Career

healthy living summit 2013

19

Posted on Sep 16, 2013 in Career

hls healthy living summit gretchen lauren

Wow. What a weekend, guys!

I’m sure you’re totally sick of hearing about the Healthy Living Summit (especially if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, sorry ’bout that), but if you just endure one more bit of blathering from me on the topic, I promise we’ll move onto regularly scheduled deliciousness tomorrow.

minneapolis hls healthy living summit

I have to admit, I was mega nervous about this weekend. I mean, I like to consider myself an independent woman who even Destiny’s Child would be proud of, but flying into a new city alone to go to a conference with 150+ people you don’t know isn’t really the most comfortable of situations on the planet. On top of that, I was slated to speak on a panel like a real adult with real wisdom and stuff. Holy nerve-wracking, Batman.

minneapolis hls healthy living summit

But all those nerves were for naught, because the second that I stepped into the hotel in Minneapolis, I knew I found my people. My roomie, Gretchen, met me in the lobby, gave me a giant hug, and we were off like the not-entirely-the-same-race-sisters that everyone thought we were. And then I met with the other long-distance-love-of-my-life, Lauren, and from then on, it was a non-stop weekend of hugs, laughs and fun with some of the most inspiring, creative and intelligent women around. I’m not sure there was a single person I met that I didn’t want to take home with me in my suitcase to become my at-home BFF.  I mean, we had a whole giant group go out to dinner at a brewery the first night, for Pete’s sake. Those be my kind of peeps, yo.

(pic from Mindy)

(pic from Mindy)

And I don’t think conversation lulled for a second during dinner or the opening cocktail party. Everyone was looking beautiful and feeling festive (and maybe a little bit buzzed from the brewery).  I’ve heard before that when bloggers get together, there is always something to talk about, and man, is that ever true. So many fun people with different stories from all over the country.

gretchen lauren me

(pic from Gretchen)

The actual sessions on day two were geared a little more toward new bloggers, which were great, but I definitely found the most value in chatting with other bloggers, brands and readers one-on-one, plus, on a personal level, just getting to hang out around so much girl power was pretty awesome. I probably don’t have to tell you, but living in the country can be pretty isolating, so it was really nice to get in a room with some like-minded people, bounce around ideas and have a change of pace from the my-dog-is-my-coworker lifestyle I usually lead.

I feel so incredibly refreshed. It’s amazing what the free exchange of ideas can do for the creative soul.

And, when it was time for our panel, I felt really good about the tips and ideas we gave out! I feel like we were pretty successful in inspiring folks to take the leap from blog to job (but in a responsible manner). It seems like people really enjoyed it from what we saw on Twitter and what some attendees told us afterward. If you want to read more about what we said, you can check out the #HLS13BlogtoJob hashtag on Twitter for a recap, or check out Heather’s live blogging from our session.

lauren me gretchen healthy living summit hls

(pic from Gretchen)

We also, of course, did some eating. Like eat-ting.

I was worried (understandably so) that at a healthy living conference, I’d be surrounded by girls who had protein powder IVs, but man, we did some seriously amazing eating as a group. We had beer samplers and roasted Brussels sprouts and chicken fajitas and BBQ pork quesadillas and pickle platters and cornbread with sorghum butter and green smoothies. Heck, I even split a sausage sampler platter with Gretchen, Lauren, and my new (and totally awesome) friend, Amy. I mean, a sausage sampler? Who can pass that up?

hls food

I loved how laid back and customizable HLS was for everyone. If you were a vegan training for a marathon, you can food and running buddies. If you are a gluten-free yogi, there were gluten-free treats and yoga sessions. If you were a locavore, beer lover who preferred walking, then, well, you were probably hanging out with me. Ha! Throughout the weekend, I managed to cover a good five miles or so of downtown on foot. I had a ton of fun exploring Minneapolis! Since we live on curvy country roads, I don’t get to do as much walking as I used to when I lived in the city, so it was a lot of full to pull out my sneakers and stretch my legs.

(pic from Lauren)

(pic from Lauren)

It was so nice to see, at one conference, the spectrum of all the different ways folks define “healthy”. All without judgement or ridicule.

I feel so lucky to be part of a blog community that I love. And I am so incredibly thankful to the Healthy Living Summit for having me as a speaker and to Anytime Fitness for sponsoring my trip to the conference (it was awesome getting to hang out with my AF friends Amanda and Lee!). I can’t wait to see all my friends again at next year’s HLS (in Madison, Wisconsin)!

I hope you guys all had an awesome weekend, too! Happy Monday.

When’s the last time you had a really refreshing vacation, conference, or experience?

the next big thing

43

Posted on Jun 17, 2013 in Career

Back a few months ago, I wrote something in my 30 before 30 list about working on a cookbook (in fact, it was #24). Honestly, I never really thought anything would come of it. I just wanted to work on a cookbook for me. I even said in this post, “It might never get printed. It might never be on a bookstore shelf. It might take me 10 years. But it’s something I want to accomplish.” And that’s true! I really just wanted to work on it for me.

So I did. I worked on it. Without any interest from publishers or agents or, well, anyone.

cookbook computer

And then, a few weeks later, I was sitting out by the lake, watching Craig fish and I checked my email on my phone. An email popped up from an editor asking if I’d ever considered writing a cookbook. After flipping out, scaring all the fish with my squeals and almost doing a cart-wheel into the water, I replied back that I had definitely considered it and couldn’t wait to hear what she had in mind! Turns out, she hadn’t seen my talk of writing a cookbook, and just independently came up with the thought that I might just be a good fit to write the next cookbook for her publisher.

Over the next six weeks or so, we went back and forth talking about lots of ideas and themes for a cookbook. There are so many things I’d love to write about! My editor was really interested in getting my book on the fast track, so we talked a lot about doing some smaller scale book ideas. We talked about all kinds of themes, ingredients, cooking methods, and ideas, but throughout the whole thing, it was important to me that the final idea be true to my food philosophy—healthy, real food that is totally delicious and simple enough for everyday eating.

So, what did we land on?

cookbook

Greek yogurt! Once we landed on this idea, we both knew it was “right”.  I love cooking with Greek yogurt, and I couldn’t think of a better topical cookbook for me to write. My editor and I pulled together a quick proposal, she pitched it to her bosses, they loved it, and, suddenly, I was a cookbook author!

My cookbook will include dozens of ways to use yogurt in recipes and dishes you never thought would be possible. Each recipe will include full-color photos, nutritional information and some fun little anecdotes from me. You’ll be seeing some of the recipes that are already on the BTHR pages (but with new photos, reworking and tweaks) plus a whole bunch of new, never-before-seen recipes that will totally knock your socks off. I absolutely cannot wait to share what I have rattling around in this brain of mine with you guys!

sliders

And, in just-as-awesome news, not only am I doing the writing and recipe development for my cookbook, but I’m also doing the photography and the design! Not to be a control freak or anything, but it makes me very happy that I am getting nearly complete creative control over this final product from the visual standpoint. I’d have a really hard time handing my baby over to another graphic designer, so it’s been amazing that my publisher is being so flexible with me. I know a lot of authors don’t get much say in the look of their book—especially the cover. But I got to design my own cover! How fun is that?

cover indesign

We’re planning for the book to be on store shelves January 2014. Which, if you know anything about publishing, is a pretty crazy timeline. I officially signed my contract this past week, and my manuscript is due August 1st. That’s about 50 days to develop and test recipes, write, and do my own editing. Because we’re on such a tight timeline, we’re going to go with a lower number of recipes (probably between 50-75) and really focus on making sure they are amazing, delicious, and fool-proof, instead of trying to ram 393,540 recipes in a short period of time. Quality is very important to me.

After I’ve written the thing, then it’ll go through a hefty a hefty round (or ten) of editing with my publisher. After it’s finalized, it’ll come back to me to shoot the photos and do the design—all before it has to go into production around mid-October. Sleep? What’s that?

pancakes lightroom

I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m a little more sporadic with posts, answering questions or replying to social media over the next few months. I promise it’s only a temporary break, and I’ll be back to my old over-sharing self come Fall.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, and, even more so, grateful for all of you. I would have never, in a million years, been given this kind of chance if it weren’t for each and every one of you reading, sharing, and making my recipes. You guys are helping make my dreams come true, and for that, I can never repay you.

XOXOXO

What’s a big dream you have that you think is maybe impossible (it isn’t!)?

june sponsor shout-outs

3

Posted on Jun 15, 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 SHOUTOUTSJune you’ll get 50% off my standard advertising rate. Hurry, the code is only valid for the first three advertisers 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 sponsors…

allshecooks

I am so excited to have Jessica from All She Cooks on board this month! Jessica posts tons of delicious recipes with mouth-watering photos and descriptions. I mean, c’mon, the girl has a Hot and Gooey Cinnamon Toast Sandwich on her blog. I’ll take 10, please.

Jessica also has this really cool series—52 Weeks of No-Repeat Meal Plans.  She comes up with a new menu each week (with breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks) and then links you off to the recipes. No muss, no fuss. Oh, and did I mention she does it all for totally free? Make sure you head on over and give All She Cooks a read!


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A special shout-out goes to a few of my fine blogger friends who swapped ad space with me this month. Make sure you pop over and say howdy to:

  • Ashley at Coffee Cake and Cardio. Dude, she plays professional women’s football. I kinda want to be like Ashley when I grow up (except, I’m pretty sure she is younger than me, but whatever). 
  • Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. Lindsay is the mastermind behind Foodie Pen Pals (seriously, amazing idea) and she has an incredibly inspiring series each week where she showcases what folks are doing to prep food for the week. Lindsay is seriously good people.
  • Amy at Curls and Coffee. From across-the-pond, we have my friend Amy! I love Amy’s blog because it’s about all kinds of things that make her happy. She writes about makeup, being a mama, healthy, fitness, and everything in between!

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! If you’re a blogger interested in swapping adspace, feel free to shoot me a line

Anyone have any big plans for this weekend? Who is doing something big for father’s day?

see you in minneapolis!

5

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!

HLSLogo2013-1

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?

MINNEAPOLIS_Skyline

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

1

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…

gymdoll

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!

36

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!

before-after

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?