Blend Retreat 2015

Ah Blend. By far my favorite blogger event I’ve been to, both this year and last. To be honest, I was nervous going in this year. Partially because I felt like I should have sold my ticket since money is tight and this seemed like such a luxury, and partially because most of my close blogger friends weren’t coming and I was nervous about not having that group with me again! But silly me – turns out this weekend was exactly what I needed. Not only did I make some new, amazing friends, but I also got the sunshine, fresh air and laughter that I didn’t even realize I was missing.

Blend is a blogger (or non-blogger!) retreat with mostly food & fitness bloggers. Blend means Blogger + Friend. There were 100 girls, plus our three amazing leaders who put the whole event together: Lindsay, Janetha & Lauren. This year Blend was held at Chautauqua Park, which is just outside of Boulder. I thought it was just a park, but they have a little neighborhood here with tons of lodges, a general store, a restaurant and soooo much more. And of course amazing hiking trails!

If I try to re-cap the entire thing I think we’ll all be here for hours, so instead I’m going to do a bit of a photo dump of my amazing weekend with blends:

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(some photos stolen from Lindsay & Lauren’s Instagram!)

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the sponsors of Blend this year. This amazing weekend would not have been possible without them, and it was so great to meet some of their reps at Blend!

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Have you ever been to Colorado? 

Have you ever been on a “retreat” of any sort? 

Blog Updates!

Hey readers! These past couple of days I’ve been doing a lot of blog updating and adding new pages. I’ll be doing a lot more over the next week or so, such as updating my book reviews so it’s easier to find books, recipes, and all that fun jazz. I’ll also be adding a “Join My Team” page under “Coaching” if you’re interested in doing what I do. I just want to make this site easy to navigate and simple for all of you to understand me and that I want to be here for YOU! PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas – you’re the reader so this is for YOU!

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I added my “Heath & Weight Struggle” to my About Me section so that people can get a good idea of my story when they first find my blog.

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I’ve also added a whole new section for coaching so that you can get a better idea of what I do and what I offer.

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My free “Be Your Best Self” Facebook Community

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Bootcamps (aka accountability groups or challenge groups)

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And more to come! Please let me know if there’s anything YOU’D like to see!

Writing Process Blog Tour

Hey everyone! I hope your week started off well! A little bit ago, Ari, from Ari’s Menu and a good friend of mine, invited me to do the Writing Process Blog Tour, which invites bloggers to let readers in on some behind the scenes information. I thought, why not!?

When I sat down to answer the questions, I realized that my answer is completely different from what it would have been 3 months ago, a year ago, or two years ago. It’s always changing as factors in my life change, such as free time, inspiration, and what I choose to write about.

Let’s get started!

1) What am I working on?

Quality over quantity. My blog is almost three years old and for most of that time I thought it was so important to blog at least every weekday. Nowadays, I just don’t have time for that and I don’t always have that much to say. I’m learning that it’s okay to post 2-3 times a week and focus on writing better content. Also, my life is so much busier now than it ever was before. I was supposed to get this post done by yesterday, but I had an amazing weekend instead.

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2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This might sound corny, but my blog is different from any other because it’s just my voice, and no one else has my voice. Most of the time my posts are just the ramblings that are in my head; whether that’s a Thursday Thoughts post, or a more meaningful reflection post. Each post that I write is a reflection of what’s happening in my life at that time.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I started my blog because I wanted to write about my life and topics that other women could relate to in hopes that they might not feel alone. I wanted other women to feel connected, learn from my mistakes, and maybe smile every once in a while.

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4) How does your writing process work?

BAHAHAHAHAHA. WHAT? I have no writing process.

As I said, it’s purely what’s on my mind. If I think of something I want to write about, I sit down and write it. Sometimes it will be days ahead of time and take a little more extra effort with graphics, photos or editing, and other times I’ll write it in the morning, hit publish and there you go! I went through a period of planning ahead and scheduling posts, but that just doesn’t fit my writing style right now

 

Now that you’ve heard from me, I’m passing the torch along to Emily from Perfection Isn’t Happy! Emily and I have been reading each other’s blogs for years and have gone through some very similar “quarter life crisis” feelings, which definitely gave us a connection. I’ve been lucky enough to see Emily not only a few times in Chicago, but also at a couple blogger events as well!

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Why do you read certain blogs?

If you’re a blogger, what’s your writing process?

Did you do anything fun this past weekend?

Making Blends

Sooo it took me a little while to write this, didn’t it? I realized that many of you have read recaps from several other bloggers who attended Blend, and for the most part mine would have been the same. We all attended the same meals and workouts, we all talked to the same brands, went on the same hike and many of us explored Park City together as well.

What I want to talk about today is why Blend was one of the best weekends of my life (and no, it wasn’t just because of the swag!). Blend was great because of my own mindset, and because of the other women who attended.

My time in Utah was the first time I’d ever been pushed out of my comfort zone and still felt like myself. I’ll share more on that in a future post, but because I felt like my normal, everyday self, I was able to be more confident, outgoing and friendly than I’d ever been before.

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And what happens when you have self-confidence? You get to know the people around you. And let me tell you, Blend had a great group of people.

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Photo Courtesy of Stephanie

A few of them I had met before, including my wonderful repeat roomies, Ari and Nicole. These two always make me smile and laugh, and I hope we stay friends for a very long time!

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As well as my roommate Ashley, who I’d met before briefly but loved the experience of getting to know her so much better. Ashley and I are so similar in many ways, and yet very different. She is such a strong person, a wonderful wife and mother, and a great listener.

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One of my favorite moments of Blend was meeting Janae. I have been reading her blog for years and she inspires me with her strength and her faith. Of course pictures of her adorable daughter Brooke don’t hurt either. Why did I love meeting her so much? SHE recognized ME. That moment made me feel so loved and special, and reminded me that my blog and writing don’t go unnoticed.

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Getting to meet Annette was like getting together with an old friend. Despite never meeting her before, it was like we’d known each other forever. Although she was only there for one night, I was so grateful for the extra time I got to spend with her and her daughter, Lily. She is a role model and an inspiration to me in so many ways.

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Lindsay Cotter felt like a big sister figure to me, with her quiet confidence and quickness to take care of me and everyone around her. She loves to serve others as well as talk, listen and share.

Lindsay Wright, one of the organizers, has been a huge influence on my own change of perspective and growing faith. Her honesty, her love for her family, her desire to bring together a community and realness has always impressed me. I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet her, hug her and thank her.

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Beyond these women, almost everyone I met I was able to connect with quickly: fellow redheads, sisters in Christ, runners, cocktail-lovers, listeners, readers, and so much more.

Blend was not just a fun retreat in Park City, Utah for me, it was a lesson that I have so many people who support me, that I can be myself around people I barely know, and that I need to make a lot more money so I can start visiting these ladies!

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Photo Courtesy of Lindsay

 

Have you ever met someone that turned out exactly as you imagined?

Tell me about one of your favorite weekends ever!

To Share or Not To Share

Hey everyone! First of all – THANK YOU for all of your amazing comments from yesterday! I don’t think I’ll be able to get through all of them and respond but I read each one and some of you were so supportive and shared how you could relate, which I really appreciated. Yesterday’s post also got me thinking about how much I share, and where the line should be drawn on what I should or should not put out in a public space.

I’ve gotten a few questions and requests for blog posts over the past couple months about intuitive eating, binge eating, etc. and how I’m doing with the issue. Since I shared a lot of my story last year, I expect these kinds of questions – many of you are curious or going through the same thing, and I understand why people would want updates.

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But, I’ll be honest – I don’t love talking about these things on my blog anymore, which is why those types of posts (such as yesterday’s) are a little more rare. I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a lot more private about my life, not wanting to share everything on the internet. I also feel a little lost myself at the moment and am not entirely sure what to say or share with you all.

On the other hand, I started this blog so that I could be real and be someone that women reading could relate to. I wanted to put myself out there to start conversations, to make people feel like they weren’t alone and to connect with my readers. Avoiding personal topics makes this a lot more difficult at times. It’s a hard balance for me – deciding what and what not to share in these space and essentially for the world to see.

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Photo courtesy of Carissa G. Photography

Weirdly, it’s not the sharing with people I don’t know that bothers me, that’s easy. It’s knowing that my family, friends, old classmates and colleagues read this blog that makes me more hesitant to share. It’s weird to see someone in person knowing that they know way more about me than I would have normally shared with them, or that I know about them.

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So if you have any specific questions or curiosities always feel free to email me at peaceloveandoats@gmail.com. As for the blog, I’m not really sure what will happen with what I choose to share, but like everything else, I’ll take it day by day.

 

If you’re a blogger – do you have a hard time drawing a line or finding a balance?

If you’re a reader, how do you feel about the topic?