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.


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.


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


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


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.


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!


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!


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


So feed us they did.


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


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.


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.


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!


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


And anyway, we made it back just in time.


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!


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


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



Ashley and I were happy bears, obvi.

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!


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.


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.


Mission so not accomplished.


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


  1. Sounds like so much fun! I would love to go to any conference centered around recipes and monetizing your blog haha

  2. Woo woo! Congrats on your downward trend! 🙂

    I love drinking Perrier as well. Especially with dinner. Makes me feel so fancy. 🙂

  3. I think the only time I lost weight this weekend was when I gave away the applesauce in my swag bag. But then I filled it with granola, so probably not.

    • I’m pretty sure I lost another 5 lbs lugging my entire swag bag full of food to work this morning. That ish be heavy!

  4. Hahahaha that line “I was not actually in that group, of course, but I just thought you might like to hear about it.” literally made me laugh out loud. Still giggling.


    • Ahahaha, I’m glad I can amuse. Getting to actually hang out with you this weekend (unlike at Fitbloggin’ — fail) was AWESOME. Good thing we live so close so I don’t have to be sad about not seeing you!

  5. Yep, I didn’t lose any weight, haha.

    • Seriously, I was SHOCKED. It may have been mostly healthy food, but I still ate my weight in those chips and guac at El Vez… 😀

  6. What a fabulous weekend! Looks like you had so much fun! Congrats on the weight loss! I too sent the scale downward. YAY!

  7. Wow!!! Your photos are AMAZING!!!!!!!!! I told you, you had an extra fancy camera! 😉 Did you use a 50 MM lens? I need to take lessons from you on how to work the camera.

    It was so great meeting you! I know I was running around like a chicken with her head cut off, but you are super sweet and hilarious. Can’t wait to hang out again!

    • Hahahaha, that’s me: sooooo fancy. 🙂 Yeah, this weekend I was shooting with a 50mm f/1.4 that I borrowed from my photog brother but usually I shoot with a 1.8 (which ironically is also his, but he just doesn’t seem to care as much about that one, hahaha.)

      I LOVED meeting you! I know it must have been soooo stressful but you did an amazing job and clearly everyone had an awesome time. Can’t wait for next year!

  8. Bahah omg I’m in the middle of the runner group picture glowing like crazy from all the reflective strips on my shirt and shoes. I may steal that picture when I write up my review of that shirt!

    The only thing I think this post was missing was reference to our awesome new DC bloggers hashtag!!! #dcFTW! haha!

    • Haha, well it’s a good thing if you’re going to keep running at 4:30 in the morning I guess! Can’t wait for our next #dcFTW meetupppppp!

  9. Keithsays:

    Keep walking to and from the Metro every day! Makes a difference! Keep up the good work!!

  10. Michaelasays:

    you def had me at the 14 miler!! you should have seen my shocked face 😀 not that I would think you couldn´t do it. I just feel you would not want to 😉

    • Hahahahaha! Well, you may have more faith in me than I do in that case. But you’re right on the heeeeell no would I even want to try front! 😛

  11. Haha oh lord that first photo of me is SO not cute!

  12. Great recaps Gretchen! It looks like so much fun!!

  13. You caught an oblivious photo of me serving myself some food. Haha. It was so great to meet you this weekend…and I am impressed that you still managed to lose some weight with all of that yummy food around!

  14. This looks like it was so much fun and so informative. I want to go to a conference so badly, keep campaigning for it to be in DC next year!! Even if it’s not, this looks like one not to miss. Thanks for the recap!

  15. It looks like you had a really fun weekend at the conference 🙂

  16. I lost weight this weekend too! I’m actually down a pound as of this morning’s weigh in. Great job hot stuff!

  17. Suuper bummed I wasn’t able to make it to HLS orrr the DC blogger meet up (I had the wrong date! <— space cadet) I really hope to meet you soon, pretty lady! 🙂

  18. Look at you ROCKING the 180’s, all I have to say it get it girl!!!

  19. I just found your blog (through all of the HLS recaps!)and I love it! I’m a teen in Northern Va too so keep me updated on meetups please. I think that would be amazing! You are so inspirational!

  20. Awesome photos Gretchen. I’m glad the one of our table at the wrap up turned our so good. It was a blast spending time with y’all.

  21. Stevesays:

    You spelled Delaware wrong. I’m ashamed of you…

  22. I love sparkpeople!thats where I got started losing weight! Very healthy and happy community.
    Also congrats on the weight lose AND im jealous of the swag. One day Ill go to one of these blogging events….so jealous

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