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Entries in Recipe-Free (7)


Through the Looking Glass: BlogHerFood 2010

The movie on the flight home from BlogHerFood 2010 was Alice in Wonderland. Too tired to fully concentrate I watched snippits, mostly without sound, in between fits of dozing. The surreality of the movie did not escape me—in fact it was intensified by the start and stop action produced by my napping. Alice in her sometimes confusing world. Alice chasing a “dream”. Alice falling through a hole and coming out the other side—a place filled with big and small personalities, fear, hope, mystery, friends and victory. Alice returning home with a different view and a lifetime of opportunity.

Not so unlike this weekend at BlogHerFood.

I so much want to tell you about every bit of the conference—who we met, what we ate, what we learned. (Yes, it was robust, bigger than life, and tons of fun.) It would be volumes of riveting reading. But, you’re not going to give me the hours it would take to read about it, are you? Besides some very articulate insightful bloggers are going to share their experiences, too and you want to have time to see it from the myriad of perspectives that will emerge. And, you know bloggers—we all want to share.

There was an essence to the conference—a character that emerged. So here’s what I walked away with—a distillation of the days we all spent together. It’s a bit of a word cloud approach.

It’s all about the sharing. Feeding the community. Taking a little piece of the life we live and putting it out there so others can become a part of it.

You have a responsibility to your readers, your subjects and yourself to be true and ethical. To provide something that will work for them.

The world around us is beautiful. Take a minute to look at it from different angles. Take a step to the right or left and a different picture emerges. Pay attention to the highlights and shadows. Capture the moments.

Finding your voice—what makes you you—is a journey.

Each time you put yourself out there, you try something new—you fail, you succeed, you fail, you succeed—you’re on the journey. You’ve fallen through the hole and a new experience unfolds. When you go back through the hole and return home…a little bit of a different person will emerge.

A last comment about the word cloud that’s floating around inside my head as I decompress from the past few days. I met so many people I’ve talked to online over the past year and a half that I often felt dazed. My regret is not being able to talk to more people—or to spend more time with some people—while I had the chance to do so in person. I’ll openly admit to feeling overwhelmed and retreating to my comfort zone to recharge. Still, seeing online friends in person was incredible and I’m grateful for the time spent with each and everyone of them.

Like Alice we fell through a hole into another world for a few days. We’re all back now and I’m guessing we’re all just a little changed for the experience.

The tool used for the wordcloud is Wordle. So much fun! Try one.


Big Summer Potluck

Big Summer Potluck - Photo by Erika @ The Ivory Hut What to share? What to share?

Clearly, there are a million thoughts buzzing my brain. It’s been that kind of week—busy and fun and social. I’ve spent it re-connecting with dear old friends and meeting new friends—some of whom I’ve talked to but never seen. I’ve relaxed, listened, talked, prepared and eaten food. I’m kind of exhausted. Pleasantly exhausted.

So, let me start at the beginning. I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version.

After spending a wonderful weekend with my sister—flea marketing and eating home-cooked seafood dinners on the beach—I headed back home to work, clean, bake, and pack. Two days later, with the little dogs bouncing in the back of the car, we hit the road again. Back to the beach where I handed over the dogs to a group of 20 & 30-somethingish adults and then headed south to Cape May to spend two days with friends at their beach house. Wow. It was a wonderful visit. I de-stressed the minute I got there. (Note that for a few minutes I was stress free.)

Back in the car for the two hour drive to our beach house. Say hello to little dogs bouncing off the walls, hubs and son just in from a week long business trip, 30-somethingish adults hanging out. Say goodbye to that “I feel like I just left the spa” feeling.

For the next day and a half I busied myself getting ready to attend the Big Summer Potluck hosted by the fabulous Anderson clan at their home in PA. Groceries were bought, scones made (and trashed), and hyperventilation calmed. (Hubs took me and the kid out to dinner.) I came home and made those scones again. Never say die! The second time they were marvelous.

Then I crashed. I lay in bed for a few hours thinking, “I have to get up at the crack of dawn.” And, just before the crack of dawn I finally fell asleep. One annoying alarm, two big cups of coffee and a scone later I was back in the car for the two hour drive to the Big Summer Potluck!

I was anxious to meet the organizers of this foodblogging event, Maggy (ThreeManyCooks) and Erika (Ivory Hut), and all my fellow bloggers. The place was buzzing like a hive when I got there. Let the day begin.

Maggy and Erika—energized, organized, and in-the-know—had put together something special. The house was beautifully appointed and perfect for this kind of get-together. It had the right flow and when you walked in it felt like they’d done this about a thousand times before. They pulled together a wonderful forum of foodblog content for a handful of brand new to sage foodbloggers and food industry mavens. They fed us the food of foodies—incorporating their own recipes, sponsors’ fare (coffee, cheese, wine, yogurt), and all manner of treats beautifully crafted by the ladies and gentleman who attended. It was a foodbloganza on an intimate scale.

We mingled, we ate, we listened, we learned. Our heads were filled with everything from how to create and write a recipe (Pam Anderson) to a cooking demo (Abby Dodge), food styling (Melissa DeMayo) and food photography (Erika Pinead) to how to foodblog from the heart (Alice Currah). We even had a peek into the world of public relations courtesy of Auritt Communications. The sisters Anderson—Maggy & Sharon—kept us moving along with the perfect amount of time allowed for chatting among ourselves.

The energy level was high all day and about four PM we fired up that coffemaker to get our second wind. It was time for the big giveaway—let me tell you the sponsors were very, very generous. Kitchen Aid in particular stole the show with stand mixers, food processors, blenders and hand mixers for a few lucky folks. There was also a very special knife, spices, a coffee maker, and some amazing goat cheese as giveaways.

Next cue the wine and cheese. Mingle, mingle, mingle. Goodbyes were said. Hugs and promises to keep in touch and see each other next year (or sooner) were exchanged. I headed out the door with goodies in hand—the most cherished of which is Pam’s latest cookbook, the soon-to-be-released Perfect One-Dish Dinners.

I left the lovely Anderson house in the woods and headed back to my beach retreat. The two quiet hours in the car was what I needed to let the day sink in and to regain energy for the next day.

Nope, the fun wasn’t over yet. Jeanne (Four Chickens), Amber (Bluebonnets and Brownies) and Amber’s hubs joined us for a day at the Jersey Shore! More food, more talking, more getting to know each other. We got to communicate in more than 140 characters at a time. We got to relate. We laughed, calmed the bouncing dogs, and chatted about life and….food. We barely got to the beach but did take a quick stroll to the boardwalk and gazed across the sand and people to the surf beyond. After all, it would be embarrassing to be a block from the ocean and not even see the water.

And, that my friends, is the end. Well, almost. Because this week is my vacation (yay!) and I plan to decompress totally before getting back to the real world. A girl can dream.

FYI - Doughnut Muffins by Jen of How to Simplify were the hit of the day. So, I thought I’d de-glutenize them and join the rest of the group in oohing and ahhing over them. But that’s a post for another day.

To be continued…

Big Summer Potluck


Abby Dodge

Add A Pinch

Bluebonnets & Brownies

Bon Apetit Hon

Bread and Putter

Bucks County Courier Times (Food Blog)

Dine & Dish

Fine Cooking

Four Chickens

How To Simplify

Modern Wench

My Kitchen Addiction

She Wears Many Hats


Smells Like Home

Smith Bites

Souffle Bombay

Three Many Cooks

The Coquettish Cook

The Dinky Kitchen

Tickled Red

The Ivory Hut

The Peche


What’s Kookin’ In Kara’s Kitchen


Click the links to see:


Photos by Erika of Ivory Hut

Photos by Jen of Forgotten Foodies and My Kitchen Addiction