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Posted on Aug 21, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 37 comments

HLS 2011 – Part 1

And now for the 267th Healthy Living Summit recap post I know you’ve just been absolutely dying to read, hehe.


Yes, it’s true. I’m back from the City of Brotherly Love and, as you could probably guess, HLS was awesome. It was a fun, all-too-short weekend chock-full of friends, sessions, and of course, swag:


Friday morning I hop, skipped, and jumped onto a train bound for Philadelphia. I made a quick stop-off at the hotel to drop off my bag before lunch and look who I found!


Yep! None other than Miss Caitlin herself, perched on my bed. I’m sure there are very few of you who don’t know who she is, but Caitlin writes an extraordinarily popular healthy living blog, and also is the creator of the Operation Beautiful movement. So, you know, she’s kind of a big deal. She was there visiting my roomie Ashley, and after what I’m sure was a super composed and not at all awkward introduction (HA!), Ash and I rushed off.


We were due to attend a lunch being hosted by Wellsphere at Stephen Starr restaurant El Vez. Mexicano at its finest!


The Wellsphere team was awesome, and it gave me the chance to meet up with some other bloggers before the conference festivities even began:

Halley, Lisa, CJ, Ashley, and yours truly. Thanks for the pic, Halley!

Needless to say, it was muy delicioso!


Egads! The food! The glorious food! There was chips & guac, mexican chopped salad, tuna tostadas, jalapeno corn bread, grilled beef tacos, shrimp enchiladas, and more. They really known how to turn the flavor up at El Vez; there was a chicken torta (aka sandwich) on the table that was too spicy even for me!


I hated it all, clearly. And as if all that sheer deliciousness wasn’t enough, the Wellsphere team treated us to froyo afterward!


I loaded up with coconut (!) and dark chocolate (!!) frozen yogurt topped with kiwi, mango, mochi, coconut, and a few choco chips. NOMMMMMM. Good thing they don’t have tons of self-serve places around here though… methinks it’d be dangerous. In more than one way.


After spending some post-lunch walking around and meeting up with friends I haven’t seen since Fitbloggin’ or the Fitness Bloggers’ Conference (yes, in case you had forgotten, HLS was conference #3 for the summer) it was time to get ready for the evening’s main event!

Roommates all dolled up: me, Ashley, Theodora, and Anne.

Cocktail party time!


It was at the Reading Terminal Market, which is normally hustling & bustling with lunch-goers but was completely closed down for us! Neat, huh?


They had wine, beer, and a special alcoholic chia seed drink (fitting, no?) as well as a buffet of heavy appetizers. Mingling time!

DC Bloggers FTW: Beth, Katie, Claire and me!

Monica, me, and Katy. I LOVE THEM (Thanks for the pic, Monica!)

I talked myself completely hoarse at the party, so once things started winding down we turned in for the night. But not before we got a little sweet photobooth action in!


Here’s a closer-up shot so you can revel in the awesomeness:


I know that my hottness in the bottom left picture is a little too much to behold, but you’ll just have to manage. After all, this post has already been 18,000 times too long (and on a Sunday! My goodness!) so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.

Farewell, HLS. ‘Til next year (we’re campaigning for DC as the location!) <3


  1. it’s reading terminal market! aka my favorite place in the world πŸ™‚

    • Errrr, oops! Thanks for the catch! That’s what I meant. πŸ˜› Fixeded!

  2. I really enjoyed how you used the word egads. That needs to be used more in my life!

    I think Atlanta next year would be a great location, although I’d be happy with DC too.

    • There are so many words I wish were used more in regular conversation. I’m trying to bring “egads” back, along with “peachy”, “swell” and the original meaning of “having a gas” πŸ˜‰

    • You too! May there be many more meet-ups to be had. πŸ™‚

  3. Loved meeting you at the cocktail party Gretchen! You are so funny! You looked great in your sparkly black dress too! πŸ™‚

    • Awesome meeting you, too! Thanks so much — hope everyone got a good look, because (unfortunately? fortunately?) I think that might have been my last wear. It was safety-pinned to high heaven because it’s just too big now!

  4. Why wasn’t I following your blog before? Your photos are incredible. I should have made you give me a photography lesson.

    • Thank you! But you do realize you really aren’t too shabby yourself, right? Your food photos make me drool – good for the eyes, bad for the cleanliness of my keyboard.

  5. Sounds and looks like you had a great time! I’d LOVE HLS to be in DC next year [DC native] and really would love to attend!!!

    • I’ll send you the petition πŸ˜‰

      • Haha, petition?! I’ll definitely push for DC πŸ˜€ Especially if I get to attend!

        P.S. We should organize a local bloggers get-together!

  6. Such a fun post! Love those food pics from El Vez. πŸ™‚

    I’m so glad we met this weekend…may there be many more conferences and blogger meet-ups in our future.

  7. You have such amazing pictures of HLS, I am obsessed!

    • I so wish you could have been there with us!

  8. Great pictures….looks like you had a fabulous time! I’m hoping to do a lot of traveling for blog conferences next year. πŸ™‚ I would love it if HLS moved to DC! I’ve always wanted to visit DC but never have!

    • You should come visit anyway… just saying….

  9. It was so fun to meet + eat Mexican with you!! Your photos are so stunning, I’m going to have fun backtracking on your blog + snooping for photography tips!

    • Thanks Halley! I loved meeting you too. My boyfriend was amused that I met another geotech person at the conference! πŸ˜€

  10. I think the photo in the top right corner of you is pretty awesome!
    Glad to hear you had such a great time!
    I’m jealous of the food. I had such an unhealthy weekend; you’d be ashamed of me.

    • I am NEVER ashamed of you, my love!

    • Such a fun one, right? I’ll be sad to put it into size-too-big retirement soon. Well, bittersweetly sad, I suppose. What do you think the difficulty level is on tailoring with sequins?

      • I don’t think it would be that bad since the whole thing is covered in sequins. Take it to a tailor and see! πŸ™‚

  11. Great photo wrap up! Such a pretty pic of Caitlin too. Looks like you all had a major blast:)

    • Right? That pic of her turned out goooorgeous.

  12. So Fun!!! All your conference-ing is making me want to join the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) so I can go to doggy conferences!

    Also, there’s a self-serve Fro Yo place (Josie’s) by my house, and it’s DANGEROUS. I may or may not have gone 3 times last week…

    • UMMM, can I go to doggy conferences too? Just for funsies? I’m rallying to make next year’s HLS dog friendly hahaha

  13. You are now the ONLY person that is allowed to photograph me. Somehow, between the 67 takes and the multiple location changes for lighting, you got some of the best shots ever taken of me. πŸ™‚

    I am SO glad that you came to my room party on Friday — it really set the tone of the weekend for me, and you just kept that going with your fabulous, friendly face. I love you, friend!

    • Deal. πŸ˜‰

      And I was too! That little impromptu room fiesta was super fun, and so nice to get some facetime with a smaller group. These conferences are amazing and you make so many new friends but you really meet SO many people it’s almost overwhelming at times!

  14. It was so much fun seeing you this weekend, Gretchen! Your photos are amazing – you should give lessons πŸ™‚

    • Haha! I’ll bear that in mind, but I will always insist that I really don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Glad we could psuedo-share a train ride together! Hopefully next time it’ll be a little more pleasant on the way back, no?

  15. Looks like so much fun! I’ll join the campaign to have it in DC next year:-)

  16. love caitlyns blog! I also read tinas and annes! I have read them for so long, its like they are famous to me!


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