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Blissdom

2013 Year in Review

  • Run/swim/bike a combined total of 1500 miles. Didn’t happen. I was right at 1,000 miles.. pretty far off. 
  • Run 3 half marathons this Spring. DONE. 
  • Complete 3 tri’s this summer. Only did 2.. stupid injury. 
  • Don’t die during the Ragnar Relay. DONE. 
  • Run a sub 2:15 half marathon. DONE. 
  • Cook dinner every night for an entire week. Totally forgot I set this as a goal..
  • Grow an herb garden and use it! Nope. I have a feeling I will never do this.
  • Balance between my goals, John’s goals, and what’s good for the girls. Reaching goals take sacrifice for all parties, and it’s very easy to become selfish with what you want, and not what’s best for the family. I’d like to think I did this! 
  • Take the girls on a weekend trip.. somewhere fun but within driving distance. DONE. The cruise counts, right??
  • Be able to do the splits. This is laughable that I set it as a goal..
  • Continue with cross training and weight training. DONE… Err… still a work in progress! 
  • Clean up my eating… being more mindful of what I am putting into my body. Still a work in progress…
  • Go to a Pro Football Game. Another one that’s probably not going to happen. 

I haven’t set my goals for 2014 yet.. I’m a little disappointed that I missed so many. Oh well! Let’s take a look back at how EPIC 2013 was.

We started off the year with C turning 4…

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And then I ran Ragnar Relay FLK… I still can’t believe I did that.

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We went to the National Title game… and I was photobombed by my brother in law.

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We had a snow day…
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I ran Mercedes.. and officially crushed my sub 2:15 goal.

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And then 2 weeks later, I ran Tuscaloosa and PR’d again..

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I went to Texas for the final BlissDom…

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C discovered her love of a knee pop..

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I went up to DC and ran Nike Women’s with Molly… No PR for me, but still was one of my favorite races.

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I did another Tri.. this one with J and I placed in my Age Group again.

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We went on a cruise… and had a fabulous time.

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On the cruise, I got this super sweet bruise from an EPIC Dodge Ball game.
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Tried some Energy Bits… loved them so much I became an ambassador. (Use RUNINHIGHHEELS for 15% off!)
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We went to the lake and Addy drove a Sea-Doo…
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I raced twice in one day.. Triathlon in the morning and a 5K at night.

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C found out just how dangerous treadmills can be…
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We had our yearly girls trip to the lake…
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And I got injured… not at the lake. Just injured in general.
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We went to the Georgia Dome and hung out with some Hokies… Hubs photobombed pictures with “number 1″.
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We took the girls on the Carnival Conquest…. and had a fantastic time.
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We went to a few more football games….
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and The Lumineers in concert.. photobombed once again by my brother in law.
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Mom and I took Addy to the American Girl Store in Atlanta.

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I got out of my comfort zone and ran with groups of unknown people… sometimes seeing these gorgeous sunrises over Birmingham.
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I ran a comeback 10K.. and PR’d it.
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Photobombed once again by the number 1…
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And I ran Magic City again.. cursed it until the end and crossed the finish line with C.
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All in all.. 2013 was EPIC.
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2014 has some big shoes to fill… Hope it can live up the expectations.

Are you sad to see 2013 go??

 

BlissDom Girls Night Out

Are you tired of outfits from BlissDom yet? Apologies… it should be over soon enough. For Girls Night Out, I went with lace. And HOT PINK lace at that.

Here is a black version from H&M or here’s one similar. This one is fun too!

My shoes are gold glitter pumps from Payless a couple of years ago. Here and here are pair similar.

BlissDom Fashion. Day 1.

Don’t think I have forgotten about my little trip to Dallas..Or what I wore! I’m semi-obsessed with the navy and emerald green combination.

I busted out my green skinnies.. I love them. I found them last Spring at Ross for $11. I paired it with a navy shirt, and a navy and white striped cropped sweater.

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Seriously. I love my Toms Wedges. They go with everything and they are super comfortable.

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Skinnies-Here’s a link for something similar.

Sweater- Similar 

Yellow Bubble Necklace

TOMS Wedges can be found here or If The Shoe Fits

BlissDom Takeaway

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I made it back to Alabama, safe and sound. A tad exhausted, but glad to be home.

I’ll be honest, heading into this years BlissDom, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Financially, it was a bigger undertaking for me having to fly, instead of drive. Since I’ve already gone to Miami this year, and heading to DC next month, plus a vacation this summer, I was sorta, kinda wishing I hadn’t committed myself to it. GUILT set in.

But, I decided to go and have a good time and and learn and network, with the knowledge that maybe next year, I wouldn’t go.

The travel alone needs it’s own post dedicated to it, but I’ll leave you with what is fresh on my mind.

I didn’t get a lot of time last year to chat with sponsors and I really wanted to make sure I had time for that this year. I did and feel I have walked away with some amazing connections.

I feel like I have changed so much since last year. Going back to work, really changed my priorities. Things I took for granted, priorities being shifted, etc etc.

Lately, I have been feeling down on my blogging. I rarely read blogs andI don’t have a ton of extra time. But I love blogging and sharing my life. I am very present on Instagram and Twitter, and generally once my thought bubbles or pictures are out, I forget to post them. I haven’t been posting on my family life or the reds as much as I should.

With being a Community Leader, I had certain assignments for sessions and one of my sessions was David Molnar’s. If you aren’t familiar with him, YOU SHOULD BE. He is not only an amazing photographer and story teller, his devotion to his son and wife are nothing short of spectacular. His Friday session spoke leaps and bounds to me, where I sat with tears in my eyes through most of the session. Even though, his session was about storytelling, his point was “Who will tell your story if you don’t?” Since pictures obviously are the best storytellers, he was just saying that no matter if you are a professional or novice, Nikon or Canon, Camera phone or DSLR, just get out there and take pictures of your story.

His story spoke to me on a different level though. I realized I never take my actual camera out to tell our story. The iPhone is so much easier and less bulky. So, I am challenging myself to not share a picture from my iPhone for 30 days on the blog. All pictures have to be from my Nikon. WHOA. Right?

Now.. let’s be honest. When I do a BlissDom recap post, I WILL have to post from my iPhone because I didn’t take my Nikon everywhere. So, let’s just exclude those posts, Mmkay?

Lastly, Jon Acuff always delivers. That man is hilarious, but he also knows how to really make you re-evaluate and think about things. His closing key note, did NOT disappoint. He spoke about the Road to Awesome… and a few things he said really stuck with me. As we get older, we start to edit our lives– cut out those who don’t uplift us or things that no longer give us joy. As we begin to edit, we will meet fear. FEAR IS A LIAR. Fear only gets loud when you do things that matter. Fear never throws rocks at someone who is lying down. Fear FEARS community. Fear will always try to isolate you from others.

Fear sometimes paralyzes me. I am fearful of failure. Failing my husband. Failing my kids. Failing myself. I’ve got to stop being afraid. When you stop being afraid, amazing things happen. When you are unstuck, you are unstoppable.

 

Blissdom 2013…

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I'm a BlissDom Community Leader

Alright, y’all. I cannot contain my level of excitement to be heading to Dallas this week. A- I have never been to Dallas and B- I am heading to one of my favorite things in the blogging world… BlissDom.

I cannot wait to see these chickies… Natalie and Molly.

Heather is joining our room of crazy this year, so hopefully she will still be on speaking terms when it’s all said and done. :)

I am excited to be apart of the amazing Community Leader program again this year. I am a photography CL, so come and say HI!!!

I’ve gotten my session assignments, and y’all… I am on cloud 9. Anna Epp and Alli Worthington’s sessions are both assigned to me.

I honestly cannot explain what an amazing experience BlissDom is. It took some extra finagling this year to make it work since it’s been moved to Dallas, but I cannot wait to share my experience.

Of course, as a mom, you can’t plan a trip without something going wrong… a storm blew threw yesterday and knocked a whole bunch of trees in the neighborhood and we are currently without power. We stayed at the in-laws last night and appears that we are one of the only houses in the neighborhood who didn’t lose a single tree, so I will count myself lucky!

Nothing puts your To Do List into perspective quite like a power outage.

If you are going to BlissDom, just remember that everyone is generally a normal person, so do not be afraid to go up and speak to an idol. Meet new people. Ask questions! Have fun!

Want to know my #1 thing that I am bringing this year that I haven’t brought in years past? A ROBE. Trust me.. my roommates will thank me for that later. :)

Are you going to BlissDom? If so, you are totally going to say Hi, right?!

BlissDom Part 1.

Y’all. I cannot tell you how amazing BlissDom was. I know most of you are probably sick to death of reading the tweets and posts on it, but for real. If you have the chance to go, DON’T HESITATE.

The blogging world is a small one, and we all need to encourage one another!

Heather had told me about how awesome Jon Acuff is, on the way up to Nashville, but FOR REAL. He is. Hilarious too!

His opening keynote was nothing short of amazing and I can’t wait to start his book “Quitter”. (Which, he all gave us signed copies of. Yep.)

He talked about how social media changes families and how there is no way for us to know the impact that our social networking has on our kids and families, since this is the first generation of it.

It REALLY got me thinking.

How many times, do we tell our children or husbands to “hold on” so we can check Facebook or Twitter? Or even read a blog or get on Pinterest. I bet the number would make me ashamed.

I bet, more times than not, I tell my own flesh and blood, to wait to tell me about their day, to read a tweet about The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Do you see what is wrong with this picture? Because I certainly do.

He reminded us that you can’t please everyone and so you must learn who it’s okay to disappoint. And those 3D people sitting at the dinner table, shouldn’t be it.

He wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t have “me” time, because you should. But you need to use that time that no one else is using– like 5 AM (Barf.) So, since I am already trying to form a schedule and routine for around here, I’ve decided my new wake up time is 5AM. or 4:30 if I am going to work out. I will get up on my rest days and work on blogs, read blogs, play on the internet, etc. My time in the evenings is so precious now, that I don’t want to waste it with my family. Now, does this mean that I am baking cookies and playing dress up all evening with my kids? No. I am tired. Last night, Addy just wanted some extra snuggle time, so I brought her in the bedroom with me and snuggled with her while I watched Gossip Girl. She just wanted some snuggles. She was content to just lay there with me. Does getting up that early suck? You betcha. But you know what sucks worse? Disappointing your family.

How many of us could directly quote something negative that has been commented about us on social media? Do you also shoot down other people’s praises with a “Oh it was nothing.”? How many times has someone said, “You run marathons?” and my response is, “ONLY halfs. I can’t do a full.” or “Yeah, but I’m not very fast.” How is that okay? Not everyone can or wants to run. I should remember to be proud of what I can accomplish!!

STOP CHASING THE HATERS.

Here is some irony for you: I got up at 5 am to read blogs and write this post, and low and behold, there I was, finishing it up, and Addy comes in, just a few minutes after 6. The child immediately starts talking my ear off.

OH. THE. IRONY.

BlissDom.. Here we come!

I am leaving for BlissDom today and couldn’t be more excited to see these ladies again!

It is sure to be a blast.. let’s just NOT lock our keys in our car this year, Mkay? Oh wait… Thankfully I’m riding with Heather! Whew!

With being a Community Leader this year, things are sure to be a little different. But I couldn’t be MORE excited about it!

I wanted to give you a run down of what sessions I will be in, so you can either come find me and give me a hug or run in the other direction.. (please don’t run in the other direction.)

On Friday: I will be at Shoot Like a Woman Part 1 with the amazing Me Ra Koh at 11 am.

Saturday- I will be a jack of all trades. I am mic wrangling at 9:30 in Storytelling and Embracing Imperfection: Empowering Your Visual Voice with Photography and Video Photography.

At 11:30, I will be in Mobile Photography, Microblogging and Networking.

Then at 2:30, I’ll be in It’s In The Details: Mastering Angles and Compositions.

I, of course, will be FRONT ROW for these guys…

Can’t wait to see everyone!! I hope y’all have safe travels.

Helpful Blissdom Tips

I'm a Blissdom Community Leader!

Since the countdown is ON for BlissDom 2012, I wanted to share my helpful tips for making this a great experience for you. Maybe this is your first conference, or your 20th, either way, it’s sure to rock!

1. First things first. The Opryland Hotel is MASSIVE. Think, Disney World big. I cannot tell you how lost you can get. Or maybe that’s just me… Either way, something I didn’t figure out until AFTER I had schleped my luggage through the entire hotel, is that the hotel has territories. Cascades, Delta, Magnolia, and Garden. The parking lot mirrors these. I HAD NO IDEA. I literally parked in the first spot I came to, which was Cascades and our room was in Magnolia. Yikes! So, once you find out where your room is, make sure you park in that area as well. It will save your back and feet from walking your luggage all over the place.

2. Secondly. Make sure you bring your suitcase that has wheels. Again. It will make traipsing through the hotel easier.

3. While a laptop or iPad is NOT required to come to these events, you will want some way to take notes. So, bring a notepad. If you choose to bring your iPad, make sure you have the keyboard attachment. It will save you frustration when trying to type. I am so glad I have my very own Macbook Air to bring this year! A side note: A blogging conference is probably the only place where it’s acceptable to be constantly looking at your phone… whether it’s tweeting or Facebooking or Surfing Pinterest… It’s all acceptable!

4. I feel certain you have heard about wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. Wear whatever you want! There is no dress code, as long as you are comfortable in what you have on!

5. You don’t want to miss the night activities.. they are so fun! But a good night’s rest is very important. So don’t stay out all night.

6. Don’t be afraid to go up to your “blogging idols” and speak. I was terrified to go up to Tatertots and Jello last year, but Molly made me do it and I was so glad. I would have been kicking myself all weekend!

7. Bring a camera… it could be your camera phone or your big expensive camera… either way, you are going to want to document those memories.

To give you an idea of BlissDom’s awesomeness.. Here is Part 1 and Part 2 of my experience last year!

Don’t forget to get in on the Twitter stream and use the hashtag #BlissDom You’ll be able to connect with those going. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask away!

You can always connect on the BlissDom Facebook page– people are posting their tips and advice there, as well!

Blissdom Part Deuce…

This kind of gets long winded… so, it’s a long post.. with a funny story at the end. But not that funny if it happened to you. 
Blissdom makes you ask yourself a lot of questions. And I think, over the course of those few days, I really grew in how I want to blog. I will not put out crap, just be blogging. I will wait until some awesomeness pops into my brain. Does that mean that you will love every post I put out there? Nope. But I will not let the “numbers” and “commenters” run what I want to blog about on here. After all, it is my blog. If you don’t like it, click unsubscribe! 
Now, as you could guess and blogging conference if filled with laptops, blackberrys, iPhones, tweeting.. and the list goes on. It was perfectly acceptable to look like this while someone was talking.. 
  Or this… 
Or this… For some reason, people don’t like these pictures..
 or these… 
So then, you get looks like this, “Hey! Are you taking my picture? Let me see!”
She disapproved. 
 So, then, I took this… Maybe she will like it. If not, I’m sure an embarrassing video of me dancing to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” will surface. 
Seriously. Absolutely amazing… If you felt left out from the tweets or even had a thought of going this year.. GO NEXT YEAR. Totally worth it. I met some amazing women! 
And Besides that.. we totally broke out in a Flash Mob at the end!!! It was so amazing.. after weeks of secret Facebook groups and flip video watching, it came together. This was the first time that approximately 90 girls danced this together for the first time. I think it turned out rather well. I am still searching for video of me doing it, since there were a good 5 people filming in my corner, I feel like there has to be some out there! 
The night life was amazing. They had awesome performers for each night. 
Michelle Branch
Mat Kearney
Dancing in the Dark… Yes please!!
Girls Night In was awesome… Chris Mann and Crystal Bowersox— I don’t have any pictures since Molly took all of those, but I DO have photobooth pictures… 
Our Jessica Simpson…
HEADS UP!! EXTREMELY LONG STORY!!
 We had to hit up Fuse for our last night, so we danced into the wee hours of the morning and then exhaustedly fell into our bed. When we woke up, there was one thought, “Get your stuff and get on the road”. So we did. Nat went back over to the Opryland.. since we had to move hotels for Friday night– let’s not talk about it, it just makes me mad. 
Molly and I decided to take our stuff out to our cars and then go back inside to get breakfast. I go out to the car, open the trunk, put what will fit in the trunk in there, and then go to unlock my doors to put the rest in the backseat. Except, my car won’t unlock. I go through my entire bag.. key isn’t in it.
 Now, here is where I should insert that I have had about 12 hours of sleep over the past 3 nights. 
I call John to see if his car has one of those fancy systems that you can call and they can unlock it for you, but it doesn’t. (Get on that, Infiniti, would ya??)
Luckily, Molly has AAA, which, I start to feel bad about holding her up because she has a long drive ahead of her and I KNOW she wants to see Cooper before bed. So, we eat breakfast and see Crystal Bowersox checking out… fun stuff! 
AAA gets there and breaks into the car and the alarm starts going off.. hey, fun side note– did you know that when you trip your car alarm, the car goes into security LOCK DOWN and you can’t open the trunk from the inside button.. bet you didn’t know that. Now you do. 
So, we start attempting to pull everything out of the passthrough in the backseat. 
No key.
I call Infiniti.. they don’t know what to do. I start crying and tell Molly to go on because she has a long drive ahead. She tells me not to worry about it that she isn’t leaving yet and it will be fine. 
At this point, my only option is to call John and have him bring me the spare key… which, he is in Huntsville, an hour from home and our house is 2 1/2 hours from where we are. 
In my sleep deprived state, John asks me to retrace my steps.. Okay. I drove over here last night. I had to get something out of my car before we left to go back to the Opryland…. I didn’t bring my own bag, so I just dropped my key in Molly’s bad. Did I get the key from Molly’s bag? I’d better check. Low and Behold… there it is. I heard angels sing, screamed, “I found it!” into the phone and hung up on John. Molly starts telling me how sorry she is that she didn’t look and all I can think and say is, “THANK GOD YOU DIDN’T LEAVE!!!” 
The more I have told this story, the more people have been like, “Hey, remember when you did that last year at the airport?” or “Hey, you did that at the breastfeeding support group!” So, apparently, key fobs aren’t my friends.
I feel certain that it wouldn’t have been this big of a deal had I actually had a decent amount of sleep over the past few days, but that’s not the case. 
I am extremely thankful for Molly and the fact that she didn’t get on the road and was there for a semi-breakdown. I feel certain that she is a great friend to have in my life– I just wished we lived closer.. ya know, like neighbors. 
Once other people post pictures of me, I will steal them and post them here and more videos of the Flashmob as they appear. 

Blissdom 2011 Part 1

Y’all know I went. And man alive, did I have a great time. Words cannot describe how amazing this weekend was. It was worth the 12 hours of sleep that I got over 3 days. I met so many amazing people. Heard so many inspiring stories. It was unreal. 
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to death and feeling incredibly awkward- which isn’t something I normally feel- on Wednesday night. I had no idea who anyone was and was terrified to just walk up to a complete stranger. 
Thank God for roomies!! 
They let you have fun with fake horses. 
Molly had a crazy drive in and I was worried she was going to turn around and head back to D.C. from the snow storm. She got in around 12:15 a.m. I will never say she doesn’t love us! 
Apparently pajamas aren’t the dress code for the Magnolia Lobby at 12:30 in the morning because I had more than a few comments about them when I went down to meet her. 
We got up pretty early the next day to ready ourselves for the Opening Key Note and our first workshop. 
Table 32 rocked it up!!

BelleBeanDog videoed the opening key note. I get chills watching it again but I honestly think you would need to be there to appreciate the awesomeness of it. I was honestly very close to tears through most of the opening key note because it was so incredible. 
Me and Natalie. Something I have learned this week. I need a flash for my camera. Seriously. In a bad way.

Molly and Neely

Peeps coming to find seats. 

 That afternoon we went to Innovative Writing Techniques and got to listen to some amazing bloggers talk.
 

 Let’s talk about my love/hate relationship with the iPad. Hubs has one. He loves it. He insisted on buying me a few books for it in the beginning, but it was honestly too much trouble to fight him for the iPad. I tried to blog with it. It’s not that great for that. So, I wrote it off. Since I love blogging and all and anything that isn’t kosher with it, I write it off. But, John bought me a new book on it last week so I starting thinking about how awesome it would be to be able to take it to Blissdom. And I sweet talked him into it. And let me say, while, it still isn’t kosher for blogging, I really do love the iPad now. I might possibly need my own.
 

Stay tuned for Part 2….

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