7 Weight Loss Tips for Faster Results

When you decide you want to lose weight, you don’t want to wait until next year or next month to do it. It’s hard to even think about having to wait a couple of weeks to start seeing results. While there is no magic pill to get to where you want to be, there ARE ways to make sure you are on the fastest path safely possible to reach your goals. Here are 7 weight loss tips for faster results:

7 weight loss tips for faster results

1.) Eat All the Veggies: Not only will veggies fill you up so you won’t want to eat junk food, but they are rich in vitamins and nutrients your body loves to stay healthy and happy. You will feel better, look better, and be on your way to weight loss in no time. Don’t like veggies? Search Pinterest for recipes that “hide” that veggie taste. People are so creative and have come up with amazing recipes!

2.) Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water: Water is great for your skin, fills you up, and keeps your systems running smoothly. It’s such a simple thing but just doing this ONE action can jumpstart your weight loss.

3.) Move 10,000 steps each day, with 4 days involving getting your heart rate UP HIGH (even if only for 15 minutes): Get a step counter or Fitbit* and get to walking! You should be moving a MINIMUM of 10k steps a day, plus several days of higher intensity workouts. Keep in mind doing hours of cardio isn’t the answer. Short bursts are super effective too!

4.) Track Calorie Intake…For Awhile: I use My Fitness Pal when I feel like I need to get back on track after a vacation of several days of not eating properly. It’s free, and a great way to give you a visual of exactly how many calories you are consuming in a day. That in itself is eye-opening enough to help you lose weight.

5.) Don’t Drink Your Calories: I will always remember this phrase from back when I used to watch The Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels used to tell the contestants to never drink your calories! They are empty, you will still be hungry after, and they add up quick. Just look at a Starbucks menu and you will see what I mean. So many drinks have MORE calories than an ENTIRE MEAL and people drink those drinks PLUS eat a meal and then wonder why they aren’t losing weight. Stick to water except for an OCCASIONAL treat and it will quickly make a difference!

6.) Find A Workout You Love: Not all workouts are for everyone. Some love running, some love stand up paddleboarding, and some love tennis. Experiment and find what you love because then you are way more likely to stick with it. I would much rather play a game of volleyball then run for an hour, and that’s ok!

7 weight loss tips for faster results

7.) Get More Sleep: Cramming too many things into your schedule makes you less likely to want to work out or eat properly, so right there you are sabotaging your efforts. On top of that, your body will be stressed and you are more likely to get sick, so then you won’t be able to work out either! Studies show that getting enough sleep can help aid in weight loss because only getting a little bit of sleep can mess with your metabolism.

I hope you enjoyed these 7 weight loss tips for faster results!

RELATED: 7 Fitness hacks for the unmotivated

*If you purchase through this link, I will get a small percentage in commission.

Photos by rawpixelSara Dubler, Arek Adeoye, Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip

Update: This post on tips for an adults only Disney trip originally appeared in 2016, but I have updated it for 2018. Thanks for reading!

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney World. When I tell some of my friends my husband and I are going alone to Walt Disney World for the weekend without Emma Kate, they look at like I’m crazy. Why would I want to spend my adults only time with a bunch of kids? That’s when I get to explain our “Disney style”, and how it’s very different than a trip would look with Emma Kate in tow. While trips with her are super special and so much fun, there are “other ways” to tour the world as well.

Tips for an adults only Disney trip

So, here are my top five tips for an adults-only Disney trip, and maybe you will then see why we find our time in Disney so relaxing and enjoyable.

1.) Go Deluxe: I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it (go at a cheaper time of year, use discounts, save up for a year etc.) I recommend staying at a deluxe resort, and if you save lots of pennies, splurge on a club level stay. I have stayed club level at all the Disney resorts, and it is truly a special treat. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you plan to jump up every morning, grab breakfast at the park, and stay gone until bedtime, but if you want to enjoy Disney at a leisurely pace, it’s the way to go. (Think: continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, wine and appetizers in the evenings, cordials and desserts at night.) Plus a lounge for you to sit in and read a book, chat with family members, or simply use it as a meeting spot. There are also dedicated cast members who help just club level guests with questions, dining reservations, and more. We love to eat and relax so it works for us!

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Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

2.) Less park days: Here is where you can actually save some money. If you are going for a week, only get 4-5 days of park tickets and spend your other days doing things around your resort,  or even visiting the other resorts on property. There is plenty to do, which leads me to the next tip…

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3.) Beyond the Theme Parks: Since you have a couple of “free days” with no park tickets, take time to explore some of the lesser-known Disney fun such as Disney Springs, miniature golf, water parks, going fishing or parasailing, or enjoy tea at the Grand Floridian. I actually wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and here. Check out the awesome cabanas you can rent pictured below if you are at the Contemporary!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

4.) Sit on a bench: I know this sounds silly, but to this day it is one of my favorite things to do in Disney. People watching. I love grabbing Starbucks and finding a bench or laying in the hub grass at Magic Kingdom, and just watching the crowds go by while soaking up the Disney atmosphere. I feel like so many people rush from one ride to the next, that they don’t always take the time to really just soak in the fact that they are in Disney World! Stop and take a break and just be for a little while on your next trip. Grab some popcorn or a drink and just savor the moment.

 Adults Only Disney Trip

5.) Eat. A lot: I know everyone eats more on vacation, but when you are traveling with small kids, you typically don’t eat at fancy table service restaurants enjoying four-course meals. It’s more of let’s stick some chicken nuggets in your mouth and move on before they have a meltdown. This is your chance to enjoy some of the nicer restaurants, just taking your time and enjoying your vacation and the atmosphere. Some of my favorites are: California Grill, Narcoossees, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Citricos, and Artist Point. Be sure to schedule in a lot of time to sit and eat nice dinners, or even nice breakfasts and lunches, too! Whatever you want, it’s your vacation!

This was on our honeymoon! Babies!

These are just some of my tips for planning an adults only WDW vacation. The key is to relax and enjoy without feeling like you need to be somewhere every five minutes. That doesn’t sound very relaxing and enjoyable to this girl. You earned those vacation days my friend, and you don’t have to have your kids with you to enjoy Walt Disney World. Have fun!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is your favorite tip for an adults only Disney trip?

Is Your Child in the Right Britax Car Seat?

Disclosure: I was provided a Britax car seat, however, all opinions are my own.

Is your child in the right Britax car seat?

Emma Kate turned four on Monday, and over the past couple of months, I had some serious questions about what type of car seat she should be in. Since this week is child passenger safety week, I wanted to share my findings with you because, like me, some of you may be a little unsure as to what type of seat your child should be in as they grow. Especially for someone like Emma Kate, who is very tall for her age, I wanted to make sure she was comfortable, but more importantly as safe as possible.

For a couple years we have been in the Britax Boulevard ClickTight seat. First as a rear facing seat, then eventually as forward facing seat. However, over the summer we noticed how tight the seat was getting on her and she just seemed huge in this little seat, so I started doing some research. Thanks to some help from the kind folks at Britax, we were able to figure out a good option for Emma Kate and this new seat, the Frontier ClickTight, fits her so much better!

It has cupholders and will grow with her, even as a backless booster when she is ready to get out of the five-point harness. It has 2 layers of side impact protection, and a foam lined headrest. There are also multiple recline positions, and there is a 9 position quick adjust harness (it really is quick adjusting!) She feels like a big girl in it and I know it has the same safety and quality features as Britax seats we have had and enjoyed in the past.

Here are some things I learned about fitting your child for a car seat (pro tip: their website has a tool that helps you decide what Britax car seat to get for your child based on a number of factors. Check it out here!)

Child Fit & Best Practice:
• Rear Facing: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat manufacturer. Britax strongly recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height specified.
o Shoulder harness straps should be in the closest position at or below the child’s shoulders.
• Forward Facing: Britax strongly recommends that children should be secured with a harness system until they exceed the weight or height limits specified.
o Shoulder harness straps should be in the closest position at or above the child’s shoulders, parallel to
level ground.

Looking to put your child in a booster? Here is what you should know (also check out the Booster basics page)

“Belt-positioning boosters are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing harnessed seat. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is best for children to continue to use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and top tether in the back seat for as long as possible. If your child outgrows his or her forward-facing seat but is not yet ready to stay seated properly in a belt-positioning booster using the lap and shoulder belt, consider using a Harness-2-Booster for the transition.”

 

How To Tell If It’s Time To Move Up

How can you tell that your child is ready to move on from their forward-facing car seat into a Harness-2-Booster? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Your child reached the top weight or height allowed for their convertible car seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and also included in the user guide.)
  • Your child’s shoulders are above the top harness slots in their forward-facing seat. (This was Emma Kate’s problem!)
  • If your kid is a wiggle worm or sleeps often in the vehicle, then the booster may not be an appropriate selection just yet.

And finally, you may be wondering when to switch your child to a vehicle seat belt. Check out these tips:

Britax recommends that you continue to use a car seat to the upper limits of its recommended use, or until your child can fit properly in the adult seat belt.

To be able to fit an adult seat belt, a child must:

  • Be tall enough to sit without slouching
  • Keep his/her back and buttocks against the vehicle seat back
  • Keep his/her knees completely bent over the front edge of the vehicle seat
  • Keep his/her feet flat on the floor
  • Be able to stay comfortably seated this way, AND
  • The vehicle seat belt must be positioned correctly across the child’s hips and shoulder/middle of the chest

Not sure if your seat is installed correctly? Visit www.SafeKids.org to locate a checking station near you.

Britax car seat

Thanks so much, Britax for making sure Emma Kate was safe and comfortable in her new Britax car seat. Now, this mama can rest easy!

Related: Tips for stroller running in the heat

Top 10 Vacation Tips To Save Money in Walt Disney World

If you have been hanging around here more than one second, you know that I love all things Disney, and this of course includes vacationing in Walt Disney World. However, it can be very expensive to vacation there especially if you have kids. Over the years I have learned a thing or two to help cut costs while still having a ton of fun. Some things just don’t matter as much if it means you get to still go to your happy place, right? Check out my top 10 10 vacation tips to save money in Walt Disney World:

Save Money in Walt Disney World

1.) Bring food from home or order groceries: All WDW hotels have mini fridges, and all DVC (disney vacation club) rooms have microwaves, and 1, 2, and 3 bedroom DVC villas have full kitchens. If you are driving to WDW, bring food with you or stop when you get to Orlando for groceries. If you are flying, take advantage of grocery delivery services like Garden Grocer. One of my favorite Disney memories is staying at a DVC resort and grilling burgers and eating outside with the family at picnic tables. (Yes all villa resorts have grills!) We aren’t big breakfast eaters so have brought milk, cereal, and protein bars for breakfast, and even made sandwiches for lunch. It saves a ton of money because let’s face it, Disney food is pricey.

2.) Purchase base tickets: Choose a base ticket instead of a park hopper to save money. Remember, with a base ticket you can only go into one park per day, but you can go in and out of that park as many times as you want. If you have little ones, consider going to a park in the morning, then going back to your resort for a nap and swim, then head back to the park in the early evening.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

3.) Target gift cards: If you have a Target red card, you already (hopefully) know you save 5% on all purchases. Did you know this includes Disney gift cards? Pick up a couple everytime you shop at Target then save them for your trip. You can even pay off your hotel or package balance with them.

 

4.) Souvenirs from home: Disney shirts, toys, and the like are SO expensive. Like it’s painful. Thankfully, I have a Disney Store outlet near my house with great prices. I have bought toys and clothes for Emma Kate there and then given them to her when we are at Disney. We have even surprised her in the morning and said “Mickey or Tinkerbell left her a present overnight”. This way we can stay out of the stores and save some money. You can literally find a lot of the same toys from the parks at the outlet (there is even one in Orlando near Disney!) or online when the Disney Stores has sales.

5.) Bring your own water:  We always bring out own water from home by the case, but you can also bring a refillable water bottle, or ask for free ice water in a cup at any counter service location. A bottle of water at WDW is $3+, and I can get a whole case for that much. Save your money for other things!

6.) Choose where you stay wisely: There are tons of on site WDW hotels, and if you go at certain times of the year and are flexible with your dates, you can go when prices are lowest and snag a resort of package discount, maybe even free dining. However, don’t be afraid to look outside Disney property. There are several great hotels near Disney Springs as well that can save you a lot of money. Remember, holidays and summer are the most expensive and most crowded.

Save Money in Walt Disney World

 7.) Chase Disney Visa: We have a Chase Disney Visa credit card that we use for everyday purchases (please note, we pay it off in full every month!) and we earn points that translate into Disney dollars. (holla!) We use the cards for everything from gas to daycare bills to groceries and money adds up fast! I have a friend who paid for 3/4 of a Disney cruise with her points, so it is like getting free money! They also offer merchandise discounts as well around the parks.

8.) Share meals: At the sit down restaurants (not the fancy ones) we have found that portion sizes are quite large, and Emma Kate and I can easily split a meal. You can always get a mickey bar or popsicle later if you are still hungry, which is actually what I prefer anyway. 🙂

9.) Have an “off” day: Disney Springs has been revamped over the past couple of years and now it’s a destination in and of itself. The best thing? It’s free! (well, unless you have a shopping problem.) Free parking, free wifi, free live music, and chocolate samples. You can also play with Legos and there is a splash pad area that has kept Emma Kate entertained many times while we eat outside at Earl of Sandwich. Take a day “off” from the parks in the middle of your trip and hit up Disney Springs for a half day, then spend a half day at the pool, or ride the monorail around and look at some of the gorgeous hotel lobbies.

10.) Bring your own stroller: Lastly, if you have small kids, bring your own stroller. This will save you from renting from an outside company or renting one of the uncomfortable hard plastic ones from the parks, which by the way you cannot take back to your hotel. It may not be a huge savings but every little bit counts when you want to have the vacation of your dreams!

Save Money in Walt Disney World

Related: Tips for Pandora with a Preschooler

6 Tips for Running the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon weekend is definitely a favorite of mine because I love to eat, and naturally love EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival. This is also a great time of year to visit Walt Disney World as it’s starting to slowly cool off, and Christmas decorations are starting to go up!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

Since this race has switched to a daytime race, I decided to update my tips post so that it makes more sense for the current race weekend situation. Here are my best tips for running the Wine and Dine half marathon.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

1.) Hydrate in advance: Don’t wait until the night before to decide to start drinking water. The race will be HUMID and you will sweat a lot. Carry a water bottle with you days in advance, at the expo, to the parks, etc. Also hydrate on the course. There are plenty of water stops. I take one cup of Powerade and one cup of water at each stop starting with the second one. (I typically run through the first one).

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

2.) Prepare for before and after the race: If you are checking a bag, make sure you don’t put any valuables inside as runDisney is not responsible for anything stolen. If I’m driving I put my car key in my bag as well as a phone external battery and charger and a jacket because I always get cold quickly after a race. If you are meeting someone at the finish line, make sure you have a plan as to where you are meeting because cell service may be spotty with all the people in one small area.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

3.) Watch your footing: runDisney does a great job of lighting up the roads, there are still some dark spots early in the morning and I have seen people trip and fall on the reflectors in the middle of the road! Also, running through Animal Kingdom will be tight, and has some uneven pavement so pay extra attention running through that park.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

4.) Watch your food intake: Do not eat any news foods the day of or before the race. I know the unique foods at the Food and Wine festival are tempting, but save it for after the race and at the after party! As far as on course calories, there will be either sport beans or gels, so make sure your stomach can handle it, or bring your own fuel.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

5.) Read the official race program: Be sure you know the course, where the aid stations are, and what time to get on a bus. Be sure you get to the race in enough time to go to the bathroom and check your bag. A good reason to know the course: real bathrooms! You will be running through the parks, so I always try to take a bathroom break if needed in a “real” bathroom. There is also a map showing you the set up of the pre race area and where to go to get in your corral. If you are in corral A in particular, they close it off early and start moving them up around 5:00. I have missed my corral before and had to weave through a lot of people to get up to A because they had already moved to the starting line. Not a fun experience!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

6.) Enjoy the after party! If you registered for the half marathon, you get automatic entry into the party at EPCOT on Sunday night. It starts at 10:00, and be mindful if you get there early that they shut everything down from 9-10 to clear out the park so you won’t be able to get food or ride anything during this time. Take lots of pictures, enjoy the food booths and a park with less people in it. Congrats on a great race!

To get excited about the race, be sure to check out my past two Wine and Dine race recaps from 2011 and 2012! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

QOTD: Will you be running this weekend? Do you have any tips to add?

Looking for more info on runDisney races? be sure to check out their website for more information!

Tips for Running a runDisney Race

I have gotten a lot of questions from people about runDisney races over the years. Tips for getting the most out of the weekend, what to expect, when to go where, special things to note that are different from regular races. Well, I thought it was high time to compile all of my info into a blog post of tips for running a runDisney race to share with you all!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

Expo: Try to get to the expo the first day it is open if you are able. Merchandise can run out, especially in popular sizes, after the first day. For marathon weekend, all the Goofy merchandise was sold out by Friday afternoon, and the expo had a line to even get into the building!

tips for running a rundisney race


Waivers: A couple weeks before the race, waivers will become available online and you will be able to see what corral you are in for the half and full marathon. Feel free to print it out in advance, but there will be printers at the expo you can use if you forget. Remember, you have to PERSONALLY pick up your own bib and show a photo ID.

Characters: There are plenty of characters along the course, especially within the parks. Have your phone or camera out and ready to hand to the cast member, and give them any instructions you want to give. They aren’t all “great” at photo taking, I had to tell the to tap the screen to focus the picture after getting a few blurry ones. Bummer. There will also be professional photopass photographers on the course and at some of the character stops, so be sure your bib is visible to the camera when they are taking your photo. If you purchase Memory Maker or if you are a gold or higher annual passholder (for FL residents) you get all the photos for free! Huge perk in my opinion!

tips for running a rundisney race

Fueling: There are PLENTY of aid stations and I have never brought my own water bottle. There was water and Powerade available about every 1.5 miles. I do bring my own fuel/gel minus one for the half and two for the full (there is one clif shots or sport bean stop during the half, and two during the full). If you aren’t used to taking these products, be sure to bring your own or practice with them before the race. These are the ones I take and love. They taste like vanilla frosting!

Hotels: Be sure to stay at a host hotel on property (or at Hilton Bonnet Creek, they have half and full marathon transportation) for the least amount of stress come race morning.  Not only will you be surrounded by other runners, but it is the only way to have official race and expo transportation, which is important when you don’t have a car!

*Bonnet Creek note. While they do NOT have a bus for the 5k or 10k, I drove myself to these races and there was no traffic in the morning, and it was super easy. You could also Uber for very cheap as it’s less than a 10 min drive.

tips for running a rundisney race

Transportation: There are buses outside of the host resorts to take you to the expo and the race and back if you stay on property. Typically there are big signs out front of the resorts directing you to race transportation pick up. If you aren’t sure be sure to check with the front desk at your hotel. After the race, there are buses near the family reunion area to take you back to your resort, just look for the signs so you know which line to get into. Keep in mind the time when you decide to get on a bus. There is a LONG walk from the family reunion area to the corrals for marathon weekend (half and full) and Princess weekend (half), and it is a slow walk full of people, so allow yourself even more time than you think you would ever need. Trust me on this one!

Sweepers: You have to keep a 16:00 per mile pace or you will be swept off the course. They have busses at certain cut off points to transport those who cannot maintain pace. Keep in mind Disney doesn’t start the timer as far as SWEEPERS go until everyone crosses the start line, so you have a bit of a head start as long as you aren’t the last one to start. Try to get to the front of your corral to have more time.

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather: You can’t control the weather, neither can Disney. I have run in Disney in weather in the 20’s and in the upper 70’s. Be prepared when you pack for ALL weather situations, they can quickly change. A garbage bag is a good alternative to a poncho, and remember that if you throw off old sweatshirts, etc. Disney picks them all up and gives them to charity. runDisney has had to cancel a race before due to lightning, so just make sure you pay attention as they will make announcements for these types of situations on social media.

RELATED: I love this jacket for running!

tips for running a rundisney race

Finish line/family reunion area: After you cross the finish line and get your medal, Disney will give you water, Powerade, and a little box of snacks. Then you can take photos, get your bag at gear check pickup, and meet your family in the family reunion area. There are big signs with letters on them so plan a meeting spot to meet up with friends and family after you finish the race otherwise you may be wandering around for awhile because cell reception is horrible with so many people in one place.

Training: There are training programs on the runDisney website to help you get ready for your big race day!

Gear check: Disney gives you a big clear bag when you get your race shirt, and there is a sticker with numbers on it, you put it on the front of your bag (or they will give you a sticker race morning, depending on the race) and this makes it your gear check bag (be sure to tie a knot in the top of the bag so your stuff doesn’t fall out!) I pack my Magic Band for walking back through EPCOT to our hotel if I feel like it and am staying in the EPCOT resort area, my license and keys if driving, flip flops, a jacket, a towel, and my hotel room key if staying off property.

Corrals/proof of time: You are put into a corral based on your proof of time from a 10k race or longer. If you have no proof of time, you will be put towards the back. Be sure to put an accurate proof of time, runDisney checks them and puts you into a corral accordingly. There IS a cut off date for proof of time! The volunteers DO check corrals and have flashlights to read your bib to make sure you are going into the right ones.

tips for running a rundisney race

Bathrooms: There are plenty of port-o-potties at the start, but there will still be lines so arrive early. There are some at the family reunion area but we usually skip these and use the ones right before you get into the corrals, they usually have shorter lines. There are also potties all along the course, but we usually try to wait and use the “real” bathrooms in the parks. There are some you run right by in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, as well as in Frontierland. When running the full we have stopped at the ones at the Ticket and Transportation center as well, and you run right by some in Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

 

tips for running a rundisney race

Family fun run/5k: The 5k is typically the day before the 10k, early in the morning. It is a fun run, but you still get a shirt, bib, and medal. There are characters along the course, and it’s a fun relaxing way to get a taste for runDisney racing. The 5k typically doesn’t fill up as fast as the half marathon. No strollers allowed.

tips for running a rundisney race

Kids races: The littlest runners can take part in runDisney races too! There are kids races at the Wide World of sports (think diaper dash and kids one mile run). These typically take place Friday and Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Kids get a shirt and a medal. Emma Kate has done 2 and loves it!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectating: Have a plan! Disney has info for spectators on their website. The chEAR squad packages are nice, but not necessary to see someone at the finish. I know a lot of spectators that catch their runners at multiple points during the races, relying on Disney transportation to get them around and the monorail to the finish line.

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I also have some personal tips….

-Have FUN! runDisney races are great for running with friends and family Don’t take yourself too seriously!

-Take lots of photos! Where else do you get to run through a castle and get character photos in your running gear? Enjoy the cool things you don’t get to do at other races

-Be prepared. All right boy scouts, always be prepared for any situation. Don’t forget things like chapstick, tissues, layers to keep warm, sunscreen, and your camera.

-Wear your medal around the parks after the race, be proud! Other runners will be doing the same.

-Bring extra safety pins in case there aren’t any or enough in your bag or you lose them (guilty).

-If you are wearing a costume practice in it beforehand to make sure it doesn’t rub or chafe. I use body glide especially when wearing costumes!

-Need packing advice? Check out my “packing for a runDisney race” vlog to make sure you have everything you need!

-Check out the runDisney website and Facebook page, they are always updating them with great info and photos to get you pumped up!

-Check out my runDisney page for lots of tips and race recaps from past races!

QOTD: What are your best tips for running a runDisney race I have left off?

*This post contains affiliate links.

5 Reasons To Get Over Your Fear of Starting A Blog

A lot of people have really good things to say. They have knowledge on a topic, or many topics, and have thought about starting a blog. However, that’s as far as it goes for some. For one reason (or maybe many!) they have fears and reasons why they won’t actually take that next step and start a blog. Today I am hoping to ease your mind and get rid of some of those fears for you. Blogging has literally changed my life in so, so many ways and I absolutely love getting to share my life with you, my readers. I want you to have the same excitement and feelings I have as well if that’s something you desire, so let’s get over these fears together!

5 Reasons to get over your fear of starting a blog

Reasons to get over your fears of blogging. If you can do this, you can potentially…

1.) Make Money: Let’s call a spade a spade. A lot of folks get into blogging so they can make money and work from home. Don’t be afraid to speak out if this is your answer. ‘Aint no shame in my game, I definitely like to make money! Granted when I started blogging eight years ago it isn’t why I started…back then I didn’t even know it was possible to make money blogging, but things change and it’s definitely high on the list of motivating factors for me. I love being able to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and work with brands that I really love. It’s very satisfying to be my own boss and make my own decisions!

2.) Have a creative outlet for your thoughts and knowledge: This is kind of why I started. I wanted to start distance running, and decided to blog as a way of holding myself accountable, and a way to share my training with others, in hopes it may inspire them to do the same. Here we are eight years later. Many things have changed, but one thing remains: I love having a place to share and inspire and teach others. I have always loved to write, so this is right up my alley!

3.) Learn and grow as a person: If you asked me to tell you what I have learned about myself and about other topics in the course of the years I have been blogging, it would take me approximately 27 years to tell you all about it! When I look back at a lot of the ways I have grown as a person over the years, so many things stem from my blog and things I have learned, mistakes I have made, and people I have met. Heck, I even owe my husbands CAREER to a friend I met through blogging. It’s so fun and a little unreal to be able to trace back important life milestones, experiences, and decisions to your blog or someone you met via blogging.

4.) Meet great people: Speaking of people I met through blogging…some of my very best friends in the world I met all because of the internet. I love how it connects people from all over the world, and you can share a bond with people you have never met or don’t see that often. I have also made some amazing business contacts, met celebrities, and had mind blowing experiences all because of my blog. It’s awesome, and to think of not having them if I had never started makes me so, so sad.

5.) Have the chance to inspire and change the lives of others: This is definitely my favorite part of blogging. I have a folder in my email titles “happy emails” where I have saved emails from over the years where people have taken the time to write me and tell me that I have helped them, encouraged them, or inspired them in some way to make a change, get over a fear, or try something new. Those emails warm my heart and make me feel like I truly am making a difference in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, some days are hard or frustrating, and it’s not always happy emails, but I wouldn’t change any of it if it means I got to connect with or help someone through my written word. I hope that these reasons to get over your blogging fear have encouraged you to stop being a fence sitter! The best things in life are often the scariest, but come with the greatest reward. Who knows what your life could look like a year from now? You will never know unless you try.

Hey! guess what? Ready to take the plunge and get over your fear of starting a blog but don’t know where to start? You are in luck! I have a completely FREE 5 day email course on how to start a blog of your own. Every day for 5 days I will meet you in your inbox with tips, encouragement, and how to’s for getting your own blog up and running. You can sign up now and get going on that blog!

How to Get More Blog Readers

 

After the post I wrote about starting your own blog, I had a lot of questions along the lines of “ok, I started my blog, but how do I get readers?” Great question. Keep in mind it won’t happen overnight. The numbers I used to get excited about for a whole day on my blog are now what I get in an hour. But it took time, and lots of hard work. Here are a few simple things you can do to start building your pageviews.

7 tips and ways to get more blog readers and page views on your site

1.) Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. Pinterest is a great way to get traffic, but you have to use it effectively. That is a whole other post in and of itself, but this free WordPress plugin puts a pin it button on your picture when you hover over it (like on my blog) so readers can easily pin any photo on your post. Don’t forget to put descriptions on your photos so if they do get pinned, there is a better chance or them getting repinned!

2.) Comment on Other People’s Blogs/social media. While you are sitting around waiting for a blog or social media comment…so is everyone else. Take some initiative, and go comment with genuine comments on some blogs or social posts! I try to hit at least 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon/evening, more if time allows. Also I try to read NEW blogs and mix them in with old favorites. You will start to see people clicking over to your site from a comment you wrote on another blog!

3.) Interact with your readers. No one wants to feel like they are talking to an empty void, so try and reply to comments when you can, on your blog and on social media. People want to feel like you are a real person and that their time spend commenting wasn’t for nothing.

4.) Be active on social media. I avoided Twitter like the plague when I was first blogging because I didn’t understand it, but now it’s one of my preferred forms of social media and I get a ton of pageviews from it daily. Don’t just talk about your stuff, but engage in conversation with other people and make some friends! Also, Twitter chats are a great way to get exposure, more followers, and readers. Facebook and it’s every changing algorithm is a different animal all together, but I also try to at least like every comment left for me there. Instagram has become wildly popular, and don’t forget about stories! Interact with people on stories, answer questions, and comment. People will start to notice!

5.) Host a giveaway. This may cost you a little money, but could be worth it. You may even be able to get someone to donate a product. Put a post up on social media announcing your giveaway and have people enter, and share about the giveaway as an additional entry. That way, you get extra exposure! (I use Rafflecoptor, it’s free and so easy!)

6.) Write a guest post. A lot of bloggers will put out a call on their blog or on their Twitter or Facebook asking for guest posters. This is a great opportunity for you to be seen by new readers and get exposure on a more experienced blog. It takes a little time to write that extra post, but is definitely worth it if you are guest posting on more well known blogs! Some companies and brands will even let influencers do an Instagram takeover. This is a great way to get exposure from a new audience.

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7.) Be Yourself: People can sniff out a fake like a bloodhound. Don’t try and mimic your favorite people and blogs that you follow. Sure you can take tips from them and learn the right way to do things, but use your own voice and put your own unique spin on things. You will find your tribe and your following, just keep being consistent with these steps and don’t quit!

don’t forget, I highly recommend becoming self hosted. I use Bluehost, and WordPress is free through them, and the prices are very very reasonable. It’s also pretty user friendly. Click the image below for more info: (affiliate link)


 

QOTD: What is your best tip for getting more pageviews on your blog?

January 2018 Blog Income Report

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I get a small commission.

I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about the income I make from my blog, so I thought I would share an income report for the first time ever. Do I plan to do these every month? Probably not. However I just want to share with you what is POSSIBLE with your blog and social media, and that there are many different avenues to do it. I absolutely do NOT do this to brag, there are a lot of bloggers out there who make way, way, WAY more than me a month. I decided to do this to help people believe it’s possible, and like I said, to show there are so many different wants to monetize online.

income report

For instance, I do a *little* bit of affiliate marketing, not a ton, but I do sell a product and I also do sponsored posts and run ads. It goes to show that there is not one end all be all with blogging, and different things work for different people, and that’s ok.

Before we begin just a little back story for those that don’t know me. (hhhiiiiiii).

I started blogging eight years ago, and had no idea you could make money from it. After a couple of years I started getting pitched by brands and slowly made a little money and got a lot of free products and experiences.

Then about two or so years ago, I started taking things more seriously. I wrote an ebook, and this past year I created an online course teaching people a side hustle, how to be a freelance social media manager (from home) in 21 days or less.

I typically blog twice a week, and am very active on social media. I also have a podcast where I (tend to) create new episodes every other week. I also have been going live on Facebook lately which is a lot of fun as well.


I struggled with how to break up this income report because my job as a social media manager is in direct correlation to my blog. If it were not for my blog and the social media channels associated with it, I would not have social media clients or know how to be a social media manager. So I decided to show you both “sides”, meaning just showing you what I strictly made from my blog + social channels, and also showing you what I made from my clients, which I still feel is “blog related” if that makes sense.

So what do I owe my success to this month? Here are a couple of things I considered:

1.) Spending more time on my email list: I used to hear people talk about creating an email list years ago, and I would roll my eyes. What would I say to these people? I mean, isn’t that what my blog is for, to talk to my readers? I can’t come up with even MORE content in a week than I already do! Who cares if I have their email address on file? Then about two years ago I decided to start my list and if I could go back in time I would kick myself for not starting it YEARS sooner! Being able to speak directly to your audience is so important, especially if/when you start selling your own products or services. Now I spend a little time each week working on my list, creating lead magnets, or sending broadcasts. Sending out links to my posts and podcasts has helped boost my traffic significantly. I love Convert Kit because it is super user friendly and there are so many ways you can keep track of people, and they really helped me visualize getting people into an email sequence. They also host fun webinars and training’s all the time!

2.) Spending way more time on Pinterest and utilizing Tailwind: I have really got to start listening to people, yall. This is another one that I heard people talk about forever, but jumped on the bandwagon later in the game. Sure I liked Pinterest as much as the next guy, but I didn’t see what all the fuss was about as far as using it to get people to come to my blog, or about timing your pins or pinning a certain amount a day. Now, I totally get it, and with the help of Tailwind, Pinterest is now my NUMBER ONE traffic source to my blog. Yes, even more than Google or any other social media site. It truly is amazing! Tailwind makes my life so easy and I can get my pins scheduled in a snap at the beginning of the week.

3.) Getting in Facebook groups that are encouraging and challenging me as a blogger: Ok I admit it, I can be kind of a loner. I was the kid in school who hated group projects because I always ended up doing all the work and I would much rather do my own thing and get it done quickly. This has since translated to me relying on myself and myself alone when it comes to all things blogging and social media. Sure I do tons of reading, but I wasn’t really interacting with or learning from others until the past couple of months. I think this has helped me to up my game and stretch me a little bit!

Ok, so let’s get to it.

First I will break down strictly my blog and social media income, then I will do a separate part for my social media clients. Please note I base these numbers off of payment GIVEN, not work I have done but haven’t gotten paid for yet.

January 2018 blog and social media total: $2,616.47

Ads: $76.86

Social media posts: $285

Blog posts: $1000

affiliate income: $45.07

Online course and eBook sales: $1,209.54


Now for the money I made working as a social media consultant and manager, which is a job I have because of my blog and social media channels. (I freelance for several companies).

January social media consulting and management: $1200. <—–This number is actually about half of what it normally is. I lost two clients at the end of the year. one I knew I was losing because I was just helping for a few months while they got their restaurant open, but the other was a surprise. I was steadily making between $2k and $2,500 a month in 2017. Thankfully I have already added in a new client for February, and have a couple companies in line to hopefully start with me in March to bring that number back up.

*Also keep in mind I do social media management PART TIME. Very part time. Like 15 hours a week. If you are interested in becoming a social media manager but don’t know where to start, I highly recommend checking out my ecourse, Social Side Hustle. It will tell you exactly how and where to get clients, how to pitch them, how to handle/manage accounts, how to automate a lot of your posting, what to do about paperwork, etc. I even give some free templates to help you out!


The numbers above do NOT include expenses, and are before taxes. I had an estimated $100-$150 in fees I had to pay out for things like my email service, and Teachable, where I host my course. I pay for web hosting and tailwind as well as a couple of other things up front for a year so it’s hard to factor those things in.

Posts in January: Here are a list of the blog posts I wrote and published in the month of January.

Occidental Grand Cozumel All Inclusive

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista

How the Fabletics VIP membership Works

Sandals Ochi Beach

Universal Orlando Resort Blue Man Group

Health and Fitness on the Carnival Vista

5 Reasons to Stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Christmas Recap 2017

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

Something to keep in mind if you are wanting to grow your blog and not only make money but have fun experiences, is that a lot of the fun things and events don’t include a paycheck, especially in the travel space. For instance, in January I blogged about going to Universal Orlando, Blue Man Group, Staying at Sapphire Falls resort, and my Carnival Cruise from last year. All of these things were amazing experiences, and they were all free but I was not paid to go or blog about them. A lot of these experiences were not cheap, and afforded my family the ability to do super fun things that normally I would have to pay for, so in a way, this can be considered “income” if that makes sense.

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So in total this month, I made $3,816, before expenses, which is down for me considering my social media income was about half of what it normally is. Also keep in mind that with all of my endeavors added together, I probably work around 32ish hours a week. It is entirely possible to be a blogger or work in social media part time and make full time money.

Again, if you are curious about becoming a social media manager, you do NOT have to be a ninja to get started. My course will teach you what you need to know. As long as you have a basic grasp of the platforms, you will do just fine in the course.

Or, if you want to start your own blog but are overwhelmed at where to begin, you can sign up for my free 5 day email course which will teach you how to get started, even with picking a name.

The goal of my blog has always been to help people, motivate, encourage, and inspire, so that was my goal with this post. I am currently working on a guide for bloggers about how to work with brands so be on the lookout for that to release!

Be sure you follow me on Twitter, PinterestInstagram, and Facebook for the latest videos, photos, and news. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

2018 is upon us, as is the time we all make goals or resolutions for the new year. Let me ask you a question. How many goals do you ever actually keep? Let me make it a little easier…how many do you keep for at least a month? That number is hopefully higher, but the sad truth is that so many of us have GREAT intentions, but then fall off the wagon because we have no support or accountability, or we just plain don’t know where to start.

I want you to be successful in 2018, and actually stick with something. I realized 2 things: 1.) Changes can and need to be SMALL if we want to really make them stick, and 2.) it truly does take a village. I don’t know about you but when I’m working out with a group, I push harder than when left to my own devices. So I figure in health in general, if we are left to fend for ourselves, we may be likely to cheat, skip, and give up all together.

 

I want to put an END to excuses and an END to goals that never get met. That’s why I created the Better Body Jump Start 7 Day Email Challenge. This is a completely FREE challenge. When you sign up, you will get 7 days worth of emails in your inbox, one each day, with ACTIONABLE tips, motivation, ideas, and calls to action to get you going.

 

 

Remember, little changes add up to BIG things, so don’t discredit the small shifts you make in your schedule, habits, and life. I KNOW you can do this, and I want to help you prove to yourself that you can.

The emails may only go on for 7 days, but I CHALLENGE you to keep up the thins I discuss all the way through the month of January. At the end of January if you don’t feel stronger, healthier, more energizes, and better about yourself, then you can stop. BUT, if you do the things I talk about, then I know you will feel amazing and want to keep going!

All you have to do is click this link to sign up (make sure you confirm your subscription when it hits your inbox, and be sure to check your spam!) Please email me with any questions, I’m happy to help any way I can.

Let’s make 2018 the year you become the best version of yourself. To get you really thinking about your goals and what you want out of 2018, I decided to share with you something that I actually started a couple weeks ago but was nervous to share out loud, but I am letting go of fear and taking action in my life.

I started a podcast! It just so happens that my very first episode is all about goal setting. I encourage you to listen to it if you are on the fence about the challenge (it has nothing to do with the challenge itself) or if you are telling yourself NOT to make goals because they never happen for you. After you click the link, check out the December 18th episode. I hope you enjoy, and then will join in the email challenge.