After months of planning, hours of pulling my hair out, and schmoozing sponsor after sponsor ( I <3 you Quaker!), I’m proud to say the actual session portion of the conference went off without a hitch.
BUT, I can’t even begin to tell you how long or crazy of a day it was. Insane. Absolutely insane. 😉
Mostly because my day started before 5:00am. That’s the time I agreed to meet a bunch of fabulous bloggers for a long early run. Can you believe how many smiling faces were up to run between 8 and 14 miles at 5:00am this morning.
Told you it was insane. 😉
Ashley (our fearless leader who organized the run) gave the group the final instructions of where to go before we were off and running.
I had to be back at the hotel by 6:30, so I hung back and did the 45 minute out and back route. As a group we ran up Market Street before running into the path that leads to the famous Kelly Drive. It was a very quiet, spooky run. I was extra happy we were in a large group and not running by our lonesomes – that would have been even more spooky and unsafe.
On my way back I ran into the shorter 6:00am group. Turns out there were just as many crazies willing to get up at 6:00am to run as there were for the 5:00am group.
I finished the tail end of the run with my new friend Alyssa. She’s a Philly local (Florida original) who holds a mean 9:00 minute conversational pace. We spent the last 4.5 miles covering everything from being a twin (her twin sister and her both live in Philly!) to engagements (she has a great engagement story that had me gasping for air with shock and laughter). There is nothing better than running and meeting new people. 🙂
We were a little short of my 9 mile goal, but I’ll take it. 🙂
I had to shower and change very quickly to head downstairs and help set up for the day. We still had morning check-in for all the stragglers who couldn’t make it yesterday afternoon.
We also had a gorgeous breakfast display thanks to our amazing friends at Attune.
Lots of fresh fruit, eggs, Stonyfield Yogurt, milk and Uncle Sam’s Cereal for everyone.
We even had a special gluten-free section for all our friends with special dietary needs.
I made a small bowl of Uncle Sam’s Cereal, fresh fruit, and blueberry Oikos (which I ate standing up and running around like a mad woman) while everyone was piling in for the day.
I so wish I could remember the name of the blogger who gave me the mini pumpkin spice donut, but it was amazing.
I started getting very nervous about having to speak in front of such a large crowd for the opening remarks. I decided to jot down a few notes, so I wouldn’t leave anyone. The strategy worked out perfectly – I was able to say what I needed to say and didn’t leave anyone out.
At 9:00am I welcomed everyone to the 3rd Annual Healthy Living Summit.
I was soooo nervous, but the notes really did help. I need to remember that when I try to ‘wing it’ in the future.
The rest of the morning flew by.
We had some fabulous sessions…
(they worked their tails off as volunteers the past couple of days in exchange for a free ticket)
I got to see my friends….
(I heart Katy!)
And before I knew it – it was snack time!
Quaker provided their new Smashbars for everyone. They’re like rice krispie treats with extra add-ins. I enjoyed the nice crunch of chocolate and pretzel in mine.
Frito-Lay had a mini photo booth with fun props set up. Dierdre and I were craving tire sized pancakes after this.
I started to crash around 11. The run and early wake up call were catching up to me and I needed caffeine stat! Theodora completely saved the day with an iced coffee that I downed in minutes.
I had the pleasure of introducing Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD for both a mid-morning workshop on action mantras and for her keynote slot following lunch.
Dawn was amazing. She wrote The Flexitarian Diet and I whole heartedly agreed with a lot of what she had to say. My favorite line was to be “pro-plant, not anti-meat.”
We had one last round of sessions after the workshop.
At this point I stumbled upon Katie. She was giving away homemade cookie dough balls (yum!) and offered a dark chocolate chip one to me (I later found her again for a double chocolate dough ball).
Lunch could not have come soon enough! I was getting hungry (and snacking on one too many dough balls).
We had a display of various salads and sandwiches for break. All of the bread was donated from the local Great Harvest – probably the best thing about the whole conference!
All of the sandwiches were vegetarian, four of the 5 were vegan, and we had a gluten free salad station on the side for our gluten-free guests.
I tried the grilled veggie and balsamic tofu sandwiches and the chickpea quoina salad. The sandwiches were a little dry (and lacking salt), but the bread was amazing!
Shana shared her sun butter crunch balls for dessert.
I had one and enjoyed the crunch from the granola and chocolate covered seeds.
I also nabbed a bite of Evan’s brownies.
He told me they were gluten-free, nut free, milk free,and refined sugar free, but, luckily, they weren’t taste free. 🙂
Dawn spoke again after lunch and I took a cue from Sabrina to relax.
The Quaker snack break at 3:10 was my next large obstacle.
Quaker has been great to work with. Many thanks to Jenn for helping us through and supporting us along the way!
The snack break had rice cakes, veggies, hummus, and…
Naturally Nutty Nut Butters!!!
That stuff went fast!
Luckily, I was able to try a few flavors before they were all gone.
We ended with giveaways and a round of applause – yay!!!
Time to get our party on!
The Anderson Valley appealed to me.
I almost chugged this beer. It was needed.
We ordered an array of apps and shared. It ended up being just enough food for everyone to classify it as dinner.
I had been craving gelato ever since we walked by this place the first day.
Kath, Allison (I hope I got the name right – if not I’m sorry :/) and I walked over to enjoy a small bowl.
I had 1/2 Burnt Sugar and 1/2 Hazelnut. It was perfect.
We joined a few other bloggers at El Vez for drinks.
It was fabulous chatting with all the girls, but I had to call it a night. Only one more day of HLS to go!!!