Two weeks ago I attended the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference at Ferncliff Presbyterian Conference Center and Camp near Little Rock.
My only experience with a camp-like environment had been recently when we took our daughter to camp this summer.
I chose the bunk-style accommodation and enjoyed getting to know bloggers I had never met before. I also came prepared to soften my bunk with a down duvet and an accent pillow as well as a clip on fan. We call this “glamping.”
I registered for Foodie Friday which was sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau and was held before the opening of the conference. Food bloggers from across the state were in attendance. Featured speakers included, Chef Donnie Ferneau, Cook Like a Chef; Meenakshi Budhraja, M.D. @GastroMom, You Are What You Eat (This was my favorite session!); Kelly Brandt from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, You Stole My Recipe; Liz Bray, Just leave it to Liz, Searching for Perfection; Stephanie Parker @PlainChicken, The Business of Food Blogging; and then The Big Event Challenge. I was a team leader for The Big Event Challenge.
When organizers asked me to lead a team for The Big Event Challenge, I considered they were possibly desperate. I love real, whole food but don’t consider myself a foodie. Most of my meals are prepared in a BlendTec Blender that consists of liquified kale/spinach and some fruit.
To make a long story short, my team, Team #3 won! Team #3 was comprised at random of Talya from Grace, Grits and Gardening; Ceri Wilkin from Recipe Doodle; Lenora Riedel of Confessions of a Marine Wife and Samantha Craig from the Paul Michael Company.
We created a divine Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Date with an Orange Marmalade Miso/Soy Sauce. We heard the judges said the sauce could make a dried out piece of wood taste fabulous (or something like that).
The competition was tough. Team #7 put up a big fight!
My husband said it looked like I had won the lottery.
The Kick-Off Event sponsored by Arkansas Grown, Arkansas Agriculture Department highlighted featured award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert, P. Allen Smith. He encouraged us by stating we, as bloggers, are a force and a voice that the world can hear. His presentation included a tour of his fabulous home and surrounding land. He is also passionate about Arkansas based companies. He even had a slide featuring the Paul Michael Company right here in Lake Village.
He signed my book and he generously agreed to let me get a picture with him. What a gem!
Then it was back to the Cherry Cabin to hula hoop and play.
Here’s a video of an extreme makeover:
On Saturday, I enjoyed every session I attended. This conference is a community of generous, uplifting women who believe in the art of telling a story.
I was on a roll and won a gift certificate from Passionately Rivalicious. That evening, Hot Dog Mike was serving Petit Jean Meats hot dogs out by a peaceful lake. I ate a hot dog. There’s proof. When at AWBU, do as AWBU’ers. I even enjoyed a fabulous mini carrot bundt cake from Sugar Shack Sweets and Treats. I enjoyed every bite. And I sampled some of Rock Town Distillery’s Vodka as well as whiskey. They were both good.
Sunday we woke up early to hit the trails for the AWBU New Balance Arkansas 5k. My friend Wendy won!
Fernclff was a great site and so convenient to Little Rock. Last year, I attended AWBU but I didn’t even have a blog yet, I’ve come a long way. Blogging is like everything in life, it’s a journey and there’s always more to learn and do.
I visited with friends I made last year and I connected with other bloggers I admire and read.
Just a smidgen of my favorite people:
Heather from Minivan Momma (you know I love her already)