SoCal Blogger Society: March Link-Up

So I really want to be a good member of the SoCal Blogger Society, and part of that is participating in the monthly link-ups they sponsor each month – each with a different focus, theme, and set of questions to answer.

This month’s head blogger is Chelsea from Strand Style Fashion, an awesome street style blog with a beachy vibe that focuses on classic style with a laid-back, California twist.


This month’s topic – Street Style – intrigued me because when I started ThisFitBlonde, the idea was to make this a lifestyle portal focused on fitness, food, and fashion – and so far, I’ve really gone heavy on the former and almost negated the latter (except for my red carpet critiques, of course).

Truth is, I really do fancy myself a stylish person – I have a distinct point of view on fashion and trends and strong opinions about what I wear.  The problem with my life is that I am most often found in some variation of spandex pants and neon tops, and in some state of general disarray (it’s hard to look “street stylish” when you woke up at 5am, got ready in the dark, and taught Spin class for an hour).

Despite all this, I wanted to answer at least some of the questions about my own personal style – and hopefully hear from you readers about your opinions on fashion, too!

What style trends are you loving this season?  I am so obsessed with my Christian Siriano bucket bag it’s not even funny – I feel like it brings class and freshness to everything I wear.  I am also nuts about culottes; I just bought a black culottes jumpsuit and I am dying to put it on.  And if those partial-sheer skirts are still a thing, I’m totally still on that.

What trends do you think you’ll pass on for 2015?  I cannot stand flatforms, pastels, or gingham.

Who is your style icon?  My mom!  She showed up to my house this past weekend wearing a shirt I had just bought – and she’s 30 years older than me!  I definitely look to her for ideas on how to make trends by “shopping” my own closet, and how to stay fashionable and relevant no matter your age or budget.

What are your favorite trends in “fitness” fashion?  Believe it or not, there is good style to be had within the confines of the gym walls – and I absolutely hate seeing women come in with baggy T-shirts and old sweats.  Up your game, fit people!  Even if you’re addicted to wearing black in the gym, you can change it up with cool cutouts, backless or mesh styles, or really crazy-printed pants.  And the gym is the one place it is still acceptable – and in fact, really cute – to play matchy-matchy.

What are your favorite places to shop?  Those of you who know me know that I can’t pass up a good bargain – and I love to make inexpensive pieces look sharp and on-trend.  Besides the outlet malls (at which I love J. Crew, Adidas, Kate Spade, BCBG, and Neiman Marcus Last Call), I love shopping at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Forever 21, Zara, and even Burlington Coat Factory – don’t knock ’em till you’ve shopped ’em!

Bloggers (and yes – readers!) – it’s your turn – leave your answers to these questions in the comments, or reblog them and link back to me so I can read your style insights!  Happy shopping!

TFB Liebster Award Nominations

Yes, technically it’s still Tuesday – which means today should feature a Would Amanda Eat It? post.  But let’s be real:

My husband is leaving for Singapore on Monday and I won’t see him for two months, so we had a nice “cheat” meal of burgers and beer tonight.  I feel conflicted about giving health advice on a night when I’ve had such a superbly unhealthy indulgence, so I figured I’d go another direction with today’s post.

A lovely blogger and friend over at Eat Run Snooze Repeat nominated me for a Liebster Award, which is an award given to bloggers by bloggers to honor new(ish) contributors.  There are some rules:

1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post. Thank them and let them know you answered their questions.

2. Answer the 7 questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers, including at least one with less than 500 followers.

4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

6. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.

Now that we’ve got the rules down, I have to abide #4 and answer my 7 questions!

1. What is your best tip for getting motivated?  I grew up Catholic, so to be honest, the best way to get myself motivated is to think about the crushing guilt I feel when I don’t work out.  A guilty conscience is worth running away from (literally!).

2. What is the one thing you could not live without?  My phone.  Holy crap.

3. If you could live any place in the world, where would it be?  Um…SINGAPORE!  And aren’t I just the luckiest that I’m actually going there? 😉

4. How did you begin your fitness journey?  I began as a gymnast, got injured and tried diving, then got older and tried running.  I always have to be in motion!

5. What is your biggest dream?  I dream of having a family, a successful fitness publishing career, and the ability to travel multiple times per year.

6. What is your daily go-to outfit?  Fitness wear, guys – capris and a tank.  Hair in bun.

7. Do you have a secret (maybe embarrassing) passion? If so, what is it?!  Not embarrassing, but lots of people who don’t know me in person don’t know how much I love craft beer – it is truly a hobby, passion, and indulgence all packed into one for me!

Here are my questions for my nominees (and hey, readers – feel free to play along and answer in the comments!):

1.  What are you afraid of?

2.  Who was your childhood hero, and why?

3.  Where in the world would you like to visit next?

4.  What’s your drink of choice (alcohol or non)?

5.  If you were writing your memoirs, what would be the working title?

6.  Describe a day from your past you would go back and relive if you could.

7.  What do you think happens after we die?

And finally – my award nominees!  I am relatively new to this world so I am still developing my own feed, but I want to shout out some of the folks I read regularly:

The Keen Peach

Some Day Sunny

No Rules, Just Run



Ok folks, that’s it for now – go check out some of these amazing (growing!) blogs and leave your comments here, too. 🙂

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

My girl The Keen Peach nominated me for this fun award and I am honored – this is the first blogger-type award I’ve received and it’ll be fun to pass on the accolades.

Part of the nomination is to fill out this supershort and fun questionnaire, so here you guys go – a bit more fun about ThisFitBlonde!

In one word, how would you like your readers to describe your blog?

Must-read (hey, a hyphenated word is still a word).

Which is your most favorite among your blog posts and why?

A lot of my posts are fun, fab, and fitness-oriented in vibe, which is exactly what I want from this blog (and for you, my readers!).  But I wrote a piece back in August 2014 about body image and what it feels like to work in an industry focused so much on bodies, weight, and perfection – and I still think it has a lot of value.

What inspires most of your blog posts?

My own professional life as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor is the best motivating force for me to keep writing, but I am also inspired by current events (hello, red carpet posts!) and other bloggers (my Weekend Roundup entries).

What do you aspire to accomplish this year?

This is going to be a big year for me – I’m getting married, considering a big move, and working on building ThisFitBlonde into a more comprehensive brand.

What do you aspire to learn this year?

I need to learn more about blogging as a profession and industry rather than just a hobby, and I am taking an advanced prenatal fitness certification course to deepen my knowledge of working with pregnant women in a gym setting.

What is your favorite book? Why?

Even though I think she’s a crazy person in real life, Kristin Armstrong’s Mile Markers is a powerful, motivating reminder of why it is important for us women to keep running – no matter what life brings.

What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?

Move from Chicago to L.A. at age 16 to start college early.  Oh, and I jumped out of a plane once.

If you could be a superhero, what would be your super power?

To be able to fly, because then I could travel anywhere I wanted for free.

Who is your female role model?

I have lots – my mom, Hillary Clinton, Jamie Eason, Jillian Michaels.

And that’s it from me!  Now comes the time to nominate other bloggers.  For those of you reading on from other blogs, here’s how you “pay it forward” with the sisterhood:

  • thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  • put the award logo on your blog
  • answer the ten questions sent to you (the same questions above)
  • nominate seven blogs

So come and git it, somedaysunny, The L.A. Good Wife, O at the Edges, We killed the American dream, Blonde Ponytail, Maria Mind Body Health, and This Is Why You’re Single.  You’re nominated!

50 Things About ThisFitBlonde

I want to welcome all my new readers and followers by doing one of those catch-all “about me” posts – because hey, if you’ve never met me, this might be new info for you!

And to those loyal readers who do know me in person, well – here’s a chance to dig a little bit deeper into my psyche (don’t say I didn’t warn you) and find out what’s rumbling around this skull of mine in 2015.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:00am, because Mondays are my “late” days.

2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare these days.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Just saw Wild last night.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Right now, Orphan Black, but in life, The Simpsons.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Tie: Singapore and L.A.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Banana and peanut butter on Ezekiel bread.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Indian by a landslide.

8. What foods do you dislike? Not too much anymore – not a huge fan of lemongrass.

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Is my own kitchen overselling it?

10. Favorite dressing? Ranch for life.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Hyundai Veloster and it’s ballin’.

12. What are your favorite clothes? Gym clothes, since that’s all I wear anyway.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Dying to go to Thailand, South Africa, and Greece.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Always half full – I’m the eternal optimist!

15. Where would you want to retire? Too far away for me to think about realistically.

16. Favorite time of day? Sunrise, because everything is still possible.

17. Where were you born? Woodstock, IL.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Football, because ‘Murica.

19. How many siblings? 1 big brother!

20.Favoritepastime/hobby: Working out/running, duh.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? It’s not an email chain, so who cares?

22. Bird watcher? Nope.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? 100% morning.  I sleep at night.

24. Do you have any pets? Sigh.  Not right now. 😦

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Oh hi, I’m getting MARRIED in 6 weeks.

26. What did you want to be when you were little? An Olympic gymnast.

27. What is your best childhood memory? Every holiday and every vacation.

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog of course!  Woof!

29. Are you married? See #25

30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, I don’t have a death wish.

31. Been in a car accident? Yeah, the one that was my fault that totaled my first car.

32. Any pet peeves? Indecisiveness, laziness, and poor grammar.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Pepperoni FTW, mushrooms if the group will abide.

34. Favorite Flower? Not a big flower person – er – roses?  Eh.

35. Favorite ice cream? All the ones with tons of junk in them – like super-chocolate-cookie dough-caramel-chip-explosion.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? In N Out, with Carl’s/J-Box in a tie for second.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? None, by grace.

38. From whom did you get your last email? A woman for whom I am doing a contracting job.  Scintillating.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Urban Home.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? This question reminds me how dull I’ve been lately.  Thanks.

41. Like your job? LOVE my job.

42. Broccoli? Not a real question.  But I do like it.

43. What was your favorite vacation? The first Singapore trip in 2007, where everything was amazing and new.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with: obviously Nick.

45. What are you listening to right now? Nothing, I like silence around the house.

46. What is your favorite color? Yellow/orange/pink/warm & bright colors of all kinds.

47. How many tattoos do you have? Five.  More in the future I hope!

48. How many people will fill this out? Again, not an email chain.  Lame.

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 8:53am, seven minutes ahead of deadline for this entry.

50. Coffee Drinker? Big time.

I’d love to know more about YOU – fill this out and link back to me so I can get to know you better!

The 10 Resolutions I Won’t Make in 2015

Taking a cue from my fellow blogger Kaily at Someday Sunny, I’ve been thinking (too much) about my 2015 resolutions.  I pretty much feel like you’re either a “resolutions person” or you’re not, and I’ve always been one.

What can I say?  I love goals, challenges, new beginnings, and structure.  So resolutions are my thang, yo.

In 2013, I gave up coffee for a full year.  In 2009, I wouldn’t drink a drop of alcohol until I qualified for the Boston Marathon.  In 2011, I started flossing every single day (and still do!).

But this year is going to be a big one for me.  I am getting married, changing my name, and refocusing my brand (from the now-defunct bene-fit to, of course, ThisFitBlonde!), among other unforeseen and potential surprises.  I feel like I can’t focus on resolutions right now with so much in limbo – and there’s nothing I hate more than a goal I can’t reach.

So, instead, I figured I’d make a (brief) list of the things I won’t be doing in 2015.  Consider it an act of rebellion, at least for us resolutions-types:

1. I will not stop buying the unnecessarily large 36 ounce jars of Adams peanut butter.  I stand by the fact that it’s a healthy snack and YES I NEED THAT MUCH.

2.  I will not freak out if I miss my step goal in a given day.  Yes, I set the bar unnecessarily high at 20K steps daily.  But I am not a failure if I get, say, 17,500.  It’s fine.

3.  I will not go a day (that we’re physically together) without kissing my fiance (soon to be husband!) on the lips.  A big ol’ smacker.

4.  I will not stop my newly formed habit of reading at night.  I like it.  It settles me, even if I sacrifice a few minutes of sleep for it.

5.  I will not feel guilty for drinking K-cups.  Yeah, I know they’re full of mold.  But they take like two seconds to brew at 5am, and for that I am grateful.

6.  I will not stop my addiction to buying (countless sets of) nice, matching pajamas.  I feel cute and special when I wear them, and I get them at TJ Maxx anyway, so there.

7.  That said, I will not overspend on cheap crap.  “Crap” in this case defined as food, shoes, clothes, purses, housewares, and all the other “filler” stuff that I somehow find myself dropping pointless money on when I get bored, mad, or otherwise distracted.

8.  I will not stop watching Say Yes to the Dress.  Yes, I already have my wedding dress.  And will soon be married.  But that does not diminish my enjoyment of the show one bit.

9.  I will not waste energy getting mad at online trolls/commenters.  Their lives are lonely and sad.  Why should I add to their misery with a well-crafted response to their stupidity?

10.  And finally…I will not break myself down over any of the aforementioned “will nots.” Let 2015 be the year of freedom from constraint!  Action without guilt!  Oh, the possibilities.

What resolutions won’t be on your list this year?  Let ’em go!

Would Amanda Eat It?

It’s the last WAEI (oh wait, that’s the worst acronym EVER) of the year, so I figured I’d take a recent request – the Oatmega Bar.

Oatmega bars are new to me; in fact I had to look up the company and the product as I’d never heard of either.  They are apparently a new granola-protein bar hybrid touting non-GMO status and general good health for the consumer.  So, would I eat it?

The good:

  • there are 14g of protein per 190-calorie bar, which is decent compared to some other bars (but still not great since two eggs gives you basically the same amount with zero carbs and only 140 calories)
  • super high in fiber – 7g, nearly 30% of your recommended daily intake
  • although there is sugar, it’s only 5g (less than most servings of breakfast cereal), and the chocolate in the bar is unsweetened

The bad:

  • that darn sugar strikes again – this time in the form of “organic brown rice syrup.”  Why, oh why can’t we find products that rely on the natural sweetness of its ingredients (in this case, peanut butter and chocolate) and not additives?
  • a few “mystery ingredients” here – sunflower lecithin, vegetable glycerin, and tapioca starch, to name a few – but mostly binders rather than harmful chemicals
  • this is splitting hairs, but I am always baffled about the use of whey protein in an otherwise gluten-free bar; you could easily make the bar dairy-free as well by subbing in a vegan protein (but again, that doesn’t make the bar bad per se)

The verdict:

  • ok, by now you’ve probably figured out that I am not a fan of processed food in general, but if I were to recommend a bar, this one isn’t bad at all.  The ingredients are whole and organic, the bar is non-GMO, and the gluten-free factor doesn’t hurt at all.
  • would I still recommend eating two hard-boiled eggs to get your protein without a drop of sugar, salt, or carbs?  Of course.  And do I always recommend that my clients who absolutely must rely on bars make their own healthy versions at home?  Yes, yes I do.

So that’s it for this week’s product, readers – the Oamega survives (mostly) unscathed.

What would you like to see me break down next week?  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page!

Weekend Roundup

I know, I know – I’ve been an absolutely reprehensible blogger this week.  Can I claim wedding stress?  Holiday engagements?  Work ramping up before the break?  Well, whether I can claim those excuses or not, that’s where I’ve been – but now I’m back.

Let’s kick off the weekend with our friendly ol’ roundup – looking around the internets for what I am interested in – and think you’ll really like, too!

If there is a heaven, my dear Spartacus will be waiting for me there.  Even the pope says so.

LA might know sunshine, but NYC knows soup.  Here’s a dozen amazingly seasonal recipes.

If you haven’t picked up your ugly holiday sweater yet, this is your last chance.

I LOVE doing glitter makeup at the holidays, but I always worry about looking like a trashy disco ball.  This tutorial takes the guesswork out of it.

Gift guides are fun because they’re always over-the-top and ridiculous.  This one is for the stylish, high-end yogi in your life – or more likely, in your dreams.

Free online and TV-based personal training?  Yep, NBC is doing it.  And it looks awesome.

Y’all know I love the cheap thrills from Forever 21.  This week they’re so cheap they’re FREE.

What are you reading about and looking at this holiday season?  Leave a link!

What I’m Thankful For

In my continued attempts to become a Super Legitimate Outstanding Blogger (a SLOB?  oh wait…), I joined the SoCal Blogger Society a couple weeks ago – and their monthly link up topic for November is ever-so-apropos:

What are you thankful for?

Granted, readers, I see that the calendar has indeed turned over to December, but I think that given my recent (brief!) blog break and the gratitude that I feel so deeply during the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to respond to the prompt.  So here we go:

What are you most thankful for this year?honeymoon

Last year (October 16, 2013, if you’re tracking) I got engaged to the love of my life – so this year, I have been thankful all year for my fiance, our wedding plans, and the promise and excitement of our life together.

What made you decide to start your blog?

As a personal trainer, nutritionist, and wellness coach, I get a lot of questions from clients and friends about health and wellness – and if I may toot my own horn, I do feel that I give professional and helpful advice (check me out on the #AskAmanda thread on Twitter!).  I wanted to have a place to give that advice not only to clients and friends but to anyone who wants to read it, and also to open a dialogue about what it’s like to be me – usually fitness-oriented, but not always.  It’s just real.

germanWhat is your favorite thing to do in Southern California in the fall?

Since the end of September technically counts as fall, my favorite thing to do is go to Oktoberfest with my family – either Alpine Village or Old World (or both!).  But since that part of fall is already over, I’d have to say my favorite thing is simply to get out for a decent run and have it not be 75+ degrees (I typically have to run midday!).  Also – listening to nonstop Christmas carols on KOST 103.5 brings me the greatest joy in December.

What are the three items in your closet you can’t live without?

1.  My lululemon Wunder Under leggings

2. My Kate Spade Southern California map tote

3.  My cropped taupe moto jacket (similar here)

So then – what are you thankful for?

As I said around my holiday table, I am so thankful for my family, my friends, and my health – these things alone are the basis of lifelong happiness.  But even more than that, I am thankful for everything in my life that allows me to enjoy that type of happiness – the loyalty and thoughtfulness of my closest friendships, the enduring unconditional love of my family, and the security and worth in the job that I do that allows me to stay healthy and well.

Readers, what are YOU thankful for? 

Weekend Roundup

I’ll be honest: the holiday weekend totes got the best of me.  Here I was on November 1st, rocketing toward #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) success, blogging every day – and now here I am on November 30th, having not blogged in nearly 5 days.  Five!

Le sigh.  Life happens?

That said, the days in between my last entry and today have been filled with joy, family, beer, and even a little bit of rain – which means they’ve been about the best days I can imagine.  So let’s get moving onward to what’s going around the internets this holiday week!

If you’re looking for the ultimate classy gym bag for the stylish man (or woman!) in your life, look no further.

While you’re at it, check out the absolute most fabulous yoga mat I’ve ever seen (and this is from someone who practices on a blue zebra-print yoga mat).

And you guys, have you seen the trompe l’oeil “sequined” workout wear from lululemon?  They’ve outdone themselves this holiday season.

Ok but really, who knew H&M had such fabulous, well-priced workout wear?

Moving on from my fitness-focused shopping list, let’s consider what any woman might want on her Santa list this Christmas (clueless folks, this is a great starting point).

Ever wondered what Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof coffee, might have in his fridge?  Spoiler alert: it’s shockingly healthy.

Pumpkin spice lattes, you’re done: coconut hot chocolate exists.

Free YouTube workout videos are the gift you can give yourself.  Daily.

What are you checking out online this holiday season?  Any #cybermonday tips for me?