Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. I had this one all scheduled and ready to go, but something went wrong when I hit publish, and I didn’t realize until after 4 that I had no post, and at that point, I was at Starbucks with an ipod over 2 hours away from my house, so I decided just to skip it for yesterday and come back today. Time for another Healthy Living Summit recap. Missed the first couple of recaps? Click here, here, and here.
Today I’m recapping from the 4 sessions I attended. I’m going to keep it fairly short, because I only have so much time and space, and you’re probably getting tired of reading these HLS updates. I’ll share a few key takeaways from each session.
Session # 1: Writing a Better Recipe with Stepfanie Romine, food editor at Sparkpeople
- Anatomy of a good recipe: all recipes should include a title, headnote and tips, yield, prep and cook times, ingredients, instructions
- Describe recipes with your 5 senses, not generic words like great or delicious
- If imbedding photos in the instructions, have a printer-friendly version after
- Top recipe pet peeves: obscure ingredients, time-consuming prep not mentioned at the beginning of the recipe, recipes that cook at odd times/temperatures, random capitalization
These are just a few highlights – Stepfanie had a lot of good tips that made me re-think about how I write my recipes. Maybe it’s just because it was still early in the day and my mind was fresher, but I found this session the most useful.
- - join a blog directory (like Healthy Living Blogs) to find other bloggers in your geographic area or who write about the same things you do. It can also help others find you!
- - twitter chats (am I the only one who wasn’t in the know?): they take place at different times and about different subjects: some to try are #fitblog, #runchat, #wwchat
- - when planning blogger meet-ups, go for quality, not quantity, but don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone a little!
These ladies had a lot of great stuff to say about using numbers as part of healthy living, weight loss and blogging. They discussed the pros (as a way to measure progress, as motivation) and cons (comparison trap, frustration, losing sight of reality) of using numbers, then gave some ideas for finding a healthy balance:
- Use numbers to track progress in a specific and measureable way, but focus on a realistic approach and goal
- Have number goals you CAN control (like the number of workouts you do or healthy meals you eat) rather than ones you CAN’T control (like pounds lost)
- continually re-evaluate and adjust the specifics of goals as needed
Session # 4: How to Monetize Your Blog (without selling out) with Katy Widrick
I’ll be honest – this was the session I was most looking forward to. Maybe it was because it was at the end of the day and I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the numbers she put forth, but I didn’t get as much out of it as I was hoping. There are a lots of “bits and bites” I could share, but I will leave you with her tips for finding money:
- be visible/accessible, work hard and keep your pitch short, have media kits and ad rates ready
- ask for referrals
- follow up with conference contacts
- reach out to blogging friends
- know tax laws
- write clear contracts
- be open to feedback (and respond quickly)
After a day full of sitting and soaking up the blog knowledge (in a FREEZING hotel conference room), it was time for a walk to dinner. Me and these 4 lovely ladies made the trek to Osteria, a restaurant that I heard about via my cousin and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
I was a little nervous, since I made the recommendation and the restaurant was about a mile walk from our hotel, out of the downtown/tourist-y areas. I need not have been. IT. WAS. AMAZING. I took Marc Summers’ recommendation and ordered the pizza margherita: Yep. Best thing I ever ate. Thin, crispy crust. Bright, fresh, tomato sauce. The freshest mozzarella, melted to perfection. Fresh basil (okay, I know I’m saying fresh a lot but it really was). I also shared an amazingly innovative and delicious vegetarian antipasto platter and devoured LOTS of bread from the bread “trough” (I say that because it was HUGE). I *probably* didn’t need that whole pizza , but it was worth it (even though some of my fellow HLS dining companions seemed to eat like birds). The best thing I ever ate!
After dinner, the Canadians in the crowd wanted to hit up Trader Joe’s and everyone else tagged along (thanks ladies). I bought all the stuff you see at right. Delicious-looking spreads, dangerously delicious espresso beans coated in toffee and dark chocolate, cookies, Better ‘n Peanut butter (how I’ve missed you), salsa, freeze-dried fruit, coconut water (chocolate flavoured) and more.
Sunday morning before breakfast we had the 5k walk around Philadelphia. A great way to see the city and chat with fellow bloggers (like Shanna and Alicia). We even got to run up the “Rocky” steps at the Art Museum (which I know of even though I’ve never seen the movie).
My question of the day today has to do with the first presentation I told you about. When I post recipes, do you like having more specifics (quantities, times, etc), or do you like it when I just generally show and tell you what I did without listing specific details? Or do you like a mix of both (which is what I do now)? I really want to make the effort to improve my site and your experience, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.
I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about my not-so-healthy stop on the way home from HLS, as well as some HLS-inspired meals I’ve enjoyed since being home. Have a good one everybody!