Notes from HLS 2011

Hi friends!

I so wanted to put all my blog posts up as they were happening but the weekend was quite the whirlwind!



After a quick breakfast sponsored by Attune Foods, it was time for the conference to get started!


Here we go HLS 2011!

(I’ve posted notes from the sessions – some things I knew, some things I didn’t, but I’m sharing some that I thought would be useful for others)


First up, I did the session on writing better recipes with Stepfanie Romine. I must admit, this was the session I was most interested in since my blog has been including more and more recipes. I’m so glad I stayed for this session because I learned so much to apply to my many recipe posts.

Recipe Writing Key Take-Aways:

  • Always Include: Title, headnote and tips, yield, prep and cook times
    ingredient list, directions
  • Missing prep/cook times (or not including alternatives for people who don’t have specific tools/ingredients in the headnote/tips) can be a deal breaker for reader
  • Be specific, but also creative (i.e. Fitnessista’s serving size “serves 1 hungry pilot, a Fitnessista, and her GF bun in the oven”)
  • Use numbers instead of spelling out numerals
  • Lowercase most foods (unless they’re proper nouns)
  • Use articles in directions (say “place the onion…” versus “place onion…”)
  • Put ingredients in the order you use them (I’ve gotten better on this in the last year)
  • Start directions with a verb
  • Know your tools and cooking terms
  • Though it’s disputed, only the headnote and methods of a recipe can be copyrighted
  • NEVER post another person’s (from a blogger, magazine, web site, etc.) recipe in full without permission (adaptations and inspired recipes can be posted if you’ve changed enough from the original recipe)

I also now feel the strong desire to not only re-photograph, but re-write all my older recipes.

What are your general recipe pet peeves?


Next, we had a session that surprised me with awesomeness. The agenda on the web site didn’t say what the post-break activity would be, but it was a presentation by Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. She started by showing us the above photo and asking us to remember it throughout her presentation. She discussed easy ways to help people make better and healthier choices when they are unsure.

I wrote about her Action Mantras in the Project Think Positive {Week 4} post, so you can read about what they are there, but here are some of my favorites that she shared:

  • To counter a sweet tooth, use Action Mantra “Social Sweets Only” – instead of downing a tub of ice cream solo at your house, enjoy sweets in social settings – ask a girlfriend to go out for ice cream, etc.
  • To counter the issue of not having time to plan dinner, use Action Mantra “Dinner Deck” – keep 5-7 easy dinner ideas on cards and when you don’t have time to plan, pull one of the cards and use that to make a meal
  • To counter unhealthy snacking, use Action Mantra “Plant + Protein” – combine plants and proteins for a better snack, for example celery and peanut butter
  • To counter office sabotage, use Action Mantra “No Free Food” – pass on the free doughnuts in the office break room and choose a better snack/treat

Dawn also encouraged us to write our own Action Mantras. Here are some tips:

  • Easy to memorize, 3-4 words
  • Colorful language
  • Rhyme
  • Alliteration
  • Positive/fun (Positivity Motivates)
  • Remember: Repetition = Results

The Action Mantras reminded me a lot of Project Think Positive, and I’m really glad I was able to use the inspiration for this week’s challenge (click to view).

What’s an Action Mantra (listed above or one you make up) that you can use?



After Dawn’s presentation, I headed to the “Rising Above Negativity” panel with Brittany, Heather, Julie, and Courtney.

The session was more conversational, so I kept my laptop shut so I could really listen and get into the discussions.

My main take-aways were:

  • Create a comment (or comment deletion) policy
  • As Caitlin says, your blog is your castle, so let in only what you want
  • There’s a difference between constructive criticism and rude/mean comments
  • You can decide for yourself how you want to handle a negative comment – sometimes the best way is to ignore it. Heather suggested you ask yourself the following when replying to a negative comment, is your response kind, true, necessary?
  • Negative comments are often more about the person leaving the comment than you (Julie)
  • Constructive criticism isn’t an excuse for rudeness (Heather)

Bloggers: How do you handle negative comments?



Soon enough, it was time for lunch – a 100% vegetarian lunch on Great Harvest breads!


Everyone attacked the quinoa table. jk. We all attacked all the tables because we were hangry!


I went for lots of veg, 1/2 roasted veggie wrap, 1/2 tofu sammie. Nom!



For the second to last session of the day, I attended Monica’s presentation on Blogger Safety – one that more people should pay attention to in everyday blogging/tweeting/etc.

Monica went over several tips, some resources, and even talked about one scary story that happened recently to a fellow blogger (who was actually at the conference).

Main Take-Aways:

  • Check-in and blog about places AFTER you’ve left them
  • Be careful of what information is in your photos/blog posts – your dog’s tag has address information, a piece of mail on a table could have personal details, restaurant receipts can have your credit card info
  • Avoid blogging about, for example, how lonely you are since your roommate will be gone and you’ll be all alone for the next 2 weeks
  • Avoid saying you’re not home (because someone could try to rob you while you’re gone, since they know your home will be unoccupied)
  • is a useful resource

Important stuff you guys! Be safe!

What are your tips on blogging/tweeting safety?


And for the final session of HLS, I attend Katy’s presentation on How to Monetize Your Blog (Without Selling Out). I was at the very back of the room and couldn’t seem to get a photo of Katy during the presentation. Doh! But, she was lovely as ever, I promise. 🙂

Here are some of my key take-aways from this session:

  • There are several sources: Sources: Ad network, private ads, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, event sponsorships, freelance/contract
  • Private ads could be good for geographic blogs (for example restaurant blogs, etc.)
  • Think you haven’t done an affiliate sale? Have you shared a Groupon link to get friends to buy stuff on Groupon so you get Groupon-bucks? Yea, that’s an affiliate sale. Gotcha!
  • Try to ask yourself if your time is worth what your’re getting ($).
  • Be open and honest with your readers so you don’t drive them away (if you’re going to do a paid blog post, consider telling your readers something like how you’re posting about a product because you really believe in the company/product and how it’s a paid post to help you cover hosting fees, etc. – tailor to your situation obviously)
  • Create an easy-to-find media kit
  • Pay it forward – if an opportunity doesn’t work for you, pass it on to a fellow blogger to help the community and your blend
  • Know the laws – taxes! Do them.

Bloggers – how do you feel about monetizing your blog?

Readers – what do you think about bloggers who use ads, do affiliate sales, or any of the other money sources above?



Next time on TCL, a bloggie night on the town in Philly! 😉


Catching Up? Here are my previous HLS 2011 posts:


Also, I’m loving the fill-in-the-blank answers on the Project Think Positive {Week 4} post – you guys have some AMAZING ideas for responses to these tough questions! Nice job!


I hope these notes were useful, and be sure to check out the reader questions embedded in this post throughout!

14 thoughts on “Notes from HLS 2011”

  1. Oh how I wish I could have attend the Summit this year! Sounds like some great information was passed along and I thank you for sharing.

    I have made some really silly mistakes when it comes to blogger safety. I think its super easy to just think “well, not many people read my blog and those who do are super sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly women”. It’s very wrong and we have no idea who is actually reading our blogs. I definitely have never thought of they “I’m going out of town post” as a threat to someone robbing my place…very good point! Thanks again for sharing!

  2. I would have loved to see the Writing a Better Recipe session. If I hadn’t been speaking at the same time, I would have benefited so much from that one. 🙂 There were soo many amazing sessions this year! Too bad we couldn’t have seen them all.

    Glad you had a great time and got so much out of it. Can not wait until next year!!

  3. I don’t mind ads etc on blogs, but if the site is too messy with them I will rarely click through from Google Reader. I only tend to unsubscribe when I feel I’m being sold at in the posts – even if the product is potentially really good.

  4. I think I might have to try the dinner deck! What a great idea. I have a mental list of my “go to” dinners, but it would be good to write those down. That’s going on my healthy changes list!

  5. Thank you for sharing these take-aways for those of us who didn’t attend HLS! Cyber stalking freaks me out, so I especially appreciate those. Looks like you had a great time!


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