I cannot fathom that Mixed has come and gone.
I blinked, and it passed me right by. I didn’t remember to sleep, nor did I remember to eat. For three solid days.
What I DO remember?
Wonderful things. Amazing people. Laughter and hugging and learning. Smiles. Friends.
Did I say cakes?
You may have heard this already, but cakes just about did me in.
Let me fill you in on a little background info here, just in case you haven’t been following along.
Mixed is the conference I co-hosted with my best friend and fellow blogger, Paula of Bellalimento. We’ve been planning and scheming for oh, 6 months. Our exceptional line up of speakers (Marian Poirier, Bree Hester, Tami Hardeman, Lenny Ferreira & Denise Woodward, and Heidi Larsen) came together beautifully, our phenomenal (and I do mean that) sponsors were perfect for us. The location, the attendees, the travel plans? All fell into line. And the cakes?
Well…cakes were nearly the death blow. I guess every event has that one thing to go wrong, but, I guess I was hoping it wouldn’t happen to US.
Because we were fortunate enough to have Duff Goldman, THE Ace of Cakes hosting a cake decorating class for all attendees, we needed a BUNCH of cakes. Baked, Iced, and Covered In Fondant.
The bakery we ordered from? Cancelled. 2 weeks prior to our event. Just – we don’t think we want to do it.
So, after calling and begging and offering everything but our bodies to every bakery in the tri-state area, Paula and I buckled down and used the kitchen at Mountain Lake to bake and ice every. single. cake.
I think there were close to 90. I’d like to jump in here and say THANK GOD for KitchenAid, as those mixers got the workout of their lives.
The plan was to cover all of them in fondant there, too, but after realizing that the humidity and altitude were NOT going to play nice, we ended up schlepping all those cakes OFF the mountain, covered them at my house, then schlepped them BACK up the mountain. In a rented Dodge Charger.
Did I say 90?
I literally cried as I covered them. My forearms were bruised; Paula’s hands were numb. It was a feat I hope never to repeat. But if I had to? For Mixed attendees?
I’d do it.
Sure, other little things popped up here and there throughout the weekend – but hopefully it didn’t spoil anyone’s fun. A few flights were delayed. Some starting and end times changed, based on the overall mood of the group as a whole. Some people got more Hershey Bars than Reese’s Cups.
It all worked out.
One thing jumps out at me a lot…and to be honest, though I heard only a bit of negativity about it – I kind of liked it.
The phone/internet service.
Mountain Lake is located in a very remote location, high in the mountains. Cell service? Limited, but available. Luckily, they did offer wifi, but a hundred bloggers all itching to get on it at once, well, not always perfect. Despite that, over 350 instagrams went out in under 2 days, all tagged #MixedCon. That doesn’t include the tweets. That’s JUST Instagram. (I’ve stolen a few of them here for this post. Please take it as a compliment if one of them belongs to you. It’s for the greater good, right?)
But let me tell you what REALLY happened thanks to the phone service…and I noticed it most at the closing party. (an amazing event, if I do say so myself.)
I looked around the Barn, listening to the band, and for the first time in my blogging life, I saw bloggers with phones put away, TALKING and LAUGHING with each other. Like, actually talking. Every other blogger event I’ve been to has been (me included) an iPhone fest. We converse via Twitter, and manage to miss everything going on around us.
Not here. We looked each other in the eye, and talked. The phones came out, but only for taking pictures.
It was incredible.
Let me talk a minute about the sessions. I wish I could have gone to every session, but sadly, there was just too much for me to be doing. I would have loved learning tips on photography from Bree. I would kill to hear what Lenny and Denise had to say about Videography. Tami’s session on Food Styling would have been right up my alley. And Heidi? I heard her talk on eBooks was fantastic.
So sad I missed it. All of it.
I also missed the cookie decorating session hosted by REAL Butter, and led by the uber talented Marian of Sweetopia. She’s cookie royalty, folks…and an amazing human in general.
Yup, I missed that, too.
I also did not manage to decorate a cake in Duff’s session. Not in any of his FIVE sessions. Yes, I was there, flitting in and around those cake sessions, but sitting down to decorate?
I did not.
Quite honestly, I was afraid he’d see the state of the blank cakes and walk off the property…so I hung close by to make sure that didn’t happen.
He said nothing negative. I’m sure his tongue was likely swollen from biting it, though. Mine would have been.
Since that weekend, I’ve seen my face in 3 different newspaper articles.
No one around here knows me, and yet all this publicity. Yes, I helped bring in a lot of money to our region, by hosting the conference here. Yes, we raised a good amount of money for charity. Yes, we did a good deed or two by donating those fanciful cakes to needy families in the area.
But it seems strange to me – because we had so much fun. Just LOOK at these pictures.
SO MUCH FUN.
And that’s what it was about. Getting together, learning from each other in this world we’ve managed to carve out for ourselves. You know the world I am talking about – the online world. The world where we admit to each other that we are bloggers, but that no one else we know seems to get.
We came together and had a ball. We watched Dirty Dancing together. We gave away thousands and thousands of dollars in loot from everyone from KitchenAid to Le Creuset. We had swag bags filled with books and tools and coupons and goodies like none other. We ate a ton of cookies, thanks to Dixie Crystals and OXO. We had enough Mac & Cheese to fill up the lake again, thanks to Dreamfields. We had S’mores Brownies to die for, courtesy of Attune and Hershey. We had some of the best chips I have ever eaten, thanks to Way Better Snacks. We had plenty of wine and rum punch, courtesy of Cameron Hughes and Diageo. We had a band on Saturday that we all fell in love with. We had a location – Mountain Lake Hotel – that we completely overtook for ourselves.
We had FUN, courtesy of everyone involved.
I’m so glad to have met so many of you. And next year – let’s actually chat, okay? I promise, I won’t be so busy.
I also promise there won’t be cake.
As I mentioned, we couldn’t have done this without our wonderful speakers and sponsors…so I’s like to thank them all now. You were the life of this party…and we can’t thank you enough.
OXO, KitchenAid, Dixie Crystals, Real Butter, Wisconsin Cheese, Dreamfields, Attune Foods, Hershey’s, Way Better Snacks, Lucky Leaf, Creminelli, Roland, Stonyfield, Cameron Hughes Wines, Harvard Common Press, Le Creuset, Gartner Studios, Edgeware, John Boos, Dreamfarm, California Raisins, Anderson Seafoods, and Diageo Brand Liquors and Wines. And of course, a big thanks to the staff of Mountain Lake. We traipsed in and out of your kitchens, the Front Desk, and the offices like we owned the place. We couldn’t have done it without you… All of you. THANK YOU ALL.