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Healthy Living Summit 2012 – Part Two

A quick FYI for my CT readers – one of my favorite spots for unique cocktails and tasty small plates in the Hartford area, Cuvee, is holding a special third-anniversary party at 7PM on Thursday 8/30 at their location in West Hartford’s Blueback Square. But there is ALSO a special VIP event with complimentary drinks, champagne tastings, apps, and more from 5-7PM. If you want to win a chance to attend, text BUBBLY to 37798! Maybe I’ll see you there!

I’m so glad you guys have been enjoying my HLS ’12 stories so far! When we last left off, I’d had a great Friday evening at the Cocktail Party, but was ready to hit the hay at my usual earlier hour.


I woke up after a bad night’s sleep (I never sleep well in hotels) and was STARVED! Heather and I headed down to breakfast and quickly encountered a problem…nothing vegan, except fruit. Fruit does not a fine breakfast make, so Heather had to spend money at the hotel’s overpriced little shop to buy a KIND bar to add some staying power to her fruit. I felt so badly that she wasn’t able to enjoy a yummy breakfast, and disappointed that HLS hadn’t considered that they may have some vegan attendees. In fact, I’d consider it to be MOST likely at this kind of conference! Heather did a good job of holding her head up high though and we made plans with a bunch of girls to go to Whole Foods for lunch later…something to most definitely look forward to.

Flash fruit photography.

I felt almost guilty that there were in turn so many options for an everythingarian like myself. Wild Harvest did indeed provide a delicious spread incorporating the five finalist recipes from their Breakfast Showdown. The winning recipe was announced as well, and I literally yelped in delight (and got some confused looks) when I saw that my roomie, blend, and fellow sometimes-CT resident Kelly had won!

I’m totally not surprised – after all, her recipe was Greek-inspired (she sends me Greek treats…love her), and Greek is always a WIN to me.

Umm, SOO freaking good, OMG! Definitely my favorite recipe too – Wild Harvest made a good choice!

I sampled all but one of the other recipes – a yogurt parfait, a potato/veggie hash, and maple turkey sausage. Black coffee on the side, le duh. My hunger monster was raging this entire weekend. It was hard to honor it – I am used to a much smaller breakfast. However I ate slowly, tried to enjoy and tune into my body, and gobbled every last bite of my meal below.

And cheered for my friend’s win!

Giant plastic gift card WHAAAT!

In the morning I attended a session on Hosting a Virtual Challenge with Amanda. I didn’t intend on holding any challenges on my blog, but thought I would get good info about “spreading the word” about my blog, what I write about, and me in general. That was certainly true, but I also got inspiration to perhaps do a challenge someday – maybe a more official take on #AmazingMe! Is that something you guys would be interested in?

I also got to spend a lot of time hanging out with REEBOK! It was great to see Kathryn and Johnice again and show them that I was rocking the gear I’d received at the Reebok event I attended in May at their HQ!

Lisa, me, and Heather showing the world that the sport of fitness has arrived!

Kathryn was doing a great job manning the booth and as usual was a multiple-camera-using maestro. She’s clearly used to being around bloggers!

I received Reebok Crossfit socks and have been wearing them for my workouts the last couple of days (not the same pair – ew). They’re so soft and stretchy!

They pair perfectly with my RealFlex Transitions!

Of course socks are small potatoes compared to the other gift every HLS attendee received – a pair of Reebok RealFlex Fusions!

Me (left) and Heather (right) reppin’ the neutral shoe colors with the bright accents!

I can’t believe how generous Reebok has been to me since I received my first pair of sneakers from them (the black ones pictured above) in May. THANK YOU REEBOK!

My collection 😀

I can also thank them for another chance to try Crossfit! We received black Crossfit headbands, lined up, and listened to the Crossfit coaches explain to us what Crossfit is, why it works, and some of its basic moves.

Me with the lovely Katie – I’m rocking my headband!

We did a 5-minute WOD (Workout of the Day) complete with 7 air squats and 15 jumps AMRAP (as many reps as possible). I didn’t count my reps because it was interfering with counting each squat/jump, but during the WOD my row’s coach came around and showed me how I could get lower if I just pushed my knees out a bit more. REVELATION! I seriously am excited to do squats in my group fitness classes now (I know, did I just say that?).

Photo courtesy of Meg – look at me air squat!

After the WOD I couldn’t help myself – had to personally thank the coaches for their services 😉 and get a private air-squat lesson from AJ!

Prom pic?

AJ helping me learn how to do wall squats. Sneaky blend photography!

After Crossfit I hung out with its champion, Rich Froning. He was way shorter than I’d pictured.

The other morning session, Blogging with Brands, was especially fun because it was another chance for me to see Fitfluential CEO Kelly Olexa serve on a panel! And hang with her after 😀

Aunt Kelly, you rock!

Skipping out on conference lunch to visit Whole Foods was so worth it, especially to see how happy it made my love Meg, who doesn’t have Whole Foods back home in Canada.

As usual I filled a big container to the brim with millions of ingredients, including falafel, curry potatoes, sesame tofu, PICKLES, mounds of grilled veg, and way more than I could ever remember.

Good lunch, great friends. Photo from Heather.

After lunch we attended a couple of other sessions, including I Am the Blogger in Your Neighborhood (with Meghann, Clare, and Holly), which reassured me that I am definitely on a good path with my local CT involvement and that it will continue to bring me many opportunities (in fact, I have a special announcement for you all tomorrow that falls along those very lines, dun dun dun…). We also caught the tail end of The Fuzzy Grey Areas of Blogging (which had a great hashtag, #HLS50Shades).

In between those two sessions, Heather and I hit the hotel gym for a 20-minute workout. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t experience anxiety at HLS from being away from my normal workout routine. The Crossfit WOD was way less intense (due to the short length) than I’d pictured, and I just felt like I needed to sweat and get moving. Sometimes it’s hard for me to differentiate between whether or not I get these feelings because I WANT to work out or because I feel like I HAVE to. I completed 20 minutes of varied inclined treadmill running (a little over 2 miles) while watching some kind of SportsCenter-style show (the machine had five channels…) and called it a day. I did feel quite amazing afterward and woke up with sore quads the next day!

Coupon Caitlin

After the Chobani dinner that night, I came back rocking a lovely wine buzz. The photo above is courtesy of wine and Coupon Cabin‘s BlogHer sponsor booth.


I woke up after a better night’s sleep feeling completely indecisive over whether or not I should go to the hotel gym for a workout before Heather and I hit the road. I felt as if I should work out and that if I didn’t do it RIGHT THEN, I wouldn’t later when I got home. I got up to get ready, and was dragging ass the whole time. Let’s pack this bag, let’s gather these toiletries. Finally I realized that I didn’t want to go to the hotel gym. I wanted to wait until I got to my home gym later that afternoon and do my beloved sweaty StepMill routine and have an arm day. So I listened to my wants, not my shoulds. And later that day when I had a kickass workout at my home gym, it felt great!


Heather and I had the unfortunate task ahead of us of saying goodbye to all of our friends 🙁 our time together was so short! Meg has promised to come visit CT. She has always wanted to come here apparently! And CT has always wanted to see her visit!

Lisa, Chelsea, Heather, Meg, me, Linz

Heather and I visited a Boston cafe, thinking cup, that had been recommended to me on Twitter. We took our heavenly pour-over coffees into a park to enjoy and spotted two bloggers we hadn’t said goodbye to (or really met well) yet – Teri and Holly!

Teri is sooo J. Crew.

Heather and Holly made connections over journalism, and Teri and I bonded over our love for the South (she lives in NC just 20 minutes away from my relatives!) I only wish the four of us could have spent more time together during HLS! After the fortuitous meeting, we departed for a heavenly vegan brunch (but that’s a story for another post) and bid goodbye to Boston…that is, until I go back this Sunday 😛

Have you ever tried Crossfit and/or any Reebok products?

Have you ever been stuck in a situation in which your dietary restrictions were not accommodated?

Are you Whole Foods-deprived?

Chobani Chow Time!

I’m back from the 2012 Healthy Living Summit in Boston! And so concludes my four weekends in a row away from home (though I’m going back to Boston this weekend on a day trip…I can’t seem to sit still). I will be posting about HLS itself soon, but firstly I wanted to recap my favorite part of the weekend: a tasting dinner I was invited to by my favorite Greek yogurt producer, Chobani! It was heartwarming to hear all my blends at HLS saying how excited they were to see me attend the dinner, and read about it afterwards, because they knew and event like this was just so ME. We may have just met in person, but my blends know Cait Plus Ate!

The dinner was held at EVOO, a classy and creative American restaurant in the same Cambridge neighborhood as our hotel. My invite promised a custom dinner complete with Chobani incorporated somehow into each course, made by their Chef Peter McCarthy.

Other bloggers, members of the Chobani community team, and I dined in a private room set up with two tables like the one above. I was pretty hungry upon my arrival, but luckily some of my favorite apps were already out for noshing.

Crusty bread and wonderful CHEESES.

Candied nuts and pickled veggies, including the good old standby, PICKLES.

I ordered a glass of red wine to pair with my cheeses of COURSE, and one of my seatmates, the beautiful Brittany (I’ll forgive her for being a Gator), got a glass of a tasty Muscat (you can read her recap of the event here...her pics put mine to shame!)

I adore her new short haircut! She’s from the same town my grandma lives in and I travel there each December, so we’re hanging out this year for sure.

My first app plate, and I noshed on more cheese and bread between courses! Red wine brings out my cheese cravings!

I was seated at a table with some pretty awesome ladies, including Rachel Wilkerson, who I  have always wanted to meet! I love her snappy style of writing and she is the definition of #sorrynotsorry to me (it’s even on her header). I was also happy to have more time to talk to Lauren, whose blog I’ve been reading for a couple years now, since I’d only briefly met her the day before.

Lauren and I – I have the pencil skirt version of her H&M dress!

Theodora made frequent visits to our table, and Ashley was kind enough to share her seat!

My other seatmate, Meghann, was kind enough to let me try a sip of her Jalepeno Margarita. Mmm! I hope she doesn’t hate me after using this photo!

Ashley, Courtney, and Lauren!

I had been a bit worried that Chobani with every course would be TOO much Greek yogurt for one meal, but the printed menus placed at each setting were immediately reassuring to me. I could see that the only thing I might get too much of during this meal would be delicious, local cuisine!

We were welcomed to the dinner by members of the Chobani community team, and were shown the cute “icebreaker cards” placed on the tables – not that we chatty bloggers needed them!

I still enjoyed checking out the questions Chobani had come up with. If you could be any flavor of Chobani, what would it be?

Meghann ponders the answer to this pressing question…

I had to restrain myself from filling up on bread and cheese, but it was worth it once I saw the first course – heirloom tomatoes, yogurt gelee, spearmint, basil, EVOO, and coarse salt.

The yogurt gelee was so beyond interesting! It reminded me of the Greek yogurt version of Jello – a really fun texture. The olive oil was so perfect with the tomatoes and basil. OMG, that basil! So freaking delicious – fresh from Eva’s Garden in South Dartmouth, MA. And the tomatoes were grown in CT – represent! I appreciate the effort put into listing out the source of each ingredient on the menu. Also enjoyed having some veg power incorporated into the meal!

What a beautiful dish! The second course certainly boasted the best presentation of any of the others. Pictured above is the lobster-vanilla yogurt succotash. May sound strange, but the subtle touch of vanilla was simply perfect and tasted so very natural. Nothing like an artificially flavored vanilla dessert, but REAL vanilla from the bean. It paired perfectly with the sweet local corn from Kimball Farm in Westford, MA. They also provided the zuchinni, which was so fun to eat thanks to the fact that it was spiralized! I was inspired to have a little more fun with my lobster friend.

At least any lipstick I left on him wouldn’t show up (if I wore lipstick).

Oh yeah…the lobster! How have I not commented on it yet? Well the meat was fresh and plump. Captain Marden certainly knows how to catch a good sea crustacean.

Before this dinner, I told anyone who would listen that what I was REALLY hoping for was an entree that would incorporate some kind of Greek-style cucumber yogurt sauce, perhaps over some salmon. What I received was even better – the third course consisted of seared yogurt and spice sous vide lamb loin with crisp eggplant and raita.

By then I’d ordered a second glass of wine, a boozy (in a tasty way) 2009 Zinfandel by Edmeades in Mendocino County, CA.

Most assuredly my favorite course of the event. Though the lamb was not as medium rare as the wonderful version I had recently at Millwright’s, the middle was still a nice pinkish-red hue. The sauce was so very amazing and everything I’d hoped for, but I’m pretty sure I most enjoyed the fried eggplant, coated in a grease-less breading that didn’t overpower the veggie’s taste.

While waiting on dessert, we learned more from Chobani about the company’s appreciation for the networks of bloggers (pat on the back) that they’ve built since starting just five years ago. Can you believe that in that short period of time, they ended up getting as far as sponsorship of the OLYMPICS?! In fact, Chobani only started incorporating traditional marketing methods (commercials, magazine ads) into their advertising plan a year ago. It’s not often that you come across a business that utilizes new media marketing to that great of an extent for that long.

At this point I was pretty full (I wasn’t even able to finish the second or third courses…too much cheese! :-P) but I of course found room to polish off about half of the dessert, a nectarine-basil crisp with frozen berry yogurt (the chef used Chobani Strawberry). The crispy topping was sooo warm; I love trying desserts with contrasting temperature components because they only make the experience of eating them that much more of a tastebud party (cheeseball). The frozen yogurt melted into the crisp and the warm nectarines beneath it until I didn’t know which ingredient began where, but that didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I stopped when I was just the right amount of satisfied, proved to myself that I can still attend these kinds of events and stay in control, and ENJOYED myself.

So fantastic to meet and hang out with Heather. She is so fun and I could listen to her NOLA accent all the live long day.

I’m so glad Chef Peter McCarthy had a chance to come into the dining room so we all could thank him for a job well done and compliment his cooking skills! He said the restaurant already uses yogurt in some of its dishes, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to include it in each course, but that some concepts had still been new to him. I couldn’t tell at all!

We mixed and mingled for a bit longer, then caught cabs back to the hotel. After all, it was 10PM, AKA my bed time.

Jazz hands, Theodora! Jazz hands!

Thank you to Chobani for getting us together for this event, and thanks to Chef McCarthy and the rest of the EVOO staff for a fantastic meal!

What’s your fave way to eat Greek yogurt (if you do)?

Which dish would you have most liked to try?

Have you ever used Greek yogurt in a unique way? Tell me about it!