Learning to run

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Something I’ve grown particularly fond of over the last few years is running. It started off as a way to lose the few pounds I’d gained during university from eating late-night junk food and drinking beer a bit too often. It turned into something extremely fulfilling for both my body and mind. Over the weekend, I ran my first 5k race – a fun run featuring hundreds of Ugly Christmas Sweaters! I was happy with my time and pace, especially since I was totally overheating by the end in my chunky red sweater.

Here’s the thing though. Like so many folks who decide to start running, I totally sucked at it for a while. Stopping, starting, running out of breath, getting horrible side cramps, giving up for weeks at a time, maxing out at 1k, giving up again, maxing out at 5k, wondering if I’d ever be able to run more than that. You know how it goes. Over time, though, I began to realize that that learning curve was natural – so I figured I’d pass on some tips for getting into running based on my experience.

1. Slow and steady does win the race
I started out thinking I was a total failure if I wasn’t running 5k within a couple weeks. Not true. Your body needs to get used to the whole running thing – let’s be real, most of us spend most of our days sitting at desks. Running is the opposite end of the spectrum. What that in mind, give yourself a nice long stretch of time to slowly train. Programs like Couch to 5k are a great way to start. And that brings me to my next point.

2. Set a goal
Sure, you can run aimlessly without knowing how far you’re going, but there’s something truly exciting about hitting a milestone. Start off with a goal of 2k… then 5k… then maybe work up to a 10k (I finally hit that mark this year.) It won’t happen overnight, but having something to shoot for can keep you motivated.

3. Use a buddy system
Few things are better motivation then friends. (Preferably ones who nag a little bit). I also run with my boyfriend, which helps push me a bit farther. If none of your friends are into running, try joining a running club. For instance, in Toronto, the Parkdale Roadrunners meet every week and welcome beginners. Google local running clubs to see what’s around in your area!

4. Sign up for a race
We all like to get our money’s worth for things. So why not sign up for a race to give you incentive to train? Pay the fee, sign up for one that’s a few months away, then just keep on running. It’ll give you a goal to strive for and help you set a concrete timeline and schedule to get you there. Sign up with friends to help motivate you all. And then enjoy the satisfaction of pursuing a goal!

Do you have running tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

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Autumn prep

Autumn prep Autumn prep

Autumn prepCoat: Zara (old) | Sweater: J. Crew (Similar) | Chambray shirt: J. Crew

We took a stroll through Toronto’s lovely Cabbagetown neighbourhood over the weekend, and boy, it was chilly! This crisp autumn weather necessitates lots of layers – meaning a preppy pairing like chambray under a sweater makes perfect sense.

Do you have any favourite layered outfits?

Links of the week

a576873a27b6bb2440a189a071bfffccMacarons via Four Seasons

Nice round of up where to see the fall colours near Toronto.

Tips for creating a content style guide for your blog.

marriage proposal in Home Depot… with a choreographed dance number. (Have tissues handy!)

If a task will take less than 2 minutes to complete, regardless of its importance, take care of that task immediately.

It’s every young renter’s dilemma: Do I buy now, or wait?

This man should win grandfather of the year, hands down.

Heartwarming example of the power of a pet.

Fascinating read on how you can be happier by using science.

A few myths about your hair, debunked.

Lessons from Blog Podium

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9826-L

That’s me on the right! Image via AnnaWithLove.

blogpodium_speakersSpeakers at Blog Podium (clockwise from upper left): Designer Sarah Richardson, Jordana Garbati from White Cabana, Giulia Doyle from Audrey’s, expert panel, Stephanie Sterjovski.

In case you missed my last post about Blog Podium, here’s a quick recap: I went to this lifestyle blogging conference in Toronto over the weekend, had a great time – and learned a lot! I wanted to obviously share some of that learning with all of you (especially if you’re interesting in blogging but weren’t able to attend.) All the presenters had different things to share but I noticed a few common themes & tips throughout all the presentations.

Some big takeaway points from the day:

  • If you’re launching a blog, make sure you have a vision & mission. Narrowing in on a few topics and a certain voice/tone will help make your blog stand out and help build a consistent brand.
  • Treat your blog like a magazine – with you as the Editor-in-Chief! That means vetting submissions carefully, ensuring everything is top-quality before you publish, and having an editorial calendar to keep you on track for having regular engaging content.
  • Don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s. We’re all doing this for different reasons and have different goals. And if you’re just starting out, there’s no way you can expect to have the following of a blog that’s been around for 5 years – ain’t gonna happen, so don’t stress about it.
  • Be true to yourself on your blog. Readers can tell if you’re not being authentic.
  • When you’re working with brands, make it a win-win scenario. Have your blog traffic stats ready and be a consummate professional so that you both gain from the partnership.
  • Don’t stretch yourself thin. If you don’t have time to manage five different social media accounts, narrow it down to 2-3 you enjoy using. If you’re not able to blog every single day because of work or family commitments, just schedule posts for a few days a week and keep your readers in the loop on when they can expect content.
  • Above all: Blog because you love it. If it’s no fun, what’s the point?

I also realized that I really, really need to get an iPhone (just preordered the 5s, which I’ll be getting in 2 weeks – hurrah) so that I can finally use Instragram. And… I really need business cards. Like, really badly. I felt a bit silly without them! But oh well – live and learn. I’ll know for next time.

Did you learn anything interesting at Blog Podium? Let me know in the comments!

Looking back at Blog Podium 2013

Blog Podium 2013

On Saturday, I spent the day with over 250 other bloggers at the 2013 Blog Podium conference in Toronto. It was a great day filled with learning, laughter and new friends – and of course, the whole conference was adorable (what else would you expect from a bunch of lifestyle bloggers?)

Blog Podium 2013

There were some fabulous speakers throughout the day, including an expert panel (above) which included Emma Reddington, blogger-turned-Chatelaine-editor and the face behind the lovely Marion Housebook. I also got to hear from a Toronto blogger I love – Stephanie Sterjovski – and from the hilarious & talented Gabriel Coco of the Artful Desperado.

Blog Podium 2013

We also had a little afterparty which was tons of fun – and way too short!

Blog Podium 2013

Goofing off with Gabriel and Vanessa from Glimmer Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer. Fun fact: The three of us truly represent Canada from coast-to-coast! Gabriel lives in Vancouver, I live in Toronto, Vanessa is from Halifax. Totally proves the power of conferences – they really bring people together.

I’ll have Part 2 of this post up later in the week, with reflections on what I learned – stay tuned!

A pop of pink

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Dress: Gap | Belt: Nine West | Heels: Nine West | Purse: Kate Spade

None of these pieces are new, but I love this colour combo so much – pink and black is fun and classy. Actually snagged those heels awhile back at the Kind Exchange in Toronto. They were in mint condition and a fraction of the actual store price (score!)

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Some silver sparkle

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Jacket: RW&Co (Similar) | Shirt: Gap | Watch: Michael Kors | Jeans: American Eagle (Similar) | Bag: Kate Spade (Similar) | Shoes: Gap

You’ve probably noticed a different vibe to this post… a personal style post for a change! It’s a new direction for the blog but definitely something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. I love fashion, I love Toronto, so here we go – I’m merging the two. Can’t wait to share outfit ideas & hear your feedback!

These sparkly silver Gap flats were the inspiration behind this first look. I’ve been on the hunt for silver shoes for awhile, and these ones are just so comfy (and not too expensive – I don’t like spending a fortune on trendy items that might go in and out of style.)

Have you hopped on the silver trend yet?

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