Finally! After hours of research to get all the links, editing photos, writing captions and going through my notes, here’s the photo post on my weekend at the International Food Blogger’s Conference. I of course couldn’t cover absolutely everything, but there will be more in the video that I hope to get edited soon. I only have so many hours in the day, and sadly this is not my job that pays the rent (Maybe one day!). So, on to the Sanctuary at Admiral.

The grounds were absolutely beautiful, and since the weather was perfect, we got to really enjoy their beauty. There were flowers, trees, shrubs, bamboo, herbs and even a giant rhubarb plant. I actually started my love for photography with flowers. I’m glad, it really helped me learn my macro setting which is a big help for food photography.

This is the front entrance. Apparently this used to be a Christian Science church and then the current owner renovated it to be her home. Now it’s used as a beautiful space for weddings, parties, and food blog conferences!

The first panel of the IFBC was blog to book, about getting published. On the panel was Kirsty Melville a cookbook publisher for Andrews McMeel Publishing, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, and Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. I learned a lot about the publisher’s side from Kirsty as well as the 4 P’s: Persistance, Passion, Platform, and Personality. This panel was really entertaining and informative, I have pages and pages of notes!

For the panel on finding your voice we had quite a neat group of ladies. There was James Beard award winning journalist Rebekah Denn, Kathleen Flinn author of “The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry”, and Julie Brosterman of Women and Wine. Julie shared a great tip on the importance of the 4 Rs, Relevance, Reliability, Resource and Reputation. I’ve really been thinking about wanting the voice for my blog to be strong and consistant so this was a great panel for me. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the photography or technology panels but you’ll see some of them in the video still to come.

Here is Ruth Reichl, another highlight of my weekend. She is such an accomplished woman, very calm and yet quite a commanding presence. It was a pleasure to hear her talking about what she learned about her mother and one thing I took from it is to ask my mom all the questions I have about her life NOW, before it’s too late. Thank you Ruth for your words of encouragement, I will always remember meeting you and how you touched my heart.

One of the most fun times of the weekend was a little after party Jaden hosted in her and Elise’s hotel room at the Four Seasons. The room was gorgeous, and Jaden completely spoiled us. The company was wonderful and it was fun to get to know Elise a little and connect with some other new friends. Look for more of this night in the video.

Jaden did a sake tasting for us as promoter (I think) for Vine Connections sake distribution. I tasted a little of the Tozai snow maiden and was very impressed with how smooth it was. It went great with the sashimi.

Jaden seriously hooked us up with appetizers. We had incredible sashimi, sushi, something with chicken liver, and those breaded things are giant crabcakes! Oh man did I eat good that night. Thanks Jaden!

On Safari Foods provided breakfast on Sunday morning, and what an amazing breakfast it was. We’re talking incredible. Unfortunately…

…I was so excited to eat that all I really got a picture of was their giant tray of fresh fruit!

The panel on blogging as a career was really informative. The panelists were Elise of Simply Recipes, Amy of Cooking with Amy, and Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. All three of them approach their careers very differently and had really great ideas of how to make money through your blog, or use your blog as a calling card, or do a combination of both.

The panel on ethics and law was both interesting and confusing. I took a TON of notes. We had Kraig Baker with Davis Wright Tremaine, Kim O’Donnel of the Washington Post, and Tracy Sarich of Children’s Trust Foundation moderating. Not pictured is Barnaby Dorfman of Foodista. They talked about the ethics of reviewing things you got for free, and what kind of protection food bloggers have against theft, as well as what we can or can’t get into trouble for.

I already showed you most of Sunday’s lunch, but here’s the caviar all set up. Oh man it was gorgeous!

This is Mark Fuller from Spring Hill Restaurant and Bar in action. He has family from Hawaii so we’ll definitely have to stop by there sometime. Hawaii culture is all about supporting each other.

The final panel was Passionate Purveyors and boy are they all passionate! It was so exciting to hear them speak about what they’re doing in their passions. Aleco Chigounis of Stumptown Coffee Roasters is making a difference for coffee farmers in third world countries through direct trade. Lauren Adler of Chocolopolis talked about the astonishing health benefits of the darkest chocolate and the incredible variety available in chocolate. Carrie Oliver of Oliver Ranch talked about health benefits of grass only beef and how they can actually replenish the land. I can’t wait for an artisan steak tasting!

Karl Kupers of Shepherd’s Grain taught me a lot about sustainable farming. He talked about how farmers have lost their identities as food producers and the importance of reconnecting producers with consumers.

Finally meeting Jaden was a huge highlight for me. Her blog is what first inspired me almost two years ago to put my recipes on my blog. During IFBC she encouraged me so much about my desires for my blog and gave me some great advice. She is such an open, caring person and happily shares whatever wisdom and experience she has. I’m so excited to see her again in October!

This is Anne of Bring to Boil. I loved sitting near her, she always had great questions for the panelist, and we loved talking about food. We had fun doing a cheese tasting together and just talking about what the different cheeses were like. She takes stunning food photos and you have to check them out!

Yes, I know, my eyes are closed. But I couldn’t not post a picture with Carrie of Oliver Ranch and Annie of Phoo-d. Carrie and I have been internet buddies and Annie and I just met at the conference. To me this picture epitomizes the best part of the conference: Meeting friends I only knew online, and making new ones. It was so wonderful to be in the company of people who are passionate about food.

Here I am with the lovely Sheri Wetherell of Foodista. She is a complete delight and full of an incredible amount of energy. She ran drawings every break, one of which won me a set of 6 Forte Pinot Noir glasses. They’re gorgeous!

I know this picture’s a little blurry, but I had to show you the magnitude of what we got in our swag bags. I just dumped it onto the couch for Eric and I to go through. This is only about half of what somehow fit in the bag, I split it with someone else! I hear it was all worth over $700. Wow! Thank you so much to Sur La Table for hooking us up.

We also got food to take home, like two kinds of cheddar from the folks at Foodzie. Eric and I loved this one and it took real will power to not eat it all in one sitting. We just kept cutting off one piece after another.

The Kukuruza Gourmet Popcorn was way too addicting. When I got home, after lots of talking and gushing about the day, we popped in the press release of Fresh the Movie which was in the swag bag and began eating way too much of this popcorn. I got the S’more flavor which was basically caramel corn mixed with mini marshmallows, graham cracker chunks and chocolate. So glad we only had a small bag or we’d be huge! By the way, the movie was fascinating and I will be recommending it to a lot of people.

Eric was the most excited about the Kyocera ceramic knife (which came with a ceramic mandolin by the way). He now chops, slices and dices anything for me when I’m cooking. He also loves the little cutting board which we’ve discovered is small enough to just keep in our drying rack and have handy for chopping and scooping anything.

One of my favorite things in the bag was the biggest cookbook I’ve ever owned, it’s like the Bible of baking! I’m so excited to read through it and play around with it. I think it’s too heavy for me to read in bed though!

It was an incredible weekend and I came away encouraged, inspired and full of excitement to follow my dream and jump into the food world head first. There will be some big changes around here soon, and they’re all for the better! Thank you so much to Foodista for an incredible conference, I can’t believe it was put together in a couple months! Thanks to Jen Lamson for doing a ticket share with me and being so generous so I could get to go. Thanks to Traca for being the Queen of connections and showering love on everyone! Thanks to my wonderful husband for being okay with me galavanting around for a weekend while he did housework, he’s the best! Can’t wait til next year :)

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