Wow. What a weekend, guys!
I’m sure you’re totally sick of hearing about the Healthy Living Summit (especially if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, sorry ’bout that), but if you just endure one more bit of blathering from me on the topic, I promise we’ll move onto regularly scheduled deliciousness tomorrow.
I have to admit, I was mega nervous about this weekend. I mean, I like to consider myself an independent woman who even Destiny’s Child would be proud of, but flying into a new city alone to go to a conference with 150+ people you don’t know isn’t really the most comfortable of situations on the planet. On top of that, I was slated to speak on a panel like a real adult with real wisdom and stuff. Holy nerve-wracking, Batman.
But all those nerves were for naught, because the second that I stepped into the hotel in Minneapolis, I knew I found my people. My roomie, Gretchen, met me in the lobby, gave me a giant hug, and we were off like the not-entirely-the-same-race-sisters that everyone thought we were. And then I met with the other long-distance-love-of-my-life, Lauren, and from then on, it was a non-stop weekend of hugs, laughs and fun with some of the most inspiring, creative and intelligent women around. I’m not sure there was a single person I met that I didn’t want to take home with me in my suitcase to become my at-home BFF. I mean, we had a whole giant group go out to dinner at a brewery the first night, for Pete’s sake. Those be my kind of peeps, yo.
And I don’t think conversation lulled for a second during dinner or the opening cocktail party. Everyone was looking beautiful and feeling festive (and maybe a little bit buzzed from the brewery). I’ve heard before that when bloggers get together, there is always something to talk about, and man, is that ever true. So many fun people with different stories from all over the country.
The actual sessions on day two were geared a little more toward new bloggers, which were great, but I definitely found the most value in chatting with other bloggers, brands and readers one-on-one, plus, on a personal level, just getting to hang out around so much girl power was pretty awesome. I probably don’t have to tell you, but living in the country can be pretty isolating, so it was really nice to get in a room with some like-minded people, bounce around ideas and have a change of pace from the my-dog-is-my-coworker lifestyle I usually lead.
I feel so incredibly refreshed. It’s amazing what the free exchange of ideas can do for the creative soul.
And, when it was time for our panel, I felt really good about the tips and ideas we gave out! I feel like we were pretty successful in inspiring folks to take the leap from blog to job (but in a responsible manner). It seems like people really enjoyed it from what we saw on Twitter and what some attendees told us afterward. If you want to read more about what we said, you can check out the #HLS13BlogtoJob hashtag on Twitter for a recap, or check out Heather’s live blogging from our session.
We also, of course, did some eating. Like eat-ting.
I was worried (understandably so) that at a healthy living conference, I’d be surrounded by girls who had protein powder IVs, but man, we did some seriously amazing eating as a group. We had beer samplers and roasted Brussels sprouts and chicken fajitas and BBQ pork quesadillas and pickle platters and cornbread with sorghum butter and green smoothies. Heck, I even split a sausage sampler platter with Gretchen, Lauren, and my new (and totally awesome) friend, Amy. I mean, a sausage sampler? Who can pass that up?
I loved how laid back and customizable HLS was for everyone. If you were a vegan training for a marathon, you can food and running buddies. If you are a gluten-free yogi, there were gluten-free treats and yoga sessions. If you were a locavore, beer lover who preferred walking, then, well, you were probably hanging out with me. Ha! Throughout the weekend, I managed to cover a good five miles or so of downtown on foot. I had a ton of fun exploring Minneapolis! Since we live on curvy country roads, I don’t get to do as much walking as I used to when I lived in the city, so it was a lot of full to pull out my sneakers and stretch my legs.
It was so nice to see, at one conference, the spectrum of all the different ways folks define “healthy”. All without judgement or ridicule.
I feel so lucky to be part of a blog community that I love. And I am so incredibly thankful to the Healthy Living Summit for having me as a speaker and to Anytime Fitness for sponsoring my trip to the conference (it was awesome getting to hang out with my AF friends Amanda and Lee!). I can’t wait to see all my friends again at next year’s HLS (in Madison, Wisconsin)!
I hope you guys all had an awesome weekend, too! Happy Monday.