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Posted on Jun 8, 2012 in Dear Diary | 28 comments

Exciting News!

Happy Friday, neighborinos! I don’t know what you all have on the docket for what is supposed to be a truly amazing weekend, weather-wise, but I am totally pumped. While last weekend was gloriously lazy, I have some fun stuff on the horizon.

First up, tonight is the re-return of book club, where we’re having a taco-themed fiesta (ole!), and then I’m going to see Snow White & The Huntsman with my sister. If you’ve already seen the movie and can confirm that it’s totally terrible, well, keep that to yo’self. I just want to see some beautiful Chris Hemsworth, stunning Charlize Theron, and quivering-lipped K.Stew, mmmkay?

And as if those two things weren’t delicious enough (both literally and figuratively), tomorrow night I’m seeing the lovely Kristin Chenoweth in concert! She’s performing at the Hippodrome tomorrow night, and I can’t wait! For those of you who might be less familiar, Kristin Chenoweth is a very famous Broadway actress and absolutely phenomenal singer who has cropped up in plenty of mainstream media lately. In addition to originating the roles of Sally in the revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown! and Glinda in Wicked, she has also played April Rhodes on Glee, Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies, had a couple of supporting roles in various movies, and did a stint on the West Wing. She was most recently on that show GCB.

Anyway, she’s obviously fabulous and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her perform twice now: once as Glinda, during Wicked‘s pre-Broadway run back in 2007, and in the show Promises, Promises a few years ago. She’s basically one of my (many) idols, and I’m really excited for the show.

So actually, as exciting as my weekend plans clearly are (I’m sure you’re all thrilled for me, after all, hehe), the title of this post doesn’t actually refer to my schedule. I actually have an announcement to make!

I’m going to be speaking at this year’s Healthy Living Summit! I went to HLS last year (recaps here and here), and had an absolutely amazing time. I got to bond IRL with friends I only knew through their blogs, see the city of Philadelphia, and learned a surprising amount. This year it’s in Boston, and I’m so excited to be a presenter! The topic of my session?

Love in bloom PizzaPIzza
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Essential photography basics for blogging! I cannot even tell you how many bloggers I meet who are stuck using the Auto feature on their ridiculously expensive cameras. Hopefully I can provide some tips that embolden them to at least try shooting on Aperture mode, or even — gasp! — Manual. I’m clearly not a professional photographer, but I have had the benefit of having a brother who is, so hopefully I’m in a good position to help bloggers understand that having great photography is not a huge, professional undertaking.

Of course, not everyone has a DSLR, so I’ll definitely be including general tips on how to make the most of your point & shoot or camera phone, too. Here’s the little blurb about my session, as posted on the HLS website:

HLS blurb

I’m super psyched to be able to combine so many things that I love: blogging, photography, and forcing people to pay attention to me. Registration for HLS opens this coming Tuesday, June 12th, at 8 PM (EST) if you’re thinking about attending. Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Have you been to HLS in the past? Are you considering going this year?

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Posted on Aug 22, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food, Weigh Ins, Weight Loss | 39 comments

HLS 2011 – Part 2 (Weigh-in)

Advanced apologies that this is probably gonna be a long’un, friends. In case you missed Part 1 of this weekend of intense awesomeness, be sure to catch up here.

Picking up where we left off, Saturday morning kicked off bright and early at 5 AM with a group of us doing a 14 mile run around downtown Philadelphia.


Pic pilfered from Beth

I was not actually in that group, of course, but I just thought you might like to hear about it. Bahahahaha. Did I have you there for even a second? Instead I gave myself a workout by bolting straight up when Theodora‘s alarm clock went off at 4:30, and then by rolling over and going back to sleep, haha.

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Breakfast was a big cereal bar courtesy of Attune Foods, so I helped myself to a bowl of strawberry Uncle Sam’s with soy milk, a hard-boiled egg, and a big ol’ plate of fruit.

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Anne is an Attune Ambassador so she was definitely feeling the feast:

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A great way to start off the day! (They do still say it’s the most important meal, you know.)

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After foodage was consumed and opening remarks were, er, remarked upon, we tucked in for a full day of breakout sessions on various topics. So much information! The first session I attended was by editor of Daily Spark and Spark People (recipe sites many of you probably use daily!) Stepfanie Romine.

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It was entitled “Writing a Better Recipe” and it really got me thinking about the sad lack of well-structured recipes on this blog. Be on the lookout for some changes to my basically non-existant Recipes page!

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I also hit up the presentation on networking through blogging and social media in your area by Cynthia and my amazing roomies, Ashley and Theodora. We got many ideas from this for future DC blogger meetups, so my local peeps should stay tuned!

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By the time the morning sessions were over, people were HANGRY. Feeeeed us, we cried!

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So feed us they did.

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The conference served up a buffet of vegetarian sandwiches, salad, and this absolutelypositively delicious quinoa and chickpea salad that I must recreate.

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Nom. I loaded up my plate with some of everything but ended up not really partaking in much of the roasted veggie wrap or tofu sandwich as neither was too great, IMO. I went back for another half-o-caprese’wich instead because you know that cheese makes it aaaaall better, hehe.

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And I felt super fancy washing down my sammies with a Perrier. There really is just something about sparkling water that makes you classy all over.

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After lunch, Anne, Theodora and I really needed to stretch out legs. We thought we’d only go for a 15-minute walk around the hotel but ended up missing the entire keynote presentation — oops! It gave me flashbacks to our similar session-skipping adventure in Boulder back in June!

Ph-ph-ph-Philly!

Guess we just got wrapped in walking the street of Philly. Totes worth it.

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And anyway, we made it back just in time.

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Just in time for (early) happy hour, that is! What? It may have been 3:30 in Philly, but it was 5 o’clock somewhere!

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Shanna, a Delaware blogger, brought Kath a 4-pack of Dogfish Head beers (my fav!) and Kath generously shared with the whole table.

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We improvised a chilling method, and everyone got to have a taste.

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Cheers!

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Ashley and I were happy bears, obvi.

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Anne, Chase, me, Tina, Theodora, Katie, and Kath.

Best table ever. Just saying.

So you know, we were nice and socially lubricated for the piece de resistance of conference sessions: Blog monetization with the brilliant and beautiful Katy Widrick!

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So many nuggets of wisdom. So little time. Before I knew it — poof! The conference was wrapping up. Props must be given to Meghann for organizing pretty much the entire thing.

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But don’t worry, it wasn’t time to wrap up quite yet. A big group of us continued on the happy hour festivities into dinner and beyond after the official closing remarks. I didn’t lug my big camera out with me that night, but suffice it to say that good times were had. I’m sure you can catch up with the shenanigans on any number of other blogs.

Friday morning was spent on a nice 5K walk through Philly (I ran up the Rocky steps!)


Thanks for the pic, Meghann! Can you spot me?

Followed by an oatmeal bar sponsored by Quaker. I ate my face off, then used the added body weight I gained from eating approximately 1.4 million pounds of oatmeal to squish down my suitcase so I could fit my swag in it.

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Mission so not accomplished.

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Sadly, I had to lug my three separate bags o’ stuff through the train station and say goodbye to this fantastic weekend. And after cuddling with the pups (I did miss them, after all. Let’s all petition for a dog-friendly conference next year, yes?) and reading like 67 weekend recaps, I conked out. But like the good little blogger I try to be, it was business as usual when I woke up this morning:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 189.8 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 189.0 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -0.8 lbs

Shock! Shock and awe! I wasn’t expecting to lose anything, not even this wonderful glorified half-pound after this weekend. Sure, I ate healthy food, but for being at a health bloggers conference I really phoned it in fitness-wise (so what else is new?) I’ll take it!

Onward and downward, and so it goes. <3

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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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!

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

Cocktail party time!

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

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

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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!

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

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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

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Posted on Aug 19, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 11 comments

Here We Go Again!

Good morning, friends! As you’re reading this, I’m probably on the train to Philly for the 3rd Annual Healthy Living Summit! Guff, my third blogging conference of the summer. Wheeeeeee!

I couldn’t leave without reporting on just a couple last things, though. First up, check out what arrived on my doorstep yesterday!

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My first order from Arganica Farm Club! I bought a Living Social deal for a one-month subscription to this CSA-like organization that delivers local, direct-from-farm groceries to your door. Basically a dream come true for me, since you get the wonders of a CSA but you actually get to pick and choose what you’re buying. Well, it’d be a dream if it weren’t so ridiculously expensive under non-groupon circumstances that is.

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The deal included a produce crate full of goodies, as well as a $25 gift card. I spent that on the seafood and goat cheese, and everything else was a surprise! I just hope that things don’t go bad before I come back from the City of Brotherly Love!

In an attempt to ensure that the aforementioned horror does not happen, I froze the fish filet and used up the following ingredients in this week’s crowning cooking achievement:

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The trick to getting really nice scallops is to make sure they’re good and dry before they hit the pan.

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Pat them down, then add them to a nice hot skillet with some EVOO (or butter). Only flip ’em once and remember, they cook FAST.

Scallopini

I served mine alongside some caramelized onions and summer squash. Not a bad presentation, eh? That’s because I actually tried this time, hahaha.

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I also grilled up that ear of corn in the skillet – a little unconventional perhaps, but it worked! Chalk it up to me being far too lazy to actual wait for water to boil.

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Delicioso!

So hopefully I’ll be back after the conference with many new tidbits to share on both health and blogging! I’m not aware what the wi-fi situation is going to be up there as there unfortunately seems like there’s some confusion surrounding that, but I’m sure you’ll still be overloaded with posts and tweets and updates. Just one last thing before I go: the winner of the Adora Chocolate giveaway!

Congratulations, Andrea! Email me your details at gretchen@honeyishrunkthegretchen.com.

Have a great weekend, everyone! If you’ll be at HLS later on today, let me know! I’ll look something like this:

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Heh.

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Posted on Aug 18, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 17 comments

Hours of Happy

Hip, hip, huzzah! Our Monthly DC Blogger Meetup #2 happened last night and was a lot of fun!

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We met up at Front Page in Dupont Circle for some drinks and good times. I never really “got” happy hour before, but I think I do now. It really puts a positive spin back on your day!

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Stephanie and Allison chatting it up.

A few of the bloggers there are also going to be at the Healthy Living Summit this weekend (leaving tomorrow morning for it! Ahh!) so it was nice to have a pre-introduction introduction, so to speak.

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Sarah, Nicole, Claire, Erin, Stephanie, and Allison. Whee!

I actually got (shock!) wine:

Gris

And along with my crisp pinot gris (I say as if I haven’t been repulsed by wine for 22 of the past 23 years), I had some obviously very, very healthy nosh:

Les Pommes Frites.
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BAHAHAHA.

Fried food is still delicious, I don’t care what you say. And of course I shared! The rest of my day was pretty balanced anyway to allow for some luxury anyway — check my long, LONG overdue Daily Eats post if you don’t believe me!

Real Nutrition. :)
Claire was very supportive of my choices, hehe.

So after my first official DC happy hour, I think I can say that it was mucho enjoyed…o. If anybody ever wants to grab a drink in the city after work, just let me know! (See? I can be a city girl. Just call me Carrie Bradshaw.)

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I love her.

Remember, these meetups are becoming a standing monthly occurrence, so if you’re ever interested in being put on the email list just holler at me!

The rest of today will be dedicated to preparing for HLS and the trip up to Philly. I suspect there may be more than one soft pretzels consumed this weekend…

Today’s the last day to enter for a chance to win TWO bags of Adora chocolates. Giveaway winner will be randomly drawn tomorrow morning!

Do you happy hour? Do you sad hour?

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