It’s been about a week and a half since I returned home from BlogHer Food in Miami and I’m still feeling excited and pumped to be a blogger and writing and cooking and doing something I love.
I went in not really knowing what to expect. This was only my second food bloggers conference and my first time attending BlogHer Food, which is pretty massive. I knew people would be cliquey (or so I was told), the parties and food fabulous and that I would get a chance to meet a lot of the masterminds behind a lot of the blogs I follow.
What I didn’t expect was how warm and friendly people would be and how I would feel at home amongst everyone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was pretty star stuck meeting the fabulous three woman above, and they really need no introduction at all. . Catherine McCord at the very top from Weelicious, Ree Drummond– The Pioneer Woman and Elise Bauer (above in the white) from, one of my favorite I always visit and make her recipes blog, Simply Recipes.
I immediately clicked with these lovely ladies (from left to right) Jocelyn from Grandbaby Cakes, Allie from Baking A Moment (who I met at IFBC last year in Seattle and love dearly), Connie from Urban Bakes, and Dianna from The Kitchen Prep. If you’re not following these blogs, you need to!! And now I have some new blogging BFF’s. . and we will be reunited in September!
Instead of attending one of the sessions Friday afternoon, we hung out at the sponsors’ tables, mingled and just talked shop. It was great. Being a food blogger, I feel like there’s so much solitude: you’re working at home and doing everything yourself so it was so nice to just talk to fellow food bloggers. Food bloggers understand each other because we all go through the same things, feel the same way sometimes and we support each other.
And in this line of work, you need community.
If you’ve been blogging for a couple of years and have never attended a blogger conference, I highly highly recommend it. Not necessarily to meet brands and “sell your blog” but to meet other bloggers and to make connections and build friendships.
You’ll leave feeling inspired. Well, overwhelmed and inspired. But I think the overwhelmed part can be a good thing. Keeps you on your toes and challenged.
The sessions, for the most part, were good and I walked away with a long list of things I need to do with regards to social media. Now, let me just say this. I love social media but I don’t look at all of the analytics behind social media. . maybe I should but I don’t do this now. If you were to ask me where the majority of my blog traffic comes from, I couldn’t tell you. My husband looks at my google analytics from time to time (usually when a brand is asking for something) but other than that, I stay out of it.
I do want to be smarter and more efficient with how I am using Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Am I forgetting one? Oh and now there’s Clique Me. Don’t ask me to explain it. Click on the link and read about it. Or better yet, visit this post and read about it and enter Sommer’s giveaway while you’re at it too.
So, after Day 1, I was tired but still pumped and ready to party and eat. I actually got into Miami Thursday night but if you’ve read any other recap on BlogHer Food, you know the weather in Miami that day wasn’t the greatest so many of us were delayed and landed up to 4-5 hours later than we had planned. So I missed pretty much the entire Florida Beef Council Party on Thursday night.
Friday night was a completely different story. The weather was beautiful and for the first time that weekend, I felt like I was really in Miami.
Wisconsin Cheese hosted the best food and wine party Friday night at Villa Casablanca in Miami Beach. This is from Friday night. Just stunning. And when we first arrived, the view was just breathtaking. We immediately got our names tags and were surrounded by trays and trays of delicious appetizers (being brought to us by some very hunky men I might add) and I discovered my new favorite wine, Entwine!
I finally got to meet Kevin from Closet Cooking, whom I’ve been a huge fan for as long as I can remember. This guy is so nice and humble and everyone made their way up to Kevin to meet him. Photo (from left to right): Allie from Baking A Moment, Kevin from Closet Cooking, me and Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake. I also had the great pleasure of meeting Liz last year at IFBC. We participate in a few groups together, namely SundaySupper and Twelve Loaves. Liz is a rock star and is always dressed beautifully. I love her style!
One of my absolute favorite things about BlogHer Food was meeting so many bloggers . . bloggers who I admire and follow. Seriously. I finally got the opportunity to meet these fabulous ladies above. From left to right: Carrie from Bakeaholic Mama, Jen from Savory Simple, Heidi from Foodie Crush, Erin from Dinner, Dishes and Desserts, Shawn from I Wash You Dry and Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake (who I just mentioned above).
We were at a Wisconsin Cheese party so you know the cheese was absolutely delicious. For the latter part of the evening we all participated in a wine and cheese sampling, hosted by chefs from The Food Network kitchens and Entwine Wines. Seriously guys, this wine is so good. I immediately ran to the store the day after getting back from Miami and picked up a bottle of their Chardonnay.
We ended the evening just eating and talking some more and had such a fun night.
Saturday was jam packed with more sessions where my list of things I need to look into as far as Pinterest and Facebook are concerned grew longer .. we had the afternoon off to explore a little of Miami and go out to lunch. The highlight of Saturday was meeting David Lebovitz, listening to his keynote, which was fabulous and the closing party.
David talked about his new book, My Paris Kitchen (which I purchased and got a signed copy, woot woot!), his blog, writing, his life in Paris, his quirky side and how he stays inspired.
The best thing about the closing party was meeting Ree and hitting the dance floor. We shook our groove thang for a bit and headed back to the hotel for one more impromptu party with Swerve. If you haven’t heard about Swerve and are interested in learning about a sugar alternative, this is it my friends. I tasted baked goods made with Swerve and Allie and I got to hold it in our hands and taste it. Pretty damn good. And their President and CEO, Andress Blackwell, is like the sweetest, most charismatic person I’ve met in a long time.
So, all in all, I had a fabulous time and will definitely be making it out to BlogHer Food again next year! Tip for new bloggers going to conferences for the first time: pack light and leave room for swag but make sure your luggage isn’t too heavy or you’ll have to pay for it. Because of this, I regretfully had to leave some stuff in my hotel room (maybe the housekeeper was smart and kept everything!) but I could not leave Miami without my mini cast-iron skillet from Jones Dairy Farm. And they are from Wisconsin! I loved that we had some representation from America’s Dairyland with Wisconsin Cheese and Jones Dairy Farm, you need to check out their products! The mini cast iron skillet is my new favorite kitchen pan. Perfect for single portion sizes. So, this little guy plus my new cookbook plus some other stuff put me over the 50 lb. weight limit and I had to pay for it.
Live and learn.
I hope you enjoyed reading!
Disclosure: Most of the photos above from Friday night are from Rosie Mendoza, photographer, from the Wisconsin Cheese Bloggers by the Bay party. I received permission to include the photos here in my post. The rest were taken from my iPhone.