BlogHer 2017 Recap

Last weekend, I attended the mother of all blogging conferences: BlogHer 2017. Lucky for me, it was being held in Orlando, just a little over an hour away from me. I have always wanted to attend this conference, but plane tickets plus conference pass plus hotel was just not in the cards, so I was pumped when some of those things ended up being taken care of!

blogher17

I arrived on Thursday to the beautiful Hilton Bonnet Creek. I LOVE this hotel yall. It was my 3rd time staying here, and it was just as beautiful as ever.

lazy river

I had the opportunity to have snacks and drinks with some blogger friends and some of the marketing team at Bonnet Creek, and it was a great way to kick off the weekend!

Thursday afternoon was registration, and my roommates arrived just in time. We heard Chelsea Clinton speak, then got checked in. 

With 2500+ bloggers trying to check in, the line was super long so we waited awhile before doing so. I went to the expo by myself after this, and compare it to the first day of a runDisney expo–a little crazy!

Then it was time for the Princess Cruise event. They are rolling out new technology similar to a Disney Magic Band but way prettier and more advanced. You can tap a screen and it will tell you how to get to the pool with the fastest route considering traffic flow on the ship.

princess cruise

I was pretty wiped out after that since I still had my cold, so I went to bed. The next morning we were up bright and early for the 7:30 newbie breakfast we had registered for. Imagine our surprise when we got downstairs and the line was well over 100 people long. We waited a few minutes then were told the breakfast was full to capacity and we would have to go to regular breakfast. Huh? We REGISTERED for this…why were they not checking names?! I was really irritated by this and it sadly wouldn’t be the last time this happened to people over the weekend. We got breakfast and headed in to the breakfast keynote, which was WAY more political than I was anticipating at a blog conference.

We then had our first breakout session, then lunch, then another breakout session. But let me backup. I was eating lunch with a Disney friend of mine, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Serena…Well, duh! So I ran off after him to the backstage area where we hung out for a few minutes before she took the stage. It was amazing! I was slightly starstruck and on a high the rest of the afternoon.

serena blogher

I ran over to another special event with HP, and then back for the afternoon session. The session rooms were super crowded as they did not have enough chairs so I had to sit on the floor. Not a huge deal, but just thought planning would have been better for the amount of people there.

After this, we were on our own for dinner. There was an event that night my roommates and I decided to skip, and instead we ubered to Disney Springs for dinner and drinks and had a blast.

My food was very good and I will definitely be back again.

We had a happy hour I was invited to that we attended next, so we ubered to a different hotel for it and met some more great people, and had yummy drinks and snacks.

We were all tired after that so we got in our PJ’s, made some drinks and watched TV in bed. Adulting is hard.

The next morning we had to pack up all of our stuff since we were checking out of the hotel, so we brought it all to our cars before breakfast. We ate, had another keynote (Gabby Reece and Laurie Hernandez!) and then I had another special event called “speed dating”. I had 90 seconds to talk with 6 brands and see if they wanted to work with me. It was super nerve wracking but also fun.

I went back into the expo after that was over because I had some time before lunch. I grabbed a mashtini from Bob Evans (yum!) and met with a couple more brands.

After lunch I had a meeting with another brand, so I missed part of the keynote but came back to see Carla Hall and Cat Cora speak.

Then we went to our last session which was by far my favorite. I am implementing things I learned as we speak, and can’t wait to do more! I decided to not stay for the closing party so I could get back to Tampa and help my husband with Emma Kate, but I was also too worn out to stay up late then drive home.

I had a blast getting to know my roommates more and also meeting other bloggers and brands. That in itself was worth it to me.

So to recap BlogHer:

Things I loved: Meeting new bloggers, hanging out with my roommates, meeting with brands, a couple of the sessions and special events. The host hotel was amazing.

Things that were just OK: variety of food. At breakfast there was no protein which made me sad. Some of the sessions didn’t have space/seating and were more surface level teaching than I would have liked.

Things I didn’t like: Being turned away for an event I registered for. This happened again later in the weekend for a special movie screening some people attended as well. Way way way too much political talk. And it was very obviously one sided. Was not a fan. Teach me about blogging! teach me about networking!

Would I attend again. It depends. If it was in an easy to get to location and my friends were going as well as great brands/sponsors, I would go again. I would just skip some of the keynotes and things I know that I’m not going to be a fan of hearing.

If you have any questions let me know, I would be happy to try and answer.

 

5 Things Friday XXVIII

Happy Friday! It’s very happy for me indeed because I am in Orlando at Hilton Bonnet Creek at BlogHer! (well I guess that is actually #1 on my 5 things Friday list!) I am having a blast here with SO MANY BLOGGERS. It’s a little overwhelming but also fun. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HeathersLG for updates and Instagram stories.

2.) This Thursday I will be at the Port of Tampa for a press event with Carnival Cruise Lines as they have a special bon voyage celebration to mark a special occasion: the Carnival Paradise will be sailing to Havana, Cuba! They will also be creating the largest Cuban sandwich at sea. Here is a flashback to when I was on the Carnival Liberty with the largest cheeseburger at sea!

3.) The following day, the 30th, I will be a part of the blogger caravan for social media day Tampa! I’m so excited! We will be driving around town in VW beetles before the main event that night. More on this in a post next week so stay tuned!

4.) My mom and dad finally moved down here and are in their rental house while their new home is being built. It’s so weird having them “local” (well, 45 minutes away), but it’s great having their help so I am able to do some of these events/more often. We have never had my parents local (I haven’t lived near them since high school!) so this has been nice so far!

5.) We are in the middle of potty training with Emma Kate, and she is doing great! We aren’t “there” yet as we have to remind her a lot, but it’s nice to make progress. We want to be able to take her on a Disney cruise but you can’t go in the pool with swim diapers so it has spurred me on to get things moving. If you have any great tips (especially for getting her to do #2) let me hear em!

That’s it for this week! be sure to tune in to all the BlogHer17 fun buy following along with the #BlogHer17 hashtag.

QOTD: Have you sailed with Carnival before? What is your favorite ship? Any potty training tips? 

5 Things Friday XXVI

Hola! Happy Friday my friends. It’s literally been raining here for a week, so I think I may need an ark before long to get outside of my neighborhood! I hope you are having better weather than us, and I hope you had a good week! The past couple of weeks here have been super busy with events and such, so I thought I would do a 5 Things Friday event recap of all the fun I have been having.

1.) Biggest Cheeseburger at sea with Carnival: Recently I had the opportunity to board the Carnival Liberty for a fun press event where we witnessed the largest cheeseburger at sea, and even got to flip our own burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint. It was a blast!

2017-05-25_10-36-30_898

This burger had fifty pounds of toppings and 50 pounds of flour to make the bun. So crazy! 2017-05-25_10-54-12_513

2.) Food and Wine Conference Fun: At the end of May I spoke on a panel at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando. I love having so many conferences “close to home!” Anyway, it was great getting to meet some more local bloggers and make new friends, as well as learn new things. I also love speaking so that was fun, too! I did lots of stories and social media posts so hopefully you followed along.

2017-05-20_19-53-21_009

2017-05-20_18-09-52_769

3.) Tampa Margarita Festival: I was invited to the Tampa Margarita Festival, and Bobby and I (who both love margaritas) used it as a fun date night. It was hot outside but everyone seemed to be having a great time. We didn’t stick around for the concert (Barenaked Ladies) because we had to go pick up Emma Kate, but we really love having fun local things to do on the weekends!

2017-05-27_18-47-07_993

2017-05-27_17-17-30_186 (2017-05-28T16_13_56.779)

4.) Tijuana Flats new summer menu: I had never even heard of this place until we moved here, but it is becoming one of my favorites. They have a great menu, and Bobby and I were invited to try out some of their new summer offerings last week, and everything was delicious! My favorites were the Bangin chicken tostadas and the the lime steak street tacos. Be sure to stop by your local restaurant and check out the new items!

2017-05-31_19-54-15_3302017-05-31_18-46-12_988

5.) BlogHer is quickly approaching: I have always wanted to go to BlogHer, and thanks to it being close by and to their generosity, I was able to make it happen this year. I am rooming with two friends from Tampa, and it just so happens to be at one of my favorite resorts, Hilton Bonnet Creek! The conference is June 22-24, so be sure to follow along then because of course I will be updating you all as I go!

QOTD: How is the weather where you are? Have you tried any new restaurants lately?

June 2017 Goals

Happy Summer! Even though I have been doing it for weeks already, you are officially cleared to wear white jeans, mmkk? Smile How did you do with your May goals? Let’s take a peek at mine before looking at my goals for June (How is it June? Next month will be the SECOND HALF of 2017!)

1.) Eat Salad 3x’s a week: C+ I did great on this the first 2.5 weeks of the month, but then I went out of town, and then came home and was playing catch up before going out of town again, and my diet just wasn’t the best in those in between times. However, even though it’s a new month I am still trying to eat salad 1-2 times a week.

hhAaq7JKxipJDHrEV8aF0aoUhLDTQ5K8W1tDrc31uMIpX92IB

2.) Organize my guest room: Done about as much as I can do. We just need to figure out a good storage solution. I give an A-. It’s all organized but still looks cluttered to me. I found some Disney socks when I was cleaning, which prompted me to search for more on Amazon. How cute are these?

3.) Lose 4 pounds: This one is interesting. After the 10 day cleanse with Advocare, I lost 3 pounds. Then I went to the food and wine conference, had my least favorite “time of the month” and gained two pounds (says the scale). Now It’s saying I lost two, but I look thinner than I did before so maybe I gained muscle? We will see when I do my final 24 day challenge results next week. So I will say B- for now.

———————————

Now let’s take a look at June:

1.) Get my pre sale for my new course up and running: That’s right folks! I have had a new digital product in the works for a couple of months, but content creation has been slow going with my busy schedule. I figure if I put it here as a goal for all of you to see, then I have to do it, right? I have my outline done, I just need to fill in the gaps and get my sales page going, then record all my content. Nothing, right? (haha)

HUsLYF1A2ruv28mIzJC5zdwG73plrjMPLZgNufpABUMpX92IB

Emma Kate is excited about my course presale

2.) Read a book: I find that in the evenings I either mindlessly watch TV or mindlessly scroll through social media, and I prefer to be more intentional with my time. I love to read, but it seems to be the first thing that gets crowded out, so I’m making it a goal to read a book this month!

3.) Make at least two new brand connections at BlogHer17: That’s right! I am attending BlogHer in Orlando this month! I have always wanted to go but could never swing the cost of ticket, flight, and room. However, thanks to it being in Orlando and the generosity of BlogHer, I am able to make it happen. I can’t wait to meet new blogger friends and also make some business/brand connections.
I'm going to #BlogHer17 in Orlando!

Looking for a way to keep track of your monthly goals or fitness progress? Download my FREE fitness and goal tracking printables here.

Defying the Odds

I’m thrilled to participate in a sweepstakes sponsored by Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil, which premieres Wednesday August 28th at 10/9c only on Investigation Discovery

 

Distance running is not something that comes easy for me. Volleyball, yes. Basketball, yes. Running anything over 200 meters….negative. This fact is interesting considering that I have to date run two full marathons and nineteen half marathons, with many more on my race schedule. How did it all happen? gulfcoast6 I did something courageous. I took a leap of faith and dove head first into an unknown world to me. I was scared. I didn’t know if I could do it. I was afraid to fail, and was afraid of what others would think if I did. Regardless, I decided to take my chances and attempt to overcome the odds that were stacked against me. I WOULD become a distance runner. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. It all started when I was visiting with some friends in Florida and spectated them running the Walt Disney World marathon in 2009. A friend and I staked out a spot in front of Hollywood studios to watch the race…no particular reason for this spot. Keep in mind I was NOT a runner at this point! We waited for our friends to pass. The place we were standing was around mile 24. As all of the people passed by, and as I watched everyone cheering them on, all of the sudden I got really really emotional. I thought of the hard work and dedication these people had put into their training for this race. I didn’t know them, but I was so proud of them as they all passed me by. I cheered my little heart out, and decided I COULD do this, I HAD to do this! I vowed I would be back to run the next year.
Fast forward to January 2010. My husband and I ran the half marathon in Disney World, our very first. I felt so accomplished as I crossed that finish line hand in hand with my husband. We had done something I never thought possible, but we had not yet reached our goal. What? That’s right. My goal was the Disney full marathon. 17957_532274161768_61700476_31353822_8119432_n
Fast Forward to January 2011. It was a tough training cycle. I was struggling with an IT band injury, and Bobby and I were not even living together because he took a new job and we had not yet found a house. It was tough training basically on my own, and I was under a lot of emotional stress. But, we made it to Disney! This race was amazing and will forever be one of the best memories of my life. We had SO MUCH FUN with the race, stopping and taking pictures with every character, goofing off and enjoying the time together. I remember very distinctly when I ran by the spot I stood two years earlier, my “inspiration curve” outside of Hollywood studios. I got really choked up remembering where it all began. I could not believe I was about to accomplish my goal, and finish the race. Crossing the finish line was amazing, I had done it. Two years later, I accomplished what I had set out to do, what I didn’t even think I could do, and it felt wonderful. I beat the odds with courage, and a huge smile on my face. header2 Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil is all about beating the odds too. But the stories in the show are told by people who faced real evil when they fought back against their attackers, and survived. 

 

Want to win a $500 spa finder giftcard? Share with us: What is an obstacle or fear that you’ve been able to overcome?

 

This sweepstakes is sponsored by Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil, premiering Wednesday, August 28 at 10/9c. Told in their own words, victims reveal how they fought their attackers and survived against amazing odds. Learn more at InvestigationDiscovery.com/SurvivingEvil and empower yourself with five life-saving tips at IDFiveToSurvive.com. 

 

Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: 1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post 2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post 3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post 4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 8/14/13-8/28/13. Be sure to visit the Investigation Discovery: Surviving Evil brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ true stories of courage and survival and find more chances to win.