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What I’ve Learned from Planning the Healthy Living Summit

by Meghann on August 22, 2011

In February 2009 I was cc-ed on an email chain that would change my life.

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That e-mail led to this e-mail…

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and, as they say, the rest is history.

Tina, Caitlin, Kath, Heather, Jenna, and I had no idea what we were doing that first year. We pulled together all of our event planning knowledge and calculated a rough estimate of what we thought an event like this would cost. We threw some figures on paper and began approaching sponsors we thought would be interested.

We found one. A great one. Stonyfield.

I had very limited experience working with Stonyfield before planning the first Healthy Living Summit, but knew I loved their yogurt. Sarah – and the rest of the Stonyfield team – were amazing. They took our humble idea of wanting to plan a conference and ran with it. There were countless e-mails, conference calls, and just words of encouragement as they personally helped us shape the first conference.

At Stonyfield’s request we selected Boston as our first location and announced tickets sales just a month and a half before the big day. For just $30, 100 attendees could attend the Friday night cocktail party and Saturday conference. We planned a few extra events for those unable to get tickets and left everything pretty open.

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Registration opened on June 25, 2009 at 8:00pm. At 8:05pm all 6 of us jumped on the phone to discuss what was happening. Turns out tickets for the first annual Healthy Living Summit were a little more popular than we originally assumed. Due to heavy traffic, our PayPal link crashed minutes after registration opened. People trying to register were confused and started sending money directly to all of our personal PayPal accounts. Tickets were selling like hot cakes and we could not keep up.

Not even 20 minutes after 8:00pm I had to shut the registration page down. Registration was closed. We had sold out. Insanity.

I think that’s when we knew this was going to be something big. :)

Tina worked on finding the hotel and cocktail party location, Kath worked with catering and money, Caitlin coordinated the sponsors, Heather was our swag bag queen, Jenna ran the website, and I was in charge of registration. We all had our roles and over the course of three months we all must have cced each other on hundreds of e-mails regarding the big event. A strong bond of friendship formed and – to this day – I am thankful to have everyone of these girls in my life.

By the time August came I almost cried tears of joy, finally meeting most of them for the very first time.

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The first summit was a whirlwind of activities and making new friends. It was a weekend I will always treasure with friends I still follow on twitter and Facebook to this day.

Boston – August 2009 – Healthy Living Summit

We learned a lot from Boston. A LOT. Anyone who attended the first summit knew we had a lot of room to grow. We were kids planning a big party and all we wanted was to have fun too!

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The post-conference surveys went out and came back. I’m not going to lie, it was my first time dealing with any sort of post-event survey for something that I had poured my heart and soul in and it was a lot to take at once. Luckily, the 6 of us had each other and we were all there to support one another as we combed through the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was a very eye-opening experience on what to improve on if we ever decided to do this again.

At that point we took a break. The fall came and went and we sort of pushed a 2010 Healthy Living Summit to the back of our minds.

Funny enough, it was a similar email (to our original one) that got the ball rolling again for 2010. By the time January came around we were back to full planning mode. This time we knew what had to be done and knew what we could do to make it better. We wanted more sponsors, more events, and more of a reason for people to come.

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Caitlin was our ringleader in 2010. She took charge getting everything organized and passed off what ever needed to be done to all of us. Unfortunately we lost a founding member at the beginning. Jenna was going through several life changes at once and needed to back down from her position on the planning committee. We wished her well as our group of 6 quickly became 5.

We also relied on the help from others for the first time in 2010. Sabrina came through as our swag bag goddess and Jenn was our eyes and ears for scouting Chicago locations when we couldn’t be there. The two of them saved our butts multiple times!

Again, we put our heart and soul into planning the summit and made some great changes based off of the survey results from the year prior.

  • We upped the headcount form 100 to 200 bloggers/ readers and charged $75 per ticket.
  • We switched to Eventbrite for registration (still sold out in an hour, but at least it was controlled chaos :) )
  • The Friday night cocktail hour was moved to a larger space. Free drinks were distributed and and a photobooth was added.
  • We dismissed the one room format and opted for multiple sessions and multiple speakers.
  • The conference became less about the founding members and more about the community we were a part of.
  • Sunday brunch was officially sponsored and other sponsored activities for Friday and Saturday evening were added.
  • Thanks to Kath, our food was taken up a notch.

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Our budget for the event quadrupled. It was insane to think of the pennies we were able to pull together the first summit for, compared to the mass amount of money we were pouring into the second. If you have a successful first event, companies tend to be more interested in the second.

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If you ask me, the Chicago Healthy Living Summit blew the first one out of the water. The event had grown so much in a year, I was excited to not only attend in 2010, but to say that I was a part of what made it what it was!

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Chicago – August 2010 – Healthy Living Summit

I left the conference on a blog love high. The theme of the conference seemed to be ‘one big happy blog family’ and I couldn’t stop grinning ear-to-ear about it. :)

Then Marie Claire happened.

We had agreed to let the freelance writer attend Healthy Living Summit because we had a feeling she might be writing some negative things about us and we thought letting her experience how great of an event it was, she might spin the other way. Obviously we were young and naive on that one.

When the article came out we were all so numbed with shock, we weren’t sure what to do. Anyone who had attended the event knew all of the things she had written were wrong or twisted views of what had happened through the weekend. Our sponsors were just as shock as we were. A few of them had immediately emailed us letting us know they too were hurt by her words and that they had our backs. They were taking our side – not Marie Claire’s.

Luckily, the article didn’t stop us from setting our goals on planning the next Healthy Living Summit in 2011.

By then the event had grown larger than any of us could have imagined. The Chicago Summit was stressful, to say the least. From stuffing over 200 bags to dealing with catering emergencies to budget emergencies to losing name badges to unexpected shipping charges to hotel strikes and to just about anything in between – we were all high on stress out mode the entire time. We knew planning the 2011 event would be hard. Very hard.

The only way it seemed a 2011 event was going to happen, was going to be if we found someone else to take it over. The five of us spoke to a couple of girls we trusted to see if they would be willing to take on the responsibility, but it didn’t work out. It was around the same time as we were having these discussions, that I was thinking about leaving my job in Orlando to move to Tampa and pursue blogging full time. I didn’t want HLS (something we had all worked so hard on!) to just die out, so I decided to take on the responsibility of planning the 2011 Healthy Living Summit solo.

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At the time it seemed easy enough. I had been a part of planning the two previous years and sort of knew what had to be done. I would start going full force in January and doing everything that needed to be done. No worries. Piece of cake.

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Boy, I didn’t know how wrong I was!

I knew what I wanted for all of the easy stuff (location, agenda, shirts, bags, registration, actual event coordination, etc), but the hard stuff (SPONSORS!) was really hard. Let me tell you, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every sponsor we’ve ever had for Healthy Living Summit, but the majority of them move as slow as molasses. It took MONTHS to finally get enough movement going to start making real announcements.

Finally, in April, I decided enough was enough – I was going to move forward with logistic planning and hoped the sponsors would follow. Luckily, they did. :)

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From April to August I worked like a mad woman on any possible HLS related detail I could think of. I made a BIG mistake at first by pushing away a lot of volunteered help (I didn’t feel like putting anyone out of their way), but eventually broke down and actively sought it. I pulled together a separate planning committee for the Friday night cocktail party, I did an open call for speakers, I place someone else in charge of the swag bags, I asked a friend to help design an updated logo, and I opened registration with every finger and toe crossed.

I was afraid people would have forgotten about us. I feared if they had attended last year, they wouldn’t want to return. I knew we couldn’t live up to the incredible sell out streak we had been so lucky to have.

I knew nothing.

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In less than 12 hours all 200 tickets were sold. I had just enough time to breathe a sigh of relief, before diving back into work.

Planning the event solo was a lot different than planning it with a group. With a group I felt we all had each other’s backs and an equal piece of the pie in case something went wrong. Solo, I felt the pressure was all on me. It was scary and led to a lot of freak outs on my part.

As is true with any event, too many things were left until the last minute. I had only signed the final contract for Reading Terminal Market a couple of weeks prior. Allison was a complete rockstar and took over almost every aspect of the cocktail party planning. I had originally envisioned some sort of ‘Philly Taste’ for attendees to explore, but eventually we decided a Philly themed party would be easier to plan. Allison secured the Reading Terminal Market and made history as the BEST volunteer ever.

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Julie came through as the lead swag bag master. She kept track of everything meant for the bags and giveaways. Without her my head probably would have busted from all the extra work.

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My family. Oh, lord, my family.

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I told them I was going to put them to work, but they probably didn’t know what was coming. They never left my side the entire weekend and I will never forget them for that. They flew in Thursday and were there for all of the bag stuffing, bag moving, registrations, and mini-freak out sessions over budget, hotel, and help. I could NOT have done this without them. They were my rocks the entire weekend. Seriously.

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Things did go wrong (missing velcro twitter handles, late checks, handheld mikes instead of tabletops, etc), but I doubt anyone really noticed. ;) In the end all of the sponsors were FANTASTIC to work with! Major shout out to Quaker for coming through as our wonderful gold sponsor. :)

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This year’s conference was less about me having fun and more about making sure everyone else is having fun. I missed out on networking as much as I wanted or going to as many extra-curricular activities as I was hoping to, BUT all I have to do is read all the recaps from everyone else’s posts and know it was all worth it. I was the girl behind the scenes this year and I’m ok with that. :)

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Philadelphia – August 2011 – Healthy Living Summit

What’s in store for 2012?! I have no idea! But, I do know one thing – there WILL be one. Even if I have to plan it all by myself again. ;)

{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine August 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Loved reading all the recaps and it looked like this conference completely rocked Meghann. :) Fantastic job!

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2 Jen @ Jen is Green August 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

you did an awesome job! i had such a great time! :-)
Jen @ Jen is Green recently posted..Cocktails at Reading Terminal Market

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3 Susan August 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Job incredibly well done, Meghann! : )

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4 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I’m here to help, friend! Seriously, I’d love to work with you on it next year. And you did a great job this year as always!
Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete recently posted..A Fresh Start

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5 Lisa August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I have never planned a conference all by my lonesome, but I have planned a conference in a group–and even that is HARD, as you said. Mad kudos to you, Meghann. HLS 2011 looked amazing, and I am jealous I couldn’t go. :)
Lisa recently posted..Sunny Seed Story #45: Sunny Seed Crunch Balls

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6 Valerie @ City|Life|Eats August 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Hi Meghann, I wanted to say you did a fantastic job in planning the event. I enjoyed every minute of it. I also wanted to say I am sorry I forgot to pick up my nametag after you found it – I just got so distracted talking to bloggers. That said, I so appreciated your making sure to tell you had found it. You were very much on top of every detail and did a fantastic job. Congratulations :)
Valerie @ City|Life|Eats recently posted..Week in Review, HLS Edition

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7 Katy (The Singing Runner) August 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Meghann, I didn’t really get the chance to tell you in Philly but you did such an amazing job. Seriously, girl! You are a rockstar! I had so much fun and as a newish blogger (a year in October), I felt so welcomed!

This was my first HLS but I know that it will not be my last! I can not wait until 2012. (Oh, and if you all need help for 2012, hit me up! Seriously!) :)
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Out With A Bang

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8 Jen Brentano August 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

How inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I love love love this! I haven’t attended any of the summits but would love too! I’ll keep info in my sites and look forward to hearing more.

Many blessings!!

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9 Jen August 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I am so sad I had to miss this year, but I’ve heard it went SO well. And that’s all because of you. All of your hardwork paid off Meghann, and we are all so appreciative for it :)
Jen recently posted..Why I want a natural childbirth

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10 alli @ alli learns life August 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

you did an amazing job!!

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11 Hilary August 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Major props to you…YOU (and HLS) rock!!!!!!!!
Hilary recently posted..HLS: Just the Food

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12 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep August 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

You’re simply amazing! I seriously don’t know how you do it all. And I mean this when I say it, please let me know if you need help with next year’s event! I would LOVE to help!
Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep recently posted..One Interval at a Time

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13 Caitlin August 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Great post :) I still have nightmares about HLS 2010.
Caitlin recently posted..Walk This Way

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14 Heather August 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

For realz. It makes me itch. I love love love the original email you put in here though. :)

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15 Jennifer @ Eat With Knowledge August 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Meghann, you did a fantastic job!!!! The HLS was one of the best weekends of my summer. I learned so much and can’t wait to start blogging more!

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16 Morgan @ Life After Bagels August 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

although I ended up having to sell my ticket (had to be a big girl and prioritize my family’s budget constraints) – I heard it was awesome and so glad that you kept it up, and please don’t stop because I’ll be back eventually … to HLS 2012 and beyond :)
Morgan @ Life After Bagels recently posted..So Let Us Be Loving, Hopeful, And Optimistic

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17 Steph @321delish August 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for sharing this. Though I didn’t go to the summit, I loved reading all of the recaps, and have definitely decided to attend next year. You certainly worked your tail off, and everyone seems to have noticed:-) Great work!

How about DC next year? I’ll help!
Steph @321delish recently posted..Doughnut Semi-Fail

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18 Heather @ Side of Sneakers August 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I loved reading this overview and the history and growth of HLS. You’ve all done an amazing job, and you did an especially great job taking on the daunting task yourself this year. Even if it was stressful and you thought things didn’t go perfectly, no one else had a clue and everything was just fantastic. Now go do something fun and relax and don’t plan anything! :)
Heather @ Side of Sneakers recently posted..Pumpkin Market

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19 Courtney August 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Great recap! I’d love to help plan… actually :P
Courtney recently posted..Jars!

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20 Laura @ Backstage Balance August 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm

As someone who plans marketing for concert events for a living, I can only imagine how complex and laborious it was to put together an event like the Healthy Living Summit. Kudos to you, Meghann!
I didn’t attend this year (*sniff*) but from all of the recap posts I’ve read, it looks like this year’s was the best HLS to date. Congratulations to another successful year!
Laura @ Backstage Balance recently posted..Smoooooooooothie

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21 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife August 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

WOW–what a very cool, moving post. Sure sounds like you did tons–and it went off almost perfect. NICELY done!!!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Blackberries Galore

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22 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm

WOW, you ladies did an amazing job!!! Sounds like it was a great learning experience for all of you, with tons of successes. I was so sad to have had to miss another HLS this year, but I cannot wait to hear about 2012 because I’m dying to get in on the action. Keep us posted on the date!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..Can Fit Pro 2011: The Big Recap

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23 Cait's Plate August 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Congrats on being the ring leader this year! You must feel so proud/accomplished (and exhausted! haha).

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24 Lauren August 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

You did a great job Meghann! Planning these kinds of events are brutal but so worth it in the end. Thank you for everything!
Lauren recently posted..My (Brief) Reflection: HLS 2011

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25 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Wow, What a great story. I’ve never heard all the behind the scenes action and am SO impressed with all the hard work you ladies put into the summit. I would have been there this year if I wasn’t 9 months pregnant, but I KNOW I’ll be at next year’s… if there is one?
On that note, if I can help out in any way with planning or researching for HLS 2012, please let me know. I’d love to be a part of such a fabulous event!
And might I suggest Charlotte as a location? I’m not partial or anything ;)
Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..Local Eats and Weekend Treats

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26 clare @ livingspreethegoodlife.wordpress.com August 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Wonderful job! Loved reading about it and bummed it missed it.
clare @ livingspreethegoodlife.wordpress.com recently posted..Case of the Mondays…but not for long!

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27 Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life August 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Congrats to you and everyone else who put their heart in making this summit a success! All the recaps I have been reading look amazing and I really, really hope I can make it next year!!!
Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life recently posted..Summertime Chili

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28 Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola August 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I think you should be so, so proud of what you accomplished! What started small grew into a wonderful conference! I know everyone in the blog world has been talking about it and it is on my must-attend list next year!! I seriously CANNOT wait!!

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29 Kelly August 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm

So thankful for everything you did Meghann, it was a fantastic weekend!!
Kelly recently posted..Goodbye Philly! – Oh wait, just kidding….

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30 Lauren August 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Congrats on your success at this year’s event. I really need to make sure I get in on this action next year. May I suggest a West Coast location for 2012? Seattle possibly? We are a very healthy city with lots of great tourist activities and conferences spaces…wink wink.
Lauren recently posted..Week 7 – Marathon Trainin Recap

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31 Katie G> August 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Sad I missed out this year…I REALLY wanted to go, but it was the same weekend as my first triathlon that I have been training for. I hope to make it next year! Looks like you did a GREAT job planning!!!!! Congrats on the success!
Katie G> recently posted..Triathlon Preparation

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32 Dori August 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

From everything I’ve heard, you did a fantastic job. I am impressed!!!
Dori recently posted..Why I Don’t Tell You What I Eat

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33 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups August 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Great job! You should be so proud of yourself for all your hard work. I did not attend, but I can tell from the blog world that it was an amazing time and people are already excited for next year’s. I’d say Mission Accomplished!
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..Sunday morning triumph

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34 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake August 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I read every single word of the post! All of your hard work is very admirable. I really hope to attend HLS next year!
Erica @ For the Sake of Cake recently posted..Baked Mac n’ Cheese

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35 Mary August 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

you did an awesome job at planning this year’s summit! I’m so sad I couldn’t make it, I would love to come next year though! If you need help with anything, just shout out, i’d be glad to help! :)
Mary recently posted..Bringing Yoga Back

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36 Amber from Girl with the Red Hair August 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Great job Meghann! Looked like an awesome event. I am going to try so hard to go next year (would be AWESOME if you guys came to the west coast ;) )

I really enjoyed this post. Super interesting to hear how HLS came to be!

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37 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance August 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Wow! What an AWESOME post of all the HLS history that nobody knows about!
Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance recently posted..Front-Door Photos

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38 Julie @ Wearing Mascara August 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm

So amazing – congrats on the wonderful accomplishment!
Julie @ Wearing Mascara recently posted..New life: A big announcement

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39 Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs August 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Awesome job organizing the Summit! I have loved reading every single recap and I’m green with envy that I couldn’t participate. I hope the success continues for years to come — and that I can join in (and volunteer to help) too!!
Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs recently posted..First Day of School

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40 Lauren @ Team Giles August 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Meghann, it looks like you did an amazing job! I’m enjoying reading everyone’s recaps :) including yours!
Lauren @ Team Giles recently posted..Highlights of Vegas Vacation

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41 Kathleen August 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Congrats on all your work. Reading your posts and all of the other blogs made me really wish I had attended!
Kathleen recently posted..Mondays mean Menus

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42 Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) August 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I plan events and special projects of a similar fashion to this for a living, so I def understand where you’re coming from here.. way to go lady!
Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) recently posted..Wordless weekend

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43 Kelly@foodiefresh August 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Meghan, you did a wonderful job planning the HLS summit. It was my first time and I loved every minute of it!
Kelly@foodiefresh recently posted..HLS – the second half of the day

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44 Heather August 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

i am so v. proud of you. like, beyond words. because there are no words to describe how awesome you are, how valuable you are to this community and how great the summit was.

Although, i’m sure you could guess that eventually I will TRY to find the words to describe it all on THS.
Heather recently posted..Call for HLS Photos

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45 Sara August 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

So interesting and inspiring to read about the behind the scenes aspects of all three years. You did an amazing job!
Sara recently posted..I’ve Been To The Summit

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46 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Everyone involved did an absolutely AMAZING job…especially YOU!! Seriously you rock for putting that all together. The conference was absolutely incredible. I remember talking to Kath at Foodbuzz in November and she said HLS might not happen in 2011, and I was so sad! I’m glad you took the reigns and made sure it not only happened, but was incredible as well :)
Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine recently posted..HLS: The Last Day

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47 Fallon August 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

From reading everyone’s posts looks like you did a FANTASTIC job! You found a great sponsor, have a great location and a successful turn out at the end of the day. I hope I will be able to attend the 2012 HLS!
Fallon recently posted..Barefoot Contessa Weeknight Bolognese

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48 Sana August 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm

HLS has come a longg way I am so proud of you and the other ladies for getting things going!
Sana recently posted..The People in My Life

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49 Erin @ The Grass Skirt August 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thank you so much for all of your hard work, planning, and care. This was my first HLS, and I seriously had the time of my life.
Erin @ The Grass Skirt recently posted..Healthy Living Summit Highlights (Part I)

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50 Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real August 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

First of all, you are a ROCKSTAR for handling this year’s HLS all by yourself. Please know that all of you hard work brought together so many bloggers (most of who were first time HLS attendees) and gave us the chance to make awesome new friendships. While you were busy handling the details (no, we didn’t notice any of the issues you mentioned), we were busy networking, meeting the sponsors & speakers and enjoying all of your hard work.

No complaints here. My only complaint is that I have to wait another year to go to attend HLS again. Sincere thanks for a great weekend & conference.
Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real recently posted..And then it was over – Healthy Living Summit

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51 Shanna, Like Banana August 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm

WOWSA! I can’t even fathom. You did a fabulous job, particularly since you were running solo.

If you need help next year, I’m in. I’m a professionally trained event planner so I have some experience in this area ;)
Shanna, Like Banana recently posted..HLS Part 2–inspired!

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52 Jenn Sutherland August 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Thank YOU, Meghann, for making this the best HLS, EVER! And I’ll be working with Quaker to get this in the budget for next year, and we’ll make the process flow a lot smoother. Thanks for all of your support, and to the community for embracing Quaker with so much love and enthusiasm! (client)
Jenn Sutherland recently posted..Lamb Chops with Sour Cherry & Mustard Sauce

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53 Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

what a wonderful learning experience! It looks like you guys did a wonderful job!
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..A BBB Mexican Fiesta

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54 Anne P August 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

What a great reflections post! As one of the few non-organizers who has attended all 3 of the HLS’s, I can say that this year was by FAR my favorite. You did a rocking job, and everything felt very inclusive and fun.

Thanks for a great weekend!
Anne P recently posted..Home Again, Home Again!

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55 Amber K August 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Wow, I never even stopped to think about how much goes into a conference. You are so amazing!

I really hope one day I will be able to go to one of these and meet all of the wonderful bloggers I’ve come to adore online. Thanks for all you do!

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56 Bri August 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Wow, I am impressed! You should be proud of your hard work! Tackling this solo = the ultimate resume booster :) haha. Congrats!

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57 Hillary August 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

What an incredible thing to say you were a part of from the beginning.
Hillary recently posted..Smoothied Out

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58 Dani Eats Veggies August 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

You did such an amazing, outstanding job! Thanks for planning HLS – I really enjoyed it. It was also great meeting you – now that I think of it, when I ran into you in the hall and introduced myself, i’m sure you were busy and stressed, but you were so sweet, so thanks again :)

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59 Laura August 22, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I want to go next year!! This looks so awesome!
Laura recently posted..Country Fried Friday

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60 Alaina August 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I am so jealous of every person that was able to attend. I definitely want to make it next year!

And if you need any hotel help, I have connections with a lot of different hotel brands! :-)
Alaina recently posted..Sweetness

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61 Kathleen August 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

You did a fantastic job with everthing for the conference!! It was my first HLS and will not be the last. Everything from the food to the speakers to the social events were so well organized and planned. I had an amazing time and will remember the fun. Keep my info handy because I would love to help out next year! You are inspiring ! Thank you.

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62 Army Amy* August 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

It’s cool to peek behind the scenes a little! Sounds like it was a lot of work but worth it. I hope you can put your feet up and relax at least for a little while.*
Army Amy* recently posted..Hiatus

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63 Kath August 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Really enjoyed reading the history!!
Kath recently posted..Speed Clean

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64 Chelsea August 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I am a rookie event planner (as in the first wedding I am head coordinator is in less than a month), new blogger, and had never heard of HLS until a few months ago, but I would love to help with this! I want to be a part of this event and the learning experience would be fabulous for me! Let me know what I can do for you next year!!

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65 The Delicate Place August 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm

thanks for all you did! hard work pays off and i had a wonderful first summit! =^.^= -melissa

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66 Natalie @ will jog for food August 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm

You did a great job at planning!! You ROCK :)
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67 Marie August 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Wow, I wasn’t reading back when the first HLS occurred so it was great reading how it all began. I cannot fathom how much work went into this from everyone, especially you! I have been wanting to attend since reading about it last year and hope it comes near Houston one year. ;) Congrats on all the success! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now but have never commented; love your blog! ;)

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68 Brittany August 22, 2011 at 7:29 pm

You are awesome Meghann! I wasn’t able to go to HLS this year, but i’m SO going next year!
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69 Cat @Breakfast to Bed August 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

ok, this is WAYYY off topic, but that pic of the first HLS? I REALLY love your hair. You look SOOOO FAB with a bob. You look great and beautiful now, but that hair just sets you off. I know you were thinking of donating, so i know you don’t need a reason for cutting your hair,but DAYUM, Gal!
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70 Ellie@fitforthesoul August 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

wwowww great job Meg~~you truly have some perseverance and definitely administrative gifts! This would be kind of reaaaallllyyyy hard for me to organize b/c I’m not administrative! haha! But it’s great to see your positive attitude.

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71 Ali @ Ali Runs August 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Amazing job Meghann! Congrats on planning such an awesome event. It was very cool to see how the first HLS can to be- now you can sit back and relax. ;)
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72 Dani August 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I really liked this post! I think this is my favorite recap yet!

What kinds of things did you change from HLS 2009 and 10? What was the feedback you got then? It would be interesting to hear how people’s perceptions changed and what specifically was different.

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73 Heather August 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

THANK YOU THANK YOU! I think you did a pretty awesome job. I felt bad for you as I saw you running around the whole time! I am so thankful that this idea didn’t die out, I think so many people would be devastated! I can promise you won’t have to do it yourself, I am sure many people (myself included) would be more than willing to help in the future! One of the joys of working from home you could say. :) Know that you are very much appreciated for ALL of your behind the scenes work!
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74 hillary August 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

wow! i am inspired just reading about the genesis of HLS (only just recently heard of blogher and was wondering how that related to HLS) and how you ladies were able to create something so in demand–this awesome event that keeps getting bigger and better. thanks for sharing!
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75 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) August 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm

You did a fabulous job, Meghan! Congrats on a great conference.
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76 Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Love this post! I vote for the Carolinas next year.. ;)
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77 Kristen @ notsodomesticated August 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Wow, congratulations on a job well done. I wasn’t there, but from all of the blogs I’ve been reading, it sounds like it was a major success!

I hope I can attend next year!!
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78 Maria August 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I wasn’t able to attend this year’s HLS, but I can say with certainty that I will be there next year and that I can tell from all the recaps just what a wonderful job you did! Part of my job is planning events, so any help you need for the 2012 event, please let me know!

Perhaps volunteer committees can be formed?
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79 Deirdre August 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Thank you so much for everything you did. As someone who has attended all 3 Summits, they just keep getting better but one thing remains the same: how happy and connected I feel to everyone that attends.

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80 Kristen @ The Concrete Runner August 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Meghann, I wasn’t even there and I know you did a fabulous job! Reading the recaps of everyone’s posts makes me feel totally left out that I couldn’t be there! My mom plans a huge banquet for her company every November and I know the stress she goes through planning that – I can’t even imagine what you have gone through this year and in the past to plan HLS. Your hard work definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed – even from those of us who haven’t attended. I am looking forward to next year’s HLS and hopefully I’ll be attending it also!

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81 Sally Anne @ PaleoRunnerGirl August 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Wow! Now that is what I call a job well done! You clearly spent a TON if time planning this momentous event! Now it is time for a big, long NAP! :)

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82 Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt August 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I wasn’t able to go this year, but I’ve read plenty of recaps and it sounds like you did an AMAZING job. You should be proud of yourself for getting so much accomplished and creating another great community event!

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83 Theodora August 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm

This was such an interesting post! You should be really proud of yourself for pulling it off–especially after it looked like it might not happen! So good to see you this weekend and congrats again! xoxo
Theodora recently posted..My Top 5 Healthy Midtown Lunches

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84 Dani August 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Oh, was Kath not a part of the original group? When did she get involved? I see the e-mail is only for 5 of you at first

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85 Meghann August 22, 2011 at 10:12 pm

She was added in the 4th or 5th e-mail.

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86 Caitlin August 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Meghann- cannot thank you enough for all of your hard work. This was my first year at HLS and it was an absolutely amazing experience – you made it such a fun, positive place to be. Thank you!!
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87 RunningOnCoffee August 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Congrats on putting together such a big event! I do think it’s difficult for a business to commit to something before they know enough details (i.e. location, date, event size). I’m guessing after you announced some of that for the 2011 HLS more sponsors came forward.

From my own experience trying to solicit donated goods/services from businesses for college groups as well as organizations I’ve volunteered with post-college, I find that the more information you have for them, the better. At the same time, it IS hard to move forward with planning an event before you have interest from sponsors! Congrats again on what sounds like a very successful third HLS!
RunningOnCoffee recently posted..Recap: HM5, Week 8 Training + 4 Years

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88 Allison @ Happy Tales August 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Girl, i can’t say it enough. I am BEYOND impressed with everything you did this past weekend, and the months planning up to it. You should seriously consider event planning for a career! (or maybe on second though… that might be too stressful? But seriously, you’re a ROCKSTAR!)

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89 Melissa August 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm

It’s awesome to see how far this event has come in only a few short years, what a great post. Congrats on successfully orchestrating HLS 2011 and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for next year :)
Melissa recently posted..Race Pace

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90 Natasha August 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I’ve read everyone’s posts regarding this event and I’m so jealous that I was not able to attend this year. I’m going to try my hardest to make it next year. You should be very proud of yourself for making this happen. From everything I’ve read it seems like this year’s Summit was a major success. Congratulations!
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91 Brittany August 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

Great job Meghann!! This year was my first HLS and I LOVED it. :)
Brittany recently posted..7 Things – Healthy Living Summit Style

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92 Mariel August 23, 2011 at 2:07 am

Love this story! I’m sad I couldn’t attend the HLS this year but I’m def going next year, and I LOVE event planning! This is me volunteering to help out already! Can’t wait to take a look at the presentations! Glad you relaxed today, I think you deserved it! :)

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93 Khushboo August 23, 2011 at 2:22 am

Thank you for posting this- loved reading it and I’m sat here with my jaw drop down- you are such an inspiration and not once did your stress come through on the blog throughout planning! I really hope to attend next year, even if it means flying all the way from Mumbai!
Khushboo recently posted..To my friends

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94 Sophie August 23, 2011 at 6:42 am

Wow, what a journey! You should be incredibly proud of yourself Meghann! :)

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95 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun August 23, 2011 at 7:03 am

I got chills reading this. You did so amazing Meghann and I hope you know just how much you are appreciated for every ounce of energy you gave to this effort. Love you!
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96 Lea @ Healthy Coconut August 23, 2011 at 11:13 am

I like reading the history of HLS. I always feel like the blogging community is very supportive of each other and having the HLS is a great way to celebrate that.

I hope that you will consider bringing HLS to the west coast in future years.

Having plannned my destination wedding, it was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. But planning a conference for 200+ attendees and multiple days…I can only imagine it is so much harder but also gratifying after it is done.
Lea @ Healthy Coconut recently posted..Meatless Monday: Maple Dijon Baked Tempeh

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97 Joey August 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

Come to Las Vegas for next year’s summit & I would absolutely love to help in whatever way I can!

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98 Jillian @ sprinkle massacre August 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

I can’t wait until 2012. I will help if need be – seriously, it was an AMAZING experience that I’m sure everyone wants to continue on for years to come! Great job planning Meghann! We are all so appreciative of your hard work!!
Jillian @ sprinkle massacre recently posted..Healthy Living Summit – Day 3

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99 Ashley@MyFoodNFitnessDiaries August 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

Wow, awesome awesome job! I didn’t get to attend HLS, but reading all about it from other bloggers that were there made it sound like it was an incredible weekend. I give you major props for taking this into your own hands! I hope to get to attend next year, so I’m glad there’s a plan of making it happen. :)
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100 Allison August 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm
101 Allison August 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

This was my first time attending HLS and I have to say you did such an amazing job!!! I was so impressed by the event and had a great time. Thank you, thank you for everything and congratulations!!

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102 Tina August 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm

LOVED this post! :)
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103 Sarah for Real August 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Interesting to read the behind-the-scenes action!

cough * next year maybe think WEST COAST? * cough

… oh sorry, had a tickle in my throat ;)
Sarah for Real recently posted..North Idaho Knows How to Party

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104 Rachel Wilkerson August 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Congrats! I can only imagine how much work, organization, and time it took to put on an event like that. It looked like a ton of fun and very smooth and professional — you should be very proud!

Out of curiosity, was directing the entire HLS this year a paid position or volunteer work? I’m just curious — if all this work was volunteer work out of the bottom of your heart, even more props to you for doing all that for free!!
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105 Meghann August 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Thanks! It was paid, but not much. :)

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106 Melissa @ TryingToHeal August 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Yay! I’m sooooooooooo proud of Meghann and wish I could have been there. Next year i certainly will…can we please have it in SD?! I’ll help scout or anything you need for West Coast info!!!
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107 sarah (the SHU box) August 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

i think you did a FANTAAAAAASTIC job!! i wanted to say thank you and also mention that the fact you had your sister, brother, and boyfriend all there helping was just the nicest thing ever.

i want to go next year!! can it be in NC though!? i’ll hopefully have a 4 mo old :)
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108 Shayla @ The Good Life August 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

What an awesome post Meghann and you are so inspiring and basically rock for planning the summit by yourself! I wasn’t able to attend, but from what I’ve read from other blogger recaps, the event looked fantastic and it made me wish only more that I was there! Congrats to you on such an amazing accomplishment!

And I’m so happy to hear there will be another one next year because I am definitely planning on attending!! :)
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109 Koko @ KokoLikes August 24, 2011 at 1:54 am

What an amazing post. I’ve been reading everyone’s posts from the weekend and I can tell you right now I am already looking forward to the HLS 4, I love how much fun everyone had, how there was so much friendship and love and everyone was smiling. I truly can’t wait to attend

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110 Mara Shorr @ The Leone Company August 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Meghann- Loved watching the planning from afar. I was so sorry I wasn’t able to make it this year (especially since I was born and raised in Philly), but hope to be able to check it out next year. And, I have a conference idea of my own that I’d LOVE to pick your brain on, especially about the ups and downs of planning a conference alone! Would love to touch base :)
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111 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio March 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I had a blast at the conference last year! Thank you for all you do.
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112 Lauren @ Sassy Molassy July 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Meghann, I thought you did an AWESOME job on the planning and during the weekend you seemed so composed and at ease (even if you were stressed). I was so happy to be able to attend after watching from afar and reading others’ posts about it for the two years prior. I’d love to go, but just can’t foot the bill this year. Last year I really lucked out and got a $150 plane voucher from a blog friend who couldn’t use it. That definitely helped me pay for my $500 or so airfare.

I also have to say how awesome it was that I found roommates on the HLS facebook page and was able to make new friends and split room costs that way. Anyway, so happy to be part of the healthy living blog community!
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