Got My Fill of Philadelphia

A four hour flight delay will give you a lot of time for thinking.

And drinking, but that’s neither here nor there.

There are some amazing recaps of the 2011 Healthy Living Summit out there, and this won’t be another one. I committed to immersing myself in the networking, the seminars and the overall experience, and I’m so glad I did.

But I will give you one takeaway.

If you can find people in your blogging community — whether you’re a blogger or a reader — do it. I can’t tell you how valuable the in-person time is, especially at an event that brings together blogger of all levels and niches.

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OK, the following aren’t takeaways (they’re coming! I have a lot of tips to share from feedback I got from bloggers at the conference!) but they are highlights:

Swag is awesome.

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My sponsor Survey Monkey is an absolutely amazing company to work for (did you see my latest post on how I used their tools to create the Bloggers in Depth series?). Plus, the sock monkeys, notebooks, shirts and notepads they let me hand out were HUGELY popular (especially the sock monkeys).

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Cocktails parties can be absolutely amazing ways for you to bond with your roommate (pictures stolen from Monica so please click that link to show her the love), hang out with blogging friends and reminisce about the amazing blogger powerhouse that Orlando once was.

Vegan cheesesteaks made with seitan are deeeeelicious (I want to try and make these at home) — so good, that I ended up eating one on both Friday and Sunday! The Reading Terminal Market is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

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The sponsors that make events like this happen are so important — and I love to support them by buying their products, showing the love on social media and letting the faces behind the brand know how much I appreciate their help.

(I know Meghann and the rest of the planning team appreciate it, too!)

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Being a tourist is fun. :) Philadelphia was a very cool city — I took some time to run with Monica and later walk with a group of people post-Summit, and hit all the big spots, including the Liberty Bell:

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Photographer extraordinaire Caitlin:

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…and the Rocky steps and Love Park.

Of course, that airport delay didn’t help, but dozens of us were stranded — some overnight! — so I decided not to spent time with the other angry travelers and hang out with some of my blogging buddies. I dare say that that time in the airport, munching on chips and tossing back some margaritas, led to some of the most meaningful and fun conversations of the weekend.
Plus, I got my first Jamba Juice. So, I had that going for me.

Final thoughts? I loved going to HLS again this year, and can’t say enough about the people who put it together and the hundreds of bloggers who made the event part of their weekend. If you’re reading the posts and recaps this week and find yourself getting sad that you weren’t there — don’t be!

The presentations will be posted online and I truly believe that after the “day in the life” posts are done, you’ll see a lot of great content coming from your favorite writers. There were some thought-provoking panels on blogger safety, avoiding the comparison trap, dealing with negativity and more.

Pick your question:

1) Have you ever been to a blogging event and if you have, what did you think? If not, why not?

2) If you could have anything in a smoothie, what would it be?

3) Do you have a funny caption for the picture of me holding the taters?

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  1. says

    I’ve never been to a blogging event, but I must admit that all of these HLS posts have me sold. I can only imagine how great it must be to interact with so many people with a common love for blogging.

    Glad you had a great time, Katy– now where’s my sock monkey!?!

  2. says

    I’ve never been to a blogging event simply for monetary reasons. If next year’s HLS is within driving distance, I would definitely want to go.

  3. says

    Sadly I’ve never been to a blogging event before, but it sure sounds like fun.
    In Germany, we like to say, “The dumbest farmers grow the biggest potatoes.” Sorry, but that was the first that came into my mind. 😉

    • says

      Lauren — I was so sorry I didn’t get to talk to you more, because I was really inspired by your presentation…both the content and the design (I’m a nerd).

      Hope to see you next year! If I use your tips, I should be able to budget for the travel! :)

  4. says

    I’ve loved every blogging event I’ve been to, and this weekend was no exception. I actually preferred it to last year’s HLS because there was more “unstructured” time that let me get to know some people way better! I’m especially excited for Foodbuzz in San Francisco though, just because I adore San Fran!

    • says

      How did you and I not see each other this weekend? :( So many people, so little time.

      I’m not going to Foodbuzz but I’ll be living vicariously through all of the posts!

  5. says

    I haven’t attended a blogging conference but I would love to. I didn’t realize that HLS was being held right across the river in Phila until it was too late to sign up.

    Caption for your photo- “Hey, Cowboy…want to taste my ‘taters??”

    • says

      Your blog name is AMAZING.

      Yes, please try and go to an event — there’s a lot of talk of setting up more local events so we don’t have to wait for the big conferences, so be sure to check with people in your area.

  6. says

    1- I have never been to a blogging event for time and financial reasons. I’m really hoping that next year I can make it happen.

    2- Mango is my favourite smoothie ingredient. I really hate banana in smoothies so I find that mango helps create that creaminess that banana normally does. Plus, I love the taste.

    3- Who needs melons when you have these potatoes?

  7. says

    I’ve never been to a blogger conference, partly because I’m a newbie, partly because of money and partly because they aren’t that many in Ireland!

    I’m really enjoying everybody’s posts about HLS but I still wish I could have been there! :)

  8. says

    Well it just so happens that I HAVE been to a blogger conference before. 😉
    It was SO GOOD to chat with you more this weekend, Katy! I seriously want to steal you away for a weekend and just pick your brain about a zillion things. Don’t be surprised if I randomly show up in FL soon. 😀

  9. Chase says

    So sorry you guys got delayed! It was such fun weekend and again, thanks for letting me pick your brain! So good to meet you!

  10. says

    I choose question 1: FitBloggin11 – my first (and only) blogging conference. Not to be a suckup, but your session taught me a ton & I’ve revamped many areas of my blog because of it. But even more importantly, it was the ability to network with and meet IRL the “friends” that I’d known for the past couple years that I enjoyed the most.

    • says

      I’m so so SO happy to get that feedback from you, because honestly…my passion is in helping people learn the tools and tricks to making this whole blogging shindig more fun. And more lucrative, of course. :)

  11. says

    I loved your ‘recap’, and it looks like an amazing time. I have never been to a meet up or conference, as I’m fairly new to blogging but I know my future holds some! It scares me now to picture going to something like this, by myself and not really knowing anyone, but through all the recaps and stories I can see just how supportive and friendly everyone is once your there in person!

    • says

      I think that’s a common fear, but honestly … the minute you get to a conference, especially one that’s all about networking and community, you’ll find yourself with dozens of new friends. Going to conferences completely changed my blogging experience.

  12. says

    I’m sad I missed out on HLS this year (but NOT next year! mark my words!) — but I’m truly sad I missed out on the Orlando Blogger Powerhouse days. I’m a day late :) I have loved reading all of the recaps!

    Hmmm… potato caption: “How ’bout them taters?” (so original I know, thank you Good Will Hunting)

    And since this the most random bits of information I’ve written in a comment – that blue dress looked amazing on you!!

  13. says

    Man, I totally missed out on those sock monkeys! But, I was stoked when I put the chapstick on and realized it was MINT! Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you are an amazing public speaker! Not only was your presentation super informative, interesting, and creative; but you had a great presence and are really able to engage an audience. Wonderful job!!!

    • says

      Mint AND SPF 15! Word.

      I’m so glad I didn’t put you to sleep when I started diving into formulas. Sometimes the numbers nerd in me takes over.

  14. says

    SO wonderful to meet you this weekend! I loved your presentation and actually may email you with some questions. I’m going to pitch an idea to my company to be the social media coordinator for our women’s shoe brands so that I can do blogger outreach, facebook, twitter etc. It is definitely a position the company needs but I’m not sure how to approach it or write a good proposal.

  15. says

    I’m so glad that I came to HLS this year – wasn’t sure about it since I didn’t know many people, am a relatively new blogger, etc. but I learned so much (especially from you!) and can’t wait to keep growing and engaging in this community. You are a rockstar. Come to NYC. :)

    • says

      There are so many people that I want to spend more time with in NYC…don’t be shocked if I make a weekend trip up north! Before it snows, though. Shudder. I do NOT miss the winter season.

  16. says

    I went to BlogHer in 2008… I simultaneously loved it and was frustrated with it. I loved the chance to interact face-to-face with people, but I felt like there was so much focus on mom-bloggers that year that I didn’t really fit any of the niches. But I have wanted to attend a blogging conference ever since. I just thought I should go to one that more closely aligns with how I blog. HLS and Fitbloggin’ sound like they could be options for me in the future, but I admit I’m also a little apprehensive because I didn’t “know” anyone else who went to these conference. I need to get over that fear!

    • says

      I think your BlogHer experience is something that a lot of people shared — it can be really difficult to connect with people on a meaningful level, especially when you really do go in alone.

      I love HLS and Fitbloggin’ for different reasons, but I can tell you from experience…they are both super, super friendly for people who are coming in without a lot of “friends” in the blog world. Especially when it comes to healthy living bloggers, none of us would know each other without conferences and events, so we’re all (for the most part!) awesome at welcoming people in.

  17. says

    Hey Katy, you look STUNNING in your teal dress. how COOL this must have been a great time! wow. I love those Cascadian granola bars, I eat them every day. I have bought the kids size ones for less calories. they are 90 and make a good snack. Also my daughter loves sock monkeys. :) Keep up the good work

  18. says

    It was so nice to finally meet you this weekend! You did an amazing job with your presentation, very overwhelming but informative. Please keep continuing to inspire!

  19. says

    It was so much fun getting to see you again at HLS! We must work on either getting my bosses to send me to Orlando again or your bosses to send you to DC. Miss you tons already!

  20. says

    I am dying that this was your first Jamba experience! o m g. My numero uno smoothie ingredient, though, you also happen to have pictured right there: Vega Shake-n-Go, Tropical Tango flavor. I don’t leave home without it–also goes great in acai bowls!

    PS: I want to come to HLS next year!

    • says

      And I panicked at the counter — I needed a Jamba guru to help me make a good pick! Mine was pretty legendary, though.

      I love Vega products, and even got to interview Brendan Brazier a few years ago. Ahhhh he’s so amazing.

      P.S. If you come to HLS, maybe we can talk Meghann into doing a special triathlon at the venue? :) She’s a triathlete, too, and a ton of people this weekend told me they want to get into the sport!

  21. says

    I am KICKING myself for not trying one of those vegan cheesecakes. Just, kicking. I’m sorry you were stranded, but that margarita looks like it helped take the edge off.

    Plus, you’ve never had Jamba Juice? It’ll change your world, haha! And I agree with everyone else, it was so great meeting you and getting to pick your brain!

  22. says


    It was so great to *finally* meet you in person! Your presentation was so very helpful and you stunning up there, giving all of us bloggers amazing tips about monetization, or the lack thereof.

    I hope to see you at another event in the near future!


  23. says

    Just wanted to tell you that your speech at HLS was awesome! As someone who is terrified of public speaking, you are kind of my idol :) Also, thanks for the chap stick!

  24. says

    I’ve been to one blogging conference, Fitbloggin 😉 , and it has totally changed my life! I was able to make lifelong friendships, have a connection with people who are on the same journey as I am, and also get some learning in too! I can’t wait for next year :) I hope to be able to go to both, HLS and Fitbloggin! And i also got the chance to meet you :) What could be better?! xo

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