areas. #1 this blog!

I really haven’t tested myself throughout my blogging. I’ve posted what I’ve wanted when I’ve wanted and for the most part that works. I keep expanding my google reader (if you don’t have one, and love to read blogs you NEED to set one up, contact me for questions). Anyways, I found a 28 Day Blog Challenge (#28dbc), and immediately signed up! Only to scroll through the page and not find the 28 challenges! It took some more blog reading to find Brownies and Zucchini’s post about the same challenge, until I realized it was a “name your own” challenge. I just need to think of things to change on this blog in order to be a participant!

#2 for things I need to be challenged in is….Yoga Certification.
That’s right folks. I posted here about my someday future maybe goal of possibly becoming a yoga sculpt instructor. And I’ve had a few conversations about my options of making this a reality. The low cost low time committment is the National Exercise Trainers Association certification. They have a few locations close to me in the next few months, and I am considering taking the Yoga Specialty Certification. You can see all the options available in the Midwest here. However after calling them and discussing what the class entails I’m not sure its for me. No matter what I would want a more in depth training to hone my skills.

Which brings me back to my original intention of Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training through Corepower. And after contacting them I’ve realized that it is the best option, the most thorough training, and will best set me up for the future, whatever that may be. It will definitely be demanding, and it is a little risky (getting done at 10:30 on Thursday nights and still needing to get to work in the morning?) not to mention marathon training.

So here’s hoping I get that added stimulation in my life! Do you have suggestions on things I can change to my blog, or a thought on which certification I should take?

#HLS13

Since most of my readers are my friends I’m sure you have no idea what #HLS13 stands for. But let me tell you, you are going to hear a lot about it from now until September 13-15 (and of course a recap post or 2 (or 20)).

The Healthy Living Summit 2013. Here’s a general idea of it straight from their website.  “The Healthy Living Summit is a weekend conference for bloggers and blog readers interested in all aspects of healthy living.”

Here’s the deal, I started getting into blogs through the website Sparkpeople.com, every now and then they’d post links to blogs and I loved reading about Caitlin and Meghann. Who, with other blog friends were founders of the Healthy Living Summit. I became addicted to their sites so much that I decided to start this site!

Yesterday Meghann posted a teaser on her facebook page linking the Healthy Living Summit teaser, which was WAY too easy for me to figure out. MINNEAPOLIS BABY! Heck I had been thinking that it would be a decent option for them, especially with the lightrail available from the airport to downtown and the mall. Its a small conference’s dream, no need to rent a vehicle!  And today they officially announced their plans. Which you can read here.

I am so so so excited for this event, and am hoping I’ll be able to help in some way. Especially since it will knock a few things off my 30 by 30 list!

How Do You Do That: Email Organization

Are you constantly loosing things in your email? Or having people say, “Didn’t you see that? I emailed it to you last week!” I try my best not to be guilty of this. And everyone has their own ways of staying organized. Yesterday I read another bloggers ideas, which involve automatically sending things to folders, some which you reply in a week, some you reply in a 48 hours, it confused me, but feel free to get her idea’s here.

My way of organization? Different email accounts. I am currently rocking 5 email accounts. Yes, 5. They all serve different purposes and allow me to stay more focus on whatever task I have in front of me.

#1 The work email. It serves my paying job and that is it. No cute forwards, I don’t share it with anyone, it is for work. If I meet someone through work that wants to talk about running, they get a different email address.

#2 The online email. Everything you sign up for asks for an email address, every company sends discounts, and sometimes I want to see what deals are available. However I know that this email address doens’t have any important, so if I’m busy I know there won’t be anything too demanding in there.

#3 The blog email. When I started this blog I also opened a new email address. If you ever have questions about something I’m posting about, but don’t want to leave a comment, feel free to email katielookingforward “at” gmail “dot” com (this is so computers can’t send me spam, you should be able to figure out the actual address). I do have a few websites set up to email me to the blog address because I think their philosophies align with what I want to blog about.

#4 The personal email. This is the email address I used when I was applying for jobs, this is what I give friends and family members.

#5 The project email. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m working helping a business with social media, therefore I created a separate email address for all social media things for that company. That way if our agreement ends, they can take control of the email and keep all the information I accumulated for them.

Now, this sounds straight forward, but occasionally things get sent to the wrong place. All I do is forward the email to the correct address and deal with it when I have time.

The most important thing about keeping an organized email is to…..DELETE! If you don’t need something, delete it. If you think something is cool but have no idea what to do with it, don’t let it sit in your inbox, instead put it in a folder called “ideas” and when you need an idea, look through the folder. Have a folder for “receipts” when you need to remember that you purchased something, it will be sitting in there (I also keep confirmation emails in there).

Setting up the organization can take sometime. I would carve out half an hour to start with. And don’t set up too many folders. Start with a few and add as necessary. For example, I started with a “recipe” folder and quickly learned that wouldn’t work…Now I have it split into “recipe:appetizer”, “recipe: meal” and “recipe: dessert” it makes everything much quicker!

How do you stay organized? Do you think I’m crazy? (Don’t worry, I think I’m a little crazy, but it works!)

Edited to Add: 2 days later and I’m realizing there is even more that can be done with email organization! Did you know you can import an old gmail account into a new one? Meaning, for those people who get married and change their last name, they could get a new gmail with their new last name and not lose their old emails! Check it out here.

The other great tip I found was http://www.online-stopwatch.com/ Its a free site where you can either set a timer (count down) or set a stopwatch (count up). The blog post I found out about this tool can be found here.