Healthy Living Summit 2011 Recap

I can’t believe Healthy Living Summit 2011 has already come to an end.

IMG_1917 (640x480)After checking into our room at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot, Gretchen and I headed straight IMG_1874 (640x480)IMG_1875 (640x480)to El Vez for a lunch hosted by the awesome Wellsphere team. This Stephen Starr Tex Mex establishment was conveniently located on 13th street, just a few blocks from our hotel.

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The shrimp enchiladas were hands down my favorite dish ordered, though the guacamole was also quite delicious!

It was wonderful getting to know the team better and spending time with some wonderful new blogger friends!

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IMG_1902 (640x480)The official Healthy Living Summit festivities started Friday evening with the cocktail party. Located in Reading Terminal Market, this year’s location gave attendees a taste of a Philadelphia landmark while also allowing for more space than last year’s location. This meant that there was plenty of space for mingling, laughing, and photo booth fun! I was elated to see so many new and familiar faces alike!

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Yes, we were a very fun group of roommates for the weekend! Playing with props before the photo booth session with Anne, Gretchen, and Theodora! (photo via Anne)

IMG_1915 (640x480) Photo booth fun with Anne, Leslie, Meghann, and Melissa!IMG_1921 (480x640) IMG_1926 (640x480) I had a great time getting to know Ashley, Lisa, Caitlin, and Claire!

After the cocktail party, Theodora and I ventured out for more food since we had 14 miles coming up bright and early. Paulie’s Pizza was a drunk girls dream even though we were both stone sober.

IMG_1927 (640x480) IMG_1928 (640x480)Five short hours later, we were up and ready for the Healthy Living Summit long run!  My exhausted eyes and brain were thankful that I didn’t have to think about my long run fuel since I planned ahead with a packed sandwich thin.

IMG_4049 (640x478) (640x478) By 5am, there were over 20 other runners downstairs ready to enjoy a long run along Kelly Drive.


For some reason, they all trusted me with directions and last minute instructions. It felt pretty amazing to be party of such a supportive group this early in the morning. Last year I was too scared to run with the large long run group but this year I was organizing it!


Photo via Meghann

The first few miles of the run sped by since I was so excited to have new running friends. I chatted with a few different runners as we navigated the dark Philadelphia streets including Kelly, Meghann, Monica, Ben, and Evan.


By the end of the second mile I decided it was time to slow down and run with my normal run buddy, Theodora. Mile 3-7 flew by as we chatted with some of the other runners, enjoyed the sights, and talked about our presentation.

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(photos via Meghann & Theodora)

But, by the time we reached the turn around point we were bored, dehydrated, sweaty, and alone. The group naturally broke into different pace groups and we were smack in the middle. We continued on though, only walking 2-3 times for 30 seconds each time. I had one stomach scare after trying a new Accelerade gel, but was luckily able to keep going.  Running into Evan two miles away from the hotel also helped as we were able to catch up with him and hear about his college life!photo (12) (478x640)

Fourteen miles and 2 hours and 26 minutes later I was thankful for a quick ice bath compliments of the hotel ice machine. DSCF7939 (640x480)

There was no time to rest and relax since the sessions started only an hour later! By 9am, I was dressed and ready for a day of networking, learning, and eating!

The morning flew by as we learned the importance of mantras from Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD and how to Write a Better Recipe, taught by Stepfanie Romine.  I can’t wait to share some of the things I learned during Stepfanie’s session as it was definitely an epiphany moment for me. I apologize for all my recipe posts to date and will in fact be going in to update them based on what Stepfanie taught us. IMG_1995

At 11:30, Theodora, Cynthia, and I took the stage for our presentation filled with nervous butterflies but excited for this wonderful opportunity.

Utilizing Social Media to Network and Make Friends in Your AreaMaking friends as an adult can be difficult, but social media makes it easier. Find out how to use communities like Twitter, Tumblr and DailyMile to make lifelong friends and training buddies from three friends who met online!

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The group was attentive, asked wonderful questions, and seemed to enjoy the topic!

My growling stomach was ready for the famous Healthy Living Summit lunch, always known for fresh, delicious, and wonderful food which delights both vegan and omnivores alike. I think Theodora’s photo below captures my noon time feelings perfectly: starving and exhausted.


IMG_1954 (640x480)IMG_1957 IMG_1958 (640x480) IMG_1960 (640x480)IMG_1963 (640x480) After lunch I spent the afternoon learning a great deal from Monica and Katy. I’m going to do a few separate posts regarding the highlights from each session at HLS, but if you have the chance, go go This is a very eye opening and scary sight showing just how much anyone can find about you and your family.

By 4pm, our table decided it was happy hour, compliments of one of Kath’s blog readers.

IMG_1983 (640x480) IMG_1984 (640x480) IMG_1986 (640x480)We continued to toast once the conference ended for the afternoon during happy hour at my favorite Philadelphia wine bar, Vintage.

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As you can see from the below pictures, Anne plays two roles in pictures: professional photo bomber or photogenic beauty.

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IMG_2000 (640x480) The table shared two appetizers, fried calamari and goat cheese, before heading to the next bar.

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Our next stop was Time, a new to me whiskey and absinthe bar at 13th and Sansom.

IMG_2015 (640x480)IMG_2010 (640x480) Kath and I were ecstatic to see that they had a pumpkin beer on the menu! (photo via Kath)

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Katie meanwhile was far more adventurous and chose the absinthe! You’d think we were a crowd of frat boys the way we were cheering her on during her first taste of absinthe!

IMG_2014 (640x480) At 9pm, a group of us finally made our way back to El Vez, where they graciously had a table for 12 ready and waiting.

Words can’t explain the hilarity that ensued with the group over multiple margaritas and lots of laughter.

IMG_2016 (640x480) IMG_2017 (640x480) IMG_2018 (640x480) IMG_2020 (640x480) Below from left, Katie, Lisa, me, Ashley, Claire, Gretchen, Caitlin, and Beth.

IMG_2022 (640x480)This morning, the conference ended with a 3 mile run/walk to the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum and breakfast. IMG_2023 (640x480)

We enjoyed some wonderful sights along the way, including the Franklin Institute and Love Statue.

IMG_2024 (480x640) IMG_2025 (480x640) IMG_2027 (640x480)IMG_2031 (640x480)IMG_2032 (640x480) We posed for a quick group picture before heading over to the steps. It was wonderful such a large group came out for the morning walk as it was a great chance to catch up with familiar faces like Heather, Amelia, and Brittany.

IMG_2029 (640x480) IMG_2034 (480x640) IMG_2037 (640x480)Heather even inspired me to run back to the hotel with her so we could continue talking. The 1.8 mile sprint was exactly what my legs needed to shake out the soreness after yesterday’s run! Thanks Heather for pushing me that extra bit!

After the sweaty run, a Quaker sponsored breakfast was the perfect way to end the conference. I caught up with Kath, Sam, and others while devouring oatmeal and a delicious new yogurt.

IMG_2038 (640x480) IMG_2040 (640x480)But, since all good things must come to an end, we all parted ways at 11am.

Heather was kind enough to drive Theodora and I all the way back to the last NJ Transit station so we were able to spend quality time chatting in the car versus being cramped on the train. Spending time with them discussing the weekend just left me even more passionate about Healthy Living Summit, blogging, and the amazing friends I’ve made along the way.

If you’d like to see all my pictures from the weekend, head over to my Facebook page!

Question: If you attended HLS, what is one thing you’d like to see again or included next year? If you didn’t attend, what was the best part of your weekend?

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  1. Jessica Lawlor August 22, 2011 / 1:26 am

    Great recap! I live in Philly, but don’t currently have a healthy living blog- just enjoy reading all of yours- but it was so great to see you all having such a great time in the city I love so much. Doesn’t El Vez have the best margaritas? Love them!

  2. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! August 22, 2011 / 1:43 am

    OH my gosh, I am so impressed that you fit all of the awesomeness into one post! Props, my friends, props. Also, I am SOSO glad that we got to be roommates this weekend! How I’ve gone on without your amazingness in my life for so long, I’ll never know. Miss you already – hopefully it won’t be too long before we get to see each other again! <3

  3. Chase August 22, 2011 / 9:50 am

    So great meeting and hanging out with you this weekend!! Had a great time! 🙂

  4. Anne P August 22, 2011 / 1:07 pm

    I am an expert photo bomber 😉

    So fun this weekend!

  5. Katy Widrick August 22, 2011 / 1:46 pm

    I don’t like to play favorites, because I truly love EVERYONE I meet in the blogging world…

    …but you always inspire me and, better yet, I find myself smiling when I think of you.

  6. Allison August 22, 2011 / 2:18 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing and recapping HLS! It looked like a blast 😀 Even more thanks for sharing your presentation “How to Use Social Media to Make Friends”… I’ve been reading your blog, and others, for the past year and recently started my own- t’s intimidating at first to dive into the “blog world”!

  7. Jane @ Broccolini + Cheese August 22, 2011 / 2:18 pm

    Looks like you had a BLAST in Philly! Thanks for posting your slides! I am definitely going to check it out!!

  8. Caitlin August 22, 2011 / 2:53 pm

    Such a blast with you this weekend lady! Your talk was awesome – as I posted on Theodora’s blog, you all did fab and it was so motivating for me to get more involved in the social media community and put myself out there!
    So glad we got to bond outside of class. Can’t wait for some fun adventures ahead 🙂

  9. Lauren August 23, 2011 / 1:56 pm

    Really enjoyed meeting you this weekend and LOVE the picture from the Cocktail Party! 🙂 Look forward to the next event!

    • healthyh August 24, 2011 / 12:44 am

      @Beth: I am so excited we met as well! Are you running any half marathons before your marathon?

  10. Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland August 25, 2011 / 3:17 pm

    Great recap!! My favorite part of the weekend was a tie between the cocktail party and the 4 miles run a group of us did Saturday morning. I can’t wait for next year!

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