I spent the weekend in Vermont at a small dietitian blogger retreat called Blog Brûlée. I was honored to be at the event as a speaker (disclaimer: they covered my travel/lodging and compensated me for my time), but I feel like I learned just as much from the others in attendance as they (hopefully) learned from me.
This conference will go down in the books as one of my absolute favorites. I loved the small and intimate setting and the fact that I was surrounded by nearly 30 other women who are doing the same thing I am. Working from home for yourself is absolutely amazing, but it can also be quite isolating – it was so fun to network with fellow dietitians who are also blogging, freelance writing, appearing in the media, and running their own private practices and nutrition consulting businesses. I felt so at home. 🙂
The event was designed to provide education and professional development (we received 17 dietitian continuing education credits for going, which was awesome), as well as a forum for discussion and relationship building. The weekend was jam packed with presentations on topics such as blogging and social media best practices, fundamentals of food photography and food styling, SEO basics, marketing strategies, community development, brand identity and monetization, and even contract negotiations. It was organized by four fabulous Registered Dietitians:
- Regan Jones, RD – Healthy Aperture (<—like Tastespotting for healthy recipes)
- Gretchen Brown, RD – kumquat (<—gluten free recipe blog, gorgeous photos)
- Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD- Teaspoon of Spice (<— great kid-friendly recipes)
- Robin Plotkin, RD, LD – Robinsbite (<—love her “inside the fridge” series with RDs)
The four founders led a number of the sessions and were joined by myself (I led a session on monetizing your brand) and four other excellent speakers:
- Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food
- EA Stewart, MBA, RD of The Spicy RD
- Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD of Meal Makeover Moms
- Brierley Wright, MS, RD – Nutrition Editor at EatingWell Media Group
If you’re interested, you can read full bios on the Blog Brulee speaker page.
I also loved getting to know the inspiring and entrepreneurial women in attendance. Check them out!
- JESSICA LEVINSON, MS RD CDN – NUTRITIOULICIOUS
- DIANE BOYD, MBA RD LDN – CAPE FEAR NUTRITION
- KYLIE HELD MITCHELL – IMMAEATTHAT
- MEME INGE, RD LD – LIVING WELL KITCHEN
- DANIELLE OMAR, MS RD – FOOD CONFIDENCE
- MCKENZIE HALL, RDN – NOURISHRDS
- KARA LYDON, RD – THE FOODIE DIEITITAN
- KRISTINA LARUE, RD – LOVE & ZEST
- JULIE HARRINGTON, RD – RDELICIOUS KITCHEN
- KARMAN MEYER, RD – NUTRITION ADVENTURES
- JENNA BRADDOCK, RD – FRESH FOOD PERSPECTIVES
- MARISA MOORE, MBA RD LD – MARISA MOORE NUTRITION
- JENNIFER RAWN, MS MPH RD – 30 SECONDS WITH A & J
- ANN DUNAWAY TEH, MS RD LD – DUNAWAY DIETETICS
- HOLLY LARSON, MS RD – GRASS ROOTS NUTRITION
- WENDY JO PETERSON, MS RD CSSD – WENDY JO
- JEN HAUGEN, RD – DOWN TO EARTH DIETITIAN
- MIN KWON, RD – THE ADVENTURES OF MJ AND HUNGRYMAN
- ASHLEY GALLOWAY, MS RD – THE FRESH BEET
- RACHAEL HARTLEY, RD LD CDE – AN AVOCADO A DAY
The founders randomly paired us with roomies (well, house-mates – we shared a place with three bedrooms and a common area/kitchen) so we got to know new people right away, which was awesome. My roomies were Jenna and Julie – we had a blast together. Jenna makes excellent over easy eggs for breakfast, in case you were wondering (we all made and ate breakfast in our houses both mornings). 😉
We were generously hosted for the weekend by one of the sponsors, Smugglers’ Notch, and I can’t say enough good things about them. From the wonderful healthy food to the beautiful property (it’s a big ski area, so it’s in the mountains) to the extremely attentive and friendly staff, we were well taken care of. Highly recommend them for your next vacation – very family-friendly, and I love that they have a lot of health promoting initiatives, too.
Aside from all the learning and great informational sessions, some of the other trip highlights were:
- A wine tasting at the adorable Boyden Valley Winery, one of the sponsors of the event:
The wine was paired with Cabot (also a sponsor) cheese, my fave. So interesting to eat the cheese and see how it changed the taste of the wine. Some of the sweeter wines became much more complex with a sharp cheddar!
If you want some tips for how to pair wine and cheese at home, Cabot has a cool guide on their website with lots of tips: wine and cheese pairing.
- Sneaking in a short hike (on the Smugglers’ Notch property) on the afternoon I arrived with my roomies:
- And sneaking in an early a.m. 40 minute run with Kylie on Sunday morning before the sessions began. We basically had to run directly up the mountain, but the cold air felt AMAZING compared to hot summer. Yep, wearing the same outfit, don’t judge. (Sidenote: Kylie’s single serving healthier cookie recipe e-cookbook pricing is going up this week, so if you want to buy it, get on it!)
- S’mores – nuff said.
- A Lake Champlain Chocolates tasting class (more on this coming, but the spizy aztec was my favorite – it had cinnamon and cayenne pepper – epic combo):
- And lastly, an hour to explore Burlington on the tail end of the trip before heading off to the airport.
What does a group of dietitians do together? Hit a juice bar, obviously. I had one with kale + cucumber + carrot + ginger + lemon + celery. Hit the spot!
What a fun and inspiring weekend. I miss all these ladies already – wish we could all share an office and talk shop every day!
A HUGE thank you again to the sponsors who made the Blog Brûlée weekend possible:
- Cabot Creamery
- Smugglers’ Notch
- Boyden Valley Winery
- The Soyfoods Council
- Mountain States Rosen (delicious lamb)
- Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs (their eggs are pasteurized with warm water baths – hello, raw cookie dough and runny eggs without salmonella)
- Kashi (loving their new crunchy seed granola bars)