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#HLS12: Saturday Sessions

by Meghann on August 20, 2012

Why, hello, new and old friends. :)

Welcome. Welcome. Welcome

In case you’re new to the blog, my name is Meghann and I’ve been writing Meals and Miles since September 2008. I write a little about this and a little about that, but mainly about my life through running and food. I’m also one of the co-founders of Healthy Living Summit and this year I was a speaker on the “I am a Blogger in Your Neighborhood” panel with Holly and Clare.

If you’re old to the blog, welcome back! Sorry I disappeared this weekend, but time sort of got away from me. It was definitely a crazy couple of days full of blogger love, learning new things, and summit success. I can’t believe Healthy Living Summit 2012 is over, but I’m already pumped about planning 2013!! Whoop! Whoop!

Alright. Let’s rewind to yesterday for a minute because, well, it’s what HLS is all about – the sessions!


I ended up skipping the long run Saturday morning in favor of more sleep (I decided to make a sleep a high priority this weekend – best decision ever!). Mary and I woke up just after 6:30a and kicked the day off with sponsor booth set-up, registration, and last minute breakfast menu requests. There was a lot of running around in a very exciting holy-crap-this-is-really-happening-and-everything-is-coming-together sort of way. :)

Around 8 all of the attendees started to roll in and the real fun began.


Registration, swag, shoes, sponsors – Oh My!


Wild Harvest was our kick-ass gold sponsor this year and I can’t say enough good things about the brand, the company, or all of the amazing people that I worked with. Seriously could not have asked for a better lead sponsor to partner with. They also came in with great ideas on how they could really be involved with this year’s summit, including how to get attendees talking about their sponsored breakfast.


During registration for the Healthy Living Summit, each attendee had the opportunity to opt-in to participate in the “Wild Harvest Breakfast Showdown.” Each blogger that accepted was shipped a box of Wild Harvest goodies with the challenge of creating a breakfast recipe using 3 Wild Harvest ingredients from the goodie box. After all the recipes were submitted, the Wild Harvest team spent a week taste testing each submitted recipe (tweeting fabulous sneak peeks along the way!). Five finalists were chosen, and the winning recipe (Cupcake Kelly’s Greek Inspired Scramble!) was served at breakfast.

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The winning dish!

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The remaining breakfast dishes featured recipes developed in the Wild Harvest kitchen and created with local Wild Harvest products. Each dish was paired with a recipe card, so attendees could recreate any of the dishes at home.

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Everything looked fabulous, but between running around with set-up, registration, opening remarks, etc. etc. it got to be after 10, breakfast had been cleared, and I realized I had not had a chance to eat anything. Luckily the staff at the Hyatt were AMAZING and brought me out some food from the back.


p.s. Cupcake Kelly’s dish ROCKED – I can’t wait to recreate it at home using my nifty recipe card. ;)


Bloggers starting to pile in, ready for the summit to begin!


On top of having her recipe served at breakfast, Cupcake Kelly (great blog name, by the way) was presented with a $500 gift card good at any Supervalu (Wild Harvest’s parent company) store. Basically, she has her groceries covered for a month – sweet! Congrats, again, Kelly!


Heather, Julie, and I kicked the summit off with opening remarks and icebreakers. Unfortunately, I’ll have to apologize for my severe lack of photos during the day. I plan to do a complete recap post with final thoughts and hope to wrangle up a few more for that. I have a lot to say, like how much I enjoyed this year’s icebreakers and how awesome Heather and Julie were for coming up with the concept.


After icebreakers wrapped-up (holla to the blue star group I led!), we joined our fabulous sponsor Reebok in the pavilion for CrossFit.


Ashley and I modeling our new Reebok/ Crossfit headbands because we rock.

The room was full of newbies, but Reebok had it covered – they brought 10+ CrossFit coaches in to lead the workout and lead everyone on what to do. It was very much an intro to WOD class where they reviewed a few of the basic CrossFit moves, then completed a 7 minute WOD. There were a lot of squats. a lot. a lot. a lot.


Unfortunately this was also the time I realized I hadn’t had breakfast yet and used the workout time as my excuse to sneak my meal in. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the workout, and even though it was short, I still overheard talk of sore booties and legs from all the squats. A lot of CrossFit virgins left motivated to test out a CrossFit box in their hometown, which motivated me to try one too.


I’m not guaranteeing next week – but I will have my first WOD soon!

There was a 30 minute break for showering, changing, snacking, and booth browsing, then the meat of the conference began with break-out sessions.


We had the lovely Gretchen discussing basic beginning photog in one room…


…and Amanda explaining how she hosts successful virtual challenges next door.


Next up, our Blogging with Brands Panel (the room was PACKED – bloggers were very interested in this one)


And blog design with Julie (mental note – check out for fresh premium themes)


Lunch started at 12:20 and I was super proud of the spread our team came up with. We wanted to make sure food was a yummy highlight of the conference and paid special attention to make sure that, not only everyone’s dietary needs were met, but that we also had a delicious, healthy spread everyone would enjoy. The Hyatt catering staff was great to work with and let us completely customize their standard menus.


Take a look -

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Everything was fresh and delicious. I even overheard a couple of attendees requesting the recipe for the tomato and avocado salad. I should have grabbed it too – it was top notch.





Our key note speakers (the amazing Kim and Genie, dietitians for Wild Harvest) led the summit after lunch. I really enjoyed their discussion on how they develop recipes for the Wild Harvest kitchen and how similar recipe developing techniques could translate to blogs. The girls were super personable and easy to listen to, but my nerves were starting to kick in as I prepped for my panel once they wrapped up. Gulp.


Despite my nerves (and non-existent public speaking skills), I thought our panel actually went great. Holly did an amazing job giving tips and tricks on how to reach out to local organizations in your community regarding freelance gigs, Clare shared how to connect with local business across social networks, and I covered how to build a local network and engage with your local blogging community.   


I was very nervous presenting my portion of the presentation (I know I left out a ton of what I wanted to stay and probably spoke too fast), but once we got to Q&A, I began to relax and was able to give some decent answers (I hope!). A lot of information was shared and I’m hoping to write a blog post in the near future on the topic because there really seemed to be a lot of interest in how to become involved with your local community.

As I shared on Saturday “Eat local. Shop local. Blog local.”


Snack time!


Cabot Creamery and Driscoll’s Berries were our afternoon snack sponsors. We re-fueled with cheese, berries, and a mix of carbs and nuts.


The perfect snack.


The final sessions of the day started after the snack break with a social media breakdown


and the fuzzy grey area of blogging wrapping up the summit.


Dori and Rachel did a great job keeping it real on their panel. Thank you, ladies!!


We ended the day with closing remark, raffles, and a whole round of thank you’s and big hugs all around. When all was said and done, this was all I wanted to do.


Correction. This was what I wanted to do.


But I’ll get to that later. ;)

I can’t say THANK YOU enough to everyone who made Saturday possible. We had a whole slew of amazing sponsors and volunteers that I can’t stop bowing down to – NONE of this would have been possible without any of them. They helped our vision become an amazing reality. BIG hugs all around!

I’ll be back with more from the weekend, but I thought the post was getting a little long. Stay tuned!!

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