One of the best things about going to a blogging conference is not only all there is to learn, but that you get to see your friends. And in my case, attending BlogHer Food last week in Atlanta, I also had a couple of other perks that made the trip fun. All of the speakers were fantastic, the vendors and the food were great, I got to meet some blogging friends I’ve never met before, and overall it was one of my best trips ever in the world of blogging. (Above photo credit by Amanda)

I’ll start off with the first night, when my friend Susan from Doughmesstic put together an amazing party at the Hard Rock Cafe (with all of these cool sponsors). She did a fantastic job with her 2 partners, and all of us bloggers benefited greatly!

The next day the learning sessions started. I have to brag a bit here about my 3 friends who were the panel on “branding.” These gals were great: Georgia from Georgia Pellegrini, Amy from She Wears Many Hats, and one of my roommates, Lori from Recipe Girl, whom I adore! (Smack!) They did a really great job talking about their personal experiences working with brands.

I attended a “Vlogging” session, which gave information and tips on putting video clips on your site. Yes, I’m thinking about doing some vlogging on RE. I have the perfect kitchen set up, so why not? This session was awesome, because they talked about all the details and how simple it really is! I took home with me some great ideas that I’d love to incorporate here on RE. In the meantime, I thought this slide was hilarious. So true … look at Julia Child’s wonderful helpers!

Another session that I thought was wonderful was Molly Birnbaum being interviewed. Molly lost her ability to taste after an accident, and she writes her latest book around her experience and as she slowly engaged a damaged sense of smell. It was touching and she was so humble. I loved her story and her new book is coming out, Season to Taste!

I was also so honored to attend a National Pork Board “Pork Crawl” with some pretty fabulous ladies. You might be wondering what that is! We rode around in a limo and ate dinner at 3 incredible restaurants, Dogwood, Pura Vida, and Rathbun, eating fantastic pork dishes cooked by some of the top chefs in Atlanta. We were spoiled, but more importantly, I have a very exciting giveaway coming up on RE, where I’ll be sharing some great products that you’ll be able to win. Stay tuned.

(Lori @ Recipe Girl, Angie @ Bakerella, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Jaden @ Steamy Kitchen, Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer, Georgia @ Georgia Pellegrini, Marla @ Family Fresh Cooking, not pictured Carrie Minns @ La Pomme De Portland, and photo credit by Amanda @ Kevin & Amanda

One more thing about the National Pork Board. They have just released some new JUICY news that is going to affect the way we cook and enjoy pork from now on …

The JUICY news …

This week, the USDA confirmed that 145 degrees F as measured on a food thermometer, followed by a three-minute rest time, is safe internal temperature for pork chops, roasts and tenderloins.

This cooking method results in juicy, tender and flavorful pork—like that unforgettable chop we had at Rathbun’s Restaurant on the Pork Crawl. It was mouth-watering! (You can read more about it, HERE.)

Not only did I get to go on a Home Goods Shopping Spree (stay tuned next week for your chance to win a $100 gift card!), a great group of ladies had lunch with Ree Drummond’s sister, Betsy, Christy from Southern Plate, and darling Bakerella. Plus a bunch of wonderful ladies whom I adore!

I also got to meet Aimee’ from Simple Bites (photo credit of Aimee’). We both write for Tsh, for the Simple Mom Network. I also learned I’ve been saying her name wrong all this time. Instead of saying (Amy) you say it like, ‘M-ay,’ if that makes sense. The French way. I loved my chat with Amy, from Mom Advice and Erin, from $5 Dollar Dinners (who was on The View this week) I met both of these ladies at a blogging conference 4 years ago … see how relationships can grow and continue through blogs? (Above photo credit @ Simple Bites)

Blogging events are such a beautiful way to connect with people around the world with like interests. RE is more of a “lifestyle” blog, but I have friends in every niche, which makes it even more exciting.

I came back with new ideas, new friends, new experiences … and more I’ll be sharing here at RE.

Thank you for tagging along with me on my recap and I do have one last question for you.

IF I did get into vlogging here at RE, what kind of material would you like to see?

or … Have you ever been to a blogging conference and how has it changed you?

(The National Pork Board did not pay me to write this post today, but they did provide the dinners for the Pork Crawl.)

I also want to send you over to my friend Traci’s place today, because I’m sharing about my NEW BATHROOM JOURNAL … head over and check it out.

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