Day 2 of the conference started out…tired. I was running off of just a few hours of sleep, but I still couldn’t wait to get back to the excitement!
My morning started off with a meeting with a lovely woman from the BlogHer Publishing Network, who talked to me about the direction and goals for my blog and how they could help me achieve them. I love BlogHer. It’s taken me 7 years of blogging, but I’m finally seeing a clearer focus for what I want my little space on the internet to look like – food focused, but still including plenty of details about the exciting (and not-so-exciting) details of our life.
After the meeting, I grabbed some coffee (Bailey’s to the rescue again!), snagged a quick croissant and jam, and ducked into the “Food Blogging for the Next Generation” session, then immediately afterward, the “Blog On The Run” session. I learned about all kinds of apps that can help keep my blogging (and my life!) more organized on the go with my iPhone. I immediately downloaded Evernote, ZipList, and an analytics app and they have already helped me organize, plan, and schedule!
After the morning sessions, they bussed us all over to a park to have a lunch sponsored by the National Pork Board. They had quite a few tempting options, but I went with the New York Pork Chop Kushi Katsu – no regrets! It was crispy and delicious!
After lunch, I chose my last session to be “Brand/Blogger Relations” and, holy cow, there was so much great information! I was frantically typing notes the entire session to capture everything I could about media kits, how to get a company to notice you, and how to create a mutual beneficial relationship with a brand. This is still a small blog, but I feel like I’ve been given a lot of the tools to thrive and grow, which I’m really excited about!
I skipped the readings from the BlogHer food anthology and instead opted to and meet Addie and P in the hotel lobby for drinks (salted caramel – I’m all about the girly drinks!).
I enjoyed spending time with these two ladies so much. It’s very rare that I am able to talk about blogging to people that just get it. They get the time commitments, recipe development, photography skills, brand relations, and social media aspects of it all and it was so refreshing to be able to talk freely to others that were just as passionate about it as I am! I learned a ton from these two and really hope we all stay in touch.
All too quickly, it was time for the closing party. Did I mention the party was hosted by Ree Drummond? The Pioneer Woman? She has a show on the Food Network, she’s written multiple cookbooks, and she is my blogging idol. I am completely smitten with this woman, which is quite evident in the photo below. I had the biggest, goofiest smile plastered on my face and nothing could tone it down. I was completely and utterly starstruck. She’s just as lovely in person as I envisioned her to be! I only talked to her for a minute, but I love that woman. So much so that meeting her almost caused my face to fall off in excitement.
The party was at Stubb’s and they provided quite the barbecue spread – brisket, chicken, ribs, mac & cheese, cole slaw, roasted potatoes, and so much more.
And as quickly as it began, it was all over. I said goodbye to my new friends, we went back to the hotel, packed up, and hit the road the next morning.
But, before heading out, I hit one last restaurant to truly experience Austin – Torchy’s Tacos.
They offer such a unique menu of a variety of tacos and more!
I started off with their fried cookie dough.
It was cornflake coated like fried ice cream, but the center is gooey, melty, rich chocolate chip cookie dough. To. die. for.
I ordered the “Mr. Orange” – blackened salmon topped with a grilled corn and black bean relish, queso fresco, and cilantro and drizzled with avocado sauce. I’m not a big seafood lover, but I could not stop eating this!
But the kicker was their Fried Avocado taco – hand-battered avocado, refried beans, pico, lettuce, and cheese. Wow. Just, wow. I want to eat a million of them.
And then there was the 13 hour drive home until I was able to relive all of the excitement through the massive amount of swag they sent us home with! Gosh, they thought of everything! I have plenty of snacks and treats, but I also have a flash drive shaped like a carrot, new spatulas, a cookie sheet, coupons for free products, and a case of mangoes arriving today.
AND….I won a fryer from Ninja Kitchens!
I am so sad the weekend is over, but so thankful that I went. I was so nervous about signing up, because I’m such a small blog, but I just can’t say enough wonderful things about the conference. It was an incredible experience, from start to finish.