As promised, here is the continued recap of my long weekend! I woke up early (too early?) on Friday to run with Meghan and Amanda around the Charles. We started from the Longfellow Bridge and stopped for a quick stretch at some park benches before settling into a quick, but reasonable, pace. As we shambled along, watching the tree roots peeking up through the sidewalk, we chatted about blogs we read, balancing blogging with “real life,” our running careers and how thankful we were that it wasn’t 90* and dark out, which is the weather Meghan usually runs in! 8 miles later, Meghan and I parted ways with Amanda because she had to go to work (blech!) and we made a quick stop at Whole Foods for some essentials – fresh pineapple and grapes for me; yogurt, granola and freshly ground almond butter for lovely Meghan. Congrats on the PDR (personal distance record), Meghan! You rocked that run, girlfriend!
Back to the hotel Meghan wandered and up the hill to my chateau I climbed. A quick shower and lots of water later and I was ready for my hair appointment! Shamefully, I hadn’t had my hair cut since New Years’ Eve because I’ve been determined to let it grow out.
When I moved to New York, I was afraid to see a new stylist for fear he or she would chop off too much length and I’d be back to square one. I’m also big on service loyalty so I committed to waiting until I was back in Boston for my next snip-snip sesh.
I decided to stay in town until Gena arrived so I did some shopping at French Connection on Newbury Street. She arrived just in time so I managed to make it out the door without any purchases! We weren’t quite hungry yet so I took her on a walking tour of part of Boston. We walked through Beacon Hill, around the State House, through Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, around Haymarket (where Gena bought 1.5 lbs of broccoli for $1 and I got 5 nectarines for $1!), across the Big Dig to the North End, up 3 huge flights of stairs to the yoga studio where I’d taken class the night before, back down the stairs and up Hanover Street, over to the waterfront to take in the view of Charlestown and the Bunker Hill Memorial and then back to Beacon Hill.
Not surprisingly, we’d finally worked up appetites so we enjoyed fabulous Whole Foods salad bar lunches (mine a mix of tofu, fresh veggies, quinoa salad and the like; Gena’s a glorious collection of vegetables and a container of guacamole) before heading over to the Healthy Living Summit cocktail party.
I’d been to Rustic Kitchen in the past, but never for such a swanky event! We arrived (a bit late) and were immediately immersed in a crowd of smiling, chatting, beautiful women. The food looked truly lovely, though I didn’t have any since I’d eaten earlier. I had a chance to meet Jenna, Caitlin, and Kath, and I was so happy to see Heather again, whom I’d met at Gena’s party last month. The ladies were so composed and it was great to put live faces to names finally! As much as I’d felt like I knew these women because I read their blogs, there’s really nothing like saying ‘hello’ face-to-face. I also had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Megan and Betsy, and Betsy’s sister, Emily. It was the perfect combination of past and present – Megan lives in NYC and Betsy lives in my hometown, Pittsburgh! Since I’d gotten up so early to run that morning, I was ready to pass out pretty early so I had one drink and called it a night by 11pm.
After an early wakeup call on Saturday, it was Summit time!! Gena and I met up with Melissa after registration and had some breakfast. I brought a nectarine with me and had a Kashi Trail Mix bar with some chamomile tea. I got to meet Hangry Heather’s lovely sister, Nadine, and Caroline and we all enjoyed breakfasting, photo snapping and chatting while we waited for the Summit to formally convene.
(Sadly, I was fraught with a terrible case of nerves so I took almost no pictures during the Summit but please read on! All weekend pictures are courtesy of Melissa and Gena.)
The first presentation was by Janel Orvut, an RD in Boston. I appreciated her view on proper nutrition and her encouragement to enjoy indulgences in moderation. However, much of her points were not new to me, so I don’t know that I learned very much. She seemed very nice though!
Next up, Zesty gave a wonderful presentation on better blogging techniques. He brought up some very interesting points about self hosting, social media, advertising and blog appearance. You can be sure you’ll be seeing changes in my blog in the future, though nothing too drastic, I promise!
During Zesty’s presentation, I dug into the amazing swag bag and snacked on a new ProBar Fruition bar – the bar was very tasty, but the texture was a bit too soft for my liking. I think I would have preferred if it was a bit more dense, or a bit more like a granola bar. Instead, it was kind of soft and sticky. It had a great blueberry flavor though!
(The other ProBar product we received was the Koka Moka bar, which The Huz sampled on Sunday evening. Review: It seemed like there were so many great ingredients, but when they were mixed together, they just tasted like a generic “nut bar” – like a teenage artist who mixes too many acrylic paints together. After too many ingredients, suddenly you’re not looking at anything anymore. What I was tasting was good and boring at the same time. Occasionally I’d taste a sesame seed or a raisin or a chocolate chip, but generally it was nutty texture with the saltiness of the nuts and chocolate without any of the sweetness and depth of flavor you would expect.)
After Zesty’s presentation, we enjoyed a Q&A session with the six beautiful organizers and it was so great to hear them speak so frankly about their opinions on blogging, their hopes for the future (and how blogging might fit in) and what they are most thankful for in life. Meghann was so sweet and spoke so lovingly of her boyfriend – he sounds like a great guy!
The Summit broke for lunch around noon and I grabbed a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with swiss cheese, tomato and pesto. I had a little bit of potato salad and a pickle on the side. I was so impressed with how considerate the organizers were of the dietary needs of attendees. While it’s not realistic to make everyone happy, they really did a great job. The sandwich, unfortunately, left a bit to be desired, but I blame the hotel for that! Gena and Melissa were hoping to catch an early bus back to Manhattan to take care of some obligations so I took the ladies on a quick Boston tour before putting them in a cab.
We walked through Government Center, Downtown Crossing (with a quick stop at the CitySports Basement, where we each found a few cute items!), Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Commonwealth Avenue mall, the Esplanade and back to Whole Foods for some food to-go.
With the lovelies safely on their bus, I took a quick nap and met up with one of my best friends to venture out to Cambridge Brewing Company. I am so glad I could be in town to celebrate a very important friend’s birthday! I had a nom de plum beer, which was very very tasty!
And my camera finally came out of hiding!
The handsome birthday boy with his beautiful girlfriend:
Marianne, Teddy and me:
On Sunday, I slept in (finally!) until 9:30, tidied up my chateau and repacked my bag before heading to Porter Square to see my oldest Boston friend, her beloved and their adorable puppy, Copley. We snagged tasty sandwiches from Diesel Cafe (mine was tofu salad with sprouts and peanut sauce), and relaxed in the comfort of some air conditioning. They were kind enough to drive me to the airport, where I waltzed through security in no time and settled in with my book and a chamomile tea from Starbucks. I slipped my eye mask on when I boarded the plane and, before I knew it, I was home in the arms of my main squeeze. Even though I feel like I could sleep for a month straight, I wouldn’t change a thing about the weekend. The Summit was a great opportunity to meet some truly wonderful women and I am so impressed by the dedication and work Caitlin, Kath, Meghann, Heather, Tina and Jenna put into this event. I am so looking forward to the Healthy Living Summit 2010. Congrats, ladies, on such a successful weekend!!