23 September 2014

My Experience At Type-A Conference #typeacon

Once again, I went into a blog conference not knowing a single person. I don't know why I continue to do this to myself, because it never fails that the week or so beforehand, I always question my decision to go. But once again, I surprised myself with the courage and confidence I can muster up when put in these situations. And I think that as humans, it's GOOD for us to push ourselves out of our comfortable little bubble and put ourselves out there.

What got me all kinds of anxious this time, though, was that the day before the conference, my roommate (who was actually the one person I knew that was going), had some last minute emergencies come up and suddenly, I was roommate-less. And honestly, I felt alone and scared. I was close to just throwing in the towel and skipping the conference all together, but at the last minute I put out a post in the Type-A Facebook group and asked if anyone needed a roommate. It was risky, but, I needed the help paying for the room. It was like the stars aligned, because some other ladies just happened to be looking as well. And just like that, I had myself some new roommates and the next morning I was on the plane to Atlanta.

I'll tell you something though, it's very strange to walk into a hotel room and share it with with people you have never met or had any real interactions with beforehand. But that strange feeling, it only lasted a few minutes, because I instantly connected with my roommates. Sometimes I forget how easy it is for bloggers to find common ground, so that definitely helps. In a way, I'm grateful for the last minute chaos leading up to the conference, because it gave me the chance to meet people I may not otherwise have connected with. Basically, my roommates ended up being the bomb.com and I already miss them a ton. (shouting out to you, Catherine & Annie!)

Not surprisingly, at these kinds of conferences, you spend your days attending a multitude of sessions that cover all-things-blogging and social media. There is also a ton of time to mingle with other people, network with brands/sponsors of the conference, and generally just laugh and have a good time. I'd be lying if I said there weren't times I felt like "whoa, I'm totally overwhelmed", but for the most part, it was a really positive experience and I came away with so many new friends and a wealth of knowledge that I can apply to not only my blog, but my life.

Of all the sessions I attended, and of all the things I heard and learned -- I think the biggest takeaway from the conference, is that I need to know, understand, and accept the worth of my blog. Sometimes I say to myself "Oh I'm just a blogger, it's not really that important." And I tend to degrade and discredit my value in this space. But something that really resonated with me from this past weekend, was the common theme that bloggers are valuable. We have voices. We have stories to tell, and experiences to share. What I have to say... what you have to say... it's important.

I really want to do better about trusting my own voice. Believing that I have something worthwhile to contribute. I don't know about you, but as a Mother, a Woman, a Human, I need to be able to relate to others. If no one ever opened up and shared their experiences, their thoughts, and their lives, we would all feel completely isolated and alone.

So basically what I'm trying to say is, if you're a blogger, even if you're not, find your voice and trust it!

Okay I'm done with the mushy stuff for now, my body is still thinking I'm on East Coast time and I'm exhausted and going to bed. But coming soon, is an Outfit post on what I wore to the conference! Look for that in the next day or two :-)

18 September 2014

Be back after #typeacon!

With how quickly this Summer has gone, I'm not surprised that Type-A Parent Conference has snuck up on me like this. I feel totally and completely unprepared, but alas, I'm leaving this morning (in fact I'm probably on the airplane right now) to take a 5 hour flight to Atlanta, GA. I'm very much hoping that it will inspire me the way that BlissDom did last year. But of course, I'm nervous being somewhere I've never been and hardly knowing anyone that's going to be there. *wish me luck!*

I feel like it's really easy to get burnt out with blogging, and yes, taking a break can and is the best solution sometimes. But I also think that for me, attending blog conferences really helps to inform, inspire and renew my love for this community.

Blogging has become such an important part of my life. This space has helped save my sanity on a fairly regular basis, being able to relate to like-minded people has been comforting and reassuring. But also, I've turned this little old blog into a somewhat of a business and am happy to say that it helps my family financially. So basically, I owe it to myself, my readers, and the brands & companies I work with to continue learning and growing within this amazing community! 

If you are headed to Type-A, be sure to reach out and, I'd love to meet up while we're there! :-)

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with the conference shenanigans! :: @mandychiappini

16 September 2014

I Chose This.

Do you know how many times I sweep my kitchen floor each day?  Pretty much after each meal or snack. Why are kids so messy when they eat? Is it really that hard to get the food actually in your mouth? I don't even know. Whyyyyyy are there crumbs and chunks of food on the floor again!? If only I enjoyed cleaning....

But here's the thing, I highly doubt that it's anyone's idea of a good time to clean up after other people. No, don't even try to tell me you enjoy it, because I wouldn't believe you. 

Well, as I was sweeping the floor under the kitchen table for the 27th time yesterday, I caught myself cursing a little under my breath. Cursing. Wait. I don't curse.... or do I? What the heck. I stopped for a quick minute to sort of calm myself down because, you know what...

I chose this.

It was a very well thought out, prayerful decision. No one made me decide to quite my full-time day job to stay at home with my kids. Yep,  I definitely chose this. How silly am I to think that along with that choice, there wouldn't be a lot of cleaning up. Like, a crap ton of cleaning up. And it doesn't stop with sweeping the kitchen floor 27 times a day. It continues with dirty dishes, dirty diapers, endless loads of laundry, pee on the bathroom floor, my home decor lost or broken, legos in every nook and cranny of the house, and toys being dumped out every other second. And please don't even get me started on how the kids tear through the house ripping off every bed sheet and comforter off every single bed, along with all the pillows... pile them up and on the dirty floor and together they jump on said pile, inevitably ending in someone screaming and crying. It's basically useless to try and stop them.

But like I said, I chose this.

If I'm being totally honest, though, regardless of the fact that this was my choice, sometimes it feels like I was thrown into abyss of the never-ending chaos without having a clue how to navigate it. Every day feels like a new challenge presents itself, and I'm floundering to try and find a solution, and often times feel totally in over my head. Because I guess when we're in the thick of it, parenting that is, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

And the bigger picture is that being a parent is not only a blessing, but a privilege. And even through the abyss of never ending chaos, I CHOSE those blessing.

I chose it because I wanted to be a Mother. And I made the choice to stay home with them because I wanted them to have this time with me. Even if means that some days, I'll be cursing under my breath as I'm sweeping the floor again.

But most importantly, I chose this because there is nothing more amazing than to see two little human beings made by you, and of you. 

And I think I need to do a better job of reminding myself, that this life, it was my choice. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

15 September 2014

5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts

*This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HealthyHydration #CollectiveBias #Ad

I've been into fitness for the past 8 months and I admit, at first, I was totally floundering. What I mean by that is, I had a hard time getting into a groove with my schedule, my nutrition, and my motivation. It took some time but I feel like I've really started to figure out some great ways to get more out of my time, and my workouts!

Alright, so here are my tips to help you prepare and get the most out of your work out! :-)

1) Schedule & Plan Ahead
Most of us end up skipping workouts because of poor planning and scheduling (and sometimes, laziness *wink*). Sit down with your calendar, and schedule your workouts in your planner, or your phone, or wherever will help you to remember them! Make sure to prepare ahead of time some other things like:
  • Is your athletic clothing washed? (sounds silly, but I forget to do laundry sometimes!)
  • What type of workout will you be doing?
  • How long will you be exercising?
  • What goals do you have for each workout? (i.e. burn calories, hit a new distance for running, bench a heavier weight...etc)

2) Compound Exercises

Instead of isolating your muscles by just doing one type of exercise, maximize your workout by doing exercises that will work multiple muscle groups at once. Your muscles will be working together just as they do on a daily basis, which will prove to be highly beneficial. And the bonus, is that will also save you time!

3) Create a playlist that will pump you up!
I don't know about you, but I tend to get bored during my workouts, especially if it's something I've been doing a lot of lately. And if you get bored, it's likely you will stop your workout early. And eventually, you might even stop working out all together. I suggest creating a playlist that will keep you going! We all have those songs that get us really fired up! Amiright? Whether it's dance music, techno, or some good old rock n' roll -- find what kind of music gets you excited, plug in your earbuds and get movin'!

4) Nutrition
There isn't a one specific kind of diet or nutrition platform that will work for everyone. All of our bodies work differently in conjunction with exercising. So it's important to find nutrition patterns that help us to feel full (but not too full), fresh, and energized before our workouts! I don't generally eat a ton right beforehand, because it's definitely not comfortable to exercise on a full stomach. If I'm eating a full meal, I make sure to have it about 3 hours before my workout. But if I'm going in the morning and am not hungry enough, or have time for a full meal, I eat something small, usually some bacon and some kind of carbohydrate. But my advise is to eat your small meal/snack one hour before your start exercising so you don't feel uncomfortable. The key is, though, make sure to EAT something before you work out. It's imperative for maximum energy.

5) Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
This is a given, but it's so important! Water is essential for optimal physical performance and overall functioning. I don't feel that there is one specific amount you need to drink on a daily basis, but just be sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout! And of course, listen to your body!

 It's way too easy to get dehydrated! And I can speak from experience, when I try to workout when I haven't had a sufficient amount of water, I feel sluggish and get headaches. It's very unhealthy and really, there's no excuse for us to NOT be drinking water throughout the day.

I always keep bottled waters in the house. For me, it's ideal because I'm more likely to drink a lot of water if 1) it's filtered, fresh water and 2) It's easy to grab on my way out of the house. I generally keep a huge case of it in the garage for storage, and keep several in the fridge to stay cold.

I frequently make trips out of the house specifically for bottled water. Head up to Walmart, grab Nestle's Arrowhead water and I'm all set. You know, come to think of it, it would be awesome to see Nestle Water in a 5 Gallon bottle. It would be a perfect addition to the garage for food storage, and of course, anytime when I'm entertaining guests and need lots of water to distribute.

The Nestle 5 Gallon bottles are also BPA Free and are better for the environment because they can be returned for refilling and ultimately recycling!

Be sure to follow Arrowhead to find out more!
Arrowhead: https://www.facebook.com/arrowheadwater
Twitter: https://twitter.com/arrowheadwater
Instagram: http://instagram.com/arrowheadwtr

So tell me, what are your favorite ways to prepare for, and maximize your workouts??