Making Blends

June 15, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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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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Healthy Living Summit 2013

Sept 16, 2013

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a really amazing time at the Healthy Living Summit this weekend, but it really flew by! I wish I was back there with all my blends (blogger-friends) right now!

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Instead of doing a couple days of re-caps I’m going to try and cram all the fun stuff from HLS into one blog post for you all, and hopefully, tomorrow share some of the important things I learned from the sessions on Saturday.

This year, the Healthy Living Summit was held at the Hilton Minneapolis. I flew out of Chicago on a 7 am flight and by 9 am I was getting off the light rail and walking to the hotel. To save a little money (and have way more fun) I found a group on the HLS Facebook group looking for a 4th roommate and joined in with them. Best. Decision. Ever.

My roommates were Ari, Nicole and Kristi and we got along SO well. They all knew each other already, but I felt like I just clicked in their group and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Hoping to go visit them in Phoenix soon!

After meeting my roommates, walking a bit around downtown, picking up my “swag bag” and putting my stuff away in the room it was about time for my PicMonkey presentation! I was a little nervous, but I knew I could talk about PicMonkey forever so I was ready to go. I’ll do a post next week going over what I said in my presentation for everyone who couldn’t be there (and all of my readers!) but I think it went pretty well!

After my presentation, I met up with my roommates and Emily and we headed out to try Fulton’s Brewery, which was about a mile walk from the hotel.

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The brewery itself was really cool, and they let us taste all the beers before making our decision. They even had a drink where they combined ginger ale with beer and it was AMAZING.

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Since the brewery doesn’t serve food, they schedule food trucks to be outside so you can grab some food as well. Nicole got us all some nachos to share and we had a great time chatting.

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Once we got back we all changed for our dinner “mini-mingles.” One of the new things at HLS this year was the inclusion of a lot more mini-mingles, which you signed up for. I signed up for dinner at Spoonriver with a big group of bloggers so I could get to know some more people. I didn’t get any pictures… but I had a great time getting to know some bloggers that I’d never met before and eating some AMAZING food. Seriously. If you’re ever in Minneapolis, I highly recommend eating at Spoonriver.

Since the restaurant was right next to the cocktail party, we headed over and were amazed at the location. This year the cocktail party was held at the Gutherie Museum, and the view from the balcony was gorgeous! My photos didn’t turn out well but here’s one of just a little bit of the view:

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At the cocktail party they had a game going where you were given a card when you walked in and you had to find your match. My card said “Oprah” and after a little searching I found my Gayle: Emily from More Than Just Dessert. I loved the idea and it was a great way to meet someone new, and get everyone talking to one another. After the cocktail party and some dessert at the hotel bar, we all hit the sack for a long Saturday.

Saturday morning I woke up a little before breakfast and headed out on a 30 minute walk around Minneapolis to wake up. The downtown area seemed pretty small and therefore very walkable, which is nice. It was also SO weird to me that there were no people around. I noticed this on Friday as well, but the sidewalks seemed empty to me compared to Chicago! I guess I’m just too used to the big city?

Breakfast was back at the hotel and then it was on to all of the sessions for the day! I won’t be re-capping them all, but if you head over the The Healthy Living Summit website, you’ll find the agenda, some “live blogs” of the sessions and hopefully some re-caps coming up soon!

Once the day was over, my roommates, Kammie and I headed out to dinner at The Local, which was a really cool Irish pub restaurant that apparently, for four years running, has poured the largest volume of Jameson Irish Whiskey in the world! Pretty cool. We all got drinks and dinner and had a great time in our little “private room.”

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After dinner we headed over to Hell’s Kitchen to try out some of their signature cocktails since they have house-infused alcohols. I invented my own drink (couldn’t decide) and got a White Russian made with cinnamon vodka and vanilla vodka. It was pretty good, and we had a great time chatting with our group, and a bunch of other bloggers who met up with us there.

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So good to see Emily! (photo courtesy of Emily!)

Sunday morning we were up and ready for the 5K “Fun Run” (aka walk/run) and headed to the Sculpture Gardens to check it out and, in true blogger style, get some good pictures. I didn’t get many on my own phone so I’ll have to share any I steal from friends on my Thursday Thoughts post.

I did, however, get a shot with Emily again! Haha thanks for being great about photo-sharing, Emily!

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After the fun “run” we headed down to breakfast where we ate, talked with as many people as we could, and eventually had to say way too many goodbyes. We realized at breakfast how many people we wish we’d had more time talk with with over the weekend, 2 days just isn’t enough!

I spent the rest of the morning packing, talking with my roommates, getting some froyo, and then off to the light-rail which took me to the airport! I hated saying goodbye and wish the weekend could have gone on forever. I had such a great time at the Healthy Living Summit this year and I’m so thankful I decided to go, and that I could!

I also wanted to say a quick thank you to all the bloggers I met this weekend and any of you that came up to me and said you love reading Peace Love & Oats. I may not be great at taking compliments, but they really meant the world to me. And of course a HUGE thank you to Heather and Julie for all their hard work putting on the summit this year!

How Blogging Affects My Life

Jan 22, 2013

Don’t worry, this won’t be one of those happy go lucky posts where I spew out all the great ways that the blogging world has improved my life. Although that’s all still true!

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Great Blogging Friends!

Remember how I reviewed the book It Starts With Food, and discussed how I’m considering following their 30 Day Challenge to see if it has a positive effect on my health and digestive system?

Well I got a lot of negative responses about going on the program (no one was rude, just concerned). After that I reconsidered whether I’d do it (still on the fence for various reasons) and one big thought that kept coming up was: “Will I lose readers if I follow this program?”. Um, WHAT?

Whether or not I wanted to follow the 30 Day Challenge was a decision about my health, and shouldn’t have had anything to do with the blog! Having that reaction got me thinking – how much does blogging affect my life?

I know many of my readers are bloggers themselves, so I thought today would be a good time to step back and really talk about how to handle mixing “real life” and blogging, especially for those of us who blog merely as a hobby, rather than a real source of income. I’ve discussed many of these issues with fellow bloggers and I thought it would be interesting to get everyone’s perspective in the comments.

The biggest issue that I’ve seen with those of us who blog as a hobby is time. When we blog for fun, sometimes other things come first – such as school, work, family time and other hobbies.


I know of my favorite bloggers (and friends!), Tessa, took a lot of time off blogging because she is pursuing her nursing degree and couldn’t keep both up at the same time. Blogging can take a lot of time, when you add together writing blog posts, remember to take photos and edit them if you choose to, posting to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (again if you choose to), and participating in things such as sponsorships, reviews, or companies like Fitfluential.

Another way blogging affects my life is being influenced by other blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned so many positive things from other bloggers, anything from great recipes or workouts (LOVE Julie’s workouts!) to getting some great personal support from women I’ve never met or only met once!

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However, I’ve personally had to stop following certain blogs because they’ve had a negative affect on my own personal mind-set. Seeing other women appear to be “perfect” in their exercising or eating can make a reader feel insufficient. This is silly because 1) we should never judge ourselves against others and 2) someone’s blog is not really a fair representation of their real lives!

As I mentioned before, blogging can influence decisions that I make in my own life. Bloggers often think “what will my readers think?” or “how will this look on the blog?”. Although it seems silly, honestly these thoughts come up in my mind (and I’m sure others as well!). I know I personally worried that everyone would get bored of my vacation recaps, and despite page views and comments going down that week, I chose to keep posting vacation recaps because I love having those recaps to look back over in the future.

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Yes, it’s important to think about my readers when I blog, because I write as not only a creative outlet for myself, but as a way to connect with YOU. However, this shouldn’t dictate what I do in my daily life.

Finally, I thought I’d throw this in here because it was brought up by several family members and friends while I was at home: blogging affecting my personal safety. Julie wrote a great post about thinking about personal safety when blogging, but I think it’s important that we not share too much about our lives. Although I personally find it incredibly unlikely that I’d gain some sort of stalker through my blog, it’s very possible. It’s important as bloggers to keep this in mind when posting, but also when “checking in” on social media outlets.

I realize this post is a bit all over the place, but I had so many thoughts! I’m not trying to say blogging is bad, I LOVE writing this blog and everything I have gained through my experience with it in the past year and a half. However, I thought this would be a great discussion post.