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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Tricia B May 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm

You are so absolutely adorable. Nice to see you again!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm

You rock so hard. I adore that ginger pic. And the quote about exercise serving you… I’d lost my mental note to remember to quote GPP on that. Gracias.

I just realized I don’t think I have a pic with you from the weekend!!! We will remedy that many times over somewhere between AL and GA. 😉

Melissa @ Treats With a Twist May 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Beautiful. I wish I could have been there. It sounds like you found some real joy and peace that weekend.

Janetha - meals & moves May 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Love this post! You captured the weekend so well. Love you tons and tons.

Sara @ fitcupcaker May 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

You are so funny…you are the one that makes the homemade nutty butter! I really wanted to win those, but I got some of the nuttzo which made me happy. I still need to try tou

Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets May 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I’m happy to hear you had such a good time at Blend.

Carly @ Snack Therapy May 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

This is just perfect. And the ginger pic cracks me up. And you’re so right. We left with so much more than a bag full of food. (Although, I’d never ever pass up free snacks, so I appreciate both the concrete and the abstract swag.)

Heather @ Better With Veggies May 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm

This is a amazing recap, I love how you pulling this together. And that ginger pic – awesome! I’m only sad that I’m not in a single picture, because that means we didn’t hang out nearly enough. I think you need a trip to Colorado stat! :)

You are awesome. :)

Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut May 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Girl I also feel like I’ve known you for years!! It was SO GOOD hanging out with you! You are just a delight to be around!!

This is such a heart warming post and thanks for linking up! :)

Christa @ Edible Balance May 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

This absolutely captures the essence of Blend perfectly! I love what you said about not knowing whether you’ve known someone for a few years or just a few hours. There was amazing connections and deepening of relationships that you just don’t see happen any place else. I left with not only a full bag, but a full heart :) So great to meet you!

Brittany @ Delights and Delectables May 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm

So well said! I can’t believe that the weekend has come and gone already. I wanted to bring you home in my swag bag! :)

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance May 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm

What a beautiful post, Sarah! Seriously–I’m so glad we were able to spend some time together this past weekend. You are just the sweetest, most genuine person, and I wish we lived closer to visit more often. I wrote a post about feeling a bit uncomfortable, and I have to tell you, that it was YOU that really made me feel welcome. Thank you.

Love the “ginger” picture–that is way too cute. And the laughter pic of us and Annette is adorable. Love. :)

Kristina May 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm

containers of Chobani in the garbage? that is sad in so many ways.

reading this is making me GIDDY for my weekend ahead – that feeling of being in a room with 250 others who hold your same ideals, just an unreal and awesome feeling.

glad you had an awesome time!

Maria May 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm

My bag of swag was the single last piece of luggage to come off the conveyer belt thingy. Heart palpitations.

Alex @ Alex Tries it Out May 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm

You put it SO well! It was awesome meeting you, and I can’t wait to see you again next year. It really is amazing, Blend.

Also, I know a certain blogger (wink wink, Lauren) who packed Chobani in her bag. I’m hoping she didn’t eat it … but Lauren, if you’re reading this, how’d that turn out??

Also, my heels gave me a awful leg cramp Friday night, too. Boo!

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli May 22, 2013 at 5:29 am

Aww, Sarah!! This post LITERALLY had me tearing up! You captured the essence of the weekend so well…it is SO much more than what meets the eye! There was never a doubt in my mind about attending this year after last year’s experience which was TRULY life changing! I love you inside and out and all the way around! xoxo

And that ginger pic is the best! Can I borrow?? 😉

lindsay May 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

ohhh so that’s the hummus!?! I NEED IT! and I miss you. I really wish we could have chatted more. gahh. email .. ANYTIME> k?

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 that is all.

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