This weekend was exhausting, in the best way.
After a few days full of baking for friends, my Friday night was kicked off with my sister in town and about 100 bloggers, in a famous hotel, on top of a mountain, just 20 minutes from my house. Does it get any better than that?
That’s right. I was at the first Mixed Conference this weekend! And it was incredible.
I mean, I learned how to decorate cookies from Sweetopia herself!
This is huge because I do not decorate. I can barely frost a cupcake, but she made it look so easy that I got over my fear and decorated a Christmas tree and ornament cookie and they turned out pretty good. I’m giving all the credit to Marian for this first trial, but I do have plans to try some on my own at home soon. Who wants to bet my mess might look better than my cookies? I’ll make sure to document that when it happens.
It’s never a bad day when you start with breakfast, coffee, and cookies, right?
After my cookie session, I had a food styling session with Tami from Running with Tweezers, who is just fabulous and had some easy and helpful tips to use at home. Then there was the video session with Lenny and Denise from Chez Us, who are hilarious and two of my new favorite people.
Then after lunch, I learned some cake decorating tips from Mr. Ace of Cakes himself, Duff.
Again – no decorating skills here, but my partner in crime and I had a blast working on our cake. We started out making some fondant shapes and using his spray paint, but then decided to transform our cake into a ladybug. Thanks to the awesome airbrush machines Duff brought for us to use, it took no time to cover the cake in shiny red and black polka dots.
Maybe it’s not perfect, but it turned out cute! I’m proud of us for this cake….but I won’t be decorating cakes for a living anytime soon.
After decorating with Duff, we finished out the day with a photo session with Bree (one of the sweetest people ever) and an ebook session with Heidi (who is hilarious and so nice) before having dinner and the closing party/concert.
But besides seeing lots of old friends at the conference and meeting even more new friends, I loved having something so close to home and having it somewhere so special.
Mountain Lake is one of the two spots where Dirty Dancing was filmed, and even though I’ve been up here a lot over the past 9 years, I had never done the self-guided Dirty Dancing tour or gotten my picture with the Swayze until this weekend.
We even had a midnight showing of Dirty Dancing on Saturday night – one of the highlights of the weekend, for sure.
Back off, Baby.
And somewhere, in between eating, sleeping (barely), helping Susan and Paula, and chatting with everyone, I baked cookies!
Dixie Crystals, one of the sponsors of the conference, had a cookie recipe contest for attendees, and I was one of the finalists! Friday night, we baked our recipes to share and they were voted on by all the attendees.
Sadly, my soft ginger butterscotch chip cookies didn’t win, but it was a close contest! I think only 8-9 votes separated us. And either way, we had a blast baking cookies in the massive kitchen that night.
(picture from Dixie Crystals)
After two late nights, early mornings, and nonstop chatting, I’m exhausted and still recovering. But this weekend was completely worth it.
I finally got to meet Ali and Angie and Heidi and Rachel and Lauren and Lauren and a ton of other bloggers in person! I hugged a million people this weekend, or it sure felt like it. I was reunited with Bree and Julie and Megan and Farihah. And I had a blast meeting everyone. This conference was the best I’ve been to, and not just because it was close to home. Nothing felt cliquey. Everyone talked to everyone and was super friendly and kind. The weather was perfect, the sessions were some of the best I’ve seen, and I seriously cannot wait for next year.
If you didn’t get to come this year….I hope you’re planning on the next one!