FNCE 2017

So I may have mentioned this before, but I’m a Registered Dietitian and five years ago in my previous job I was able to attend the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE, as we call it) in Philadelphia and had a blast and was completely overwhelmed as I was a “first timer” and knew I wanted to go again.

I found out about a year ago that FNCE was taking place in Chicago, which was pretty perfect as it’s so close and I knew I had to go! I was the solo dietitian from my job attending but knew that I would be seeing some of my former coworkers and friend. I’m an eager beaver and love to learn! I printed out the schedule two weeks in advance to see what sessions I wanted to attend. Thankfully they had an app that I could use to keep track of what rooms and sessions to go to. Five years ago there was a giant book I had to lug around. I think at these types of conferences you have to go in with an open mind and realize that not every session is going to be as interesting as you had hoped for. I think when you attend conferences it’s important to try and pick sessions pertinent to your job but also be a bit selfish and pick sessions that help you grow as a professional and individual alike. I mean, let’s face it, if you don’t grow as an individual how does that help you professionally?

Over the course of four days, I attended 15.75 hours of sessions, 2 hours at a symposium on portion sizes, 5 hours at general sessions (more on those in a minute) and 3.5 hours at the Expo, where I worked my arm muscles from carrying my “haul” of goodies.

I enjoyed many sessions but some of my favorites included:

  • The opening session where Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave a great presentation on media and its influence on healthcare. If you were asked who you would invite to dinner, he’d be on my list. He had such a conversational tone, easy to listen to and provided such great information. I was so engrossed with what he was saying my notes for that session is blank. He told a story about operating on Jesus in the desert when he was on assignment in Iraq and the surgeons wanted his Neurosurgery expertise.
  • I attended two sessions that Second City presented. One was on creating inclusive environments and one on improv for effective and adaptive communication. Best three hours of conference.
  • Fear boot camp was also a great session. We worked through the stages of fear in order to do what you’re afraid of. Nope, not gonna get a dog, but it was a great exercise and fun speaker.

Because FNCE was in Chicago I was able to be my sister’s roomie for three nights!

I was excited to see and spend time with my friend and former coworker Allison over the past four days. We haven’t seen each other in a while so it was fun catching up. Of course when in the city, you have to have delicious food. Elisabeth took me to Quartino and we had the best orecchiette EVER! Allison joined us for dinner at Little Goat Diner. My love for Stephanie Izard runs deep and have been to her restaurant Girl and the Goat.

Here’s some of my pictures from the expo!

This was the hottest exhibit in the expo. The line was ALWAYS so long. Sadly, I didn’t get to partake.

I’m wet from three days of rain, my feet are sore and my eyelids are heavy! Here’s to public transportation to get me home!

525,600 minutes (of marriage)

No one can predict the future but I knew that the life with Jeremiah would be bright. It’s safe to say that this past year, our first year of marriage, was nothing short of spectacular. We bought our first home together, sold Jeremiah’s condo, survived the stress of BOTH of us graduating with our Masters degrees, survived a cross country road trip together and many other things.

We began our weekend of celebrating Friday evening with tickets to see the 20th Anniversary tour of RENT. Paper is after all the first anniversary gift- but the wave of technology took some of the fun- I “put” them in my Apple Wallet. RENT is special for me and I’ve seen it twice now. It was my first time seeing a show on Broadway, had second row seats with my cousin, Grace, and I just fell in love with it. I knew Jeremiah would like it too, so off we went. Fifth row seats was the best I could do, and yes, you can still see spit from the actors mouths that close up! I laughed, cried and got all the feels. Jeremiah enjoyed the mooing the most!!!

Saturday evening we enjoyed dinner at Ashlings on the Lough. Exactly one year before we had our rehearsal dinner there. As many know, it’s the restaurant where our story really began three years ago. We celebrate all our special moments there. It just kind of feels like our home.

We arrived home to have some anniversary cake. There was no freezer burned cake waiting for us, Jeremiah ordered us a fresh “wedding” cake from Gooseberries in Burlington where our wedding cake came from. Our cake was so good it didn’t make it to November last year!

Today is our anniversary. It began with an early wake up call! It’s Chicago Marathon day! Some may know that prior to picking our wedding date my sister, Elisabeth, told me I could pick any date besides October 8, as she was planning to run the Chicago Marathon the next day. Well luck would have it that it was the only available Saturday in October. So it was fitting that we were there to cheer her on today to make up for her missing it last year.

Elisabeth ran a PR in the warm weather and I couldn’t be happier for her. I was there for her first half marathon and was happy to be there today for her. She said to Jeremiah that she was glad he was there in person this time, instead of a man on my phone texting me the entire day three years ago.

Looking forward to the next 525,600 minutes of life, love and marriage with my hunky!

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