A 7:15 am alarm is a little early for me on a Saturday, especially after not going to sleep until close to 1:00 am. But I was excited for the day ahead and my stomach was growling, so I was anxious to get downstairs. I found the wonderful group of ladies that I met at the cocktail party (Beth, Kim, Laisha and Jamie) and immediately hit the buffet.
Breakfast was sponsored and developed by Wild Harvest and it was amazing! The options were both healthy and delicious, which is rare for most hotel catering.
The Greek Inspired Egg Scramble was developed by Kelly of Cupcake Kelly’s as part of the HLS Breakfast Showdown. Conference registrants were given the opportunity to incorporate 10 Wild Harvest ingredients into an original breakfast recipe. Kelly was the big winner and she received a $500 gift card to any Supervalu store. Congrats Kelly, your dish was fantastic!! Make sure to check out all of the submissions in the showdown…there are some great recipes.
After breakfast, the planning committee kicked off the summit with some opening remarks and by thanking all of the great sponsors. The list was very impressive: Wild Harvest, Reebok, Cherribuni, Drink Chia, Happy Family Brands, Energy Bits, Reebootizer and more!
We then all broke into small groups of about 10 for some introduction icebreakers. The facilitator for my group, Rachel Wilkerson, asked us a bunch of questions like “What is your favorite condiment?” (dijon mustard) and “What is something risky you would do if there were no consequences?” (skydiving). While these types of exercises are not my favorite, if was fun to find out a little more about my fellow bloggers.
Everyone then headed down the hall to the CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) with Reebok. I was bummed to not take part in this, but I still got these awesome headbands.
The WOD was led by CrossFit Games competitor Jared Davis and a team of coaches from around New England. The room was packed and there wasn’t much room for most exercises, so the WOD consisted of a 5 minute AMRAP of 7 air squats and 15 jumps. It was pretty basic, but I heard a few people saying they could hardly walk when they were leaving. So I guess it was a good introduction to CrossFit…
We had a short break so everyone could freshen up and then the sessions began…yay! The first session I attended was Blog Photog Basics with Gretchen Powell of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen. The title of the program was “Just Say No…to On-Camera Flash,” which I noticed after I took the photo below with a flash. Duh…
I actually learned a TON at this session. I’m a newbie photographer and never knew much about aperture, ISO, white balance, etc… I have a DSLR, but I clearly haven’t been using it properly. Gretchen shared some great tips on how to utilize natural light, what the best tripods are, and good editing software to use. I even improved my photographs during the session! Check it out:
You can clearly see a big difference in these 2 photos. I still have a long way to go to perfect my photos, but this was a huge help in leading me in the right direction.
The next session was the one I was looking forward to the most, Blogging with Brands. This was a panel discussion led by Lauren of Say What You Need To Say and included 3 bloggers (Theodora, Ashley and Anne) and 3 brands (FitFluential, Dancing Deer Bakery and Porter Novelli) who discussed the various aspects of working with brands on your blog. They answered the questions: “How do you make money?” “How do you get paid?” “How do you get free stuff?” These are all things many of us are wondering.
Other great takeaways from this session were knowing the parameters of brand agreements, what brands are looking for in bloggers, and what to do if you don’t like the product. It was great to hear the perspective from both the blogger side and the brand side, and what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past. This session left me really excited about all of the opportunities out there and gave me the courage to ask for what I want.
And that brings us to lunch…super yummy lunch! But I’m going to leave that for another day Stay tuned for Part 3 on lunch, the afternoon sessions and wrap up!