Highlights of HLS!

by Kim on September 19, 2013

I haven’t quite finished yesterday’s story, but I wanted to take a break from all the drama to bring you something a little less depressing. Liiike…these embarrassing photo booth pics from the Healthy Living Summit last weekend!!

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At the cocktail party the first night, we were each given an index card with the name of a well-known pair on it and instructed to find our other half. Lindsay was the Bonnie to my Clyde.

I’m pretty sure I’m the very last HLS attendee to blog about the weekend, so bear with me if you’ve already read about this on 10 different blogs and—wait—is that the EXACT SAME picture you saw on the HLS Facebook page?

Blue Diamond

Why, yes it is.

Confession: I went to a blogging conference and didn’t take that many pictures. So I’ve been sneaking around looking for ones to, er, borrow.

For example, I had it on my bucket list to get a picture with these two wonderful ladies (Heather and Julie, the conference organizers):

heatherandjulie

For whatever reason, that never happened (it seemed like they had other things on their mind or something??), but I DID get to finally meet them, which was a HUGE pleasure in itself. Next time, ladies!!

I did manage to get a shot with this girl:

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I’d been so looking forward to meeting Katie (@Running 4 Cupcakes), and she was just as sweet and fun as I anticipated! She was also kind enough to let me use her hotel room to change for the cocktail party, where I got to meet her roommates Becky, Melanie, and Caroline. All amazingly cool girls!

Speaking of meeting Katies, I also finally met fellow Madison blogger Katie (@Daily Cup of Kate):

HLS2(Pic stolen from Katie’s blog, since mine turned out a little blurry. Hope you don’t mind Katie!)

Also with Jessie and Casey!

Oh, and one more Katie…on Friday night, I met Katie @ Peace Love and Oats at dinner, along with Brooke, Marissa, Alison, and Taunja!

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I wanted to start out with pictures of the women at the conference because they were truly the #1 highlight of the weekend. Really, it was such a cool experience to meet all these girls—especially after first “meeting” some of them through their blogs—and to feel immediately connected to them through our shared interest.

Other highlights of the conference included…

The SPONSORS

Simply put, I was amazed by them. (Lonestar-style.) They set up their booths in the hotel mezzanine and hung out there ALL DAY, chatting with us between sessions, handing out samples, hosting giveaways, and being generally friendly and awesome.

ninja(Another photo courtesy of the HLS FB page…am I in trouble?)

You heard me say samples right? I’m not talking about little paper thimble cups of samples, but more like we-didn’t-really-need-meals samples. Some of the highlights included make-your-own popcorn (with all kinds of sprinkle-on flavor boosters), chips and dip, literal mounds of fruit, and these amazing oat-based drinks from Sneaky Pete’s:

sneaky pete

Seriously, my new favorite beverage of all time. They taste like melted Laffy Taffies—in a good way—and for only 40 cals a bottle. (I had Brent confirm the Laffy Taffy thing. It’s legit.)

Plus lots. And lots. AND LOTS of almonds, courtesy of Blue Diamond. (The salt and vinegar ones?? Woah!)

blue diamond 2

The FOOD

Let’s just say we didn’t starve. As if the samples weren’t enough, the conference food itself was insane.

Possibly the best egg scramble of my life for breakfast (something about it just really hit the spot)…

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Fresh burrito ingredients for lunch (which I sort of turned into a boring salad, but it also hit the spot)…

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THIS chocolate cake (strategically photographed next to 4 forks to indicate that I didn’t eat it all myself—ha)…

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And, the night a huge group of us went to Spoonriver for dinner, this goat cheese and sweet corn filled crepe (!!!) and a raspberry arugula salad topped with an over-easy egg…

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It was kinda crazy that we randomly went to Spoonriver, since our keynote speaker for the conference ended up being the owner of the restaurant.

keynote

She gave a totally inspiring and thought-provoking talk on eating habits in today’s society and how she envisions the ideal diet. I even went up to chat with her after the talk, mostly because I wanted to ask her opinion on the connection between diet and food allergies. (She didn’t have a lot of insight, but mentioned she felt pesticides were the bigger culprit, if anything.)

The SWAG BAG

I envisioned a little tote bag with a few protein bars, some coupons, and maybe a headband or something.

Yeah. No.

This thing was almost as big as the duffel bag I packed for the trip. Which is just another testament to how awesome the conference sponsors were. (THANK YOU!)

I had really great intentions of laying everything out nicely and photographing it so I could show you all the loot, but then I noticed that Melanie had already done it…(hope you don’t mind, Melanie!)

swag

I couldn’t believe each bag included an entire Nature Box AND Kona Kase! I had a great experience with the Kona Kase back when I reviewed one, so I was thrilled to see that little red box of heaven in there. (I’m actually eating the white chocolate raspberry Quest Bar from the Kona Kase as I write this! So good.)

The SESSIONS

I’m considering devoting a future post to some of the things I learned in the sessions, because there was a lot of juicy stuff there. But you can actually find summaries of each of the sessions on the Healthy Living Summit website, since bloggers were live-blogging each session. (We just can’t help ourselves.)

I also got to co-lead a round table discussion called Blogging 101, in which a group of us got together to chat about all the nitty-gritty details of blogging. We actually had so many people sign up for the discussion that we had to split into two groups, which meant I was on my own! It went great though—lots of good conversation, helpful tips, and different perspectives.

In case you’re interested, here are the sessions I went to, with links to their live-blog summaries:

Blogs and Brands

The Organized Blogger

From Blog to Job

Blogs in Transition

Using Your Platform for a Cause

Keynote

Phew! What a whirlwind weekend, and an amazing experience for my first blogging conference.

Oh, and then there’s this little gem of information…

I had to leave the conference early and miss out on the Sunday breakfast, where the location of HLS 2014 was announced, but I heard the news later and…well, you could say I was cool with it.

HLS is coming to MADISON, WI next year! Boooooyah! (I wonder if beer and cheese samples are appropriate at a healthy living conference?)

Who will I see there?? Or, rather, HERE?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Deirdre October 11, 2013 at 6:08 am

The swag bag is so cool! Only wish this event occured in canada…
Deirdre recently posted…Here’s to us Fitties who don’t have all the glam.My Profile

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sarah @ sarah learns September 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

hooray! i’m glad hls was so amazing. i am PUMPED that hls14 will be in madison! i can finally surely make it to one. :)
sarah @ sarah learns recently posted…a workstation | planningMy Profile

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Katie @ running4cupcakes September 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm

woo hoo – so excited that it is going to be in Madison!!! That is going to be so. much. fun. Oh BTW, do you have a couch I can sleep on? ;)
Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…HLS–Day 3My Profile

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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome September 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

The best is always saved for last! You’re post was a great all in one recap, loved it! I’m so bummed I didn’t attend this year but will have to make it next year to your neck of the woods!
Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome recently posted…Almost Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

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Shannon September 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I cannot wait for Madison! Loving that the first two conferences will be at a drivable distance.. Crazy! I’m all for Katies suggetion of brewery tours ;)

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Alex @ Alex Runs For Food September 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Omg I had no clue they made salt and vinegar almonds!!!! I need to find those.
Sounds like you had a great time at HLS13! I didn’t go this year but I will for sure be going this year!!
Alex @ Alex Runs For Food recently posted…Things are getting better!!My Profile

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Katie @ Daily Cup Of Kate September 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I think at HLS14 we should co-lead a group social event touring all of the breweries in Madison….just saying. Oh, and change the date of the entire event… how dare they schedule such a thing on the same weekend as my wedding!!
Katie @ Daily Cup Of Kate recently posted…Healthy Living Summit HighlightsMy Profile

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy September 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I plan on being there! It’s only a five hour drive for me!
Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted…Healthy Living Summit 2013 {Day Three}My Profile

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries September 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen photos of that chocolate cake, but I can tell you how badly I want some now! ;)

Looks like you ladies all had a blast. Wish I could’ve been there! I vote the HLS needs to come out WEST one of these days!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…09/19/13: Thursday ThoughtsMy Profile

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