Sunday, August 19, 2012

HLS Highlights!


The Healthy Living Summit was a giant success.  It was fun and informative.  I met tons of new people, and I learned more about blogging.  If I were to post about everything, it would take several days, so for now I'm just going to share some highlights. :)

HLS Highlights!

Swag Bag Pick-up: Felt like Christmas for crying out loud.  I can't believe all the goodies we got from our amazing sponsors.  My favorite thing of all was the bright purple Reebok real flex sneakers.  OBSESSED.  All the food was awesome too, nuts, granola, cereal, all that good stuff. yay!
Greatist Discussion:
 On Friday afternoon, there was a little chat with Derek from the website Greatist.  It was pretty informative because this guy, Derek, turned a simple wordpress blog into a huge website that gets 1 million unique visitors a month.  I took a few notes in the session. 
The key points were:
  • Develop a personality for your blog, make sure it is authentic to you.
  • Site design is important and powerful.  Have an idea of what you want.
  • Build a network of people you can trust
  • Be prepared for opportunities, set yourself up for luck and be ready for it
  • Ask for feedback from readers to give them what they want

Cocktail Party: We all got one drink ticket to enjoy a free cocktail.  I got a nice glass of Pinot Grigio.  This was a great way for everyone to mingle and get to know each other before the big day of seminars.  It was also fun to get dressed up. They also had a photobooth set up, and I can never pass that up!

Blog Photog seminar: This was a seminar run by Gretchen from Honey I shrunk the Gretchen.  She is a photography genuis and shared some of her tips with us.  Most of the stuff she went over was helpful for people thinking about getting a dSLR, but might be intimidated by it.  I just got my dSLR last December, so I'm still pretty new to it.  This was a great session for me to attend because it really reiterated some of the concepts to photography that I have been having trouble remembering.
Some key points:
  • use natural light when shooting whenever possible
  • try not to use the on-camera flash
  • invest in a tripod to eliminate shaking
  • shoot in lowest ISO possible
  • use lightroom to edit pictures (more affordable than photoshop)

Blog Design seminar: This was hosted by Julie from  Since I am in the process of switching to self-hosting, I know my blog will need a complete design make-over.  Julie's site looks incredible so I really wanted to hear some of her ideas.
Key Points:
  • make it user friendly
  • no music!!! 
  • Include: contact info, search feature, subscription, and about page with photo!
  • side bars must inspire readers to take action
  • Firefox's firebug is a useful tool for coding, shows you preview of code without changing your blog
Crossfit workout:  We did a WOD.  The workout was only 5 minutes long but I am sore! We did as many reps as possible(AMRAP) of 7 air squats (fancy term for regular deep squats) and 15 jumps.  The guys from Crossfit Boston were there, which Tracy and I had met before, as well as some other Crossfit guys from the Boston area.  Serious eye candy.  Loved it.
Lunch with Kelly O from Fitfluential: This was amazing.  I sat down for lunch with Sarah, Chelcie, and Tracy and guess who came and shared our table? Kelly Olexa the founder of Fitfluential.  No big deal.  She was just amazing, and very inspiring.  She told her story, and talked with us about working with different brands, and just inspired me to work harder and make my dreams happen.  She is truly an inpiration. 

Wild Harvest Keynote talk:  Wild Harvest was the main sponsor of the event, so they did a little chat about recipes and how more and more people are using them to cook with.
Some stats they shared:
  • Average American reads at 8th or 9th grade reading level, keep this in mind when writing recipes
  • 28% of Americans can't cook
  • Average person only spends 1.1 hours a day eating
  • 41% of meals cooked are cooked by men!
  • people consume an average of 139 calories a day from grain-based desserts (granola bars, donuts, cakes, cookies)
  • When writing a recipe based on someone else's recipe, must make at least 3 significant changes such as:
    •  adding or removing an ingredient
    • changing the procedure in which it is cooked
    • making a substitution

Blog Local: This panel was hosted by Holly, Meaghann, and Clare.  They basically talked about how to get involved in your local community and take hold of all the opportunities that may be there.  Holly talked about pitching yourself to different companies, and gave a step by step process of how it's done.  It was really informative.
Key Points:
  • Use your blog as leverage to showcase your skill sets and interests
  • Say "yes" to new opportunities
  • Offering to work for free can sometimes pay off in the end! People will see your passion
  • Be open to constructive criticism

5k run along the Charles River: On Sunday morning there was a 5k fun run/walk.   Even though my legs were still sore, it felt pretty good to get out there and run.  I have always wanted to run along the Charles because it is just so beautiful.  I ran with Sarah, who was a very good running partner; we kept a nice slow pace, and chatted about blogging, relationships, and other things.   It was definitely a good way to end the summit.

stole pic from Clare
I really felt like I was in the right place this weekend, if you know what I mean.  Even though I was nervous about meeting new people and I didn't really know what to expect, I had an awesome time.  I left there today feeling inspired and empowered to make my blog (and life!) exactly what I want it to be.

Thanks so much to the entire Healthy Living Summit planning committee! You guys really did a great job!  Can't wait for next year!