On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


Today: Photo booths, popcorn, and people. {#HLS12 Part I}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I went to bed at 8:30 last night, if that’s any indication of how much fun I had this weekend at the 2012 Healthy Living Summit.  (To be fair, I would go to bed at 8:30 every night if that was an option.)  From sponsorship to logistics, swag stuffing to registration, and meals to sessions, Meghann, Julie and Heather put in some serious work to ensure that everything went smoothly.  It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them and the planning committee.  Hands down (or hands up, if you prefer), the best part of the Healthy Living Summit was the opportunity to connect and interact with like-minded people, friends old and new, local and faraway bloggers, and fantastic brands.  Oh, and the three hours we spent in the photo booth.  That was good, too.

HLS Cocktail Party

Being just a few miles from this year’s Summit site, I was thrilled to help pull things together for our Friday night cocktail party.  After visiting a few sites and honing my negotiation skills a bit, we landed at the hotel’s Riverside Pavilion, a tented space that would also be home to our Reebok CrossFit and Drink Chia! workouts, as well as a few meals over the course of the weekend.  Having access to a small outdoor patio for  fresh air proved to be a great bonus.  We worked with the catering staff at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge to create a light, local, fun and fresh menu while the team rallied to put together a fantastic playlist.  If it was you who added all that Beyonce, thank you.  You’ve got me feeling so crazy right now.

Our sponsor for the evening, Rebootizer, provided their own jams, as well as sweet sunnies (which reminded me of the neon ones we got from Officer Friendly and the D.A.R.E. program back in middle school) and plenty of Rebootizer samples.  Stephanie and Sue were so wonderful to work with over the course of the weekend.  As I looked on from my drink ticket distribution perch next to Reebootizer’s booth, I couldn’t help but smile.   I know it’s not easy to wander into a room full of people, regardless of how well we know each other on the internet (that sounds very stranger danger), so it pleased me endlessly to see people being welcomed into the party.  I loved hearing the laughter and conversation flow right up to the ten o’clock hour.  I felt this warmth and friendliness carry right on through to Sunday’s brunch; it made me so proud of our little community.  And it made my face hurt.  From smiling.  And winking.

Ed from Wicked Fun Photo Booth set up shop just inside the tent to capture all the fun.  The props were a big hit, as were the lightning fast prints.  I’d highly recommend this company to locals.  Good prices, great service, no nonsense.  Except for the fun kind of nonsense.

We essentially set up shop inside the booth.  My apologies to everyone who had to wait their turn while we vogued.  And pretended to eat the chicken perched atop Theodora‘s head.

Meet the roommates

By the time my partner in crime, Bridget, and I made it up to our room, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do more: eat or crawl into bed.

Sometimes the best choice is both.  

Pardon the blurriness. My hunger must have gotten in the way.

We wheeled the tray right between our beds, where we chowed down on our salads and fries.  We’re nothing if not practical.

Bridget had to dash early the next day, so I was thankful to have the chance to stay up and chat with her Friday night.  She’s been my tried and true roommate, from HLS 2011 to Reach the Beach, and I am so lucky to have her as such a great friend.  Speaking of friends and roommates, Michelle joined me on the 14th floor Saturday night.  Somehow, I have no photographic evidence of our roommate-ness, so I… um… drew a little something.

Oh, and then there was Rich.  My other roommate.

Who sleeps with a barbell locked out overhead?  The fittest man on earth, that’s who.  A little jealous?  Don’t be.  His muscles took up the whole bed, leaving me to sleep on the floor.   Just kidding.  I arm wrestled him for the bed and won.  Naturally.  Before I tell any more lies, I’ll wrap up here.  More to come.  Just as soon as I catch up on sleep life.

Also On Tap for Today:


Are you a wall flower or the life of the party?  


Today: Down the road to #HLS12

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Healthy Living Summit weekend is upon us!  It didn’t occur to me that it was weird to be staying in a hotel that’s running distance from our condo until, well, yesterday.

Though I could have saved some straight cash, homey (never gets old… for me, at least) by staying at home, I know that I’ll be more present to all that’s going on by being on site, rather than going to and fro, trying to fit in other regular weekend activities.  Like laundry.  Having a place to shower after tomorrow’s wod is an added bonus.  Speaking of CrossFit, and by natural extension, Reebok…

Go big pink or go home.

I swung by the hotel after work yesterday to help out a bit with swag bag stuffing and catch up with a few of my favorite blog pals before the Summit kicks off in earnest today.  A few of us lucky team members got first dibs on these sweet RealFlex kicks, which Reebok kindly provided for everyone attending.  You know how I feel about Reebok.  And you know how, welp, everyone feels about swag.  There are going to be some happy bloggers in town this weekend.

With a pretty packed schedule, I’m looking forward to continuing to pretend I am entering tonight’s dance off (and then slinking away at the very last second), getting schooled at tomorrow’s sessions, workouts with Jared from Reebok CrossFit ONE and Ultimate Bootcamp, catching up and connecting with friends old (and hopefully… unless I go through with the dance off and scare the crowds off) new.

But first, I should probably finish packing (and put an end to the one woman nerd festival I’ve been having with my label maker) so I can spend a little quality time with my pet monster.

Before I head, um, a mile and a half down the road.

Also On Tap for Today:


Today: Healthy Living Summit 2012.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]If you’re planning to attend Healthy Living Summit 2012 in Cambridge (which is just across the Charles from Boston, yes, but ’tis not Boston), to quote Outasight,  tonight is the night is the night.  To register, that is.  Registration opens at 8:00 PM EST.  Set an alarm.  Set two alarms.  Tickets for last year’s HLS sold out in twenty minutes flat.

To register or learn more about the event, please visit the Healthy Living Summit website.

[Photo source, before I put words into Outasight’s mouth]

I am very excited that HLS is returning to my neck of the woods, and hope that many of you will be able to join us for what I am sure will be a fun, informative, and engaging weekend.  As part of the planning team, I am looking forward to pulling together a great cocktail party (a specialty of mine, if there ever was one), connecting attendees with opportunities to experience the best of Boston (and Cambridge), and supporting those involved in organizing, speaking, and presenting throughout the weekend.

I attended my first Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia and found the weekend provided a great opportunity to learn from peers and experts, explore the city, and spend time with friends.  Sound like a good time?  Join us this year!

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you traveling at all this summer?  Where to?


Today: I miss you, garlic. {plus a Fire + Ice giveaway}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’m now solidly in Week 3 of my elimination diet (no gluten, no high FODMAP foods, no fun… just kidding… sort of).  As much as I would like to assert that I felt my absolute best when living on Annie’s Shells & Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos, the past few weeks are proving otherwise.

[Image source]

If Week 1 were a work by Victor Hugo, it would be Les Miserables.  I had a raging headache the entire week, and felt compelled to slap the Diet Coke straight from the hands of people passing by.  While I did my best to pack enough food for the day, inevitably I came home starving.  And tempted to fall into a big bowl of hummus.  I did adopt one very important habit during Week 1, though: consistently eating breakfast.

I’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but then again, I grew up being told that Pluto was a planet.  I’m a born skeptic.  Regardless, I carved out time every morning for this meal– most important or not– and have stuck to gluten free cereal, unsweetened almond milk, heaps of fresh berries, and more bananas than any person should consume.  While I’d rather spend that time getting stuff done (like working, or talking to my dog), It’s refreshing to not want to eat my keyboard during a mid-morning conference call.

Week 2 was a vast improvement over Week 1, but that’s not saying much, considering I felt like hell on wheels for the first seven days of the diet.  By the second week, my deep longing for an IV drip of caffeine had waned, and I no longer sought physical violence against people who freely sipped the Diet Coke.  Avoiding all caffeine has three major upsides:

  1. I’m sleeping better.
  2. I’ve eliminated the risk of hitting a pole at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, resulting in a dangling side-view mirror… again.  Yes, that really happened.
  3. If I can quit caffeine, I must be unstoppable.  Maybe.

I survived a weekend away, thanks to a stash of low FODMAP foods and some careful selection at meal times.  I was captain of the nerds with my handy allowed/not allowed food list always at the ready.  More than anything, I have such a better appreciation for those dealing with allergies.

[Image source]

I gave myself a free pass (which is less cool than a fun pass) to eat a small portion of baked penne, and a bite of a brownie after my grandmother’s funeral.  Oh, and a vodka and soda, light on the vodka, which is technically not forbidden… but not encouraged, either.  I soon regretted that free pass, but hey.  This is a learning process.

While I’ve experimented with various dairy-free, lactose-free, and gluten-free packaged foods, I’ve been trying to stick to unprocessed foods whenever possible.  I’ve been packing salads, low FODMAP fruits and veggies, a bit of almond butter, sweet potatoes, precisely measured wedges of hard cheese (file this under confusing: brie is considered a hard cheese, according to my handy reference guide), and the occasional rice cracker or one of Lucy’s Cookies.  Dinner has been similar.

When it comes to snacks, I find myself starring into the fridge, making eyes at the hummus and Greek yogurt.  It’s kind of a bad scene.  I broke out the mustard and Glutino pretzels for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, though, and quite enjoyed the combination.  I think this may be a lucky snack, so they will be on the table for Game 7 tonight, for sure.  Plus, they taste good.  And grainy mustard just plain old rules.

Week 3 has been the easiest so far, which makes sense.  I tried another go at the free pass last night, when I arrived at my front door famished and exhausted.  Rather than going all out (I think the baked penne from Week 2 hit just about every category on the ‘not allowed’ list), I limited myself to one forbidden column, grains, and experienced no side effects (and sadly, no vodka….).  While I am tempted to press my luck… I am not willing to risk a whammy (…best game show of all time).  Back to safe greens today.

I am (mostly) patiently waiting for the results of my blood work to come back, and am (fully) crossing my fingers that it will be clear what foods I should be avoiding from now on.  In the meantime, though, I am feeling surprisingly better.  I am much more conscious of cravings, my hunger levels, and how I feel after eating.  I have gotten so much better at preparing food in advance, rather than leaving things to chance.  With a week and a half to go, I’m thankful for this insight…. and I’m looking forward to a normal night out (at a restaurant that serves garlic and onions, preferably) soon.

To enter, leave a comment below.  I will select a random winner tomorrow evening (Thursday, April 26) after 8 PM EST.  If you’d rather send all your good luck to the Boston Bruins, you can purchase this sweet deal until midnight tonight.

CONGRATULATIONS, Stephanie!  You were the randomly selected winner. 🙂  Stephanie writes a great personal finance blog; you should check it out!  Many thanks to Eversave Boston and all who entered.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Popsicles in Prosecco: a match made in heaven
  • Doing damage with my new label maker (watch out!)

What one food would you have trouble living without?  (Be sure to indicate if you want to be entered to win the aforementioned giveway, ladies and gents.)


Today: Take better photos.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a long week at work, I would’ve loved to have slept in on Saturday, but that would have meant missing a day with these two hooligans at the inaugural Blog Better Boston conference.

I always have a good time with Bridget and Ali, regardless of what we’re up to.   In addition to catching up and lots of laughs, the highlight of the day was definitely Kristin Teig‘s food photography workshop.

It was great to have access to such a talented photographer, see demonstrations on lighting techniques, and pick up a few tips and tricks.  While she focused on food photography, the information she shared was useful for all types of photography and not limited to DSLR cameras.  In fact, she shared an incredibly beautiful shot of fresh strawberries… and then revealed that it had been taken on her iPhone.

Here is Kristin walking Bridget through the aperture priority setting on her camera.

Kristen shared an extensive list of resources, and recommended we check out Creative Live‘s various online courses.

Other resources she recommended:

The other sessions I attended paled in comparison, but it was great to spend time with Bridget, Ali, Colleen and Michelle.  I am excited to break out my camera and play around a little bit over the next few days.  In the meantime, I have 42 loads of laundry to tackle.  And a French bulldog who is in serious need of a bath.

Also On Tap for Today:

Is there a particular skill you’re looking to improve?


Today: A day late, a mile and a half short.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]3.1 plus 9.4 does not equal 14.  Even I know that.

I woke up Saturday feeling the effects of all of those sprints, lunges and squats at Fighter Conditioning and decided to delay my long run by one day.  I planned to crank out 11 miles after this morning’s Whole Foods 5k, but as I neared the 9 mile mark, I knew it not going to happen.  I made a quick detour, reaching for the stash of ones I keep in my Camelbak as I entered the sketchy convenience store near our condo, and asked if they sold ice.  They do.  They also sell travel-sized toothpaste alongside single cigars.  Makes sense.  Sort of.

Some dude, seated by the Keno machine, gave me ‘tude as I hobbled my way past his folding chair to the makeshift ice chest.  I thought about talking back, but I was fresh out of Gu and really didn’t have the energy.  Instead, I lingered a bit longer than necessary so that the smell of two hours of sweat could ruin his day.  Just kidding.  Or, am I?

Clark would prefer not to be seen with me.

One ice bath, two bananas, a three hour nap and four layers of lasagna later, I feel (mostly) human again.  For a split second, I was tempted to hop on the treadmill and finish that last mile and a half, but I decided to get a life instead.  And by get a life, I mean continue to lay on the sofa making injured cat noises.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?


Today: The Mmmbop! Mobile.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] Welp, we were on our way to Whole Foods (River Street, holla!) when this little nugget of a sedan Mmpbopped its way into our lane.  I chose not to beep or bird them because I assumed a thirteen year old from the late nineties was driving.  Instead it was a middle-ish aged man.  I suppose I shouldn’t judge a driver by their vanity plate or sweet window sticker.
Except for the people with the “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” bumper stickers.  I’ve made it my life’s work to cut those people off, or at the very least, dent their bumpers, right where they’ve affixed that awful message.  Oh, and I freely judged the driver of the Godblessmobile to be awesome. Okay, back to Hanson.

Dooobeeedoobammmbop. Crap! The engine light's on again!

Bold choice, sir.  Bold choice indeed.
Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a vanity plate?  Or a favorite bumper sticker?