Why I Hate Blogging

Maybe hate is an excessive term, but I think a lot of bloggers can relate!

I have been blogging for over 4 years, it started as a hobby, at some point I started making a small amount of money and receiving products in exchange for reviews. I liked it, I felt like I gave real reviews, I shared when I wasn’t 100% happy with a race, product, or company, but I also shared when a company had an outstanding product, race, or customer service. As I got more involved with that part of the blogging world it seemed to be a lot to try to keep up with the blogging world, especially the fitness and healthy living blogs. I started taking less on, I basically stopped blogging regularly after my miscarriage, and really started taking inventory on the products I LOVE.

I find that a lot of bloggers, big or small, don’t have any company loyalty, they will blog for this apparel company one month and a month or two later rave about how another company has the best apparel…how am I supposed to believe either review. I’ve definitely reviewed different gyms, studios, shoes, etc… so I am not innocent of this either, but I do cast a side eye when I see the same blogger review multiple brands shoes over the course of a few months.

Those are of course the companies that I will continue to work with or will try to showcase on here. I don’t regret any of the reviews that I’ve done in the past, but I don’t want to feel any pressure to come up with these pinterest perfect images and to compete with someone who does this for a living. I don’t want to get burnt out again. I am finally back at a place where I am loving the posts I am putting out there, and I don’t want to move away from that.

I think another large part of why I got so burnt out on blogging is because of the expectation of how a HLB (healthy living blogger) acts or eats or works out. Maybe part of this is because of pregnancy hormones, ask Nick they are real right about now, but I think I would feel this way regardless. When I first started reading blogs (5-6 years ago) bloggers wrote real posts, ever link wasn’t an affiliate link, it didn’t seem to be nearly as shady, but maybe I was just naive.

When you are a HLB there is an expectation that you will be BEAST MODE all the time. You see the phrases “the family that sweats together, stays together”, #fitpregnancy, #noexcuses, I could go on.  I won’t lie, I love working out, it is a stress reliever for me, but when I read these blog posts about how so and so went a whole month without a rest day or an excuse, I kind of just roll my eyes, and then I think, is this such a great thing? Why is no one else questioning these types of behaviors?

Not all families or significant others can work out together. Their might be babysitting logistics, disabilities, you just might hate the same type of work out. I am 99% positive I could never get Nick to a barre or yoga class. We’ve done two races together, and have had a lot of family walks, but all of these things were for fun! I LOVE the alone time or girl time that I get when I go to class!

ColorRun

I feel a lot of anger towards the posts that are all about how the best thing you can do when you are pregnant is to work out. I am not arguing that working out is bad, I have been working out regularly since I was cleared to do so, but that is not the only thing that is best for your body or baby. Eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins, seeing a medical professional that will monitor your progress, getting your home safe and ready to being your baby home, etc… those things are all just as important.

Pure Barre Baby

I don’t however like feeling guilty because I choose sleep over a workout, or resting over a workout. In real life, so many people have been supportive of this pregnancy and my workout regime, especially the instructors and staff at Pure Barre. Then I look at social media and I am overwhelmed by all the posts and images of #FitMoms. On top of it all, these women are sharing exactly how much weight they have gained or lost in their pregnancy. I’ve been what some would call “lucky” because with both this pregnancy and when I was pregnant with B, I was so incredibly sick that I ended up losing weight in the first trimester and was able to gain a healthy amount as the pregnancy went on. Some women gain 50 pounds, that doesn’t mean they ate cookies and donuts the whole pregnancy. Again, I feel like it is weird that these women share their weight amounts each week they recap their pregnancy or post-baby recaps. I like reading about how these women get fit after pregnancy, it gives me ideas, but their weight doesn’t help anyone but them, it just doesn’t seem important or relevant.

Now, lets talk about food. Every recipe is a super food or will give you super powers or something like that… Baking beans in brownies will just make me want to eat 5 of them, I’d rather have one really decadent dessert than have a dessert that doesn’t satisfy my craving.

Birthday Dessert

I know we all talk about the 80/20 rule, but where do those black bean brownies fall? It seems like a grey area to me. It feels like a lot of these people aren’t actually eating 20% indulgently.

It would be easy for anyone to say, well stop reading these blogs, but some of them have content that I actually love, or blogs that I have been reading for years, and so it is hard to just turn that off. In the past year many blogs have definitely been taken off my feedly list, but these posts seem to be popping up even on my favorites.

I’d be remiss to end this post on such a sour note. There are many things I wish I could change about the blogging world, I am sure a lot of people wish they could, but there are also things that I would never change.

zoomacc1

I’ve met some of my closest friends via Twitter or this blog! There is a group of moms who all had babies around the same time and we all met via Twitter/Instagram, none of us live near each other, but we are able to laugh, vent, cry, share all via a private group. It has been so helpful just to say is your toddler doing this exact behavior or is mine just a little crazy lately?

I’ve been able to attend amazing events, and I am incredibly grateful for every single opportunity! Like I said, I will continue blogging, but it’s going to be more about things and items I love and are an important part of my life (with or without this blog). I also want to be able to be more engaging with those that read (and comment). I haven’t responded to comments in far too long, and actually plan on doing that soon. I am hoping removing the HL part of blogging part for myself allows me to be more me and less traditional blogger!

What is your favorite and least favorite part of blogging or reading blogs?

Dead Wake: Teachable Moments

This post was inspired by Dead Wake by Erik Larson, a thrilling account of Lusitania’s last voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and the U-boat that attacked it. Join From Left to Write on March 26th as we discuss Dead Wake. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

post_description_Dead_Wake_FL2W_Book_Club_Banner

If you aren’t familiar with my From Left to Write book club posts, we don’t write traditional reviews. We read the book and write a review about a topic that the book inspired in us. The third book club selection for March is a historical non-fiction book, I tend to read a lot of these types of books. Prior to B1 coming along I was a history teacher, mostly 8th graders, and I loved it. There is so much to learn and so many ways to make it fun, and this book definitely made me miss it.

I loved this book, Larson was able to weave not just the perspectives of the passengers of The Lusitania, the Captain of The Lusitania, the German U Boat captains, Woodrow Wilson, Room 40, etc… but also heavy historical information and a tragedy that helped bring The United States into World War I without making the book read like a text-book. I will say it wasn’t a short read, but definitely a worthwhile one.

The book was full of moments, where I would shake my head and think this tragedy could have been avoided not just once, but many times. Instead of using these moments and learning from them, the Cunard Line and Winston Churchill tried to blame the The Captain of the Lusitania for the tragedy. They wasted their time trying to pin blame instead of trying to solve the problem that caused the sinking of the Lusitania. Instead of trying to use the information from Room 40 to their advantage the war lasted longer than necessary and many innocent lives were lost.

I don’t want this to turn into a political post, however I feel like the world is still struggling with this. Many problems within countries and country vs. country have happened before and unfortunately could happen again. The teachable moments that we could all learn from, it seems that no one actually learns from.

Do you love learning about history or hate it?

The No More Excuses Diet: Controversy Sells More

No_More_Excuses_Diet_Banner

This post was inspired by The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang who shares her no excuses philosophy that motivated her to become more fit. Join From Left to Write on March 12th as we discuss The No More Excuses Diet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

I remember the first time I saw Maria Kang’s photo on Facebook, posted by friends who are into fitness, posted by moms, posted by those whose careers are in the fitness and health field. If you went on any form of social media, I’m sure you saw the photo, and commentary. People who thought that it was a shaming moms who didn’t have six-pack abs, and those who agreed with her that no excuse is above your health and fitness.

The multiple times I have had to get back into the swing of things, when I first started living a healthy & active life and after my first pregnancy, I have appreciated the no BS attitude any fitness professional has had with me. This is what I need to make myself accountable and to make sure I succeed in whatever it is that I need to do to lose weight or kick the unhealthy habits I was partaking in. Logging my food, including the junk and treats, making a training schedule and following it. Having someone question when I don’t follow through with my plan, writing this blog and showing you all what I have or haven’t done. These are the things that keep me accountable.

However, I don’t believe that no excuses and an all or nothing attitude are beneficial for those who are starting out on the journey to healthy living. I have excuses just like everyone else, and I won’t hide the fact that they are excuses, but I also won’t feel bad for them either.

We don’t have any family nearby, if I want to get a workout in it has to be first thing in the morning, or for now the two times B is in school during the week. If it doesn’t happen then, then it won’t happen, end of story. Some times I wake up 5 times in the night and getting the extra 2 hours of sleep will make me a better mom that day then going to the gym, and sometimes it is the opposite. Nick’s disability also adds a layer of difficulty to things, not a complaint, but something I need to acknowledge. Leaving a 4-year-old and an infant with him alone just won’t be happening for a while, not an excuse, that is LIFE. Can I go for walks and try to get at-home workouts in? Of course. Will it be the same as getting my butt handed to me in a sweat-drenching workout at a local studio? No, and I don’t expect it to.

Maria Kang knew exactly what she was doing when she posted that photo, she stirred up controversy in the mom and fitness world. Controversy sells, hard work and honesty? Not so much. I am not saying that she hasn’t worked hard, she has. Her book is proof of that, and it is definitely tool I will be utilizing post-baby. Would she have gotten a book deal if she hadn’t posted that controversial photo? I don’t believe so. It reminds me of the saying “any PR is good PR”. The photo was posted, there was a ton of conversation regarding it, both good and bad. Then she received a book deal and her business picked up even more.

I think Maria Kang has a great approach to fitness and healthy living, she doesn’t belive in the all or nothing diet, fad diets,etc… she has a natural approach to dealing with treats and indulgences. Not something the average person would get from her initial photo.

What do you think? Does a controversial spark sell more than straightforward honesty?

Favorite Maternity Workout Clothes & For Two Fitness Discount Code

FaMaternityWorkoutCLothes

During my pregnancy with B I was constantly sick for the first 5 months, I was also commuting an hour each way for work, and had just finished my gym membership so working out wasn’t really happening. I lived in workout clothes when I wasn’t at work and I was able to wear regular pants until about 30 weeks. This pregnancy has been a completely different ball game, I was in maternity clothes much earlier, and I have been trying to be as active as possible.

In my miscarried pregnancy I had become an ambassador for For Two Fitness, obviously before I announced the pregnancy or ambassadorship I had the miscarriage. I kept in touch with the women at For Two Fitness and once I was off bed rest and in to the second trimester I contacted them about becoming an ambassador again. Luckily, they still wanted to work together!

Obviously, my entire wardrobe isn’t For Two Fitness maternity wear, and since this is most likely our last baby I couldn’t justify buying TONS of new clothes, so I am including the few items I rotate through very frequently.

GapAthleta

My favorite every day workout tight and capri are Athleta’s Chatarunga pant. I was apprehensive since there were zero reviews for any of the Athleta maternity pants. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the High Belly Chatarunga Capri, and they are just as comfortable as the non-maternity ones!

A few months ago I went shopping with a fellow pregnant fan and we went to one of the few Gap stores that actually has a maternity section and I purchased the  GapFit Breathe Mesh Racerback, it was on super sale and I ended up buying it for $8. It is kind of baggy currently but I know I will grow into it and I won’t have to worry about it not covering my belly.

ForTwoFitnesscollage

I have a pair of capris, preemptively purchased in the beginning of my last pregnancy and I live in them at home, but because it has been so cold with so much snow I haven’t really worn them out to the gym. My favorite For Two Fitness capris are hands down the Ultimate Micro-Plush Fitness Capri. I know I can wear them all the way through this pregnancy and after! The material isn’t heavy or too spandex heavy, it is a nice balance of the two.

I of course love the fun tanks that have sayings, though if that’s not your thing they have plain racerback tanks as well. Since I have been on a running ban, the Running for Two tank I had previously bought isn’t exactly ideal, but I love that there are ones that are more versatile. My favorites are the Toning for Two, Training for Two, and Sweating for Two! I love how soft the tanks are, I’ve had some problems with maternity tanks in the past. Sometimes after I wash them they start to feel itchy or just generally uncomfortable. This is not the case with these tanks, I’ve washed mine at least once a week and they are still as soft as ever! I know that sometimes it seems silly to buy something like this when you don’t know (or do know) if you are going to get pregnant again, but it is so important to get well-fitting maternity clothing, at least a few essential pieces that you can get a lot of wear out of, and I can attest that you don’t want to spend your entire workout adjusting an ill-fitting top or pair of pants.

I don’t ever wear t-shirts to work out so I can’t speak to the comfort of those, but I plan on purchasing a long-sleeved tee and I will let you all know my thoughts as soon as I get it! Now you can get some great For Two Fitness gear as well and use the code CUPCAKEKELLYS for 30% off! This code is only valid for 30 days, it ends 04/06/2015, so make sure you grab the gear you want now!

What is your favorite piece of maternity workout gear?

The Second Trimester and Gender Reveal!

I am more than a few weeks into the second trimester, and I truly feel like this pregnancy is flying! I didn’t announce here, but some of you may have seen on Instagram

BABYGIRLB

We are having a GIRL! I am so incredibly excited!! I would’ve been happy regardless, but it will be nice to have a little girl and a little boy in our house! Also, the addiction to buying girl clothes is real. I have had to put my self on clothes buying ban until she is born.

This pregnancy has been vastly different from what I remember with B1. I definitely felt like by the second trimester the exhaustion wasn’t as bad as it was in the first, but I guess I wasn’t chasing after a 3-year-old.

IMG_9954

Typical dinner shenanigans

I had a lot of sciatic pain with B1, and it has been touch and go this pregnancy, but of course I have had other aches and pains and almost fainted in Whole Foods the other morning. That was scary, but apparently also completely normal. From what my doctor told me standing still for an extended amount of time (in the shower, long church services, a long deli line…) can cause your BP to drop and leave you feeling faint, it was scary, but now I know how to make sure that never happens again.

I also have felt the second trimester hunger kick in. When I grocery shop I don’t vary from my usual stuff, but as soon as I get hungry nothing I have prepared sounds good. I have been eating a lot of egg sandwiches, homemade chicken salad, chicken sausage, and salad. I really really wish it was watermelon season, because I could probably eat an entire one every day and be very happy.

PureBarreBaby

My new favorite sticky socks! I am back at Pure Barre regularly. It’s been great to see everyone and the staff has been so helpful with modifications, as I have continued to grow, some things that felt fine even a week ago feel uncomfortable now so it is nice to have someone show me other exercises that work with what the rest of the class is doing.

Even though she is due the same month as B the maternity clothing is completely different. I lost 20 pounds due to severe sickness with B so I was in regular clothes, mostly workout clothes if we are being honest, until week 30. So most of my maternity clothes are dresses and shorts and tank tops, I had a few cardigans and one pair of maternity jeans, and that was it for maternity clothes. I am going to write another post on what I’ve been wearing in every day and for workouts, but it has been crazy how different my body is this pregnancy. I am carrying baby girl MUCH lower than I carried B, and I started showing much earlier this pregnancy.

I also started feeling kicks much earlier this pregnancy, and I LOVE it. Somedays it feels like she is stomping on my bladder, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Were your pregnancies very different or similar?