The Summit

Hello friends!! Phew. What a whirlwind these past few days have been. Callie and I left early Friday morning to drive to Chicago for the Healthy Living Summit, then spent nine hours driving back all day yesterday. Between the miles on the road, I had some amazing moments in Chicago. You can read about our first day here, and all about our Saturday night in the city here.

Today, I want to talk about the event that actually brought me to Chicago – The Healthy Living Summit.

The Summit began last year. It was the brainchild of a few healthy living bloggers such as myself who wanted plan a big get together despite living far apart. From there it grew into a full-blown conference attended by 100 other healthy living bloggers from all over. This year, the attendance doubled to 200!

For someone on the outside of the blogworld, it may seem a little odd to go to a conference with people you only know over the internet. But what I do on my blog is a huge part of my life. The idea of being able to meet and mingle with women just like me is something I could not pass up. 

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The conference itself was only one day long with two tracks of sessions. There are SO many topics that would fall under the “healthy living” category so there was a wide variety. It’s hard providing useful content to healthy living bloggers seeing as we already take it upon ourselves to be as informed as possible!

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I thought the sessions were at least all interesting and I did learn a few new things. They all seemed a little rushed, but at the same time, sitting in the conference rooms for over an hour at a time may have become a little boring!

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All of the presenters were really friendly and open to discussion. I really liked talking to Nicole after her photography session and picking her brain. After speaking to her, the “aperture-ISO-shutter speed” relationship on my SLR started to make a lot more sense. Expect a photography post in the future :)

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Also neat was the time management session presented by Sarah, Kath and Morgan. I am admittedly horribly disorganized, so it was interesting to hear about how these pros keep it all together.

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I really appreciated one of the time blocks was dedicated to activity. I chose to go to the yoga session in the afternoon that was held in probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever done yoga in.

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The yoga itself was not really “my kind of yoga.” (too fast!) But it was the only time during the course of the day where I had a moment to take in all that was going on. It was much appreciated.

In fact, I thought all the rooms in the hotel were really cool. Some say it was old, run down and haunted. I say it had tons of character ;)

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Sessions aside, a lot of the conference is all about socializing with your fellow healthy living enthusiasts. I’d heard rumours that last year’s summit was really clique-y and there were a lot of “lunch room” scenarios.

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It’s no secret that I myself sometimes suffer from large bouts of social anxiety. But I’m happy to report I never once panicked during the conference. Sure there were groups of women who tended to stay together, but that’s just human nature. Whenever I found myself alone, I knew I could introduce myself to the nearest attendee and we’d be able to chat it up no problem. Everyone else there was just as eager to meet other bloggers and make new connections. I never once found myself wandering around with a lunch tray with no where to sit ;) Everyone welcomed me with open arms!

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A major shout-out to my Toronto bloggers. I tried to branch out as much as possible to meet other people, but it was always nice to turn around and see their familiar faces. Pictured here are Miranda, Callie, Sarah, Angela and myself. But there was also Morgan, Nienke, and now honourary Canadians (and roommies!) Theresa and Julie. I met some other great ladies who I clicked with instantly, like Candice, Shannon and SO many others that it could take me forever to list out. I could also tell that the organizing committee bloggers really tried to get around and speak to everyone. They had 200 women there who were excited to meet them, and it was nice to see they took the time to make the rounds to speak to everyone!

One thing I’ll also take away from the experience is my new friendship with Callie. We spent around 18 hours in a car together this weekend. You don’t come out of that without some serious bonding!! She was sort of my rock throughout this whole experience and I really feel like this was something we experienced together. Not once did I pull out a book in the car or fall asleep because we were too busy chatting away!!

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During our drive home yesterday, Callie and I were talking about our favourite moments over the weekend. We both agreed that we had the most fun during the more unstructured, relaxed moments. Topping the list is the fun run Sunday morning. A group of us met in the lobby to run along the lake, but Callie, Shannon and I fell behind in the heat. We ended up getting lost and had to take a major detour to get back to the hotel! Instead of freaking out, we took in the sights of Chicago and laughed together over the situation.

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If I were to do it all over again, I think I would have taken more time to stay in Chicago, as it all felt very rushed. But otherwise I’d say it was 100% worth it. The whole experience cost me just under $350. I made memories, friends, and ate tons of great food. I really wanted to go to the Healthy Living Summit in Boston last year, but I was too scared and nervous. This year, I didn’t let myself chicken out and I really feel like it’s been just another big step in this giant journey I’m on since moving to Toronto.

Now, y’all are probably all wondering where the food is and what I got at Trader Joe’s. Tomorrow!! xo

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Posted on August 16, 2010, in Lessons Learned and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Love the recap…next year let’s both go. :) oh and yes your blog is working! I’d write a longer comment but I’m on my phone and it’s a pain. ;)

  2. Great re-cap Susan! The whole thing looks incredible and I’m SO there next year! I’m pretty convinced that food/health bloggers are the most friendly people ever – you’re so lucky to have had the chance to chat with 200 of them! Can’t wait to see your TJ’s finds! :)

  3. Great recap Susan, glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time! It was nice hearing about the conference in more detail and not so much the “I ate this ,we went here type of post.” I have to admit that I skipped over a lot of posts from many bloggers in my reader over the past few days because they were nearly identical. ;)

    Road trips are all about the bonding aren’t they?

    I wish I had gone, hopefully next year.

  4. Best recap I have read! I plan on going next year–mainly to meet everyone :).

  5. Sounds like you had an excellent time! It must be so great to meet other like minded people and meet people you have only connected with over the net face to face x

  6. This is one of the best recaps I’ve read!!

    I am making it a priority to go to HLS 2011 – Canadian bloggers represent ;)

  7. Loved to info about how you enjoyed the Summit. Looks like such a wonderful time – I’m so jealous! It really makes me want to start my own blog so I can attend next year – too bad having a blog my first year of law school is probably impossible =)

    I can’t wait to see your finds but more importantly how you use them – I’m sure you’ll do some amazing things with TJ’s stuff and then I’ll just HAVE to copy them lol

    Nicole G

  8. GREAT recap! Sounds like you had a wonderful experience. I’m surprised to hear they only had one day of actual conference but I love all the active extras that were thrown in!

  9. Hey, I am glad you had a wonderful time. This was the first review of the yoga that I read and I am glad you found that it was a good break in the day. And I totally agreed about the hotel – I love old things and appreciated the character.

  10. Great recap! Thanks for being so honest and open and i’m so happy to hear you had a great time! It was great meeting you! :)

  11. This is such a great, thoughtful recap. I am so glad you had a great time and met so many blends!

  12. Yay, it was so nice to meet you this weekend! Your roadtrip sounds so fun! If you ever want to make the trek down here again, you have a hostess. ;)

  13. greensandjeans

    Great recap Susan! Reading this just makes me more sure that I want to give it a shot next year!

  14. Lovely recap, sounds like a lot of fun :)

  15. Awesome recap Susan! I loved reading this…it gave me chills.

    It’s so awesome that you and Callie were able to spend so much time together – it made me realize how much I wish I had been able to rehash everything with someone else who experienced it. Not that my husband didn’t provide a very patient listening ear:)

    I loved getting to hang out with you – you were one of my favorite bloggers I met all weekend! And I still can’t get over how much I love your laugh:) Maybe you could record it for me or something – lol:)

  16. I love this post… I love your perspective :)

    I heard about last year’s, but wasn’t a blogger – just a reader – so I didn’t think I could go… this year I had a wedding so I could not go… next year for sure, I cannot wait to experience such a fun weekend!

    Thanks for a unique take on the weekend – yours was the most fun read :)

  17. Ahh, so glad you had a good time! It’s great hearing your perspective on how everything went, was organized, highlights, etc. Chicago definitely sounds like a neat city! And yay for new blog friends. :)

  18. FABULOUS RECAPS SUSAN! can’t wait to chat with you more all about it :)

  19. Looks like SUCH a fun time! I really need to go next year. And I can’t wait for the TO version! (Remember I’m here to help as well! :D)

    xo
    Kris

  20. AWW love your recap!! how fun! I bet I would have loved some of those sessions :)

  21. Sounds like you had a great time and thank you for sharing :)

  22. Loved this recap!

    It’s interesting to hear about the whole social anxiety thing because I feel like i would be too shy to go somewhere where I don’t even know 1 person… but at the same time, seeing everyone’s posts makes it seem like it was such a welcoming environment and a wonderful weekend!

  23. Love your post! It was so nice rooming with you, Callie and Theresa. I think you captured a unique perspective and I had NO CLUE that you could possibly have anxiety about it :)

    Can’t wait to see your TJ purchases :)

  24. It sounds like you had a good time! Glad you got some deep dish, even if it was not the #1 place :D
    I really hope you got some good coffee.

    I am planning on fitbloggin’ in 2011.

    • Lori! I didn’t make it to that coffee place!! We were so pressed for time, even though we were right by it in Millennium park. Such a shame I didn’t get to see/experience more of Chicago. But now it’s just my excuse to go back ;)

  25. Great recap! I agree – the most fun was had during the unstructured parts :) It was so nice to meet you finally but I wish we could have hung out more! Can’t wait for next year’s :)

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