I suppose I could have come up with a more creative title than that. I’m pretty sure a zillion other bloggers have been publishing posts this week that say the exact same thing. But #sorrynotsorry, I hope (I KNOW) the content of my posts make up for any lame titles I throw your way 🙂 and remember if you missed my recap of the Chobani dinner I attended while in Boston for the 2012 Healthy Living Summit, you can check it out here!
My HLS ’12 weekend actually started in a different MA town, home of my BB (best blend) Heather. Since her house is on my way to Boston, I decided to stay over with her Thursday night to make the drive in on Friday shorter. AND oh yeah, because I love hanging out with her. I took a half day at work on Thursday and got to her house before rush hour traffic hit (win) and we immediately hit the road for one of my favorite restaurants ever, Garden Grille…after we took some pics, of course.
We chatted away during that rush hour/accident-caused traffic I’d missed before, and arrived at Garden Grille about to eat each others’ arms off. Appetizers were necessary.
I finally got to try the famous Garden Grille sweet potato fries, and was so impressed. I have to admit I prefer ION’s because those are crispier (more fried 😉 hehe) but these were still amazing, especially paired with that housemade BBQ sauce. We also went with the special side, garlicky sauteed greens. My Garden Party beverage (vodka, basil, mint, lime) matched perfectly!
I was so happy that we got to sit outside and savored my refreshing cocktail throughout the meal, which blew my MIND: blackened Cajun-spiced tofu with pepper jam, charred corn & black beans, squashes, and smoked paprika aioli. HEAVEN. I’m so glad I’ve gotten over my tofu-texture aversion.
I never wanted this to end! Unfortunately it did. I was tres sad.
A walk down Thayer Street and shopping trip in its Urban Outfitters location cheered me right up! I adore the artsy vibe from this college town. Every person and business I pass seems so open to new ideas and ready to learn. I could probably sit outside with a cup of coffee and people watch for a good while. Or maybe with a cup of fro-yo?
I knew the second I finished dinner that I was going to want a dessert. Do you ever have those evenings? I honored my craving (and am proud to say I did so) at a self-serve frozen yogurt shop whose name now escapes me. As usual I did mostly toppings. After I finished, we did a bit more walking and called it a night.
I woke up at 8AM the next morning (I was shocked – that’s late for me!) and did two Tone It Up Beach Babe DVD workouts recommended to me by Heather, who happens to be a TIU enthusiast. The Surfer Girl and Summer Arms segments combined to give me a pretty good 45-minute workout, which felt pretty GREAT since I’d had two lackluster gym days previously. I only have one more segment to try out and then I will finally be able to review the DVD – and give you guys a GIVEAWAY! Oh I’m a tease.
After the workout I had one thing on my mind – my beloved vegan spinach and mushroom Wildflour scone. I don’t normally eat baked goods for breakfast. They don’t give me that energy I need to power through my morning. However, this savory scone does not have the same “crash” effects as most cafe offerings. I treat myself to one of these bad boys each time I visit Heather. Last time I went I went through a guilt-ridden debate over whether or not I should get it, but this time I just WENT for it without questioning whether or not I “should” get the scone – something I noticed and took pride in!
We blogged and I did encounter a challenge of “shoulds” and “should-nots” before we departed for HLS. I wanted a Wildflour green smoothie that Jenny had let me try last time the three of us went there and she ordered one. The Dino is made with good-for-you ingredients – spinach, kale, blueberry, banana, almond milk, almond butter – but I have always had a stigma in my brain about smoothies that says they don’t fill me up yet are still many calories, which can then result in me intaking too many calories. Heather was there for me as usual and offered to share the Dino with me on the ride to Boston. Deal! I was in heaven with each sip and am so glad that I fought the guilt and ordered it. And thankful too, because we got stuck in traffic and didn’t make it to our originally planned lunch at Flour Bakery & Cafe until an hour past schedule!
I again went through a bit of an embarrassing debate in my mind – and at the counter – over what to order. The poor Flour employee had to deal with my questions about how much mayo was in the curried tuna salad I had my eye on. Even after trying a sample and LOVING it, it was hard to let myself choose that as my salad’s protein. Another stigma I have stored away…tuna/chicken/seafood salads are full of hidden calories from too much mayo. Finally I mentally said “fuck it” to the guilt and ordered the curried tuna salad on my greens. And then I threw in a side of homemade hummus for good measure, and ate every last bite. WHAT WHAT.
Once Heather and I checked in at our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, we grabbed our HLS swag and lugged it up to our room so we could get settled and ready for dinner. It was around this time that the weekend became all about connecting with so many of the bloggers I’d been following, chatting with, and relating to for as long as years in some cases. At BlogHer I learned so much about myself and experienced NYC through food, drink, and workouts. At HLS I forged bonds with girls I never truly thought I’d get the chance to meet. That was the main takeaway for me from this conference.
Two girls I was most excited to meet were my Canadian blends Meg and Lisa. The three of us have bonded over our struggles, past for some and present for others, with our relationships with food. We support and guide each other in the journey to balance every single day. When I first saw Meg at the door of my hotel room, I hugged her so hard that I think I crushed her…and pushed her into a wall. Every single word we said to each other was just so US and we already knew that. Does that make any sense?! We just seamlessly transition from blend to friend. Of course I had to snap a picture of her with her MUSSELS and her MUSCLES, since she adores seafood and we are always sending each other photos of seafood we’re eating.
And I attacked Lisa the moment I saw her too! She is just as beautiful in person as she is on her blog – always looks SO put together and has the best wavy hair! And she was wearing a brightly colored dress, which I can always count on her for. I truly never imagined we’d meet one day, so I am just so thankful that I could hang out with the girl who encourages me anytime I open up on this blog about my guilt issues.
Oh yeah – the food at dinner! Well I had a late lunch so I just got a roasted beet salad with goat cheese. Very average, but Chelsea and Linz shared a slice of their fig and prosciutto pizza with me, and THAT was impressive.
After dinner it was time to head to the hotel for the HLS Cocktail Party. I wish the music had been louder – there was no dancing! I was too busy chatting and being a goofy ham anyway, though.
There were apps and desserts there, but I skipped out on the latter. When there is cheese available, and when I am drinking wine, that is ALLLL I want.
My BB has totally turned me into a Pinot Grigio fan!
What a fun evening of reuniting, meeting for the first time, and lots of PICS.
The best moment of the evening (of HLS…of the week…the month…you get it) came courtesy of Becki. She approached me and introduced herself. I smiled and said hello back, but honestly didn’t at first make the connection that this was one of the girls who had written her own #AmazingMe post after I had written mine. However as soon as Becki said that she had to come introduce herself to “the girl who wrote #AmazingMe”, I immediately realized who she was…and felt tears come to my eyes. The comments and feedback I have gotten on that post have touched me several times over, but THIS was the culmination of it all. THIS was the chance for me to meet, in person, someone that I directly inspired and someone I made feel good about herself.
Becki’s post about her accomplishments and why she is a wonderful human being was heartwarming to read, but to literally FEEL how genuinely thankful she was to have been inspired to write it was a feeling I really can’t even begin to describe. I am so thankful in turn to her for helping me see how beneficial it is to put myself out there as a blogger and be honest and myself in my posts, because not only will I get feedback from readers that will aid me in my journey to balance, but I also will continue to be someone readers can relate to and remember whenever they are fighting that negative voice themselves. THANK YOU BECKI for introducing yourself, and I hope that we can have a good long chat next time I am in town!
What is the most touching moment blogging has brought to you?
If you were at the HLS cocktail party, what was your fave photobooth prop? Your fave food item?
Out of all the eats in this post, what looks best to you? 🙂