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I’m baaaaaaaaack! If you remember from my last post, I was heading out to Salt Lake City for the Everything Food Conference. What a ride! Full of so many ups and downs. So many, in fact, that I made a list for you:

Up: I got a window seat on all 3 flights there!

Down: Someone stole my wallet. I can’t believe people can be so cruel and dishonest. I know I had it on the last flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake. Somewhere between the plane and the bathroom it was stolen. I came out of the stall to wash my hands and thought, “That’s funny, I thought I zipped my purse.” Then I looked inside and my heart sank. The flight crew searched the plane. I filed all the reports. By this time, you can imagine my eyes were swollen and my face was streaked red. I couldn’t wait to get to the conference and wow everyone with my first impression!

Up: My Uber driver said he would, “Pray that evil comes upon” those who stole my wallet. I think he was serious.

Down: It dawned on me that I have no ID, so no way to check into the hotel.

Up: The hotel staff took pity on me and used my Facebook profile as proof of identity. Should I be concerned that my streaky cry-face looks like my FB profile?

Down: It further dawned on me that I have no ID, so no way to get on a plane and fly home. Cue more waterworks.

Up: Wait! I have a passport! Rudy can overnight my passport to me!

Up: Once I got to my hotel room, I slowly started pulling myself together. Deep breaths. I put a cold washcloth over my eyes and thought about ways it could be worse.

  1. I could’ve lost my engagement or wedding ring.
  2. They could’ve lost my luggage so I would be forced to go to the conference in my yoga pants and no makeup.
  3. I could’ve died in a plane crash.

Up: Got my butt to the conference looking like no one stole my wallet and I didn’t just have a breakdown. Walked in like John Travolta, whipped out the business cards, and started networking with all the awesome brands that were there! Some of my favorites were Wüsthof, Eggland’s Best, and Earlywood. De’Longhi also had their own little lounge with any kind of warm, creamy, caffeinated concoction you could think of. I was in desperate need of caffeine.

Down: I promptly spilled cappuccino on my professional-looking blouse.

Up: Beth Hornback from Eat Within Your Means reminded me that I was living my brand! Dredge and Drizzle = drizzle of cappuccino on my blouse. Can’t get more authentic than that! Still, I was suddenly craving something stronger than caffeine.

Down: No money.

Up: Lauren Gray from Once Coupled and I found this dungeon-like bar before the opening keynote and reception. Lauren is very intelligent and talented in all things web design. I also owe her drinks because she paid for me because, you know, no money. You should check her out!

Down: I got carded at the bar which, normally I would consider an “Up” but not after my wallet has just been stolen and I have no ID in a strange city and just want a margarita. Somehow I talked him out of needing it. Maybe I started crying again? Actually, I think I just pouted.

Up: Met Lindsay Cotter from Cotter Crunch. I told her all about my post where I used her Cuban pork recipe. She was super sweet.

Up: Got pumped listening to the speakers that night. I was so ready to jump into the next day and learn all about growing my blog, monetizing, social media strategies, and on and on and on. Even after everything that happened that first day, I was so happy to be there! (Downtown Salt Lake City is beautiful, by the way.) Went back to the hotel and decided to take a nice, luxurious bath. I even brought a bath bomb with me that I specifically purchased from Lush for my trip…

Down: I failed to notice that I had booked a handicapped accessible room with a roll-in shower (i.e., no bathtub).

Up: Too tired to cry anymore. Ordered a million dollar burger from room service (thanks, honey! [who contacted the hotel with his credit card number for incidentals]) and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Down: Woke up the next day with a swollen eye. Just figured it was from crying the day before. Didn’t think much of it and it got better throughout the day. (This information is important for later.)

Up: OMG! So much great information! Like drinking from a firehose! Just a few of the people I learned from this day:

  1. Sabrina from Dinner, Then Dessert
  2. Casey Markee from MediaWyse
  3. Jason Leake from 100 Days of Real Food
  4. Phil Pallen (a brand and social media strategist)
  5. Amanda Rettke from I Am Baker  <——- Hilarious. Loved her!

Up: Decided to try my luck with Chase bank even though I didn’t have any ID. I walked over there during a break and gave them my sob story. They let me have $100 out of my account because I had my card number memorized. It pays to remember things!

Up: I met with a group of peeps from the Food Blogger Pro membership site. This is a place where we get information, ask questions, and help each other. It was so nice to meet everyone in person! There wasn’t one second of awkward silence. Blogging can be isolating sometimes, especially for those who are doing it full time (dream job!) so get a bunch of us in a room to talk blogging and it’s like opening the floodgates!

Group of people attending a Everything Food Conference

Food Blogger Pro Group at Everything Food Conference

Up: Speaking of floodgates: Two of the ladies from the Food Blogger Pro group (Sara from Tastefulventure and Jaci from The White Radish) and I, along with Karrie from Happy Money Saver all went out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory that night. I think we were there close to four hours. By the end of our dinner we decided we’re going to have our own mastermind group. Why stop sharing information just because we’re not at a conference anymore? I’m excited to continue brainstorming with these three talented bloggers. (They’re a lot of fun too.)

Down: Exhaustion!

Up: On fire for my blog even more and so excited for the next day. Went back to the hotel and FaceTimed Rudy and Sully.

Down: Sully told me I was in timeout. (He was mad that I wasn’t home.)

Up: Slept like a log.

Down: Woke up with eye pain again. Thought that was strange because there was no crying the day before. But whatever, I’m in a hurry to listen to…

Up: Tieghan Gerard speak about photography. (Check out her amazing photography on her blog, Half Baked Harvest.)

Up: Following Tieghan’s presentation was Trevor from Show Me the Yummy. He presented tips on creating amazing food videos. He was informative and also very entertaining. (His wife sure has her work cut out for her.)

Up: Have you seen this video on the Squatty Potty? Yes, it’s a real thing. And I met the executive producer of that video. He was speaking on the importance of YouTube and having a presence in the video realm. Be jealous. (p.s. He made his clients A LOT of money with that video, as you can imagine.)

Up: Hmmmm… I’m hungry. Do I get the catered sandwich offered at the conference or hit up The Red Iguana? I decided to ditch the conference for a bit and just take off on my own. I had some very tasty food and THE BEST jalapeño margarita ever. If you are ever in SLC, you gotta go there to get that margarita if nothing else.

Up: Headed back to the venue to watch a couple mastermind panels and then OMG Andie Mitchell came on stage for the closing keynote and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. She was talking about being your authentic self for your readers and the struggles we all face and being vulnerable… I’m trying not to cry right now writing this! She is amazing. Such a presence about her. And I want to know more about her and follow her blog now. I think you should too.

Down: The Everything Food Conference was over! So sad!

Up: Welp, time to eat again! This time with three other food bloggers; Anu from Simmer to Slimmer, Marissa from OMGFood, and Kori from irok the kitchen. The place we went to caught our eye because someone was making homemade ravioli as we walked in. We talked about how we wanted the pasta attachment for our KitchenAid mixers. Because when you’re food bloggers and you go out to eat you talk about food. And gadgets. And food. And social media. And photo submission sites. And fig vodka. And maybe some more food.

Down: Bloated.

Up: FINALLY headed to Temple Square with Anu and Marissa to see the sites. It was so beautiful! (And windy, if you couldn’t already tell from my hair.)

Woman standing in temple square in Salt Lake City

Me at Temple Square

Up: Got back to the hotel, changed into some comfy clothes, grabbed my notebook and all the business cards I had collected, and decided to head to the hotel bar to look at everyone’s blogs and start following them on social media if I hadn’t already. I sat down, ordered, and the girl next to me says, “Aren’t you Dredge and Drizzle?” My brain: I’M FAMOUS! Haha. Turns out, I wasn’t done networking like I had thought. I had actually reached out to Erin from the blog Platings and Pairings before I even went to the conference. I had visited a few blogs to introduce myself and she had followed me on Instagram. She had seen the picture above that I had just posted from Temple Square. (By the way, do you follow me on Instagram? No? Go there now and find me! @dredgeanddrizzle)

Up: My Uber driver on the way to The Red Iguana told me about a new service where you can reserve an Uber ahead of time. I am very nervous about being late or missing a plane or something so I thought this was perfect! I could reserve my driver the night before and not have to worry about one being around the next morning to take me to the airport.

Down: Good morning, Sunshine! Wait. Uhhhhhh, my eye is swollen again. Oh, wait. Are these feather pillows, which I am very allergic to and usually ask to have replaced? Why, yes they are! Duh Heather! Duh!

Down: My Uber driver cancelled on me 20 minutes before they were supposed to be there.

Up: I found another! And he was a pleasant older gentleman who talked to me about photography equipment all the way to the airport.

Down: I realized after I got to the airport that MY PASSPORT STILL HAD MY MAIDEN NAME ON IT. OMG. What the heck? Should I just get an apartment in Salt Lake because this town wants me for reals. I tried SO HARD not to cry. Because going through the TSA line with a red-streaked face is WAY different than going to the hotel with a sob story and a red-streaked face. Something told me the TSA wouldn’t just take my FB profile pic and my word for it. So I lined up and took a deep breath… A supervisor had to be called. He had to make a call. Ask me how long I had been married (less than a year) and what had happened. He took me aside and was on the call for about 3 minutes before hanging up and declaring…

Up: “Congratulations, you’re not a terrorist.”

Up: I got off the plane, found my not-lost luggage, went outside, hugged and kissed my husband, and went home to snuggle with my baby.

Down: Didn’t take Monday off.

So here’s the score: Ups: 29 Downs: 17

Overall, a VERY successful first food blogger conference!  I would recommend it to anyone who is considering it. Or to anyone who is just considering a trip to Salt Lake City. Do it!

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