The Big Traveling Potluck
I want to start this post off by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this and I was not paid to write it.
A lot of non-bloggers don’t realize how much work and dedication must go into a blog. I spend a lot of time on this blog. I do it because I love it, but it is a lot of work. My evenings are always filled with editing photos or writing posts My weekends are always packed with cooking and photographing. Owning a blog is very much a business and it requires a lot of dedication in order to be successful. I mostly blog for myself. I love cooking and creating new recipes. My skills in the kitchen have really grown over the past 3 years and I have grown to love food photography, something I never thought I would say! I would be totally lying though if I said that I only blogged for my own enjoyment. I also blog because of you, my readers. Your support means so much and I love to create new recipes for you!
The problem with blogging for others and as a business is that it comes with added pressures and stress. There are days where I just have a hard time thinking of good recipes or when a recipe doesn’t turn out. There are days that I have no idea what to write. I have days where I feel totally overwhelmed by the “business” side of blogging such as keeping up with social media. And then I have days where I am just too exhausted to do any of it. Period. Blogging has a lot of ups and downs and feeling burned out can be really frustrating. I have kind of been feeling that way recently and was really looking forward to a weekend away with some amazing and talented food bloggers to get me feeling inspired again.
Enter The Big Traveling Potluck (BTP). I was finally able to make it to a blogging event out of town a couple of weeks ago and it was such a great experience! I would describe BTP as a retreat more than a conference given the location and the smaller crowd. And not surprisingly, BTP was all about food! The Big Potluck was held in Temecula, CA so about a 5 1/2 drive from Phoenix. I packed up my bags and met up with Ari from Ari’s Menu and Nicole from The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie and away we went! We had a great time singing Gangsta’s Paradise and getting date shakes in Indio. The shake trip almost made us late for the bus from the hotel, but we made it with about 5 minutes to spare and made it on the bus to hit the first stop of the weekend, Callaway Winery!
Fork in the Road Foods provided dinner that night with yummy hot dogs, potato salad, and chili! Oh and wine, duh. Of course there was wine!
We were up bright and early Saturday morning and got to drink really tasty smoothies made from the folks at Earthbound Farm and KitchenAid and then we were whisked from the hotel to an amazing property in Temecula for the day. Breakfast was provided by Sabra. It was this amazing breakfast casserole that I am totally going to recreate because it was amazeballs.
After breakfast, it was time for some talks and mini sessions. I have to say this whole afternoon was just really refreshing and inspiring for me. Starting to feel like I was in a blogging rut, all of the sessions were exactly what I needed. We first got to hear from Aran from the blog, Cannelle et Vanille. If you want to see a really beautiful blog, you must see Aran’s blog. Aran was very honest with us and talked about blogging burnout and failure which was really good timing for me as I have been feeling it lately myself. We then got to see Ashley from Not Without Salt (her photos are amazing!). Ashley talked about having to date your blog. Like relationships with the people we love, my relationship with my blog is also going to have its ups and downs. Ashley helped me realize that this is okay. It’s okay if I have a low week. It’s okay if I have a week where I only post once or twice instead of three times.
The next session was with Cheryl from 5 Second Rule. Cheryl was all about writing. Writing is something I really struggle with. I write a lot for my job and it’s all scientific writing. Writing up scientific studies and talking about statistics is obviously a completely different type of writing compared to writing for my blog and I am often just exhausted by the time that the evening rolls around, I feel like I have nothing exciting to say about my recipes. Writing is probably one of the biggest things I wish I could improve upon!
After lunch, we moved across the street for drink mixing and craft time! I first got to decorate really cute jars for some homemade citrus sea salt and lavender sugar that I can’t wait to put to use! Jordan and Jocelyn from This Girl Walks Into a Bar showed us how to make our own sweet and sour mix to make the best whiskey sours! And then they showed us how to package everything. I love homemade gifts!
After the drink mixing and crafting, it was time for ice cream! We came back to a table lined with beautiful KitchenAid mixers and different homemade ice cream flavors mixed in the KitchenAid Ice Cream attachment which I always use and love!
After the ice cream, it was time for dinner! We hopped back on the bus and headed to another property with amazing views!
Dinner was provided by Gourmet Garden and we got to use more fun tools from OXO. Everything was set up so beautifully!
It was actually really cold outside, so a few of us were lucky enough to grab a table inside to eat!
For dinner, we had lamb. I am not usually a fan of lamb, but holy heck, this was some good lamb! It was so good, I forgot to take a picture of it! After dinner, there was live music and more time to chat with each other and unwind from the day.
I was really excited because I got to finally meet some of my favorite bloggers in person like Sam from The Little Ferraro Kitchen,Megan from Wanna be a Country Cleaver, Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain,and Meagan from A Zesty Bite just to name a few! Everyone was so supportive and friendly! I love all these peeps!
Sunday was a short day. We had a delicious breakfast spread and then headed home!
As you can see, it was a busy weekend filled with lots of inspiration, good friends,amazing views, and good food! I already can’t wait for next year! I want to give a big thank you to the amazing team that organized BTP! Please read more about the team here!
And of course, I know this event wouldn’t have happened without all of the amazing sponsors, so big thanks to Fork in the Road Foods, OXO,KitchenAid, Kerrygold, Earthbound Farms, CA Ripe Olives, Sabra, and Gourmet Garden!