Tag Archives: bloggers

#SweaterWeather and Cocktails at Foxwoods!

I always have a great time when I visit Foxwoods Resort Casino, especially when I pair together some fun activities. Last time it was dinner/drinks and a show. This time around it was shopping and lunch/drinks! That’s what’s great about a casino – I can arrive and park (for free!), and know that I have a long list of ways to have a good time that are available to me in one place.

My friend Rachel and I participated in a fabulous #SweaterWeather blogger outing centered around shopping for fall fashion at the new Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods. Boston and Connecticut bloggers were invited to partake in a little friendly competition – receive a gift card and use it to purchase as many sweaters as possible. The winner was to receive an overnight stay at Foxwoods, dining and spa credit, and more!

Continue reading

Reach the Beach Part 3: Two Runs & Done!

Before I conclude my Reach the Beach Relay recaps…an update on my stubborn right IT band! Thank you so much for your comments of support, advice, and your own shared experiences. I ended up trying to find an “emergency” PT appointment, but it didn’t work out due to scheduling/time/monetary restrictions. Someone suggested on Twitter (love that social media crowdsourcing!) that I try out Boston Body Worker, and I noticed while visiting the website that they offered an option to just walk in and get kinesiology taping after a quick assessment. I’d definitely heard some good things about that option and knew a sports massage could leave me too sore to race at this point, so I thought it was worth a shot, especially since I got $20 off for mentioning that I was a referral!

Of course I selected pink!

The tape lasts 3-4 days so I should have it on during the half marathon tomorrow. I don’t feel a difference yet…who knows if I even will. I am going NUTS taking it easy this week. I haven’t done cardio since Monday morning and even that was just about 15 minutes. I’ve been trying to get my heart rate up without using my legs, such as by doing rapid clean-and-presses. I also am making an effort to focus on upper body lifting, and it’s definitely paid off – I’ve been feeling sore! My abs are getting more attention too (I took a pilates class last night). Still, I really REALLY hope I finish the race tomorrow because I know then, all the rest will be worth it. If I don’t finish, it will be hard not to feel like a failure.

Continue reading

Reach the Beach Part 1: Pre-Relay

In case you missed last Wednesday’s announcement about participating in the Reach the Beach Relay as a member of the New Balance media team, you can read it here!

Oh. Man. Recapping the events of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is going to take 2-3 posts, and I don’t know if I’ll get through it all this week, but I’ll try! So Thursday morning after a quick 30-minute solo spin session, I headed over to the hotel to meet the other eleven bloggers/members of Team Pumped Up Kicks:

I was a bit nervous at first because the only team members I’d already met were Christine (at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet) and Theodora (at various events). But many of the other girls were in that same situation, and bloggers are certainly good at being friendly and making new friends! It didn’t take long at all to feel comfortable around everyone, especially the fellow members of Van 2 (my van).



Continue reading

Five Things Friday: Marvelous!

My Taste of Nature bar giveaway ends tonight, and it has FIVE winners, so make sure you enter!

I missed the Marvelous In My Monday party this week but better late than never right? This week has been loads better than the last and I’m excited to link up with Clare today to share five marvelous things on Five Things Friday!

1. My workouts this week have been way better!

Thank goodness I was able to get back to my evening group fitness classes. Monday I took Danielle’s amazing spin class, and I took another pretty good spin class on Tuesday evening. Wednesday night I invited Jeannie to join me for Total Body Conditioning and I’m so glad I did because I may have copped out and done a not-as-tough StepMill workout instead if I hadn’t already committed to the class by inviting her! She was super curious since I am always talking about how tough the class is and yeah…it was tough. But we both felt great after and want to commit to going every week. I’m glad to have someone to motivate me to attend! Here’s one of the moves we did:

2. I’m proud of how well I handled Wednesday’s dinner out.

Continue reading

It’s OK!…Healthy Living Blogger Version

Kaitlin and Sarah both recently did posts about the healthy living blogger stereotypes that DON’T fit them, and I totally love the idea. I wanted to do my own post with a version of their idea in Glamour‘s “It’s OK!” format. I love that feature and what it’s all about – very #sorrynotsorry. Which by the way, now pops up on my iPhone as soon as I type the word “sorry”. Guess I’m #sorrynotsorry a lot, huh?

So hey healthy living bloggers – it’s OK…

…to think oatmeal is extremely boring and lame. I know, I can add stuff to it to make it more exciting, but I just don’t feel like it.

…to hate running. Music is just not enough to keep me entertained, nor is scenery.

Continue reading

CT Bloggers Take Over J. Timothy’s!

Have you entered my giveaway for a Knoshbox of local foodie goodies? Don’t forget to do so – you have until tomorrow night (Saturday 8/25) at 11:59PM EST!

J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville, CT may be housed in an old building (as in…built in 1789!), and has even been open since 1985, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant’s marketing practices haven’t grown and evolved with the rest of the industry. Social media is a big part of the popular spot’s advertising and public relations strategy; its active Facebook and Twitter accounts (run by a SUPER fun woman named Nikki) spread the word about food specials, gather customer feedback, and…develop relationships with area bloggers!

Last month in the J. Timothy’s loft (this restaurant is HUGE…we’re talking multiple levels, banquet rooms, a bar area, and more), a group of Connecticut Bloggers gathered for a meetup hosted by the J. Timothy’s Taverne marketing team. Not only was it a chance for me to try out a new-to-me restaurant (legendary for their wings, and also frequented by the infamous and elusive West Hartford PR Girls), but I also got to finally meet so many of the area bloggers I’d been tweeting with for so long!

Katie of The Simple Songbird and me. She works in the same town as I do and lives just fifteen minutes away too! I also called her Diana when I first saw her. Holy awkward!

Dominique of Craftfully Cooks is a fellow Fitfluential Ambassador! Love her top.

Maria of Pappa Don’t Preach is a fabulous fellow fitness enthusiast. She shares my arm day obsession (arm day = holiday!) and we talked arms during dinner 😀

All of us plus Hilary (in pink), the talented chef and artist of My Own Blog Review and owner of Mews Boutique.

So after taking the above photo, we decided to be the blogging version of the Spice Girls. What do you all think? Perhaps I can be Posh?

I mingled with the ladies and the rest of the bloggers in attendance while drinking a glass of Duck Duck Goose Shiraz-Cabernet and sampling a little bit of everything from the above app plate. My very favorite items included figs and some kind of fabulous bacon-like meat. The wine list at J. Timothy’s impressed me, especially since their main gig is beer (particularly craft and/or local). I’ve only had Duck Duck Goose at a Sonoma Wines & Spirits tasting and had never seen it offered by a restaurant before.

Passed app – beef tenderloin crostini with gorgonzola sauce. Of course I was the only one trying to get some of that veggie garnish in the center on my plate too!

I also sampled a few of the above craft beers from the summer beer list. Small sips of each were all I needed…still working on liking beer!

The owner of J. Timothy’s (left) and Mark of Relic Brewing (right).

The owner of J. Timothy’s took the time to come up to the loft and greet us Connecticut bloggers, and then Nikki kicked off the evening’s event by telling us why the restaurant uses and believes in social media. She also shared examples of marketing research the Taverne performs on a regular basis. I was particularly interested to learn that focus groups of parents seemed to agree that when taking children out to eat, they are NOT looking for healthier kids menu items. In fact, going out to eat is seen as a treat, so therefore the parent is more OK with letting the child treat him or herself to a more decadent or heavier meal than would be served at home. I can definitely see why that would be the line of thinking behind selecting a kids menu meal…but also think it’s good to have the healthy options there in case the child chooses one of those! The focus group found, at least, that parents do want to see more healthier sides. That’s some balance – perhaps a burger with some veggies 🙂 I could go on about this topic forever!

The CT Blogger power couple and starters of the website, Wendy and Greg Limauge, live-instagramming Nikki’s talk.

The main event – a tasting of the J. Timothy’s menu – began. I took one look at the list and felt a bit overwhelmed. SO. MUCH. FOOD. How full would I get? What if I overate? What if I lost control? Those thoughts immediately intruded, but I was aware of them, and checked in with my body. I was hungry, ready to eat, and could just sample a little of everything and stop when I was done. I could do this! And hey…it all sounded pretty damn good.

Wings may not be the most unique app, but you can’t go wrong ordering them when dining at a restaurant like J. Timothy’s Taverne, famous for their wings! And we got to try all the flavors – Original Buffalo, Honey Gold BBQ, General Tso’s, and Teriyaki. My favorite? The General Tso’s! The bleu cheese sauce was also fantastic, but I always have issues with that when it comes to wings with bones. It ends up a huge, albeit delicious and fun, mess.

I really like the way J. Timothy’s served us the food. Each dish came out on a family style serving plate that was passed around the table. I could get the specific bites and tastes I wanted to put on my own smaller plate, and in the perfect amount that let me feel comfortable. The serving method totally helped me sit back and enjoy the event without the intrusive thoughts telling me I may lose control.

Butternut squash ravioli.

After the wings, a starter from the regular menu came out that will probably get a lot of my readers excited – butternut squash ravioli in sage & brown butter cream sauce, sprinkled with walnuts. I definitely wish there had been less sauce because I could hardly taste any of the butternut squash filling! But collectively, the dish was delicious and the crunchy walnut texture contrasted with the soft, pillow-like ravioli (yes, most overused description for ravioli, so sue me) in an interesting way that was just enough to set J. Timothy’s version apart from others I’ve tried.

Scallop Waldorf salad.

The salad we sampled, the Scallop Waldorf salad, was probably my favorite dish of the evening. More walnuts are always a good thing, and the greens weren’t too dressed, something restaurants so often do. I would have preferred pears to apples but that’s the weirdo in me that doesn’t like them (don’t yell at me). I wanted more scallops! Right, Meg?!

Pomegranate pork tenderloin, spinach, & mashed taters.

OK wait…THIS may have been my favorite dish. The salad was certainly more “comfortable” to me, but I can’t lie, the above grilled pork tenderloin bacon-wrapped medallions in a pomegranate balsamic glaze, paired with sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes, was comfort food at its best. I so wish I’d had more room to have more pork, and it’d been eons since I’d eaten any “legit” mashed taters. Of course I wanted to take more spinach off the platter, but left enough for my companions

Mark of Relic Brewing handed out beer samples to pair with certain courses. My favorite – and the most interesting beer I’ve EVER sipped – was the lavender & honey brew. I could truly taste the lavender and even finished my entire sample (something I don’t often do with beer) just because I wanted to keep experiencing that taste that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

Haddock au Gratin

I’m always ready to gobble down a good piece of fish but was disappointed that the haddock au gratin came absolutely DROWNING in cheese. I love eating cheese with crackers, fruit, wine, pizza, etc. But when it comes to my meat and my seafood, I don’t want a ton of greasy cheese clouding that fresh meat or seafood taste. I want to taste my protein! And I do have to be honest here – melty pools of cheese like the kind featured on this haddock certainly make me nervous. I wonder how much “hidden” fat is in there, and worry about the consequences of eating said fat. I picked off as much of the cheese as I could, but at this point I was getting really full anyway and knew I wanted dessert, so I didn’t finish this dish. It was definitely my least favorite of the meal.

Cherry vanilla cheesecake bread pudding.

Luckily, dessert more than made up for it, especially since it was a two-parter! The above cherry vanilla cheesecake bread pudding was COMPLETELY amazing. The soft bread pudding and the crunchy shell it was served in balanced each other out perfectly. Cherry isn’t my favorite flavor of dessert, but this was quite yummy. The best and most decadent-tasting part of the dessert, though, was next…

Chocolate oreo truffles!!!

I did not want my truffle to end. It was definitely one of the best-tasting desserts I’ve ever eaten. Too bad it was so tiny! I wanted it back as soon as I finished it!

Me and the CT Bloggers queen, Wendy.

I left this event a bit more full than I am used to or comfortable with feeling. But I dealt with it – I went home, chatted with my parents, colored, listened to NPR, and went to bed. I didn’t miss out on anything and I had a great night out with my CT blogging friends. I’m so glad I finally got to meet them, and try a new restaurant at the same time!

Thank you to J. Timothy’s, as well as Greg and Wendy of Connecticut Bloggers, for organizing and hosting what I hope is the first of many more meetups!

Healthy Living Summit 2012 – Part Two

A quick FYI for my CT readers – one of my favorite spots for unique cocktails and tasty small plates in the Hartford area, Cuvee, is holding a special third-anniversary party at 7PM on Thursday 8/30 at their location in West Hartford’s Blueback Square. But there is ALSO a special VIP event with complimentary drinks, champagne tastings, apps, and more from 5-7PM. If you want to win a chance to attend, text BUBBLY to 37798! Maybe I’ll see you there!

I’m so glad you guys have been enjoying my HLS ’12 stories so far! When we last left off, I’d had a great Friday evening at the Cocktail Party, but was ready to hit the hay at my usual earlier hour.


I woke up after a bad night’s sleep (I never sleep well in hotels) and was STARVED! Heather and I headed down to breakfast and quickly encountered a problem…nothing vegan, except fruit. Fruit does not a fine breakfast make, so Heather had to spend money at the hotel’s overpriced little shop to buy a KIND bar to add some staying power to her fruit. I felt so badly that she wasn’t able to enjoy a yummy breakfast, and disappointed that HLS hadn’t considered that they may have some vegan attendees. In fact, I’d consider it to be MOST likely at this kind of conference! Heather did a good job of holding her head up high though and we made plans with a bunch of girls to go to Whole Foods for lunch later…something to most definitely look forward to.

Flash fruit photography.

I felt almost guilty that there were in turn so many options for an everythingarian like myself. Wild Harvest did indeed provide a delicious spread incorporating the five finalist recipes from their Breakfast Showdown. The winning recipe was announced as well, and I literally yelped in delight (and got some confused looks) when I saw that my roomie, blend, and fellow sometimes-CT resident Kelly had won!

I’m totally not surprised – after all, her recipe was Greek-inspired (she sends me Greek treats…love her), and Greek is always a WIN to me.

Umm, SOO freaking good, OMG! Definitely my favorite recipe too – Wild Harvest made a good choice!

I sampled all but one of the other recipes – a yogurt parfait, a potato/veggie hash, and maple turkey sausage. Black coffee on the side, le duh. My hunger monster was raging this entire weekend. It was hard to honor it – I am used to a much smaller breakfast. However I ate slowly, tried to enjoy and tune into my body, and gobbled every last bite of my meal below.

And cheered for my friend’s win!

Giant plastic gift card WHAAAT!

In the morning I attended a session on Hosting a Virtual Challenge with Amanda. I didn’t intend on holding any challenges on my blog, but thought I would get good info about “spreading the word” about my blog, what I write about, and me in general. That was certainly true, but I also got inspiration to perhaps do a challenge someday – maybe a more official take on #AmazingMe! Is that something you guys would be interested in?

I also got to spend a lot of time hanging out with REEBOK! It was great to see Kathryn and Johnice again and show them that I was rocking the gear I’d received at the Reebok event I attended in May at their HQ!

Lisa, me, and Heather showing the world that the sport of fitness has arrived!

Kathryn was doing a great job manning the booth and as usual was a multiple-camera-using maestro. She’s clearly used to being around bloggers!

I received Reebok Crossfit socks and have been wearing them for my workouts the last couple of days (not the same pair – ew). They’re so soft and stretchy!

They pair perfectly with my RealFlex Transitions!

Of course socks are small potatoes compared to the other gift every HLS attendee received – a pair of Reebok RealFlex Fusions!

Me (left) and Heather (right) reppin’ the neutral shoe colors with the bright accents!

I can’t believe how generous Reebok has been to me since I received my first pair of sneakers from them (the black ones pictured above) in May. THANK YOU REEBOK!

My collection 😀

I can also thank them for another chance to try Crossfit! We received black Crossfit headbands, lined up, and listened to the Crossfit coaches explain to us what Crossfit is, why it works, and some of its basic moves.

Me with the lovely Katie – I’m rocking my headband!

We did a 5-minute WOD (Workout of the Day) complete with 7 air squats and 15 jumps AMRAP (as many reps as possible). I didn’t count my reps because it was interfering with counting each squat/jump, but during the WOD my row’s coach came around and showed me how I could get lower if I just pushed my knees out a bit more. REVELATION! I seriously am excited to do squats in my group fitness classes now (I know, did I just say that?).

Photo courtesy of Meg – look at me air squat!

After the WOD I couldn’t help myself – had to personally thank the coaches for their services 😉 and get a private air-squat lesson from AJ!

Prom pic?

AJ helping me learn how to do wall squats. Sneaky blend photography!

After Crossfit I hung out with its champion, Rich Froning. He was way shorter than I’d pictured.

The other morning session, Blogging with Brands, was especially fun because it was another chance for me to see Fitfluential CEO Kelly Olexa serve on a panel! And hang with her after 😀

Aunt Kelly, you rock!

Skipping out on conference lunch to visit Whole Foods was so worth it, especially to see how happy it made my love Meg, who doesn’t have Whole Foods back home in Canada.

As usual I filled a big container to the brim with millions of ingredients, including falafel, curry potatoes, sesame tofu, PICKLES, mounds of grilled veg, and way more than I could ever remember.

Good lunch, great friends. Photo from Heather.

After lunch we attended a couple of other sessions, including I Am the Blogger in Your Neighborhood (with Meghann, Clare, and Holly), which reassured me that I am definitely on a good path with my local CT involvement and that it will continue to bring me many opportunities (in fact, I have a special announcement for you all tomorrow that falls along those very lines, dun dun dun…). We also caught the tail end of The Fuzzy Grey Areas of Blogging (which had a great hashtag, #HLS50Shades).

In between those two sessions, Heather and I hit the hotel gym for a 20-minute workout. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t experience anxiety at HLS from being away from my normal workout routine. The Crossfit WOD was way less intense (due to the short length) than I’d pictured, and I just felt like I needed to sweat and get moving. Sometimes it’s hard for me to differentiate between whether or not I get these feelings because I WANT to work out or because I feel like I HAVE to. I completed 20 minutes of varied inclined treadmill running (a little over 2 miles) while watching some kind of SportsCenter-style show (the machine had five channels…) and called it a day. I did feel quite amazing afterward and woke up with sore quads the next day!

Coupon Caitlin

After the Chobani dinner that night, I came back rocking a lovely wine buzz. The photo above is courtesy of wine and Coupon Cabin‘s BlogHer sponsor booth.


I woke up after a better night’s sleep feeling completely indecisive over whether or not I should go to the hotel gym for a workout before Heather and I hit the road. I felt as if I should work out and that if I didn’t do it RIGHT THEN, I wouldn’t later when I got home. I got up to get ready, and was dragging ass the whole time. Let’s pack this bag, let’s gather these toiletries. Finally I realized that I didn’t want to go to the hotel gym. I wanted to wait until I got to my home gym later that afternoon and do my beloved sweaty StepMill routine and have an arm day. So I listened to my wants, not my shoulds. And later that day when I had a kickass workout at my home gym, it felt great!


Heather and I had the unfortunate task ahead of us of saying goodbye to all of our friends 🙁 our time together was so short! Meg has promised to come visit CT. She has always wanted to come here apparently! And CT has always wanted to see her visit!

Lisa, Chelsea, Heather, Meg, me, Linz

Heather and I visited a Boston cafe, thinking cup, that had been recommended to me on Twitter. We took our heavenly pour-over coffees into a park to enjoy and spotted two bloggers we hadn’t said goodbye to (or really met well) yet – Teri and Holly!

Teri is sooo J. Crew.

Heather and Holly made connections over journalism, and Teri and I bonded over our love for the South (she lives in NC just 20 minutes away from my relatives!) I only wish the four of us could have spent more time together during HLS! After the fortuitous meeting, we departed for a heavenly vegan brunch (but that’s a story for another post) and bid goodbye to Boston…that is, until I go back this Sunday 😛

Have you ever tried Crossfit and/or any Reebok products?

Have you ever been stuck in a situation in which your dietary restrictions were not accommodated?

Are you Whole Foods-deprived?

Blogger Recipe Pairing

Tina of Carrots N Cake (a healthy living blog I’ve been reading for several years, since I first discovered them) posted a recipe at the end of last month in a post titled The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Obviously I was immediately intrigued. You would be too, right? Well, I’m pleased to report that Tina is a truthful blogger.

The recipe was for sweet potato quesadillas. YUP. If the post’s title had grabbed me before, I had now been…snatched?…by the recipe’s title. Tina’s version used black beans, sweet potato, and a whole wheat tortilla – all of which my mom used when she made these for her and I two Sundays ago. But Tina also used Babybel cheese and chopped kale, which my mom and I replaced with goat cheese and edamame for extra protein! Mashing the sweet potato was easy thanks to Ore Ida’s frozen sweet potato steak fries. The edamame was also a frozen variety that we simply heated up in the microwave. For the tortilla, we used Flat Out Healthy Grain Harvest Wheat wraps.

How amazing does that look? I have to tell you that it tasted even better. My mom and I did a lot of moaning and groaning – foodgasm-ing, if you will. We paired our quesadillas with Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot-Cabernet blend. I really loved it – and it’s such a cheap wine! Definitely recommended if you’re on a wine budget.

The beginnings of a great side.

Because that one quesadilla each is NOT enough food for us, my mom also whipped up a second blog-based recipe: Jenny’s refried black beans from Tofu SwagMy mom was doubtful that she’d pull this one off, but it came out AMAZING. The only change my madre made was adding the onions in the beginning (see photo above).

Fabulous AND healthy. This entire meal was protein-packed AND vegetarian! I may eat meat but there’s no denying that it’s totally possible to get enough protein from plants. The refried beans were drool-worthy and we can’t wait to whip them up again.

Thanks for sharing the recipes, Tina and Jenny! Thanks to you two, my mom and I dined like queens on a Sunday evening.

I also just have to say that I had the most kickass workout yesterday. I went to my favorite class at my gym, a Step class with awesome choreography broken up by HIIT drills. The combos were filled with kicks, knees, and “basketball shooters” (for da glutes). I worked most of the moves to perfection and even had the energy after class to rock a 4 minute #plankaday!


Also, check out what I hung up in my work cubicle today…a recap of my Color Me Rad experience is coming to the Fitfluential blog soon! I’ll let you all know when it’s up!

Have you ever tried making your own refried beans?

What’s the best recipe you’ve ever gotten off of a blog?

What’s the most innovative way you’ve ever used sweet potato?

Fitness Magazine Meet and Tweet

What a whirlwind the last several days have been! Thanks again for being so patient with me while I have been busy living life to the fullest 🙂 now it’s time to share my experiences with you all! Or at least, one of them!

Starbucks bold with a splash of steamed skim and cinnamon powder. Kthxbye.

On Wednesday, my best blend Heather and I stopped at Starbucks for caffeine (she let me try a sip of her black Blonde Roast – didn’t think I’d like the lighter brew, but surprise, it was PERFECT black!) and hit the road for the NYC Fitness Magazine Blogger Meet & Tweet!

Heather decided to be completely normal and make her choc protein pudding oats in the car 😉

This is a normal blogger thing to do!

The last hour of the ride was a bit of a nightmare since a) we had to pee and b) my butt had become completely numb from sitting for so long and c) we were moving at a crawl thanks to rush hour. Seriously, the body is NOT meant to sit for that long!!! Once Heather and I parked (I used a Groupon for the parking, $16 for the entire day, had to brag about it), we begged the attendant to let use use the employee-only, toilet paper-less bathroom. Desperate times, friends.

Ahhh much better!

Before we were able to relieve ourselves, Heather shot a silly vlog, which I begrudgingly agreed to be in for about .02 seconds. For your viewing pleasure…

Swear I’m not a tourist.

We were so excited to finally arrive! My heart was poundingas I entered the building – I could hear all the chatter going on upstairs, and could hardly believe I was about to walk into this amazing event.

We got our name tags, picked up our (first) bag-o-goodies, and set out to visit the booths that had been set up by the event sponsors.

Awesome display by Reebok, including spot to try on their RealFlex Transition sneakers!

I stopped by Reebok’s table first and was excited to meet Johnice Graham of their marketing team. Hello, dream job! She was so kind and told me I’d be seeing her in a couple days at their #RBKFITBLOG event! Of course I had to take a picture, which you may recognize from the blog’s Facebook page(new default!)

Next, I was BEYOND spoiled by Oakley!!! They had a booth set up where we could try on some of their new active wear sunglasses. They’re made for the active woman who likes to keep things fashionable at the same time – pretty sure that’s almost every female FitFluential Ambassador! Then the awesome ladies at the booth informed me that I could take home a pair of my favorite style. WHAT?!

Is this real life?

And a special shout-out to Jaclyn, an amazing PR girl I met at the Oakley booth. She was so cool and down to earth. I hope we get to hang out again soon!

Thank you Oakley!

I was also spoiled by Birkenstock! They gifted me a pair of their Madrid sandals in brown. I was honestly skeptical at first – I wasn’t sure if they would really be my style. However, my favorite pair of brown leather sandals broke a few months back, so this timing seems pretty perfect! I’m excited to break them in and will update you guys on how comfortable they feel on my feet.

Thank you Birkenstock!

Grain Foods Foundation, a non-profit, had a gorgeous spread of carb-y deliciousness set out for all-day snacking. The organization aims to spread awareness of the importance of grains and bread in the diet. Though some may avoid certain grains for dietary restriction reasons, I think it’s good that a non-profit like this exists to spread word to those that may avoid grains because of the “carbs are bad” notion that I myself have fallen victim to in the past.

Nut butter and jelly party!

Cream cheeses and veggies! I combined cucumber with the lox cream cheese – awesome.

Water and juices, mini pitas and naan, as well as plenty of toasters for those who like their carbs accompanied with carcinogens (me).

My favorite part – hummus, tzatziki, guac, pesto, and bruschetta spread!

One of the coolest parts of the event was hanging out with the grains as well – soccer champ Mia Hamm! Heather, Bess, Mattie, and I waited anxiously to meet her.

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Mia was so kind and gracious. I thanked her for inspiring girls everywhere to get out there and be active, and she signed a soccer ball for me!

I also had the chance to interact with some other brands! I sampled the strawberry banana V8 V-Fusion Smoothie flavor, and liked it, surprisingly! Usually those kinds of drinks are way too sweet and fake-tasting to me, but this smoothie tasted natural and didn’t make me feel like I was drinking a dessert. I also checked out the new Schick Hydro Silk razor at the Schick table, and was pretty excited to hear I’d be receiving one in the end-of-the-day goodie bag. It even has a little imprint right above the head for your index finger to rest, and the blade itself points at an upward angle when the razor is resting, so that it doesn’t come in contact with the surface of your shower. Little attention to detail like that impresses me!

Of course you know I’m going to talk about the lunch spread. Well, it rocked my taste buds off. OK, so I’ll be a little more descriptive.

Fresh salmon with dill and lemon wedges!

Fruit salad; house salad with cucumber, radish, shaved asparagus, and green goddess vinaigrette; farro salad with grilled peaches and hazelnut vinaigrette.

Love this shot of an iPhone salmon tweet happening!

I helped myself to salmon and the house and farro salads! I’d rocked fruit for breakfast that morning so skipped the fruit salad.

Despicable. Absolutely horrendous.

Thanks to Gina for modeling the signature drink of the day, a fresh lemonade!

After the last info session, I was pleasantly surprised to see that another wave of food had been set out, this time in the form of  artfully-arranged snacks!

You know me…I have to try everything! So I helped myself to one of each type of the below pictured healthy snack “cones” – veggie crudites and apples with brie!

My favorite part of the day was the MEET part of this Meet & Tweet. No, it was not the free stuff. Not even close. How often do I get the chance to meet SO many friends for the first time in one place? And how often do I get to chat with the faces behind the blogs I’ve been reading for, in some cases, years?

Heather, Julie, and I

Peanut Butter Fingers is one of the first blogs I ever started reading, and Julie was kind enough to help me write my blog’s disclaimer back in September when I first got started. That fact alone should have been enough to assure me that she would be incredibly sweet and down to earth, but if it wasn’t, I was completely convinced the second we said hello. The voice Julie’s readers follow each day truly IS hers!

Courtney, me, and Meredith

I’ve also been reading Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life for a very long time, but I’ve gotta say, even the longest of readers could not realize how BEAUTIFUL Courtney is until he or she met her in person. Seriously, this girl is so put-together and an incredible beauty! Photos on the Internet do not do her justice. Meredith writes a newer blog, Dare You To, with a really unique concept. Each post DARES her readers to try a different challenge, and whether it’s something completely foreign to them or something they already may have been doing, it’s still extremely inspiring and a great source of discussion! I was glad to get to meet Meredith in person so that I could tell her how much I admire the idea – and just hang out and chat! We had so much fun. Check out this GORGEOUS photo taken of her during one of the panel sessions (by Fitness Mag photographer Steven Meyer).

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

I’m also kicking myself in the face (if I really could do that it’d be pretty impressive, no?) for not getting a photo with the CEO of FitFluential, Kelly Olexa. How humbling and awe-inspiring to FINALLY meet in person the woman who brought me into this Ambassador program and made so much possible. THANK YOU KELLY!

Me, Heather, and Meredith

I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Jill, Natasha, Heather, and Danielle, who I seem to be determined to pull towards me with all my might in the below photo .

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Me, Heather, Natasha, and Jill.

Jill is a YouTube superstar (I envy her composure and poise in her videos), and Natasha does social media for Physique 57. I fangirled hardcore when she handed me a pass for two complimentary classes. A must-try next time I’m in NYC!

Me, Katie, and Heather.

Where do I begin with Katie? Seriously…where? I’ve been a Healthy Diva Eats reader for over a year because she writes a blog that is fun, fabulous, and fit. Well, the writer behind the blog is all three of those things and more. I have never met someone I felt so comfortable giving a HUGE hug to right away. I could have hugged Katie about a thousand times more than I got to throughout the day. She is such a kind, genuine, HAPPY person with an infectious personality. I already miss her! I’m so thankful the Fitness Mag photographer captured our first hug!

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

And another example of a beautiful human being, inside and out, is Carla Binberg. After finding my first blog ever, Kath Eats, I literally googled “healthy living blogs” because I was so excited to find more. MizFitOnline is one of the first that popped up, and I’ve been a follower ever since! I have always been attracted to Carla’s style of writing and REALLY hope she comes out with a book ASAP so I can bury my nose in it for hours. She has always been so willing to help out other FitFluential Ambassadors by connecting them with brands, giving them advice, and just delivering inspiring messages every day. Carla does blogging in her own instantly-recognizable-as-Carla’s way. Her readers will never find another blogger out there like her. I felt like I’d known her for years the second I introduced myself.


Throughout the day I ran into Nicole, Michele, and Cassandra. Nicole is a talented baker and soon-to-be mommy who blogs at Making Good Choices. She is beyond adorable! So is Michele, an already-and-soon-to-be mommy who blogs at NYC Running Mama. I’ve been chatting with her in the FitFluential Facebook groups for awhile so saying hey in person was surreal! Finally, Cassandra shares her genius recipes at Breakfast to Bed. I literally said, “Oh my God! You’re a genius!” when I met her, before even saying hello.

Heather, me, Nicole, Michelle, and Cassandra.

Shout outs as well to Christy and Maria, both amazing women who I didn’t get pictures with 🙁 but if you guys have some please send them my way?!

Last, but CERTAINLY not least of the people I met…the Editor in Chief of Fitness Magazine herself, Betty Wong! Telling people who do so much, especially careers that you are interested in, is a beautiful and special thing. Even if Betty hears it all the time, I still feel good knowing that I’ve told someone I admire exactly why I admire her and how she inspires me. And what’s even cooler…Betty also seemed very admiring and thankful to Heather and I for being there!

Betty, me, and Heather.

There were many informational panels going on throughout the day. I spent most of my time meeting and tweeting with bloggers and brands, but did catch a couple of the sessions. Fitness Fashion Director Argy Koutsothanasis presented an array of ensembles that combined fitness and street fashion. I was essentially obsessed with the blue and yellow Reebok jacket and pencil skirt combo (pictured below), and got a chance to awkwardly tell its model that very fact while waiting in line for the bathroom.

We also heard beauty tips from Fitness Beauty Director Eleanor Langston and the very funny Laura Geller. I can tell Laura was an actress – she’s a true entertainer!

My very favorite panel of the day was easily the last one, with Carla, Kelly, Julie, and Tina – How to Turn Your Blog into a Business.

Obsessed with Julie’s sneakers.

Very interesting tidbits I learned during this session:

  • Jessica Simpson reads Julie’s blog!
  • It’s not worth your time to get TOO into catering your blog to be SEO-friendly. There are little tips and tricks that always help, but inserting keywords in certain places on purpose or constantly changing your structure and wording to attempt to manipulate Google is not worth the time since their algorithm changes a ton.
  • Tina feels the same way as I do about the best part of blogging – the FRIENDS!
  • Carla’s number one freelancing tip is to pitch something that only YOU would be able to write. Make yourself valuable to brands!
  • My favorite simple quote from Kelly during the panel – “Be who you are!”

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

I did my best to live-tweet the panel’s advice using the #fitblognyc hashtag!

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

After the panel wrapped up, there was a Kiwi Sweat Pop-Up Fitnesss workout called Tabura planned, but Heather and I decided to head out to Time Square’s Oakley Store with Bess and Mattie for a meet-up with the Tone It Up trainers. I heard the workout was really fun though!

We hopped in line to wait for our swag-bags. Heather looked cute, while I decided to pass the time by making awkward faces.

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Finally it was our turn!

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Just a glimpse of our bag’s exteriors made us very happy girls.

Photo: Steven Meyer (courtesy of FITNESS Magazine)

Can you believe how much Fitness Magazine and the event sponsors hooked us up?!

I’m essentially obsessed with the bag by Sonia Kashuk. You can get her stuff at Target! On our way to Times Square, Heather, Bess, and I got a ton of questions about where we got our bags.

Reebok RealFlex Transition sneakers – in my favorite color!

I can’t wait to try these bad boys out. Everyone knows I love hot pink workout gear!

Sensational swag in-my-bag!

Ahhh – look at it all! My swag bag also included:

  • SunMaid Raisins, Pure Protein and Nature Valley bars, and Lipton Tea & Honey packets
  • FiberOne 90-calorie brownies (I can’t wait to try these in plain Greek yogurt, there’s a choc chip and a brownie flavor!)
  • the latest issue of Fitness (my sister is reading it right now and gives it two thumbs up!)
  • Element AM & PM Yoga for Beginners DVD – looking forward to using this when I need a wind-down or a good stretch to supplement a workout
  • “Drop Dead Healthy” book by AJ Jacobs, who was at the event during a panel – I plan to read this, but I think my parents want to first!
  • two CamelBak bottles, one with a built-in filter and one without – I gave the one without to my sister, and she is VERY impressed and in love! I plan to do a giveaway for the one with the filter because even though I know they’re worse for the environment, I prefer to drink out of recyclable plastic water bottles. Nothing else will do for me!
  • Blow Pro Faux-Dry dry shampoo
  • Dogeared star necklace – this one made my sister pretty jealous and I felt bad because I’d never heard of this brand before, but it’s so pretty!!! I can’t find a photo online but will tweet it when I wear it!
  • Hand in Hand Orange Blossom sustainable soap – after getting my first piece of sustainable soap at CT Veg Fest recently, I can’t wait to use this!
  • Vichy lotion – gave to my sis, not my thing at all, a caffeine-containing lotion meant to make cellulite less severe and firm the stomach. However inside of box has creative packaging – diff ab moves printed on the inside! Glad to see a company not putting for the illusion that their lotion alone will “work miracles”.

As I mentioned briefly above, some of the bag’s contents are honestly not my thing so be on the lookout for a giveaway or two coming soon!

OK, but this band definitely IS MY THING. Heather got Sweaty Bands in her bag but I didn’t get any in mine, and after hearing I’ve always wanted to try them (especially after I watched Maria ROCK hers at #RBKFITBLOG), she was kind enough to give me the one I’m wearing above. THANK YOU HEATHER! Another goody my sister is very envious of.

Crazy bag lady – I walked from Fitness Mag to Times Square with this stuff!

I’ll definitely be doing a giveaway for the yoga mat I’m holding above, because I already have a yoga mat! This one is brand new and was gifted to us by New Media Strategies, the partner firm that helped put on the event. They were the world’s first social media marketing firm…true innovators! Samantha Pepi, the Senior Promotions Manager for NMS that helped keep us bloggers informed about the event, did an amazing job and chatting with her at the NMS table was very fun. I hope it was fun for her too, since we kept making her take pictures for us! 😛

And then…Heather, Bess, and I were off to the Tone It Up meetup in Oakley’s Times Square location! The whirlwind day was only just getting started! MORE TO COME!

What part of this event would you have enjoyed the most? If you attended, what DID you enjoy the most?

Have you tried or ever wanted to try any of the products mentioned in this post?

What question would YOU have asked the members of the blogger panel?