My weekend in Smugglers Notch for Blog Brulee was partially sponsored. I was not compensated to write this post.
I spent an amazing weekend in Vermont with amazing and inspiring women entrepreneurs at Blog Brûlée. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet each and everyone one of them and also to be able to learn so much from them. It really was a life changing weekend for the next steps I take to further my business and brand.
Before I start my recap I want to make sure I thank all of our generous sponsors:
And thank you so much to the Smugglers Notch Resort for the delicious food and hospitality.
After getting settled in our rooms and meeting everyone at a welcome reception we dove straight into all the learning. Deanna Segrave-Daly kicked it off with a session about smart phone photography- if you don’t have a DSLR and want to take great pics I highly recommend downloading the Camera+ and Snapseed apps. Next Regan Jones took us through video producing. I’m definitely not quite there yet but check out one of her extremely impressive videos making a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Braid here. Friday night ended with a dietitian after party with wine and snacks provded by Aldi. We partied it up in the cabin (but not too late) and were able to network and get to know each other a little better.
Saturday morning started off early for a very full and informative day. Breakfast was provided by Siggis and I was so excited to meet Abi Kinnear (siggis dietitian) and Siggi himself! I had seen him speak last year at FNCE and he was just as colorful and hilarious as I remembered. Plus he taught us how to make our own yogurt.
Our next sponsor Safe Eggs taught as about their gentle water bath to pasteurize eggs so they can be eaten safely in all eggs dishes. We were able to enjoy them at lunch that day and the following morning in our cabins.
Next the super talented Katie Webster taught us about food photography. She is one of the most creative photographers I know and I was so glad to be able to learn some tricks of the trade from her to improve my pretty terrible pictures going forward. After her presentation Gretchen Brown walked us through post processing in Lightroom. Next up on my purchase list is a tripod!
Pom Wonderful gave a short and sweet presentation next and also shared samples in our room as well as a pomegranate hibiscus iced tea at lunch. I am super interested in their research regarding recovery for sports nutrition and hope to create a natural sports drink soon using pomegranate juice.
Lunch featured many of our sponsors: Asian peanut noodle (National Peanut Board), Lyonnaise salad with poached eggs (Safe Eggs), pesto chicken salad with Rice (Uncle Bens/Seeds of Change) and a jicama slaw. Our delicious meal was followed by a bonfire with s’mores (Mars Food) and a short sponsor presentation.
Next genius Katy Widrick blew my mind teaching me about optimizing my content and SEO. I have so much to learn from her and will likely be hiring her soon as she has so much knowledge and insight into improving social media and websites. One of the really important things I learned was about no-follow links- read more from Katy about their importance here.
Aldi was our next presentation and I was really interested to learn more about a company I already love. There are so many great products to buy at Aldi and they are at a fraction of the price at normal retail stores. Check out this post from Real Mom Nutrition to find some of the best ones!
Next Sally Kuzemchak shared her skills on writing compelling content. Her strong background as a freelance writer helped educate us on how to best engage our readers. As someone who often writes how she speaks it was a session that was very enlightening- one big takeaway was to tap into thesaurus.com
Our last sponsor presentation of the day was from the National Peanut Board. Sherry was super sweet and had an awesome southern accent and reminded us how much our readers looooove peanut butter. She also included super cute Peanut Envy shirts in our swag bags that I can’t wait to wear!
After a long day of learning we had a short break and most us went for a quick hike through the wooded mountains. It was nice to learn more about my bloggers friends behind the screen. After cleaning up a bit, we headed off to dinner which was sponsored by Aldi. They provided the delicious award winning (and super cost effective) wines as well as the ingredients in our salad salad. Unfortunately living in Pennsylvania I don’t have access to their best buy wines but if you live in a normal alcohol law state make sure you check them out! After dinner we had another after party in one the of the cabins and enjoyed more wine 😉
We were all so sad to wake up and leave our beautiful cabins on Sunday morning but were excited for a few more enlightening and inspiring speakers before we headed home. We had short sponsor’s presentations by Nestle and then by General Mills who provided our cereal snack break. FYI- Fiber One is actually much better tasting than it looks. Try it sprinkled in with another cereal or as a topping on a smoothie for some added crunch.
Next we heard from Amanda Finks who has an amazing Instagram following and from Aggie Goodman about her Pinterest popularity. I can’t wait to implement the strategies they shared. Make sure you follow them on their social media accounts for beautiful photos and delicious recipes. And if you aren’t already following me on Pinterest or Instagram now is the time to start!
One of the presentations I was most looking forward to most was Anne Mauney speaking about monetizing her brand and blog. She has worked with so many notable brands is one of my favorite bloggers so it was great to hear her best tips and learn more about creating a media kit. That is definitely high up on my to-do list now so I can work with more brands and businesses as well.
The last present was from Regan Jones and Robin Plotkin (two of the four Blog Brulee founders) about the habits to build a successful brand. These ladies have been managing and growing their brands for a long time and are incredibly impressive. It was great to hear their insights and words of wisdom.
WOW. That was a long recap but the weekend went way too fast. I am so inspired to do more with my brand and grow my business and now I have so many more tools and knowledge to do it. Thank you so much to our speakers for everything you taught me! And to my fellow attendees it was so great to meet everyone and I look forward to connecting even more now that we know each other a little more personally. This was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve had for professional growth and development and I can’t wait to take it away from here!
Have you ever been a work related conference that was so inspiring? Have you ever been to Vermont!? (If not you must go- it’s gorgeous!)