[Photo credit: A Thought For Food]
I go to a lot of conferences. The main reason I keep going back is because of the people and the relationships that are created. Last year, I had heard so many wonderful things about The Big Summer Potluck that I knew I had to be there this year. I had booked the ticket before I found out I was pregnant and once I learned I’d almost be in my third trimester, I started to think twice. Then I realized it was my last trip, I had to go and just make the most of it.
My expectations, far exceeded.
I cried. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. I listened without my camera or my phone. I gave and received hugs that touched deep into the heart. I was mindful and aware, even while eating my cheese and crackers. I connected with others on a whole new level
I never took out my camera, I hardly tweeted and this was the first time I had left my computer at home. It was about the people, the food and community. I can’t really compare or even refer to this as a conference. Maybe a retreat?
[Photo credit: A Thought For Food]
You know when you meet someone for the first time and you instantly feel their love and energy. That’s how I felt when I met Brooke. Then when she threw out an F-bomb just before I did, I knew we’d get along jusssst fine.
Brooke’s speech hit home for me. So often we get caught up in our careers, raising a family, daily struggles, etc. that we lose focus and are no present. For the longest time I was so caught up social media and blogging that I could never eat a meal without taking a picture or watch a movie without checking my twitter feed. My wake up call to reality was when I got pregnant and got so sick I couldn’t be on a computer because it made me so dizzy. My husband likes to tell people that I’m much more “present and pleasant”. I’ll go into this more in my new series [read below], but in the meantime, I highly recommend you read her post about being mindful and being present.
In between the rain, thunder and lightening, Joy spoke to us out in the grass. It was beautiful. I love how she engaged with everyone and talked about finding inspiration in the areas often consumed by jealousy, which can then lead to self judgement and other unproductive thoughts and actions. We all have our struggles, even if from the outside it looks like we’ve got everything under control. Believe it or not, a lot of us don’t. Needless to say, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re not alone.
Marissa did a canning demonstration in the intense heat and had us all jumping out of our seats to win a copy of her book. I’m still bummed I didn’t get one, but thank you Gaby for practically jumping out of your seat for me. You’re one amazing friend.
Molly talked about her path and career as a writer. Her discipline to make time to write [anything] every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes have turned into a book every two years. What’s also inspiring is she left a big time career at the New York Times to do what she loves and what brings her joy, but not necessarily the big paychecks that she was accustomed to.
I cannot thank Pam, Maggie and Erika enough for hosting such a thoughtful and well organized event. On top of that, to also welcome us all into the Anderson home and feed everyone was so generous. Talk about big hearts. So many thanks to you three!
Lastly, a HUGE thanks to Brian for taking such a good care of
his pregnant wife me. Allowing me to stay with him and his parents [whom I just adore] and then driving me to Pennsylvania and then back to New Jersey. We’ve got some pretty special memories and one loving friendship. Thanks for all the real talk, my friend! Oh and thanks for the photos.
Inspired by the conversations and the relationships that were created or strengthened, I realized I don’t do enough of that here on the blog. I’m a real talk, let’s get down and dirty kind of girl. As many people know, I’m an open book. Yet, I’m also a good listener. After letting everything from the weekend digest, I decided to bring “Real Talk” to the blog.
Don’t be scared. If anything, it’ll be like we’re just hanging out like friends or sisters.
What am I going to talk about? That’s a good question. It’ll be anything from blog talk, to relationships, to self judgment. Some deep, some not so much. What do you think? You all ready for some real life talk?
[the one of three taken with my iphone]
There aren’t many events or conferences you can go to on the last day wearing sweats & little make-up. Gaby and I practically rolled out of bed 15 minutes before we had to be downstairs.
The following were people who I had great conversations with and many of whom left a beautiful impression on me.
Brian // A Thought for Food
Gaby // What’s Gaby Cooking
Aimee // Simple Bites
Brooke // Food Wolf
Maggie // Three Many Cooks
Paula // Bellalimento
Deb // Smith Bites
Tracy // Shutterbean
Winnie // Healthy Green Kitchen
Merry-Jennifer // Merry Gourmet
Lindsey // Love and Olive Oil
Melissa // Soul on a Platter
Shaina // Food for my Family
Irvin // Eat the Love
Jen // My Kitchen Addiction
Joy // Joy the Baker
Deb // Smitten Kitchen
Sommer // A Spicy Perspective
Sabrina // The Tomato Tart
Margaret // Savory Sweet Living
Chris & Karen // The Peche
Justin // Just Cook NYC
Ken // Hungry Rabbit NYC
With this list, you’d think the event was an entire week. Nope, I just talk a lot.
If we spoke and you see that I’ve left you out, please let me know and I’ll gladly add you!
August 3 2012