1,853

SeaWorld Adventure Con, June 26-28

Ever since I saw the movie Free Willy, I’ve been infatuated with sea life. I still remember watching the flick for the first time with my sister and cousin. I remember my cousin crying tears of joy at the end of the movie when Willy is finally freed. I couldn’t help but laugh, because that’s just what I did. My biggest laugh came when a teenager/friend “kidnaps” the ten-thousand-pound killer whale and gets stuck in the mud. Because…what are the odds of that happening?

But in all seriousness, I really do find the bond between man and animal fascinating. The level of trust each must give is unmatched. A lot has changed since I visited SeaWorld as a child. A lot has to do with the controversy from the documentary Blackfish. SeaWorld insists it’s propaganda and have gone through great lengths to defend their honor. I encourage you to do your own research on the truth about Blackfish before forming an opinion.

My love for the sea creatures and the thrill of the roller coaster rides has enticed my visit for the SeaWorld Adventure Con, June 26-28. Check out the amazing speakers scheduled to make an appearance.

20999_10205046725393178_7744629250601438796_n 1524767_10205061283437120_5361143988069636795_n 11014842_10205014073096891_4280777902057533918_n 10372775_10205021207395244_6337782754060362760_n 10290708_10205022099217539_2115464224877806609_n 10153913_10205042858816516_7846566779384441366_n 1939762_10205035528593265_2150666778008525795_n

2,827

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

39

what a wonderful weekend!


i would like to begin this blog by telling you that i am 7 days fast-food free!! i didn’t say i’ve been eating healthy, but i have not had a bite of fast food in 7 whole days! that’s a huge accomplishment for me! only 23 more days to go! actually, i’m hoping to break the habit!

[friday] i had an early airrosti appointment and decided to take the rest of the day off. the session went well, but still was not able to run on saturday 🙁 i was very productive for a day off. i cooked and cleaned, went grocery shopping, did laundry, did the dishes twice! and if you know me, you know that i HATE dishes! i also spent the day packing my lunch for the week, slicing fruit and putting into containers. i bought these awesome containers (pictured above) at walmart 3/$1.50!! i bought several! i packed turkey, pepper jack cheese & spinach sandwiches, carrots & a small spinach salad in each. i also packed some spinach, grilled chicken w/parmesan cheese in others. a yummy treat!

[saturday] i intended to run 12 miles, but my shins had a mind of their own. they still hurt and i ended up walking only 10. another participant on the team, alyson, had the same problem w/her shins so we walked together- i sure hope we heal soon! after practice i made a mad dash home to shower and change and met mom at the movies. we saw EAT, PRAY, LOVE! such a great movie! i read the book and absolutely loved it! as always the book is way better, but i must say i was impressed by the movie! julia roberts did a great job…and i’m not saying that because she’s my favorite actress either! i left the movies and headed to meet the boyfriend to go shopping for his one-year-old neice and then to her birthday party! birthday parties are more fun when you have kids…we have no intention of having kids, but i should have brought my god-daughter! too bad the kid had prior engagements! 🙂

[sunday] my boyfriend and i spent the day at seaworld. apparently everyone else in san antonio had the same idea! needless to say, we did not stay very long. however, we did have a lot of fun feeding the dolphins! precious, isn’t she?

Photobucket

[monday] the annual labor day whine run! and i did whine a lot! my shins hurt sooo much and i think i will be staying off it for awhile. it’s only when you’re hurt that you notice the other hurt people on the course looking like idiots determined to finish at any expense! here is lila, me & kelley before the race:

Photobucket

and us w/a few fellow TNTers enjoying some wine afterwards! sangria to be exact!
Photobucket

then we spent the rest of the afternoon bbq’ing at kelley’s house. we ate and drank and ate a lot more! a perfect way to end the wonderful weekend!

37

oh, what a summer!

wow! it’s been almost 2 months since my last post; life hasn’t gotten busy! it would take forever to update you, so i will just touch on the highlights! 🙂

summer started off w/a bang! our team went tubing and had a blast!
Photobucket
not only do we work hard, we play hard too!

went on my first trip to NY w/my boyfriend and his old roommate. we had an amazing time! trip began w/lunch at figaro’s; pizza and, of course, beer! the pizza was absolutely delicious! did a little shopping and exploring around times square. next morning a saturday run! that’s right, running while on vacation! (i’m the mexican in the pink skirt)

Photobucket
i intended to run 10 miles (because that’s what my team back home was doing), but i chickened out at 7 miles. didn’t want to exhaust myself, of course! 😉 running w/TNT’s NY chapter was amazing! ran w/some really sweet girls who called me “texas” and they laughted at me when i said “y’all.” they were all great, supportive, welcoming–expected nothing less from fellow TNT’ers!

went to madame tussads & went up the empire state building- the view was breathtaking! we enjoyed the view of the city at night there and the next at top of the rock during the day, both were amazing but i enjoyed the view during the day better. we visited the statue of liberty, ground zero & got to experience a yankee game! it was awesome, the fans are crazy! one yankee fan threw a beer over a redsox fan– i don’t condone any of it, but it made really good entertainment! we did a lot of tours the next day including the nbc studio tour and radio city hall. we went in st patrick’s cathedral-absolutely amazing! we went out and met some “friends” from jersey! they were really sweet and fun! we danced and drank the night away, definitely a night to remember! our last day was spent at the museum of natural history- i really wish we were able to visit more museums, but they were so huge you really need a whole day to visit! i felt like the days were going so fast and we didn’t have time for anything! oh and we also visited central park our last day and got a tour on a pedi-cab. it was a delight! i can’t wait for our next visit there!

Photobucket
my first day back, even though i was still on vacation, that did not mean i was able to sleep in! finally went to see an airrosti doctor for my shin splints that had been hurting me a couple weeks before my trip. it was EXTREMELY painful, but after my last treatment (this past friday) i feel GREAT! that afternoon was spent w/my family, TNT family that is! recommitment dinner! this is where all the participants recommit to finish the training and fundraising for the nike and san antonio marathons! pictured below are: lisa, our honored hero & my reason joining TNT; amy & debbie, my running buddies and fabulous duo; and to my right is carla, my newest running buddy- we actually run the same pace!

Photobucket
and the next day, a fundraiser to support the leukemia & lymphoma society, a bachelorette auction! pictured below are more fellow teamates: kelley, my running buddy (when i can keep up w/her); lisa, a tnt participant and bachelorette; victor, tnt alumni who bought the lovely lisa! oh and that’s me on the left 🙂

Photobucket
always a great night w/TNT! as of right now we are up to 14 miles! (i’m at 12 miles because NY set me back, but i’ll be fine) and i’m back to blogging because i feel this is the only way to hold me accountable! so with that…

saturday: 12 miles
monday: 30 crossramp/1 hour yoga
tonight: 1 hour of plyometrics!

and through it all i managed to maintain my weight of 138. let’s see how many lbs i can lose ’til the end of september!

42

marathoner turns derby girl?


yesterday i did something i never thought i’d do…i tried out for the roller derby team! a couple years ago, i convinced my very good friend jennie to run a marathon with me and now she convinced made me try out with her.

the last time i skated was probably when i was 12 years old, about the same for her. who knows what we were thinking when we decided to do this because our skills were probably about as good as a 12 year old or worse! we got to the rink an hour earlier to practice a bit. i think we held on to the rail our first time around! it was so hard. not like i remembered! i could not even turn nor stop. it was horrible. i was determined to get better because i was an excellent skater back in the day, or so i’d like to think.

after several more circles around the rink we got a little better. and by that i mean we were no longer losing balance and crashing into the walls. oh yes, i crashed into the wall a few times. once i went right into it trying to stop, i hurt me knee really bad. i sat out for a few minutes but went right back out there.

we then met the girls on the team. they made us feel very welcomed. told us what to expect in the assessment they would be giving us. everyone was super friendly. they put is in line, jennie being first and me second. they made us do a number of things like skating in a scissor position, t-stops, cross t ( i think that’s what they called it) skating w/one leg, hopping, etc. things we’ve never tried much less were ready for. we tried as best as we could but in the end we didn’t make the team. it was a great experience. had a lot of fun in the process and met some pretty awesome chicks.

i had so much fun i think i will be practicing all month in order to try out next time–on my own free will of course! jennie was happy to hear that. of course we haven’t done any of the pushing and shoving yet and i am almost positive that is where i will want out! will keep you posted!

3,756

oh happy day!

good tuesday morning! hope everyone had a great 4th of july weekend! mine was fantastic! my boyfriend and i went to houston for a little getaway. its actually in richmond, just outside of houston, his parents own a little country home- just perfect for us! very peaceful and relaxing.

Photobucket

we rented movies. ate out a lot! i did run 4 miles w/our team on sat morning and another 2 miles on sunday. he and i were watching triathlon, the ultra marathon in hawaii 2009. it was so inspiring. people w/disabilities finishing the impossible, i was so amazed. it also inspired my boyfriend to challenge me to a 2 mile run, he is not a runner nor does he participate in ANY physical activity whatsoever. i took on the challenge and he did great on the first mile, he was leading and i caught up to him because he began to walk. i told him endurance is EVERYTHING! i ran a little more in front of him as to show off, then came back for him as i knew he was in pain– we shook hands and called it even, but we both who the real winner was.

we went to dinner afterwords at a local restaurant, swampys. pretty neat restaurant, so-so food. we went to buy fireworks afterwords. popped them, just him and i. drank a couple bottles of wine and ate junk food. it was awesome!

Photobucket

next morning, more junk food! we can never take a houston trip w/out visiting james coney island! they have the best chili dogs! mmm, mmm, good!

Photobucket

our mini-vacay was complete. went driving around, had coffee, some more lounging around. just perfect! if it’s possible to fall in love all over again, i think i just did! ♥