Trust me: I am not one to start talking about Christmas the week after Halloween. I firmly believe in taking it one holiday at a time. Christmas, real Christmas celebrations should not start until the day after Thanksgiving.
But Blogger Christmas? Well, that happened last Wednesday.
Last week I was stoked beyond all stoke to attend Shape Magazine's West Coast Blogger Meet & Tweet event in Santa Monica. Fitness Magazine had hosted what was essentially the same event back in 2013 and it was AMAZING. Panels with celebrity speakers and bloggers covered everything from exercise to diet to beauty to branding. And then.... there was the swag.
It was definitely the best blog-related event I've had the honor of attending. So when Shape took it over this year and invited me back, I couldn't RSVP fast enough.
Besides... what kind of
So I took off work, threw on some yoga pants and jumped on the highway for three whole hours of Wednesday morning rush hour traffic to LA.
Upon check-in at the gorgeous Annenberg Community Beach House, I was immediately gifted a pair of Ahnu sneakers and a selfie stick. If scoring $150 worth of swag within the first 10 minutes of an event isn't an indication that Blogger Christmas has officially begun, I don't know what is.
But like last time, I'll save the swag recap for a separate post. This is Motivation Monday after all and nothing is as motivating as some of the speakers I had the great opportunity of listening to last week. Starting with the drop dead gorgeous Jen Widerstrom, a fitness model and coach on The Biggest Loser, who kicked off the day with a panel on "Finding Your Motivational Formula."
No joke, Jen is mesmerizing to look at. I've never watched The Biggest Loser, but watching Jen talk about fitness and life and motivation on stage, I can see why the show has such a following.
Jen focused on how to get and stay motivated to lead a healthy, fit lifestyle. She cracked up the audience talking about the dangers of "fuck it!"-mode where you are more likely than ever to say "fuck it!" and skip your workout in favor of happy hour or more sleep.
That's never happened to you? Well good news: I am a "fuck it!" expert. My fitness activity recap at the bottom of this post is a crystal clear testament to that.
Jen's take? Basically, don't do it. Don't say fuck it! Because when you do, you're really just screwing Future You over. Jen says she stays motivated by remembering that she wants to be able to participate in her life. She doesn't want to be unable to do something because of her health.
That really hit home for me. Because if you had asked me years ago, that was more or less the answer I gave too. But somewhere in the last couple of years "life" really revolved around my day job and the only physical skills I need to participate in that is the ability to pick up a phone and type while I sit on my ass for 9 or 10 hours a day. I feel like when you don't have many physically engaging activities or work to participate in, you can lose a lot of motivation. And that's definitely been the case with me.
I disgress. Jen's panel reminded me that I need to keep planning extracurricular activities (travel, races, hikes, etc.) to participate in my life more. And for that I am grateful.
Oh and her "formula"? "Measurable goal + power of your word + a sprinkle of trust = success."
The next panel was on Skin Smarts and pitted dermatologist Kathy Rodan against estheticians Sonya Dakar and her daughter Mimi. Kathy is the co-creator of Proactiv and Rodan+Fields and is one of Forbes magazine's Top 50 Self-Made Women. So, like really... really legit.
Also, she is 60 going on 30.
I don't know about you but I'll take skin advice from a doctor who looks 30 years her junior any day. I really loved Kathy's insights, everything from the obvious (protect your skin from the sun! But not just with sunscreen... Rodan stresses the importance of clothing and hats too) to the not so obvious (sleeping on your face creates wrinkles), from the validating (foundation makeup is bad for your skin... I knew it!) to the bizarre (have you ever heard of needle rolling?). I know that I want my skin to look like hers in 30 years, so she really inspired me to step up my skin care routine, hopefully with natural products and methods.
Meanwhile, Sonya was a bit more feisty... the kind of esthetician who loves to tell you what you're doing wrong. But also: how you can fix it. As a former east coaster, I loved this, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. It does happen to be her famous clients' (which includes Drew Barrymore and Gwen Paltrow) cup of tea, which definitely says a lot. Sonya's big focus is facials and she claims everyone needs one once a month. As for her daughter, Mimi was very much into oils, especially night-time treatments.
Unfortunately? These are two things that could not be any farther off my radar. Should they be? How many real people get facials every month? Don't oils ruin your sheets? Bueller? Anyone?
The last panel before lunch was a blogger panel that focused on escalating your brand. Two years ago, Fitness mag put together a similar panel that was incredibly inspiring and useful for me. It featured Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat and Casey Ho from Blogilates, among others. That panel was hilarious, super motivating, honest and incredibly eye-opening.
This one, however, struggled a bit. These panelists were all pro-exposure posts, i.e. writing for free or for product just to get exposure with a brand or publications. There was an uncomfortable buzz around the room when they shared that opinion, mainly since most of the women in the room rely on their blogs for their main source of income. Also, it happened to be the complete opposite of the message during 2013's panel.
The panelists did acknowledge some of the tried and true notions: content is king, be vulnerable with and engage your audience, and stay honest to who you are. Which are all great reminders for anyone with an audience.
After lunch everyone was excited for the last panel of the day, a chat with Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up.
I started following the Tone It Up duo back in 2012 and fell instantly in love with their personalities, approach to fitness and health and California Girl style. Their enormous community of TIU girls is evidence of how many chicas out there want to be their best friend.
I have no shame in admitting I am one of them.
But famous, gorgeous, successful people sometimes have a way of letting you down. They're awkward, snobby or even condescending in person, they aren't approachable, or they just plain suck. So when I knew I was going to meet two of my favorite bloggers and fitness gurus, I have to admit I was a little nervous that they wouldn't be who I thought they were.
I could literally not have been more wrong.
What you see is what you get and now I understand how these two built a fitness empire: they genuinely care about and want to empower and connect women. They are gorgeous inside and out, bright, hilarious and just so open. After an incredibly enjoyable panel where the two talked about how they met, how they built their community, and what's up next, I walked away more motivated than ever to reengage with my blog, my fitness mission and the #TIUTeam.
But before I do? I have to get this embarrassingly, but painfully honest fitness report out of the way. And I just have to remember that every week is a new week to get it right...
10/5/15-10/11/15 Fitness Log:
- ran 0 days
10/12/15-10/18/15 Fitness Log:
- ran 0 days
- 20 minute oneOeight Sunrise Vinyasa class x 4
10/19/15-10/25/15 Fitness Log:
- ran 0 days
10/26/15-11/1/15 Fitness Log:
- ran 0 days
- October Total Mileage: 2 miles