Five Days of Fitbloggin Posts….

Sadly, this will be the LAST of my Fitbloggin posts.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the recap as much as I have.  In its own way, it’s like re-living the entire experience, which I’ve loved.  I have also enjoyed putting words to the pictures that I took and expressing how much I appreciate the people I met and the overall experience.

Now, since it’s post number 5… I thought I’d give you FIVE more things about Fitbloggin that you might be interested in.

ONE

Holy crap… I met Gina from Skinny Taste!!!!!  Hilary and I just HAD to say hello to Gina and her friend Doreen on Thursday night at the welcome reception.  She is UH-MAZING!

With Gina from SkinnyTaste

Why do I love Gina?  First and foremost, because she is so personable and friendly… and just fun to be around!

Secondly, Gina’s website has been one that I’ve used for years and years… I followed her when I was on Weight Watchers, and I’ve used her recipes ever since.  She healthifies every recipe she adds to her site, and takes the most beautiful pictures of the food… that makes you want to eat it immediately!

I’ve even featured a few of Gina’s recipes here on NTTC:  Pumpkin Spice Pancakes, Asian Carrot Ginger DressingPasta with Italian Chicken Sausage, Peppers and EscaroleCrockpot Applesauce, Lowfat Red Wine-Tomato Vinaigrette, Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing

Gina – You’re personally responsible for some of that 84 lbs that I’ve lost so far!  Thank you!!!!

TWO

In talking to some fellow bloggers, they mentioned that they would like to hear more about my shopping adventures and what I’m wearing on the regular!  So, that being said… Stay tuned for shopping updates!

With Sade at the McCormick store… in a maxi by INC from Macy’s

I’ve got plenty of material for this topic.  Hopefully, you’ll enjoy what I put together!  Is there anything you’d like me to write about more?  Leave me a comment below!

THREE

I’m the LAZIEST notetaker ever… While I learned a lot at Fitbloggin, my notetaking could use some work.

I even bought this cool keyboard for my iPad… but barely used it.

Most of my notes looked like this… Thanks, Canon!

FOUR

Baltimore is gorgeous… and I don’t think I’ve given you enough pretty pics.

FOUR AND A HALF

We didn’t get any free items to take home, but I was SOOOO excited to see that Laughing Cow Cheese was sponsoring one of our breaks!  I LOVE Laughing Cow… They had bagels and their new Smooth Sensations cream cheese flavors!  For 45 calories, you can enjoy a wedge of regular, Garden Vegetable (MY FAVORITE), Strawberry and Cream, or Cinnamon Cream.  So delicious!!!

Garden Veggie FTW

I’ll take a pic with the cheese wheels…

FIVE

By now, you know I’m obsessed with Subway… so don’t be too surprised when you hear that I skipped lunch at Fitbloggin twice to go to Subway instead.

My Veggie Delite is all dressed up!

Here’s the BEST part!  If you live in the DC area, you’ve had this…. but how about that hot pepper relish you can ONLY get on the East coast??  Why can’t I get this in Denver???  So delish!!!

 

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What I Brought Home from Fitbloggin

When I headed to Fitbloggin… even though I had 8 pairs of shoes in my bag, I still had room leftover for giveaways that I’d be receiving at the conference.  I’d read tweets and email warning that there would be quite a bit, but I had NO idea how much it would be.

Let’s take a look…

McCormick was COMPLETELY generous with their goodie bags…

And, I completely love these measuring spoons. I can always use an extra set!

Here’s the motherload… lots of stuff from so many generous sponsors. Unfortunately, I had to leave a few things behind that weren’t really TSA friendly. I also ate all the Popchips before I came home…. shocking, I know

An awesome cookbook from my friends at @beeffordinner

Just call me “Goldietanks” – - I got three new tops… one’s too big, one’s too small, and the other is JUUUUUST right.

The “I <3 Lean Beef” apron was SUPER cute! Also pictured is a sample of maple syrup and a super-absorbent workout towel!

New sneaks from Reebok!

HOLY SWAG, FITBLOGGIN!

Hilary and I also took a trip to the McCormick store in the Inner Harbor.  Our friends at @Spices4Health had given us a coupon for 20% off… so, we had to go check it out and see if there were any additional spices we needed!

With Hilary at McCormick Spice Store in the Inner Harbor

I ended up picking up a spice rub, some Turmeric to make that yummy cauliflower, and this crazy thing…

How about a Red Velvet Cake Chocolate Bar? We bought it for dessert and ended up sharing it with our table at the night’s Ignite event. Quite tasty!

Luckily, I was able to fit all of the goodies in my suitcases (even if they both checked in JUST under 50 lbs.)  Under 50 is under 50… I’ll take it.  Really though, these freebies weren’t the only thing I brought home.

The Intangibles

The men and women I met at Fitbloggin were JUST incredible.  If you blog, some of it might be for yourself… but the overwhelming majority writes from a place of service.  We write looking to inspire and motivate others.  We blog because it’s an expression of who we are…

We write about the true struggles we face along the way.  We gleefully share our successes, and we document our plans to achieve our next goal.

During the sessions I attended at Fitbloggin, there were so many amazing stories that were shared.  And people were HONEST.  They didn’t worry about judgment in this setting… they shared how they FELT.  They shared their challenges, and as Danielle shared in the Self Acceptance session:  They were BRAVE.

In my humble opinion, it take BRAVERY to put yourself in a situation where you don’t know anyone.  It takes BRAVERY to stand up at a microphone and share your story.  It even takes BRAVERY to sit quietly and reflect upon your truth, no matter how scary it is.  Despite what anyone might think… it takes BRAVERY to make the conscious decision that your weight is hurting you and to take steps to change it.  It also takes BRAVERY to be vulnerable.  The folks I encountered (many, many, many beyond who’s pictured here) are some of the BRAVEST I’ve met.

What happens when you’re surrounded by BRAVE people?  You’re inspired to do the same.  You stop being ashamed of the fact that you had 84 lbs to lose to begin with, and you relish in the fact that it’s gone.  You commit yourself to living this ONE LIFE, since it’s the only one you’ll ever have.

You walk tall and proud, and you feel like you can conquer the world.  You take a Zumba class and you don’t worry about who can see you shaking your behind.  You make a conscious decision that your life will be full and rich… And that you completely deserve it.

You also realize that you aren’t alone in this journey.  You recognize that there is strength in numbers and that sharing brings knowledge to others… an incredible gift to both give and receive.

I’ve gotten wildly inspired by this whole experience.  To be a better blogger… but MORESO to be a better person… and to go after every little thing I want in this life.  Fitbloggin, for all of this and so much more, I am grateful.

I can’t wait to see you all in Portland!

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WOW: Fitbloggin Workouts

For a while now on Wednesdays, I’ve been featuring “Work Out Wednesday” on (you guessed it!) Wednesdays to recap my week in the gym…

Since Fitbloggin is designed to be fitness friendly and for the fitness bloggers of the world, it’s packed with different workout session to appease anyone looking to sweat it out!

While the conference schedule included informational sessions, it also included Yoga, Crossfit, Zumba, a Trampoline Fitness Class, and a Bootcamp class.  I knew that I needed to do the Yoga class.  Having proclaimed myself a yoga-holic, that class was high on my list (even if it started at 6am).  The folks at Nature Valley had thankfully provided free yoga mats to the attendees, so I was all set.

It took everything in me to get out of the cozy bed to make this class, but I did it!

On the way out of yoga, I ran into Julie from Am I There Yet and we decided to head out to Starbucks for post-yoga refreshments.

Check out all those special instructions on the cups!

I had the pleasure of introducing Julie to the Salted Caramel Mocha and I got to enjoy an SCM for the first time with Hilary (all doctored up the NTTC way!)

On Saturday, I knew I had zero interest in the early morning bootcamp, and kicked off the morning with a lovely walk around the Inner Harbor.

Such a gorgeous morning for a walk. I love this area!

Eventually, we’d had enough of the walking and were ready for our 2nd Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks.  So delish!

We finished our walk in plenty of time to attend a morning session before heading to ZUMBA.  While I had tried Zumba several months ago and did not enjoy it, I figured why not.

I had new shoes to break in from our Fitbloggin sponsor Reebok, afterall… We got the best swag!

When it was time to take this class, I was STILL hesitant.  I don’t like Zumba.  I don’t do Zumba.  I don’t dance.

Oh… how wrong I was once again!  

The instructors for the class made it ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.  Their energy, their song selections, their motivation, and the fact that they were shaking it up there… inspired us all!

I parked myself in the back of the class….

Halfway through… and still smiling!

I honestly couldn’t believe how MUCH I loved Zumba this time around.  Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the energy coming from the crowd, but I just got into it… and frankly, I am still slightly obsessed a few days later.

And, pretty soon… I found myself working it. Seriously!!

OMG… Here we are after it was over. Glistening with beauty. What a workout!

I seriously can’t tell you the last time I sweat this much, and I mean that in the best possible way!  Every muscle in my body got a workout… and my core felt like I had been working it for hours!

So moved and inspired by the whole morning, I had to get a picture with the instructors, starting with Sam.  I totally gushed to Sam about how awesome I thought she was and how I loved Zumba…

And it is my love for Sam and her class that has me posting these super-sweaty pics.  This doesn’t happen often, folks, enjoy!

And, then I met Sue… Sue got the bulk of my cheesiness.  Remember all those endorphins were FLOWING post-workout.  So, I did what every normal girl does.

I talked about how I love, loved her class… and then I invited her to move to Denver.

And then, I told her that we were obvi BFF now, since she got me to dance…. and no one does that! Luckily, Sue still was ok with the picture taking after I geeked out.

Something crazy happened in that Zumba class… I’m serious.  I have a feeling you’ll see more Zumba updates in the future.  It was just that AWESOME.

So awesome, in fact, that I found this video of the class online and I just had to share it. AWESOME!

I’m equally motivated by the fact that it felt like I had done a ZILLION crunches later that night.  Yep, Zumba whittles the core…. and I’m completely pumped about it.

There were so many options for workouts that I almost wished I had done more… but then again, I think what we did worked perfectly!

One last note on Zumba… check out my Fitbit steps on Saturday morning (post-walk and post-class!)

Not bad for noon…

What’s your favorite way to get your SWEAT on?

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McCormick: I Heart You

About a month ago, Hilary talked me into signing up for the McCormick tour that was a part of the Fitbloggin’ schedule.  It was an optional tour, and I had initially thought that I wouldn’t go to it… but thank goodness I did.  This tour was easily one of my favorite parts of this entire experience!

Why??  Um, it was about cooking… I really love cooking so much.  This I’ve decided, and my trip to McCormick made that very clear.

The best part:  McCormick Spices can be found in any supermarket, in any town… and they are doing some AMAZING things to promote healthy living!

At noon on Thursday, the Fitbloggers met in the lobby for the tour.  This is where the fun meet-ups began!  We ran into Lauren from Oatmeal after Spinning and Ashley from Coffee Cake and Cardio in the hotel, and then we found Kenlie from All the Weigh getting ready to board the buses!

Quick Photo Shoot with Fabulous Kenlie just outside of McCormick

Once we arrived inside, the most delicious lunch awaited us.  The folks at McCormick had asked us to arrive “hungry” and that we were.  Prepared for us was the most beautiful, colorful, and flavorful spread… seriously, they outdid themselves.  Absolutely delish!

Our rockin menu include lunch and a dessert break!

Here’s what the picky girl put on her plate

I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious this was.  McCormick has a FANTASTIC index of recipes on their website, including most of what you see in the picture above.  Click on the dish titles for the actual recipes.  Clockwise from top left: Squash Ribbon Salad with Red Curry Vinaigrette, Fennel and Toasted Farro Risotto, Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes, Toasted Sesame Balsamic Asparagus

After we enjoyed our meal, the presentations followed.  Now, I’m never interested in seeing Powerpoint presentations when I’m on vacation, but these Powerpoints had me taking fast and furious notes.  Super interesting, and I’m going to share some of the highlights below!

Dr. Wendy Bazillion sharing facts about obesity in America. (PS… I’d like to be Wendy Bazillion when I grow up. Poised, informative, and inspiring!)

Dr. Wendy spoke about nutrition and about the obesity crisis we are in.  Here are a few notes I took during her portion of the presentation.  Very eye-opening.

  • More than 2/3 of Americans are obese  
  • This means LESS THAN 1/3 of Americans are at a healthy weight (Read that again, I did.  Shocking!)
  • 17% of children and teens are overweight or obese
  • 80 percent of Americans are falling short on their intake of fruits and vegetables
  • 8 of 10 Americans are trying to limit sodium.  Preparing meals at home and using spices instead are two key ways to control your sodium!
  • Studies show the red pepper lowers metabolism and promotes satiety.  Note-to-self:  Must eat more red pepper!
  • McCormick offers more than 450 salt-free ingredients

These are just a few nuggets of information that stood out to me.  Hearing the stats again and hearing them in a room of mindful eaters and fitness fanatics made it even more powerful.

Something else that Dr. Wendy shared that I thought was adorable was the following:

She encouraged the single girl not to consider that you are “Eating by yourself, instead that you are eating with yourself.”  You can still make it a lovely experience, as I feel I do.  I’ll definitely be phrasing my dining alone this way moving forward.

Before leaving lunch

After the presentation was over, the bloggers were whisked away to the testing kitchens for cooking demonstrations!  Oh, this was so fun!  And, even though you had just eaten, it’s amazing how hungry you got all over again as the fresh ingredients were sauteed and prepared!

Chef teaching us how to make risotto

Lots of this going on… bloggers snapping food pics. Again, nice to be with “my people”

Check out these sexy roasted beets and brussels sprouts from Chef Mark – Yum-O

Roasted Tomatoes – I love how the veggies were the stars of the show….

I could have dove into this plate of grilled veggies…

After our cooking class, they gave us a quick social break including some YUMMY desserts.  How about these little minis??

Uh-mazing

I chose two to try… a Fudge Brownie Mini Coconut Mousse Dessert and a Tropical Colada Mini Coconut Mousse Dessert.  Both were EXCELLENT!

Next, we headed off for our sensory experience, taste tasting and understanding how we react to different spices.  The first stop was pretty high tech… we tested different samples of applesauce and logged our reactions to each sample.

Samples lined up with laptops for entering results

Tasting our samples…

Our last stop really showed us how the senses play into our eating experience.  Again, we had a line up of items to taste… and reviewed the five “tastes” that exist in the world:  sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.  We also took it a step further by trying a potent piece of gum, and removing smell from the equation.

What a good sport!

Another interesting observation:  Salt that’s ground more finely has a stronger saltier flavor.  We tested this using chips.  Who knew!

After our last session, it was time to head back to the Hyatt to get checked into the hotel and to check in for the conference!  On the way out the door, we received some amazing goodie bags from McCormick including spices, cooking tools, and recipe cards.  I can’t wait to start using them!

I love spices!

Thank you to McCormick for hosting our group and for reminding me how easy it is to dress up my meals and my veggies!  Also, McCormick spices were on the tables at every meal for us to season up our entrees as we saw fit.  Loved that!

What is your “can’t-live-without” seasoning?  Mine is DEFINITELY garlic (granulated, salt, dried… all kinds!)  PS… We learned from McCormick that Garlic wasn’t used in America until the 1940s!  How did people cook without it!?  I wouldn’t have made it….

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