I’m 30,000 feet above you right now, flapping my wings on a return flight from Chicago for a blog conference. The Healthy Living Summit was a weekend long event gathering passionate bloggers who write about health, food, and fitness. While I was thrilled on Friday to be headed east to meet the bloggers I’ve been stalking for years, I’ll admit I was slightly nervous that I’d show up at the hotel and be met by that guy from “To Catch a Predator.” The main problem with that scenario being that I never dress my best when traveling. And let’s just say I’d rather not be caught ‘cuffed on camera in what some consider a leisure suit. NBC, please let me change first.
Meeting lots of my online friends was what I imagine online dating to be. We’d built relationships on keyboards and mouse clicks and when the time came for the unveiling, I crossed my fingers that my toothy grin didn’t upset anyone’s apple cart. The beautiful women I met were warm, charismatic, and full of enthusiasm and dedication. I had the best of times. A special thank you to the ladies who put up with my shenanigans and allowed me to superglue myself to their sides: Amy, Megan, Sarah, Caitlin, Megan, Gracie, Heather, Julie, Ali, Rachel, Gabriela, and Laura. You each deserve a cupcake.
I’ve been reading blogs since I lost 135 lbs five years ago. The fascination started with Cristin’s blog, Eat Like Me on Self.com, because I’d gone to school with her brother. From there I popped over to Kath’s, then Jenna’s, then Tina’s, and Caitlin’s. My Google reader multiplied by two each day. I loved the blog world immediately. After losing the weight, I found it incredibly inspiring and encouraging to be a part of a community that celebrated and affirmed wellness. And for such a newb to health, I was able to see that people do indeed manage to live in balance. Of carrots and cake. It helped to learn about normalcy, as foreign a concept as it was, and to find comfort in the shared experience- women navigating the same world.
Fast forward a few years and it seemed outrageous that I wasn’t actually a part of that online world. Always a reader, never a writer. So I started this blog. Because I wanted to share my own walk through life, loss, and love of food. I had a library to fill with my thoughts on eating and emotions and the expectations of thinness. A zillion and one dishes in my recipe box. A kitchen to invite you all into.
The fact that you visit daily and are treated to a plate of my antics and a mug of my musings is just a perk. Bless you for your tolerance. Thank you for reading about my failed sports career, my journey to now, my insecurities, my letters to the editor, and making my mother cry. Remind me to send you a slice of cream cheese pound cake as a thank you for your patronage.
Here are some photos from my stay.
Sarah, Kari, and yours truly
Bratwurst with sauerkraut on a pretzel bun with German potato salad at The Berghoff
Now We’re A Poppin‘ popcorn in cheese and caramel
Classic Chicago dog with all the fixins at the Halsted Street Deli
Cheeseburgers at the Billy Goat Tavern. Remember “Cheezborger! Cheezborger!
No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!” from SNL?
The creepy charm of the Congress Plaza Hotel
Unforgettable deep dish pizza at Giordano’s
Looks like SUCH a fun time! I definitely recognized some of the girls from blogs I read too. :) And love your outfits, by the way!!
LOVE that dress on you! You are stunningly gorgeous.
I can barely believe that you took so long to create your own blog! You blend your words so vividly that it seems you crafted posts on recipes and your thoughts for forever.
Hello Gorgeous Lady!!! So jealous of you!! I can only imagine what an incredible experience the HLS was. Kath was one of the first blogs I started reading too in 2008. And wow… that pizza looks unbelievably amazing!! :)
I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay and hope you got in everything you wanted to do! And that piece of deep dish was sure to top it all off! Glad you made it back to Seattle ok and can’t wait for the next time we cross paths! Love you, dear! :)
It looks like so much fun! You look like a model. Seriously.
Love that dress–Where’d you get it? Because I totally want to copy you and get one for a wedding I’m going to soon.
Thanks, Tracey!! The dress was $50 bucks, (marked down from $70) at JC Penney!! I think it just hit stores last week so get one- super comfortable, pockets, elastic waist!
Looks like you had a great time!
That looks like such a great time, I’m so jealous! That pizza is insane!
Looks like a lot of fun! It’s great to meet bloggers in “real life!”
Great pictures and recap. Wish I could’ve been there!
It was great meeting you this weekend! You have a really inspirational story and such a great personality! Looking forward to reading your blog! :)
Hey there!! I’m so glad we met! Lunch was a blast and I hope we’ll keep in touch- even if that means I’m stalking you online…
I’m still stuck on the Giordano’s pizza. How I miss that place! It is so freakin’ good. And let it be known, that I can tackle 4 of those slices in one sitting. Yup, I’m crazy like that!
Shanna- four slices makes you one awesome lady. Wish you were there to enjoy it with me!!
I LOVE your dress! Just gorgeous….
Thank you, Krista!
looks like you had an AMAZING time! Good for you and so far every blogger I have met (that would be 2) are just the best peeps ever and blogging sure has enriched my life.
btw, I made your butterscotch cookies yesterday with my lil one. we had a blast despite the fact that I burnt the second round…haha
they were YUMMY! (were) haha
Cindy I’m so glad you made them and liked them! Wish I could meet you!!
aw looks like a great time! hopefully if there is one next year I can attend :)
Wish I could have met you this year, Lisa! Next year!
HI beautiful!! Great meeting you in person.
Your pictures turned out amazing!!
Isn’t it amazing how much blogging impacts our lives? Looks like you had a total blast- love all of your outfits. I’m usually a thing crust girl, but that deep dish looks out of this world
LOVE that dress!! Looks like you had fun!
I cant get over that pizza! It looks amazing.
Its amazing how much the blog world can change your life eh? I dont know what I would do anymore without it.
haha, speaking of “stalking bloggers”…. it’s weird to me to recognize so many of these ladies without having gone or meeting any of you!! Looks like it was a blast :)
1. You are super pretty.
2. Do you want to trade hair? Yours is so pretty, shiny, and sleek. Mine is perpetually curly and unmanageable.
3. Looks like you had a wonderful time. I wish I could have gone, ah well, maybe next year.
4. I made your cinnamon sugar crusted muffins for a BBQ yesterday. I doubled the batch, and people were fighting over the last few, and everyone wanted the recipe. I know you know this, but they really are insanely amazing. I am forever in your debt for introducing me to them.
Great recap lady!
Maissa, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you! I’m so glad you made the muffins, I really thought I had died and gone to heaven when I made them a few weeks ago! Glad everyone at the party thought they were great too! You’ll have to come to the next blog conference- I’d love to meet!
It was great meeting you on Friday, Andrea! :) Didn’t get to hang out much after the first night, but it sounds like you had a blast. I love the name of your blog, btw.
Hey Suki! Thanks, it was lovely to meet you too! I’m really glad we got to spend some time chatting on Friday night and I’ll be sure to check out your blog!!
Hooray for blog friends turning into real life friends! It was so great hanging out this weekend- too bad the conference wasn’t 2 weeks earlier so we could’ve hung out in Seattle! :)
Ahh, I only wish we’d known each other sooner! But, it sounds like you come to Seattle every now and again, we’ll have to make a plan next time! I’m so happy to have met you- we really had a blast, didn’t we?? We’ll keep in touch!!
Ohhh now I’m jealous! It looks like so much fun. There’s always next year ;)
By the way, you look gorgeous!
Hey! Thanks, Elaine! Yes, let’s meet next year!!
How cool that you went and met up with your blogging friends. You guys all look like sorority sisters or something. Looks like you had a great time. We were there a month ago and ate at Giordanos…yummm. You look beautiful in all of your pics!
Thanks Peggy! It really was a blast!
I loved getting to meet you! Please, let’s meet up when you are on the East Coast in December!
And if you really want to send a cupcake my way, I won’t argue. ;)
Julie! You know, I’m really not kidding about a meeting. I want to spend some QT with you and Heather. Ithaca (or Boston) or bust. Thanks for such a wonderful few days! I loved getting to know you!
Thank you for coming up and talking to me in the lobby on Sunday! It was so lovely to meet you.
Sana, You were so lovely and warm in person- just a beautiful person inside and out. I’m so happy to have met! Let’s keep in touch!
What a fun time! I really need to try and make the summit next year! You look fabulous once again in all your pictures!
Thank you so much! I really do hope we can meet someday!!
Holy WOAH! That pizza is huge! I don’t even know if I could eat one slice haha! Just found your blog by the way and I love it! You’re gorgeous!
Hey Katie! Thanks so much! The pizza was super filling, but absolutely to die for!
You look SO GLAMOROUS!!!! Seriously–your pictures are so lovely! Looks like you ladies had an amazing time! I’m jealous of that pizza HOLY MOLY!! :)
I loved seeing all the pictures! You look so beautiful and happy. I wish I could have gone and met you and everyone else there that is so amazing. :)
So great meeting you last weekend girl! Great photos, great recap, great memories. Can’t wait to get together and walk Greenlake! :)
So great meeting you last weekend girl! Great photos, great recap, great memories. Can’t wait to get together and walk Green lake! :)