by tinareale on December 18, 2012

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people in my life – family and friends. Blogging has certainly added to those relationships and this weekend strongly reminded me of that fact.

Saturday morning I met up with a good friend, Laura, to drive over to a special brunch.

old picture, but same good friend

Laura and I actually met through the blog a couple years ago when she recognized some places I had posted about visiting. When we realized we lived so close and had a lot in common, we started hanging out more and more. Now I consider her a dear friend and we’re even in the same women’s Bible study group now. Which is exactly the group we were headed to see for our brunch!

I don’t know how to put into words what small groups like these have done for me in my life. They have not only strengthened my walk with Christ and helped me to learn more about Him, but they have provided me with the some of the richest relationships and friendships along the way. I laugh and cry with the friends I have met through small groups and always know I can turn to them for anything. It’s neat to me that one of these meaningful friendships stemmed from this little ole hobby of mine. Back to the brunch, though!

This weekend we celebrated those relationships by gathering together for a laid-back, study-free morning brunch to enjoy true fellowship during our break between studies.

Personally, I’m starting to believe all potlucks should involve breakfast/brunch food. Talk about delicious!


I enjoyed a slice of breakfast casserole, a couple quinoa bites with spinach & egg, a special ham & cheese slider with lemon dijon poppyseed dressing, and a mini muffin. I ended up going back for seconds of the ham & cheese slider instead of eating the chicken salad croissant and also nabbed 2 donut holes that I somehow didn’t see the first go around. Red Velvet & Blueberry from Dunkin Donuts. I forget how tasty those things are!

I also contributed one of my favorite holiday things to bake – Terri’s Pumpkin Gingerbread. I made it two years ago and have pulled that recipe out ever since. It’s a must make. This time, into muffins instead of full loaves. Perfect for brunch.

From there, I had another date with a friend – Amy. She may have started as a personal training client this past January, but over the year we have certainly grown into friends.


It had been too long since our last time meeting up, so we put a lunch date on the menu – to try out a new to us restaurant called four40 kitchen and bar.

The four40 kitchen and bar looked very promising with a menu featuring all sorts of options. Ever since having an ahi tuna salad in Charleston, I had a craving for ahi tuna. The waiter recommended I not get the wonton tacos I was eyeing so I did something different and ordered this ahi tuna with Asian slaw sandwich.


Perhaps ahi tuna should NEVER come in sandwich form, but this was awful. The slaw had zero flavor and the tuna itself didn’t taste very fresh when I tried just eating it by itself. So, I ate the fries and left hungry. Oh well. The couple of hours I had with Amy made the lunch all the worthwhile. I may have to go back and try something different. Although she said her meal wasn’t too stellar either. So maybe not.

We also did a little gift exchange while there. I brought her a Rock N Roll New Orleans shirt (since I know she hopes to do that race someday) and some of my favorite holiday peppermint mocha fudge (another recipe I have to break out of the vault every year). And she so kindly gifted me with these:

Does she know me or what? Justin’s Vanilla is already by far my favorite and I cannot wait to try the Strawberry Lemonade Nuun! Yum!

It just goes to show even more how fabulous blog friends are and that they can become a truly central part of your life. This community adds so much to my life every day. Which is why I simply must give a shout out to a site with wonderful women who work SO HARD to continue building this community even tighter and more supportive than it already is.

Healthy Living Blogs

Healthy Living Blogs serves as a place to promote all types of healthy living blogs out there. To bring people closer together with their blog list by location – so you can meet, encourage, and support one another in real life. To help readers find new blogs to read and new inspirations within this wonderful group of people. They also share wonderful posts from around the web as well as useful tips and information on everything from health and fitness to blogging and social media.

HLB is currently aiming to reach some new members for the 2013 year and I really think you should become a part of this great site. The membership for the year is $10 and acts to help set off the maintenance of the site and the huge amount of time these women give -  a small price to pay to help support such a useful site with a great purpose in mind. Plus, it gives you a chance for greater blog exposure and cool opportunities.

I avidly believe in what HLB offers. They know what this whole blog things is all about. The community. The relationships. The love. The support. It’s become a huge part of my life and I don’t know where I would be without all of you and the friendships I have made through blogging. Thank you for being a part of that.

Your Turn: How have you made some of your closest friendships? Church and blogging for me! Have you heard of HLB?  If not, then you have to check it out!


1 MizFit December 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

It amazes me daily how many of my best friends I found our blogging community.

2 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed December 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

same. I never intended to make friends when I started blogging, and yet….

3 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 18, 2012 at 7:01 am

Fun weekend! I love meeting people through blogging. Some of my best friendships have been formed through it! ;)

4 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:51 am

Like ME! Hehehe.

5 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama December 18, 2012 at 7:07 am

I’ve met some really great people from blogging. It’s funny how it all just falls into place. BTW – checking out the pumpkin gingerbread recipe asap! Sounds delicious!

6 Erica { } December 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

Also looking up that recipe immediately!
I’m happy to say most of the incredible people I’ve met over the last year are all through the blogging/online community.

7 [email protected] Palate December 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

That gingerbread looks amazing! I’m a member though I feel a bit out of the loop here in Ireland!

8 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:52 am

Yea. You are a bit away. I so wish you lived closer!!! Although maybe that just gives me more motivation to travel overseas. Hmmm? ;)

9 [email protected] Palate December 19, 2012 at 8:01 am

Definitely! If you ever frequent these parts you’ve got yourself a tour guide!

10 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf December 18, 2012 at 7:34 am

It sounds like you had a really wonderful weekend. Close friendships and connections truly are so special. It amazes me how blogging has brought so many new connections in my life. I’ve also met some amazing folks in my community through my children and their friends.

11 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles December 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

I’ve only been in the blogging community for about half a year, but I’ve already made some friendships online that I value so much! Hoping that within the next couple of months I can start some real-life meetups.

12 Lauren December 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

Love weekends that include meet-ups with good friends. :) And I’m all over that pumpkin gingerbread! It sounds incredible!

13 Lee December 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

I have made lots of friends through blogging too. It’s a great way to meet people who share common interests.

It’s always the worst when you order something and it’s not good. I got trout for dinner on Saturday and it had the skin on it and it grossed me out. Funny thing is that I was debating between that an the ahi tuna salad.

14 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:53 am

Haha! Fish is just not our friend this past weekend. And I have to say that you are one of those great friendships I’m SO happy to have through blogging. :)

15 Libby December 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

Here’s to great friends, no matter how we met!! I am checking out that gingerbread muffin recipe!

16 Haley @ The Saucy Apple December 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

Love this post! I think I’ve made my closet friends through Church and work, but I’m hoping to make good friends as a blogger, too. I need to check out HLB!

17 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots December 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

ugh what a shame about the sandwich, I love ahi tuna! I have made a bunch of friends from blogging and i love it, even if I haven’t met in real life yet I feel like they get me!

18 Heather (Where's the Beach) December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

I’m kind of jealous you do live so close to some awesome bloggers. I love all the connections I’ve made through blogging. I guess my friendships have come from so many different places – childhood, through mutual friends, blogging, just pure luck.

19 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hold up. Dunkin Donuts has red velvet donut holes?! Cheat day can’t get here fast enough!!

20 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

Apparently they do! I’m so glad someone nabbed a couple later into the brunch because otherwise I would have completely missed out on that goodness. I don’t know how I missed it the first time. Normally I have a radar for things like that. ;)

21 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 18, 2012 at 9:37 am

I love when blog friends turn real friends. I swear it’s such a warm, welcoming and wonderful community made up of some of the greatest people. :)

22 Chivon December 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

Love this post! I’ve been so blessed to meet so many wonderful people through social media and blogging too. I’ll definitely need to check out the HLB community. Thanks for sharing!

23 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

I’ve definitely made my best friendships through blogs here in Chicago! It’s an easy way to meet women with similar interests. How did you find your bible study group, was it through your church?

24 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:58 am

Yep. The one for the brunch is actually one my friend and I organized, though. It originated at our old church and we wanted to continue meeting together that way even when we went our separate church ways. They may even have some you can find through places like too. I highly suggest going through a church you love though. Or hey – you and Chelsey could start one together. haha!

25 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

I agree, all potlucks should include breakfast foods! They’re the best! ;) I’m so glad you’ve been able to develop so many amazing friendships in your area. Church and blogging is how I’ve discovered most of my friends too. So fun!

26 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit December 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

Such a fun post about blog friends, I have made some great connections also! I just joined HLB this week :)

27 Miranda @ Biting Life December 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

I loooooove pumpkin gingerbread! I should make that again soon, mmmmm. I have my own recipe, though —

28 Maria @ lift love life December 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

I meet a lot of my friends through Facebook groups, work, volunteering, and through my husbands work. And oh my goodness, I love ahi tuna but also agree that it should never come in a sandwich! That’s just weird haha!

29 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

Yea. I really thought it was wrong but the ahi tuna just sounded so good so I gave it a shot. Wrong. On so many levels. haha.

30 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

You have got me in the mood for some vanilla almond butter, sounds interesting!

31 Tara Golzbein December 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

I love the relationships you have developed through your bible studies with both new friends and the Lord. That is one aspect of my church they do not have that I am yearning for. I have been considering a church further away as they have many many fellowship groups and a “younger crowd” than my current church. I LOVE your church, it seems so awesome….

32 Amanda December 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

This post just makes me smile thinking about how I have come to know some of my closest friends! College groups started from church and my roommates who I never knew before living with them are some of my bests! Looking back I can see God placing those people in my life right when I needed them.

33 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete December 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

There is a vanilla Justin’s Almond Butter?! Oh my gosh!! I need this!

34 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 6:00 am

It is AMAZING. Only at Whole Foods though. My friend actually found it in Vegas and brought some back for me because we can’t find it anywhere at WF around Atlanta. I don’t think it’s out in masses yet.

35 Sharla December 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

My best friends have been through church and volunteer work in the community. And some have been around so long I don’t know where they came from – ha!

I am definitely going to check out HLB. Thanks!

36 [email protected] December 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Mmmm Justin’s. So.freaking.good.

I love friends of all kinds–from the gym,church,work,school,blogs. LOVE.

37 Julianna @ Julianna Bananna December 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

i absolutely love my bible study! i’ve made some of the closest friendships i’ve ever had and i’ve only been in my bible study for about 10 weeks now. it’s made my huge college campus feel a little bit smaller and a lot more like home!

38 purelytwins December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

We feel the same way about friends and family, we feel so blessed! We have made and connected with so many amazing blogging people that now have turned into dear friends! We love that about blogging how we can connect with others from all over and call them friends!!! Love meeting up with blog friends along the way :)

39 Laura December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Aww… yay! Thanks for the sweet shout out…I forwarded this post to Ben and told him that I am now famous- haha. :-) I had fun on Saturday, too!

40 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 6:01 am

Haha! I meant to get a fresher picture together on Saturday…but we were too busy talking, huh? ;)

41 jobo December 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

oh how I love connecting with like-minded friends, like you! And I completely agree with you how wonderful it is to meet such people (still love that we got to meet TWICE this year!!). Truly make an imprint on our hearts!

PS – love breakfast! that looks divine
PPS – sucks about the ahi tuna! what a bummer!!

42 Nick Goodall December 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

It’s nice to see others connecting through blogging, I can imagine you can make some potentially great, lifelong friends, who are like-minded and have similar intentions!

P.s. Those muffins look fantastic! :)

43 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 6:02 am

You really can! It’s amazing to watch the friendships develop just through regular reading and interacting through Facebook and such.

44 Danielle December 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I am new to blogging as I began a couple of months ago. I have never heard of HLB but looked into it and feel that it could be very beneficial. Plus it’s only $10! What do I really have to lose? I would love to be able to get more famous in the blogging world – do you think this would be the way to go?

45 Katie December 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

Being more social and joining small groups is something I am really trying to foster in my own life. Really cool to see what a benefit it has been to you.

46 Bek @ Crave December 19, 2012 at 1:10 am

I’m looking for something like this! I wonder if this includes Australian bloggers?

47 tinareale December 19, 2012 at 6:02 am
48 [email protected] December 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

Although I myself participate recreationally in the HLB community (commenting, writing posts here and there as a freelancer) I honestly think its amazing. I look forward to reading healthy living blogs everyday not only for the information and advice, but for the stories of the writers and to see how they live individual and unique healthy lifestyles. It really is great.

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