This weekend I had the opportunity to attend BlogHer Food ’12 in Seattle, thanks to a great sponsorship with Stone-Buhr Flour and some help from my friends at my day job, Girl Scouts OSW.
It was such an amazing experience – every single session just flew by and before I even realized it they were saying those dreaded words – “Well, I think we’re running out of time.” I got to meet so many great women (and a few dudes!) who are working hard at the same thing I’m doing (and a few that are doing other things, but in a similar industry). It was really great to just be able to ask basic questions of other folks who have been doing this longer than I have. I made a ton of new friends who are also great professional connections, and a reunion has already been planned.
Lisa, Diane, Dawn and me ... together, an unstoppable blogging force! :)
I took a ton of photos, but for the sake of this post not taking a million years to load, I’ve shared most of them on Facebook.
I drove up to Seattle on Thursday night after work – not a bad drive overall but holy cow, I-5 needs to be repaved I stayed at a nice little hotel in Lynwood, but didn’t really check out the area at all because it was 10:30 when I got in, and I basically fell into bed.
When Day 1 of BlogHer Food began, I had no idea that it was basically going to be 0 to 60 the moment breakfast started – in the best way possible. Once I walked past the registration table, I was in a sea of bloggers, sponsors and amazing food presentations. They were very good to us!
Just an example of the amazing food we ate! Tomato and bell pepper "terrine" on toast with balsamic vinegar "caviar"
The opening presentation was from White on Rice Couple, and they made everyone cry with the sweet videos and photos of their beloved dogs. What a great way to start off the weekend – the best part of their presentation was how it demonstrated that telling stories via blogs and photos is really a part of life for all of us, and a way to document our passion. Thanks, Todd and Diane!
I was able to attend sessions on photography, traffic building, working with brands, writing books, activism on your blog and more – altogether there were four keynote-style events and five class sessions where you could choose where to go. And in between going to these great events, I got to enjoy some great meals at Local 360 and Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle.
A lot of bloggers are trying to figure out how they will work with brands to monetize their blog, and I felt very fortunate to be able to use myself as an example! Not only did I get to talk about my sponsor, Stone-Buhr, but I got to give solid advice on something that I feel has been a really successful partnership.
Another highlight was meeting a couple of people who have really influenced my blogging life – I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, and also Jenna Weber, whose blog Eat Live Run I have read every day for basically years. I also met the Nicole Young, the author of the book that basically taught me everything I know about food photography (it was totally embarassing, because I was basically evangelizing about her book and she was standing right next to me and said “Hey, that’s my book!”)
It was also a great opportunity to get face to face with some other Portland bloggers – so funny that we all had to get to Seattle to say hi! Meetups are planned, though. Shoutouts to Portlanders Lauren’s Latest, Scaling Back, Veggie Belly and Your Home-Based Mom. It was also great to meet new friends Lisa at Gestational Diabetes Recipes, Dawn from Ecocentric and Diane, a cookbook editor. Looking forward to our reunion in July, ladies!
I could already tell at the beginning of Day 2 that I was a little drained, but after another good breakfast I was ready to learn more. Day 2 was just as great as the first, and it ended in a really cool party just south of downtown Seattle, at which Diane won a turkey fryer from Masterbuilt, and Lisa won Microsoft Office software (not even her first prize of the day!)
There were many sponsors at BlogHer, and I found all of their little gifts fun and amusing until I started to drive the 3 hours home to Portland at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night. At that point, I basically consumed everything in my Starbucks bag. Who’s laughing now? Starbucks, that’s who. Good on them – they knew what they were doing when they packed the bag with water, a Starbucks energy drink, aspirin, Emergen-C and instant coffee. Well played!
All in all it was just the greatest opportunity. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to get sponsored by Stone-Buhr and to go, since it was so close. It was inspiring and full of serious takeaways that will make my blog better. I hope I can go back next year!