From IG to IRL
You know I love to schedule fitness classes with friends as a replacement for heavy brunches and back to back nights of grabbing drinks. If you're as social as I try to be outside of work, you know the brunches and bevvies (coffee included) can cause a swing in the wrong direction for your health and wallet. So why not suggest an activity that will benefit your mind, body, and/or soul next time you schedule catch up time with a friend?
This is the message I’m always preaching. So when my friend and fellow blogger Sam (wonderland sam) and I decided to start planning events to bring like-minded women together, it was only natural for our first event to be fitness-focused. Read on to find out what it was really like to plan our first #SheConnectsIRL event!
It's Saturday, July 8. Brian and I are caffeinating at the gorgeous Verve Coffee Downtown LA. This is only my third time ever in DTLA. I'm 90 minutes out from an event I planned with one new friend for (mostly) strangers in a fitness studio I’ve never tried but heard great things about.
Brian asks if I'm nervous or excited. I say neither. Sam and I had announced the event two weeks ago and from that point on we had been in execution mode. Week 1 was crazy with work as usual. Week 2 I was in Sag Harbor, New York celebrating July 4 with an extra long weekend filled with loved ones and quality time. Aka not a good time to be whipping out the laptop for hours either. As with everything blog-related, I had to find random little pockets of time to chip away at event readiness. Sam and I passed the torch back and forth on every little duty: creating our first ever RSVP form on my website; following up with sponsors; coordinating to pickup goods from sponsors; emailing girls to let them know if they were confirmed or not; and that's just the beginning. Each task alone seemed simple but together it was TIME consuming. It was nonstop action until go time. Not gonna lie, “let’s finish this one and never do this again” definitely crossed my mind.
But let me just cut to the chase. The event was wonderful. Every little thing fell into place and there is nothing I would have changed. Throughout the entire event I had this calm sensation that I was in the best of company and everything that was supposed to happen, had happened. The rush to get ready for this event after announcing two weeks out was so worth it. Despite it being a huge undertaking, everything went right:
My event partner Sam and I communicated well and seemed to have exact opposite schedules. On the days she was on fire, I was tied up and vice versa. We did a great job of finishing one chunk then letting the other person know what to do next.
Within 24 hours of posting about the event, we had a full guest list and waitlist. This saved us time eliminating the need to promote the event further. But because we weren’t charging for the event, we definitely worried that a lot of girls would sign up then back out last minute. But guess what? We FILLED Bar Method DTLA to the BRIM with the sweetest girls. You could feel the positive vibes in the air. Everyone was making faces and lamenting together about each move that hurt so good during Crystal’s workout.
When Sam and I first decided to start planning events together, we thought it would be hard to get committed sponsors. We started by reaching out to exactly who we wanted. No one said no or failed to respond. No one.
Venue: Bar Method Downtown LA
We put feelers out there with a few of our absolute favorite fitness studios and received an overwhelming response. We actually had to plan several events up front just to pack everyone in (so stay tuned for what’s next!) Bar Method was our first confirmed venue, and it couldn’t have been a better inaugural #SheConnectsIRL venue. They were even generous enough to raffle off a 5 pack of classes!
Nutritionist: Miriam Jacobson
Miriam (@everybodybliss) jumped on board to host an advice and Q&A session with the girls right after the workout! We met her for the first time at the event and she was such a delight! The group asked some great questions – Does coffee cause anxiety? How do you eat differently on a day where you cannot fit in a workout? Are cold-pressed juices healthy?
I got in touch with my friend Lauren (remember her from my first #WholeRoleModels interview?) and she agreed to supply Aukalife superfood blends for the crew! I accidentally had her send them to San Francisco even though I'd be in Los Angeles until the event. Long story short, they ended up traveling from Boston to SF, then SF to NY with Brian, then NY to LA with me. Quite a journey for the little guys, but we're so glad they made it because we were getting texts and emails the next day about how much everyone loved them in smoothies and yogurts!
I reached out to Brain Boost Nutrition after reading about their superfood bars on Instagram. They're a local LA startup run by a father and son who are devoted to intentional ingredients and processes in superfood production. I tried their bars and was in love. When I reached out to co-founder Rick, we instantly clicked. We met in person and exchanged samples in Venice, CA the day before the event! Good thing it came through at the last minute because everyone was DEVOURING their @brainboostnutrition bars while talking nutrition with Miriam!
Pop Up Shop: Karuna Apparel
Karuna showed up to raffle off a hat and provide a 15% off discount to all attendees! Fun fact: 10% of their proceeds go to animal rights. We also met co-founder Brittany IRL for the first time at the event. She was totally adorable and also endured the barre workout with us!
Photography: Laurence Tan
Laurence stopped by to snap some amazing photos of the crew right after squeezing and tucking with Crystal, and right before our nutrition session with Miriam! Cheers again to men supporting women's endeavors.
Throughout the whole event, I kept coming back to the same quote from Shelley Zalis that continues to be a major driver behind what I do:
"At that moment, I understood the power of the pack. Women alone can be powerful, but together, we can have impact."
So I've officially drank the kool-aid and can't wait to announce our second event tomorrow! Stay tuned and make sure to secure your spot!