Blog Brulee Recap + Life Lessons Learned

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Boston and Vermont for Blog Brulee, a conference for dietitian bloggers (disclosure: the conference was sponsored but this post was not compensated). This year was sort of a 2.0 for bloggers who had attended in the past and were begging for a reunion. I was one of the lucky ones who went to the inaugural Blog Brulee 3 years ago. It was right after I started my business, and a total game-changer! I was still in my OMG-did-I-make-a-horrible-life-decision-do-I-need-to-beg-for-my-job-back-holy-smokes-I'm-not-making-any-money phase. The connections, knowledge and inspiration I left with really helped launch my career to where it's at today. 

OG Blog Brulee 2014

OG Blog Brulee 2014

Since my brother Michael, sister-in-law Skyler, and Wally (their soon-to-be baby boy) live in Boston, I went up a day early and stayed a day late to hang out with them. I got in late afternoon, just in time for wine and....fake wine (isn't that just grape juice?) at their apartment before grabbing dinner in their neighborhood at Canary Square. Touching on something that came up in yesterday's post on the hunger/fullness scale, I was REALLY hungry and initially wanted bacon mac and cheese, but after a day of traveling that left me pretty wiped, and wanting to not feel ick so I could enjoy my time with them, I went with the seared ahi tuna, which also looked (and tasted!) delish. Was quite happy with my choice. Life lesson: intuitive eating isn't impulsive eating. 

Seared tuna loin with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and succotash

Seared tuna loin with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and succotash

The next morning I woke up early for a run in Arnold Arboretum, this pretty little park in their neighborhood. I wasn't feeling super great (apparently staying up late drinking wine and watching a Vietnam documentary doesn't settle well in the stomach), but was craving some movement, so I kept it short and took it pretty slow by stopping to take pictures every five minutes. I felt a million times better afterwards. Yay intuitive movementLife lesson: having pretty things to look at gets me excited to move my body, even when I don't initially feel like it. 

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Then my brother and I went to Fiore's Bakery for coconut lattes and a scone. Mine was a vegan spinach scone that I wasn't a huge fan of - a little too sweet for a savory scone - but everything else there looked amazing. 

My friend Kara of The Foodie Dietitian (who as it turns out, lives only a block from my brother) picked me up for our four hour road trip up to Smuggler's Notch in Vermont for Blog Brulee. She was one of my roommates the first year and we've been dear friends ever since! I about died when she pulled up wearing the exact same outfit as me, right down to the shoes! Black leggings, denim shirt, and black Nikes! Life lesson: You're never too old for #twinning with a friend.

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We finally got to Smugglers Notch late afternoon with just enough time to check into our rooms (I stayed with Emily Kyle and Sally Kuzemchak, both of whom I was meeting for the first time and were sweet enough to give me the big room despite my late arrival), and hustle to the opening social. After catching up with old friends while munching on heavy hors d'oeuvres, we had our first session by Bjork and Lindsay of Pinch of Yum, who are basically blogging royalty. They were super sweet, and I loved hearing their story of growing from a little hobby project to one of the largest food websites. Life lesson: Success is usually the result of persistence fueled by passion, boosted by a little dumb luck. 

The next day was a looong day full of sessions. We learned about creating food videos from Alana and Bjork of Pinch of Yum, SEO from Katy Widrick (and my head didn't explode - yay!), and working with brands from Jenny Melrose. We took a break for a yummy lunch featuring some of the sponsors, Starkist and MorningStar Farms. Special shout out the the potato chip chocolate chip cookies. 

Lemon linguine with MorningStar Farms "chicken strips", tuna risotto, and three types of salad. The shaved Brussels sprouts salad with maple vinaigrette was obsession worthy. 

Lemon linguine with MorningStar Farms "chicken strips", tuna risotto, and three types of salad. The shaved Brussels sprouts salad with maple vinaigrette was obsession worthy. 

Hello, beautiful. 

Hello, beautiful. 

I had a lot of emails to catch up on, so for our afternoon break, Kara and I had a wine and Cabot cheese fueled work session on the porch of my apartment. Just check out that view! Life lesson: work doesn't feel like work when you've got company and a view. 

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Dinner was a four-course meal that was very Vermont-y. We started with a trio of salads, then a pumpkin soup but the Vermont stuffed chicken was definitely the highlight. There's something so comforting about roasted chicken and vegetables.

Chicken stuffed with cornbread, cheddar and apples with a cider glaze

Chicken stuffed with cornbread, cheddar and apples with a cider glaze

After dinner, a big group of us hung out in one of the apartments for wine and laughs. Y'all, I think I've said this before, but before meeting other dietitian entrepreneurs at Blog Brulee, I felt SO out of place in the profession. Dietitians can be a bit...well, type A - it's a running joke in the field. When I started my business and focused my practice on non-diet nutrition, I always felt like it was difficult to talk about work with other RDs. After my first Blog Brulee, I finally felt at home in my profession. Life lesson: seek out people in your profession who share your values, and hold onto those relationships dearly. Your don't have to share an office with your favorite "coworkers." 

I went back a little early though to take advantage of the massive spa bathtub in my room. Even though I probably seem outgoing if you meet me, I'm actually pretty introverted. But I get major FOMO if I'm not with the crowd, so in the past, I've really exhausted myself at these kinds of events. Life lesson: When I'm mentally drained, it's impossible for me to have quality personal interactions with people, so it's important to schedule in "me" time so I can make the most of my time with others. 

For our last morning at Blog Brulee, we had a couple sessions on the legal stuff having to do with blogging (which Danielle Liss actually made interesting!), creating sales funnels for email marketing by Danielle Omar, and building soft skills by Robin Plotkin (who probably has the best soft skills of any RD I know!). 

Why didn't I take more pictures??? Me with Marissa, Regan and Deanna (two of the co-founders of Blog Brulee), Meme and Kara. 

Why didn't I take more pictures??? Me with Marissa, Regan and Deanna (two of the co-founders of Blog Brulee), Meme and Kara. 

After saying our goodbyes (until the FNCE conference for most!), Kara and I hit the road, stopping picking up some goodies in Stowe to bring back home. The highlight was having my first cider donut at Cold Hollow Mill - finally! I've been all my friends up north raving out these for years! 

Millions of apples. Apples for me. 

Millions of apples. Apples for me. 

Lunching with a caprese wrap, fruit and veggies, perfect cider and a cider donut

Lunching with a caprese wrap, fruit and veggies, perfect cider and a cider donut

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Back at my brother's in Boston, we hit up a neighborhood bar for dinner. I got their homemade veggie burger...with bacon lol. Hey, no rules here in Intuitive Eating! The fries were perfection. I don't love french fries, but I do I love what I call fry nubbins, the little extra-crispy bits of french fries that are all crunch. Life lesson: When I asked for the veggie burger with bacon, I laughed for a second and the server said people ask for that all the time. Truly, when you go out to eat, you (usually) don't have to be restricted to what's on the menu if it's not what you want. 

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With my brother and SIL

With my brother and SIL

The next morning I had a morning flight home, but I was really craving a run and wanted to explore the cute neighborhood they live in with all the pretty historic houses. I really love to run through old neighborhoods to explore new cities. Life lesson: I've learned that's a pretty great way for me to stay active on vacation because I don't feel like I'm missing out to go workout, but I'm still getting some vigorous movement in. 

"So where do you live, Stuart?" "Oh, you know, the castle on the corner"

"So where do you live, Stuart?" "Oh, you know, the castle on the corner"

Since Blog Brulee, I've been thinking a little about changes I want to make to this blog. First and foremost, I want to step back a bit and post less, so I can focus more on quality than quantity. I've been doing three a week, which has just felt like a lot lately, and has interfered with some of the other things I want to do both in my business, and the blog. So I'm going to stop playing the so-and-so posts five times a week so maybe I should too game, and do a little less, so I can focus on more. I'm also going to work on (FINALLY) getting my newsletters/rss feed set up for those of you who follow over email - it's looked awful for way too long! Lastly, I'm going to spend more time updating old content, cause there's some gems from the past that don't get enough love because the pictures are not very pinterest-friendly (read: out of focus, lit by flash, and zoomed in to where you can't even tell what a food is). 

And of course, I would love to hear from you! If there's anything I can do to make this a more helpful resource, please let me know! So grateful to have this outlet that lets me work in a way that's flexible and creative and connects me with the clients that I love to work with. While I put a lot of work into it, it's you, the reader, that really makes this blog work. Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below! 

More dietitian-y travels from the past: 

Richmond with the Peanut Board

Richmond with the Peanut Board

New Orleans with Nourish with Lamb

New Orleans with Nourish with Lamb

FNCE Boston

FNCE Boston

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