At this time last weekend, I was getting ready to head to Minneapolis for The Healthy Living Summit. How crazy is it that it has already been a week since this awesome experience? We’ve talked about the amazing sponsors and swag, and I reviewed all of my seriously delicious Minneapolis eats. Now…let’s take a look at everything else!
I left for Minneapolis on Thursday evening and stayed in Des Moines with my brother. Then I made the four-hour drive from Des Moines to Minneapolis on Friday morning. Well, it was supposed to be four hours, but it ended up being close to five with horrible road construction (hence the picture above of the miles and miles of stand-still traffic). It was not a good way to start out the day. But luckily, things only got better from there!
I arrived in downtown Minneapolis around 2:00. I checked into the Hilton, met my fabulous roomie Kim, and checked out the awesome views. After getting to know one another a bit, Kim and I met up with Amanda, Sam, and Gina. We walked around downtown and explored the sights. After a couple of hours, Kim and I headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Kindee Thai and for the HLS cocktail party at the Guthrie Theater.
I sat next to Katie…
At the cocktail party I also met some fellow Iowans…
Hi Mollie! Yes…we were a bit goofy!
…enjoyed drinks and an amazing view of Minneapolis…
More cocktail party pictures:
Following the cocktail party, Kim and I went back to the hotel and crashed. Seriously, we were out by 11:00. We are such party animals ;). It was a good thing we went to bed early though, because we had a busy Saturday ahead of us. Kim started the day with a run on the treadmill, while I walked my 3.00 miles. Then we headed down to the second floor of the hotel to visit with the sponsors and attend some really great blogging sessions.
I attended the following conference sessions: Blogs in Transition: Embracing Your Blog, From Blog to Job: Utilizing Your Personal Blog to Elevate Your Career, The Organized Blogger, Using Your Platform for a Cause: Philanthropy & Blogging, and Blogger and The Brand: A Best Practices Session for Building Relationships. I enjoyed every session that I went to and took important pieces from each. A quick run-down of my favorite takeaways include:
1. The importance of being authentic and realistic about blogging, of developing a blogging mission statement, of utilizing plug-ins (I can’t wait to start trying some of these!), of backing up your blog, and of developing a working calendar for blogging.
2. The importance of reaching out to companies/brands that I love and developing strong relationships with a few brands instead of trying to work with every single brand.
3. The total awesomeness of Coffitivity. I seriously love this. I have been using it at work since I got back from HLS and I am hooked.
4. The wonderful opportunities that we, as bloggers, have to work with charities and causes that we are passionate about…and how to go about getting started.
5. How to reach out to brands that I am interested in working with, how to develop relationships with these brands, and how to properly review products on my blog.
And that was it for Saturday night.
The weekend ended on Sunday morning with a 5k run/walk to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Photo courtesy of The Healthy Living Summit
I had a seriously awesome experience at my first #HLS! And for those of you who are wondering…next year’s Summit is in Madison, WI.
Have a FAB weekend, everyone! I will be spending my weekend with my daddy, and I cannot wait!