Big Traveling Potluck

A potluck. For a blogger it’s more than a covered dish and sharing of foods.

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It’s about sharing lives and stories, learning more about awesome brands, getting filled up with plenty of inspiration – and it all happened last weekend in sunny California with Maggy and Pam of Three Many Cooks, and Erika, from Ivory Hut, as they hosted The Big Traveling Potluck. (Plus a thank you to the many hands behind the scenes who worked so hard to put this event together, including the amazing duo, Smith Bites.)

Coming together for a retreat at one of the most beautiful places, Plateau Edge, was a great opportunity for new bloggers to get to know old (well, not in age, just in blogging years), to reconnect with friends, and for me personally – I LOVED meeting for the first time some of my online friends.

Finally, a chance to have “in real life” conversations with some of my favorite people!

Big Traveling Potluck

The Potluck gals planned and worked so hard to provide a “first on the west coast Potluck” event in California’s wine country, probably one of the most inspirational conferences I’ve been to. Not to mention, the menu was out of this world. (Again, such a fantastic job, Maggy, Pam, and Erika – 3 beautiful hearts full of hospitality!)

Big Traveling Potluck

Harry & David sponsored my trip, and they were also one of the Potluck’s sponsors as well.

We were up in the countryside of Temecula, California, among the avocado groves and gorgeous views. It was a first time experience for me to tour avocado groves and learn more about the organic growing process in California. Here’s a post with a great recap about the avocados.

And, did I mention, we ate avocados the entire weekend? I mean, have you ever had an “avocado toast bar” for breakfast? DELICIOUSNESS!

Big Traveling Potluck

We listened to a group of terrific speakers, including my friends Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and Helen Jane. Also speaking was Melissa LanzMatt ArmendarizJeannine Harvey, and Barrett Ward. (Thanks Heidi for the photo.)


And finally, my two sweet sisters Lori (Recipe Girl) and Gaby (What Gaby’s Cooking) did food demos because they each have brand new cookbooks out! So proud of these girls! Click on over and check out (BUY) their new books – you won’t be disappointed – they are fantastic!

The goal of the potluck: It’s really about relationships more than food.

The theme of the weekend was “Invest in Yourself,” and all of the talks were geared toward what that means for us as bloggers and food writers.

Each speaker gave me a lot to think about–it’s not about blogging numbers, climbing the popularity ladder, comparing yourself with others, becoming famous or writing a book. Each day of living is really about becoming a better person, not just a better blogger. I’m turning 50 this year and I think I’ve become wiser and more savvy in these areas, especially in saying no and prioritizing my time. You just can’t do it all, there’s no room for cliches and circles, and I don’t want to waste energy on stuff that doesn’t matter. Instead I’m putting my energy into embracing, loving, and supporting people – online and in my home and own backyard.

We were stretched–maybe a tiny bit–out of our comfort zones, as the speakers gave very honest talks.

Big Traveling Potluck The Pioneer Woman

Follow along with my Instagram shots and a few pictures from my big-girl camera for what this “Potluck” was all about.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Potluck. Building your own plate, with whole foods and organic goodness fresh from the earth. Many bloggers brought goodies, jams, sauces in true potluck form. It was hard to try them all. (Picky Palate’s delicious chocolate muffins.)

Picky Palate Chocolate Muffin

Food. Remembering dishes and smells and tastes. Especially with cilantro, avocados, jalapeños and lime. (Thank you wonderful sponsors for such healthy, delicious food!)

Memories. Many memories of a little girl at church potlucks, tables stretched out for miles with homemade food, came to mind.

Big Traveling Potluck

Touches. Simple flowers, like these in a jar.

Big Traveling Potluck

Conversation. People mingling, talking about life, getting to know one another.

Big Traveling Potluck

Reconnecting. Old friends coming together and bringing in new. (Sort of a Harry & David reunion from this trip last summer, and this trip last fall.)

Big Traveling Potluck

Authenticity. Sharing stories and experiences, sometimes with tears, laughter, and even babies! (Maria, Lori, Heidi, Ali, Jenny, Amanda, and me. Oh, and Baby Caleb.)

Big Traveling Potluck

Learning: Walking with someone, carrying their burden, honored to hear their story and learn from them. It  may not be the most popular blogger you learn from, it may be a new “baby” blogger–someone new to the blogging world. Everyone brings a new perspective, which I find refreshing.

Big Traveling Potluck

Brands: We learned so much from these amazing brands: California Avocado Board, Whole Foods, Redwood Hill Farms, Sabra, Kerrygold, and KitchenAid, and a few more. Beautiful Maggy with one of the Harry & David gift baskets raffled off.

Big Traveling Potluck Harry & David

And each blogger received a wonderful “gift” bag when we checked in. (I spy Harry & David again!)

Big Traveling Potluck

Community. Plenty of good food to choose from. Friendship and community build around good food. (Amanda and Maria.)

Big Traveling Potluck

Fabulous-ness. I get teary just thinking about many of my blogging friends that have become so dear to my heart over the years. (These girls are like sisters – Jenna and Maria.)

Big Traveling Potluck

Platform. Blogging is more than “us.” We need to learn, stretch, grow, and challenge ourselves. Here’s an example with Maggy’s post.

Justice. Not a dry eye in the place when we listened to Barrett and  we learned about this.

Future. New plans are made. “Let’s meet up here,” or “I can’t wait to see you at this event,” or “Come out to Oregon and visit us.” That kind of talk. (Sporting the stripes with Catherine from  Weelicious– love her!)

Big Traveling Potluck w/Weelicious

Relaxing. Enjoying each bite with conversation around the table, instead of running out the door. (Borrowed photo from my friend, Brooke from Food Woolfe.)

Table at BTP

Moments. Sweet moments of reprieve in the company of people you love. (Who doesn’t love Bakerella?)

Big Traveling Potluck

The layers of flavors and love: That is how when you give yourself to something, in the end, it blesses more than you’ll ever know.

We all could taste the time and effort the Potluck girls and their team put into this event.

If you’re a blogger, what is your favorite part of attending a conference? If you haven’t gone to one yet, what conference are you dying to attend?

Thanks again to Harry & David for sponsoring my trip to The Big Traveling Potluck!

BTP1 Brands

Here’s som other fabulous recaps from #BTP1:

Rustic Garden Bistro
Savour Fare
Bake Your Day
Food Woolf
Foodie Crush
Two Peas and Their Pod
Picky Palate
Helen Jane Part 1
Helen Jane Part 2
Kevin and Amanda