Blend 2013: Swag They Can’t Put In a Bag

by Sarah on May 21, 2013 · 19 comments

I have to admit, I’m a little overwhelmed with the thought of recapping BLEND. I didn’t take all that many pictures, but I want to make sure I ‘do it right.’ After all, it has been, for the past two years, a truly incredible experience, and one which has helped to reaffirm why I blog and what blogging has given me.

I went back and forth about how to break it up and break it down–activities post? food post? “random photos I don’t know what else to do with” post?

well, there will obviously be a separate food post.

In the end, what it all comes down to is this:

fruit, oatmeal, and granola. that's what it all comes down to.

You’ll get to take a lot of stuff home with youexcept for 6 oz. Chobani cartons, which you might have to watch being thrown into the trash can as a dramatic, slow motion ‘NOOOOOOO!’ scene runs through your mindbut all those protein powders and energy bars and coupons won’t mean nearly as much as the intangibles you’ll take away.

i set this up in a perfect IG square without even meaning to. we then decided i should keep it out for the rest of the evening so other people could photograph it as well.

Connections so immediate you’re not sure if you’ve known each other for four hours…or four years.


Soreness from two days of GPP (General Physical Preparedness) Fitness Boot Camps–followed by a long day’s journey into night home–unlike any you have ever felt that will result in a Monday during which you not only hobble around like an 80-year-old saddle sore Hollywood Western cowboy, but also actually debate with yourself about whether getting up to use the restroom at work the next day is worth the potential pain of standing up and sitting back down.But with that soreness will come a change in perspective about how you should be approaching fitness in the first place:

“Exercise exists to serve you. Not the other way around.”


A feeling of community and sense of belonging that lets you know you you aren’t alone. Whether it is due to something as simple as finding people who understand why everything tastes better when it is eaten from a Mason jar…

…also feel the need to take 400 pictures of their food……and know that hummus bearing a happy monkey simply HAS to be bought.But who will also immediately open up about anything, and listen without judgement.

Even offering advice and awareness that you didn’t have before.


Admiration for women who have truly found the balance between extremes–

–and know that sometimes you need a little coffee with your kale.


Wisdom that stems from conversations that occur in your room late at night, or while hiking in the mountains, that might just lead to new insight:

In life, as in hiking, you can fight the mud…

…or you can embrace it.

Why not embrace it?

it's all fun and games until someone mentions the words, "war paint"



yeah. i don't know either.

So much laughter.

(faux) ginger, (curly) ginger, (nerdy) ginger, (drinkable) ginger



Because no one will care that you are both a middle-aged woman….…and a small child, trapped in the same body.

Or that you are the type of person who not only lacks any fashion sense, but also thinks wearing heels--for once–will be a fun idea, then consequently wakes up in the middle of the night with calf cramps so bad you think you may never walk again.

And no one will care that you like the idea of fun ginger mint drinks (made with Silk almond milk), but you’ll take two sips and declare that you’d rather be drinking Diet Coke.

Or that you like to kiss cows in public.

[I have now kissed a cow, ridden a rooster, and puckered up to a pig. What’s next in the barnyard brigade? Hugging a horse?]


Gratitude that women like Lindsay, Janetha, and Katie not only blog, but had the idea to bring us all together in this way, and are willing to put so much of their energy and their lives into making the weekend what it is.


Awe that the world (or the heavens or the fates or your god) have a way of bringing you to the people you need, just when you need them.


And that, my more-than-blends, is (just some of) what you get when you go to Blend.

Because even if you forget an extra suitcase, or refuse to pay to check a duffel, you’ll still be able to take away a whole lot of ‘swag’ that will never, ever fit in a bag.


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