The second annual Big Summer Potluck was held in Pennsylvania this past weekend. It was organized by Pam, Maggie and Sharon of Three Many Cooks and Erika of Ivory Hut. The event was sold out for months, and I wasn't one of the lucky ticket holders. I had come to terms that I would miss out on a wonderful opportunity to make connections with other bloggers and hanging out with great friends I meet up regularly. So I felt especially fortunate, or was it fate, when I was able to get a last-minute ticket just a week before. Of course I have Jackie to thank who notified me about a cancellation. I was excited to be a part of this intimate gathering of 60 plus food bloggers.
I went into this event with no expectation and thought it would just be a fun getaway while I enjoy great food in a beautiful setting, but as soon as I arrived and met some of the attendees, I knew this is going to be a special weekend. Everyone was lovely especially the hostesses of the event. Three Many Cooks generously opened up their gorgeous home for a reception dinner on Friday as well as a closing breakfast on Sunday where we mingled with everyone. On Saturday, we gathered in a beautiful barn at Linden Hill Gardens.
I was just happy to get away for a weekend of eating with friends and meeting new people that share the same passion for food. Then on Saturday, with a great lineup of speakers, I understood the true reason why I was there. I had recently gone to another food bloggers conference and was overwhelmed and paralyzed with all the information. There was a lot of talk about SEO and how to improve the visibility of your site. It was very informative but I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I began to question the reason why I even have a blog. I'm not a particularly good writer or photographer. I started this blog as a personal project, but as time went on, I was enjoying the process of testing recipes and being creative with the food that I make. So it was particularly refreshing when I heard Shauna Ahern spoke about how she writes for her blog, and shared her love for writing. She encouraged everyone to write from the gut and writing is about slowing down and reliving the moment twice. She also told us that writing about food can be a way of remembering everything important in our lives. I was consumed with inspiration.
As if that's not enough, we were graced with the awe-inspiring Penny De Los Santos and her passionate words about photography. The way she spoke about photography and the stories she told about how she "makes" her pictures just brought me to tears. She discussed the foundation and techniques of photography, but I was mostly mesmerized by her philosophy that photography is a metaphor for life...looking for the moment. She expressed the choices you have in making a picture and to live in the moment. As I mentioned before, we were in a barn and as I listened to Penny spoke about being passionate and picturing your moment; I couldn't help but notice a bird trapped behind a wired-screened window inside the barn and trying to get free. At that moment, the "picture" of the bird felt like in some way a metaphor for my life. I overcame with emotions and realized why I was there. I may have lost some of the passion I had when I first started this blog, among other things in my life; feeling trapped and just coasting through. I'm thankful for their words as they have inspired me to refuel my passion. It was suppose to be a weekend of fun in the country but it became so much more. It was an extraordinary weekend and I will never forget it.
I like to extend my thanks to the generous sponsors who supported this event Kerrygold, Popchips, Green Mountain Coffee, KitchenAid and Green Valley Organics.
Finally, I must thank Pam, Maggie, Sharon, Erika for all their hard work in organizing this potluck; and I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this experience with so many amazing people.