I can’t believe that last week was the 2014 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference. This was a trip that I had been planning for and looking forward to for so long and it came and went in a blur, as I knew it would. So it’s a week later and where am I? Life is fully back to normal but while I have been sitting at my desk crunching numbers or watching my son play soccer, my mind has been buzzing with everything I heard last week.
Before I go any further let me be honest, there will be no food mentioned in this post. Even though I ate some delicious meals and received amazing swag from our generous sponsors, the conference overall was so much bigger than that. I need to discuss ideas before I talk about food. There are three words that keep rising to the top, that keep making me think. They are connection, authenticity and vulnerability.
Before the conference even began I thought about what I wanted to accomplish. It was important to me to make face to face connections with bloggers and sponsors that I had been chatting with on social media. I was intentional in this purpose and I am pleased that in this one goal I had for myself I was successful.
And of course some of my favourite moments came from connections I made that were unexpected. We are so lucky to belong to a community that are open and welcoming. I shared hugs with many of you, people I have never met but with who I share a common bond of food. One of those hugs was even worthy enough for a tweet!
Connection was MY goal for the conference but Melissa and Ethan (the organizers of the conference) had another goal. Whether it was intentional or not this is where my second word comes in, authenticity. As I flip through my notes and reflect back on the sessions there was a common thread. It didn’t matter if we were talking about writing a cookbook or the business of photography the same theme was there. Who are you? What do you stand for? Be yourself! I think we all know these things but what a great reminder.
And the best way to demonstrate that was by bringing us the dynamic duo that is Thug Kitchen. I’m not the only one who didn’t know what they were all about before the conference but because they were coming I checked them out. Yes, their blog is heavy on swearing but after meeting them and speaking with them that is how they are and that is how their passion for their food comes through. They are real and true.
And as a side note, Michelle and Matt were so gracious. They took time to speak with everyone and were genuinely interested in what we all had to say. They fit right in with us and I know that when I cook their recipes in my kitchen it will feel like they are with me. That’s how we should all be. To know who we are and share ourselves with our readers, authentic.
And that leads me to my last word, the hard word, vulnerability. The last session of the conference really brought this home to me. Another blogger I didn’t have a lot of experience with, Ashley Rodriguez, was sharing how it’s ok to let yourself be vulnerable when talking in your blog.
And then there was that one photo that brought me to tears. Those of you who were there know I’m not talking about her dirty kitchen photo but that intimate one of her and her husband sharing a plate of cookies. If you want to see what I’m talking about you will have to wait until her new book Date Night In comes out. That one beautiful image captures so much and prompts me to think of many things. But if you narrow it down, the lesson for myself is can I let myself be vulnerable enough in my blog to tell you a good story? A story that you can relate to as well as I related to that one intimate photo? I don’t know how well I can achieve this but I am sure willing to try.
Thank you to Melissa, Ethan and all the volunteers that helped to put on this amazing conference filled with not only blog lessons but life lessons. And thank you to all of you bloggers and sponsors that made a connection with me. I’m afraid to mention any of you specifically for fear that I will leave anyone out. You all really made the weekend for me.
For those of you who stuck around to read all of that, thank you. I promise my next post won’t be so heavy and move back to the topic of food. After all I have to tell you about all the yummy Vancouver treats.
But before I go I have to share one photo with you that just makes me smile. It comes from my friend Fareen over at Food Mamma who was smart enough to bring a selfie stick! This picture sums the whole conference up for me, thanks everyone!