what does a wellness summit look like?

Wellness is such an intangible yet holistic thing — everyone has their own definition for it, and it also involves more than just what you eat.

I had the pleasure of attending the latest WELL Summit in Brooklyn last weekend, and it was an amazing culmination of everything wellness.

And what’s even better? I got to hang out with some awesome people that I haven’t seen in awhile, and got to meet some awesome people in all walks of life. Literally one of my favorite things about what I do.

If you want to find out what a wellness conference is like, from the sessions to the exhibitors, keeping reading! You also get a Brooklyn / NYC food and workout guide at the bottom, because you can bet I made the most out of my three-ish days there.

P.S. Read my last post on the WELL Summit (pre-event) here.


WELL Summit 2018 Recap: Brooklyn, NYC

Favorite Exhibitors:

Moon Cycle Bakery: I’m a little obsessed with subscription companies since I work with one, and Moon Cycle Bakery has a genius subscription model. It’s based around your cycles, so you can get Paleo-friendly, vegan chocolates delivered to your door when you want (need!) them. I sampled all of them except the ones with oat flour, and they’re rich, decadent, good for you, and so frickin’ GOOD.

Saalt: One of my biggest frustrations is how uncomfortable and stressful periods are, how much money we spend on tampons, pads, and liners every month, and how it adds this extra layer of complication onto our already busy lives. Saalt provides beautifully packaged menstrual cups in an normal and heavy flow pack, and for under $50, you’ll never have to buy tampons again. 

Fun fact: I started my period legit an hour after I stopped by this booth and I bought a pack immediately (it was an emergency). The ladies were SO nice and helpful, and it was actually really easy to put in.

Hydrow by Crew: Heard of the Peloton bikes? Hydrow is the same concept, except as a rowing machine. Rowing is a fab full-body workout — it’s one of the hardest cardio machines, I swear. There’s a video-guided workout screen you follow, a competition AND team aspect, and gives you the smoothest row ever. I tried it out, and while I’m not great at rowing, if you’re looking for an at-home workout machine, this would be ideal.

Erin’s Faces: I’m in love with cleaner/safer skincare and makeup (that’s why I’m a Beautycounter consultant!) and I love talking to the creators and trying products on in person. I had a great talk with Erin about what products would be good for my skin type, and I walked away with the clarifying serum, a face SPF (I’ve been seriously slacking on this), a pumpkin enzyme peel (it smells so good, I could eat it), and a Christmas present for my sister… My friend Jen also got the clarifying charcoal wash, so I can’t wait to hear what she says!

Harmless Harvest: My favorite coconut water brand — I was super pumped to see them there!

Easy Spirit: SUPER comfy shoes. I opted for these instead of buying Reebok classics, and I had no problem being on my feet and working out (boxing, lifting) in them. If they get dirty, just give them a little wipe and they’re good. Perfect for going from the gym to every day life (ya know I got that look down).

Kindbody: With everything going on related to women’s reproductive health, it’s a good time for Kindbody. They’re all about fertility and egg-freezing, which is a little early for me (I’m 22) but they were doing an on-site blood test that would show you your fertility, so I did it — waiting on the results to come this week!

Other brands:

Nutramilk: Nut milk and nut butter maker that we tried with the almond coconut milk (made with Harmless Harvest).

Megafood: Superfood gummies — I took the Defense (Vitamin C) and Melatonin ones. 

Chameleon Cold Brew: Great no-sugar added cold brew (they had nitro on tap, which I loved).

Watermelon Road: Dried fruit jerky has never tasted so good. With watermelon jerky, pineapple mojito, mango, and more, they’re breaking the standard “tons of sugar and oil added dried fruit” industry.

Aha Pure Foods: Jars of nutritious soups — some of them taste like what my mom makes; some of them taste like what you’d get in a restaurant but better. The butternut squash (“sweet chi”) one is my fav!

Piper Wai: I love this deodorant — it’s made with activated charcoal and is all natural. They have a spreadable one in a mini size that I like but also a roll on for people who don’t want to use their fingers.


Lunch

The Little Beet - Lunch

Lunch was catered by The Little Beet, an awesome Dig Inn-esque restaurant that I wish would come to Boston already! I had my first taste of The Little Beet when they catered Spoon University’s first Member Summit that I helped plan all the way back in college (ok, like 3 years ago, so not that long), and I’ve been in love ever since.

I piled my plate with beet falafel (gf, vegan) the first day / baked tofu (gf, vegan) the next, plus red cabbage slaw with lentil salad, roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potato, brown rice, salad greens, and turmeric tahini / red pepper garlic sauce. YUM.


Sessions

There were a ton of variety in the sessions, ranging from meditation, to mental health, to branding, to communication. Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, fitness instructor, PR specialist, wellness enthusiast, mom, or anything else, there was a session for you.

I gravitated toward sessions that involved communication and mental health, because I felt that I had a pretty good handle on the digital and marketing sides (that’s my whole career, after all!)

Some of my favorites:

  • Getting Out of Your Head: How Better Communication Can Deepen Your Relationships

    • Key Takeaway: Learn to listen without the ego, without anticipating what the other person will say, without thinking of your response, without trying to give advice, and you’ll find that you can communicate better.

  • Shine Bright Without Burning Out: Mental Health for Entrepreneurs

    • Key Takeaway: Break out of the vicious circle of burnout by becoming more self-aware (she had this great Burnout Model that the psychology nerd in me LOVED).

  • How to Ignite Your Speaking Career

    • Key Takeaway: Figure out what is your idea and why is it worth spreading.


Keynotes

There were panels from big people in the industry, conversations, and single-person keynotes — really representative of the conference!


Swag Bags

 Photo by  @misso.photo

Photo by @misso.photo

The best part of wellness conferences is always the goodie bags! Ours included goodies from Kodiak Cakes, + CBD Oil, Picnik, and more.


General Brooklyn/NYC Guide:

Brooklyn/Williamsburg

Workouts

Overthrow Boxing: My go-to boxing gym whenever I’m in NYC. I actually like their Brooklyn location a little better than the Bleeker St one because the bags are behind a grate instead of underground (it gets HOT at Bleeker underground). I did a drop in class for $35 and a personal training session for an hour for $120. If you have boxing experience, I definitely recommend a PT session, as it allows you to up level your skills and focus on technique. $$

Overthrow Boxing

Corepower Yoga Williamsburg: I’m obviously a little biased since I teach at Corepower in Boston, but I LOVE when cities have Corepower studios. It’s like a home away from home. The studio was clean and right next to Whole Foods/Sweetgreen/Dig Inn = perfect. $$

Also nearby: Pure Barre, Equinox, SLT, Soulcycle


Food

Selamat Pagi: This Indonesian-inspired place is hip and unique. Their portions are pretty good for the price. I got a soju cocktail, a crispy Brussels sprouts appetizer, and beef rendang. The rendang was really hearty and would’ve been enough by itself if I wasn’t so hungry. All their beef is grass-fed (yay) and most of their menu is gluten free (allergens are clearly marked). They’re brought to you by the same people that started Van Leeuwen, so you know it’s good (they also have VL ice cream on their dessert menu, so save some room!). No reservations and it’s a small space, so come early or grab a seat at the bar. $$

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream: One of my favorite dairy-free ice cream shops. Their flavors are so rich and flavorful that one scoop is definitely enough. I got the dairy free dark chocolate with cacao nibs and walnuts. $$

byCHLOE Williamsburg: If you’re ever looking for great gluten free cookies, byCHLOE has awesome chocolate chip ones. Their fries (especially sweet potato) with beet ketchup and aioli are great, as are their avocado toast, mac ’n cheese, and burgers. $$

Whole Foods Williamsburg: You know I always hit up Whole Foods whenever I travel. There’s something comforting about how it’s the same everywhere, but also something fun about seeing how different each Whole Foods is (it’s my version of Disneyland). I got WF Hot Bar for dinner plus a green juice and a wellness shot on my last day, because I was feeling super run down and tired. $-$$

Caracas Arepas Bar: Hands down best arepas I’ve had in awhile. The bartenders were super friendly and it was cool hearing them speak in rapid fire Spanish while making drinks. I got a single-serve basket of chips (they’re taro and plantain!) and Venezuelan guac (probably could’ve finished a normal guac tbh). This isn’t on the menu, so ask them! I also got a vegetarian arepa (Mil y Una Noche — baked tofu, rainbow slaw, avocado, lemon-tahini dressing. I added fried sweet plantains and this awesome sauce the bartender recommended). I also got a kombucha cocktail that was great — all their drinks sounded awesome, though! $$

Little Choc Apothecary: This hidden gem is a vegan/gluten free creperie. They also have acai bowls, a selection of smoothies, and coffee/tea. I got the burrito crepe for brunch (cashew cheese, hot sauce, avocado, black beans) and it was really filling. I also got a gold smoothie (turmeric, banana, healing spices, coconut milk) that was OK. It tasted like the bananas weren’t ripe and the turmeric was quite strong. It’s cozy though and has WiFi, so you can hang around if it’s not busy! $$

Upstate Stock: 3 words: dirty turmeric latte. They take the utmost care with all their drinks, and they all sound original. There’s a great selection of gluten free, vegan, and Paleo goodies, as well as an actual selection of things to shop from (wallets, clothes, books). $

The Bean: I was craving a smoothie on Day 1, so I got my caffeine fix in early by getting a Totally smoothie here. It was made with banana, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, coffee, chocolate protein, coconut oil. It was icier and more protein powder-tasing than I’d liked, but wasn’t bad. They’re open early and until late, so it’s a solid spot to go to. They have smoothie bowls and gluten free bagels that I didn’t get to try out. $

Oslo Coffee Roasters: Got a cold brew here before heading to Overthrow. It was great, but be warned that there’s no WiFi or outlets here. You can, however, listen to old men chat over steaming cups of coffee and write poetry on napkins like I did. $

Also nearby: Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, Llama Inn, Smorgasburg, The Butcher’s Daughter, Egg Shop, The Meatball Shop, Juice Generation, Juice Press


Manhattan

Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen: I got a gluten free avocado toast with chili honey and smoked sea salt (and added a fried egg for protein) the day I headed back to Boston because Blank Slate is only a 10-15 minute walk to Penn Station. Their coffee is great too — it’s from Devoción. I ended up doing a little work from here since they have WiFi! $

Not nearby but wanted to try/love these places: Hu Kitchen, Springbone, Two Hands, Jack’s Wife Freda, Bluestone Lane



Disclaimer: I was provided with a free ticket by the WELL Summit, but I do not earn commission off these links and that does not affect the prices or my opinions. Thanks for supporting this blog!