Coming to you from the top deck of the MegaBus taking me back to DC from Philly. I’ve just finished my first “Healthy Living Summit” and it was awesome! I cannot believe I just became part of the healthy living blog world a few months ago. I’ve been missing out on so much! I signed up for the conference without knowing a soul in “real life” but I knew this community of women would be amazing and they were. I am so excited to start reading all the new blogs I’ve learned abut this weekend.
It was really awesome to finally meet the girls who first got me into blogging — like Meghann, Kath and Caitlin! The blogging community is such a positive reinforcement to live a healthy, happy life. Everyone was just excited to be there, meet new people and learn how to be better. I so loved the fact that there were about 25 people up at 5am to complete long run marathon training on Saturday.
*Stole this pic from Meghann!
1. At least 20 people were up before 5 to do long run marathon training.
2. Healthy, delicious bread from Great Harvest at lunch!
3. Super friendly, engaging, beautiful ladies I got to converse with.
4. The happy vibe that flowed throughout the conference. Everyone was in a great mood!
5. Swag: cereal to last me for weeks and amazing Adora dark chocolate!
6. Quaker Oats was a great sponsor. Loving their products and breakfast bar!
7. Inspiration. I gained a lot of it — and new ideas on how to be a better blogger.
8. New friends! Definitely will be in touch with some of the amazing girls I met!
9. DC Blogger network. A ton of DC bloggers were at HLS and it gave us the motivation to start a better connection back home and start meeting up and working together.
10. Hanging out on a gorgeous Philly evening downtown with well deserved drinks!
Breaking it Down
I was really excited to meet my roommates when I arrived. I’d be living with two strangers for a few days — this could be interesting. Ali and Heather were both extra sweet and I loved hanging out with them. The personalities and stories behind all the bloggers I met were diverse — as well as the kind of blogs people write. In our professional lives, we were everything from engineers to teachers to journalists with a shared love for a healthy, happy life.
I admit, it can be easy to become jealous of the those who are able to make a living as bloggers — that’s surely the ultimate dream but of course that takes hard work too. It doesn’t just happen! I was reminded of that from Lisa, whose blog I hadn’t heard of until this weekend. During my downtime, I scrolled through it and just came to love her openness and vulnerability on the blog. Not everyone can convey personal things in that way and she does an amazing job. I look forward to reading her more in the future! Another new blogger I’m loving is Tina and I got to chat with her for a few minutes as well!
It was really cool for me to meet two of my favorite bloggers, Courtney and Julie. I felt like I knew so much about them already from catching up on their blogs everyday but they were both just as sweet and friendly as they seem on the web. I also enjoyed talking to Tanya, who told me about her recent trip to Africa. After visiting her blog, Vegan Faith, I can see it will be one I will really enjoy! I also sat next to Callie, who I believe took this photo!
Though I had been to Philly once before, this was a much deeper experience. Luckily, I met Erin and Jess on the way up. We cabbed it to the hotel together and then a big group of girls walked to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. It is full of amazing little restaurants to choose from. I got my favorite caprese sandwich from a placed called Mezze and then loaded up on coffee. I enjoyed chatting with Katy, as I had heard what a genius she was a social media before I even knew she was going to be at HLS! At registration, I chatted it up with all kinds of new friends, including Brittany, Annie and Allison. Also, there was swag — lots of it! I have tons of cereal and protein bars and coupons! Thank you Attune Foods, Adora, Quaker Oats and more!
I ended up meeting a group of DC bloggers as well, including Victoria, Beth, Gretchen and Katie. Later that night we had a cocktail party at Reading Terminal Market. They cleared out the tables and offered a nice spread of food plus very wonderful bar. Like a good girl, I had only one small glass of wine because the plan was to run 15 miles in the morning! I finally got to meet Theodora in person too! We’ve been Twitter, blogger and Facebook buddies for over three years but this was our first real life encounter. She was as awesome as she seems online 🙂 I also chatted with Ashley, Bonnie, Erin, CJ and Cynthia. I was really interested to hear about Cynthia’s work as a pastor for Salvation Army. It definitely inspired me to check out SA a bit more. Very cool!
We headed back to the room fairly early, as I was getting up at 4:30am for the long run. I was shocked how many people showed up in the hotel lobby ready to run at 5am! It was actually pretty cool and after a photo (of course), we took off into the dark Philadelphia morning. Running a city is the best way to see it!
The group started off huge but separated into three pace groups. After around 7 miles, we were split up even more and I had leveled off at a pace with Caitlin. It was fun running with her and we chatted it up for the entire 15 miles. I think we actually went further than anyone else and I was so glad I got it done. Running with someone is also an incredible way to get to know them. When my endorphins are pumping, I’m always in a great mood and I think of all kinds of interesting things to talk about. Plus, the time can really fly when you are having good conversation. My top topics of convo tend to include books, movies, marathon training and food. Not really surprising huh?
|Mid-run in Philly|
We ended up catching up with Theodora and Ashley on the way back and finally finished up the 15 miles around 8am — just in time for a shower and breakfast before the summit began for the day. My tummy was not happy with me me but I just ignored it and got some great grub.
|After a good 15 miles!|
I’m not going to go into all the sessions because I think the most helpful part of HLS for me was meeting so many new blogger friends. I enjoyed all the speakers and got something out of every session. It was just refreshing to hear from and learn with a whole group of other women who are similar to me. I truly believe that this group of women is a happier group than the average. We are striving to be better and do better. The community and purpose I’ve found within the blogs has been extremely uplifting. In fact, I have a post coming soon about how it’s really helped me with “disordered eating” thoughts that still linger from my eating disorder days.
Later that night, Ali, Heather, Bridget, Elizabeth and I went to Tria, a wine and cheese bar. It was amazing! Then we headed to a place called The Corner for another drink. It was a gorgeous summer night — perfect weather and the Philly environment was pleasant and relaxed.
This weekend, I think I learned more about what kind of blogger I want to be. When I first started reading the blogs, I thought you had to take photos of all your food and do things a certain way. Now, I’m realizing everyone is different and my blog needs to find it’s niche. I may not know exactly what it is yet but I’m getting there. I’m so thankful I started reading these healthy living blogs earlier this year. I’ve found the ones that are the most open about their personal lives are my favorites. I’m that kind of person too. Although I can’t be as open as I’d like, you will know me if you read this blog.