Blog-mercial

Hey everyone! Happy Monday to ya 😀 Hope your morning is going well so far.

Last night, it was so glorious to have a meal at home with the pilot, even if that meant I had to cook it 😉

We had a version of Rachael Ray’s Salmon Salad with orange vinaigrette. I’d made it once (and healthified it), so I just rolled with what I remembered. You can see the original Rizzle recipe here.

The star of the show was wild caught Salmon from Whole Foods

salmon

I seasoned it up with sea salt and pepper, pan-seared it, and baked it off in the oven.

MY OTHER VIDEOS

While the salmon baked away, I blanched some asparagus (which the pilot and I call “asparagi”), made the dressing out of orange juice, zest, agave, olive oil, rice vinegar, red onion, salt and pepper and sliced up the red onion, segmented oranges and pitted kalamata olives.

Here’s the finished product:

salmon salad

Perfect salad beast feast for two 😀

salmon salad (2)

‘Twas glorious.

I also put some raw okra chips in the dehydrator.. if they taste how they smell, I will post the recipe (and the vegan pasta primavera one) this afternoon.

okra chips

Before I go, there’s something I wanted to ask ya’ll about.

The pilot and I were talking on the way home from J-ville (and sorry, no it wasn’t about babies) and I told him that my blog views were significantly lower last week. It also happened to be the same week that I launched my OpenSky shop… I have no idea if the lower pages views were due to spring break, or related/unrelated to the OpenSky shop, but it got me wondering if OpenSky shops, giveaways, reviews and the like turn you guys off.

Personally, I really like them… for the most part and if they’re done tactfully.

I try to keep reviews on the blog minimal, unless it’s something I bought with my own money and totally love, or if a company sent it to me and I would have bought it anyway. That’s why you’ll never see junky products on the bloggy that I wouldn’t usually consume. The same goes for OpenSky- there will never be anything in there that I don’t use myself.

I think that product reviews are a really helpful way to learn about new things, giveaways are fun, and OpenSky is super convenient (because you can find all the blogger’s favorite things in one place). I think if done well (and not overdone), they can all be amazing assets to a blog. However, I don’t like to look at a blog and see it as a commercial. Content should be #1.

So I’m wondering what you think about all of this???

I love my OpenSky shop so far (and you guys rocked out the foam roller promo- thank you!), but if it means losing readers at the sake of making some extra [eggplant] bacon then it’s not worth it. You guys are what makes this blog the super fun place that it is and without you… well, it’s lame without you. I really cherish and appreciate each and every single bloggy out there.

Don’t be afraid to be honest in the comment section– I’m really anxious to hear your thoughts. Please be general and keep positive energy flowing—if I see any obvious personal attacks at one of my fellow bloggies, I’ll have to delete it.

xoxo,

Gina

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254 Comments

  1. Cat on March 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Oh my I can’t imagine being offended by your Open Sky store! I tend to think people get offended just a wee too easily these days. Sheesh! I think it’s a great idea, especially when you get asked where you get all your goods. Why not empower the peeps?

    Also, I’m not turned off by reviews, but I think for the healthy blogosphere in general, I like them more when they are slightly less formal. And I think yours tend to be. Probably why I always read your blog. Also, I agree with the fact that your page views were down due to spring break. Plus I was in Austin for SXSW (HUGE event), though not sure they are your target audience…but who knows. Anyway, lots of people on the road and away from their laptops.

  2. Brittany on March 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with your blog views but last month (like Jan/Feb) I read through EVERY SINGLE archive. ALL OF THEM. I was viewing pages every day for at least 2-3 hours a day. I don’t know if that has any affect on your views, but I just thought I’d let you know. And I do think Spring Break is to blame! I know I took a break from the internet!
    Enjoy your week! Thanks for creating such a fun blog!

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      wow, that is so awesome- thank you!!
      it makes me so happy when readers say that they’re read all of my posts.. it means so much to me and i think it’s important to see that healthy living really is a journey– things are constantly changing and it’s always a work in progress
      xoxo

  3. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on March 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    That dinner looks fabulous!

    Personally, I LIKE all that. And I have noticed in my own blog the same sort of thing happens. But what can you do? You should write what you want to write. I like your Open Sky and your reviews, they help me decide if I should choose a product or not! I can see why people may not like those entries as much… but I am still a faithful reader and I think you have many others.

    Just my 2 cents.

    xo
    K

  4. BridgetP on March 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Personally, I’m a little turned off by the Open Sky stuff. I actually like and understand the idea of having all your faves in one place since the people who read your blog obviously value your opinion on products, it’s just that it can be a little in your face. You certainly haven’t taken it too far, but other blogs kinda have. But that’s easily solved for me by just skimming on by that part of your post.

    As long as you don’t suddenly have some kind of obnoxious OpenSky pop-up, I’ll keep stopping by for Gina “shenanigans” and motivation!

  5. Jessie on March 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    That salmon looks delicious! Personally, I was on spring break last week and not doing much of any blog reading. The OpenSky shops don’t bother me, but I would probably like them a whole lot more if I wasn’t a broke college student…

  6. Samantha on March 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I read daily, and it didn’t stop me from returning, but if you are wondering if it’s a turn-off, I think it is. I hate feeling like I’m being pitched at. I view your blog as educational, and opensky can be shared (once) with us within that context, but I hope it does not become a regular posting. Maybe the compromise would be to say “click here” if you’re interested in buying x, y, or z.

    Especially in this economy, it strikes many of us in a worse way than it would in good times when we have spare cash to purchase items that are not essential to good health.

    Thanks for caring enough to get honest feedback!

  7. Lily @ Lily's Health Pad on March 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I’m not really interested in buying anything from anyone’s Open Sky shop, but I’m certainly not offended by it! I hope it is successful for every blogger who chooses to try it out.

  8. Diana on March 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    You (and your blog) has been a HUGE inspiration for me. 🙂 Your blog was the first I stumbled across, and through yours I have discovered the bloggie world! I must admit, fitnessista.com is the first I check every day and many days the only one I read. I have learned so much from you – your posts are always chock full of new food ideas, new recipes, and work out tips all delivered in an upbeat positive Gina fashion! I find your product reviews to be helpful, and I’ve been more willing to try new products after reading a positive review. If I don’t feel like reading one, I skim past it. As far as your open sky store, if readers aren’t into it, they don’t have to visit or shop there. Personally, I probably wouldn’t order anything but I do like looking at the products you recommend and have reviewed.

    You’ve already received a ton of positive comments, but just wanted to add my two cents 🙂 Pleeeeease keep doing just what you are now!!

  9. Glam on March 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Well, i’m a first time reader, so i have no opinion on the subject or even know what Open Sky is! But, regardless, I’ll be back! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      thanks so much for checking out my little blog! hope to see you around more often 🙂

  10. Abby on March 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Honestly (and I read your blog daily) I love product reviews because it opens me to new products. The open sky did surprise me. I think what did it was the fact that you had a post devoted to it and made is so huge (I mean the letters were gigantic!) I appreciate why you were doing it – the open sky thing – because its a place for all of your readers to find everything you talk about in one place. I think if you had mentioned that you now had an open sky store just for that and that you were placing a link to it _____ if anyone was interested in checking it out that you would have had a better reaction. And that’s not to say that you had a bad reaction, but I think some readers may have been rubbed the wrong way or interpretted it wrong. But overall, I don’t think you’ve lost anyone, and I think that just by saying that you’ve noticed a difference and addressing any concerns says something in itself. Keep up the good work! You are truly an inspiration, Gina.

  11. Emily N on March 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Gina – I’m guessing the waning #s had to do more with spring being sprung than anything else. It was just so lovely outside I spent significantly less time indoors, for me anyways. Also, I love your review of products. You’re the one who got me on to goji berries. And you have a great balance of reviewing products from an objective standpoint.

  12. Stephanie on March 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Actually, I’d never heard of OpenSky before. When I first seen it, I thought “wow what a convient way to get the things we may want that she uses.” I’m sure you get asked so many times what certain things are, where to get them, and how much etc. etc. So I thought it was a wonderful way to give us the info in a way that is easy to find and reference. I never thought you were just doing it to be more commerical, but if you can make $ on it, all the better.

  13. Kayla S. on March 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I think if there is too much ‘blog-mercial’ it can be a turn-off… but I’ve NEVER gotten that feeling from your blog. I honestly like to see some reviews because it introduces me to new products that I haven’t tried yet. Obviously, I want the reviewed products to be yummy products 😉 I bet the blog count was lower bc of SB!

  14. Hayley H on March 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t think one aspect of your blog, like OpenSky, would be enough to turn me away! I don’t love the promotions but honestly? It’s so, SO minor compared to everything else on here. You’re fun to read and have a great personality that comes through in every post, and intro to iron pumping has officially converted me to keeping up a strength training routine for… the rest of my life?? I’m loving the changes I’m seeing and the best part is that you made it approachable. You are now my #1 resource for workouts and a silly shop would nevereverever change that.

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

      thank you so much, hayley! i’m so glad to have a weight-lifting convert 🙂 it really does give you amazing results and will keep your bones and joints healthy. keep up the awesome work!

  15. Marie D on March 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    To me the OpenSky and giveaways are a turn off. I can ‘deal’ that they happen every now and then in the blogworld, but that’s not why I decide to tune into healthy living blogs daily. I like produce reviews…but I also feel it’s mega sketchy when the same product appears in multiple blogs at the same time. Mass advertising! However, I like that you hold your blog to a high standard and readers are not bombarded with product giveaways. I love your work-out tips, daily takeaways, and recipes, in addition to chronicling your daily meals. I think it’s great you asked your readers for insight on this one. Happy Monday 🙂

  16. Krista on March 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I read all the time and although I am not interested in OpenSky or giveaways (because being from Canada I can rarely participate), I love reviews… A LOT! Keep up the good work!!! 🙂

  17. Emily on March 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, because I’m generally not a rude person…. but I know that I personally emailed you on January 22, 2010 reaching out for help and advice and I really looked forward to hearing back from you because I liked reading your blog so much. You never responded and I felt like maybe you didn’t care about your readers as much as you claim to. Perhaps you never got my email… who knows. Or maybe it was because it was very lengthy that you didn’t respond. All in all, I am not offended by an OpenSky shop.

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      hey girl,
      i’m sorry i didn’t get back to you. my email box is insane and it takes me much longer to write back to long emails and since i’m usually not home, i can’t send a long email from the blackberry. would you re-send it?? i’ll make sure to get back to you
      xoxo

  18. Hangry Pants on March 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I am not offended by Open Sky, but maybe it would be cool to have a separate Open Sky page on your blog that people could check out with weekly updates and specials.

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      that’s a great idea! thank you

  19. Mattie on March 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Gina!

    I love your blog! I think I would read into the OpenSky thing way differently if you were a blogger who was blogging just to make money and who did not do a lot else with your life. You are clearly a gal on the move and keep yourself busy with training, teaching and dreaming big (RIP GROOVE! One day, though…it will happen!). I get the impression that you genuinely want to reach out to your readers and share what products you use and love. Plus, you put major effort into creating Shape Ups (loved Winter Shape Up! Need to get back on it!).
    I for one will keep reading!

  20. Sarah Anne on March 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I’m not offended by promos and Open Sky stuff, but since I’m in Canada, whenever a blog I read posts something like that, I tune out. I love the product reviews but the whole “Duties & Customs” thing makes it really unfeasible for me to participate. Thus, I just skim and wait for the promo to be over. 🙂 Generally, it makes me go back over old posts and recipes and dig in there instead of the product! 😀

  21. Michelle! on March 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I love your blog, and think you should post whatever you want. Personally, I’d be happy without the open sky stuff because it’s getting somewhat excessive on other blogs, almost to the point that I no longer want to read them!

  22. Kim on March 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I love your blog – look forward to it everyday – I love to see what you are eating and try to adapt some of those recipes in my daily life. I like promos etc – may not buy anything, but doesn’t keep me from reading!

    Thanks and keep on blogging!

    Kim

  23. Katie on March 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Your views may have gone down because a lot of people have been taking vacations/spring break these past few weeks. I honestly don’t think it has to do with Open Sky. I feel like it ties in with the theme of your blog. Keep up the great work! I love finding new recipes on here 🙂

  24. Sally on March 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I visit your site to learn how to eat better and get motivated to keep up fitness and nutrition. I enjoy your recipes and videos. If you want to review a product or video great I would rather see it here then the sky. I also enjoy you sharing fitness routines.

  25. stephanie on March 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I’m not offended by the OpenSky shop, but I do find it annoying. Especially since you are already so good at telling us what you use. Its easy to find your faves if you’re a regular reader. To me the shop just seemed redundant, and like a sales pitch. Trust me, we don’t need to be pitched to by the shop, just by your lovely posts. Anyone with me on that? I just thought it was unnecessary for your blog because I am more apt to search out a product once I’ve read about how someone uses it. Posts do that, not OpenSky. I’ll definately keep reading, this is the BEST fitness/nutrition blog out there IMO. And, I do seem to think that like me, many of your readers are in their early twenties, and spring break just hit, which also means midterms and other nonsense are happening. Don’t be down about the low views!!! We’ll all be back 🙂

  26. Kendel on March 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I love your blog and am not at all turned off by anything you post. I love your excitement for new products and practical tools. I will say that I have been turned off by other bloggers’ Open Sky Accounts. There is one blog in particular that rubs me the wrong way… but I still skim it because she has beautiful pictures and fantastic recipe ideas. All in all, keep doing what you’re doing. A little Open Sky promo here and there is not a problem, just keep reminding yourself why you’re blogging in the first place!

  27. Katie on March 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I’m can’t really speak for the decline in readers last week but I can speak for me 😉 so I will.

    I personally LOVE seeing product reviews on your blog. I have make so many healthy changes in my life and added so many new products because of your advice. (At the risk of coming on too strong 🙂 I’ll saw this) your blog is the main reason that I’ve become a vegetarian, cut out almost all white flours + processed foods. I am so grateful to you and what you do.

    As far as Open Sky goes, I may or may not buy anything from your store but you havin it isn’t offputting to me and I definitely won’t stop reading your blog because of it!

  28. Marci on March 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I LOVE your blog and I am almost on the brink of creating my own.
    I think OpenSky is a great resource for people to see what you use and how to get it. You are a great motivator and I personally enjoy reading about your daily fitness activities, food, shenanigans with OpenSky being secondary. I found that the food ideas and fitness have opended new ideas about healthy lifestyle all around.

  29. Jen A on March 22, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    First of all, I love your blog! Definitely one of my top 3. I also like reading your reviews on products that you use. However, the Open Sky shops on so many blogs does bug me. I just feel like everyone who has it is just trying to make money off their readers, and that idea bothers me. While it may not be your main reason for having it, I know you probably get a cut of whatever readers buy from your page, and that just seems weird to me…

    But I still love you and your blog and read it everyday! 🙂

  30. maggie b on March 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    personally, i think it would be silly to be upset about OpenSky. Actually, i find it odd that this even is an issue.
    it was thoughtful of you to show a place where readers can buy some of the items you use on the blog.
    It is up to the individual if they want to visit the site, it is not required.

    you do such an amazing job at making your posts unique, and i don’t think anything {so silly} would push people away!
    keep doing what your doing!!

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      thanks, maggie! <3

  31. Denise on March 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Your Blog is my Favorite!! I read 4 daily and if I’m short on time YOURS is the one Im sure to HIT! I love your content,wit and overall attitude towards health and fitness. I think that just like in everyday life….there are ups and downs….last week must have just been a “widget” down. The OpenSky one stop shop for all hot fitnessista items is a solid idea. I dont think it had anything to do with having an “off” week of views.

    Keep up your shenanigans! I love them!

  32. Natalie on March 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I love the open sky shop. I’m about to order the spiralizer because I can’t find one around here! I like that I can find things u talk about frequently, without having to scour the Internet trying to find something. Some blogs have gone overboard with the ads and such, but I realize that blogging takes up slot of personal time so u might as well get something out of it in return! I check ur blog everyday, and even if I was on vacation, I probably still would 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      thank you <3

  33. joanna on March 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    You and your husband are so cute. Love your blog

  34. Jacqueline on March 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    I really dislike the idea of OpenSky. I read blogs because I enjoy the writers & like getting to “know” them & their healthy lifestyles.
    In all honesty, I have taken several blogs out of my reader because of OpenSky. I think it just rubs me the wrong way because makes blogs too commercialized. I also think it’s too expensive, I can go to amazon.com and buy the same stuff for a much more discounted price.
    I really enjoy your blog and appreciate you giving us the opportunity to express our honest opinions.

  35. kim on March 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    -i don’t care about opensky, in fact i appreciate that i can get the stuff so easily if i want.
    -i like looking @ your blog b/c you have the perfect combo of useful, cheery, and -lots of photos of yummy looking food!
    -my only tiny suggestion – please have a post about macca, & hemp, discussing pros & cons. can’t seem to find it easily on your site.

  36. Laura on March 22, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I just started reading your blog a couple of months ago and you’re my favorite blogger. I love all the food you prepare and have made many of the things myself. In Jan and Feb I went through all of your archives so I could get more food ideas and see your time at culinary school. I saw that someone else also did the same thing, hopefully we didn’t mess up your numbers for followers! I’m not a fan of open sky but tons of bloggers have it and I’ve never been turned off by it. I do hope I win a macaroon giveaway soon!! 😉

    • Fitnessista on March 22, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      hey laura,
      wow, thank you!
      that doesn’t mess us up at all- i love it. thank you so much for reading my little blog <3

  37. Tasha on March 23, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Hi,

    I don’t normally post but personally I think Open Sky is a good idea. It’s not like you dedicate post after post to get people to buy a product, but if you add something to it and decide to mention it briefly in a post (say breakfast) that’s great! Especially when there are promotions for products we can’t buy elsewhere, why not?

    Oftentimes if I’m interested in the product I’ll click to check out the price. Then look around and see if it’s cheaper elsewhere. If we’re not interested, we can just skip the paragraph and go on to read about your eats for the day. No one is making us click on it, and I don’t think it’s pushy advertisement.

    On that note, I love product reviews and LOVE the giveaways. They’re a lot of fun.

  38. Rachel on March 23, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I ditto what a lot of other commenters have said, I love your blog, and Open Sky messages wouldn’t make me stop reading, but when some blogs put up a new Open Sky promotion every singe day it is a bit of a turn off. I think having a link to a separate page for those interested would really be best!

  39. LEM on March 23, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I’m not offended by opensky…I had never heard of it in fact. But I must confess , after you openex the store anx the wjole
    foam roller promotion, I just lost interess in checking the blog until today, and its
    funny you said so because I did not notice it was for that reason until
    you said so. But i still love ur blog so much!!

  40. Alyson @ Nourished Fitness on March 23, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Hey, so I actually have a shop as well, but I’m just a little blog, so it’s not exactly a huge success for me so far. I did find that OpenSky seemed to want me to pimp products and I have trouble getting the products that I really want. I mean it’s awesome if the products we can offer are unique, but just having measuring spoons, etc isn’t something I’d like to write a review about. I think it’s also interesting that they now have SO many people in the same blogging community with shops. Lots of us read the same blogs and the shopkeepers mostly offer the same products. I love the idea of OpenSky but I think they’re still working out the kinks.. and I know I’m not a very good sales person 🙂

    On another note, I love your blog! You’re natural foods approach to health with a focus on fitness is exactly what I believe in! Thanks!

  41. Jenn on March 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Personally, I don’t like OpenSky because many of the products are really overpriced. I think having a “favorites” page would really be just as helpful. Still, I’m not turned off by your posting about it. Some bloggers have taken it too far, but you haven’t yet and I don’t think you will. I love your blog and look forward to reading it every day!

  42. Angie (Losing It and Loving It) on March 23, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Love product reviews however I have found that the Open Sky store prices are usually higher than items you can get at Amazon (for instance the Garmin that I’m looking at LOL). It’s $140 LESS at Amazon! I would rather see you link to products at Amazon because most people shop there and can get everything in one place most times usually with free shipping. I have seen so many Open Sky stores all over the blog world so it can be a bit overwhelming.

    My websites and blogs are how I make my living so I don’t mind when other bloggers promote products because I get it. Of course my weight loss/fitness blog is first and foremost there to share my story to help others but it’s also my business so I have to mix the two and make it work.

    Those are just my thoughts….you are always so giving of your time and expertise I only think it’s fair that you promote anything you want on your blog.

    Oh and that salmon looks delish! I think hubs and I need to take a trip to Whole Foods soon.

  43. FoodCents on March 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    One of the things I respect about you, Gina, is the fact that you are open to people being honest when you are looking for honest answers.

    I like product reviews to a certain extent, but like many others have said, when you see them on tons of others blogs, it does feel like mass marketing. Sometime that is fine and something that if I like the persons blog (like yours), it is absolutely no biggie. I enjoy the fact that you often have products I have not seen elsewhere.

    In regards to the whole OpenSky thing, I feel like it is getting a little played out, but again it is not going to stop me from reading a blog that I enjoy. Mentioning ones OP store on occasion, is fine and understandable. I think when it becomes a contstant theme, it can get to be a little annoying on a readers part.

    Keep doing what you are doing, because it is working:) BE WELL!!!!!!

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