BlogHer Food 2011 in Atlanta Recap (with links)

by Irvin on May 30, 2011 · 90 comments

I was packing my bag for BlogHer Food, trying to figure out what I needed to bring for the long weekend in the deep south, and I made the mistake of tweeting out to the twitterverse (yeah, I just used that word twitterverse in nonirony, feel free slap me in the face next time you see me) “Question. Should I go for outrageous gay pants or just middle-of-the-road gay pants at #BlogHerFood?” I knew that the minute I hit the tweet button, I was probably committing myself to bringing them along. The votes were unanimous. I had to bring my outrageous gay pants.

Gay or White Trash Pants

Gay or White Trash Pants? It's a fine line.

Now there’s fine line between gay pants and white trash pants. David Lee Roth is the perfect example. But according to David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria, I walk that line with a cat-like stealth. I think this is suppose to be a compliment, as David is a cat lover, so I’m just going to go with that. Either way, after crazy flight delays to Atlanta (I shall never flying Delta again) I went directly to dinner with a number of awesome food bloggers and then finally arrived at the fancy hotel that Sabrina of The Tomato Tart and I were sharing. Waiting for me in our room was an amazing box of Sublime Donuts that my friend Broderick of Savory Exposure dropped off. He had heard about my 5 hour delay and travel ordeal and had left them at the front desk for me. True southern hospitality!

Sublime Donuts

These Sublime Donuts almost made it worth the 5 hour delay. Almost.

Sabrina and I opted NOT to stay at the conference hotel and instead booked ourselves a lovely room at the Four Seasons Atlanta (where we paid a media rate, because, well, we’re media). I plan on doing a post specific about our stay at the Four Seasons, but in truth, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time there, as we were busy with BlogHer Food conference. In fact, though Sabrina and I had busted our asses to build our presentation, we had not actually gone through the final presentation together to make sure we had the timing right. So we ended up staying up late, doing a dry run of it. We collapsed in bed at 3am, ready for our presentation the next day.

Sabrina of The Tomato Tart

Sabrina of The Tomato Tart at Breakfast looking calm as can be before our presentation.

The next day found us wearing matching black and white outfits (Sabrina in an awesome striped dress and petticoat and me wearing my outrageously gay Dalmatian print pants with hot pink sweater vest). I figured if our presentation bombed, at least our outfits would distract people. That said, it seemed to be well received, with a number of people coming up to us throughout the conference telling us it was one of the highlights of their weekend. Success! We both plan on putting a condensed version of the session on our respective site, so look for that soon (the original presentation was 160 slides – trust me, you want a condensed version).

BlogHer Food presentation title card

Intro Slide to our Presentation at BlogHer Food

BlogHer Food had actually contacted me a couple weeks before the conference and asked me to moderate a different panel as well, on bring blogs to the mobile space. It’s not really a subject that I know much about, but the panelist were all big media companies and they wanted an individual blogger as a moderator to help balance it out. Despite not knowing much about the topic (perhaps this was a good thing?) the session seemed to go fairly smoothly, but what do you expect when you have amazing people on a panel like Tanya Steel from Epicurious.com, Kelly Senyei from Gourmet Live and Mark Levine from FoodNetwork.com/CookingChannelTV.com/Food.com? The only bummer of the session was that I had to miss the Kitchen Generation talk, which happened concurrent with the mobile session. I love the Kitchen Generation!

Kamran and Lauren of the Kitchen Generation

Kamran and Lauren of the Kitchen Generation having a fab time.

The rest of the conference was a whirlwind of activity. After Friday sessions, we headed over to the Ritz Carlton to go to the Tasty Kitchen party and then a group of 20 food bloggers headed to dinner together. Andrew of Eating Rules rallied us all together and called ahead to the restaurant Social to see if they could seat “20 food bloggers” in which the host replied back “20 footballers? Of course!” I hope we didn’t disappoint them. We took over the restaurant and chatted until all hours of the night.

Food Bloggers not Footballers

Food Bloggers not Footballers

The following day had me going to a couple of great sessions, including a fantastic panel of food photographers and stylist, Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille, Stephanie Shih of Desserts for Breakfast and Tami Hardeman of Running with Tweezers where they showed the evolution of their earlier work (which they claimed was awful, but the tweets during the session all said things like “Her ‘horrible’ early pics look better than my best pics!” and other such proclamations). Nevertheless is was great to see the amazing progression from early work to later work and to see how photographers learn and evolve. I even managed to learn a few things, like you can start your blog post with an image that explains the story – it doesn’t have to be the final beauty shot of the food item all perfect, or dark is just as important as light, or that you should start thinking about your photographs as you gather your ingredients for the dish, not right after you are done making it. I later had a lovely chat with Aran, where I introduced myself to her, and she responded back that yes, we had met the day before. Oh course we did. I tried to blame my lack of memory on the three hours of sleep I had, but there’s no way to recover from that one. Aran, was extremely gracious to me regardless (I love you Aran!) and I left wishing I had more time to spend with her.

Photography Session

Aran, Tami and Stephanie showing us their work.

In reality, I sort of wish I had more time in general to hang with new friends and old. I felt as if every minute of the conference I was waving to someone I knew from Twitter or I had met at one of the other food blogging conferences that I recognized, but I couldn’t actually go over to talk to, because I was too busy talking to someone else that I adore or love.

I adore David Leite

I adore David Leite.

The final session timeslot had Stephanie and I sneaking out of a photography session that was meant for beginners and sneaking into a session on how to make sausage from the Charcutapoolza peeps, Cathy Barrow of Mrs Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen and Kim Foster of The Yummy Mummy, along with Sean Timberlake of Hedonia/Punk Domestics. Many ribald comments about sausage and meat occurred throughout the demonstration and in the end Stephanie walked away with a barely used KitchenAid mixer, and I took home the sausage attachment. Totally worth us embarrassing ourselves by walking out of the aforementioned photography session (we later went and apologized to Sarah Olson of A Beach Home Companion and Alice Currah of Savory Sweet Life, who were leading the photo session and who I absolutely adore. They totally understood why we left).

Making Sausage

Sausage Fest. Make your own jokes.

At the end of the conference, we headed to the after party and hung out briefly before heading over to Cake & Ale where I had the best meal of the weekend. Tami of Running with Tweezers, who’s from Atlanta, had organized a dinner and I was so glad to get away from the hectic business of the conference and spend more than a few minutes alone with a group of people that I can’t get enough of. From there, we went back to the conference hotel, hung out with blogger pals until they kicked us out of the bar and then headed back to our fancy hotel to pretend to be rich people (actually we just passed out).

Hanging Out at BlogHer Food

I didn't have any pics from dinner so instead I am using this random shot from lunch.

The next morning, as people peeled off to fly back home, Sabrina and I met up with those who had later flights for brunch. It’s always the end of the conference where I realize how much I will miss everyone. Despite the online presence of everyone, the fact that I tweet, visit these people’s website, and how I feel like I am a part of their lives (and perhaps vice versa) nothing beats hanging out with the people in real life.

Breakfast after BlogHer Food is over

You were probably wondering if I took any pics of food. This proves I did.

Now, I almost didn’t write this recap of BlogHer Food. I’ve read a few other recaps of people talking about what a horrible time they had at the conference. Of being snubbed by a “famous person” or having dinner in their room alone because no one asked them to dinner with them. And each subsequent terrible recap made me sad; horrible sad. In the end, it had me asking myself, why did this happen and what can we do to change it? I had a pretty great time, why didn’t others? Should I not talk about the wonderful time I had with all the awesome people I met and hung out with?

hanging out with Lauren from Celiac Teen

Hanging out with Lauren from Celiac Teen was pretty great.

The reality is that everyone’s experience and perspective is different. What some people might construe as being clique-ish viewed from the other side is a group of people who hadn’t seen each other in a year and wish to catch up. What seems like a snub was actually a misinterpretation of someone being distracted by all that was going on at the conference, or perhaps exhaustion from being constantly “on” nonstop. Or maybe, it’s possible, some people are just jerks. It happens (though I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt).

Walking to dinner from BlogHer Food

Walking to dinner on the first night of BlogHer Food

What I love about food conferences is meeting people who share the same interests as you. And no matter whom you turn to, or whom you talked to, you ALWAYS had something to say, even if it was a simple “So what’s your blog about?” Food is the great uniter. Everyone has to eat, whether it’s vegan, gluten free, or anything else, it’s what brought everyone to the food blogging conference in the first place.

Sausage unites us all. I guess except for the vegans.

Sausage unites us all. I guess except for the vegans.

Here’s the secret. Everyone was scared. Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone thinks the cool kids are the other kids. And everyone was intimidated about approaching someone else. It happens. It’s human nature. But we’re not in junior high. We’re adults. And as an adult, I realize that if someone rejects me, move on, because inevitably you’ll find someone else right behind you, who is more cool, more awesome and more fantastic than that famous person who really isn’t all that famous in the first place.

Dinner at BlogHer Food

Dinner on Friday Night at BlogHer Food

And you know what? That person you just turned to talk to (because the famous person is too busy talking to someone else, too intimidating, too hard to meet because he/she is surrounded by a gaggle of other bloggers) is probably thinking you are equally awesome and equally cool and equally fantastic and will be thrilled to talk to you. Because they were scared that no one wanted to talk to them.

300+ Food Bloggers at BlogHer Food

300+ Food Bloggers at BlogHer Food all excited a probably a little scared.

Blogging is lonely, hard and rough. And food blogging conferences are suppose to be there to help you with that. It’s a chance to not only connect with other people who understand that food blogging is a lonely road, but it’s a chance to learn from them too. To learn how to improve your blog, whether it’s in recipe developing, narrative writing, or food photography/styling. It’s a chance to learn from your peers. And that’s what we are – peers. No one blogger out there is better than any other. Heck, no one person is better than any other. We are equal. It’s not a competition. If one of us succeeds, that paves the way for more of us to succeed.

Hanging out Post-BlogHer Food

Hanging out Post-BlogHer Food. Photo by Stephanie Stiavetti

So I look back at the conference and all the good time I had (and, admittedly a few bad times, as I too got snubbed by a few people, intentional or not) I try to think about what I learned and what I could take away from the conference. Unlike last year’s BlogHer Food, where I was energized and excited and ready to tackle by blog in a big way, this year’s experience left me more introspective. And when I did sit down and think about what I learned, I realized that the biggest take away I had from this year’s BlogHer Food was said from Donna Pierce in the session Off the Dish: Writing about Food in Travel, History and Experience. “We are more alike than we are different.”

Words to remember.

The Fresh 20

The Fresh 20

The Tomato Tart and Burwell's General Store

The Tomato Tart and Burwell's General Store

Salty Seattle

Salty Seattle

Evil Shenanigans and Eat the Love

Evil Shenanigans and Eat the Love

Hedonia

Hedonia

Note: If, by some reason, I snubbed you at BlogHer Food I want to apologize. I promise it was not intentional and I made every effort to truly connect with as many people as I could. Leave a comment below or tweet me and let’s start a conversation. I have a stack of other people’s business cards and I can’t wait to start exploring all the wonderful blogs that I didn’t know about.

Sitting in a Session at BlogHer Food

Bloggers sitting in our session at BlogHer Food waiting for us to start.

In the meanwhile, read about other people’s experiences at BlogHer Food, good or bad. If you have written a recap, please email me, leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll add you to this list.

Connect with Irvin via Social Media

You can connect with Irvin on a more direct level via his twitter page, his facebook fan page or his page. Just be forewarned that he tweets a heck of a lot.

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

merry jennifer May 30, 2011 at 5:12 am

What a fantastic recap, Irvin. You said – “It’s not a competition. If one of us succeeds, that paves the way for more of us to succeed.” That is so very true.

I’m thrilled that we had the chance to talk at dinner at Cakes & Ale!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:32 am

I was so thrilled to be able to get away from the chaos (as wonderful as it was) at BlogHer Food and just hang out and talk for more than five minutes with you and a few other at dinner. Cake & Ale was all that I wanted it to be, delicious company and warm comforting food!

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Cathy May 30, 2011 at 5:17 am

Lovely post – so true, every single word – I would guess every attendee had a moment of anxiety – some more than others (me, for instance! ha!) And your photos, as always, as spectacular. Sorry we didn’t have more time to chat (I saw you at the sausage session and never did catch up.) I would have liked to tell you how much I enjoy every post of yours. You hit the mark – writing, photos, recipes – every time.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:36 am

You are so sweet! It would have been wonderful to spend more time chatting, but I guess it’s the nature of the food conference, too much to do, not enough time to do it all! You guys were spectacular up there making fantastic sausage. Stephanie gave me the meat grinder attachments for the KitchenAid that she won, so I can’t wait to dive in and make some sausage! As always, you guys inspire me in such fantastic ways…

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Belinda @zomppa May 30, 2011 at 5:18 am

Thanks for a great recap. We weren’t there, but this made me feel like I was so. So true that we really are more alike…and how wonderful to be surrounded by others who love food, too! BTW – I really wish I was there to see those pants live – they’re marvelous!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:38 am

I’m sorry you couldn’t make it as it would be wonderful to meet up. But I’m so glad you enjoyed my recap. It really was a fun time. And yes, those pants seemed to be quite the hit there in BlogHer Food.

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brandi@BranAppetit May 30, 2011 at 5:22 am

Great recap! I’m so sad we didn’t get to meet at the conference – next time!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:39 am

Thank you! It’s so hard to meet everyone. But next conference I’m putting you on the top of my list of people to track down! I’d love to meet in real life.

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Lisa Huff @ Snappy Gourmet May 30, 2011 at 5:58 am

Yes, great recap! Your presentation was awesome and I so appreciate you and Sabrina putting so much effort into it! Your hard work definitely showed. Don’t get me started on some of the other sessions. :) And both your outfits definitely rocked!!!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:43 am

I’m so glad to hear that! Sabrina and I worked hard on creating a presentation that we hoped would be informative but not too boring or dry. Sometimes we can get all design geeky.

And I did hear some grumblings about the other sessions, but I will say that I was pretty pleased with the ones that I went to. And thanks for noticing that our outfits! We were pleased that we had brought matching black and white clothes to Atlanta.

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Aimee @ Simple Bites May 30, 2011 at 6:12 am

A most excellent recap! I’m so glad I introduced myself after Aran’s session. It was great to meet! And now I made it on to your blog – the random shot from lunch -?! Pinch me please.

No seriously, I was another one who had a fabulous time with all the wonderful people I met. You nailed it with this post.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:50 am

So glad that you introduced yourself to me too! I loved meeting you and that photo of you guys at lunch is awesome! I actually didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to, but I was too busy meeting people and going to sessions to take pics!

Yay! Happy that I wasn’t the only one who had a fab time with all the fab people. Thanks!

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veron May 30, 2011 at 6:15 am

I loved your outfit! The “inn at little washington” uses dalamation prints in their kitchen uniforms and I think it’s unique. Great recap! I think if I didn’t meet more new food bloggers it’s because I forgot about making and bringing blog biz cards otherwise I would have felt more comfortable walking up to new bloggers I didn’t know.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 1:55 am

I’ve never been to the Inn at Little Washington, but I’ve actually always wanted to go! And I think someone else had mentioned to me as well that they had dalmatian print there.

Business cards are a great ice breaker, but it shouldn’t hold you back from meeting new bloggers! For me, the business card is really just a reminder, after the conference, to go and check out a persons blog. But what matters most is the connection that I make initially. Sorry I didn’t have a chance to meet you in real life! Perhaps next time.

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Andrew @ Eating Rules May 30, 2011 at 7:02 am

1. What a fabulous recap!

2. Love, love, love this: “I realize that if someone rejects me, move on, because inevitably you’ll find someone else right behind you, who is more cool, more awesome and more fantastic than that famous person who really isn’t all that famous in the first place.”

3. I’m so glad you wore the outrageous pants. It was a mini-highlight of the conference for me!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:04 am

1. Thank you!

2. It totally true. I’ve long learned that if someone rejects me for whatever reason, there’s someone better right around the corner. Haven’t been proven wrong yet.

3. Hmmm…I wonder if that says more about the conference or about my pants. ;)

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Susan @ SGCC May 30, 2011 at 7:58 am

Well said, Irvin. I love your take on BHF (and I LOVED your pants)! Attending a conference like this where you don’t know 90% of the other attendees is definitely intimidating – especially when most of them look as young as your teenaged daughter! And, for some of us it is excruciating to walk up to a bunch of strangers and ask to be accepted. I think that is a more problem existing within ourselves than with others. That said, there were some pretty exclusionary cliques, and some downright rude behavior that I didn’t expect at BHF.

Look forward to seeing you again next time – if I can work up the nerve to go! ;)

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:10 am

Awww Susan. Thank you! I had heard a lot of people talk about the rudeness at the conference, but thankfully I was in a sleep deprived haze throughout the conference and missed most (but not all) of it. I think, for me, I didn’t even try to talk to people who were in big groups, but instead just found people who were standing by themselves and talked to them. No fear of rejection.

That said, it also helped that I knew a number of people from last year’s BlogHer Food as well as from Twitter. And my ridiculous pants seemed to be a good ice breaker.

I hope I do see you next year!

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David Leite May 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

Great recap, Mr. Lin! But I told you to PHOTOSHOP MY PICTURE–that was in my photography contract.

I adore you, too. I was such a pleasure spending time with you and your entourage. And, yes, cat-like is a compliment. Cat Woman-like wouldn’t be.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:14 am

Oh David. I was TOTALLY going to photoshop you, but then I realized that all the computer programs in the world can’t make you more beautiful than you already are. So I left you alone, for the world to see your natural radiant self.

And what entourage are you talking about? You must have mistaken me for David Lebovitz.

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kellypea@sass & veracity May 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

Love your style — both in clothes, and here where you show your work. Makes me smile. As far as eating alone in a hotel room goes — trust me — I’ve had my party nights, but my staying power isn’t what it used to be after a full day. :) Almost midnight snacks don’t count as being too party pooperish, do they? Great session — the best of the weekend for me!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:19 am

Thanks so much! I will say that I am NOT a party guy and I totally understand wanting to get away from the crowds and eating alone in the hotel room! The entire conference was a bit sensory overload. I just hope that eating alone in a hotel room was a conscious choice and not a “oh man, no one invited me to dinner, so I guess I’ll go and eat by myself.” That’s what made me sad.

And let me tell you, I think I collapsed when I finally got home and didn’t get back up for 18 hours. Exhausting.

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Burwell General Store May 30, 2011 at 11:20 am

Irvin, it was such a pleasure to finally meet you, and I love this post. We ARE all in this together, we can’t replicate anyone’s voice, we must speak in our own, and hopefully, in concert. I love your energy and voice, and it’s such a privilege to know you.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:20 am

It was so fantastic to meet you and to hang out (and get lost in the car as well). I hope there is much hanging out together in the near future for us!

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Ruth Ann (CatchTheBaby) May 30, 2011 at 11:26 am

Hey Irvin,
Charlie and I couldn’t make it to BlogHer Food this year, but it was great to read your post. It looked like a lot of fun.
I’m glad that you touched on the snubbed feeling that you get at a big conference when you don’t really know anyone. It can be a bit reminiscent of middle school, but I like that you say that “we are more alike than we are different”.
P.S. Loved the pants.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:24 am

Thanks Ruth Ann! It would have been great to see Charlie and you this year, but I totally understand. There was a lot of people talking about the cliques that had formed at BlogHer and I do feel like it happens at a lot of these conferences.

But the reality is there is always someone else to meet or to talk to when the “cool kids” snub you. I just wanted to tell people that those “cool kids” can’t be all that cool if they’re rude like that! Turn around and talk to someone else! I met so many new people that I didn’t know at the conference that were dynamic and hilarious and sweet and kind. That, for me, was what I loved about my trip.

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Ilke May 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

I agree wholeheartedly… Conferences are what you make out of it! I have attended many for my work but this was my first “hobby” conference as my coworkers put it! I spent most of the time with others, trying to learn what they cook and write about, and sometimes, I had to have my quiet time by myself. I even had the chance to connect with one blogger, sitting on a quiet bench, talking about our lives and kids when Tasty Kitchen party was going next door. As long as you focus on interacting and having fun, everything is alright. I did get mad time to time, when I wanted to talk to one famous blogger particularly, I noticed that some people just did not leave her alone, continuously hogged the conversation and the person, and the line grew longer and longer, but these people did not seem to care. I understand it is exciting to talk to our personal celebrities but we also need to be respectful of their time and others desire to meet with them as well. After 10-15 min, I finally quit waiting and moved on!

I loved meeting with you and your outfit rocked the conference :)

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:31 am

Thanks so much! I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a line of people wanting to talk to you! Talk about a crazy life.

I think making true connections, like the one you had with the blogger at the Tasty Kitchen party, must have made the conference worthwhile. I’ll take one true connection over a five minute conversation with a famous blogger.

I was really happy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the conference and go out to dinner with some friends (some at the conference, a few that didn’t attend but lived in Atlanta) and just spend a nice quiet night together.

And it was wonderful to meet you too!

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tami May 30, 2011 at 11:54 am

Irvin-

What a wonderful post. I, too, left this year’s BHF feeling more introspective that I did feeling some spurs in my ass to do something more or do something different. At times, I felt snubbed or felt like an outsider…and sometimes…I was worried that my shyness would be confused with snobbery or uppity-ness, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In the end, though, the most important thing about BHF is the people – that I met all around me and how inspiring our individuality is.

One of the highlights for me was meeting you and Sabrina…and having dinner together and being able to share my favorite restaurant with those of you from out of town. Love you!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:39 am

Oh Tami. I love you! I really do. That dinner was one of the highlights for me from the conference. I’m so happy you organized it. In fact, one of my FAVORITE memories of the conference was at dinner, where was you explaining to me how much you like the gnocchi at Cake & Ale.

You said, it was amazing light and soft. Soft as a pillow, and then you turn your head and laid it against your hands. So the best. Ever.

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Dianne Jacob May 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Dear Irvin, you are so full of love, generosity and good spirit that it would be impossible for you to snub anyone. Great sharing a delayed flight with you in San Francisco. I have my own photo of you in your awesome ensemble, which I will treasure.

Thanks for the link to my post about high school behavior. It’s too bad that it’s a such a problem, but at least we’re discussing it.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:50 am

Awww thanks Dianne! I actually have an ongoing agreement with Amy Sherman that if I ever become snooty, that she has permission to slap me. So she’ll always keep me in check!

That said, it is really is sad that there is such exclusionary behavior at conferences like this. I do mostly ignore it though, and I think I’ve been lucky that I haven’t outright experienced it. Or perhaps I have but I don’t care. I figure if people are going to act that way to me, they aren’t worth my time and there are others who I can meet and connect with.

But you are right. I’m glad the conversation is being had!

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SMITH BITES May 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

love the recap, love the pants, love the pink vest and i adore YOU Irvin – have been to this blog many times because i just can’t get enough! you are kind, funny and very generous – i had a great time at the conference this year; happy you did too!

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 2:55 am

Yay! I so had a great time at the conference, as my recap can attest to. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

And the love is very much mutual. Smith Bites is such a warm and gorgeous blog!

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FreeSpiritEater May 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Wow! What a great recap! You guys looked like you had an amazing time. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing, your writing, the photos everything in this post just made me feel like I was sharing the experience with you. Btw love the “gay pants” lol. My best guy friend has a pair similar to those lol. I’m so glad I read your review it really brightened my day. And seeing the faces behind some of the most popular food blogs, that was truly something too. I hope I can make it to that next one =]

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 3:01 am

Yay! That has to be the best compliment to my blog post! I love that you felt like you were along with me, sharing the conference experience.

I highly recommend going to one of these conferences. The sessions can be hit or miss, but the chance to actually meet and connect with people who understand food blogging like only a food blogger can understand is invaluable.

That said, if/when you go, stay open to meeting all sorts of people. Meeting the people behind the popular food blogs is wonderful, but some of the most amazing people that I met were authors of blogs that I had never heard of. I can’t wait to dive in and explore their world.

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Brian @ A Thought For Food May 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Despite not being there, this was a great recap that made me feel like I was a part of the event. One day, we’ll get to meet again.

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Irvin May 31, 2011 at 3:03 am

Oh Brian! You tease me with that “one day, we’ll meet again…” *sigh*

But we’ll always have FoodBuzz ’10! And I’m glad my recap made you feel included. One of these days I’ll make it out to Boston…

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KalynsKitchen May 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm

What a great post. It is obvious that you are wise beyond your years, in addition to being friendly and nice!

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Irvin June 1, 2011 at 12:12 am

Oh thanks Kalyn! I love that you think of me as wise beyond my years. It means you probably think of me as younger than I actually am. Yay!

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Lawyer Loves Lunch May 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

What a lovely recap! It almost made up for the fact that I pathetically sat at my desk and worked while you hobnobbed with beautiful people! But the recap made me feel like I was right there (except I didn’t get any fabulous swag) ;)

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Irvin June 1, 2011 at 12:13 am

LOL. Well, I’ll confess to you. I actually didn’t think the swag was all that great this year. So you didn’t miss much in terms of that (though the chocolate bars from Scharffen Berger were pretty nice).

Though I will say there were some pretty beautiful people there!

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Nicole May 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm

This is one of the best wrap-up posts I have read from the conference. I too feel bad when I read posts where people felt snubbed. After I read several of these posts from other conferences, I too was really nervous going into the conference. I knew nobody going into the conference, but I felt like I was going to need to step out of my comfort zone if I was going to make the most of my time and I did. I sent a message out on twitter to meet other bloggers for dinner. I made a reservation at Cakes and Ale and hoped that I would be able to find five people to go with me, I probably could have filled a table for 20 in all honesty. I approached all of the “famous” bloggers I wanted to meet and they were all more than gracious. I never felt snubbed.
Although we didn’t meet at the conference, I have to say that you made me smile every time I saw you in the hall; great choice of pants.
I also have a re-cap from the conference here:
http://arcticgardenstudio.blogspot.com/2011/05/blogher-food-11-atlanta.html

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Irvin June 1, 2011 at 12:17 am

Hi Nicole! I’ve added your post to my list of links above. I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet, but I’m so glad your first conference was a success!

I LOVED that you went ahead and made reservations for six at Cake and Ale. That’s totally awesome. Sounds like you had great time there. I actually went to Cake and Ale as well and it was the best meal I had in Atlanta!

If we find ourselves at another conference together, please do come and introduce yourself to me!

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Rachelle May 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I am glad you wrote this blog post as I was unable to attend the conference! Thank you for sharing your experience with us all!

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Irvin June 1, 2011 at 12:18 am

Thanks for stopping by! I’m so glad to be able to share my experiences of the conference with you.

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Diane {Created by Diane} May 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Great recap! I love how you wrote it and all the points about what people are thinking :) It is sometimes so true. I wish I got to talk to you more, I did get a photo of your great outfit with Sabrina.
I wrote about the event here http://www.createdby-diane.com/2011/05/sweet-tea-is-like-liquid-crack-also-fun-at-blogherfood.html
If you’d like to see it, the best part of the trip for me was the real connections I made and will hopefully make again with others I didn’t have the time to talk to more.

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Irvin June 1, 2011 at 12:25 am

Hi Diane! I’ve added your post to my list of links. I’m so sorry that we didn’t have a chance to talk more, but BlogHer Food can be such chaos. I totally agree with you though. the best part of the trip was the real connection I made with others. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to talk more at the next event! Until then, there’s always comments/twitter/facebook!

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Lana May 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Irvin, this was an excellent recap. I consider the conference a great success mostly because I met so many wonderful people (some I knew from Twitter and some were complete strangers:) Getting together with Sabrina at the airport was a great harbinger of things to come:)
I am happy I had met you and I know that we’ll meet again (I come to the Bay Area fairly often to visit my daughter at Berkeley).
Thanks for the great session – it gave me a lot of interesting ideas!

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Thank you so much Lana! I too had a great time and it really was pleasure meeting so many people (some I knew from Twitter, some from their blogs and some I didn’t know at all). Please do let me know if you come to the Bay Area. I’d love to get together for coffee or something!

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Bren May 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm

great recap, Irwin. I enjoyed reading all the details of everything that was going on just down the street from me. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet but we had a great time at dindin! the doughnuts from Broderick were nice. Oh, the FS is great. Looking forward to reaching ur post on ur stay there.

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Bren, I was so bummed that I didn’t have a chance to meet you! Sadly I already had dinner plans on Saturday but I heard from Ben that your dinner was fantastic fabulous! Ah well. Perhaps next time. Or let me know if you ever make it out here to the SF Bay Area!

And yes, Broderick is the best. Those donuts were such a great treat, after a terrible trip!

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Myrt'sDaughter May 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Hi! I am Celiacteen ‘s Mom. Met you at San Francisco’s Blogher. Anyways, I loved meeting you then and love how you are who you are. It is wonderful for me as a mom to have my daughter meeting people who know who they are, and loving it. This was Lauren’s first trip on her own and you were definitely a part of making it special. Irwin. if you ever want to come to Canada – or at least Alberta! – look us up!

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Oh thank you so much CeliacTeen’s Mom! You must be so incredibly proud of your daughter, because she’s amazing. She was one of those bloggers that I couldn’t wait to meet last October and I was super sad that I didn’t hang out with her more. So this time round I made sure that we spent some time together! She’s so fantastic.

And if I ever make it up to Alberta/Canada I’ll definitely let you know!

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Ari May 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It was really nice to meet you at the conference and maybe next year we’ll get to talk more. This is great recap and we really appreciate the link! Love all the photos you posted.

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Thanks Ari! I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to talk more either. But I hope that next time we can. BlogHer Food can be so overwhelming, with all the bloggers there! I’m glad we were at least able to meet.

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pickyin @ LifeIsGreat May 30, 2011 at 10:05 pm

“Blogging is lonely, hard and rough.” You said it! Love the outfit and the shirt too. Great recap of the event. Hope I can go next year.

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I hope you can go too! It’s true, as food bloggers it seems like such a glamorous life, baking/cooking away, writing witty prose describing how drool worthy your food is, entertaining friends to eat the food… All of which never really happens. It’s you in front of the computer, constantly working on your own. But it’s events like BlogHer Food that let people get together and meet and chat and realize that others in the same situation as they are.

And if you do ever make it to the food blogging conference, let me know. I’d love to meet you!

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David May 31, 2011 at 12:08 am

When I saw you in those pants, I was instantly relieved because I was going to wear the exact same ones! It was a good thing I changed my mind at the last minute because I don’t think that conference center could have handled so much fabulousness in one place.

Nice of you to provide a round-up of posts and your words about what to expect, and how to handle, going to a large conference, were right on target. It’s a great way to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time, but it’s also pretty intense and it’s simply not possible to do all the things – and meet all the people – that you’d like to.

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm

David, thank goodness you decided at the last minute to not bring them along! You would have looked way better in them than me and I don’t handle being runner up very well.

That said, it was fabulous to meet you, even if we didn’t have time to really converse. Next time I guess.

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Danielle May 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

“And as an adult, I realize that if someone rejects me, move on, because inevitably you’ll find someone else right behind you, who is more cool, more awesome and more fantastic than that famous person who really isn’t all that famous in the first place.”

Well-said Irvin! Love: (1) your hot pink sweater and dalmatian pants outfit, (2) the para I quoted above, and (3) your shots of fellow bloggers caught in the process of eating. Waiting to read all about your glamorous stay at the Four Seasons!

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Irvin June 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Danielle! I have a habit of trying to take pictures of people eating. I love it, much to my partner’s chagrin. But somehow photos of people eating food is just ridiculously fun in my eyes.

And yes, the Four Seasons post. I’m behind on my posts but I will get it up. It’s was a wonderful place to stay, though I wish I had more time to actually enjoy it. I spent most of the time at BlogHer Food hanging out, and scant time at the hotel!

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Dina Avila May 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

What a great post, Irvin! Going to Atlanta was way out of my budget, but I definitely plan to attend the next West Coast Blogher. Hopefully, I’ll get to meet you before then, though…

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Dina! I hope you do make it to one of the food blogging conferences. I’m not sure when the next one will be hosted, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s back here on the west coast (though the rumors I’ve heard has it somewhere in the midwest). And yes, hopefully we’ll meet sometime soon!

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Amy K. May 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

Nice post! I have yet to attend a food blogging conference, but was an active participant of BHF11PP! :-) (http://www.kimchimom.com/2011/05/blogher-food-11-pity-party-recap/) It’s nice to read a positive recap of the conference…it’s reignited my desire to attend one next year!

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Hi Amy! The BHF11PP was hilarious, but if you ever have a chance to go to a food blogging conference, you really should. It’s a great way to meet those people you’ve only communicated with via Twitter/Facebook or who’s blog you’ve read. I hope to meet you at one of them!

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megan @ whatmegansmaking May 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm

What a great post. Very well thought out. I just have to say that I absolutely loved your presentation at the conference. It hit the points I needed to hear and was a highlight for me. So thank you! I also enjoyed meeting you (briefly!) afterwards. I’m glad I took the time to come up and introduce myself, even though I was embarrassed of my Comic Sans business cards :) You and Sabrina were just as sweet and kind and fun as you seemed during your presentation. I loved your point about everybody being nervous and wanting to be liked – so true!! I know how shy I am, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt – you don’t lose much by thinking the best of people. :)

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm

LOL! I hope I didn’t make you feel too bad about using Comic Sans! It’s sort of a designer “insider” joke to never use Comic Sans or Papyrus. Mostly because they get used so much.

I’m glad you got something out of our session. And it sounds like you had a pretty good time at BlogHer Food. Or, at least, I hope you did! Wonderful to meet you, even though it was ever so brief.

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Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do IT May 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Thank you for the time that you did put into your presentation because it was definitely my favorite one of the weekend! And also thank you for being you… because wild pants or not it was awesome to see someone be themselves!

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Awww! Thanks for enjoying our presentation! We definitely put a lot of work into it. And yes, those pants seem to really seem to make me stand out a little bit. I don’t know why. Doesn’t everyone have dalmatian print pants?

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Courtney May 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm

It was so great to meet you, Irvin! (That’s me in the front row, next to my friend Brady with the laptop.) I loved your session. I know I told you at the conference, but you and Sabrina did such an amazing job. Your hard work was evident during the session, and it set the bar for other sessions very high (maybe a little too high, but in the best way possible). You were both such charming people, and I certainly hope I get to see you again! :) I’m hard at work trying to implement the things I learned from you, so thanks again for the lovely and informative session!

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Courtney it was lovely meeting you! I love that you loved our session so much. Sabrina and I really did have a great time putting it together and meeting everyone afterwards was such a wonderful reward. I hope it was helpful. I’m so sorry we couldn’t spend more time talking though….hopefully next time!

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Kelley May 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Being a fairly new blogger and curious about he BlogHer conference, I have read many reviews. I so appreciated your perspective and attitude about the event and those attending. It sounds like you had a great time and I enjoyed hearing all the details.

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks for stopping by Kelley. I really believe that you get what you put into a blogging conferences. If you go with an open mind, then you’ll probably leave having made some real connections and have learned some great things.

Realistically it’s hard to meet everyone and the “famous” people usually get swamped with fans, but there’s so much more to a conference than meeting the “famous” people (though, I’ve met a number of them and they are all lovely). I hope to see you at a conference soon!

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this wife bakes May 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Totally cool meeting you and recognizing the choux on your card and that you are a fellow DB. I could tell you was daring :) Love the recap. Need to work on mine…..

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Irvin June 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm

So fantastic to meet you too Karin!

LOL! I’ve been slacking and totally missed this month’s Daring Bakers, which totally pained me because I love Jenny, but something needed to give this month. I’ll try to make June’s one, if I can carve out a little bit of time for it! June is turning out to be just as crazy busy as May was.

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The Undercover Cook May 31, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Great post and pics! Sorry I didn’t meet you in person at the conference. I did notice the fab pants on the first day. I should have come over and said hello.

Here is a link to my conference recap if you want to add it to the mix. http://theundercovercook.blogspot.com/2011/05/hanging-out-with-food-bloggers-for.html

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

Oh, I’m so sorry that we didn’t have a chance to meet! I’ve gone ahead and added you to my list of links above. I hope we can meet another time, at another conference sometime.

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Lauren May 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Oh Irvin, I love this. And you. I’m so thrilled we got to spend a bunch of time together that weekend. I even love the picture of me cracking up (though, now I wonder what on earth was so funny?). Your thoughts were spot on. Hope I get to see you sometime soon!

(Wait. My mom commented? That’s big.)
((and your pants totally became a trending topic of the weekend. Love ‘em.))

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:08 am

Lauren I’m SO glad we finally had a chance to hang out more than a brief “Hello!” that we barely had last BlogHer Food. And I absolutely love that photo of you cracking up. I also love Kamran’s expression looking at you laugh out loud. His cocked eyebrow cracks me up as much as you laughing does! It’s awesome.

And I can’t believe your mom commented either. That’s totally big! Can’t wait to see you again sometime…

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Denise June 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Luv luv luv your post! Too bad we didn’t get to meet in person. Until next time…

I did write a longer takeaways report for my company. Feel free to list it:

http://www.flightpath.com/insights/index.php/2011/05/blogher-food-2011-takeaways/

Take care,
Denise of deecuisine.com

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:10 am

Awww. Thanks Denise! I’ve gone ahead and added your link to my list above. I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet in person either, but there is always next time!

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Katie June 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

1- Thanks so much for the link! I clearly have been behind on my blog reading for the week; talk about a slow response time!
2- Love the pants. If they came in my size, I’d pretty much want them too. And, at the risk of sounding creepy: I definitely noticed you walking around in them, but we never did end up meeting over the course of the weekend. Ah, well. Perhaps another time! I’ll wear my black sequined tights to match. TMI? Bah.
3- I really love this recap! Personally, I haven’t come across any negative recap posts regarding BHF, but it makes me sad that they exist! However, that being said, I do see how many people would have insecurities arise. It is funny how an event like BHF can instantly bring back the anxieties we had on the first day of high school…wondering which table to sit at for lunch/if we’ll be part of the popular group/yadda yadda yadda. Isn’t it funny how adults can revert back so easily? ;) I’ll admit: I didn’t have a group to hang out with for the most part, but in those instances I just had to remind myself that I was in the same boat as pretty much everyone else. Strike up a conversation with the person in line behind me at the bar? Why not? If she thinks I’m a freak, guess what – we aren’t neighbors and have to see each other every day…I just had to learn to get over myself.
All in all, I think that the conference was a great experience to have. I have been to conferences for work, but this was the first one I went to for “play,” if you will. I was able to meet a few wonderful new people that I know I’ll keep in contact with, and I learned some new things along the way that will hopefully help me to improve my blogging. Win-win!

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:18 am

Hi Katie.

1.You’re welcome. I’m totally behind on my blog reading as well so you are in good company. Well, that is, if you consider me good company!

2. Thank you! I actually had a friend ask me if he could borrow my pants for the next day, but strangely, he never followed through. Oh well. I have a lot of “novelty” pants, but those are probably top of the pile (or bottom of the pile depending on how you look at it).

3. It does make me sad to read the negative recaps, but everyone has a right to their opinion. I just wish that they could have had a better time. Conferences can be totally nervewracking, especially if you don’t know anyone else there, but in the end, it’s all about meeting people. And though it doesn’t seem like it, I think it was actually a positive thing that I didn’t know too many people this year, as I was able to meet way more people. I don’t know how many time I met people in line getting coffee or getting lunch.

I hope we meet some time in the future!

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JulieD June 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

Thank you for this great post, Irvin. It was great to meet you even though it was just to say hi a couple of times. I wish I got to talk to you longer but it was like you said, so many great people. I met so many great people & am looking forward to keeping in touch. I agree with some of the negative posts but in a way, I was just too busy meeting people. I did get snubbed a couple of times but I just moved, just like you said. I’m hoping to see you at another one of these conferences and getting to talk to you more. I love your blog and I must make that marble dark chocolate vanilla bean bundt cake soon!

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

It was awesome meeting you Julie! I totally did get snubbed a few times and I completely understand the negative posts that I’ve read, but it still makes me sad. For me, I usually just assume that person that snubbed me didn’t realize it and just moved on and found someone else to talk to.

And I hope to see/talk to you sometime in the future as well! And if you make the marble cake, let me know. It’s ridiculously good.

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Mrs. Puma June 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Great recap! I really enjoyed your session at BlogHer, as well as briefly meeting you at the closing party. I also wrote a recap post on the conference: http://www.pumalifeblog.com/2011/05/blogher-food.html.

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Irvin June 5, 2011 at 12:39 am

I’m so glad you enjoyed our session and I’m glad we met, even if it was ever so briefly at the closing party. I had to dash out of there to run and make a dinner with Atlanta friend. And I still love that you had a scrabble theme at your wedding. So much fun!

I’ve totally added your recap to the list above! Hope we can talk more next time!

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Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } June 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Just came across your blog and LOVE IT! Nice to find another Bay Area blogger! I was busy working and missed all of the fun. I really enjoyed your recap and felt like I was there with everyone in spirit. With any large event, “it is what you put into, is what you get out of it”. I tell my team all the time, that you need to “open your mouth” – meaning, people can’t read your mind. BTW – I love your pants and your boldness to bring and wear them at the event. :-)

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Irvin June 6, 2011 at 1:35 am

Hi Lisa! Yay! Bay Area Bloggers unite! Sorry that you missed out on all the fun, but hopefully my post gave you a chance to live vicariously through me.

And yes, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to tell my coworkers and managers that they I can’t read their minds. Hopefully we’ll meet one of these days. I know the SF Bay Area bloggers tend to do gatherings now and then….

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