Life lessons from a food blogger conference? Stick with me... I think you'll find a few nuggets of wisdom.
I've had a few days back from BlogHer Food in Atlanta to unwind/recover/think about the trip. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend a conference with a group of truly diverse, talented, energetic, intelligent and savvy women and men (yes, there were a number!) You can pretty much throw any stereotype you may have of a 'blogger' right out the window. Definitely not one size fits all.
500 bloggers with interests (and locations) all over the map. Baking, travel, history, politics, unique dietary lifestyles, the environment... it was all there. If you can think of it, someone has a passion for it and is writing about it. I'm still working my way through a stack of business cards trying to tie it all together. So much squeezed into two short days. Focused learning intermingled with socializing and a constant growing "to-do" list of ideas to incorporate back at home.
Being surrounded by so much talent is incredibly energizing and empowering and at the same time very overwhelming. I focused my personal agenda on the topics of photography and writing, with a sprinkling of technology and marketing. I arrived home mentally drained after two packed days.
I met several bloggers who are establishing their blogs now and applaud them loudly for their decision to learn before doing. I took a different path. My personality requires that I jump in feet (or head) first (minus the floaties). I had no idea conferences like this even existed. If you are a blogger, new or old, thinking about attending, just do it. For a newbie, I'll admit, it is a little intimidating at first, but I remind myself that newbies attract other newbies and no one really wants to be alone.
I didn't get to see too much of Atlanta. I dined with the very talented Jes from Urban Sacred Garden (check out her blog... beautiful in so many ways...) and field tripped it to the Sweet Auburn Market one afternoon. While brief, I enjoyed my time in this southern city and ate (entirely) too much. Sigh.
This urban market was a visual feast, brimming with pork products, iridescent blue crab, BBQ, ground on site burgers, uniquely flavored popsicles and all kinds of vibrant fruits and vegetables. A great outing if you find yourself in Atlanta with time to spare. Bonus points if you like Yellow Root Tea. There was lots of it. (extra bonus points if you can tell me what it is.)
I'll leave you with a few lessons learned that I hope you will find useful as well:
Learn light. Learn dark.
Be you. Authentically you.
Everyone starts somewhere, usually at the beginning.
You are your own brand.
Dive right in.
Be active, not passive.
Use your senses, all your senses.
Edit yourself. Less is usually more.
Tell your story. Listen to other people's stories.
Ask questions, lots of questions.
Life is a series of chapters.
Be unique, but figure out when you need to color within the lines.
Get closer to the source.
Change starts at home.
Get a little mad sometimes.
Be the King (or Queen) of your household.
Simplicity is good, but sometimes messiness can be very effective.
Strive to be an artist.
Try new things.
Practice, practice, practice.
PS - In case you are wondering, that's a "Soul Roll" in the first picture. Think lots of southern things stuffed into a freshly fried egg roll. I hear it got good reviews.
What life lessons have you picked up in unexpected places?