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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Blog to Business at Food and Wine Conference

Good morning! I have some fun news to share today. I will be speaking on a panel at the amazing Food and Wine conference next month in Orlando, Florida!

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I am super excited, as it has been awhile since I have attended and spoken at a blog conference. I love that I live in a place now where I don’t have to travel far to attend fun things like this!

My session will be on Sunday, and you can check out my speaker bio here. The panel I am speaking on will be discussing turning your blog into a business, and how to handle/balance it all with everything else going on in life. I will be speaking with three other great influencers, and I can’t wait to share my journey!

If you are looking to attend the conference, you can still sign up.

Why would you want to sign up? Well, first of all, because it is being hosted at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek resort in sunny Orlando, Florida.

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I mean how gorgeous is this place?

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There are going to be some GREAT sessions with awesome speakers, I am already planning out who and what I want to see. Also of course, don’t forget about the amazing FOOD that will be there! I can’t wait to share my experience with you through social media, but I do hope some of you will sign up and join me at the conference!

QOTD: Have you ever attended a conference like this?

This Girl is Going to ShiftCon!

I know it’s a ways away, but I am super excited to tell you all that I will be attending ShiftCon in December! What is ShiftCon? It’s a conference for social media influencers that focuses on food, wellness, health, and the environment.

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This year, the conference is being held in my neck of the woods in New Orleans, LA!

*Dance party*

There will be workshops, parties, and lots of networking. This year, it will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside and there is a special ShiftCon hotel rate available until October There are going to be tons of great speakers and great information. I can’t wait to get my nerd on and learn.

Want some even better news? You can use my special code at checkout to get $50 off of your ticket price.(Yes, five-zero, fifty dollars off!) Just enter FITLOOKINGGLASS to get your discount.

If you head over to the ShiftCon website, there is a great, short, video right there on the home page that will give you a glimpse inside the conference. I know it’s still several months away, but it has been awhile since I have been to a conference so I am excited! December is a great month to be in New Orleans. Not only will Christmas decorations be abundant, but the weather will be mild and perfect.

If anyone has any questions about the conference or about New Orleans let me know! I would love to meet up with some of you before, during, or after the conference in my old stomping grounds and show you my favorite parts of New Orleans. I hope to see you there, I would love to meet some of my blog readers.

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QOTD: Who wants to go to ShiftCon? Have you ever been to New Orleans?

Disclosure:  I receive a small commission if you purchase your ticket with my discount code and will be attending this event on behalf of ShiftCon.

Disney MagicBands Review

Last week when I was in Disney World for the Earmarked conference for authorized Disney vacation planners at Disney’s Contemporary resort convention center, I had the opportunity to test out the new MagicBands that are currently in the testing phase.

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They work in conjunction with the My Disney experience phone app which I KNOW all of you have downloaded onto your phones. Smile You can also use your account on a PC if you don’t have a Droid or iPhone.

I have gotten several questions about the bands, what they can do, how they work, etc. so I am hoping to answer those questions here, and of course if you have a question that I don’t answer please ask in the comments, it may be a question someone else has, too!

1.) What do they cost?

Nothing! The magic bands will be standard issue for all Disney resort guests once they go live. You will receive a box in the mail with your customized bands once you order them through my Disney experience. You can customize them up to six days prior to your stay and get the customized bands at check in. Even if you don’t customize them, you can still get them at check in, but they will be grey bands.

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Beautiful box your bands come packaged in, straight to your house!

2.) What do they do?

Oh my friends, they question is what DON’T they do! You can attach your theme park tickets to your Disney MagicBands so you tap your band to get into a park, into your hotel room, through a fastpass line, or when paying for food or merchandise, it’s amazing! If you are using Disney’s Magical Express service, you will also use them to get on a bus to go to your resort. So convenient, but be sure to pack them in a carry on! Since the bands are still in the testing phase, I was also given a regular key to the world card as a backup to get into my room.

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Me testing out the MagicBand at the earmarked conference

3.) You mentioned fastpasses….how does this work?

There is a new system called Fastpass+. You can go into your Disney account online and set up three fastpasses for the day at one park. No more running to the fastpass machines at park opening, or leaving your family in line for one ride while you go get fastpasses for another. You pick your rides and times online, and show up at your designated one hour window and tap your band to go through the fastpass line. Super easy! ***Edited to add that now once you use all 3 of your fastpasses that you schedule, you can go to any kiosk in the park or park hop to another park and add  more fastpasses one at a time!***

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Fastpass+ to get on Soarin.

4.) Shopping? Food? How! This seems so easy!

When you check in, you will be asked to enter in a pin code that you will use during your trip to make purchases on your account/credit card that you provide. When you go to a store, at checkout you simply tap your band and enter your pin, that’s it! Same thing at restaurants. Servers have a small portable device you tap your band against.

5.) Fastpass+ sounds awesome, are there other things you can use it for besides rides?

Yes! You can use fastpass+ for parade and fireworks viewing areas, as well as character meet and greets. Disney is going to be adding many more experiences to fastpass+ in time, so be on the lookout for these experiences. Also, I was able to attach my annual pass to my band so I can reuse it if I wanted to on my next trip.

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Kelly using her MagicBand to enter EPCOT

6.) I saw you posted a photo on Instagram of some charm looking things on your band. What is this?

These are called bandits. Something fun for you to collect and personalize your band with. There are also fun covers called sliders, so many options and ways to personalize. Also a great way to tell bands apart if your kids order the same color (their names are also on the underside for identification if you customize ahead of time online). You can buy accessories at the resorts where the bands are being tested.

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7.) My family is really active, will we have to take the Disney MagicBands off to get in the pool or what if we get sweaty?

The bands are waterproof and do well in heat, so they won’t melt or die at the waterparks or in the pool. The only thing I noticed is I did get a little sweaty on my arm wearing mine on a hot day, but I imagine if I had a slider on it it would help.

8.) Fastpass+, customizing bands, this all seems overwhelming, HELP!

Absolutely! I would love to book your family vacation for you an walk you through this new process as it rolls out. You can email me at [email protected] for a free quote, or go to travelwiththemagic.com and request a quote. Just be sure to put my name on there so it goes to me. Smile

Want to see what resorts are being included in the testing? Check out this link on Travel With the Magic. 

QOTD: Thoughts on the Disney MagicBands? Any questions?

It’s Magic

Good morning guys! I am headed home from Disney today. I learned a lot at the conference, met a ton of great people, and can’t wait to get home to my little family. I am quite back logged on emails, blog comments, etc. so please hang in there as I play catch up!

I have a lot of great info to share on Magic bands (who knows what they are, brownie points for you!) coming to Walt Disney World resort. They are super cool and so easy to use, technology amazes me.

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I also have some new experiences to share with you like staying at a resort I have never stayed at before. I ran ONCE while I was gone, with the intention to run twice. It rains every afternoon in Florida in the summer, and that coupled with my meeting schedule made things difficult. I did do a good bit of walking so that counts for something!

I plan to do a long run this weekend in preparation for the Tower of Terror ten mile race in October. I have felt so out of it workout-wise since Dumbo that I am hoping to get my running mojo back. I do have a super cute costume I will be wearing, and I will be sharing an opportunity for you to get one as well while also helping out a good cause. Have a great day!

QOTD: Do you know anything about Disney’s magic bands?

On a Boat

 

Wow the weekend sure did fly by. I am, however, loving this extra hour of daylight. It officially feels like spring around here now. I hope you had a good weekend, be sure to catch up on the posts you missed!

Disney Princess Blogger Meet Up Recap

RWS Features #15

Weekly Recap: March week 3

Also, don’t forget to vote for me for best running blog! Courtesy of Fitness magazine. I would so very much appreciate it. I am only one blog away from being on page one!

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HLS in Pictures

 

Hey guys! I am currently on a ten mile long run, so I thought today I would just leave you with some fun pictures from Healthy Living summit (some I borrowed from other bloggers!) Happy Saturday! Have a good one!

Photo booth at the cocktail party! Brittney, Tanya, and me.

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me and Andrea

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Diana, Brittney, and me

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Erin, me, and Stephanie at the airport ready for some fun!

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Allison, Kelly, Erin, Brittney, me, and Caitlin

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lunch at the Pumpkin Market! (photo courtesy of Kath)

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Saturday breakfast!

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roomates! (photo courtesy of Brittney)

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why am I squatting like I have to go pee? Way to ruin the picture Heather.

Courtney, Julie, me, Allison, and Tina

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*Don’t forget to enter my Rok Bands giveaway! Easy to enter!

QOTD: Would you rather run a race in Hawaii or Australia?

Dealing with Blog Negativity

 

Hi everyone! First of all a warm welcome to the new readers coming over after Healthy Living Summit posts, sent from other people’s recaps, etc. Welcome to RWS! Sit down, stay awhile! Check out the About Me section and my Top Posts section for starters!

One of the sessions I attended at HLS was on dealing with blog negativity. Imagine that, someone leaving mean and negative comments on a blog!

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Who would EVER do a thing like that, hhhmmm? If you have a blog and have not yet had to deal with this, consider yourself lucky. I feel like I get a fair share here because I choose to be very real on my blog. Of course, I like to try to keep things positive and upbeat, but at the same time, I don’t gloss over real issues, problems I am dealing with, and the way I really feel about things.

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life isn’t always rainbows and flowers. I am NOT perfect!

Constructive criticism vs. mean comments

As much as I would love to give everyone the benefit of the doubt (and I REALLY try to) some people are just what I like to call “a bad egg.” They are going to find something mean to say, and then cover their backs by saying it was “constructive criticism.” This is one of the things the panel at HLS talked about…there is a difference in CONSTRUCTIVE (building up and helpful criticism) and just being mean , hurtful, and evil for no good reason.

I think the biggest problem is, we have these people hiding behind their mask that is the computer screen, and who feel like it gives them free reign to say whatever to whomever they choose. I mean really, is it something you would say in real life to a friend? Then why would you think it’s ok to say to a stranger? You don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors.

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mommy says not to talk to strangers

Creating your own reality

Another thing we talked about is creating your own reality. Hate to break it to the haters, but it’s my blog, my space, and I can write on it whatever I choose, and I can choose to hit the button labeled spam. Not to mention….I can track your IP address and see if you have ever commented before. If I don’t want mean comments on my blog, I can block them. If I want to share my opinion on a controversial topic, I can. If I KNOW there is a blog out there that is going to upset me, I can choose not to read it. (Why people waste their time reading and commenting on blogs that “annoy” them blows my mind. Time is so precious, friends!) I remember the first mean comment I ever got…I was devastated, and it upset me for days. It seemed to be all I could think about, until one day I realized by letting it disrupt my day, that person had WON! I refuse to give people the satisfaction, so now I just get over it and move on. Not everyone is going to like my blog and I am totally ok with that.

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Cool off before responding

This is where I have failed in the past and let my temper get the better of me. It is in my nature to immediately write out a snarky response, and have kind of a “take that”attitude, which isn’t very kind on my part, and won’t help the situation. I am human, I make mistakes (a LOT of them, trust me!) But this is an area where I feel I have really grown over the past years of blogging. If someone leaves a negative comment instead of responding right away, I get away from my computer, think about it for awhile, and 9 times out of 10, I end up responding differently (and more ladylike!) then I would have if I had answered right away. Let cooler heads prevail!

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This cream colored puppy has TOTALLY taken the spotlight, I need to take a w-a-l-k and cool off before I deal with her.

Ultimately, how you choose to handle negativity on your blog is up to you, it’s YOUR blog! Yahoo!!! Some may ignore, some may delete, and some may confront. You have to choose what is right for you, your personality, and your blog. My main takeaway would be to not let a naysayer control your emotions. They aren’t worth it! For every negative comment, think of the dozens of comments you get telling you how much people love your blog, how inspiring you are, etc. THOSE are the ones you want to stick with you, and that is why I blog. To help, to give hope, and to inspire. If it ever becomes more hurtful than helpful to myself, my relationships, and my readers, then I know it is time to stop. Blog negativity is real, it’s rampant, and there is only so much we can do. I think it’s wise to have an action plan in place before it happens to you so that you don’t make a decision you will regret later. I am rooting for you and hope you don’t let blog negativity get you down!

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QOTD: How do you deal with negativity on your blog? Do you get negative comments on your blog?

 

Healthy Living Summit: Saturday Sessions

 

Hi everyone! I am so wiped but totally in a good way! Today was so action packed and fun but I feel like I could sleep for 2 days straight!  Tomorrow is going to be another long day. So much happened today I am going to have to break it up into two posts. Whew!

Yesterday morning, we headed to breakfast at 8 and started our morning sessions. Attune sponsored breakfast, and there was a pretty nice spread.

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Look at our super cute table set up! (by the way, why didn’t I think to bring a notebook? I have random notes on about 5 different sheets of paper!)

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Loved how there was water everywhere, I also brought a refillable water bottle.

my yummy breakfast. (yes we had Starbucks coffee!)

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Just like last night, I enjoyed meeting new bloggers and hanging out with ones I already “knew.” The room most of the sessions were in was nice and big, my only complaint, it was FREEZING cold! enter…more coffee! (I think I was a bit wired all day….and peed about 20 times.)

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Sarah, Caitlin, Erin, Brittney, Me, and Katie at breakfast

I went to a session on negativity with this lovely panel:

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and finally got to meet this sweet girl. We were tweeting back and forth all day trying to find each other! Hi Jennifer! (She’s a Fit Chick)

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We had lunch, and I will be TOTALLY honest, I was really bummed that there was no meat at lunch. No grilled chicken, no turkey sandwich…yeah I sadly basically starved. I figured there would be mostly salad and things, but was really shocked there wasn’t a single shred of meat to be found.  Good thing I had my bag of twizzlers from the plane and some larabars from my swag bag! Oh, and some Great Harvest Bread. That was yum.

We listened to the keynote speaker, and then went to 2 more sessions. I watched another super fun panel talk about the numbers game we sometimes play as bloggers.

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SO glad I got to chat a good bit with the lovely Tina this weekend. Just as sweet as I knew she would be!

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Then we had a Quaker sponsored snack break. I can honestly say I have never put peanut butter on a rice cake. Quite the interesting combo. I was so hungry by then I really didn’t care though.

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Then we got to hear the very smart Katy talk abut monetizing your blog. So overwhelming and so informative. It was one of my favorites and I took a lot of notes. ha.

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After that, Meghann handed out some door prizes, and wrapped things up, and that was that! I can’t believe the day went by so fast and was over! We still have tomorrow morning’s fun run and brunch, but I am already so sad to leave all my new friends! I wish we did these more often….and closer down south so I don’t have to make expensive flying trips. Smile

I will save the rest of the evening/night for my next post. Have a great day all!

QOTD: What is the weirdest food combo you have ever eaten?