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!
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!
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.
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…
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.
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?!
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!
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.
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.
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.
I helped myself to salmon and the house and farro salads! I’d rocked fruit for breakfast that morning so skipped the fruit salad.
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?
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!
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).
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!”
I did my best to live-tweet the panel’s advice using the #fitblognyc hashtag!
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.
Finally it was our turn!
Just a glimpse of our bag’s exteriors made us very happy girls.
Can you believe how much Fitness Magazine and the event sponsors hooked us up?!
I can’t wait to try these bad boys out. Everyone knows I love hot pink workout gear!
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.
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?