After running around Chicago with Kirstin on Thursday and then touring the Frito-Lay plant and going to the cocktail party on Friday, it was almost hard to believe that the main Healthy Living Summit event was still to come on Saturday.
Because there are a million other HLS recaps out there, because I don’t think summaries of the sessions will do it justice, and because its already Thursday and I still haven’t finished recapping last weekend, I’ve decided to list the top 10 things I learned at HLS.
1. Bloggers really are normal people. I like to think I’m a normal person, and I’m a blogger, but I was a little scared about meeting some of the better known and more popular bloggers. The blogger I’m most in awe of? Caitlin Boyle (full time blogger and author of Operation Beautiful). Where did I meet her? In line at Dunkin Donuts, getting breakfast. She was totally cool and I realized at that moment that all of the HLS attendees were really cool. We have a lot in common and there was no reason to be shy.
2. “Close enough is good enough.” Christine Palumbo, our keynote speaker, shared “11 Tips for Healthy Eating and Feeling Fabulous”. My favorite tip was that “close enough is good enough”. I don’t have to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time. If I can do 80% some days, that should be enough. Sometimes I’m too hard on myself. It’s okay if I don’t post my HLS recap until the following Thursday, at least I’m posting it at all.
3. It’s okay to eat meat. Or not. Lots of healthy living bloggers are vegetarian. Lots are vegan. But not once did I feel like I needed to defend my choice to eat meat occasionally. It’s just not that big a deal; it’s an individual choice. And all of the food served at the summit was delicious and nutritious. I’m still in awe of the fact that we had breakfast, lunch and 2 snack breaks between 8 and 4:00 on Saturday. Delicious food, all the time? That’s my kind of summit.
4. There’s nothing like being surrounded by people who take pictures of their food. Brian knows better than to take a bite of his dinner before I’ve photographed it, and we really don’t eat out much, but it was still incredibly refreshing to be hanging out people who also think it’s normal to photograph their food.
5. Yoga pants and tank tops are the ultimate outfits. Another entry in the “this is my kind of summit!” category: the dress code. It was decided a week or two before the summit on Twitter that it was totally reasonable and acceptable to wear yoga pants. Granted, I didn’t do any traditonal working out during HLS, but it was wonderful to be super comfortable (and I did walk all over Chicago!).
6. Stay epic. During one of our snack breaks (after snacking, of course), I dashed upstairs to get my copy of Operation Beautiful for Caitlin to sign. Trust me, I was not the only dweeb doing so. Anyway, that’s the inscription: “Stay epic” (Epic is Caitlin’s favorite word.) What does epic mean? “surpassing the ordinary”. Sounds like a plan.
7. I need to get more creative with my cream cheese. Sunday morning’s brunch, sponsored by Thomas’ Bagel Thins, featured a “make your own cream cheese” bar. At first I thought this was kind of lame, but by the end of breakfast I’d decided it was the coolest thing ever. There were a ton of mix-ins we could choose from to add to our cream cheese. Our creations were mixed for us and, though they gave us a lot of cream cheese, I couldn’t help but use all of mine on my bagel thin. My personalized cream cheese included smoked salmon, green onion and fresh tomato. There’s no reason why I can’t replicate that at home.
8. It’s okay to walk. Another item on my list of concerns: the Sunday morning fun run/walk. Would I be the only one walking? Once again, HLS proved my fears to be ridiculous. Our fabulous walking group:
9. I ♥ Swag. I knew there was going to be free stuff at the summit. I even planned ahead and brought an extra (empty) bag to pack it in. But did I realize there was going to be this much stuff? No, but I somehow got it all home anyway, minus the canned beverage and the bags of Doritos. I’m so excited about trying everything. (Disclaimer: I bought Operation Beautiful before going to Chicago.)
10. The Healthy Living blogging community is amazing. As I already mentioned, everyone I met was wonderful: friendly, interesting, unique, beautiful. I was really impressed when a card for Ashley, who couldn’t make it because of some health issues with her husband, began circulating. Do I know Ashley? No. Did I sign it? Yes. Because it’s immediately apparent that the Healthy Living community is incredibly supportive. That, if I needed them to, they’d have my back, just like they had Ashley’s.
That said, there’s a new site to encourage the awesomeness of the HL blogger community:
Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you’re interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to email@example.com and check the site out for yourself!
- Email subject line: MEMBERS
- Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)
- Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)
- Blog Name
- Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)
- Your twitter handle, if applicable
- Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)
Chicago was fabulous, the summit was fabulous. I’m already looking forward to next year!