Y’all. Let me just tell you about my trip to Kansas City for Chopped Conference! It was out of control splendid amazingness. I can’t even adequately describe how much I loved it and I cannot wait to return next year! It was hosted by Marly of Namely Marly, who did an utterly fabulous job of putting it together! It was in this gorgeous venue (as you can see, perfection!) and was the perfect size for a conference! Let me just tell you all about it…
I’ve always been a bit intimidated by blogging conferences because I felt like my blog didn’t have enough oomph or readership to make it worth going or to even tell people about it. I know there aren’t thousands of y’all out there reading this but honestly, I realized this weekend, that I’m okay with that. I always thought that it would be amazing to get on the Food Network or publish my own cookbook. I kept thinking that it would be incredible if it actually happened, but I kept telling myself that it wasn’t achievable and it kept holding me back. I was getting in my OWN way. I’m the one that had doubts about myself and would go weeks sometimes even months without posting because I kept telling myself, “who really cares? no one will miss your posts, it’s not like everyone is waiting with bated breath at their computer screen for the next OinK post.” And you know what? That may be true. For now. But you know what else? That’s okay! I’m finally getting to the realization after this conference that it’s okay if no one reads my blog at first, and that to get people to want to read my blog, I actually need to post to my blog! That seems so basic and simple, but for me, that was a HUGE challenge. A big barrier towards my goals of maybe one day creating a cookbook. I may not ever be on the Food Network’s radar, but you know what? I CAN create an eBook, and I could create a cookbook and self-publish. Anything is possible!
The best part about ChoppedCon? The people I met and the connections I made. I made friends. Like not just internet twitter/facebook/Insta friends. Like REAL friends, that I intend to talk to and see long into the future, regardless of where my blog takes me. I cannot even believe how quickly we were able to form these bonds. Bonds that just make you feel understood and connected on a level that you usually only achieve after years of friendship. I formed connections with bloggers I would have thought were too important to talk to a little blogger like me and you know what? They were AMAZING.
I formed close bonds with so many people. I’m currently in a group text with these three amazing ladies: Phi of Sweet Phi, Janelle of Bakes in Slippers, and Victoria of Love Laugh Cook. These women are incredible. Just LOOK at the amazing time we had together!
Anyway, I love all of these women so go show them some blog love!
You probably know Christina of Dessert for Two. It’s probably impossible for you to read my blog and not hers, since she is pretty big (in blogger world, in real world she’s actually quite precious and petite). She was so nice and amazing in person and I am so happy I went and got to meet her! Truthfully, when I found out she was one of the speakers, that was my biggest draw to go. I kept telling Matt, “BABE, Dessert for Two will be there!” On the first night, Christina and I spent a lot of time together and at some point I texted Matt, “Me and Dessert for Two are besties.” He replied “that’s great!!” which pretty much sums up how much he knows about the blog world (in that he knows who I’m utterly obsessed with). We continued to chat the whole next day and are still chatting even after it’s over!
I also finally got to meet my longtime twitter/IG/fbook friend Kristen of Dine and Dish! She is just sweet as pie and I can’t even take it.
Her speech, Blogging Beyond the Stats was so incredible it moved me almost to tears. Honestly, it was just incredible. If you wanna know why, just look at this picture (below)…it should tell you a little bit about what she discussed.
Bits and pieces of what I learned are jumping back to me all the time. I feel as though I’m continuously learning every time I look back at my notes or just think back to the speakers of ChoppedCon. Each time I think, “why post? why bother?” I actually know why I should bother. Because all I need is 1%. I don’t need to be reaching my goals tomorrow. I need to do something each day that makes me 1% better, and then do that forever. I learned this beautiful chunk of knowledge from Pinch of Yum. This, among countless other things they taught me, are going to move me and my blog in a more positive direction. I feel blessed that they took the time to come to this conference and provide us with this incredible wealth of information and actually spoke to us like we were worthy of their time. I could never have imagined that people who were so big in the blogging world could be so generous and gracious. Here I am “pinched between Pinch of Yum”!
Speaking of gracious…the amazingly talented Ali from Gimme Some Oven invited us all over to her insanely gorgeous apartment after the conference was over. I couldn’t believe how lovely her place was and how warm and welcoming she was to little bloggers like me. At her place I really got to know Dana and John Minimalist Baker (both halves!), Bev of Bev Cooks and Lindsay of The Live-In Kitchen (plus her hubs). In case you were wondering, Minimalist Baker is basically the cutest couple on the planet (along with Pinch of Yum), and the most down-to-earth easy to talk to people. They are just so lovely in person. Also, in case you are late to the party like me and don’t already know this, Bev is effing hilarious. She was killing me with her hilarious stories, her unbelievably bubbly personality and her precious little angel twins who made a live appearance at Chopped! (you can also see them virtually on her instagram). The Live-In Kitchen and her husband are so sweet and were great to talk to!
And here I am with Phi (Sweet Phi) and Dana (Minimalist Baker):
I met so many other awesome people there it’s hard to remember all of them but I’ll try! I just adored Megan from Housewife in Training Files (who knows my BFF from middle school! (Lauren, I’ve talked about her before) small world!) Krista from Joyful Healthy Eats, Liz from The Lemon Bowl, Becky from The Cookie Rookie, Jessica from Saucy Pear, Kate from Cookie and Kate Beth from Eat Within Your Means, and Alexa (and husband Payton) from Simple Roots. If I have forgotten you, I didn’t mean to, it’s hard to remember everyone! Shoot me a tweet if you feel left out and know that I still loved meeting you!
Marly also had the fabulous idea of giving us temporary tattoos. There were 8 to choose from and it was kind of like an “ice breaker” exercise. Of course Sweet Phi and I happened to choose the same one because we are like soul mates.
Torani sponsored our coffee break in the afternoon and omg y’all lemme just tell you it was Ah-Maze-ING (yes I know that’s not how it’s spelled but hey, that’s how I’m saying it, so I want to convey that accordingly)
This trip was spectacular. Kansas City is GORGEOUS, y’all! Everything about this trip was simply phenomenal. It was totally worth flying from NC to go to this conference and I can’t wait to go again next year!! Until next time, KC!