A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Big Summer Potluck hosted by Pam and Maggy of Three Many Cooks and Ericka from Ivory Hut. The first year the Big Summer Potluck happened, Chris Ann and I had already booked our tickets to BlogHer. We debated on leaving NYC for the day, but were a little overwhelmed with making those extra travel plans. Within days, we heard the buzz about the Big Summer Potluck and knew we’d missed something special. Then last year, tickets sold out before we could get them. This year, however, we tried on day one. We were put on the wait list. We were bummed. We had heard so many good things from friends of ours who went. We heard because it was a smaller, blogger get together, the intimacy of the event was perfect for lasting connections and authentic friendships. We heard the food was amazing! (Why wouldn’t it be with all those food bloggers in attendance?) We heard those running the event were hospitable and kind, filling up all the space so snarkiness and competition were absent. From one friend, we heard it was life changing.
We couldn’t wait to be a part of something so special. Within a week, we found out we had been taken off the wait list and had our tickets!
Unfortunately, at the last minute, Chris Ann couldn’t make it. So, I invited our friend (and amazing virtual assistant) Donna to join me. I’m so glad I did!
Every meal was delicious with food bloggers bringing their best to share with the rest of us.
Each conversation was personal and thoughtful. There was a strong sense of community throughout the entire weekend.
Donna and I had no problem meeting new people and never once felt that some of the “Big” food bloggers thought too highly of themselves. Except maybe Joy the Baker, who tongue in cheek announced to us all at her session, “Yeah, I’m pretty much a big deal.” She was anything but full of herself. She was down to earth, funny and totally approachable.
I don’t know about you, but when I leave a conference, I always spend time reflecting on what was my “Big Take Away”. Mine came after hearing Molly O’Neill. She was smart, studied and savvy. She’s the author of One Big Table and believes, as we do, that the best of times are spent at the table. I knew immediately she shared from an artist’s heart. I had a question for her.
“What do you do when your issue isn’t, “staying inspired and trying to find writing content” but rather, “years of not being able to put pen to paper, too many ideas and inspiration”…what do you do with all of that? She said, “Find that thing you are best at and start there.”
It’s a struggle y’all. Chris Ann and I have been stay at home moms for 18+ years. We are artists, creative types, visionaries. Our strength is in the creation of new ideas. Sometimes we get lost in them…we don’t know where to start or we start too many with never a hope to see them all through. We have been struggling to hone in on our strengths so that we are more effective and are actually able to see things to fruition. Molly touched that place.
Between Molly and Pam, they inspired me to look at life as a whole. If you take a look at either of their resumes, they are packed full of experiences. And you can see a similar thread that was woven through them, even if they were varied. Their strengths show through it all.
My life experiences have spanned from owning a coffee shop, to being an artist, to traveling the world in service, to raising artists, to envisioning LoveFeast Table and making meals in the Philippines and in the streets of Baltimore.
Hospitality, service, art and food. They are the common themes in my life.
Not all blogger’s conferences are the same. Some are chock full of information about how to make your blog a better one. Some are all about networking and connecting with brands. Others, like the Big Summer Potluck, was about exploring who you are and how you fit and contribute to your community. It was beautiful…and full of the things I love, hospitality, service, art, food and great conversation.
Thank you Maggy, Pam, Ericka and all the others who worked hard to create a weekend for us to savor, experience and explore.
Thank you also to Bob’s Red Mill, for the $75 gift card I won! We have been using your products since 1994 when we’d serve your steel cut oatmeal at our coffee shop.