Mixed Conference 2014 ( my first ever food blog conference) -maybe I am one of the cool kids now?
This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Mixed Conference hosted by Susan at Doughmestic and Paula from, bell' alimento . AND I got to walk the halls and scenes from Dirty Dancing because they filmed it where we were staying! Thus I was walking where Patrick Swayze had been! Swoon!
The Mountain Lake Lodge was gorgeous! Stone walls, mountain scenery, and a big comfy king size bed! I felt like I was in a fairy tale castle!
We arrived Friday night and were running a bit behind due to we had to work some in the morning. We got there checked in and had a delicious dinner! We then spent the night chatting away with Mary Beth and her husband Dan from Red Mittens. I feel like we made some real friends in them and we will continue to share virtual dinners with each other from now on!
To maintain our active schedule we woke up early Saturday morning to check out the resort’s fitness center. It was a little dated, but I still got my run in!
We then headed down to breakfast and some delicious coffee from our sponsors at Lavazza coffee! It is seriously good, and that means it passed our test as we are self-proclaimed coffee snobs! 😉
Our first class of the day was with Kristina Vanni who taught us a lot about using an untapped resource for our blogs: Cooking Contests! She is a serious competitor and has won lots of contests over the years!
Next was a great lesson on SEO optimization, I feel like I got so much from this lesson and can’t wait to utilize it here on my blog!
Meredith Steele from In my sock monkey slippers taught us all about making DIY distressed wooden boards for back drops! I am definitely going to try this at home and make all kinds of boards for my pics! She was an awesome teacher and made it a less daunting task than what I previously thought it would be!
The food photography and styling course was by far my favorite! Helene (who is a professional photographer for magazines such as Cooking Light) and Tammy (a professional stylist) took us through step by step the process of what they do for a food photography shoot! Helene taught us all about lighting (especially artificial light) and how to use it with different types of lenses. They used one of Meredith’s boards as the backdrop and it blew me away how they transformed a simple plate of linguine in the dark to a stunning photo! I would have never known they used artificial light had I not been there to witness it! These two are amazing! It was an honor to be able to be a part of this workshop!
Last but certainly not least was Jenna Sutherland from a well known PR company in Chicago. She gave us a great lesson on connecting with brands and monetizing our blogs. The most important thing she stressed was relationships. I think this is the most important thing too. I want a great relationship with you (the reader) as well as the brands I represent. I also want the brands to represent me as well. I am picky about who I represent because I will always remain true to myself and my healthy cooking. So never worry about me representing a brand that I do not use on a regular basis in my own home that I serve to my family. It’s not about the money; it’s about you and living a healthy lifestyle. Jenna was a great teacher and I am so happy I got the opportunity to meet her!
Right after we broke for a break until dinner, Jake and I took to the trails! We hiked up Bald Knob mountain and there were times I thought,” Seriously? It’s STILL going up higher???” but the effort was worth it for the view.
We also spotted this little girl 🙂
It’s very humbling to see nature like this; Raw beauty that takes your breath away. It makes me feel so blessed to live in a world so beautiful.
How cute is my hubs? 😉
We hiked back down just before it got dark and shopped at the gift shop for a bit. I HAD to get a Dirty Dancing T-shirt 😉
After dinner we headed out to the barn for some live music and marshmallow roasting in the big fire place.
While everyone else headed back to watch Dirty Dancing, not to be party poopers, but we were exhausted and passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows! I plan on watching the movie this week/weekend though!
Mixed was a great learning experience and I am glad we got to go!