I’m not sure how to begin to recap the past weekend at the Healthy Living Summit in Boston. I was a bit apprehensive going in as I didn’t know anyone but I think it’s fair to say that I jumped in with both feet and made the most of every minute. I met a lot of wonderful people – positive, intelligent, inspiring women and guy (yes, there was one male participant!) – who all made me feel welcome. Thank you for that.
If this is your first time popping by here, I really appreciate it. I’ve been blogging for just over a year and it has mainly been friends stopping by. My goal with this blog has simply been to provide a creative outlet for me, to share a little bit about my life, to keep family and friends updated on what’s going on, and a way to keep me accountable to the goals I set for myself. Any benefits beyond that is simply a bonus. Connecting with so many people at HLS12 is one of those bonuses. So is taking pictures like this:
There is so much I can say about the HLS – what I learned, the people I met, the ideas I developed, the food I ate, etc., but I won’t go into all the details! I want to give some highlights here about the overall experience and tomorrow share what I learned and how I was inspired. Particularly by this cannilloni.
For those who are all “WTF is HLS?” I shall give a brief explanation. HLS is a space for bloggers and non-bloggers who are interested in healthy living. While there is a lot of chatter about eating and fitness, the summit has sessions focused on ethics of blogging, branding, blog design, and so much more. Networking and having fun is also a big part of it. HLS12 was the fourth iteration and the second time it was held in Boston, though technically, it was in Cambridge. It was an inspired choice, I do say. Great scenery, huge selection of restaurants, easy to get to (for me, at least!), a lot to do when we had free time, and interesting people to hang out with who also share my love of taking pictures of food, scenery, and other random shots.
So what did we do?
I stuck to the schedule I planned (minus the boot camp on Saturday afternoon because my legs were burning from doing squats on Friday and Saturday morning)
I didn’t take any pics during the sessions because I either didn’t have a clear shot of the presenter and I wanted to focus on what they were saying and take notes. In new to blogging session I live was live tweeting so was too busy to use the camera.
All of the sessions were helpful and informative. From Gretchen, I learned more about how to use my camera sans flash and some tools that will be useful (tripod, free editing websites, etc.).
Julie ran through the basics of blog design which really got me thinking about how I want to do a redesign. Nothing fancy, but just step it up a bit. Julie is a self-taught web designer so she appreciated that many of us knew next to nothing about what to do!
Heather, Alicia, Courtney and Chase shared some excellent advice for newbie bloggers, such as myself. From dealing with negative comments, to self-hosting, to writing content, these girls covered the gamut. I think everyone took something away from the session. The big takeaway for me was from Heather: don’t post for the sake of posting.
Heather provided a lot of useful information about social media tools. Probably way more than I’ll ever use, but it was quite interesting to see what all is out there in terms of analytics, and how to maximize your visibility. This girl really knows what she is talking about!
We also ran. Okay, admittedly we are walking in this pic, but it was just the warmup.
Ate amazing food. This was salmon, asparagus and lobster mashed potatoes from Scollay Square.
Kristen was very excited to try her desserts.
Each participant also receive a swag bag, full of goodies from sponsors. This was a bit overwhelming for me. I didn’t know what to do with it all! I brought a lot of it home, including some things I can’t eat due to the gluten (admittedly, I did eat some gluten over the weekend and my stomach is hating me for it) but I’m planning to give them away.
I know I could write a lot more, but I want to save some stuff for tomorrow. All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. Absolutely no regrets about going and I already can’t wait to go back! Hopefully I can make it next year. I’ve already put the bug in Heather and Meghann’s ears that I would love to help plan it. Hopefully next year’s location will be as beautiful as this year’s!