A while back I mentioned that Ari and I were asked to speak at this years Healthy Living Summit. Since it was my first blogging conference I was more than excited (and stupidly nervous about not fitting in haha), so let me start by saying that it was one weekend I’ll never forget. I made some friends that I am positive I’ll stay in touch with even after the excitement from the summit wears off.
Ari and I flew to Minneapolis together and arrived shortly after noon. After checking into our hotel, lunch was our first order of business. In my book there’s no better way to get to know a new City than by it’s food! We used out trusty Yelp apps and decided upon The Local. Since it wasn’t 110 degrees we sat outside – pure bliss!
Skinny Ginger for Ari and a Twin Town Old Fashioned for me – we were on vacation, after all!
I had the Minnesota Wild Rice Veggie Burger. I can honestly say its one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had! They put lots of spreads on it..just my style.
We walked around a bit and scoped out the farmers market and found a cute nearby coffee shop to visit during our stay.
When we got back to the hotel it was time for our first mini mingle – for froyo. It was nice to get together with a small group of bloggers and get to know them in a more intimate setting.
A little after froyo we met up for our dinner mingle at Chino Latino. This was my favorite meal during our whole time in Minneapolis. The food is really unique – it’s a Latin Asian fusion. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds. I ordered this fabulous watermelon mojito – they squeeze their own watermelon juice for this baby. Alex and I pondered over the stick in my drink for a while, but came to the agreement that it was sugarcane.
They serve their dishes family style, so we divided up the huge table into groups – Ari, Steph, Alex and I had the pleasure of sharing dinner. We jumped right in and started with vegetable pot stickers.
I knew I was with the right group of ladies when we decided to order the strangest thing on the menu (which also happened to be my favorite part of the meal) – the Nachos del Sol. Crispy plantains were the base of these nachos. They were lots of fun!
We also ordered some chicken peanut curry and a plate of jerk chicken.
The pest part of eating with other bloggers was that we all took turns taking pictures of our food…and played with it a little haha
After we finished eating our dinner group went to one of the rooftop bars in Uptown for a round of drinks
It was pretty cool place with pretty views of the city! Oh hey, Heather!
Ari and I woke up early to grab a couple of drinks from a local coffee shop. I don’t drink coffee but this little coffee shop had a great mate tea blend that I drank the whole weekend. It was delicious.
Next on the agenda was the Wild Harvest Tour. We got to see behind the scenes in their quality control process.
And got to take a peek into their test kitchens.
Plus got to eat some yummy Wild Harvest snacks – this Mango Peach Salsa and the little turkey burger slider were my favorite of the day.
After the tour we checked in for the conference, got our swag bags, then met our final roommate Katie.
We had a few hours to kill before the dinner and the cocktail party so me, Ari, Kristi, Katie and Emily made the journey to Fulton brewery for some beer. On the map this looked like a nice little stroll – it turned out to be a little more daunting + there was construction. We all needed that drink by the time we arrived haha.
The bartender let a taste a little of each so we could make our selections. I think all of us picked the blonde – and I also got a glass of their fresh brewed ginger beer to try as well. After I ordered the bartender suggested we put some of the ginger beer INTO our beer. Um, best decision ever! It was so good!
There was a food truck in the parking lot so we got a plate of beer nachos to snack on while we enjoyed our drinks.
After our brewery adventures we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the cocktail party and dinner.
I decided to leave my camera at the hotel so I have zero pictures from dinner/cocktail party. We ate at Hells Kitchen, which had a phenomenal drink menu. They had home infused alcohol. Totally up my alley – my margarita was one of the best I’ve had from a restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Ari
The cocktail party was lots of fun – The Guthrie theatre was a really cool venue – and the views were phenomenal. We took a couple of roomie pictures in the photo booth making all kinds of goofy faces haha.
Saturday was our big day – Ari and I had our session right before lunch so it was hard to sit through some of the others – I was a little anxious about presenting. Our session went great though! Kristin was live blogging during our presentation, so you can go to her blog – Food Fash to read about it!
Photo from the HLS Facebook Page
I kind of took it easy after our session – was sorta exhausted. I finally made some time to visit a few of the vendor booths, they had all kinds if fun stuff. Dinner was with the roomies + Kammie. We decided to take it easy and stay close since it was raining, so we ended up at the Local. Followed by around of drinks at Hells Kitchen (we couldn’t resist since they were that good the previous night).
We started our day with the 5k. The route took us to the sculpture garden. The spoon and the cherry was just as cool in person as I thought it would be!
After breakfast Ari and I said goodbye to our new friends as they headed back home. I got a little emotional here. I almost cried like twice…not my usual sort of thing, but I guess I wasn’t ready to let go of all the fun memories from the weekend.
The only thing left on our agenda was to try a cronut. If you haven’t heard of this yet, it’s a croissant doughnut. It IS as delicious as it sounds. I was worried I’d be disappointed, but alas I was not.
I also picked up this cool flavored soda at the bakery when we were there.
Overall the whole weekend was a whirlwind of good food, tasty drinks, new friends and lots of laughter. I lucked out big time and had some awesome roommates (ones that will sing with you and teach you how to do the cups song) – Ari, Kristi & Katie: You guys rock! HLS wouldn’t have been the same without you! Heather, Julie and the rest of the dream team: Thank you for making HLS such a fun, well rounded conference. I never once felt out of my element or like I didn’t belong I can’t wait to do this all over again next year!