Tag Archives: travel

Healthy Living Summit 2013: Friday & Saturday

Sometimes when I tell people I write a blog, I get kind of embarrassed. Actually, my old co-worker Brady used to make fun of me because I would turn bright red when he told other people about my blog (he also liked to point out when I turned red in the presence of attractive men… awkward). But this past weekend at the Healthy Living Summit 2013 made me proud to be a blogger.

Healthy Living Summit 2013 - Whole Foods trip

This weekend I met some of the nicest, most genuine girls. Bloggers are truly some of the most down to earth people out there. There were no egos to be found in sight; just friendliness, sincerity, and lots of inspiration! I came out of the Healthy Living Summit sessions feeling motivated to step out of my blogging comfort zone, grow my blog, make new connections, and be more proud of who I am as a blogger and what I have to offer.

My only regret about the weekend is that I couldn’t be there longer – because of my internship, I couldn’t catch a flight until 8:30 pm on Friday night, meaning I missed all of Friday’s activities. I was just itching to get there already, but Kindfood take out and blog reading made the airport wait a bit more enjoyable.

Kindfood takeout

When I finally got to the hotel at 10:30 pm (… one $45 cab ride later), I met up with Gina from Health, Love, and Chocolate, Amanda from Running with Spoons, and Sam from Better with Sprinkles for a good late night gab session. It was my first time meeting Gina and Amanda in person, but we connected instantly. It’s not every day you find people who enjoy carrying on 10 minute conversations about kabocha squash!

The next morning started with a buffet breakfast that was actually much better than I was expecting. There was tons of fresh cut fruit, baked goods, one of the best egg scrambles I’ve ever had, bacon and sausages, oatmeal and yogurt with toppings, and smoothies provided by one of the sponsors, Ninja Blender.

Healthy Living Summit 2013 breakfast

After breakfast we had a chance to check out the sponsor tables – the hallway outside the conference room was filled with them! Some of my favourites were Driscoll’s Berries, Blue Diamond, Ninja Blender, and Wild Harvest.

Healthy Living Summit 2013 sponsors

360 PR was also there with some fun props for a photo shoot – of course we took advantage!

Healthy Living Summit 2013 goofy photoshoot

The rest of the day was devoted to the Healthy Living Summit sessions, which I plan on talking about in a later post. I took away a lot of good points from them – I’m actually really energized with motivation to do some work to improve my blog!

Healthy Living Summit 2013

In between the sessions though there was lunch, which was another buffet with some kind of creamy pasta salad, Greek salad, fajitas (I just got the veggies, chicken, and tofu without the tortilla to save room for cake!), rice, and refried beans. There was also a make your own soup bar, which I didn’t try, but it seemed like a cool idea.

Healthy Living Summit 2013 - lunch

The highlight of the meal was by far this chocolate mousse cake! For minute after my first few bites I thought I was having an allergic reaction to it, but then I realized it was just in my head, so I was okay to keep eating. Phew!

Healthy Living Summit 2013 - cake

The formal blogging sessions were over by 5 pm, but afterwards there were some planned activities hosted by individual bloggers. Katie from Katie Looking Forward was putting on a yoga sculpt class, so Gina and I decided to go. It was definitely one of the most creative yoga classes I’ve attended, combining flows, cardio, and ab work – and I loved it! It was nice to get my heart rate up a bit after sitting all day.

Healthy Living Summit 2013 - yoga

Following the class we met up with Amanda and Sam to go to Whole Foods. There are only a few Whole Foods in Canada, and they don’t have as many cool products, so us Canadians are always so excited to check them out in the US! For the sake of ease, we also decided to grab dinner there. Unfortunately their hot bar and salad bar were seriously lacking and a lot of the dishes contained nuts, so I was pretty limited in what I could have. Enter my sad box of broccoli salad, sesame spinach salad some kind of grain salad, roasted beets, chickpeas, chopped hard boiled egg, and raw cauliflower and kale. Lamest Whole Foods dinner ever? I think so.

Whole Foods salad bar

The meal sucked, but browsing the shelves afterwards was fun! Then I pretty much crashed when we got back because I was running on just 4 hours of sleep – I always have such sucky sleeps in hotels. But luckily that night I slept like a rock and woke up super refreshed for Sunday… but that’s for another post!

Have you ever been to a blogger conference? Which one?

Do you ever feel embarrassed or awkward telling others you have a blog?

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Filed under event, travel

Road trip ’13: Day 7

Day 7 was our last day! It had a rough start though because I had a pretty bad sleep – it was so stinking hot in our hotel room overnight. So we skipped working out again in favour of having a slow start to our morning.

After breakfast we said goodbye to Syracuse and headed to Rochester, where our first stop was Trader Joe’s. Since we don’t have these stores in Canada, I’m always excited to check them out when I’m in the US.

Trader Joe's Rochester

Just like my last visit though, I was a bit disappointed by how many of their products say “May contain nuts” on their labels. But I still managed to pick up a pretty good nut-free haul.

Trader Joe's products

Mac & cheese, coconut cream, cookie butter, sunflower seed butter, sweet Thai chili sauce, coconut chips, dried banana, and plantain chips.

After TJ’s we went to The Owl House for lunch, which is a cute restaurant we found through Urbanspoon. It was in a renovated house and we actually ate in the backyard on the patio – I felt like I was eating at someone’s home!

The Owl House Rochester

The Owl House Rochester

They had really delicious iced Earl Grey tea – it made me want to start making my own iced teas at home more often!

The Owl House - iced tea

We also split an order of their Moroccan smoked beef “jerky”. It wasn’t really jerky-like, but it was still really good.

The Owl House - beef jerky

And then I had the salad of my dreams: shaved Brussels sprouts, kale, lemon, olive oil, and romano aioli. This was amazing! I plan on trying to recreate it, but I doubt I could do it justice – the flavours were just so perfect.

The Owl House - shaved Brussels sprout and kale salad

My sister and I also split a panini with brie cheese, apple, red onion, baby arugula and Dijon mustard on sourdough bread with house made kettle chips on the side. This was seriously good too! It was an all around good meal. I will definitely go back to The Owl House next time I’m in Rochester!

The Owl House - brie cheese and apple panini

The Owl House on Urbanspoon

After lunch we drove to Buffalo for our last few stops at Target (for bathing suits and Champion workout wear) and Wegmans (for more food). We even bought a cooler so that we could get some refrigerated and frozen items – and by that I mostly just mean Greek yogurt.

Wegmans Greek yogurt

I decided to try out the Wegman’s brand of Greek yogurt, Chobani Bites, honey Fage, vanilla coconut Oikos, and a few Chobani flavours I’ve never tried before. So far I’m not a big fan of the Wegman’s kind, but I love the Chobani Bites!

With our car packed to the brim with groceries, our shopping loot, suitcases, pillows, gifts for dad, gum wrappers all over the floor, etc, we headed back home.

So that’s the end of my recaps! But I already have plans to visit some great restaurants in the area this summer, so you’ll definitely be seeing more of my foodie adventures soon.

What are your favourite Trader Joe’s products?

What are your favourite Greek yogurt brands? 

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Filed under restaurant, travel

Road trip ’13: Day 6

On Monday morning mom and I decided to go to the gym after taking two days off. It felt so nice to move a bit after spending so much time in the car! On our way back to the hotel room we stopped at the Starbucks in the lobby where I was excited to find some Chobani. I’ve missed their yogurt ever since they stopped selling in Canada! I used it to make a quick breakfast bowl before heading out on the road again.

This time we were heading off to Syracuse. I’ve actually been wanting to go there ever since I heard Pinback’s song called ‘Syracuse’ in the 10th grade (I’m not sure if the song has any link to the city though…). When we got there we stopped at Phoebe’s Cafe for lunch. It was cute inside, but really busy and noisy.

Phoebe's Cafe Syracuse

I ordered the chicken pita with white cheddar, grilled onions, and a balsamic reduction. It was just okay. I’m not a big fan of blackened chicken – it just tastes burnt to me – and I didn’t realize it would come that way. My mom’s chicken bruschetta wrap tasted amazing though.

Phoebe's Cafe Syracuse - chicken pita

Phoebe's Restaurant & Coffee Lounge on Urbanspoon

After lunch our destination was Destiny USA, which is apparently the 6th biggest mall in the USA! We managed to do some damage there, followed by even more damage to our wallets at the Urban Outfitters in Armory Square.

Destiny USA mall Syracuse

By the time we were done shopping we were more than ready for food. We had planned to hit up Empire Brewing Company, which is a microbrewery that was featured on Diners, Drive ins and Dives. I had my eyes on their farmstead chili, but my sister convinced me to split their Mediterranean platter with her. It came with falafels, hummus, couscous salad, pickled beans, olives, sun dried tomatoes, tzaziki, and herb flatbread. Everything was awesome, especially those falafels!

Empire Brewing Comapany Mediterranean platter

We both got a Greek Cobb salad as well, but what we didn’t realize is that the salad had basically the exact same ingredients as the platter, except in salad form. Oops! I should have read the menu better, apparently. It was still good though.

Empire Brewing Company Greek Cobb salad

Empire Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

As we were finishing up our meals, we realized that although we had tons of pictures of our food, we had barely any pictures of ourselves. So mom tried to take a picture of Hayley and I… except my eyes were closed. So she tried again, and my eyes looked drunk. Then she tried again, and I looked like I was half asleep. So after that we just got silly.

We were laughing so hard that my abs started to hurt!

After that we just headed to the hotel for our last night of the trip. I’ll be back with the recap of our last day soon!

What’s the biggest mall you’ve ever been to?

Have you ever been to a restaurant that was on Diners, Drive ins and Dives?

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Filed under restaurant, travel