the good and the bad of food blog conferences (or, my blogher food recap)

I spent the weekend in Atlanta for the BlogHer Food 2011 conference. I decided that, rather than sum up the exact details of the sessions I attended, I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned about attending food blog conferences. I have been to four of them over the past year (crazy, right?) and I’m pretty confident that I can be considered an expert by now.

So here it is – the good and the bad of attending food blog conferences, in no particular order:

1. You will learn something from the sessions you attend. It may be a nugget of information that you can tuck away to make your writing better (such as using active verbs instead of passive ones, a morsel I gleaned from David Leite’s and Nancy Baggett’s session) or your photography more beautiful or your recipe writing more accurate and informative. Or, you may learn that some speakers, no matter how great their blog or book is, are not good public speakers. You will learn that the secret to removing a temporary pig tattoo is nail polish remover. Also, a good way to freak out your husband is to get a temporary tattoo and leave out the “temporary” part. The key with conferences is finding just one little bit of knowledge that you didn’t have before showing up. You won’t be disappointed if you keep your expectations relatively low. I have embraced this valuable lesson.


2. You will walk out with swag or prizes from sponsors that you can’t wait to use when you get home. You might even have to leave your over-sized winnings, items too large to carry onto your flight, with a friend to babysit for you until you can reunite in five months at the next conference.

3. You will be disappointed by – and amused at the ridiculousness of – other products tucked away in the conference swag bag. A donation to the trash can will be in order, or perhaps to the hotel housekeeping staff to do with as they will.

sausage in progress


4. You may get to learn how to grind your own sausages, thanks to the fabulous Queens of Charcuterie and Charcutepalooza founders, Kim and Cathy. You might even start chatting with Hank Shaw as he is frying up those sausages and embarrass yourself by not immediately recognizing him.


5. You will not get much sleep. What sleep you do get will probably be interrupted by thoughts racing through your head of people you’ve met, people you would still like to meet, or of your husband/wife/partner/kids/cats/goldfish back home. Or, you may sleep like a rock because you’re finally getting time away from work and other stresses.

6. You will eat too much, especially if you eat dinner out, away from the conference hotel. The food will be wonderful and the drinks will be plenty. If you follow a gluten-free or vegan diet, you may not eat as much as others do. Occasionally, and frighteningly, hotel staff may get confused and put southern biscuits and cornbread on the gluten-free table.

7. You will pack your gym clothes and running shoes, and they will be forgotten in a corner of the room, getting buried under dirty clothes and discarded swag.

8. If you have your photo on Twitter or on your blog, you will be pleasantly surprised and flattered when other bloggers walk up to you to say hello because they’ve recognized your face. That feeling that wells up inside will be warm and fuzzy, like a comforting hug from a best friend. You should put a photo of yourself on Twitter or your blog. It helps. Really, it does.

9. You will introduce yourself to someone and find that you have nothing else to say beyond hello. Awkward silence will ensue and you will excuse yourself politely. You will introduce yourself to another person and find that you have just made a new confidante. You will feel that you have known each other forever.

10. You will find that cliques have formed among different circles of bloggers and writers and photographers. Some of these groups will be open and welcoming as you introduce yourself, and they will invite you to have a seat and chat. Others will not be so kind. You will feel like you are in high school again, and the cool kids just publicly snubbed you. It may hurt. You should ignore this and remember that this is NOT high school. You are a wonderful person and not getting to know you better is their loss.

11. You will not take as many photos as you would like, and the ones you do take will not be as great as you remembered them feeling in the moment. This can be blamed on many things, including the bad lighting in the conference hotel. The number one reason you will not take as many photos, though, is that you are engaged. You are wrapped up in conversations and activities, and you just don’t remember to pull out the camera. This is forgivable.

Elissa, Tessa, Kamran, and Lauren (missing from photo is Hannah)

12. You will feel inspired. A session on food styling may quicken your pulse when you understand that everyone has their own style (whether it’s Tami’s, Aran’s, or Stephanie’s) and that no single style is the right one. You may meet a chef from California whose talk of learning over time to become confident in her cooking skills motivates you to work harder to find assurance in your own skills. You will encounter young people whose passion for food is vast and their energy seemingly boundless. All of these things will motivate you, inspire you, and give you butterflies in your stomach. At the end of the day, you will find yourself smiling to yourself as you finally fall asleep, exhausted and content.

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106 Responses to “the good and the bad of food blog conferences (or, my blogher food recap)”

  1. 1
    Carrie — May 23, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

    this leaves me feeling a sense of accomplishment that i did make it to the gym one time.

  2. 2
    DessertForTwo — May 23, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    I really enjoyed your recap! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Sad I couldn’t go.

  3. 3
    brandi@BranAppetit — May 23, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    I love this – and agree with everything you said! So glad we got to meet 🙂

  4. 4
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — May 23, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    The most excellent blogging conference summary ever. Period.

    (You forgot the part about finding out that your roommate and you get on even better than you did last time you met LOL!)
    Hugs and thanks for a great weekend!

    • 4.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 23, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

      My roommate was definitely the best. And, she didn’t wake me up as she got sick all of Friday night – best. roommate. ever. (Hugs!)

  5. 5
    JulieD — May 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Wow, pretty much the best food blog conference recap I have ever read! So good to see you again, MJ!

  6. 6
    spiceblogger — May 23, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Eloquently stated. 🙂

    I believe I saw you listed for the IFBC in NOLA in August? I’ll be there–my very first blogging conference. I’m excited! And I look forward to meeting you.
    And I will take all of your points to heart. Thank you for the heads up. 🙂


  7. 7
    MikeVFMK — May 23, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    Thank you! I wasn’t there but it was described just how I thought the conference of that size would go. I can’t wait to attend more food conferences and I’ll be sure to follow some of these great guidelines! Maybe I’ll even meet you at a future one.

  8. 8
    Melissa @Dash of East — May 23, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    Really enjoyed your recap of BlogHer Food! I was running in between this conference and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival all weekend, and ended up spending the bulk of my time at the latter, so I really loved getting to see things that I missed 🙂

  9. 9
    My Man's Belly — May 23, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    An excellent summation of the weekend! And I’m glad to read someone else is giving the same advice that I do. If you learn one more thing than you previously knew and it can help you in your pursuits, it was time well spent.

  10. 10

    I wish I couls have been there! Someday!!!

  11. 11

    Number 10 is so true. I was kind of taken aback by the cliquishness until I reminded myself how many amazing, welcoming people I met who became true blue friends. I’m glad you had such a good time. 🙂

    • 11.1
      Christine — May 23, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

      What a lovely write up MJ!

      It makes me want to meet you even more. Wish I had been there, but I enjoyed my time #BHF11PP.

      The sad part is those same clique’s you speak of in #10 are alive and well on Twiiter too. Have been snubbed so many times, cannot even count them. But, you are right. It is their loss. Sucks though that we all can’t just enjoy each other and friendship.

      Xo. ( @adownbythehearth )

      • mj (merry gourmet)
        mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

        Yes, we definitely need to meet. The Twitter snubs are definitely real. I’ve been on that end of things more than I care to imagine. I have to remind myself that it’s not that important, but yes, it still stings.

  12. 12

    Eat, Write, Retreat was only my first blogging conference, but I identify with all of these. Especially the racing mind one. The first night I could only think of names, faces etc. It was so lovely to make such amazing friends. I hope I can catch up with you one of these days at one!

  13. 13
    Michael Procopio — May 23, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    You just nailed the feel of this conference.

    However, I would add to #11 another reason for not taking photos: hotel staffers asking you to put your camera away “for security reasons.” That happened to lots of folks. Absurd.

    Another thing I would add is that two days isn’t enough time to meet everyone at a 500-person conference. Sometimes, all one has time for is a genuine “OMYGODHI!” before rushing off to another panel or being herded off to drinks or dinner with friends. There were so many people I would have liked to talk to more, but time (and my liver) did not allow.

    Cliquishness? Yup, there’s that. But I’ve discovered that sometimes what can be perceived as such is simply a combination of the vibe put out by friends who haven’t seen each other in ages wanting a few minutes off in a corner to catch up and the social exhaustion from saying hello to 50 people in the span of an hour or two. And when the 30th blogger comes up and hands you his or her card before even saying hello. Well, my goodness.

    I know I was totally exhausted.

    I’d love to see someone come up with a post on good conference etiquette, wouldn’t you?

    Oh, and Abbatoir was wonderful. I went there my first night in town with friends I’ve know for 30 years. That evening, it was blessedly food blogger-free. Except for me, of course.

    • 13.1
      brhau — May 23, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

      Cheryl wrote a nice one:

    • 13.2
      Andrew @ Eating Rules — May 23, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

      Beautifully said, MJ (and boy, do I wish we would’ve had more time together than simply waving at each other as we pass by several times!) — and great additions, MP!

      Anytime I read something like this I’m mortified that it’s referring to me. Gosh, I hope not.

      After last year’s BlogHer Food Conference, Cheryl Sternman Rule gave her suggestions on conference etiquette:

      Huge hugs to you both!

    • 13.3
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

      Thanks, Michael. What was with the “security reasons”? Crazy.

      I’m sure you are right about the other reason for groups seeming cliquish. Brushing off that feeling of getting snubbed (whether real or perceived) is still something that a lot of us – me included – have to get over.

  14. 14
    Liren — May 23, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    So, so, so very accurate. From the good (inspiration and lessons learned) and the ugly (all the useless swag and the cliques), conferences are great experiences and such an opportunity to grow. I’m sad I missed this one, I do hope one day we will meet in person, MJ!

  15. 15
    LiztheChef — May 23, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    I could not agree more with absolutely every point you made! I’ve only been to one blogging conference, Camp Blogaway, but am going to Santa Monica in November for IFBC. You too??

  16. 16

    Nicely done. Very. I’ve been putting off any writing of the weekend because I’m still processing, and this provided a refreshing perspective. You’ve got an excellent voice in your writing — love it.

  17. 17
    hannah — May 23, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    this could not be more spot on! (tuna packets, really? hello, trash can!) it was absolutely lovely meeting you. i told my mom you asked about her and she was blown away, i think your blog is her new favorite now, haha! 🙂

  18. 18
    Kathleen — May 23, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

    Great recap. I’ve dragged myself through a blur of conferences over the years and this accurately sums up the vibe. As you noted, there’s always something to learn and never enough time to meet everyone. At the next conference, let’s make sure that you and I get a chance to huddle in a corner over a drink. We’ll be the nice kids in school who invite the others in.

    Oh, and I had no idea what to do with that turkey basting combo. I hope my hotel maid finds something to do with it.

  19. 19
    Lana — May 23, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    Merry Jennifer, this is an excellent recap of the conference. On my trip back home (and I spent Sunday at the High Museum and eating a lovely lunch by myself in Atlanta) I had many contrasting thoughts, but in the end I felt good. I wish there was more time to talk to all the people I wanted to meet, and get to know so many of them better. We pretty much agree on all points:)
    I loved meeting you, but regret not spending more time with you, Winnie, and Mardi. I guess Twitter allows for more time than a speedy conference like BlogHerFood:)
    There is always “the next time”:)

  20. 20
    Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane — May 23, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    Love your candor on this one. I attended two conferences last year and, for some of the reasons you’ve mentioned, decided to sit this one out to rebuild my food blog conference strength. 🙂

    IFBC in Santa Monica in November? Maybe so.

    • 20.1
      Melissa @ The Fresh 20 — May 23, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

      I wish you had been there so we could have started a nice girl click instead of the mean girl click that seems to somewhat linger at these conferences. These conferences stir up all my insecurities even though I’m fairly sure I am a pretty cool person. And by cool, I mean kind, generous and wanting everyone to be happy inside their lives. Please come down for IFBC. We can wear nice girl t-shirts.

    • 20.2
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

      I’ll be at the other IFBC – in New Orleans. My last conference of the year.

  21. 21
    Winnie — May 23, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    You are so right on it’s scary. Bummed that my exhaustion, PMS (sorry, it’s true), and the high school stuff was just not a good combo at all. Clearly this was obvious since I spent some of the weekend in tears. Anyway, I loved spending time with you, met some seriously great people, and I am sure I learned one thing I didn’t know before. So all in all, it was worthwhile to go. Not sure I’d go to BHF again, though….starkist in a foil pouch anyone?

  22. 22
    HeatherChristo — May 23, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    Thank you for writing this. You completely summed up my weekend without me having to even write the words!

    I was the Geek at the back table with the social anxiety! Wish we had met in person 🙂

  23. 23
    Lindsay — May 23, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    This is wonderful, you are wonderful. Wish we could have spent more time together! Next one, perhaps? 🙂

  24. 24
    Aimee @ Simple Bites — May 23, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    MJ- what a fantastic recap. I can’t even begin to put BHF to words, but you’ve done it so well.

    I’m so glad you had your face on your avatar, because I could recognize that smile anywhere. 🙂
    Wish we could have talked more. Keep in touch!

    • 24.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

      Aimee, it was SUCH a pleasure to meet you there. We seriously need to get together again soon. Too bad you’re so far away!

  25. 25
    Michael Wangbickler — May 23, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    Nice recap.

    I especially like #7. I do this EVERY time. I have big ambitions that go unfulfilled and I have to work twice as hard at the gym when I get back home. *sigh* The things we do…

  26. 26
    Kathleen — May 23, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    If anyone reading this is going to IACP in Austin, drop me a line. If you don’t know anyone attending (or only a few), fear not. You’ll know me. 🙂

  27. 27
    Paula - bell'alimento — May 23, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    Spot on MJ! & might I add that everyone should be so lucky to get to know YOU xoxo Miss you bunches! So glad I got to see you & hug your neck! Mwah!

  28. 28
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 23, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    oh man, I hope I’m not one of those bloggers who came across as a horrible public speaker! Eek!

    I’m guilty of bringing my gym clothes along & not going to the gym. ZERO time for that.

    Love all of the points you brought up, and found myself nodding at every single one 😉

  29. 29
    bunkycooks — May 23, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    I totally agree with your take on the conference. I am glad that I got to see you (very briefly) and wish we had more time to chat. I heard this very same opinion from different people over the weekend. I am glad that I attended this year, but would certainly question doing it in the future. Let’s just all get together and have one great dinner and party…that’s what I say! 😉

  30. 30
    Heidi / foodiecrush — May 23, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Great, fun, witty recap. You hit the nail right on the blogging conference head. 🙂

  31. 31
    cathy/ShowFoodChef — May 23, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

    What a humorous and honest wrap-up, really enjoyed it. I wasn’t at this one, but I’ve been to a couple so far and will go to IFBC in SM, probably. You reminded all of us about perspective and keeping a sense of ourselves and your post is absolutely fun. THx.

  32. 32
    Liss — May 23, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    Great post – I was watching by the Twitterstream in Australia in the early hours wanting so badly to be there (next year huh?) but reading your run-down I realise also, that many blog conferences are the same – food, mothering, generic – particularly the awkward silences, writers vs public speakers and connecting with people immediately and the cliques.

    Great roundup!

  33. 33
    jaclyn — May 23, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

    i loved your recap, mj! it was such a pleasure to see you again this weekend, even though it was brief and we didn’t get much time to chat. wish we did, but i’m certain that we’ll see one another again soon, perhaps at a florida bloggers meetup or something fun like that!

    i agreed with you list on nearly every level. for the most part, everyone i met was lovely and sweet, but there were those groups of ‘cool kids’ that were less than friendly. i suppose that’s life.

    i admit, i was a bit intimidated to walk up to people, especially those whose blogs i love so much and introduce myself! i was a little shy, but next year i’ll muster up the guts to chat more people up :]

  34. 34
    Aggie — May 23, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    Love it MJ!! I’m still a newbie when it comes to conferences. I feel like I floated through the two I’ve been to! 🙂 love ya girl!

  35. 35
    Lori — May 23, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

    What a wonderful recap. BlogHer Food was my first blogging conference, and I was delighted to meet you (briefly) in the line at Starbucks on Saturday morning. I wish we had more time to chat.

    Overall my conference experience was positive. I met some very nice people, and I learned something in all but one of the sessions I attended. My only regret was not having enough time to do the social parties (I really needed to network) and have a proper dinner in Atlanta!

  36. 36
    Irvin at Eat the Love — May 23, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Such a FANTASTIC recap! Love it. Pretty much every point was true, though I agree with Michael in that the cliques occur because old friends really want five minutes alone to hang out and catch up. I never take it personally, and I know I’ll meet someone else equally amazing if I just turn around and introduce myself.

    I’m so glad though, that I had a chance to get dinner with you as well as the quality time getting lost in Atlanta in our crazy rental car. Good times. Good. Times.

    • 36.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Irvin. I loved getting the chance to get to know you better, even if I did steer you wrong on the way back to the hotel. I wonder, though, if it’s easier for men to brush off the perceived snubs than it is for women?

  37. 37
    Stephanie — May 23, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

    I loved this. Thank you.

  38. 38
    snippetsofthyme — May 23, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have watched the “twits” from people attending the conference and wondered if I should have gone. I am rather new to blogging and feel like I might get overwhelmed. It was nice to have a peek into someone else’s perspective!

  39. 39
    SMITH BITES — May 23, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

    spot on MJ – perfectly written and such great advice for all conference attendees; you’re smart, funny and it was such a pleasure to meet you – even though it was way too brief. i hope we get another chance to connect at another conference because that was probably the most frustrating for me – lots of folks to say ‘hello’ to and simply not enough time before someone else comes up and says, ‘oh, you’re —- it’s great to meet you’ and then we’re off to another convo!!!

  40. 40
    Macaroni Mama — May 23, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

    Loved the writing. You are so comfortable in “your voice”.

  41. 41
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — May 23, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    After last weekend I agree with everything you wrote. Literally, everything. The one question remaining is – how did I not meet you???

  42. 42
    Cindy — May 23, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    Why or why did I not go to the sausage session??? That’s definitely where all the cool kids were!

  43. 43
    Gail — May 23, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

    LOVE THIS RECAP!!! I always feel so ambivalent about these conferences……I don’t feel it’s necessary to go til I start reading tweets about who met whom, etc.
    Thank you for breaking it down, keeping it real and obviously having a boatload of fun.

  44. 44
    Helene — May 23, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

    For swag bag: local food bank…I make people happy everytime I come home 🙂
    Sad I could not be there with you and “our” crew but hopeful I am never part of the not good public speaker 🙂

    • 44.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

      Helene – You are a great public speaker. I loved your session at Food Blog Forum in Orlando and the food photo class the next day. Really wish you could have been there this weekend – I missed you!

  45. 45
    Kelsey — May 23, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    What a great re-cap, you were spot on. I felt the #10 sting several times, but, oh well, we move on. It was so great to meet you in person, we have to see each other more than just at conferences. Have a great week!

  46. 46
    Lynn — May 23, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    Write-on! I appreciate your candor. This was my 2nd conference in a 12 month period. You are so right about finding a nugget or two in each session and that with a little luck and smile perhaps a personal connection or two.

  47. 47

    Great summary. I went to a food blog conference last month, and can definitely relate to most of your tips! Everyone always blogs about what they learned and shares notes, etc… no one ever tells you to keep your expectations low!

  48. Pingback: Spring Green Salad with Almonds, Olives, and Preserved Meyer Lemon | Healthy Green Kitchen

  49. 48
    Stephanie — May 24, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    It was wonderful to meet you this past weekend! Hope we’ll see each other soon again at another foodie conference. 🙂

  50. 49

    this is an awesome post!

    i love this and it’s so true: “You won’t be disappointed if you keep your expectations relatively low.”–sad but true. I went to my 1st blogger conf with these very high expectations and things were a little different than I had planned on in my mind 🙂

    Love the great recap post including southern biscuits on the vegan/gf table…ahhh, yep. Things like that happen ALL the time I’m thinking!

  51. 50
    Kulsum at JourneyKitchen — May 24, 2011 @ 6:02 am

    I have never been to any food conference and yet I think I agree with all your points! It was great reading this and get an insight into conference, as I’m afraid I’m not getting to attend one anytime soon!

  52. 51
    The Yummy Mummy — May 24, 2011 @ 9:05 am

    Here’s what I love about this post – it’s inclusive. Most recaps make you feel like a putz for not having been there. You told your story in a way that empowers and speaks to readers, whether they went to the conference or not. Fantastic.

    You are such a good writer. What a joy to read. A joy to have spent time with you. And a joy to be your friend.

    xo Kim

  53. 52
    Foodie Flack — May 24, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    Great re-cap! Thanks so much for sharing. I LOVE and agree with #3!

  54. 53
    Debbie Koenig — May 24, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    Love this post. I could’ve used a reminder about #10 a few times myself this weekend. And #11! I didn’t break out my camera even once. And #3, and #12, and #9…

  55. 54
    Lora @cakeduchess — May 24, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Wonderful post and recap of an event I wanted to attend. I’m happy you enjoyed it and had some time away. Sorry about the cliques and yes, their loss. I can’t wait to meet you one day IRL:)

  56. 55
    Allison Fishman — May 24, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    My girl, you’ve nailed it. There is nothing to add. I was going to post a recap, but now I think I’ll just link to yours. Let’s continue the conversation we started; you got me all excited.

  57. 56
    Kristin Murdock — May 24, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    Just found your blog, and this was SO helpful! I have never been to a food blogger conference and my primary reason for not going was because I was worried it would be totally clique-y and people wouldn’t be friendly. I’m glad I decided to skip BlogHer this year, but love your recap and it’s making me want to attend a conference soon.

    • 56.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 25, 2011 @ 10:13 am

      You should attend one sometime. It can be overwhelming, but I think it’s totally worth it. Or else I wouldn’t have gone to so many. 🙂

  58. 57
    Dixie Caviar — May 24, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Oh my goodness, how did I not meet all you FAB ladies (and gents) this weekend. I was so excited to attend BlogHer Food and was really looking forward to meeting some people with my same crazy interests.

    The first part of day one started off great, but I ended up at the rudest lunch table in the history of the world. The girls all knew each other from a cooking forum and clearly didn’t want a newbie with them. I was horrified! It threw me off for the rest of the day, so much so that I ended up leaving early that night. It really was like high school, but worse!

    I brushed it off and came back reinvigorated on Saturday. It was much better in terms of making new friends (and I thought the sessions were better), but the coldness of some of the people really did leave a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of the conference. Clearly, though, there were some awesome bloggers in the room, I just didn’t find y’all.

    Let’s be friends online, okay!?!

    Dixie Caviar

    • 57.1
      mj (merry gourmet)
      mj (merry gourmet) — May 24, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

      These conferences can be hard on the ego and sometimes disheartening. Sounds like you did the right thing by brushing off the events of day 1. So sorry we didn’t get to meet!

  59. 58
    Sunchowder - Wendy Read — May 24, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    What a delight! A great read, makes me wish I went too……:)

  60. 59

    What a fun post. I will be going to my first conference in Nov. in Santa Monica, CA. I am really looking forward to it. This post made me even more excited!!! Thanks for the info.

  61. 60
    Jess — May 24, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Great post! Love your level headed view of food blog conferences. Also, I do like that charcuterie tattoo.

  62. 61
    Adam — May 24, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

    Great re-cap. I have been to two conferences now. IFBC in Seattle and the Food Blog Forum, Orlando. The people you meet make the entire trip worth while. Too bad Joanne and I couldn’t make it to this one 🙁

    There will be more 🙂

  63. 62
    Pilar — May 24, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    I agree, this was my first blog conference and I’m very happy I went.

  64. 63
    Lucy — May 24, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    Wonderful recap. I was so bummed that I had to miss it, since I live just outside of Atlanta. But a bridal shower for one friend’s daughter and a wedding for another friend’s daughter left no time in my weekend. I hope to attend some conferences next year for sure.

  65. 64
    Annalise — May 24, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    Such a perfect roundup of this past weekend! You hit the nail on the head. I’m glad I finally introduced myself Sunday morning, but I wish I had done it sooner so we had more time to chat!

  66. 65
    Jaden — May 24, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    oooh the memories I have from BHF! I still have my tattoo….trying to keep it there as long as I can

  67. 66

    What a nice post! You are a wonderful writer–I hope to go to one of these conferences in the future, but I’m just a newbie 🙂

  68. 67
    Renee @kudoskitchen — May 25, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    I enjoyed reading your post, very much. Looks like you had a wonderful time and I love how you got recognized from having your photo as your avatar on social sites. Very cool! You definitely are a pro at attending food conferences. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    Dan — May 25, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    What an excellent recap! This was Kelly and my first such conference, and it was filled with equal parts fun, interest, learning, and excitement to meet so many great people, but also a fair amount of trepidation and intimidation. It was great to meet you at the Charcutepalooza event, which was by far the most fun we had all weekend!

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    What a fun recap! I followed the conference adventures via twitter, wishing I could have been there. I hope you’ve since got some good rest and maybe I’ll see you at BHF next year!

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    Barbara @Barbara Bakes — May 25, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    Great recap. Should be required reading before attending a conference.

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    Pam — May 26, 2011 @ 9:36 am

    I had to remind myself of #10 several times. Conferences are an unnatural situation, and it’s hard to be outside your regular life–cliques form because they offer some safety and structure in a chaotic environment. It’s not personal, but it still hurts when you’re the one being excluded.

    As you said, the most important thing is the learning. I took away much more than swag from this conference. (But seriously, what was with that oversized butter knife?)

    Great post!

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    Katie — May 26, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

    Great post! 🙂 And, it was so nice to meet you (even though briefly) last weekend!

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    Fantastic post! It definitely put me at ease (or mostly anyway!) about going to a blogger conference and made me jealous, once again, that I couldn’t make the BlogHer Food Conference.

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    Faith Kramer — May 27, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    Nice summarization of my blogher food conference experiences and I wasn’t even at the Atlanta one.

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    Lauren — June 2, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    MJ, it was such a pleasure to see you in Atlanta. Your recap is so full of truths and most importantly, you. I hope I get to see you again soon. xox

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    Marly — June 6, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Loved this recap…and loved meeting you at BHF in Atlanta! so much of what you said is so true. I missed the temporary tattoo, but I think that session just wouldn’t have been my cup of tea (smile). I also agree with comment about cliques and high school. But it was refreshing to meet so many others who were more mature than all that – people who are open to meeting new people and taking in new experiences…like you!

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