Mixing it Up at Mixed Y’all: Pembroke, VA

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve worked the hardest I have ever worked in my life. My LIFE. Earlier this year my crazy bff Susan & I decided that hosting our OWN food conference would be a good idea. How hard could it be right? *sideeye* We had put together numerous well regarded sponsor parties after all. We worked for months on end putting together every single detail. We planned, planned and planned some more. Spent umpteen hours on the phone as well as emailing everyone and their brothers. Finally on Friday November 30th, 100 attendees converged on a mountain top in Virginia to be entertained and learn at OUR conference MIXED. We were thrilled, shocked and humbled and pretty much felt like we birthed another child.

I’m not going to lie. We had hiccups, speed bumps, whatever you would like to call them. Including a bakery that cancelled an order we had placed months ago two weeks before the conference. What are go getters like us supposed to do? Take care of business that’s what. We baked, butter creamed and fondanted (is that even a word) almost 100 multi-layer cakes in a 2 day period. Just the 2 of us. The weather at 40,000 feet was uncooperative so after baking we had to schlep the cakes back down the mountain and fondant them at Susan’s house. Susan had bruises on both her forearms from rolling fondant. My hands were cracked and red from kneading so much fondant (thank goodness I’ve kneaded so much dough before it came in handy).

We opened what seemed like 2000 boxes and stuffed the goodies into multiple bags. I went through a package of band-aids from box cuts. We set up conference room after conference room and tried to anticipate every need for the weekend. I walked up and down so many steps my ankles were bruised. Seriously odd, weird and gross and we won’t mention that again.

All of that was forgotten when everyone started to arrive. The smiles, hugs and gifts were overwhelming. We had flowers waiting in our room when we checked in with well wishes for the conference. A beautiful bottle of champagne delivered to toast the weekend. A plush robe to pamper ourselves as well as a calming candle to try and relax.

We couldn’t have done this without our fantastically enthusiastic attendees – thank you to each and every one of you for putting your trust in us. We were amazed at how far people traveled to join us (some as far as Canada!). Just wow. We love you all.

To our amazingly generous sponsors:  OXO, KitchenAid, Dixie Crystals, Real Butter, Wisconsin Cheese, Dreamfields, Attune Foods, Hershey’s, Way Better Snacks, Lucky Leaf, Creminelli, Roland, Stonyfield, Harvard Common Press, Le Creuset, Gartner Studios, Edgeware, John Boos, Dreamfarm, California Raisins, Anderson Seafoods, and Capt. Morgan who provided us with so much THANK YOU we loved having you join us and hope you’ll join us again next year! You rock.

To our ridiculously talented speakers: Duff Goldman, Marian Poirier, Bree Hester, Tami Hardeman, Lenny Ferreira & Denise Woodward, Heidi Larsen. We love you all. Thank you sweet friends for sharing your knowledge with everyone.

To our volunteers: thank you for running back and forth, chopping, slicing, and every other little task you did. Mwah!

To the picturesque Mountain Lake Hotel that’s staff went above and beyond to help us. THANK YOU! Did you know there’s room there to land a helicopter? Yeah we did that.

In between all the learning there was lots of FUN! A weekend full of sweets, swag, swiggin’ and Swazye and oh yeah BABY! Movies, Midnight Mac n Cheese parties (Queen Ali accepting her Mac n Cheese Crown above) and we a proud to have to have helped raise money for OXO’s Cookies for Kids Cancer! Thank you to everyone who donated!

It was again the hardest job we’ve ever done but indeed the most rewarding. I couldn’t tell you a favorite part of the weekend if I wanted to. I made lots of new friends, hugged hopefully everyone and somehow managed to take more pictures in one weekend than I have ever taken in my life. I will say the closing party was pretty awesome. A supah cute live band (dear Sunny Side Up we’re still waiting on you to get on Twitter), Oprah like giveaways (think ranges and commercial mixers WOWzer), crazy good cocktails (maple crown royal I lurve you and Joe and Megan) and a new found love of a microphone. That’s right, what happens on the mountain stays on the mountain – good times.

We are planning on hosting MIXED again next year. Crazy? Maybe. If you joined us this year there are special savings coming your way for next year (alumni discount baby). If you didn’t join us, you missed a great weekend and we hope you’ll consider joining us next year! Be there or be square, just sayin. Keep with us on TWITTER & FACEBOOK for our witty banter or just updates on the conference.

Last but not least I wouldn’t have wanted to plan or host this conference with anyone else but my amazing bff - Susan. She is pretty stinking awesome in case you didn’t know it. We can’t wait for next year! Brownies, Margaritas and More are in store. Now we just need to sleep.

Whew that felt like a huge acceptance speech didn’t it ; ) Now I’m just missing my golden whisk trophy (there’s an idea for next year).

Baci!

Here’s a few conference recaps (they had the time of their lives – couldn’t help it) If I missed yours please leave a link in the comments and I’ll add ya!

45 Comments

  1. 1
    Heather at basilmomma /

    Thank you, thank you!! I loved it!!
    Thank you for sharing my show post :)

    • 1.1

      Oh Heather have I told you how much you rock? Thank YOU for coming and hanging out with us! You’re just a blast! See you next year! xoxo

  2. 2

    Thank you for a fabulous weekend! This was my first blogging conference and I had a blast! I appreciate all of the hard work you and Susan put into the conference and can’t wait to hear about the plans for next year.
    Here is the link to my recap :)
    http://www.meandmypinkmixer.com/2012/12/mixed-food-bloggers-conference.html

    • 2.1

      Lynda you are just the sweetest! Thank you so much for coming! We’re thrilled to be your very first conference! I’ve added you to the list above! See you next year!

  3. 3

    Thanks for a fabulous weekend! It was the perfect choice for my first foodie conference. You and Susan did a great job. Can’t wait until next year!
    Here is my recap: http://www.books-n-cooks.com/2012/12/05/mixedcon/

    • 3.1

      Liz we’re so glad we were your first! Thank you so much for coming! I’ve added you to the recap list above : ) See you next year!

  4. 4

    Paula,

    You all did such a fantastic job!! WOW!!! I can’t imagine how hard you all must have worked, and so glad it all worked out so nicely. It was fun for me to see things popping up on Instagram & realizing that food bloggers were at it again…..yay! And what a gorgeous location. Maybe I’ll get to join you one year.

    Denise

  5. 5

    So good to meet so many wonderful people! Best networking event!

    • 5.1

      So great meeting you too Heather! We’re tickled you had a great time! Hope to see you again next year! xoxo

  6. 6

    Paula, it sounds like you (and Susan) put your heart and soul into this conference, rolled with the punches (not to mention fondant), and hostessed a fabulous event. Congratulations on pulling it off — I’ve read nothing but rave reviews!

    • 6.1

      Thanks so much sweets! We definitely did roll with the fondant LOL – Hope you can join us next year! xoxo

  7. 7

    I had an AWESOME weekend! Thanks so much for all of your hard work! I am looking forward to next years event. Counting down 355 days to go! You ladies worked so hard. Please let me know if there is anything I can do next year to help! Thanks so much!

    • 7.1

      Karyn thank YOU! We’re so glad you had a supah time! And can you tell how much I liked your cake ; ) See you again next year!

  8. 8
    Katie /

    Thank you Paula for a fabulous weekend!!! You two went above and beyond and I’m so glad I could help out! Can’t wait for next years conference!

    • 8.1

      Katie you are too sweet and were so much help! Mwah. We’re so glad you and your awesome parka could join us! I could have totally used it myself ;) See you next year! xoxo

  9. 9

    What an incredible conference that you held Paula! I hope that I can attend next year! Along with following your blog and Twiiter page, is there a notification list for next year’s conference sign-up?

    Thanks!
    Ciao,
    Roz

    • 9.1

      Ciao Cara! We would love for you to join us next year. We’re in the middle of setting up a feed for the Mixed site : )

  10. 10

    I knew you and Susan would throw an event that would knock everyone’s socks off and it sounds like you did! Congratulations on such a success.

  11. 11

    Oh Paula, I’m SO BUMMED I couldn’t be there….next year???

  12. 12

    So much fun! Totally bummed I couldn’t be there too :(

  13. 13

    Looks amazing, so sad I missed it!

  14. 14

    Paula, thank you and Susan for all the hard work you did to make Mixed happen! It was AWESOME in every way, and I’m so thankful to have been asked to be a speaker. Thank you!! (p.s. still flabbergasted at all the cakes you rolled out ~ IMpressive!)

    • 14.1

      Marian I lurve you! You’re super awesome! It was Sus who did the rolling and covering (she’s a cake-star), I baked them all and kneaded fondant. I’m still not ready to eat cake yet LOL xoxo

  15. 15

    Hi Paula! Super late to the game, but I finally got my recap up on my blog: http://eatingappalachia.com/2012/12/10/mixed-food-bloggers-conference/

    Thanks for throwing such a fantastic conference!

    • 15.1

      Not late at all, thanks so much Jes! We really appreciate it. I’ve added you to the list : ) Hope to see you next year!

  16. 16

    Thanks for the link. And thanks for the wonderful conference. I hope it is the inspiration for me to keep blogging. I may make it again next year!

    • 16.1

      Kristin it was so great meeting you & YAY for winning such awesome prizes! You’re going to love both of them! I really hope to see you next year! xoxo

  17. 17

    I’m still singing Dirty Dancing music in my head! I wish all of my weekend could be that wonderful! Thank you so everything ya’ll did! Most amazing conference!! oo and yes… maple crown royal… I LOVE it!

    • 17.1

      Angie I’m so glad it worked out for you to come! You are just a doll! See you next year! xoxo

  18. 18

    Aww, I’m so bummed I couldn’t be there. Congrats on all your success!

  19. 19

    As a new blogger, I missed it this year, but I definitely plan to be there next year! I have liked on facebook and looking forward to making the trek from Canada as well!!

  20. 20

    I’m still so jealous, and in AWE of what you were able to pull off. Way to go, the both of you!

    • 20.1

      Aw Shaina you know we missed you. Next year you have to come. Have to. I said so ; ) xoxo

  21. 21
    • 21.1

      Kim you are just awesome! We’re so glad that you came! It was our pleasure! xoxo

  22. 22

    I absolutely loved this conference… I hope it’s close to me again next year so I can attend it. Thanks for sharing my link and planning the awesomeness that was Mixed. :)

    • 22.1

      Hi Lindsay, of course. We’re so glad you came and thank YOU for sharing about the conference. We really appreciate it! Mwah.

  23. 23

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed meeting you and Susan in person. After following your blogs for so many years I felt like I already knew you but you knocked my socks off by being even more amazing than I ever imagined!

    Your effort, dedication and sincere care you lavished on each and every one of us came through in the biggest ways – I thank you and very much look forward to the next time!

    xo

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