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Healthy Living Summit 2009!

Posted Aug 19 2009 6:26pm

Hello, Lovelies!

I’m back with my official Healthy Living Summit report! Though Ms. Katherine and I moaned and groaned a bit upon our 7 a.m. wake up call, we were ready to go by the time we arrived at the Radisson for the Summit. There, I found Heather and Caitlin valiantly signing people in, my soul sista Melissa chatting with the adorable Chandra, and other bloggers mid-breakfast. Here’s a shot of the lovely spread, which consisted of coffee and tea, baked goods and bagels, juice, a variety of yogurt, and tons of fresh fruit. The lady in the picture is Ms. Katie, who I was glad to see this weekend — we’re both NYC bloggers, but hadn’t touched base in a while:

katie-at-breakfast

I enjoyed breakfast with Megan and Caroline, as well as Katherine, Heather, and her sister:

meghan-and-caroline

The room was abuzz with blogger meeting and greeting:

breakfast

We shuffled into the hotel’s conference room to hear the morning’s lineup of speakers.

summit

The highlight — at least in my book — was Cory, whom you all know is my friend and go-to source of blogger savy. Cory’s presentation, Blogging 101, was chocked full of useful information on how to begin, grow, and maintain a succesfull blog. He touched on numerous resources that I didn’t know about, and he gave a number of useful tech tips. Every now and then, Kath chimed in with her own blogging expertise:

zesty

The other morning speaker was Janel Ovrut, R.D., who gave an overview of healthy eating and her own suggestions for a balanced diet. There was also a Q&A session with the summit organizers: Kath, Tina, Meghann, Catilin, Heather, and Jenna. This was charming, and a great way to learn more about the bloggers. Caroline’s question was ultimately my favorite: if you could be the next food network star, what show would you host?

Next came the lunch: here’s a shot of Melissa and I before the break:

gena-and-melissa-at-summit

It was a nice spread of sandwiches (or rather, sandwich fillings and fresh bread), more fruit, and vegetables.

I wanted to stay for all of the post-lunch activities, but I had plans to meet up with my friend and surrogate little sister, Alexandra (for reference, she’s the kid sister of my BFF down in New Orleans, Chloe). Ali just moved to Boston for grad school and is gettling settled as I type!

Unfortunately, by the time we managed to coordinate it was getting late in the day, and I was hoping to catch a not-so-nocturnal bus back to New York, so Ali and I decided that we’d try to coordinate again soon. Meanwhile, I had the chance to stroll around Boston with Katherine and Melissa, and I’m so glad I did! Here’s a shot of the two goddesses in the park:

mel-and-katherine

And the waterfront. It was a spectacular day, and I can say that I have amassed a fine new appreciation of Boston:

charles

Here’s Katherine and I close to the apartment again, in Beacon Hill (thanks, Mel, for the photo!):

gena-and-katherine1

Finally, it was time to head home. Melissa and I boarded the bus for a few hours of reading and catching up on work girl talk. And it was great :) Duh.

I made it home with one awesome gift bag, too! Take a peek, guys:

schwag-bag

And behold, the offerings:

schwag-contents

Barney Butter, which I haven’t tried:

barney-butter1

A variety of bars. I’m especially psyched about the Pure bar (I’m a big fan) and about trying one of Ange’s Glo bars!!!

bars

A copy of Body and Soul magazine and an Athleta catalog:

mags

Some dried fruit, including Peeled snacks — I love these!

dried-fruit

Annie’s Cheddar bunnies, which my Mom will dig, and some applesauce:

bunnies

And some nuts from Oh! Nuts:

nuts

Not bad, eh?

In all, it was a terrific weekend. I got to meet so many bloggers whose work I’ve admired for ages now. For example, Gena and Jenna were finally united at the cocktail party on Friday (photo courtesy of Jenna — thanks girl!):

gena-and-jenna

It was so nice to meet my Raw Wednesday Challenge co-host in person!

It was also terrific to meet Meghann, who bounded up to me with a hug and a huge and a friendly smile. Kath and I got to chat a bit about life since our New Orleans meetup, I got to give my girl Heather a big hug, and I had the huge joy of meeting Tina, too! I emailed Tina well over a year ago now to express my admiration of her blog, and I’ve remained her fan since. She’s a gem in person: funny, modest, and disarming. Finally, it was lovely to say hello to Caitlin, whose work with Operation Beautiful has astounded me.

Naturally, it was also great to say hi to many of my fellow New York bloggers (hey Leslie!) and simply to be a part of a community of women (and men) who care about healthy living. That I also got a chance to experience Boston, and — most crucially — a chance to escape my busy routine for a weekend, was a big added bonus!

I want to take a quick minute to address some feedback I got on my post about Friday’s party. When I mentioned my choice to eat beforehand, I didn’t in any way mean to imply that I felt excluded by the meal options. I didn’t! My intention was to show you all how to plan around social events if you pursue a raw or vegan diet. In fact, I think Heather was highly gracious in not finding my inquiry high-maintenance! When one hosts a large party, one has to cater to the largest common denominator. The summit meals were vegetarian friendly, with some options for omnivores and vegans: this was without a doubt the sensible route.

I didn’t expect a variety of raw or vegan options: this was not a raw vegan event. It was a healthy living event, and as I like to constantly emphasize, there are many varieties of healthy lifestyles. Mine is one. It’s not the only one. My goal in attending this weekend was to have a chance to connect with bloggers like me, not to seek out a sense of kinship with other raw foodists. The Summit was planned thoughtfully and with an eye on balance. Janel had a different dietetic philosophy than I do, but she was enthusiastic and helpful; the keynote speaker (who I missed, sadly) was a dairy farmer, and I’m not generally supportive of dairy, but her emphasis was the importance of sustainable and organic farming, which I support with all my heart; the goodies in the giveaway bag weren’t all raw, but they all had minimal, high quality, and organic ingredients.

In other words, the fundamental values on display at the Summit were admirable ones. I may have a slightly different set of values, but I respect the fact that my own way is but one of many. And that kind of variety and multiplicity is exactly what I was happy to experience in meeting so many other bloggers. Thank you, Summit Ladies, for your hard work. It paid off, and then some.

I’ll be back soon — happy Sunday!

xo

P.S. Check out other recaps here!

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