Sunday, August 21, 2011

Healthy Living Summit 2011: My Highlights

I just got back from the Healthy Living Summit this past weekend in Philadelphia and it was great fun. HLS is an annual conference which unites both bloggers, readers and brands that are passionate about healthy living. This was my first time at a bloggers conference and I was unsure of what to expect. I mean, I'm pretty new to this whole blogging thing and so I essentially went there not knowing anyone. Turns out lots of people were in the same boat.

I will admit that I was secretly relieved to see some familiar faces like Melissa, Jennifer and Sarah. But I loved meeting lots of new people, all with interesting backgrounds and great blogs. I have a ton of new blogs to add to my reader and a lot of new Twitter handles to add to my account.

The blogosphere will be swimming with HLS recaps so I am just going to give you my highlights:

1. The Swag: At HLS check in we all got a giant purple bag chock full of goodies including Uncle Sam cereal, apple sauce, granola bars, Adora calcium chocolates, to name just a few. Unfortunately I devoured quite a few of said goodies throughout the weekend. It's not ideal to have so many snacks at hand in a hotel room!

2. Meeting some of my favorite bloggers: Bloggers share so much of their lives online with their readers that you can't help but feel like these people are your buddies. So when I saw Tina I couldn't help but give her a hug, hoping it would not freak her out. It didn't! She is so warm in person! Love that girl.

I also met some other lovely ladies whose blogs I have been following for a while including Gina, Sabrina, Caitlin, and Lisa. I loved meeting them-they are just as sweet in real life!

Tina from Carrots and Cake was signing copies of her book. Her blog is one of the most popular healthy living blogs out there, probably because of how honestly she writes about her life. She was another person on my "have-to-meet" list, and I am really glad we were able to chat. She is lovely.

3. "The Numbers Game": I love Tina and Lisa and so I made it a point to attend this session where the two were joined by Beth and Janeetha, all of whom spoke about how numbers can influence us, whether it's the scale, calories or even your blog's page views and subscribers, and how not to dwell on those numbers. Each one of them shared their personal experiences. Lisa shared a very moving story of how calories and portions controlled her life when she was training to be part of a fitness competition. We all get side-tracked by numbers but the take-home message was not to let them obscure the big picture.

4. "Monetizing Your Blog": Katy Widrick is a social media genius. Her blog seriously should be mandatory reading for all bloggers (new and old). This was my favorite talk of the conference. I learned so much. Katy spoke about all the ways you could monetize your blog, from the various advertising options to how to go about becoming a brand ambassador to what all to be aware of while you are trying to monetize your blog (hello tax laws!). This lady rocks.

5. Channelling my inner Rocky: On Sunday morning (the last day of the conference) all of us gathered to walk/run a 5k. The route started from our hotel and went all the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and back. Yup, the museum is where those famous "Rocky" steps are, and I channelled my inner Rocky as I ran up and down those stairs. I still cannot get the theme song out of my mind...

Bloggers advance towards the Museum

It was a great weekend with lots of good food and lots of new friends.

In other news, check out my review of the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp DVD for Well + Good NYC.