The Power Of Community – a SweatPink BlogFest Recap

Well, it’s Wednesday and I think I have finally come down from the ridiculous endorphin high that I was on from last Thursday until Saturday at BlogFest (which was a part of IDEA World).  So I can’t think of a better time to wrap up a post than right now. 

I left to LA on an early flight from Boston, because I wanted to have some time to find some wifi and get some work done. Turns out, when I got to the hotel, those plans were quickly dashed as signs saying “ESPYS” were everywhere.

Yes, I had the pleasure of staying at the hotel where the ESPYS party was held. 

Yes, I had a major fan girl moment. 

Yes, I went to the red carpet and watched for a little bit.

They had a cool area called the #ESPYExperience, where there were dance competitions, dunk competitions, football throws and boxing challenges. It was pretty awesome to be able to have something to do, especially while I was waiting for the hotel room.

Once I got into the hotel, I headed back out to meet up with Sandra Laflamme, who blogs over at Organic Runner Mom, and is another New Englander from NH! We enjoyed a delicious snack, and then wandered down the road to City Target for some conference snacks, and then hopped into H&M and Zara for some browsing. What we noticed? There was a ton of WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD things in there.

Ok, so the next day was the first day of BlogFest and we kicked off the day with a 2.5 mile run with Truitt Foods, Tiffany Henness and Linzie Starr. I went with the group that was going to run a 9:30 – 10:00min/mile pace and had a blast chatting with everyone.  Plus, I even won a bluetooth trigger for my phone, that will let me snap photos without having to touch my phone!

After the run, it was time to head into the LA Convention Center for BlogFest kickoff.

BlogFest was two days of social media/blogging goodness with a serious fitness twist.

So here’s the thing about going to ANY conference (and life) – You get out of it everything you put into it. This is now my 4th conference that I’ve attended this year (and the 3rd that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at), and the real reason I love attending them is the people.

I have worked in the social media and digital marketing world professionally for the past 5 years, and have grown massive social media presences for a couple widely recognized brands (want to know more, connect with me in LinkedIn). The idea of connecting my two passions together is one of the reasons why I started this blog, and was something that I was interested in learning more about at this conference.

No matter what, I refuse to call myself an expert in anything that has to do with social media. Why? Because it’s changing EVERY DAY. While I work very very closely with virtually every single social media channel, targeting changes, audiences change, CPC’s change and Google seems to think its hilarious to change it’s algorithm on a whim, just to see how people react. The key to being successful in the space, is always wanting to learn and accepting that how someone did something is not always going to work for you. It’s thinking outside the box. It knowing that you will never know everything and that “how-to’s” have a shorter shelf life than most fresh fruit.

I took something away from every single talk – whether it was from Katy Widrick talking about the “Future of Blogging” or Melissa Burton busting the “Top 5 Nutrition Myths”, or hearing how @Powercakes built an Instagram following of 25K to having a very detailed SEO discussion. I walked away learning about Canva (which is seriously awesome), and a whole bunch of tools to try out before I add the to my social media tool box.

Some people seem to be upset about the lack of a “checklist” – or the actual “how do you do it”. I see the how as the easiest question to answer here. How did they do it? They just did it. 

How do you do it? You just have to try it. Some things will work, somethings won’t work. You have to take the risk and try something that no one else is doing and see if it works. There is no “one size fits all” for anything social media.

It all comes back to what your “why” is. I wrote about the “why” earlier this year, and I truly think it all comes back to this. Why are you at the conference? Are you here to be told what to do? Are you here for affirmation that what you are doing is correct? Are you here to build relationships? Why is that important to you? (As you can see – my journalism background makes questions fly a mile a minute). 

What’s my why? Why do I care about this blog and attending a conference like BlogFest? 

Because I want to show people that if I can do it, they can too. I want to show people that with support, drive and a little bit of umph they can change their life and live their dreams. 

And I got that.

 I got the inspiration to go and put some more umph into what I do, and go get people excited. 

Hearing speakers like Gabby Reese and taking classes with Jeanette Jenkins, Beto Perez and Jillian Michaels all echoed the themes that successful bloggers had spoken to us about:

You have to be true to you.

 You have to work hard. 

You have to take a risk.

I met people from all walks of life, and shared a room with three incredibly strong women. Those are the connections that make BlogFest worth it. Each one of us has a story to tell, and I can’t wait to keep on following the stories of the incredible people I met at BlogFest. 

I have already penciled in next years BlogFest into my 2016 calendar. I learned about new tools, I met knew people and I left with a renewed sense of who I was. As cheesy as it sounds, I left there standing a little taller, with my head held a little higher and ready to give life everything I have. 

I can find a checklist online on how to create a successful social media plan (heck, if you are looking for one, I can probably create one for you <insert shameless plug here> ). You know what I can’t recreate? People.

The other big part of it? Again the workouts!

You know what I love more than meeting amazing people? Going through a few workouts with them. I think you learn a lot about a person when you work out with them, and I am so happy to say I feel like I’ve just acquired 200+ new virtual workout buddies. 

It feels like winning the lottery.

Each one of us has an amazing story to tell, and that story is what keeps (awesome) followers like you around. I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far, and will keep on following!

If you are a blogger who is looking to connect with likeminded people, learn about some new tools and have a great time I would HIGHLY suggest going to BlogFest at IDEAWorld next year! I know I’ll be there!

I’ll be posting later this week the top 10 things I learned at BlogFest – so stay tuned!

Trail Blazing…

I know. It’s been awhile. 

Things have been a little crazy, but in the craziness I’ve had the opportunity to really start doing something I love… trail running.

At the end of June, I had the chance to do the Ragnar Trail Race New England. I didn’t know any one on my team when we first arrived, and we quickly hit it off and had 30 hours of hills, adrenaline and fun (notice sleep isn’t in there).

I had done Reach the Beach, which is now also put on by Ragnar, and that one requires you to get friendly with 6 of your teammates as you drive a couple hours to the next transition point. You get stinky, and you get creative since you have to stretch out and live basically in a van seat.

This is where the trail one was SO much more fun. You set up camp. You get to relax after you run and take advantage of a yoga class or walk around a festival area. There was so much more a team feel to this one, since you didn’t exist on top of each other.

The trails were hard. Each loop started with ¾ mile,  1,000 ft elevation gain, climb and then split. Green was 3.5 miles, Yellow was 4.8 and Red was 6.5. I was the last runner on my team, so my order was yellow, green, red.

While the trails were hard, they were also beautiful. Northfield was the perfect location for this event, and the weather was perfect. I wouldn’t change anything about this race and I hope to have the opportunity to run it again! 

And then I hit the trails again this past weekend for the VERT Sasquatch race! It was my friend’s first race since having twins two years ago, and the 2.4 mile trail run was a memorable way to kick things off! 

Sasquatch happened about 5 miles away from where we lived, and we had trained on trails 2x’s a week leading up to it. What we didn’t plan for (since it’s New England and summer has been teasing us a little bit), was 80 degree heat by 9:00AM.

So, with temps quickly soaring, I decided to just keep myself in check. I blazed down the downhills and slowed on the inclines, and used the flats to get my breathing back on track. I can tell that I wasn’t as hydrated as I should have been, since a little over halfway through, I was smacked with nausea. The fact that I knew it was only 2.4 miles kept me going and all of a sudden it was done.

The trails were not nearly as technical as those we had trained on, and were mainly fire roads. However, the first incline had a lot of people pulling over and sucking air. 

Overall I had an amazing time and VERT puts on one heck of a race. I’m debating on signing up for their fall FellsFest, which includes a 3 mile and a 7 mile race – plus the option to do BOTH! It’s the week before Reach the Beach though, so I’m trying to make a responsible decision on whether I should run a 10 mile trail run before having to run 15 miles across NH. Thoughts?

Tomorrow I’m flying out to LA for #BlogFest, where I’ll be speaking in their Lightning Round! Can’t believe it’s finally here. Plus, stay tuned for a big announcement next Monday!

My #BlogFest Buddies!

I’m very excited to be a part of #BlogFest this year as a Lightning Round speaker, and I’m even more excited now that I’ve been “buddied” up with two AMAZING ladies.

The BlogFest organizers have put together a program that pairs up a returning BlogFest attendee with two new attendees. I just wanted to have the opportunity to show off my awesome new buddies – I can’t wait to spend BlogFest hanging out with them!

Jennifer Hellickson, KineticFix.com; Fit Approach; SweatGuru

1. Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are / what city you live in / what you blog about?

Hey, guys! Jennifer Hellickson here – PR person by day and blogger over at KineticFix.com. I’m the marketing director for Fit Approach and SweatGuru, working alongside founders Jamie and Alyse to build the Sweat Pink and SweatGuru communities online. I’m a runner, (wannabe) triathlete and workout junkie  who lives in Portland and loves geeking out over fitness trends, bodyhacks and healthy food, along with the latest and greatest gear.

2. What was your favorite part about BlogFest last year?

Hands down, the people! From the informative panel discussions, incredible guest speakers (Jillian Michaels = #girlcrush), high-energy workout leaders and time spent sweating, chatting, eating and laughing with new fit friends…I walked away from the weekend feeling so thankful to have been a part of such a positive, uplifting event.

3. What’s your ultimate workout must-have?

I have a lot of ‘em! I tend to be a gear junkie (likely the result of my early-adopter father), so I’m usually testing out some gadget, piece of clothing or new accessory. Other than that? Comfortable clothing, quality footwear and good music. 

4. If money was no object, where would you travel for vacation and what would you do there?

I’d go straight back to Italy. Travel all around the country, then set up shop in Tuscany in a villa for a month straight and spend my time cooking, walking, eating, shopping and hiking. Not that I’ve put much thought into this or anything 🙂 

5.  What is your spirit animal?

Definitely a meerkat. That was my nickname at my last job because I’d pop my head up over the cubicle walls and crack jokes with my office-mates. I’m a firm believer that you’re a thousand times more productive – and creative – when you’re having fun!

6.  And what makes you blog? And why fitness?

I believe that being active is the key to health and happiness, challenging yourself can take you to places you never dreamed possible, and exercise should be anything but boring! My mission, which I hope I’m accomplishing through my blog, is to inspire, be inspired and ignite a passion for health & fitness in others.

Carleeh, @mamarazza on Instagram;  MamaRazzaOnAMission

1. Who are you? Tell us in a brief paragraph who you are / what city you live in / what you blog about?

My name is Carlia, though I have gone by Carleeh since I was about 10 yrs old. I am the mother of 3, one 14 yr old boy, and two girls; a 12 yr old, and a 5 yrs old redhead!I am 34 and have been married for 15 yrs in June. My husband is a combat wounded veteran with PTSD from multiple deployments to Iraq. Currently,  I am his VA caregiver. I am 30 miles North of Seattle, in a small community called Smokey Point. When my blog is up and running it will be focused on my fitness journey while juggling VA paperwork, kids, and staying centered in Faith and yoga. I am currently studying to be a CPT with NASM and a pound fitness instructor. 

2.  What are you hoping to get out of BlogFest 2015? 

I hope to make friendships and meet with girls I have known on IG for years. I am going to absorb all the bloggy goodness I can to make a legit blog and sweat buckets with the industry’s best.

3. Anything you’re really excited / nervous / anxious about the conference?

I have been dying to get to take a piloxing class especially with my friend Tasha! Nervous about being a newbie in a field and lifestyle that everyone there is accustomed to. I just got into fitness as a passion almost 2 yrs ago to lose weight and just decided to look into it as a lifestyle about 6 months ago. I am so social I am anxious that I will be overly excited and embarrass myself. Lol  

4. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

I am addicted to beverages. I love love love Kevita and I also love infused waters. I typically have a water bottle with fruit or herbs at all times. I do really love to eat chocolate covered strawberries,  fresh mango, and watermelon. I love trail mixes and chia pudding.

5. What type of workout could you not live without? 

Deadlifting and Agility/bootcamp . I love ladders, muscle ropes, lifting weights, and flipping tires. But I adore yoga too. I need them all or I would freak out, I like to mix up my workouts (ClassPass is my dream ticket)

6. If you could close one fast food chain, due to disgusting food, what would you pick?

 I would love to close burger king, just the thought of their food grosses me out. 

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I registered for the 2015 IDEA World Fitness BlogFest with Sweat Pink and received a $40 discount to share with my friends!

You have to join me for 4 career-changing days of advanced blogging sessions, celebrity workouts, and exclusive access to the largest fitness event in the world! Register using my personalized link and save!

Plus… I’ll be speaking during this years Lightning Round!

What are you waiting for? Register now!

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