This past weekend I attended my first Eat Write Retreat event in Philadelphia. Was it awesome? You betcha! I met a lot of really great food bloggers, sponsors, and even was able to reconnect with an old friend. Plus, I got a lot of wicked cool swag! I’m going to go ahead and reminisce now, k?
I was really nervous at first. I’ve had this blog for a few years now, but have only really gotten serious with it over the past year. I wasn’t sure if I would really belong. The first question everyone asked was “What’s your blog about?” …..I hadn’t really thought about it before! It got me thinking though, is there a running theme here? Then I realized that there is! I’m cheap! I reuse the same ingredients in different ways because they’re inexpensive and I get bored if I have too much of the same flavor or texture. I frugally create recipes based on whatever was cheap at the grocery store! Turns out I DO have a theme, and it started all because I’m perpetually poor. My first lesson of the weekend was how to describe my blog, and I learned it within the first 5 minutes!
The first day, after a long 4ish hour drive, I finally arrived at the hotel. The first person I met was my roommate for the weekend, Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. She was very helpful with directing me on where to go to pick up my swag!
On my way to pick up all my cool new kitchen gadgetry, I ran into Kelly from Kelly Bakes! This was exciting not only because she’s a great food blogger (whose recipes and pictures always make me hungry), but also because I grew up with her and haven’t seen her in years. Does this count as our 10-year high school reunion?
After picking up my swag it was time for the meet and greet with the sponsors and all of the other attendees. I got to learn all about Calphalon, OXO, Jarlsberg, and more! I also met Heather from Real: the Kitchen and Beyond, Deanna from Teaspoon of Spice, Linda from Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps, and many many more interesting people! Then there was dinner, followed by cocktails made with Safest Choice Eggs, a photo-booth, and more hanging out. It was a fun day.
Saturday and Sunday were kind of a whirlwind! I met more great people! I hung out with Mary Beth from Red Mittens, talked with Marisa from Food in Jars (and bought her book because the recipes look amazing), I chatted with Jeanine from Small Indulgences Bakery (and bought her book too because the cupcakes in it were too tempting).
We had a great lecture by Monica Bhide about writing sponsored posts and maintaining our voice, we did a water tasting, learned about growing mushrooms, grilled flat-bread pizzas with potatoes on a gorgeous Calphalon grill, were taught about SEO optimization and web basics, and got time management tips. And more!
After it all ended, I wandered around the area a bit with one of my new friends as we attempted to get Philly Cheesesteaks. Unfortunately we had bad timing, since it was around dinner time, and the places we saw had lines going out the door and we didn’t have enough time for all that. Oh well! She managed to get a sub-par cheesesteak at the airport, and I had a random Starbucks sandwich on my drive back. My drive was fairly uneventful, except for a well-timed thunderstorm that lasted just long enough for my journey across the George Washington Bridge.
So was the weekend worth all the money, travel, and nervousness? Absolutely. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat!