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: Freedom Trail mix muffins.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I was strolling down Main Street in Charlestown when inspiration for the HLS Breakfast Showdown struck.  With the Freedom Trail at my feet, and a kitchen stocked with Wild Harvest goodies, I knew what I wanted to whip up.

Wild Harvest, Gold Sponsor of the 2012 Healthy Living Summit, sent this year’s participants ten of their favorite products, with the challenge to create a fun and healthy breakfast using three or more Wild Harvest ingredients.

Freedom Trail Mix Muffins

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups trail mix (I used WILD HARVEST organic animal crackers, WILD HARVEST organic raisins, dried Cape Cod cranberries, peanuts, and miniature dark chocolate chips)

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 WILD HARVEST organic eggs
  • 1 cup WILD HARVEST organic apple sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep your muffin tins.  This recipe yields twelve regular sized muffins and 24 miniature muffins.
  2. Setting your trail mix aside, combine other dry ingredients and slowly incorporate wet ingredients.  Mix well.
  3. Add in trail mix and stir.  And try not to eat the batter.
  4. Fill each tin 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Why buy a pre-made trail mix when you can get creative and use what’s already in the pantry?  Dried fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate are sure bets.  I used Wild Harvest’s animal crackers as the base, and felt a bit badly breaking the head off an elephant and the butt off a bison.  Oh and yes, vegetarians do eat animal crackers.  Using apple sauce instead of butter or oil is a great way to keep your baked goods moist and light.  From a little idea on Main Street, these humble muffins hit the spot.

[Image source]

This little breakfast treats are perfect for a morning meal on the go, or for enjoying while sightseeing or strolling.  If you’re visiting Boston this summer, the Freedom Trail is not to be missed.  The 2.5 mile route covers sixteen historical sites and tells the story of the American Revolution.  Pack a snack.  Nerds like us shouldn’t have to choose between monuments and monumentally good muffins.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your weekend?


Today: Napping and comfort food.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Days like today were made for napping.

Clark and his two besties have the right idea.

Unfortunately, days like today are also made for 12 and a half hours spent at the office and in meetings, where napping is generally frowned upon.   Fortunately, eating good comfort food is nearly always acceptable.  I’ll likely spend much of today day-dreaming about warm, flaky, gooey food.

Get out of here, pumpkin.

This weekend we celebrated my lovely mother’s birthday a few days early with a nice family dinner at home.  My brother and sister-in-law brought oysters and grilled steaks with an herb gremolata straight from my dad’s garden (…the herbs, that is.  I think the oysters came from the ocean, and the steaks from, like, a cow).  My sister made an incredible corn and tomato salad, the perfect way to wind down the summer.

I hear they're delicious. I'll stick to the lemons, though.

My younger brother and I were responsible for appetizers and desserts.  He was especially helpful when I had no where to toss an aggressively burning match, after lighting a few candles on the cheesecake sampler.  A sensible person would have simply blown it out, instead of panicking and possibly blacking out.  It’s only a match, lady.

I can't take pictures like this in the city.

Our little appetizer was much less dramatic.  I broke out my Fillo Factory organic pastry shells (swag from The Healthy Living Summit) and with just the teeniest bit of creativity, came up with the perfect comfort food: warm, bite-sized, creamy, with a bit of kick.

The shells come pre-baked, so it was as easy as choosing a filling, and popping them in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes to heat through.  I topped a dollop of raspberry habanero sauce with a tiny wedge of brie and a sprinkle of freshly cracked pepper.  The only thing better than delicious comfort food, is easy and delicious comfort food.  Especially when you get to share it with the people you love the most.

A very happy birthday (plus 2 days) to my mom!

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Breaking out my submarine yellow Wellies 🙂
  • Looking forward to scoping out some fall foliage this weekend
  • Time to start making plans for marathon weekend!

What’s your favorite comfort food?


Today: The streets of Philadelphia.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]After a glass of wine and a cup of ginger ale (I am a wild and crazy girl) at the Healthy Living Summit cocktail party, Bridget and I headed back to our hotel room, laid out running clothes and set the alarm on my iPhone for 5:40. Approximately 4 minutes later (or so it felt), I nearly spiked the aforementioned phone, volleyball-style, off the nightstand. Since my roommate was wearing neither a helmet nor hockey pads, I made a responsible choice and just turned the dang thing off. We planned to meet Ali for 6-ish miles, and had our hearts set on tackling the infamous “Rocky steps” at the art museum.

As we dragged ourselves into the lobby, I was happy to see a big ol’ group of runners ready to hit the streets of Philadelphia. We headed towards the river with the group, and split off after a mile and a half or so, fixing to get our Rocky on. There are no words to describe the three of us charging up the steps. Only music. Sweet, sweet music.

Sadly, I didn’t have “Eye of the Tiger” at the ready on Saturday, but when Bridget and I went back from a 3.5 miler on Sunday morning, you better believe we were blasting it loudly and proudly. Running the Rocky steps, while jamming to Sly’s theme song? We were definitely having a Philly moment. Those poor people walking their dogs witnessed quite the spectacle.

Other highlights on the streets of Philadelphia included a quick trip to the Rittenhouse Square farmers market, swooning over city hall (it’s sort of like Boston’s… except that it isn’t heinous), sipping sangria on the sidewalk, and enjoying a whole lot of cheese and bubbles at Tria.

Clearly, I loved the City of Brotherly Love.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite workout or running jam?


Today: Takeaways from the Healthy Living Summit.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Thanks to the giant purple bag of swag and this weekend’s fantastic presenters, I walked (or flew) away from the Healthy Living Summit with plenty of food for… um… eating, and even more food for thought.  I’d love to pass along a few takeaways, and invite you to share your own thoughts in the comment section.

But first, Clark needs to give his stamp of approval.

Good?  Great.

The first session I attended on Saturday was called Budgeting for a Healthy Lifestyle, and was presented by Lauren of Say What You Need to Say.  Lauren’s background in financial literacy, as well has her poised and confident speaking style made for a really great presentation.  While much of the information she conveyed was “common sense,” it is often exactly that kind of information that could use reinforcing.  A few points that I thought were especially helpful:

  • Pay yourself first.  Saving should be a (if not, the) priority.
  • When tracking spending, use the method that works best for you– and that you can sustain.
  • Lauren shared a Bureau of Labor Statistics graph from March 2009, illustrating the rising cost of healthy, whole foods.  Her suggestions for making healthy living more affordable: pre-plan meals, shop with a list, use coupons, buy in-season and limit eating out.
  • Determine what is important to you in terms of buying organic, or higher priced items.  For example, you might follow the dirty dozen rule, but buy conventional produce for those items not on the list.  Lauren said that she buys organic, if she plans to eat the peel.  Makes sense to me.

[Photo source]

  • Stock up on in-season items and freeze what you don’t consume.
  • Check the unit price, the price per ounce, and look beyond products on eye-level shelves (this is easy, if you’re a shorty like me).
  • Be aware of how you store food to ensure they last (ex. keep eggs in their cartons, place milk at the back of the fridge, and separate fruits and vegetables).
  • Shop around for gym memberships.

After Lauren’s presentation, Ali, Bridget and I took a quick break to get some fresh air and a peek at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market.  Like most hotel conference areas, the AC was on full blast at the Marriott, so it was nice to soak up some warmth and vitamin D (responsibly, obvi).  We returned just in time for the Rising Above Negativity session, presented by Brittany of Eating Bird Food,  Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers, Courtney of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and Heather of Then Heather Said.  Though there is rarely much negativity On Tap (besides my own occasional grouching), it was interesting to hear the perspective of each presenter.

Heather had an especially great piece of advice with regard to leaving comments on others blogs.  I think her guidance rings true in any scenario, and really resonated with me.  Before you say something, she said, ask yourself these questions:

Is it kind?  Is it true?  Is it necessary?

–Heather, Then Heather Said

After a great lunch featuring vegetarian sandwiches on Great Harvest breads, mesclun salad and a quinoa chickpea salad that I have been dreaming about ever since, it was time for our Quaker Oats keynote featuring Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, CSSD, author of The Flexitarian Diet.  Dawn’s presentation on R.A.W. Blogging (Realistic & Achievable Wellness) was a conference highlight for me.  Though I have been a life-long vegetarian, I know that eating a meat-free diet is not practical (or attractive) for everyone.  I have a feeling her book might help me with cook more creative meals that both Nick and I will, can and want to eat.  I really like her “pro-plants, not anti-meat” approach, as well as her fresh, relate-able style.  A few interesting facts from the keynote:

  • In 2003, “flexitarian” was recognized as the most useful word in the English language (and here I thought that word would be no… maybe it had to be a new word?)
  • A flexitarian is different from a carnivore, because he or she intentionally minimizes their meat intake, and wakes up with the intention to be “more vegetarian”
  • Becoming a flexitarian is as simple as re-portioning your plate (increase the percentage of plant-based food), reinventing old favorites, and refreshing your recipe repertoire.  Clearly this woman knows her way around an alliteration.
  • Bean math!  If you’re making a recipe swap, 1 ounce of meat = 1/4 cup of beans.
  • Pairing an un-liked flavor with a liked flavor will increase the likelihood that you will develop an acceptance and enjoyment of the un-liked flavor; this is called Flavor-Flavor Learning (and should be endorsed by Flava Flav).
  • Similarly, bitter vegetables can be made more enjoyable by cooking, adding sweetness, or adding fat; this is called the De-Bitter Technique, or the “coffee principal.”  Dawn cited examples such as roasting vegetables, mixing greens with sweet potatoes (sweet, starch), and using sweet and sour sauce with stir fry vegetables (to add fat).
  • Vegetables can also be brightened (without adding salt) by using acids such as vinegar, citrus or yogurt.  Dawn’s example pairings included hummus and lemon juice and lentil soup topped with Greek yogurt.

I have pages and pages of notes from this presentation (including her starter grocery list and “10 ways to flex today”), but this post is already reaching Faulkner status.  In the afternoon, I attended two more sessions: Blogger Safety with Monica of Run Eat Repeat and Monetizing Your Blog (Without Selling Out) with social media guru Katy Widrick.

  • I just saw that Monica posted slides from her presentation, and that she is planning a webinar on the same topic.  Both would definitely be worth checking out, if you are interested.
  • If you’re looking to up your social media game, Katy is most definitely your lady.  I highly recommend spending hours on her site.

While I definitely learned a lot during each session, the best parts of the Summit happened out of the conference rooms.  I really enjoyed picking up the pace during my morning runs, exploring new turf, and laughing really, really hard.  Looking for a giggle yourself?  Here’s a gem from the blooper reel:

I’m quite proud of myself for taking advantage of the opportunities that I found exciting, while still making sure (to borrow a slide from the Rising Above Negativity presenters, and a quote from our beloved DJ Pauly D), I did me.  Pickles, Prosecco, Rocky steps and all.  Many thanks to Meghann, this weekend’s speakers, and everyone who made the Healthy Living Summit such a successful weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?  Did you do you?


Today: Brotherly love for everyone.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]When our plane touched down in the land of the delta blues cheesesteaks and brotherly love, there were three things on my to do list:

  1. Find a ladies’ room
  2. Touch the Liberty Bell
  3. Run to the top of the steps, Rocky-style, at the Philadelphia Art Museum
One was easy, two was not allowed, and three was so fun that I did it twice.  But I’ll save that for later.

Well, thaaat's cute.

By sheer coincidence my Healthy Living Summit roommate and partner in crime, Bridget, was not only the same flight as me , she was seated just across the aisle.  After a 45 minute flight from Logan, we met Janetha at the baggage claim and tooted on over to our hotel.  Driving through the city, I pointed at every single old building and beautiful mural, exclaiming “Well, that’s cute!” as we passed.  I could immediately tell, this is my kind of city.

Save the clock tower.

After ditching our luggage, Bridget and I set out on a Philly Nerd Extravaganza.  Our first stop was the Reading Terminal Market, where we browsed through rows and rows of stalls that housed anything from lobsters and cookbooks to cupcakes and fresh produce.  There was so much to see, smell and devour.  Fellow Bostonians, we need to help make this public market thing happen.  After wandering for a bit, we settled on an early lunch at By George.
And then we set off in the direction of the Liberty Bell.  Ding!  Thanks to Bridget’s expert navigation, we reached Independence National Park and hopped in line.  We wandered through the exhibit hall, posed with Georgie, and touched a fake bell (the real deal is strictly you can look, but you can’t touch).
And then bam!  There it was, in all its cracked glory.

Let freedom ring.

We flocked across the street with our fellow American history nerds to Old City Hall, Independence Hall and Philosophical Hall.  Philosophical Hall was home to Of Elephants & Roses, a rather interesting exhibit of art and artifacts, including a mastodon tooth and an illustrated book on elephant… um… mating.  Later, we saw (with our own eyes) real, unsigned originals of the Constitution and the tomb of the unknown soldier.  It was all very National Treasure.
I was quite impressed with all the ground we covered before heading back to the hotel– stopping first for Belgian beers at Monk’s Cafe and secondly for Pennsylvania Dutch pickles.  Standard.  While we were busy getting gussied up for the evening, the Reading Terminal Market was getting its own makeover as the site of the Healthy Living Summit cocktail party.
I had a great time catching up with Ali, Tina, Anne, Halley and Stephanie and meeting Ashley, Kristi, Heather and so many others.  After such a full day, it seemed like I blinked (literally, see photo below) and it was time for bed.
Nice one, Elizabeth.

I might be blinking in this one, too. Thank goodness for the Eurkel glasses.

I brotherly loved every minute of my first day in Philly.
Also On Tap for Today:
If you could live during any period of history, which would it be?


Today: Philadelphia or bust.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Hopefully, it’s Philadelphia.  Who likes a bust?

Oopsies, I broke it.

[Photo source]

The first and last time I was in Philadelphia was 1999.  My parents and I drove down for my college interviews at St. Joseph’s and Villanova.  During the same trip, we hit up Fairfield, Fordham and Loyola Maryland.  What can I say?  We love the Jesuits.  Anyway,  we stayed in Center City and got up close and personal with the Liberty Bell.  Being one of four children, I thought it was kind of cool to have my parents all to myself.  I was shy and nervous and weird on those campus tours, but my mom and dad stuck by my side.  Even though they probably wanted to ditch me in the cafeteria and go cut loose with the other normals.

So here I am, twelve years later, still shy and nervous and weird (but with a college degree), heading back to the City of Brotherly Love.  I am so looking forward to attending the Healthy Living Summit, getting in a run or two, climbing the “Rocky steps” (leaving my boxing gloves at home, sadly), and spending time with friends old and new.  I’m so excited I could crack a historically significant artifact.

But I won’t.  Unless those chia cocktails get to me.  In which case, all bets are off.

Also On Tap for Today:

Did you tour a bunch of schools?  Or did you have it all figured out?