Why You Need Blog School by Blog Genie

Blog School14 cover

Are you new to blogging or thinking of creating a blog, but don’t know where to start? Do you have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to go about putting it out there for others to see? The internet, especially the blogging realm, is a vast place filled with volumes of information that can be overwhelming to sift through just to find simple information and how-to’s. Why not start off on the right foot?

Or, have you been blogging for awhile now, but you need a change? Are you ready to improve your site either by growing traffic, improve your design, mastering social media, creating a profit stream or work with influential brands? Finding information to help you take your blog from big to bigger can be a challenge, especially when you know you’re on the verge of something better, but you just can’t seem to connect all the pieces to make it happen. Why wait a second longer to reach your blogging and maybe even entrepreneurial goals?

If either of these sounds like you, what I am about to share with you will change your life (I’m not kidding, either, because blogging as we know, can really do that).

Blog School by Blog Genie changed has not only changed the way I blog for the better by giving me invaluable tools, resources and ideas to help me succeed; it has also changed my life outside of blogging by helping me become more organized (and, yes, I thought I was organized before), more focused (that’s really harder to narrow down than you think) and more driven (now with a concrete plan in place) to reach my goals than I ever was before.


What is Blog School?

An online course created by Blog Genie, Blog School is designed to give you a roadmap to help you turn your passion and love of connecting with others into a successful blog [More about Blog School here].

What is Blog Genie?

Blog Genie is run by Rita Barry and she has been working with female healthy living bloggers and fitness professionals since 2009 to help them design and rock their online presence by turning their passions into something more [More about Rita here]. She designed both Words to Run By and Blood Clot Recovery Network and – as my real-life blogging role model – has helped me realize my blogging dreams. If you aren’t connected yet, head on over and subscribe to get in on some free blogging resources, materials, regular tips and blogging insight that you didn’t even know you couldn’t live without.

What do you get?

As a part of Blog School you will receive six core learning modules comprised of a lesson, homework (be prepared to work!) and additional resources. The modules include Foundations, Blog Design, Content, Growth and Traffic, Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) and Media, Money and Income Streams.


Plus you will get Membership to Blog School’s Private Facebook Group, Blogging Productivity Five Minute WordPress Set  and WordPress How To Videos. Access to the courses are for life you can log-in login 24/7 as well as take them with you since they are digital.

So, why do you need Blog School by Blog Genie?

Last year, I was the grateful recipient of the Blog School by Blog Genie Scholarship and I was ecstatic to be taking the course. I have a big plans for the future and Blog School has first, helped me discover the direction I need to be going and second, given me the tools to get there! There are so many helpful things I learned about productivity, design, traffic, building/finding a target audience, writing worthwhile content and keeping the blogging momentum going. Blog School is a lot of work (I’m not quite done yet!), but if you really take your time and focus on the modules as they are released and do the assignments, you will get a lot out of this course. It’s helped me in blogging and helped me to organize my online presence (and life) to move in the direction of starting my own coaching business.

Where can you find more information?

You can find more information about Blog School here.

The one thing you need to do now

Enroll in the free, 3 part training series Blog School’s Traffic Road Map now. It runs from March 24 – 28, 2014 (delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week right to your inbox) and will give you an idea of how awesome Blog School will be. You can enroll in this 3 part series without obligation to join Blog School so there is nothing to lose! Also by signing up you’ll be the first to know when Blog School is open for enrollment.


Dates to remember
  • Sign up today to be a part of the 3 part training course!
  • Blog School opens for enrollment March 31 and closes April 6, 2014 (sign up here to stay informed about the release)
  • The six core learning modules of the Blog School curriculum will be released monthly starting April 7, 2014
You also need to know

I am an affiliate for Blog School, yes, but I am only telling you about this course because I believe in it and it’s power to make a positive impact in your blogging world. It is a significant amount of money to spend ($345 for the basic course and $595 for the intensive course, which comes with with 6 months individual coaching) and I more than anyone understands that not everyone can spend such a large sum of money. I do, however, believe this course and the knowledge gained is worth every cent of that cost and knowing what I do now, I would not hesitate to spend that money on Blog School. Consider it an investment in your future, seriously.

I hope you consider enrolling in Blog School this Spring. Whether you’re just starting out or an old pro, it will be the best blogging decision you have made in a long time.

Until the next mile marker,

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Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!


I am very exited to be a part of the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway going on right now! For 30 days, 30 bloggers will bring 30 winners a $100 gift certificate to shop for the health products they love. How awesome of a giveaway is that?! I, for one, having reviewed Swanson Health Products in the past, jumped at the chance to be a part of this opportunity because let’s be honest here, I heart Swanson Health Products.

That’s great, Sara, but what is Swanson?

Swanson Vitamins is a family-owned and operated health products company that treats their customers like family and offers the widest selection of health and beauty products in one place for reasonable costs. You can find anything there!

Why not just go to my local store where I always buy my health products?

Swanson offers a huge variety of products, for a low cost and it is one-stop shopping that you can do from anywhere. I love the variety of organic, fair trade and Made in the U.S.A. products.

What can I really get for a $100?

For $100 I got all of this:

all products edited.jpg

My favorites are the makeup, including lip gloss from Burt’s Bees (what’s not to love) and Alba (it’s like putting Coconut right on your lips) and eye shadow from Honeybee Gardens, which is shimmery and purple:

makeup edited

Pet Naturals Hip and Joint Chews with glucosamine so these little pups can have healthy joints (they’re major fans of Swanson themselves now that treats came in the box):

dogs and treats edited

And, Swanson’s own Red Clover Tea, which is deliciously comforting and all organic):

tea edited

Also, since I am Vitamin D deficient and love the health benefits of Coconut oil, I can’t wait to try these D-3 vitamins with Coconut oil (they were only $3.69 for 60 soft gels):

vitamin d coconut edited

I also got some shave cream for my husband, hand and face lotion, cilantro and propolis. You can fill every stocking with this giveaway.

Is it really worth my time to enter?

A hundred times, yes! All you have to do is click below and it will take you to the entry page. It’s easy, it’s fast and you have several chances to win.

How do I enter the giveaway?

Enter the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway right here:

Can I bookmark it and come back later?

Don’t wait! My entries are only open until Midnight Tonight (12/23/2013) and the last blogger posts tomorrow. That’s not much time to win!

Okay, easiest giveaway ever, but now I’m on this extra page instead of your blog so how do I know if I won?

Go back here to see the winners posted next to the giveaway(s) you entered.

Thank you to Swanson for the $100 credit to shop for my awesome stocking suffers and the opportunity to participate in the #Swanson30DayGiveaway. Good luck in the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!

Until the next mile marker,

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Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 23

WIW graphic for post
Weigh-In Wednesday Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 23

Lbs Lost this Week: – 3.2

Lbs Lost Total: – 14.0

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week


 I’ve been eating more raw vegetables and fruits this week – like a salad or fresh apples. I am not sure if it is what helped the weight loss or not. If I’m hungry, I grab a fresh-picked from the farm Honeycrisp apple!

Activity of the Week

Yesterday I had my 16-month follow-up appointment with my hematologist (medical specialist who treats diseases and disorders of the blood and blood-forming organs – sounds scary, right?!). I talked to him about my lack of motivation to exercise ever since I ran the 5K in June. He thinks I may have done too much, too fast and my body wasn’t really ready for that – even though I did it without outwardly hurting myself, even thought it was over a year after my blood clot. I told him I had to do something, but the motivation wasn’t there and it was feeling more like a burden than anything. I told him it wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do or how to do it because I did – it is just a matter of making the commitment.  For some reason this time, either my heart or brain or both isn’t into it. He told me to commit to walking at least 20 minutes a day, even if it is on my treadmill while I am surfing the internet (he showed me how to fashion a desk for my treadmill) or watching TV at night. He asked, “Do you work on the computer for at least 20 minutes a day?” I said, “Oh my gosh yes!” He does the same with his dictation notes every night before he goes home. Just gets on the computer/treadmill and types them up/walks. He said, “Add some running in here and there as you feel like it, but don’t set out to run if it’s stressing you out, just walk and see what happens.” I have made the commitment to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, starting tomorrow. Time goals worked really well for me the very first time I started running to help me weight, health and run a half marathon. I would run for seconds then minutes then miles at a time. My hematologist also agreed to following-up with my other doctors about the current status of my thyroid, which I already have planned.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…

10 lbs
20 lbs
30 lbs
35 lbs
40 lbs
45 lbs
50 lbs
55 lbs
60 lbs
65 lbs
70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…

Run a 5K  Read all about it here.
Run a Quarter Marathon or 10K
Run a Mud/Obstacle Race
Run a Half Marathon
Start Strength Training (again)
Backpack (more)
Start Biking


Thank you a thousand times for all of the kind things you said last week. It helped more than you know. I feel infinitely better not only having lost this week, but having spoken to my doctor and come up with a set, doable plan in my eyes.

Reader’s Recap

Don’t miss my Pepper Palace Fall Hot Sauce Review. It’s divine.

Blog School Update

I’m in Blog School with Rita over at Blog Genie and for the next six months I’ll be working really hard to make this blog the best it can possibly be. I’m really excited about this, especially since I was the recipient of one of the Fall Scholarships (for which I am extremely grateful). This week’s update: I switched my subscription manager to MailChimp (it’s free too!) and have to rebuild my subscription list from the ground up. If you like reading my blog (or you just like me or want to humor me with my practice at putting a form in a post!) and never want to miss a post by having it delivered weekly to your inbox, please subscribe below:

Photo Recap


Just because it is fall and I love this.

Question of the Week

How did you first start exercising? What kind of goals did you set?

Until the next mile marker,

‘You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey’

The skies are definitely grey in Central Ohio today, which brings to mind a song my grandmother used to sing to me when I was a child, You Are My Sunshine. It goes, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” I used to love spending long summers with my grandma, we called her Bubba (the Slovak name for Grandma), and she loved the rain. We would spend rainy afternoons splashing barefoot through puddles and then we would warm up with a cup of coffee filled to the brim with sugar and cream. I miss those days and often times, the song comes to mind and I am gently reminded of the things she taught me as a way to remember her. She inspired my passion for cooking, taught me to be generous above all else, take care of those less fortunate than myself (including the four-legged variety) and that hard work always pays off in the end. Recently, my blog was awarded the Sunshine Award from Elle over at Eat Run Sail – one of my favorite bloggers and wonderfully supportive and wise friend. (Go read her post and check out her blog if you haven’t).


The award is circulated to those bloggers to let them know that their posts brighten your day. Elle certainly has brightened many of mine with her positive outlook, honest advice and generosity. I feel like we have become friends over the last couple of years and I am particularly excited about this award because of the fond memories it stirs in my heart.

The Rules:

  1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog
  2. Link to the person who nominated you
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

Here are the questions Elle asked, and my answers to them:

  1. Best childhood memory? I have a lot, including the one above, but as a collection, I always enjoyed the times I went with my Mom, Dad and sister to pick whatever it was that was seasonal – apples, pumpkins, a Christmas tree. I always looked forward to our adventures in picking out seasonal fair and it is something I will always remember. I also have some pretty fond memories of visiting Disney as a family.
  2. Nicest time of year? Late, late summer. That time when summer isn’t quite gone, but fall is quickly making an entrance. That time when mornings and evenings are cool enough for a sweater, but the days are warm enough for short sleeves. That time when the shadows are long when the sun sets and you can smell autumn in the air with every breath. 
  3. Favorite flower? I actually don’t have a particular flower that I love, but I love wildflowers. I love seeing them on the side of the road, especially the purple ones. My husband said the ones I have mentioned I like are called Asters.
  4. Scary food you would never ever even taste? Nope, nothing. I can’t think of anything I would be too afraid to taste at least once! (I really thought about this one for awhile too!) The only thing I am weird about from time to time is meat so if there is some strange meat dish out there, I might pass due to the meat, but nothing comes immediately to mind.
  5. Zodiac sign? Virgo. Although I have no idea how or if that fits into my life!
  6. What spice would describe you? I think Curry would best describe me because it’s flavors can range from sweet to spicy depending on what you are making and what kind you use. It is very versatile and is warm, a real comfort spice for me. I am like curry because I can be many things, but I stay pretty consistent in who I am and provide comfort to those closest to me.
  7. Snooze button or jump out of bed? Snooze. Like three or four times.
  8. Morning drink? Water on most days, but if I had to pick something special (that’s more like a treat) it would be English Breakfast Tea with Cream and Sugar or [right now] a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.
  9. Song that means something special to you? Anything Mumford & Sons of course, but just in case you wondered what else mattered to me. Amarillo By Morning by George Strait (think old country) will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my mother’s favorite song. I love the fiddle intro, give it a listen if you haven’t. Mr. Strait is on his farewell tour (Mom would have been so sad) and he’s coming to CBUS in February so I hope to go!
  10. Secret crush? Dang!? I don’t know. I’m attracted to guys who are creative and it changes from time to time. I’ve always thought Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) was hot or, you know, I would go to dinner with Marcus Mumford in a heartbeat (sorry, husband). I’m also still waiting for my dinner invitation from Johnny Depp.

Here are the [only?!] ten bloggers I nominate to receive this award. While I don’t get to them daily, they inspire me to be myself, write better blog posts, take better care of myself, try new things and each one of them definitely makes me a whole lot happier when skies are grey.

  1. Steph – OrangeSpoken
  2. Nanci – This Crazy Life of Mine
  3. Jen – From Fat to Finish Line
  4. Shannon – Live Like A Bunny
  5. Mark – Running, Writing, and Chasing the Dragon
  6. Jenni – Life, Love and Marathons
  7. Vanessa – Her Heart Proclaims
  8. Rebecca – Pretty Little Celiac
  9. Jody – Truth2BeingFit
  10. Heather – Through Heather’s Looking Glass

Here are my ten questions:

  1. Do you prefer to wear jeans/pants or shorts?
  2. When others get discouraged when it comes to fitness/health/weight loss, what is your go-to piece of advice?
  3. Who is your favorite band/musician?
  4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  5. What is your favorite place in the world you have visited?
  6. What is your favorite vegetable?
  7. Do you like spicy food?
  8. Do you have a pet(s)?
  9. How long have you been blogging?
  10. What is your favorite quote?

Tell me about you. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Until the next mile marker,

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Dear Mr. Mumford (and Sons)

Courtesy of Troy [Ohio] Main Street.

Dear Mr. Mumford (and Sons),

I first discovered your music quite by accident and long after you had already been making albums and touring the world. While I am sure others have been fans since the beginning, I am a new fan, yes, but I am a fan for life. I stumbled upon I Will Wait on the radio one day while running errands and was captivated by the joyous lyrics, stunning vocals and soulful sound, not to mention diverse instrumentation and enchanting harmonies; but, much to my dismay, I missed who was behind the music I heard. By coincidence (or not since I don’t believe in such things) my brother-in-law came over that same evening and brought your music with him. I was elated and downloaded all of your songs within minutes.

There’s not a song I skipped and no repeat was one too many. I was captivated by Babel and Sigh No More; haunted by Ghosts that We Knew and Timshel; enthralled with Broken Crown and Little Lion Man; invigorated by Lover of the Light and Awake My Soul; and consumed by Lover’s Eyes and Dust Bowl Dance. I listened to these songs and more as if I was discovering music for the first time and no, I am hardly exaggerating. Be it in my house, in my car or in the grocery store, when I hear you Mr. Mumford, I can’t help but dance and sing at the top of my lungs. It’s uncontrollable, immersed, unfathomable joy that you bring out from somewhere deep inside of me.

So, when I read that you would be performing at a stopover on your Gentleman of the Road Tour in Troy, Ohio – a mere hour or so away from where I live – I had to be there. When I found out it was the weekend of my 31st birthday, I was convinced I would be there. And, after two rounds of ticket sales and a few tears on my end, I will be there. So, given how I feel, you can only imagine my exhilaration at holding this in my hands:

GOTR Stopover in Troy Camping Pass

GOTR Stopover in Troy Camping Pass

To be honest, I can’t stop talking about it and it was only natural that people – mainly my husband who has requested that I write this letter to you after seeing my passion for your songs – wanted to know why I feel so strongly about your music. Can I even describe it, let alone to you?

Your music rouses something in my soul, something I have only felt a time or two before and not from anything consistent. It is like hearing a familiar voice call my name – when I have spent a lifetime among strangers who don’t even know it. It is as if an intense longing is transformed into belonging and my heart and mind finally have a place to rest in your lyrics.

Your music drives me back to a time and place that is long past, and even longer forgotten. Your profound lyrics and endearing melodies are symbolic of something old and something deep and while I can’t yet exactly put a name to it, it calls me back to my previously unrecognized roots. Whether your influences are British, Irish, American Folk or even Tribal, I hear them all and am called to a heritage previously unknown to me. I am united by your music because it has become a part of my inner being. A being that is unrestrained amidst your songs.

The events over the last two years of my life have been immeasurable. Unexpectedly losing my mother, my career and nearly my own life have left me wondering why I am still here if only to consumed by sorrow, self-doubt and fear. Constantly crying out “Why did this happen to me?” was not providing any answers and I nearly resigned to what I was sure to be a life of pain, sadness, regrets and worry. I withdrew so far within myself that not even those who cared the most about me or knew me the best could at times, get me out. It was never going to get any better and it was never going to change. I resigned to believing I should have died with the blood clot that nearly destroyed my body last summer.

They say we never can never fully understand how what we say, feel or act truly impacts another individual and that’s exactly where you come in. Your music has reached down into the deepest, darkest, scariest places within my heart, mind and soul and pulled me back from the path I was heading down. As an artist myself, I started reading again, writing again and taking time to spend in nature and with my own, much relieved thoughts. If I have a bad day or start to stray down the path of no return again, I put your albums in and the light comes bounding back. I carry it with me, in my purse or pocket, and it has lent more grace than any other one, single thing ever has. Call it dramatic, call it crazy or call it what you will, but your music has saved me.

So, I will see you tomorrow, Mr. Mumford. I can hardly contain my excitement or the insurmountable feeling that Troy is exactly where I am meant to be.

Very sincerely yours,

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