2,675

Thrive Blog Conference Can Be Summed Up In 8 Inspiration Quotes

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…the allegory of the long spoons, by Rabbi Haim of Romshishok. It’s a parable that shows the difference between heaven and hell by means of people who are forced to eat with long spoons. In hell, the people are unable to lift food to their own mouths with the use of the long flatware and are left starving. In heaven, the people feed one another across the table and are wholeheartedly fed. The story encourages people to be kind to each other, to help one another succeed, to thrive

On February 28th, nearly 100 of the most inspiring women gathered for the inaugural Thrive conference hosted by Houstonians, Whitney and Bree. I may be speaking prematurely as sequential conferences have not been announced; however, I can safely assume from all the positive feedback trending in social media, we can expect more from these amazing women. Whitney and Bree successfully brought a panel of knowledgeable women and aspiring bloggers together for one purpose— to create a place where bloggers could come and be inspired, motivated, and learn how to make their blog Thrive! Mission accomplished.

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Whitney and Bree embrace with a warm hug.

I arrived at approximately 8:30am into the Hyatt Place banquet room that was transformed into a shabby, chic, creative sphere by Laurie and Jessica, the voice behind Ruthie and Rose. I was first made aware about the conference from Laurie, a San Antonio transplant. I had been following their blog for quite some time and contemplating the creation of my own blog. Instinctively, this conference ignited a fire! I’m so glad I decided to attend because I learned so much in those eight hours. Heck, I learned so much in the first five minutes of finding my seat. No really, as soon as I sat down, a speaker (unbeknownst to me) came to talk to my table (only two of us at the time).

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015. Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015. Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Kristyn Merkley, came to introduce herself to me and Wendy (my new bloggie friend I met at the conference). Kristyn made us feel like we had known her for years as we asked question, after question about blogging. She happily answered with thoughtful and experienced answers. Just a preview of what was next to come.

1. “There is room for everyone in this world to be successful.” -Ashley Lemieux, The Shine Project    

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

As a philanthropist myself, I was beyond impressed with Ashley’s words of wisdom. She challenged us to find purpose within ourselves, to never lose sight of what we want, and what to do when we’ve fallen to the bottom (because we will fail, what matters is what we do when we’re at the bottom that defines us). From her website, “The Shine Scholarship Project is a non-profit that was created by TSP to put our beliefs in action. Its mission is to improve the lives of at-risk teens through service, education, and family involvement. We do service projects with inner city students every other week to teach them the leadership skills that are necessary for them to succeed. The money we raise goes to sending these leaders to college, so they can give back to society. You can read more about how to get involved HERE.

2. “Invest in yourself.” -Audra Kurtz, The Kurtz Corner

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Imagine what you could do in the world if you just invested in yourself. Audra invested in herself; after 4 years in retail, she quit her job, became a work-at-home-mom, and Youtube sensation! Her top video has over 3.5 million views! She showed us the “milk and the meat” of it all, and most importantly how to monetize our blogs using Youtube!

3. “You are building something from the ground up, that’s something to be super proud of.” -Caroline Harper Knapp, House of Harper 

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

As a new blogger, it was great to hear how Caroline built her brand—the mistakes she made and the lessons she learned along the way. Had I heard her speak before purchasing a domain, I would have thought twice before doing it. I’ll be able to work around it, but you can bet I’ll be taking some of her advice in creating something that I’ll be super proud of.

4. “Don’t be something you’re not. Be relatable and authentic- people will be drawn to you.” -Ashley Lastovica, Fancy Ashley

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Jenny sat next to me at our table. She flew in from Oklahoma to see her friend “Fancy Ashley” speak. I overheard someone ask, “you know Fancy Ashley?” I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear her speak (and to see what she looked liked). In a colorful Trina Turk millan skirt and chambray top paired with nude heels, Fancy Ashley took the stage with beauty and grace— a relatable, authentic woman I was instantly drawn to. She gave us a peek into her life, while cautioned us on what to say to keep readers coming back, and what not to say to maintain our family’s’ privacy.

5. “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessfulpeople are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?” Meg Owen, Meg On the Go; Megan Silianoff, Greetings from Texas; Sarah Skaggs, Pretty Providence

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.  Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.  Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

The trio gave a first-hand experience on working with a brand from both, consumer and brand prospective. They gave us a number or resources on how to monetize, told us which brands we should reach out to (and stay away from), and how to get the most bang for our blog. The ladies of the panel took questions from attendees and answered questions on media-kits to informing us how to get product for free.

6. “Grow. Thrive. Bloom.” -Kristyn Merkley, Lil’ Luna 

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

I fancy myself an organized person; I make to-do lists and create excel sheets daily—I’m a mere amateur when compared to the green-thumbed Kristyn Merkley. She blogs on recipes, DIY projects, home décor and more, she’s even been featured in Parenting Magazine and Better Homes and Garden. Kristyn currently partners with eight brands, it’s no wonder she needs all those spreadsheets! I’m so grateful she showed us how to get the most out Google drive and showed us how to create an efficient editorial and social media calendar.

7. “What? You’ve never used a tampon for steam in your food photography?” -Rachel Matthews, A Southern Fairytale 

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Rachel is the epitome of a Southern Fairytale! She instantly warms your heart with her sheer presence. Her spirit brightens a room, her smile is inviting, and her words gave me chills. She leaves you hanging on her every word, so much so, when her presentation is over and done, I found myself chatting with the leading lady herself. I felt like a groupie who snuck behind the stage at a Dixie Chicks concert (even more excited when she replied to my tweets and comments on Insta)! She led the food photography session—two of my favorite things. I was able to use the skills she taught us and improve my food photography photos in a matter of minutes.

8. “It’s not about your pictures, it’s about the story you have to tell.” -Meg Cady Scholz, Everyday Meg

Thrive Blog Conference at Hyatt Place on February 28, 2015.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this session, it was the only split session where attendees had to chose between fashion and food (pure torture!). From what I hear, it was a great session. From the spectacular photos of the event, I hope someone took good notes.

These ladies have inspired me in so many ways. A heaven on earth, if you will. Follow my blog, as I will dissect each session and delve a little deeper in the days to come. Also, coming soon, If I could teach the ladies at Thrive one thing, it would be ________. Stay tuned!

Photo credit: Meg Cady Scholz

2,108

100 Hour Fundraising Challenge Winner

Because I LOVE a challenge, I challenged my TNT teammates to a 100 Hour Fundraising Challenge! They were to challenge each other (to challenge their friends) to see who could raise the most funds in 100 hours and they surpassed all my expectations! I am so proud to announce that in 100 short hours we all raised $4472.94 in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! What an amazing group of people I had the opportunity to lead. We are all winners, but as in every challenge a winner must be named, here are the results of the money we raised in 100 hours:

1st place Melissa Buentello $878.44
2nd place Laurile Higgins $855
3rd place Stacie Sanderson $475
4th place Joshua Hodgkins $455
5th place Celeste Lushkins $380
6th place Victor Chevalier $285
7th place Heather Miller $175
8th place Debi Cone $144
9th place Beth Loftis $120
10th place Allyson Maldonado $111.50
11th place Tracy Higgins $25
12th place Courtney Franson $10

Melissa will be receiving a check for $100 made payable to LLS.

These are amazing totals and we certainly could not have done this without the help of our AMAZING friends! Thank you all so much for contributing to this successful event! We hope you will join us next time! 🙂

And, in case any one is wondering, I was able to raise $559! If you were unable to make a donation, don’t worry- I am still accepting! Make an online donation here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/nikesf11/gmontalvo13I truly hope you will donate today, either in honor of someone fighting cancer, in memory of someone who has been lost to cancer, or in appreciation of yourself or others you love not affected by cancer. Until there is a cure, there is no guarantee that our lives will go untouched by cancer.

For the Cure,
Grace Montalvo

1,996

winner, winner, winner

i want to thank you all for participating in my fundraiser benefiting the leukemia and lymphoma society; together we raised $310! thanks so much to my sponsors:

Bondi Band

Lift your Sole

Laura Elaine Designs

Allied Medal Displays

this could not have been possible without your support! and now, drum roll please…..

TMB Endurance Band (green)- Allyson Maldonado
(black/pink)- Katye of Long Legs on the Loose

Bondi Band (pink ‘put your big girl panties…’)- Rose of Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri
(black & purple TNT)- Katye of Long Legs on the Loose (yes, again!)
(blue flowered pattern)- Katye of Long Legs on the Loose (i swear i shook them real well)

TNT Necklace- Katye of Long Legs on the Loose (she is one lucky girl!)

Race Bib Book- Kelley Callanen

Allied Medal Display (1)- Allyson Maldonado
(2) Julie Arts of Adventure is out There

$100 Flemings Gift Card- Anna Rando

i wish i had prizes for you all as i am so grateful for your donations! congratulations to the lucky winners! please send me the address you would like me to send your prizes to. i will be emailing you shortly as well.

thanks again for joining the fight against blood cancers!

3,414

time is running out!

it’s friday! boy, i really hate when people state the obvious but i could not help myself- i am so excited it’s finally friday! do you know what this means? it means you have 4 days left to enter my drawing benefiting the leukemia & lymphoma society! if you don’t know what’s being raffled off, let me share with you once again:

2 TMB Endurance Bands courtesy of TMB.

Photobucket

3 Bondi Band Headbands courtesy of Bondi Band .

Photobucket

TNT Earth Angel Necklace
courtesy of Lift your Sole .

Photobucket

Race Bib Book courtesy of Laura Elaine Designs .

Photobucket

(2)Your choice of any Allied Medal Displays courtesy of Allied Medal Displays.

Photobucket

A $100 Gift Card to Flemings They are Nationwide, check out the locations here. .

Photobucket

ENTER HERE

thanks to those who have already donated! hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
i will be running my first half marathon of the year! see ya real soon!

3,391

time flies when you’re having fun

wow, where did the week go? i can’t believe tomorrow is friday! great week so far! school is going good, i have to admit i can spend some more time practicing- but that will be next week! my first ACTS meeting was amazing, met some wonderful faith-filled women that i will be meeting once a month for the next 13 weeks. our TNT spring season is underway, all our info meetings are coming to a close and we have kickoff this weekend, woohoo! and sunday, i will be running my first half marathon for the year! yay, me! this is truly going to be a great year!

don’t forget just a few days left to enter MY DRAWING!

fabulous items have been donated to include 2 allied medal displays, a race bib book, TNT necklace, $100 gift certificate to flemings, bondi bands & endurance bands! enter today!

3,466

wanna win an allied running medal hanger??


do you need somewhere to hang your precious medals?

be sure to enter my drawing where i am raffling off 2 hangers! thank you so much to allied for donating these gorgeous items!
ENTER HERE

in other news, i have not worked out in 5 days! yes, this is day 5 of not working out for me! 🙁 i am still very sick and what hurts the most is not being able to run or cross train! i have a half marathon in 11 days, this bug really needs to fly away! i hate to be so negative but i can’t think of one positive thing about being sick…oh wait, i have no appetite and may lose a pound or two? that’s always a plus, right? well, if you can think of any thing else, please let me know because it’s no fun being in my position and i really need to be cheered up!

2,670

A drawing benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

As most of you know, I am entering my 7th season with Team in Training. We train to run marathons while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This season I am raising money to run the Zooma Austin Half Marathon on April 16th (my birthday weekend)and my goal is to raise $2000! Won’t you please enter my drawing to help fight against blood cancers?

Here’s how it works, make a donation to my TNT website HERE.

3 Entries for $5.00
5 Entries for $10.00
(this is mandatory to be elgible for the following extra entries)

EXTRA ENTRIES

1. Become a follower of my blog or already be one. Leave a comment.
2. Put a link to this giveaway on your blog and/or facebook page. Leave a comment.
3. Have a blog post specifically mentioning this giveaway. Leave a comment.

2 TMB Endurance Bands courtesy of TMB.

Photobucket

3 Bondi Band Headbands courtesy of Bondi Band .

Photobucket

TNT Earth Angel Necklace
courtesy of Lift your Sole .

Photobucket

Race Bib Book courtesy of Laura Elaine Designs .

Photobucket

(2)Your choice of any Allied Medal Displays courtesy of Allied Medal Displays.

Photobucket

A $100 Gift Card to Flemings They are Nationwide, check out the locations here. .

Photobucket

Drawing will close on January 31st at 8:00pm (central time) and winners will be announced February 1. Prizes will be drawn in order. Help me spread the word, and raise tons of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!!

Thank you so much to our wonderful sponsors for donating these fabulous prizes! Also, many thanks to Rose and Ronda for entering the sneak preview, each get 1 additional entry!

(we’ll return to our regular scheduled blog tomorrow) 🙂

29

weekend recap/SNEAK PREVIEW GIVEAWAY

weekends are always fun, but this one i particulary was looking forward to because it was the first friday of the month which means, PUB RUN! different running groups get together and take a 3 mile run to 4 different bars in downtown san antonio. our group really goes all out, this time our theme was ‘super heroes’ (made up ones anyway)

PhotobucketPhotobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucket

day 7 of 100: 3 mile run
day 8 of 100: 8 mile run! yeah go me!
day 9 of 100: 30 minute swim
day 10 of 100: 30 minute crossramp

thank you letter no. 7 & 8: i recieved the spurs tickets and flemings giftcard that i previously won, so obviously, the thank you letters went out to them!
thank you letter no. 9: i wrote it to one of my very good friends, kelley! yesterday was 30 degrees out, i stayed late after work and was very tired and did not want to go to they gym, she was a great motivator! and she’s always a great friend!
————————————————————————–
SNEAK PREVIEW BLOG GIVEAWAY

yes! you are the lucky few who will get first dibs on these awesome giveaways/raffle. as most of you know, i am entering my 7th season with Team in Training. We train to run marathons while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This season I am raising money to run the Zooma Austin Half Marathon on April 16th (my birthday weekend)and my goal is to raise $2000!

here’s how it works, make a donation to my TNT website HERE. since this is a sneak preview, YOU chose the amount you donate! a set requirement will be made once all the prizes are announced next monday. after making a donation, leave a comment here and you are in!(this is mandatory to be elgible for the following extra entries)

EXTRA ENTRIES

1. Become a follower of my blog or already be one. Leave a comment.
2. Put a link to this giveaway on your blog. Leave a comment.
3. Have a blog post specifically mentioning/advertising this giveaway. Leave a comment.

3 Bondi Band Headbands courtesy of Bondi Band .

Photobucket

Race Bib Book (similar to the ones pictured)
courtesy of Laura Elaine Designs .

Photobucket

TNT Earth Angel Necklace
(circle charm stamped with the words “TNT Earth Angel,” a wing charm, and a purple crystal (similar to the ones pictured)
courtesy of Lift your Sole .

Photobucket

A $100 Gift Card to Flemings They are Nationwide, check out the locations here. .

Photobucket

You have until January 30th(midnight central time) to donate/enter and I’ll announce the winners and their prizes on the 31st. Prizes will be drawn in order. I hope you’ll enter, help me spread the word, and help me raise tons of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!! 🙂