10 reasons why swimming is the greatest activity:

1. It lets you appreciate the warmth of summer without sweating.

2. You can get exercise, again, without sweating.

3. Water aerobics.

4. Swimming with a cap on feels oddly amazing.

5. It can be done alone or with friends (but if you’re going alone, at least tell someone. Safety first).

6. The quiet when you’re submerged is peaceful in a way nothing else can be.

7. It works almost all (!) the muscles in the body.

8. It gives your knees a break from all the running, walking and jumping you do.

9. Vitamin D and fresh air.

10. Diversity is the spice of life. I’m sure someone said that. It breaks up your normal workout and life routines. So it’s good for your brain and your body. What better reason can there be than that?!

This summer I had the opportunity to do a lot of swimming - it was the best! These are just some of the public places I was able to go to in addition to all the pools I visited. I’m sorry to see swimming season come to an end (I don’t swim indoors).

Where do you recommend swimming? I’d love to find some new spots!

Lake Anna 

Patapsco State Park

Patterson Park Public Pool

NCR (Northern Central Railroad)

What is your personal system for productivity that you keep listed on your desk? I'm inspired by your enhanced productivity and would love to hear more about minimizing distractions in the office! Thank you! — Asked by Anonymous

Great question! I work as the Social Media Manger for a company (Medifast) that is made up of multiple social channels. So I need to post and respond to all social platforms for three different channels. That is specific to me, but the point is that I have a routine to return to when I get off track, and a set of priorities that I must accomplish every day. I’m betting you can apply this method to your job too. 

  1. Briefly check email to be sure nothing urgent is happening.
  2. Go through calendar of meetings for the day as well as calendar of postings - add any “to-dos” to my physical list.
  3. Check all Facebook Pages for notifications and respond to messages/comments.
  4. Respond to Basecamp notifications to be sure projects are moving forward.
  5. Now go through email and Delete, File, or Take Action (another productivity tip I learned). Add any more “to-dos” to my physical list.
  6. Check other social platforms for all accounts and respond appropriately.
  7. Prioritize “to-do” list and mark what needs accomplished today. Put other items on “to-do” list for tomorrow.

Hope this helps! I’d love any feedback if you try it out and have some tips to improve it.

bublog:

Hang out privately with BUB, watch a ton of hilarious cat videos, and help raise an insane amount of money for animals in need at Saturday’s Chicago CatVidFest: http://bit.ly/ChicagoCatVidFestBUB and I will be hosting the Chicago CatVidFest this Saturday at The Metro. There will also be four 30 minute intimate BUB Meet-and-Greets preceding each screening, each one limited to only 24 people. Tickets to the screenings and Meet and Greets are available at the link above. The Meet and Greet for this event is unlike any we have ever done before. Rather than stand in line to wait for a quick photo with BUB, you will get to hang out with her in a casual and comfortable environment, for 30 minutes with only 23 other people (and me). You will be able to take photos, pet her tiny head, ask us questions, and may even win the chance to have her sit on your lap. The Meet and Greets alone will raise more than $10,000 in one day, so you can also feel good knowing that treating yourself to some BUB-time also helps many animals in need.This is a fundraising event, so all proceeds from CatVid tickets and the meet and greets benefit homeless pets.

If only I lived in Chicago!

bublog:

Hang out privately with BUB, watch a ton of hilarious cat videos, and help raise an insane amount of money for animals in need at Saturday’s Chicago CatVidFest: 
http://bit.ly/ChicagoCatVidFest

BUB and I will be hosting the Chicago CatVidFest this Saturday at The Metro. There will also be four 30 minute intimate BUB Meet-and-Greets preceding each screening, each one limited to only 24 people. Tickets to the screenings and Meet and Greets are available at the link above. 

The Meet and Greet for this event is unlike any we have ever done before. Rather than stand in line to wait for a quick photo with BUB, you will get to hang out with her in a casual and comfortable environment, for 30 minutes with only 23 other people (and me). You will be able to take photos, pet her tiny head, ask us questions, and may even win the chance to have her sit on your lap. The Meet and Greets alone will raise more than $10,000 in one day, so you can also feel good knowing that treating yourself to some BUB-time also helps many animals in need.

This is a fundraising event, so all proceeds from CatVid tickets and the meet and greets benefit homeless pets.

If only I lived in Chicago!

Summer of Productivity

My BFF Molly and I lamented months ago about how little time we feel like we have, and of that time, we don’t feel like we’re making the most of it. We’re both in our LOW-thirties now, so call it a third-life-crisis - we have so much we want to accomplish and life is passing us by. 

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And so instead of sitting around complaining, we decided to actually DO something about it. Thus began the summer of productivity. We’re really good at research, which is an uppity way to procrastinate, but in the end, we took away some tidbits that have really helped! Proving that…

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1. Make Yourself Uninterruptable Sometimes

I’ve begun putting in headphones when I really need to get shit done. That’s the universal office sign for “do not talk to me under any circumstances! Unless there’s free food in the breakroom, then send me an instant message or an email, and only if I don’t see those, then you can interrupt me.” Sometimes I listen to music, or a podcast I don’t have to concentrate on, or nothing at all. The illusion of not being able to hear really works to keep social butterflies at bay.

2. Learn this secret to getting stuff off your own plate.

The secret is to delegate. For a person like me who has been doing the job of four people as a team of one for quite some time, delegation was tough at first. I knew exactly what I wanted to post, using particular language, at specific times. However, I found I was missing out on trainings, greater strategy planning, and big-picture ideas when I was consumed with all the tiny details. Slowly I learned to let go. It sucked when the person you delegate to makes a mistake, because YOU never would! Yeah, right. But then they come up with a great idea you hadn’t thought of and then YOU come up with a great idea you wouldn’t have had the time to think of and it all becomes worth it.

3. Have a Personal System

I now began every day the same. I keep the list of the order of my morning routine by my computer. Before, I would start off great, then get sucked into email, the vortex that is the internet, voicemails and when I’d try to get back on track I’d be lost as to how to do so. I couldn’t remember where I’d left off let alone where to pick back up. Now I just look at my list and get right back into my routine should I happen to stray.

I’ve picked these things because they’ve had the most immediate effect on my day-to-day productivity. The results are now I feel more accomplished and like I’m making better use of my time. It’s not a perfect system yet and I’m still anxious about achieving enough, but overall, I’m getting more shit done and feel better at the end of the day. 

Happy National Dog Day from me and my best friend Manny!! 

I have a number of friends debating about getting a dog or not. Here are my top 3 reasons why they should:

1. It forces you to exercise. Even when you’re feeling lethargic, you have to walk the dog. And then once you’re out there you see how much your pup loves it, you’re getting fresh air, and it motivates you to walk a little further. 

2. They’re awesome cuddlers. My husband is great at giving hugs, but no one cuddles like Manny. He just wants to be on top of you as much as possible, and sometimes, after a hard day, that’s exactly what you need to feel better.

3. Dogs are hilarious. Look at Manny walking around a baby pool drinking along every lap. He’s hysterical! Really, constant entertainment. 

Sure, I could give a few reasons why not to get a dog, but in honor of this special holiday, I’ll just stick with the positives. If you have a dog, be sure to give him an extra pat to celebrate today!

Summer’s ending + I just had a birthday = time to bring the blog back. 

anditslove:

Luna inhaling raspberries. 

Psyched to be attending this conference next week! Things I hope to learn while I’m there:
1. How to manage a social media department all by yourself.
2. Top social tools to use to make the job more efficient.
3. Best practices of social media marketers.
4. How to get people to see your posts in light of the Facebook change. 
5. Make lots of friends who find this social marketing stuff as much fun as I do!
getsocialbuzz:

Find out what @MariSmith @ChrisBrogan and @MichaelHyatt share in common http://bit.ly/SocialMMW  #SMMW14

Psyched to be attending this conference next week! Things I hope to learn while I’m there:

1. How to manage a social media department all by yourself.

2. Top social tools to use to make the job more efficient.

3. Best practices of social media marketers.

4. How to get people to see your posts in light of the Facebook change. 

5. Make lots of friends who find this social marketing stuff as much fun as I do!

getsocialbuzz:

Find out what and share in common

  • Ceramics made in pottery class (thanks Groupon!).
  • Pre-made healthy lunches for the week.
  • Old friends/warm sun/brunch in Georgetown.
  • Valentine from my friend’s 3-year-old son.
  • My New Year’s Resolution was to learn to make sauces - it’s not pretty, but it tasted good!

These are the first five days of my #100HappyDays! I missed a few days, but am back on it. I love how observant it’s making me and a little less stressed about stupid stuff. I say a “little,” as I am still stressing. Hopefully after 100 days that will change! I will be so happy if it does, and I’m sure my husband will certainly be too ;)

Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?

I haven’t been consistent, but I’ve done this for a few days and plan on making it a habit. The days I have done it, I’ve noticed a better sense of priority in my life and, to be totally cliche, a better abilitly to not sweat the small stuff. Give it a try, and thanks to RLB, Inc for bringing it to my attention!

Startup Grind Baltimore Presents Bobby Ocampo

Startup Grind Baltimore presents Bobby Ocampo at the SocialToaster headquarters this Thursday, March 6th from 6-9pm. Purchase your tickets and enjoy networking, food, and fireside chats!

 
#girlpower

#girlpower

It’s a snow day! We got about 8 inches last night even in the city, which does not happen often. So Matt and I are both home today and cozily trapped inside watching the Olympics and eating mini pot pies.

That’s right, I planned ahead for this and got all four ingredients it takes to make these super-cute little chicken pot pies. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed 
  • 2 cups thawed mixed vegetables (I used peas and carrots, but you can use whatever you have in the freezer)
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 roll (16.3 oz) of Grands! Flaky Layer Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the chicken, soup, and veggies in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. 

Grease eight of the cups in a muffin pan. Flatten a biscuit in your hands until it’s about 5 inches in diameter. Spread it out in the muffin cup so it’s like a  little bowl with the ends coming up and over the top. Generously fill the cup with the mixture and pinch the sides together. Repeat for each muffin.

Put in the oven for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are browned. They’re delicious and awesome. Just be sure to protect it from Kitty.

(I’m not eating a mountain of pasta - that’s a salad plate.)

Ready for an awesome easy dinner? Here’s what you need:

Matt picked this seasoning packet up from the grocery store in an effort to help us get together quick, easy, healthy dinners. We haven’t been the best with planning ahead so he thought this might improve our efforts and it definitely did!

The ingredient list and recipe is right on the back of the packet. You mix the seasoning kit with the oil and coat the tomatoes and chicken (which are on a foil lined baking sheet), reserving 3 tbl of the mixture. Put it in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.

While that’s baking, cook the pasta.

I wanted more vegetables so I also sauteed sliced white mushrooms.

It all finished at the same time, which is a huge accomplishment for me, but was so easy with this. I drained the pasta then mixed it with the tomatoes, chicken, mushrooms, juice from the baking sheet, 3 tbl of mixture, and the basalmic vinegar. Top with a little parmesean cheese if you wish. It was delicious, filling, and a pretty quick clean up to boot. 

I loved this concept so much, that I’m even more excited to try the Wildtree spices and oils that I have. More on that adventure coming soon!

Nothing makes you want to bake like getting a brand new beautiful Kitchen Aid Mixer. 

Nothing makes you want to bake like getting a brand new beautiful Kitchen Aid Mixer.