Today, I am leaving on a jet plane and heading to Baltimore.  I’ll be attending (and speaking) at Fit Bloggin’.

FitBloggin’ is a conference for anyone who blogs about health, wellness, good food, fitness, etc.  I attended this conference last year as well.  I’m excited to meet many bloggers that I follow and look forward to being inspired.

Thursday afternoon there is an event at McCormick.  I can’t wait to learn more about spicing up food.  The conference agenda is jam-packed with informative and entertaining sessions.

I’m part of the Ignite Keynote Friday evening.  I’m excited, nervous and challenged.

I suppose by the end of Friday night, I’ll be relaxed and able to fully enjoy the rest of the conference.  As a bonus, my sister lives about 20 minutes from the conference hotel in Inner Harbor.  So, I’m crashing at her place and will get to spend time with her and her family on Sunday before flying back.

I’ll be telling you all more about my experience in Baltimore next week.

 Posted by at 9:00 AM

Last night was the monthly meet up for the Ohio Blogging Association.  We took a couple hours out of our busy schedules and volunteered at the Cleveland Food Bank.

Once we arrived, we watched a short video and Alan showed us a bit of the warehouse.  Since I used to run a packing and assembly warehouse, it was fascinating to see the facility.


There were several groups volunteering last evening.  Our OBA group worked on the BackPack for Kids Program.  This program is a discreet way to send children home with a back pack full of food for 6 meals.  The issue is that many children in need only eat at school.  When Friday comes, they don’t have food for the weekend.    The kids get a backpack and a can opener at the beginning of the year and each week they bring back their empty backpack and it gets refilled.  The webpage mentioned an average of 2,300 kids served a week, but I am pretty sure 3,700 is a more current number.  The thought of that many kids needing food for the weekend makes me sad.

George, who works for the food bank, got us started.  I volunteered to help keep the assembly line stocked.  I was in charge of Vienna sausage, pasta O’s, and corn.  Since each bag got two cans of pasta and corn, I was super busy.  I was also supposed to break down the cardboard and keep the area clean.  In actuality, I summoned help as needed for that part.  Within minutes, I was definitely sweating and getting a good workout.


The bags contained other things including milk, cereal, applesauce, etc.  The bags were nutritionally balanced and  included items that most kids would eat.  In addition to the line, we had people working on boxes and filling the skid.  By the end of our time, we had filled over 500 bags.


I posed with the new skid of corn.  We ran out for just a minute while the staff replenished our line with a new skid.


We had 11 bloggers in total participate.


In addition to myself, we had:

It was nice to see some familiar faces and also meet some new bloggers.  At the end of our volunteering time, we took a few minutes to introduce our blogs and make announcements.

While I was gone, Nick was asking Stephen where I was.  He explained to Nick that I was working at the food bank.  He further explained that a food bank organizes food so it can be given out to people who need it.  Nick made the connection to the Lenten Pretzels at church.  Each year, the kids make pretzels and sell them to congregation members.  The proceeds are used for a variety of projects to help other kids in need.  Nick made the connection that the pretzel money helped kids that need food, too.  It was super nice to hear that he was able to make the connection.

I was taking my lifeguarding class, but Stephen was able to snap a few photos.

Here’s a tray of finished pretzels and a couple of Nick applying the cinnamon sugar.


The food bank utilizes over 11,000 unique volunteers a year.  Kids 6 and older can volunteer on special family nights.  I’ll be keeping that in mind for when Nick and Sally are a little older.  It’s easy to take things we have for granted.  Volunteering last night really made me appreciate things a bit more today.


Here’s my part two of statistics from the past year of blogging.

Top three posts:
1. /2011/06/26/recipe-summer-squash-like-zucchini-fritters/
2. /2011/08/04/lyndhursts-brainard-road-splash-park/
3. /2011/06/11/recipe-chunky-tomato-béchamel-sauce/

At some point, I linked my zucchini fritter post to a popular blog.  I never expected so many hits on one post.  That day was my busiest for the blog.  The splash park was quite popular.  Last summer was the first season for the new park.  Then, there’s the standby of the béchamel sauce.  I wonder how many people actually made the recipe.

Top three category pages (by number of visits):
1. csa
2. recipe
3. u-pick

The top categories are from when people visit the blog and search based on a particular topic area.  It’s fun that my CSA and U-Pick topic areas have been so popular.  I’ve really been enjoying the eat local movement.  Getting to know local products and farms is fascinating.

2012 Plans

  • Continue U-Pick posts
  • Continue CSA Pick Up posts
  • Run series on joining and prepping for a CSA
  • Get back to exercise and weight loss posts
  • Continue to highlight adventures with Nick and Sally
  • Formalize more recipes (especially ones using local and real ingredients)
  • Continue to post everyday

Here’s to a great second year!

 Posted by at 10:39 PM

A year ago, I started this blog with help from my husband Stephen and lots of input from friends.  I’ve posted at least once a day ever since.  I’ve learned a lot about blogging since last January.  To commemorate today, I thought I’d share some statistics.

This blog had 6278 visits from 3130 unique visitors, who viewed 9799 pages.  When I started this blog, I never imagined that so many people would end up reading it.  I’ve also met some great folks along the way.

People from 64 countries visited the blog,  from every continent except Antarctica.  It’s cool that the web has such a great reach.  It makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family all over the globe.

The blog had visitors from from 47 states and DC.  Most visits were from Ohio.  Delaware came in second.   I guess I need to meet some folks in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  My in laws live in Delaware, so that stat makes sense.  The blog is an easy way for them to keep up with Nick and Sally adventures.

Top five search terms:
1. life lyn style
2. brainard splash park
3. lifelynstyle
4. patterson fruit farm
5. tomato bechamel sauce

The number 1 and 3 search terms aren’t a surprise because many people I run into can remember the name of the blog, but not the exact url.  Brainard splash park doesn’t seem to have it’s own website.  When people are looking for information on it, my post comes up frequently.  Patterson Fruit Farm is very popular in the Cleveland area, so there’s not really any surprise there.

The search term that surprises me is the tomato béchamel sauce.  I loved this recipe and will definitely make it again this summer.  It was such an easy way to use CSA veggies and tasted great.  I still am amazed that so many people search for this type of recipe.

It’s been a great year.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more statistics and some thoughts on year 2.

 Posted by at 7:02 PM

The Cleveland Chapter of the Ohio Blogging Association had a Holiday Party and Cookie Exchange last night.

Here’s Crystal from Eat*Drink*Cleveland, me and Julie from Wearing Mascara sporting our holiday hats.


There were lots of snacks and drinks to enjoy while we mingled.  This is only one of the tables of items to choose from.


There were so many cookies and treats for the exchange, that I needed two shots to capture them all.



Everyone left with a container full of mixed treats.

Alicia from Poise In Parma did an awesome job coordinating the event.  You can check out her post to see the list of attendees. Thanks to Crystal and Mark for hosting us.

The OBA group started having month meet ups back in January.  I attended my first one in the spring.  It’s a great welcoming group and we have a ton of fun.


About and hour ago, I received an email from Roni saying that I had won a ticket to Fit Bloggin‘.  I’m excited for the opportunity to attend.  She also announced the winners here.  The drawing was supposed to take place a few days ago, but Roni’s son decided to come early and she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Thursday.

I’m new to blogging and have some plans for my blog.  I’m hoping to get more ideas at the conference.  I’m also looking forward to meeting other bloggers.  I feel like I know so many of them already, so live and in person will be fun!

I’ve been eating well for several days now.  Junk food is even a bit unappealing.  I’m hoping that the upcoming conference will help keep me motivated.

Today’s workout:

12 min warm up following by a training session with Chelsea

  • lunge and press (overhead shoulder) w/10lb dumbbells – down the room and back
  • woodchops w/10lb core ball – 2 sets of 20ish in between hack squats
  • hack squat – 3 sets of 12 reps w/70lbs
  • push ups on the smith bar (at a lower angle) – 1 set of 10, 1 set of 8 (that almost killed me)
  • abdominal machine – 3 sets of 30 at 105lbs
  • bicep curl machine – 2 sets of 12 at 30lbs
  • row – 3 sets of 12 at 60lbs
  • regular squats with arms out – 2 sets of 15 (in between row)
  • dips off bench (for triceps) – kind of 3 sloppy ones.  I’ll be practicing these for sure.
  • plank-30 sec at the end of the workout
  • ended w/versa-cuffs on my ankles as I squatted down and side stepped across the room and back.  I’m sure there’s a more technical way to describe it.  :-)

I’m a bit stiff tonight.  I’m exhausted from being up with the kids 4 times total last night.  Hubby is out of town, so I am on my own.

Next up: cardio surprise in the morning.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM

The kids and I were running ahead of schedule today.  I expected us to be running late this week with the time change.  In reality, they are sleeping a bit later and I’m able to get packed up without the extra commotion.

We made it to the J in time for me to try out the 8:30am cardio class with Jody.  I know of Jody from another class I tried a few months back.  It was a sculpting class and too much time was spent on the knees for my ability.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from her cardio class.  She was awesome!  I would definitely take her class again.  It’s been a while since I took a cardio class (outside of spinning).  I need to work back up to it.

I decided to stay for 30min.  Then, I went to the fitness center where I practiced planks, side bends and did 40 squats with the stability ball.  At 9:30am, I went back to the group fitness studio and tried out the new Zumba instructor Susan S.  She was pretty good.  I would take her class again.  Zumba is fun.  It’s supposed to be a party atmosphere and the cues are not as pronounced.  It’s easy to get lost until you get used to the moves/instructor.

Since I have child care for 2 hours, I stayed in the Zumba class for 30min and then headed for a shower.

It was nice running into my friend Cristy today.  We’ve been friends since our kids were born and don’t see each other nearly enough.  I didn’t see her after the class, but I’m anxious to hear if she liked it.

My IT guy fixed my blogs, so hopefully everything will run smoothly for a while.

Next up: off day tomorrow and my Weight Watcher meeting (missed last week).

 Posted by at 10:35 PM

Today was an off day for exercise.  I did take a well needed nap for over 3 hours.  It felt great!

I’d like to take a minute to talk about the FitBloggin’ Conference.  This conference is coming up in May and will be held in Baltimore.  Basically, it’s a 2 day conference for men and women with blogs about being or becoming healthy.  I first found the website when I was getting ready to start my blog in January.  I was looking for other fitness type blogs so I could gather up some ideas about format and topics.  I came across this list in one of my searches.  It was on this list that I first met Kath Younger, Roni Noone (organizer), and other fit/food bloggers that I now follow daily.

Here are the main reasons that I want to attend the conference:

1) Meet Kath Younger and other bloggers that I follow

2) Network with new fitness and food bloggers – meet new friends

3) Learn about blogging

3) Stop and visit my sister who lives near BWI

4) Stop and visit my friend Erin who writes Anything You Lose, I Can Lose Better.

5) See the Inner Harbor

6) Spend a couple of days without the kids

7) Relax and rejuvenate

Originally, I didn’t think that I would try to go to this conference since my blog is so new, but they are having a ticket giveaway.  My entry to the giveaway is this blog post to help with the promotion of the conference.  :-)  They are giving away 5 tickets, so the odds are reasonable.
Next exercise: cardio workout and plank practice at the JCC in the morning.

 Posted by at 10:06 PM

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for several months now.  I’ve read, talked to other blog writers, thought about it, made notes, read some more, etc.  Finally, I just decided that I needed to do it.  Over the weekend, I purchased a domain name and signed up with a hosting service and was on my way.  I don’t know much about the technical side of things, but  I’m fortunate to have a great husband to help out with that.  Look for many changes over the next few weeks as I being to post and experiment with all of the format and styles available.  Feel free to let me know what you like and dislike as things start to shape up.

 Posted by at 1:12 PM