August 21, 2012 by Katie
I was impressed. Very impressed.
First off, HUGE thanks to Meghann from Meals and Miles who took the lead on organizing HLS this year, and of course to everyone at Healthy Living Blogs for helping her out. I could not believe how smoothly the whole conference went, from checking in to the sessions and meals and to the very last morning. It went off without a hitch (or at least from what we saw). The organizers seemed completely calm and together the whole time and I was not once annoyed or inconvenienced by anything at any time. No complaints.
Second, thank you to our sponsors! They were there all day Saturday, ready and eager to speak with us, give us samples and of course all of our amazing swag! Companies who appreciate the reach and influence of bloggers are on top of their game, and we certainly enjoy that they recognize us and want to work with us! The official sponsors of HLS this year included Wild Harvest, Reebok, Reboot, Five Bamboo, Drink Chia, Driscolls, and Happy Family Brands.
The Food. This is a healthy living blog event, so obviously the food was key! One of my biggest worries coming into this event was whether I’d have enough to eat with my soy and gluten allergies. However, I never once had an issue! Sure, I couldn’t eat all the swag, or everything at each meal, but I certainly didn’t expect to! The fact that I had enough and really enjoyed it was great for me! And can we discuss that gluten free naan again? Hallelujah for that one!
Now that we’ve gotten all the basics out of the we’ll get on to the interesting stuff, my thoughts on the event as a whole, including the social atmosphere.
First of all, I came into this event a little nervous. I am NOT an out going person. I get really shy when I’m around new people. For example, my hand was completely shaking while I was signing in at the registration table and Meghann was talking to me. It was a LOT! I was nervous about meeting my roomies, not knowing what to expect and MEGHANN standing right there. HAha a little blogger star struck. Didn’t help that Tina and Theodora walked in the lobby as well..
Fortunately I got over seeing big bloggers as “celebrities” by the next day. They are just like me and all the other “small” bloggers at the conference! Minus the fact that I know waaaaaay too much about them from reading their blogs. Creepy much? Haha.
I also got over my fear of meeting new people and being afraid of just not being liked. I was SHOCKED at the number of girls who came up and introduced themselves to me, saying they read or had heard of my blog. I definitely consider myself a small and new blogger, so I felt so humbled hearing these women saying they knew me! ME. ?!??!?!?!?!?
Luckily, these girls who introduced themselves were AMAZING. I met so many great women and those who I got spend some time with over the weekend became good friends. Weird right? One weekend and now I consider these women my friends? That’s how the “healthy living community” seems to be though. We are all very similar, in likes and in personality, and tend to click pretty quickly. I’m not saying that everyone at that conference could be BFFs with everyone else, but for the most part it was easy to find friends and get to know each other quickly since we all had so much in common. There were several girls who from first glance I might not have thought I’d get along with them, but after a little time I realized how similar they are. You know it’s coming: Don’t judge a book by its cover!
And beyond just the women I met and hung out with at the conference, my roommates were pretty darn awesome as well. The four of us connected through the facebook group and decided to all room together to save money. Another corny line (I’m FULL of them today) but it was fate. We really got along great, there was never an issue, we were very similar and definitely leaned on one another during the conference. We were always there looking out for each other. Ahhhh I’m tearing up, I miss them already! Neville just isn’t the same…
Other than my own insecurities, I was concerned about clickiness at the conference, meaning there would be groups of women who stuck to themselves. I heard this was a problem last year: the “big” bloggers stuck with each other and didn’t seem very approachable. Fortunately this year was (apparently) much better. Although I couldn’t spend with all 150 girls there, I rarely felt like I was unwelcome from any group of women. The whole group was very open and welcoming, and I was pleasantly surprised.
I am SO GLAD I went to Healthy Living Summit this year. Not only did I learn a lot about blogging, but I also had a great personal experience, became more confident, and made a lot of friends (my reader is EXPLOADING!). This conference reminded me of my value as a person and I have all the amazing women there to thank for that.
Where do you feel the most at home and comfortable?
Have you ever been to a conference or something like HLS? What was it like?