see you in minneapolis!


Posted on May 17, 2013 in Career

Happy Friday, my friends! I don’t have a lot to share with you today, because, let’s be honest, I’ve been totally obsessing over all the action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week that I’ve barely had time to think about food. Yes, I realize that watching grown men and women drive cars around in a circle for hours is not most people’s idea of fun. And no, I won’t bore you by trying to explain why it is the MOST AWESOME THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER EVER.

Anywho, I did want to pop in today because I’ve got some really fun news to share—I’ll be speaking at the 2013 Healthy Living Summit!


Miss Gretchen Powell (of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen) twisted my arm honored me by asking if I’d be willing to serve on her panel this year, and I jumped at the chance to finally meet all my blog friends and hang out in the Twin Cities! I’ve actually been to Minneapolis about a million times, but never got past the airport. Whenever Craig and I were long distance and I’d fly up to visit him in Canada, I always had to catch a connecting flight at MSP. I am adequately acquainted with the mega-mall that is the airport, so I’m excited to get out and explore beyond those sprawling walls. Even better that I get to do it with a bunch of amazing, inspiring bloggers! Yay! Can you tell I’m giddy excited?


I’m even more excited to head to the Twin Cities because that means we’re headed to the backyard of my good friends at Anytime Fitness. I’ve been working with the folks at AF for years now (I’m part of their blog team over at Anytime Health), and I’m excited to get to hang out with them again. They offered to sponsor me to head to HLS and I am so grateful to be representing them at the conference. I am an Anytime Fitness fan for life and can’t wait to spread the purple pride to everyone at HLS!

me gym

If you were waffling about whether or not to go to the HLS this year, I urge you to take a look at the agenda! I’m totally geeking out over some of the talks that will be happening. Grow Your Own Food? Blogger Self-Care? Philanthropy and Blogging? It’s like someone custom-made an agenda just for me and my interests. In case you’re curious, Gretch, Lauren, Katie and I will be talking about how blogging helped snag us all our dream jobs (and no, not as full-time bloggers, because that’s just not a realistic future for 99% of us). You are more than welcome to show up and mock my awkwardness. In fact, it’s encouraged, especially if you bring me beer. You can make fun of me all you want if you come bearing libations.

Tickets for the HLS go on sale Wednesday, May 29th and always sell out in a flash, so make sure you mark your calendars/set an alarm/stake out the website. I can’t wait to meet you all!

Now I’m going to go back to watching cars drive around in circles. BEST FRIDAY EVER.

Minneapolis skyline image: source

Anyone planning on heading to HLS this year? Have you ever been to a blogging conference before (I haven’t!)?

may sponsor shout-outs


Posted on May 11, 2013 in Career

It’s that time of month again for me to thank the folks who help make the 30 or so posts a month I do here possible. I’m so grateful to have the support of awesome folks each month so I can keep on doing what I love to do.

If you have a blog or organization that you’d like to see showcased in one of these posts, check out more info on my Advertising page. I <3 advertisers! And I’d love to get a chance to spread the word about your awesome cause. Right now, if you use the code SHOUTOUTSMay you’ll get 50% off my standard advertising rate. That means $25 for a large ad for a full month! Hurry, the code is only valid for the first five advertises who use it. You can sign up to be a sponsor right here! It’s a great option for blogs or businesses that want to get their name out there!

Let’s meet this month’s sponsor…


I am so excited to have Gymdoll on board this month! Gymdoll offers high-quality, affordable workout clothes for all of us kickass ladies out there. I love their clothes because they are all about empowerment and strength. How amazing are their shirts? They offer tees, tanks and some awesome accessories (like this skull and barbell decal that I desperately want for my car).

It may seem silly, but I always seem to push myself the most in the gym when I’m wearing something with a kickass message. It’s like, if I don’t absolutely kill it, I’m going to be a total hypocrite if I’m wearing a shirt that says “I don’t give up” You know? So I should probably  drown myself in sweat and live up to the message I’m wearing.

Want to add some Gymdoll gear of your own workout wardrobe? Check out their selection online.

Thank you so much for your support, Gymdoll!

Don’t forget, if you’re interested in being a sponsor, you can learn all about it on my advertising page! I’d absolutely love to have you! 

Do you have any workout gear that empowers you to go a little harder in the gym?

welcome to the new bthr!


Posted on Mar 11, 2013 in Career

Finnish Pancakes

Notice anything different around here (click over if you’re reading this on an RSS reader)? Or maybe a lot different? Ten minutes ago, I launched the redesign I’ve been waxing on about here for months. I literally started designing this sucker last summer, and really buckled down over the past week to focus on getting the parts moving and the stuff working. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been working and tweaking the same design I used when BTHR launched back in 2010! It was definitely time for a new look, and some new functionality.

I am so insanely excited to have a fresh new look, and I’m kinda in awe that I was able to do it all myself. I’m a web designer by trade, but programming and development are not my strong suits (I’m more of a colors, font, pretty pictures kinda gal), so getting this sucker to work even part of the way is a huge, giant feather in my cap. I know it’s not perfect, but for a DIY job, I think it’s a pretty great result!


I do want to tell you guys about  a few new fun features…

First things first, if you grab the corner of your browser window and resize it, you’ll notice that BTHR shrinks with it! Yay! This means we’re now responsive, and BTHR will shrink to fit whatever device or monitor you’re viewing it in. I know a lot of folks were having trouble reading on iOS devices for a few weeks, so hopefully this will help solve those issues. I still have a ton of tweaking to do to get the responsiveness really picture perfect, but at the very least, it should load on all of your devices and you should be able to read and comment (which is really the most important, stuff, right?). Expect this feature to just get better and better over the next few weeks.

The second big change is a much, much wider content area. Before, I felt like my ads were kinda crowding out my content that I work so hard on, but now, the content area is almost twice the width of the sidebar ads (and about 150 pixels wider than before). That means big honkin’ photos and lots of airy space to make reading easier. I love having all this space dedicated to photos (hence the giant pancake photo at the top of this post). I love writing, but great photography is really what makes my heart swoon, and I’m excited to have so much space to showcase my photos. It does mean that all my old photos are just a touch too narrow, but that’s alright, I think I can deal.

Speaking of the ads, if you look to the right, you’ll notice that I fleshed out my sidebar content a ton! Before, my sidebar was mostly just a vessel to contain ads, but now you’ll see ads (Mama’s gotta pay the mortgage), but there is also a ton of fun content that will be ever-changing. You’ll find links to my (current) favorite posts, seasonal recipes and popular dishes. I’m super excited to use my sidebar as a way to get more content to you guys.

Like I said, there is still a TON of work to do on the design overall. Since I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I still have a lot of technical work to do to get things in good condition. So please forgive me if things are buggy for a few days. Once all those bugs are squashed, I also have a lot of content work I want to do—I want to overhaul my navigation and content on my main pages to bring a really streamlined message.

Welcome to 2013, my baby blog. You’re all grown up. *sniff*

When is the last time you were really, really proud of something you did? What was it? Why did it make you so proud?

it’s official.


Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Career

Holy shrimp on a stick, I don’t have a job anymore.

Yesterday was my last day in the office, then I worked from home today to tie up some loose ends, and I’m staying on freelance to work on some big projects, but as of about an hour ago, I’m technically jobless. Holy crap.

me champagne

My co-workers were amazing on my last day. They showered me with kind words, a beautiful gift and a ton of (healthy!) snacks. They even got me a giant bowl of Cheddar Bunnies! It was a really sweet way to say goodbye.

work snacks

It’s a good thing they got me healthy snacks at work, because Craig and I are celebrating with the aforepictured champagne plus pizza and cheesecake. Ha! Healthy balance, right? And, of course, I’m not the only one celebrating. Craig’s last day at his job was yesterday! He starts a new gig in a few weeks, but tonight, we celebrate and revel in our joint joblessness!


I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t pretty sad driving away from Bloomington yesterday. Our jobs were really our last ties to that wonderful, amazing town. We’ve both loved being Bloomingtonians, and we’re excited to see what it’ll be like to come back to B-town as visitors now instead of townies (because you know we’ll be back to go to basketball games and visit friends!). I definitely got a little misty as we drove away for the last time. When we moved, it was different because we knew we’d be coming back to Bloomington each week for work. But this, this feels very final.

road driving stock

As sad as I am to be leaving Bloomington, I feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity to pursue my dream of being my own boss. Leaving a stable job is a huge leap of faith (read more about my plans for my newfound “free” time here), but I’m feeling good about my chances of making it in this big ocean of opportunity I just tossed myself into. Sink or swim, right?

It’s amazing the doors that have opened since I announced I was quitting. I now have enough work to carry us through comfortably for a few months. Work that wasn’t even on the horizon a few weeks ago. Not to get all new-agey-touchy-feely on you guys, but I truly believe that I opened myself up to the universe and all it had to offer, and the universe rewarded me for my trust and hard work. It’s absolutely incredible how things just work out sometimes, isn’t it? Thank you all so, so much for your support. You are just…the best group of people in the entire world.

babyface me champagne

Anyway. Enough of this mushy-gushy stuff. I’ve gotta go pack a suitcase! We’re up early tomorrow morning to jet off to Canada to visit with Craig’s family.

Holy crap. I’m a jet-setting, jobless person!

january sponsor shout outs


Posted on Jan 10, 2013 in Career

It’s that time of month again for me to pay homage to the folks that help make the 35+ posts a month I do here possible. I’m so grateful to have the support of awesome companies each month so I can keep on doing what I love to do.

It’s actually a little slow around here, but that’s okay, because it gives me more space to focus on my one amazing sponsor for this month. This company deserves its own post!


Committed Coaching is the brainchild of one of the most inspirational, motivational, caring and kind people I’ve ever met, Krissie. Coach Krissie is a certified running coach who loves to help people succeed in running, wellness and…well…life! She offers one-on-one running and wellness coaching through email, phone and in-person. She runs seasonal challenges (with prizes!) to help folks get healthy. And she runs in-person group training programs for all running distances in Lexington, Kentucky.

If you’re interested in becoming a runner, or just looking for someone to check in and keep you accountable in your healthy lifestyle, Coach Krissie is your girl. Want to learn more about Committed Coaching? Check out the website, add Coach Krissie on Twitter or “like” her on Facebook.

Are you a blog, business or company interested in advertising with BTHR? I have two different affordable ad sizes and a crazy easy ad delivery system. Use the coupon code SHOUTOUTSJan for 25% off ads. Code expires on Monday, so hurry!  Learn more »

a big, juicy announcement…


Posted on Jan 4, 2013 in Career

I can’t believe I’m writing this post. It’s been a long time coming. If I’m being honest with myself, it’s probably been in the making since the first time I sat down at my very first desk in my very first office in my very first job right out of college. Here goes…

I quit my job.

And I don’t have another one.

And it was on purpose.

I am so fortunate that, after six years working in a job that wasn’t a perfect fit for me, I now have the opportunity to figure out what is a great fit. I am insanely excited to figure out what is next in my career. I realized early on after college that doing the 9-to-5 desk job thing wasn’t going to be a “forever” for me. I just never gelled with it. And I’m so lucky that I get to try and venture out on my own now.

I know this all sounds a little bit flighty and irresponsible, I mean who leaves a well-paying job in the middle of this economy? I know. I know. But the truth is, I’m 100% sure this is the right decision for me and my family in my heart.

So you’re probably wondering what I want to do with my life. Well…a lot! I have so many plans. But when it comes to the down-and-dirty finances part? I’m very fortunate to be pulling in some income from BTHR and the Broken Plow (thank you guys so much!) and my freelance writing and design gigs. I can’t wait to devote more time to bringing better content to my blogs and snatching up more freelance writing and design opportunities. I love writing about food and wellness, and I’m really excited to see how far I can take it now that I’m jobless.

Also, I’m not the only one going through a change. Craig recently snagged a perfect-for-him job working in a local Mom and Pop garden nursery full-time. He’s always loved plants, gardening and helping people, and this place seems like the perfect fit for him. For the vast majority of our marriage, I’ve been the breadwinner while Craig worked part-time, went to school and did almost all of the domestic stuff, but we’re switching that up at the end of the month. He’ll be the full-timer, and I’m going to have to finally learn how to use the washer and dryer.

Even with Craig’s new awesome job and my side jobs, we’re still not up to pre-quitting income levels. We’re actually slashing our total monthly income in about half. Which sounds dramatic, but we’re pretty skilled at living frugally. And it’s enough to hold us over while we try our hand at something we’ve wanted to do for ages—a joint photography and design business.

We’ve been wanting to do this business (focusing mostly on weddings) for years, before we were married even, but with my full-time gig and writing two blogs, I just never had the energy or time to devote to getting it off the ground. We’ve dabbled (him shooting a few weddings, me doing a few invitation designs), but we’ve felt like for a while now, that to really get it off the ground, one of us needs to go at it full-time. And with my marketing background, I was the right Johnston for the job. We’ve always had a dream of working and being creative together, and we’re hoping this business might be “the one” in coming years.

Of course, there are a million other things I’d love to do with newfound 40+ free hours a week, too. I would love to write and self-publish a cookbook. I’d love to open up an Etsy store. I’d love to sell some produce at the farmer’s market. I have so many ideas. I can’t wait to have the time to implement them.

So, basically, it’s all a big leap of faith, which, if I’m being honest, isn’t normally my thing. I’m a numbers girl and cutting out that kind of stability has me scared at times, but I know in the deepest part of me, that this is the right decision—even if the logical side of me puts up a fuss sometimes. There is obviously going to be some serious penny pinching—we might end up eating rice and beans for the rest of our lives—but at least I’ll know we took the risk. And if I didn’t, I know I would wonder “what if” forever. Even if I go crawling back asking for my job again in a year, it’ll be worth it because I’ll know I tried.

I am so thankful for all the support I’ve had from Craig, my friends, my family and even my co-workers. People have been absolutely amazing with this hefty chunk of news. Thank you guys for helping to make this possible! Your support means so much more to me than I could ever put into words. I think I’ll bake you all cookies. Who wants chocolate chip?

Onto the next big thing…

P.S. Pop back in this afternoon for a hefty-sized Chobani giveaway. Yum!

Have you ever made a leap of faith in your career?