Improving My Blog Through Blog Brûlée

It’s hard to commit to a behavior change when you feel that you have too much on your plate. I hear this from clients all the time…”work is stressful right now so I don’t have the energy to cook” or “I don’t have time to exercise because I have too many other things to get done.” There are many more excuses, and I will admit that plenty of them have come from my own mouth.

Recently, I came to the realization that in order to make positive changes, you MUST feel that there is a reason for doing it, i.e. eating better to manage diabetes or to lose weight or exercising to become stronger. For example, I never find it difficult to eat healthy because I feel a million times better when I eat well versus when I eat crap. And I can see my body changing and my strength improving with exercise, so of course I want to keep it up.

As much as I love blogging, it is something that I have to devote major time and energy towards without necessarily seeing a major benefit (as in, more readers or revenue). Consequently, I don’t post often, which means my readership doesn’t improve, which means I continue to not make money off of my blog. Kind of a vicious cycle, no?

Enter Blog Brûlée, also known as the kick in the pants, savior, inspirer and booster-upper that I’ve been seeking (okay, I haven’t gone yet, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll be saying these things — and then some — after the event). 

blog brulee

My attendance at the Blog Brûlée is/was partially funded by Sponsors of the Blog Brûlée (hyperlink to, and I received a discounted registration to the event in exchange for writing this post. Opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for my time.

Blog Brûlée is an invitation-only, exciting, experiential weekend shared among a small, intimate number of healthy food bloggers and Registered Dietitian bloggers. The event is designed to provide education and professional development opportunities, as well as a forum for discussion and relationship building surrounding topics such as blogging and social media best practices, fundamentals of food photography, communication and marketing strategies, community niche development, brand identity and monetization.

I am sure that Blog Brûlée will provide many useful takeaways, but I am most excited to:

  • GET INSPIRED by like-minded bloggers, who are at all stages of their blogging journeys. There are truly some fantastic attendees going this year, who have already inspired me through their gorgeous photos, clever writing and delicious recipes. I CANNOT WAIT to meet these amazing ladies in person.
  • LEARN how to monetize my blog, take more captivating photos and communicate my food and nutrition knowledge to readers in a more engaging way.

But none of this would be possible without the masterminds behind Blog Brûlée. They are four amazingly talented women who continue to inspire me as a dietitian and [novice] food blogger: Regan Jones, RD (Healthy Aperture, The Recipe ReDux and RDs4Disclosure) Gretchen Brown, RD (kumquat), Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD (Teaspoon Communications) and Robin Plotkin, RD (Robinsbite).

There are also some fantastic sponsors, for whom I’m very thankful and with whom I’m incredibly excited to interact. In fact, I don’t think I could have chosen better sponsors myself. I am a huge supporter of them all and feel completely confident promoting their brands. They all represent REAL FOOD, which is my number one nutrition motto (#JERF).

So much excitement and it’s still nine days away!! Check out the awesome sponsors for yourself:










Liebster Award and Recognition

Wow! I must say I was truly honored when Amy of Foods for the Soul nominated me for a Liebster award. Being relatively new to blogging, I must admit I had to look up the Liebster award at first. It is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers (like I said, I’m new to blogging!) and has several rules (copied from Foods for the Soul’s post, One More Present!):

Share 11 facts about yourself.

Answer the awarder’s 11 questions.

Ask 11 questions of your own.

Nominate 11 bloggers.

liebster award

So, here it goes. Part one – 11 facts about me:

  1. I can do pull-ups! It took me about a month to work up to, but now I can do three sets of five pull-ups.
  2. I lived in Leuven, Belgium for 6 months, during which time I discovered a love for Belgian beer (Duvel is my favorite), fine chocolate and Leige Suker Waffle (AKA sugar waffles – completely different than regular “Belgian” waffles).
  3. I absolutely CANNOT stand country music. #nailsonachalkboard
  4. I have a major sweet tooth. Though I try to eat sweets sparingly, I could do some major damage. Fortunately, I love veggies, which helps counterbalance the love for sweets.
  5. One of my culinary goals for 2013 is to roast a whole chicken.
  6. I broke my foot (first metatarsal) in high school track whilst running a 200 m relay, and still got the best split in my relay team (wipes dirt off shoulder).
  7. I took pottery classes throughout high school as well as some classes at a local studio in recent years. I absolutely love wheelthrowing.
  8. Despite being 50% Armenian, I cannot tan to save my life. Pass the SPF 50, please!
  9. I once split a Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster four-ways (not a moment I’m particularly proud of).
  10. I attended University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (go Illini!) for undergrad and completed my dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago.
  11. I have an uncanny ability to remember song lyrics – rap, pop, my fourth grade musical…I remember them all. This has led to some embarrassing moments when my friends and loved ones have forced me to sing/rap. Hey – at least it’s a good party trick!

Part Two – Answer the awarder’s 11 questions:

  1. What flavor was your birthday cake this past year? Strawberry Shortcake from Frontera Grill in Chicago.
  2. Where was the last place you flew in an airplane? Los Angeles, CA for a trip to Redondo Beach and Hollywood.
  3. How often do you go to the grocery store? If I had my way, every day (I LOVE IT), but in reality, once a week.
  4. What’s your favorite quote? Ben Harper: “If you’re gonna finish, you’ve got to begin. Don’t fear what you don’t know; Just let that be your room to grow.”
  5. What would you most likely be found doing at 5 pm on a weekday? Working out. It helps me unwind from the day and gets my appetite rearing (plus gives me some time to plan my dinner!).
  6. How many countries have you visited? Nine. In alphabetical order: Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United States.
  7. Are you right- or left-handed? Right
  8. What did you have for breakfast this morning? Went out for brunch: 1/2 an omelet with peppers, tomato and basil, 1 slice whole wheat toast with Nutella (my weakness!), fruit. Plus I snuck a few potatoes from my brunch date.
  9. What was the last live performance you saw? One of my dearest friends, Janelle Kroll, at House of Blues Chicag
  10. If you had a garden, what would you plant? Everything! I’m a fruit and vegetable monger – lettuce, arugula, berries of all kinds, kohlrabi, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, herbs of all kinds, mushrooms, avocados (if only I lived somewhere where they’d actually grow). Oh and lots of kale, obviously.
  11. Why did you start blogging? I love to write, especially about topics that I’m passionate about, i.e. nutrition, food and health. I wanted to share my simple and delicious recipes with others and provide inspiration for people to start living a healthier life.

Part three – Ask 11 questions of your own:

  1. When and where did you last go out to eat?
  2. What is your favorite magazine?
  3. If you could master any skill, what would it be?
  4. What is one of your hidden talents?
  5. What is your least favorite vegetable?
  6. If you were an animal, what would you be?
  7. How do you take your coffee?
  8. Milk or dark chocolate?
  9. What does a “lazy Sunday” entail for you?
  10. What is your dream car?
  11. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Part four (the most important part) – Nominate 11 other deserving bloggers:

  1. running up the down escalator
  2. Our Studio Kitchen
  3. Create Yourself
  4. Health Without Sacrifice
  5. Chef Mollie B’s Kitchen
  6. Eat Well, Live Well
  7. Nutrition Check
  8. Les Délices de Fleur
  10. The Healthy Epicurean
  11. Pretty Happy Baking


And since everyone loves a good food picture, here is my Mediterranean Mint-Orange Quinoa:


Blog post/recipe to come…

Thanks again, Foods For the Soul, for nominating me!