Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Getting my Green On from Shiftcon 2015

Last month, I was able to attend ShiftCon, a Social Media Conference created to support bloggers and other influencers who care about topics such as food, wellness, toxic-free living and the environment.  Like any other conference, there were speakers, workshops, social gathering, an expo with vendors (and even yoga and a 5K!)  but all focused on healthy living and the impact that some big businesses are having on our health and environment by the chemicals used in their products. I have never been to a conference like this and I must say this one really got me thinking about the choices I am making for me and my family and to examine where I am in this "shift" for taking responsibility for our children's future and what kind of changes need to be made.

The conference was held at the Marriott in Manhattan Beach.  It was a really beautiful location! Different water features and rock reflection areas made it a perfect venue for this event.

Watch this video to see what it was all about!

From the get go, the message of green living was present. There were different levels of "greenness" at the conference. There were those like me who were barely scratching the surface and those that have truly dedicated their lives to purchasing, consuming, using products that support green living.   What amazed me was that our lanyards, badges, and badge holders were all made of recycled materials, bamboo, corn silk, and recycled plastic I think!
All food served at ShiftCon consisted of organic food.










I was really impressed by the time and effort the organizers of this conference put into finding these vendors and their products!

Another part of the conference was the Expo.  Vendors lined the hallways of the main floor and were happy to talk to the attendees and give samples of their products.  This was valuable to me because I would never have learned of different products and had the opportunity to see if I liked them if not for the samples.  The volume of samples was overwhelming.





I even learned how to make a healthy popcorn snack!

Some of the vendors held fun contests too!


In addition to the Expo were the Hospitality Suites, where exclusive brands had dedicated rooms to host conference attendees.  Bitsy's Brain Food was one of them.  



Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics was another hospitality suite vendor! I fell in love with their products.  I wish they were around when my kids were babies.

Naturepedic also had a suite! With four beds to try out, robes, and slippers, we spent a lot of time with them too!


My favorite vendor was Orgain. They sponsored the 5K and also ran a "Shiftcon Upgrade" campaign where attendees tweeted their wishes and Ally from Orgain would grant them.  I dubbed her the Fairy Goddaughter of the conference.  One attendee wished for chair massages and Orgain came through!  I enjoyed one myself! 

The workshops and speakers were also amazing. Listening to Gary Hirschberg (Co-Founder and CEO of Stonybrook Farms and Chairman of Just Label It) speak, raised my eyebrows at times.  He discussed the millions of dollars being spent by big businesses lobbying for the DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act in order to keep the status quo and not require the labeling of ingredients, namely genetic modified organisms (GMOs), in our food.   It is too soon to know if GMO's are safe for human consumption.  In short, we know what is bad for us but if don't have labels, how will we know what we are eating? He went on to say how companies are basically selling pesticides with the same ingredients as Agent Orange to farmers with the claim that they will keep weeds at bay and protect their crops. Gary shared that an astounding 41% of Americans in our lifetime will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer. His message was clear, protect your health, use your influence to voice your opinion and educate, and get the big brands to stop keeping us in the dark! At the end of his talk, I felt that he did his job as the keynote speaker.  I reflected on what I eat and feed my family and what I spend my money on.  What I thought about was the need for me to use my influence as a consumer to protect the environment that my children and their children will grow up in. 

Another workshop I went to was about how to handle stress. I didn't realize that a boost of magnesium could work wonders in calming one down.  The workshop also talked about taking probiotics,  eating well (eat the rainbow), and essential oils.  I wished that I could have attended one about organic beauty products as skin is the biggest organ of your body and of course absorbs what you put on it.  That's one workshop I will bookmark for next year.

One of my favorite parts of this experience, was that I had a chance to reconnect with my childhood friend, Cynthia.  We've known each other since middle school and I was even one of her bridesmaids, but husbands, kids, work, and life in general have kept us too busy to really stay in touch in recent years.  Blogger events like this have brought us in back in contact and I am grateful.  The time we had at the conference together made me realize how important it is for moms to savor friendships and invest in them.  Cynthia and I volunteered at the conference in exchange for complimentary registration fees and in doing so, we made a new friend, Amy!

Thank you to Leah Segedie, creator of the ShiftCon Social Media Conference, for opening my eyes!  I can't wait to see how green I am by ShiftCon 2016!
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