HLS Day 2: Holy Quinoa, Batman! Plus the 4 Things I Learned That Changed Me

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So, before we begin round two of the conference recaps, I have to admit a shameful confession. Until Friday, I’d never had quinoa. I’d heard about, read about it and thought about it but never actually tasted it. However, after my first forkful of red pepper roasted quinoa, I was hooked. No looking back now, I just need to learn how to properly pronounce it. I’ll admit, I thought it was key-no-wah. Nope, it’s keen-wah. No wonder people kept looking at me like I was crazy.

Aside from my living under a rock,  I honestly had one of the best weekends EVA! And as fun as Friday was, Saturday is what made the whole weekend. Now, I could sit here and write about every little thing I learned, every person I talked to, how many pieces of cantaloupe I ate but y’all don’t care about that! So instead, I’m going to share the top 4 nuggets of information that stuck with me, plus a few photograps of the food. (because if you couldn’t tell, eating is my thang.)
1. In the bloggysphere, numbers aren’t all that matter. You need to make sure your relationships are what count. This nugget came from Tina, who blogs at Faith Fitness Fun. This really resonated with me because it’s the honest to god truth. Numbers are great and they matter, but they can’t talk to you when you’ve had a bad day or make you laugh with an absurd tweet or comment. The people you talk with and form bonds with are really the treasure of blogging. I don’t care if I only get 5 views because I made some real friends along the way.

2. Katy Widrick is the bomb.com. Her session on monitozing your blog changed my life. I had no idea the extent to which you could make it rain, if you will, on your blog. Now all I need to do is find someone to sponsor me and really work on getting more freelance work. (You can still check me out every week on She Knows!) Plus, Katy is so sweet and so down to earth. I sort of want to be her new BFF.

I loved getting to know my roomie in real life!

3. Bloggers are real people, too. I should copyright that and make it a bumpersticker. No, but really, it’s amazing how down to earth everyone is and how, well, real they are. Even people like Tina, who is a superstar, is the nicest person in the world. I didn’t really know what to expect but I definitely didn’t think they would all be THIS nice, this helpful, this funny and relatable. It’s so amazing to meet bloggers in real life because, just like me, they have amazing stories to share, conpleteley unrelated to their blogs.

4. A positive mantra, like only social sweets, can help change how you eat and understand the emotions you tie with food. Plus, a positive mantra gives you something that your readers can take with them long after they’ve read the last world. Dawn Jackson Blatner, the keynote speaker and person who coined positive mantras, was SO informative and really interesting to listen to. I can’t say I agreed with everything she said (no free food? not realistic) but this positive mantra business is something I can get on board with. I just need to figure out why mine is! Any suggestions? I was thinking Live Real, Eat Real, Be Real. Too long?

I loved the sessions, but I really learned the most when I was talking, laughing and mingling with my fellow bloggers. I’m even more in awe by how amazing our community is.

[Photo courtesy of Meghann from Meals and Miles]

Oh and the quinoa at lunch? Blew my freakin mind friends. Maybe after I learn how to say it without sounding moronic I’ll tackle making it.

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  1. Posted by Tina Reale on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    Aw, thanks for the shout out. And yes - the relationships are all that matter!
  2. Posted by Anonymous on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    I LOVE YOU! roomies 4 life. also as our photobooth pics can prove, you already know how to make it rain. xoxo
  3. Posted by Katy Widrick on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    You are now my newest BFF. I know that the "B" in BFF means that I should only have one, but how can I pick between all of the fabulous blogging buddies I have!

    You're forgiven for not having had quinoa before, even though it's awesome. I mean, even the hotel labeled it as "quinona" on the signs.
  4. Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    sounds like you had an amazing experience! so happy for you :)
  5. Posted by Kate@Diethood.com on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    Awesome post! I really hope that one day I can attend one of these conferences... sounds like a blast! 
  6. Posted by Lindsey@Lindselicious on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    Oh it looks like you had a great time!!  I hope I can go to one soon too!!
  7. Posted by Lauren on
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    That quinoa does sound amazing!!
  8. Posted by Motherrimmy on
    Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
    I'm a big fan of quinoa. You'll see several recipes on my blog for it. Just tonight I made wild Alaskan salmon balls with quinoa. I'm so happy you've discovered my favorite food. Just be sure to buy it in the bulk bins, not the box. They charge a fortune for it by the box.
  9. Posted by Jessica Trimble on
    Thursday, August 25th, 2011
    It sounds like you had an amazing time! And you are so right about blog numbers, it's the relationships formed that count. ;)
  10. Saturday, August 27th, 2011
    I actually had never had quinoa - and I'm meaning to try but since I haven't tried yet, I'm still reluctant...  yours look delicious and now I'm tempted to try. =)  Thanks for introducing to Tina's blog - I like her blog!
  11. Posted by Katie C on
    Monday, August 29th, 2011
    Love this post, Claire! I totally wish I could have been at that conference...sounds like so much fun! And I totally agree w/#1 - relationships are essential with blogging. I mean, I don't think I would get anything out of it if people weren't interacting with me! What's the point? :) Communicating with others is what it's about, yo! ;)
  12. Posted by Anonymous on
    Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
    This is an awesome recap, thanks for sharing. I'm so glad  you tried quinoa too. I love it so much!
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