Family-Friendly EVO ’12 Conference and Harry & David’s Chocolate Bananas

For the past 3 years, the EVO conference at The Canyons in Park City, UT has become a highlight for our family. The first two years we brought our daughter and a friend; this year it was just me and my sweets, and we had the best time.

(Photo by Kristen.)

If you’re a blogger and have never been to a conference before, this event is an all-around favorite for so many, partly because it’s so family-friendly.

The closing party is always open to all family members, and held up at the Park City Mountain Resort.

(Dine and Dish, Tip Junkie, Lick my Spoon, A Southern Fairytale, getting ready for the Alpine Slide!)

It also makes me smile that my husband was one of only a handful of male bloggers at the conference (after all, the name stands for Evolution of Women in Social Media). He fit right in. But seriously, anyone can register, and you’ll learn a LOT. And he did learn a lot, as a new blogger himself, and had many conversations on the topic of bullying.

The best part of a conference is not only learning, whether you’re new or not, but meeting like-minded bloggers, hearing inspiring speakers, and getting to know vendors who participate. Jyl and the Mom it Forward Team do a spectacular job planning this event with sponsors involved.

Inspiring keynote speakers like Derreck Kayongo, from Uganda, founder of The Global Soap Project joined the conference this year. Read more on “What soap, smiles, and gratitude have in common,” from Jessica Rosenberg, who blogs at It’s My Life.

This year I was sponsored by Harry and David, a “fruit and gifting” company in my home town of Medford, Oregon. Yes, the Harry and David! It seems everyone has some kind of inspirational story to share about their H&D experience. Mary Shanahan, who is the Senior Director of Brand Marketing for H&D, accompanied me and my husband, and hosted a small, intimate dinner party for a handful of bloggers.

It was a blast introducing Mary to so many great people, and showing her how a blogging conference works!

Here’s Mary with us bloggers outside the Waldorf Astoria Slopes Restaurant at The Canyons where we enjoyed a fantastic meal, hosted by Harry and David. (Flavia, me, Mary, Maria, Helen, Kelley, Heidi, and Alison.)

This very classy restaurant not only fed us amazing food, they made a very special dessert for us at the end of our meal–Harry & David’s Moose Munch Chocolate Bananas!

This year Harry & David gave beautiful pear gift baskets to all of the EVO speakers, and we were able to participate in the “Meet and Treat” where vendors who are a part of EVO have the opportunity to connect with other bloggers by hosting a giveaway, handing out coupons, or engaging in other creative interaction with attendees, during a sponsored breakfast.

So not only did we have a great time, with new friendships made, old ones rekindled, the power also went out one night (lots of excitement), and the weather was all over the map in this very beautiful setting. (The stormy view from our room.)

The mountains were as gorgeous as ever (you know how mountain weather goes, sunny one minute, rainy the next).

The closing party was a blast! (Me with Dine and Dish and I Wash You Dry.)

Good food, excitement, fun, friends … you can’t ask for any more!

I’ll be sharing later about my workshop on the hill at Look Out Cabin, hosted by Mizkan, which was such an honor for me to be a part of. Stay tuned for a future post.

Oh, and if you ever come to visit us in Medford, look what greets you at the airport as you pass through security … :)

Have you heard about the EVO conference?

Have you ever been to Medford, Oregon to tour Harry and David orchards and facilities?


Recipe: Harry & David’s Moose Munch Chocolate Bananas {Reluctant}


  • 1 10-oz. bag of Harry and David dark chocolate truffles
  • 1 10-oz. bag of Harry and David Moose Munch snack
  • 4 large bananas


  1. Place truffles in a microwave-safe container. Microwave at 50% power for 1-minute at a time. Stir in-between intervals, for a total of approximately 3 minutes, until melted.
  2. Place Moose Munch snack into a large resealable bag; use a rolling pin to crush into small pieces.
  3. Peel and cut the bananas into approximately 2-inch lengths, then dip each piece of banana into the melted chocolate and roll in the crushed Moose Munch snack.
  4. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 15-minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


Harry and David sponsored my trip to EVO ’12; all opinions are my own. Dessert pics are Foodie Crush’s iPhone pics. Thanks Heidi!

20 comments on “Family-Friendly EVO ’12 Conference and Harry & David’s Chocolate Bananas”

  1. Pingback: Getting Ready for a Light Summer Dinner Party with Nakano Splash | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. Thanks for sharing your husband with us! It’s always nice to see a few male faces in the crowd, and he and I are going to collaborate on some anti-bullying initiatives. I was so impressed that I heard from him before I even had my suitcase unpacked! Hope to see you again next year at EVO. It’s all kinds of awesome!

  3. I am putting the EVO conference on my wish list. And those Harry and David bananas!!!!

  4. Sandy, what a fun group of girls and an amazing trip! Wish I could have been there with ya’ll.

  5. Oregon is one of the new places on my list of places I must see since I started reading your blog! It sounds wonderful. The conference sounds like fun!

  6. What a fun way to dress up a banana. So great seeing you at EVO. Just visiting the Harry & David store is so much fun. I can only imagine how fabulous visiting it in Oregon would be.

  7. What beautiful photos! It was, as always, so great spending time with you and Paul.
    You’ll have to tell H&D that my husband has munched on the apples all week and claimed they were “the best” he’s ever had! That’s high praise :)

  8. I can’t believe I missed hobnobbing with you at the meet and treat! I thought I hit every single table!! Such a bummer!

    Thank you for linking to my post on the Global Soap Project! Such an inspiring event in so many ways!

  9. How fun? It looks like you had an amazing time!

  10. Oh my gosh those Moose Munch bananas!! How good do those look?!?

    Evo holds such a special place in my heart! Loved seeing your pictures throughout, made me wish I was hiking with ya! Great recap girl, and thanks for sharing that recipe (because I was going to ask you for it!!) :)

  11. I’ve been to and through Medford lots of times. I never used the airport so didn’t see the H&D sign and I’ve never toured their plant either. Maybe I need to remedy that. Meanwhile, we almost always receive a H&D gift from my brother at Christmas and always enjoy it.


  12. Looks like a fun conference! Thanks for sharing about it!

  13. I must say that I was thrilled to be the local recipient of the leftover Moose Munch which was devoured by the family once it hit home. Chocolate, popcorn and salt with a nanner? Forget it, I’m in!

    Sandy, your presentation was top-notch, just like everything you do, and it was so great to get some one on one time with you.

    Meetin Mary was such a pleasure, so great for you to have an association with Harry and David, especially in your home town! The dinner was delicious, it was an honor to be included, thank you as always for all you do. And your husband is one hunka great guy. You two are the bomb. XOXOXO

  14. My hubby and i will be flying into Medford on August 16. Hope we can fit a visit to Harry & David in after visiting Crater Lake and other areas in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Love Harry and David.
    Have you got a great restaurant that you can suggest for dinner in Medford?

  15. I’ve heard of EVO but never been…maybe someday. That treat sounds absolutely wonderful. When my Kat had a soccer game down there a few years ago we went to the Harry and David store. So fun to walk around.

  16. Oh those bananas have been on my mind! Thanks again for hosting such a wonderful dinner with Harry and David. It was so nice to meet Mary and spend time with amazing bloggers. It is always a treat to see you and Paul. We love you guys and admire everything you are doing to better the world! xoxo

  17. I loved this post! I’m glad to know that this conference is family friendly, that’s important to lots of us that don’t do a ton of conferences. Now I have to go check out your hub’s blog, too much fun!

  18. I love moose munch…love this recipe! So glad you had so much fun, Sandy!! And nope have never been to Medford to tour Harry & David but that would be so fun!! xoxo

  19. Such a great recap and it’s always a treat to spend time with you and Paul. I’m so glad to have been a part of the dinner and a chance to meet Mary. She will do great things for Harry and David, that I’m sure of! Hope we get to see each other sooner rather than later!!!

    And thank you for the recipe! Can’t wait to make them.


  20. Those banans look well… bananas ;-) YUM

    I LOVED getting to see you this year, it’s been too long. Your husband is an absolute doll.
    Thank you for all the hugs and smiles and talk.

    Can’t wait to hear what’s next :-) xoxoxoxo

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