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Fit Bride, Cherie // Hashtagging your Wedding: Yay or Nay?

Wedding Hashtagging

HECK YES! 

I'm all about this trend of creating a custom hashtag for any big event, especially a wedding day! Due to the lack of understanding behind hash tagging, many see it as a cliche trend that is more likely to spell out overdone than well done. Rather than turn up your nose to this fun (and incredibly organized) way of bringing together memories of your big day, take a moment to consider these reasons for giving in to this hip trend.

to have and holdhint, hint

Point of View

Every person sees their memories behind a different lens. I even find that the way someone holds a camera creates an image that reflects certain details of every moment. Having an array of point-of-views allows you to see the inside jokes and outside wonders of your big celebration.

Goodbye Excess Messaging

"So & so, please make sure you text me your pics!"... Before you know it you have an inbox of 200 by the end of your honeymoon and no patience to open and save each one. Why not have an album of pictures that allows you to sift through the evening's glimpses at your leisure. You know that sounds swell. :)

It's unique to the both of you!

I think there's this interesting aspect of feeling like the event is your own knowing you have a small bit of space in this big ole' tech world. This is outside of the materialistic view and more so in the view that people cared enough about yall's big moment that they paraded it for all to see. It's a day worth celebrating, why not use hash tagging to bring forth that kind of goodness?

Now that you're onboard... tips for creating your own!

With tons of options, what hashtag will reflect the two of you best and how in the world do you figure it out? After all, this hashtag will be the one tag that you will have to use for the entirety of planning and celebrating!

  • Make sure it's one you don't mind staring at and frequently typing.
  • Be sure to make sure no one else has use the same hashtag.
  • Does it have any innuendoes? Trust me - it's an issue for some
  • Is it fun and does it truly fit the both of you?
  • Consider making it something to do with your new last name. The day is about the union of the both of you not just #bridalboasting!

With that said... I introduce you with the one. the only. tag for our wedding:

weddinghashtag

We considered super interesting options, but without a doubt, this one took the cake.

Thanks to all of our incredibly creative friends who helped us out with the ideas!

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JUST JOINING US? CHERIE IS THE OFFICIAL BRIDE BLOGGER FOR FIT FOR A BRIDE; CHECK OUT HER INTRODUCTION! ALSO FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW CHERIE VIA HER BLOG, WAITING ON WILDFLOWERS OR ON INSTAGRAM!

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9 Amazing Instagram Transformations

When I first joined Instagram back in September, I had no idea it would play such a huge role in my fitness journey. But, the way this social media platform instantly connected me with clean eaters and crossfitters, and incredible transformations, has been the biggest motivation. I love meeting new people (Hi Nutty!), trying their recipes, and watching others transform their lives as I try to transform mine. Posting my own before and after pictures, workouts and clean eats is fun, too. Not to mention it's free and easy to use! If you have instagram and you're on a weight loss journey or a get-strong journey an eat-clean journey or whatever, you should be following these women.

@Estellearcher

Dawn is positive, upbeat and on a mission to change the lives of women across the nation! I love seeing glimpses of her fast-growing zumba/fitness workout classes, SWEAT and her motivational quotes. I also love that Dawn setup a seperate instagram account to share other people's transformation stories. If you need a shot of inspiration, just start following @wesweat. Like Dawn, the people, the stories, the transformations are incredible!

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@Nutty4Nutrition

You guys know I'm a huge, huge fan of Nutty!! She always posts great recipes that are easy to make and taste delicious. I also love all the funny jokes she posts, and her before and after shots are so inspiring. I love that her fitness journey has been HERS and hers alone. She advocates finding a path to healthy that works for YOU, and that there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

nutty4nutrition

@sarah_griff_fit

Sarah is a friend of mine and she is on fire for running - she just completed her first half marathon! - and PX90! She's a beachbody coach and on Instagram, she posts the most inspiring before and after photos (like the one below!). This mama was definitely born to encourage and inspire others! Rock on, sister!

sarah griff fit

@myweightlossfr

The picture tells it all! Wow! Just wow!

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@the_masonette

I totally love this girl! Just look at her before and after photo - it's not just about weight loss, look at that muscle! And doesn't she look so much younger in her "after" photo? Someone commented the before picture could easily pass as her mom! It's amazing the way weight loss makes us look younger. The Masonette is down more than 67 lbs, and has more than 100,000 followers. If you need a dose of heavy inspiration, look no further!

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@babnotonadiet

I interviewed Brooke about her incredible weight loss and ever since, I've been following her journey on Instagram. I love Brooke's balanced approach to weight loss through Weight Watchers, and not any extreme measures. She's also not afraid to try some hardcore workouts like Jillian Michaels Shredded or Insanity! She's lost more than 150 lbs!!!!! It doesn't get anymore inspiring than this.

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@jessicasmith626

I also interviewed Jessica- she's incredible! Like Brooke, Jessica takes such a balanced approach to weight loss and healthy living. Jessica is a runner and her blog is full of awesome, healthy recipes. She just doesn't give up! She's got a heart for God, which I love seeing laced through her posts; she's so inspirational.

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@niftyfoodie

Another friend of mine who has lost an incredible amount of weight - Amy is an awesome source of inspiration! She's been tracking and counting calories, running and weight lifting! I love these shots of her flexing that she posts every once in awhile to Instagram. Amy also has an incredible food blog, The Nifty Foodie, where you can read more about her weight loss journey, as well as find some awesome recipes! I really love Amy's approach because she's not looking for a quick fix! She's slowly, but surely changed her life through running and eating better - and the results are just a side effect of that. You're amazing girl! Keep up the good work!

niftyfoodie@average2athelete

I get a new favorite instagrammer every so often and the moment, I'm obsessed with @average2athelete - two girls on a mission to inspire! Below is a photo of Julia before and after beginning crossfit - she looks incredible! Both ladies, Julia & Kayte post some crazy workouts that always looks awesome and intense! I love that they're doing them in regular gyms, too! Not necessarily crossfit gyms! They look like they do these workouts on their own, too, which is something I really admire!

If you're looking for a place for workout inspiration - this is it! These girls will have you leaping from off the couch in no time! They also have a blog you have to check out!

average2athlete

Are you on instagram?

Who do you follow? Share your favorites!

Blogging as a Business Recap

Champagne, cupcakes, and blog talk? What could be better? Nothing in my book!

Which is why I enjoyed the Blogging as a Business + Monetization seminar with Meg Biram last night so much.

Blogging-Biz

It was informative, motivating, laid back, and intimiate. And, best of all? I walked away with new friends, a renewed commitment to get my "business" underway, and the know-how to take this blog to a new heights.

A few of MY major take-aways:

// Spend less time blogging and more time on the business aspect (i.e. pitching yourself to brands, working on creating products and/or services, and getting the backend of your business in order). One piece of advice from Meg - if you treat your blog more like a business (as in, getting it organized), you'll start to act and think more like a business!

// For me personally, upping my social media presence. I need to get engaged. I work so hard behind-the-scenes getting content together but I'm not really connected with my readers on any social media platforms (except maybe Instagram). Twitter, I'm learning, is very powerful (There's a great post about this today over on The Well).

// Content is king. Do something original. In Meg's words, "take it to a crazy new level." "Seperate yourself SO much." "Create your own content."

// Be your biggest PR rep! I am so shy about my blog and it's really quite ridiculous! I should be proud! I need to yell it from the rooftops... This was one of my goals for the month.

// Be very selective with financial risks. I already should have learned this lesson, but it's one I find myself continuing to learn over and over again. I need to get it through my head that business shouldn't mean spending all my money; it should mean making money! Personally, I need to be much more selective with blog/business purchases, and ensure there's a return, or simply abandon the idea/project (unless it's working with a product I truly love or I'm honored to work with, or there's the potential for more followers. However, be leary of the latter, because that isn't always the case. I really like this post on the b bar about this topic.)

// This is the Wild West so saddle up and lasso some opportunities! --> Sorry, that's kind of corny, but from what I learned, the blogging/business world is still new and there's negotiating power and leverage and room for growth. You have to put yourself out there, test the waters, and CREATE opportunities for yourself. Don't wait for them to come to you.

Also in my notes:

  • Saying no is OK.
  • In partnerships, ask yourself, how is this mutually beneficial?
  • Be a negotiator.
  • Read the fine print and hire a lawyer help decipher contracts you can't understand. Or, break them down into layman's terms and reiterate to basics back to a company for clarification.
  • Emails are better than phone calls - get it in writing.
  • What's your hourly rate at your day job? Think about applying that to the work you do. the work you offer as a blogger.
  • Look beyond blogging! What are you passionate about? What do you want to spend your time doing? What comes natural? Focus on what you enjoy.
  • It's not all about the numbers! 1,000 really engaged readers is better than 10,000 followers who aren't paying attention.
  • Sponsored content and collaborations are the future. (We're moving away from Ads.)
  • When working with brands, be innovative - offer up ideas.
  • Have a PDF "deck" of stats, audience stats, brands you've worked with, etc. Your go-to for facts about your blog and businesses.
  • Be your own biggest PR agent/advocate!
  • Before reaching out, pay attention to what a brand is doing - are they working with bloggers? In what ways? Research (or as some like to say, "stalk") them!
  • Network with other bloggers!
  • Tag and link to brands and other bloggers - see how they react.
  • Plan way in advance (as a business, with partnerships, you should be thinking months in advance).
  • Use an editoral calendar. (I blogged about mine.)

There was a lot more but I don't want to overwhelm you! I suggest checking out Meg's blog and The Well (the b-bar blog). Meg was really nice (and she's so pretty too)! It was awesome to meet her in person,

What piece of advice here strikes a cord with you?

How could you be doing better as a blogger and/or business?

Letter from the Editor: Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred & Hello Spring!

Hey you! Happy Monday!

I'm rearing to go this week! I feel great! Why? Because I had my first social-media-free weekend and it was fantastic! I experienced a little withdrawal at first, but ultimately, it felt so good to lose track of my phone and focus on the PEOPLE I was with, and the CONVERSATIONS we were having (rather than on "likes" and comments)!

I went to a wedding Saturday and at one point, I did take the classic bathroom shot (which I would have usually uploaded right away to Instagram) but instead, I just went back to party and forgot all about my phone! The break was really nice.

Have you ever considered taking breaks from social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? It's one of my goals this month, so more on this later!

Bathroom-Pic

I'm also feeling great because I'm three days into Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred!!!!

Can I just say how awesome DVD workouts are? I had no idea! I've always struggled to workout at home because I can't get into the groove or I get bored quickly, but the 20-minute circuits on Jillian's DVD make it easy! I love the sequence: 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs! 2 minutes of cardio? A total of six minutes? I can handle that!

Even (like last night) at 9 pm! We didn't get back from out of town until close to 8:30, but--with a workout that's only 20 minutes long--I figured there are no excuses. DO. IT. And I'm so glad that I did! I worked up a SERIOUS sweat and felt proud afterward. I think the toughest part will be doing it everyday, but I'm up for the challenge! Only 27 more days to go!

Have any of you done a Jillian DVD workout? Do you workout at home often?

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Of course, I didn't like giving up an hour yesterday, but I did love the spring weather I felt this weekend! It was beautiful: 70 degrees Saturday and Sunday in Williamsburg! It made me realize just how much I love this time of year. (It reminds me of our wedding [the anniversary is in less than a month!]). I have a few trips to look forward to this spring and summer, too. I might be going to Miami early May for a bachelorette party, and in June, Aaron and I are going on our first cruise!!! Woo hoo! I can't wait! These are all great reason to stick with the shred, of course, and really buckle down on my diet as well! Do upcoming trips motivate you?? They definitely motivate me!!

How was your weekend? What plans do you have for the spring?

10 Healthy Feeds to Follow on Instagram

I'm somewhat new to the world of Instagram, but I'm hooked! When I created my account, I loved that I was able to connect with all my Facebook and Twitter friends instantly, but beyond that, I've loved finding new people to follow, especially people who are all about being healthy, like me!

The following 10 Instagram users will amaze you with their healthy eats and their drive to workout and for some, lose weight. I love seeing their daily photos-- they're definitey a pickup on dreary Mondays when I'm trying to get motivated. As for the ones that focus on food, you'll be amazed at how colorful, unique and often times easy the food is to make. You'll also find the recipes right there in the caption, which is faster than scouring blogs or Pinterest for new recipes! These users will inspire you to meal prep, try one-legged squats, strike a yoga pose, eat more pancakes (the healthy kind-- yep, those exist!), and so much more.

Here are my Top 10 Healthy Feeds to Follow on Instagram (In no particular order- I love them all):

1. Nutty4Nutrition - I love this feed! I joked with a friend that it looks like this girl eats nothing but pancakes-- check out the top right photo! The trick is that most of her pancakes are "protein pancakes" made with egg whites, protein powder, and almond milk! They're "guilt free" she says but gauging by the pictures, I doubt they taste that way. Chantal also has a blog and guess what? She's engaged! Maybe I can get her to guest post one day :) Fingers crossed!

Health-People-to-follow-on-IG
Health-People-to-follow-on-IG

2. Natmoser - This photographer is also a yogi and she's been doing a #yoga2013 challenge through January. In the words of one of her other followers, the photos are "so rad!" Totally agree! And um... I so wish I could stand on my head like that! I'm not sure if the #yoga2013 challenge ends this month, but I sure hope not!

Yoga on Instagram
Yoga on Instagram

3. Fitmencook - They say abs are made in the kitchen, but what they don't tell you, is that the food in that kitchen is damn good looking! Check out Fitmencook to see what I mean. The pictures are striking and colorful, and there are recipes galore! Is it wrong to want hubby to follow this guy, too? Maybe it will inspire him to get creative in the kitchen!

Health-People-to-follow-on-IG
Health-People-to-follow-on-IG

4. Dieffs - I found Dieffs through Nutty4Nutrition. Her food looks FANTASTIC and she runs a lot of cool contests to engage followers and get them cooking and eating clean. Next month she's doing a big challenge with FitMenCook called #30Days, where followers commit to eating clean for the entire month and snap photos of their healthy food, tag it, and possibly get picked to have their photo shared! I plan to participate!

Health-People-to-follow-on-IG
Health-People-to-follow-on-IG

5. Mealprepmondays - This is probably my FAVORITE Instagram feed. I found most of the others THROUGH this one. Here's how it works-- meal prep, snap a photo, tag Mealprepmondays, and they'll share your photo and username on their feed! Pretty cool, huh? Not only that, but don't these photos make you want to meal prep?? It looks so easy, and yummy too!!! I'm planning to do a series on meal prepping next month and I think as part of that, we should all snap photos like this! What'd you say??

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.30.04 PM
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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.36.01 PM

6. Fabbylousness - I found this girl through MealPrepMondays and omgineverknewhealthylookedsogood!!! I'm dying to try these "banana strawberry coconut milk popsicles"  (top left)! Don't they look great?? She also has the most delicious, clean-looking lunches and uses a really cool lunchbox from Wal-Mart that has dividers. You've got to check it out!! Did I mentioned she posts the how-to and the calories with each photo? You're going to love this one!

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.07.41 PM

7. 200poundsgone - Seriously, this girl inspires me to no end. Every day she shares a motivational quote or something along those lines and it really makes me stop and think! She's down 215 POUNDS you guys!! Seriously, it's BEYOND amazing. If you think you have a long way to go... yea, think again!

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.08.19 PM

I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this "before" picture, but it's so telling! I'm VERY inspired by your story DeeDee and wish you the best of luck on your journey! You are INCREDIBLE!!!!

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.44.15 PM

8. Camille4Wildcat - I'm not sure how I found this girl but I'm pretty sure she's a beast in the gym. I love seeing insane workout moves (like the center photo) cause it gets me pumped about being healthy and being in the gym! Also, take a closer look at the top left photo-- she's standing on a kettle bell. With one leg. Holding that heave weight. Wow. Incredible! I love this sorta thing!

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.09.23 PM

9. Simplegreensmoothies - Wanna jump on the juicing/smoothie train? Here's you place to start! There's recipes and fun facts and little contests to get you started. I love the photos-- it's hard to believe they all are from an iPhone! (How cute is the bottom left pic?) And again, has healthy food ever looked so good?

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.10.09 PM

 10. Jillianne13 - More delicious clean eats - lots! - and workout inspiration... AND, a whole lotta love for God. I'll take it! (Check out her 'about.' <3)

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Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 11.11.19 PM

What are some of your favorite people to follow on Instagram? Share them in the comments! I'm always looking for more! Have you ever considered following people you don't know, or people who will inspire you to live healthier?