my first blog conference…

Dallas       

I had been looking forward to Bloggy Boot Camp since I got those tickets inside a beautiful birthday card from 3 of the most lovely people who I know along with a note that said “to the next Carrie Bradshaw”. The time finally arrived on Saturday and I think it might have changed my life.

The blog conference was held at the Doubletree Hotel and lasted all day. It was an early 9am until 6pm day filled with incredible presentations, wonderful food, amazing sponsors ready to talk to bloggers and wonderful people from all stages of their blog careers from newbie to established.

The night before there was a welcome reception sponsored by Kroger which I was unable to attend (damn work, I swear you and I will have words one of these days). I was able to attend the dessert party later on that night sponsored by King’s Hawaiian who brought delicious bread pudding made with their bread, white chocolate chips and caramel sauce (my mouth is watering already, recipe here). I loved getting to meet some of the girls and getting the chance to gauge the temperature of the room (I immediately had to do a wardrobe change for the next day. My cute little dress wasn’t going to cut it unless I wanted to shiver all day).

So on a Saturday morning I set my alarm, got up, got dressed and made it to the hotel. There was breakfast from Petit Jean Meats (they had bacon, Justin would’ve been proud) and soon after the presentations of the day started.

I collected about 10 pages worth of notes from incredible presentations about the anatomy of a blog (tipjunkie), blog design ( @napwarden), traffic (@tiffanyrom), content writing (@mamakatslosinit and @sitsgirls), ebooks (@angengland), local blogging (@texasholly) and finally how to be your authentic blog self (@noshoppingliz). The day ended with a cocktail party from Mirassou Wines and some cheese (the Moscato was amazing).

I have to say I don’t think I have soaked up this much information since my first year of my MBA education. I now want to go to a TON of these conferences and get as much information as I can. I have also put bugging my husband about my blog design and layout into full gear and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. Being in the room with all these creative and supportive ladies assured me I was in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time. I have a lot to learn and I’m excited to be on this journey.

This lovely birthday present from my sisters couldn’t have come at a better time and I thank them so much for their loving insight and creative mind to think of this as a present. You girls rock 🙂

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yoga

Last week I featured yoga in Friday’s fab five and how much I loved going. It’s a first for me and turned out to be a pretty eye-opening experience. For those that are thinking of doing yoga or for those that are seasoned and thinking “I told you so”, this post is for you…

Breaking news: I’ve decided to take up yoga. Wait, what? Holding uncomfortable poses in a hot room? No way. A workout without cardio? That doesn’t exist. Whole energy flow, moving with purpose ideal? Bogus.

Well guess what, I’m loving it. I decided to try it after years of being told how great it was. The sales material says it can improve your sense of balance (which I immediately went to “oh you think I’m clumsy?”), strength and flexibility. After talking to a new friend who has amazing arms and with no gym routine (“just yoga!” she says) and the dreadful idea of having to go to the gym on a treadmill, I decided to check out Uptown Yoga with their 10 days for $10 deal.

My first session was solo after my sister couldn’t make it, and I went in a little nervous and uncomfortable, but willing to just give it a shot. I thought to myself if I could just make it through this class, I don’t have to go again. If I hate it, I only spent $10. The only yoga I’ve done before this class was the 10 minutes of yoga on P90X- hell that’ll make anyone hate yoga.

The studio is so cute with a sandstone colored brick wall, large individual mirrors in front, beautiful hardwood floors and very minimal decor. I now want this decor in my house. The class was somewhat difficult simply because I didn’t know the moves, yet I felt a sense of accomplishment that I wasn’t a complete wreck. The room is naturally hot with no constant AC flowing through the room, so I’m sweating bad, and I really don’t like sweat. I get through the 60 minutes of downward dogs, warriors and other poses I just can’t pronounce and end in a lay flat position. Time to relax.

I have to say this is the part I love the most (duh) because it’s the love part. I’m relaxed on my back laying flat on the mat and the instructor tells us to close our eyes. She then proceeds to thank us for being there, to feel grateful for being able to make it to class and making it all the way through. Afterwards we stretch, end in prayer pose and say “namaste”. Ahhhhhhh.

After the first session, my outlook on yoga changed completely. I’ve never had the feeling of “ahhhhhhhh” after a workout. There is an incredible energy in the room when doing the poses. Want to know the best part? No one cares what you look like. Since everyone is concentrating on their own movement and workout, they don’t care what you do. The instructors are great and each one starts with something calming, telling you to let go of all the worries of the day and take the time to be present with yourself.

I end the class relaxed, calm and feeling good about myself that I’ve completed a yoga class. It’s a different feeling than a regular cardio workout class where I’m drenched in sweat and ready to just take a shower and collapse. This is different. It’s enlightening, calming, relaxing. It’s yoga.

If you are looking to try a yoga class and are in the Dallas area, I really do recommend Uptown Yoga. The studio is really nice with 2 locations in Dallas (Uptown on Thomas St. and in Lakewood) and one in the Colony. They have a $10 for 10 days (that’s 10 consecutive days, not classes) that you can check out different instructors and times. There was recently a Groupon for it which I so wish I would’ve grabbed. Other studios offer an intro rate like Sunstone Yoga, Lotus Yoga and Gaia Flow Yoga. If you do check out Uptown Yoga, I recommend Jessica Baxter, she is fantastic.

Who’s going to give it a shot?

fab five

Another week has gone by and the weekend is about to start! I’ve had some revelations this week: taking yoga which I never, ever, in a million years thought I’d try, much less like and listened in on some webinars discussing the business of blogging. I’m excited about attending Bloggy Boot Camp on Saturday, a full day of inspiration and education. I can feel next week is going to be a good one.

Until then, here’s Fridays Fab Five:

1. Dexter

I wanted to wait until I finished Season 6 before putting it on the list. This show is GOOD. I was a little (ok a lot) late to the party with the Dexter phenomenon, and my husband and I decided to start watching it from the beginning after my sister kept saying how amazing the show was. A police department blood analyst/serial killer of bad people who you actually root for is an interesting concept to say the least. It tests your emotional heartstrings (season 4 broke my heart), religious views and even the concept of having it all. I haven’t been this hooked on a show since Grey’s season of “the shooter” and the first season of Revenge. I was so hooked that my husband downloaded all the seasons and we saw a ton in Mexico on our family vacation, everytime we were on a plane together and on the weekends. Hooked I tell you. The show is on Showtime and new season starts September 30th. That date is marked on my calendar. Is it time yet? Is it time yet?

2. So You Think You Can Dance

I am convinced this show is the best reality/competition show out there. TV has been officially saturated with singing competitions from The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Singing Bee and X Factor that we needed something different. This show is constantly good and has AMAZING choreographers like Mia Michaels (which I wish she would come back and not just for one routine), Tyce Diorio, Tabatha and Napolean and Sonia Tyer. If this show had been on when I was 3, I would’ve stayed in dance and who knows what would’ve happened.

This year the show decided to go from 2 hours, twice a week to 2 hours, once a week. I don’t like this and I hope it’s not a ploy to gradually close the show. It’s the only show that really tests already amazing dancers. I would love to see some of those ballroom routines being done on Dancing With The Stars (if anything, get rid of that show and hire those choreographers for So You Think You Can Dance). Next week is the finale with the top 4 being Cyrus, Eliana, Chenon and Tiffany. I’m going for Eliana for the girls. I bet you Cyrus wins the thing for the guys.

3. Redneck Mimosa’s

   

Mmm nothing like a mimosa to get you up for brunch on a lazy Sunday. I was introduced to this drink by one of our friends and it is quite tasty. A full bottle of Blue Moon beer topped off with pure orange juice and there you have it, the not so fancy but kind tastes like it Mimosa 🙂

4. Bud Light Lime-Rita

Another favorite beverage of mine. I love Margaritas. I love Bud Light Lime. Put those together and there you have it. Plus, you don’ have to mix it as it comes in a can at your local grocery store. Put it over ice and you’re done.

5. Uptown Yoga

I never thought I’d say this, but I like yoga. I did an introductory package at Uptown Yoga that consisted of 10 days for $10, unlimited classes and I have to say I look forward to going every time (look for a post about this next week). All you yoga people who have told me how great it is and I counteract with the whole “I don’t know, maybe one day”, I hear you now. I hear you.

That’s it for me this week. Have a great weekend!