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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BlogHer Food, La Petite Soirée and Lots and Lots of Food

As you know (because I keep telling you!), I went to the BlogHer Food conference this past weekend. It was wonderful. Truly. And not just because I got to eat things like this for two days straight.

Here are a few quick highlights from the conference:

  • Rooming with my dear friend Vanessa Druckman from Chef Druck Musings and my new friend Tricia Callahan from Once A Month Mom. They were such great roommates. Easy to be around, lots of laughs. And Vanessa didn’t have any nightmares as a result of sharing a bed with me. All in all a successful roomie experience, I think! (Pictured: Tricia left, me, Vanessa right)

  • Hearing Penny de los Santos speak. She’s a photojournalist who does exceptional work, but is also full of beautiful stories and true inspiration. Yeah, I cried.
  • Hearing Shauna James Ahern speak. Inspiring? Check. Funny? Check. Great writing and even better stories? Check. Yeah, I cried again.
  • When Michael Ruhlman ended the closing keynote panel by standing up and sharing his strong feelings about the importance of food and cooking to humanity. I can’t do his words justice, so I won’t try. But his words made me…cry. Yup. Again.
  • Chatting with Erika of Ivory Hut. She is quiet and lovely. Erika shared a story with me of a woman who wrote her a letter, and sent all the extra money she had for the month to help Erika’s family. It was moving. And, while I think I did a good job covering up, Erika made me cry, too.
  • But before you start thinking I spent the whole weekend crying…I also laughed, talked, and ATE. A lot. The conference was full of amazing speakers, amazing attendees and food galore.

Pictured: Helene Dujardin, Me, Kristen Doyle, Stefania Pomponi Butler

I think the true highlight of the weekend for me was co-hosting La Petite Soirée. Somehow I was able to convince three lovely women into throwing a party with me during the BlogHer Food weekend. I count my lucky stars every day I had the chance to work with these great women. And the party? It was perfect.

For the food, Stefania had the brilliant idea to hire local food carts from the city. They were all amazing and provided unique foods and drinks to please every palette. And it was just plain cool.

For decoration, we simply had beautiful flowers and cool lighting. I’m not exaggerating when I say you could see our party from miles away. The party was in a photography studio on the top floor with tall windows and no drapes. So, yeah, you could probably see those lights from the moon. We know how to party.

We also had some super sweet gift bags. In fact, the whole weekend came complete with lots of foodie-happy swag. But I’ll just use it, enjoy it, and share my favorites with you over the next months. I do need to thank Federated Media, WordPress, Scharffen Berger and Clever Girls Collective for being our main sponsors. They were all wonderfully supportive.

And, in case you like knowing about good restaurants, here are the various places I ate over the weekend. The Martha Stewart team treated a small group of us to dinner at 54 Mint. And it was amazing. Especially the fried zucchini blossoms and the pasta with eggplant. On Friday, a bunch of us bloggers went to Out the Door for lunch. The chicken that came in a clay pot (I’m pretty sure that’s not the official name) was so tender and flavorful, and I am officially in love with bok choy. For lunch on Saturday, Ziplist treated a group of us to lunch at Restaurant LuLu. I told you the weekend was full of good food!

I’ll be honest, I usually walk away from conferences feeling a little deflated. I think that comes from being overwhelmed by the sheer number of talented bloggers out there and wondering, “What’s the point?” This weekend was completely opposite. I’ve walked away inspired and feeling like I’m part of a powerful and positive community of people with similar goals but different ways to meet those goals. And, I know it all sounds so cheesy, but it was just such a happy, warm-fuzzy weekend. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way, so I’m just gonna go where the cheese takes me. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it, whether I mentioned you specifically or not. You all touched my heart in one way or another. Thank you.


  1. 1

    Great recap! I’m adding you to my list of BlogHer Food recaps. What a great conference glad you had fun too. Ruhlman really moved me too when he stood up and started preaching the word of food. Loved it.

  2. Loved your La Petite Soiree party, Jane! And I adore Ziplist….use it every day…now that I meal plan (thanks to you!). I’m sheading a tear here myself now!

  3. Love love love you and this post and these pictures. I can picture you bobbing around the rooms to capture all these great memories 🙂

  4. It was great meeting you too! And I like your “solution” for the HP picture – looks great. And that picture of you hostess’? Beautiful! Thanks for a great party too. So. Much. Fun.

  5. Thanks for co-hosting the fab party. It was a pleasure to meet you!

  6. 6

    Looks like it was such a fabulous party!! The food, the flowers, the vibe. So so fun.

  7. 7

    Michael Ruhlman always makes me cry, too! I would have died to be there for his talk. Glad you had so much fun… I hope to be there next year!! 🙂

  8. What a beautiful party you had!! the soiree was absolutely gorgeous!!! Great call on the lighting – we saw it as we were driving down and all shouted out, “THERE IT IS!!! THERE’S THE PARTY!!” 🙂

  9. 9
    Jane Maynard

    it was such a joy putting the event together! seriously! I’m so glad those of you who came enjoyed it so much!

    and jenjenk, I love that you really could see the party from afar! love it! 🙂

  10. I’m so glad it was a happy experience! BlogHer food sounds phenomenal, and it makes me want to come on over to the foodie side so I can be a part of such an amazing community.

    Congratulations, now put your feet up for a minute!

  11. Jane, it was the perfect party. So fun. All the food was awesome and the atmosphere was amazing too. Thanks so much for all your hard work! Sheila

  12. 12
    Jane Maynard

    awwww, thanks, sheila!

  13. 13
    Mrs. Q

    I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet you at BlogHer Food. It was a magical couple days that’s for sure! I loved Penny, Shauna, and Michael too. What fun! Next time?

  14. 14

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