Last Friday, I flew to Seattle with a carry-on and a backpack–just enough clothing to get me through three days of the International Food Blogger Conference and then three days in Charlotte on a tour with Dole (more next week)! The challenge is always packing the fewest items of clothing so I can fit more hair tools. You get this, right?
Seattle, as it often does, made me wonder why I moved away, and the conference went so well–but it always does; I love IFBC, and it’s going to be in Sacramento next year! I spoke on Saturday about writing my cookbook alongside my mega-talented friends, Aran Goyoaga, who photographed the book, and, Jenn Elliott Blake, who styled it. While at the conference, I had the chance to reconnect with two long-lost blogger friends that I met at my very first blog conference: Mary of Fervent Foodie and Suki of Super Duper Fantastic. Both women were just as lovely as they were in Chicago 5 years ago when we were new and scared to death of other bloggers.
I also got the chance to meet Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, who is kind of a soul sister to me, and she’s as funny and warm in person as she comes across on her blog. If you listen to Season with Sass, her food blogging podcast with Kita of Pass the Sushi and Girl Carnivore, I had the pleasure of meeting Kita, too, and wow it’s like, can you fall in love with that many people in one weekend? I know, I know, it seems like I’d fall in love with anyone, but I promise I wouldn’t. It’s usually only animals that I truly adore at first meeting.
In soul-fulfilling news, I spent maybe an hour talking to my longtime (superstar, bestselling author, no big deal) friend Kat Flinn. Connecting with her is always so affirming. Do you know Kathleen? If not, her first book, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School, was the first food memoir I ever read, in 2007, and it really sparked something in me. I read it while living in Massachusetts, a dreamy food writer who didn’t write, and three years later, I moved to Seattle, a newborn writer, met Kat, and we became fast friends. To say she inspires me in life and writing would be an understatement. If you love food, or stories of transformation, or just good stories and writing, her books (she’s written two more since “Sharper”) are truly fantastic. Here’s a place to start! Her most recent: Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good.
I’ve been to Charlotte twice because Kate lived in Winston-Salem for a few years (she’s back up north now, thankfully) and whenever I’d visit, I’d fly into CLT and we’d spend at least half a day in Charlotte [eating at Cowfish]. Beyond how charming the city is, I can never get over how clean it is. I’m becoming my mother.
When you go on these kinds of press tours, sometimes you know the other bloggers beforehand, in an online friendship kinda way, but lots of times you don’t. When I went to San Antonio a couple years back, I completely lucked out because I united with Ali Ebright of Gimme Some Oven, and she and I just clicked. I found her irresistible then, and I’m still very close with her now.
On this Dole trip, I hit the jackpot. I connected with Catherine of Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth, Brittany of Eating Bird Food, Kathy of Healthy. Happy. Life, Taylor of Food Faith Fitness, and Susan of Doughmesstic. We laughed non-stop. I have this sense that we’ll continue the friendship we started…or at least I hope we will, because Catherine has been sending me photos of the two of us that she has edited using the Perfect365 makeover app where both of us are now wearing wigs and a spectacular amount of makeup, and I’d really miss that if it were gone. I even wish we all lived closer–and I say that as someone who would rather stay in and watch Real Housewives.
Daniel is now going above and beyond to prove (to me, the world?) that he’s a saint-level human being. He takes a walk every day through the park and while he’s there, he sometimes feeds the ducks and geese (with the proper food for their digestive systems—which is apparently not bread) and, wait for this, he picks up and disposes of any litter and trash he sees. He didn’t tell me he did this, otherwise I’d know he did it for the sake of good-person-ness. No, I only know this because yesterday I went with him on the walk and witnessed it. When he made a special effort to feed a bird with “angel wing,” I was certain he was trying to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
He’s not always such a do-gooder, and I’m glad because that’d be exhausting and annoying and I love how funny and irreverent he is, but man there are so many little moments when he exhibits this pure kindness, when I see that his good intentions are almost never for the sake of people-pleasing or to get a gold star…and I pause on how grateful I feel to get to love him.
Sometimes I’ll look at him and be so overcome with how much I love him it feels like this massive wave is washing over me. How can I ever make you know how much I love you?
This impossible feeling reminds me of a line from the movie Playing by Heart (1998) that Kate and I have always quoted, “Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.” How true does that feel?
I’m on a Podcast!
Listen to me talk with Jessica Murnane on her One Part Podcast (episode # 42) all about my memoir It Was Me All Along, weight, depression, binge eating…It was one of those conversations where she and I had both struggled with so many of the same things that it made for more honesty and depth. Don’t you love that?
Click here to subscribe and listen on iTunes
Click here to subscribe and listen on Stitcher.
If you don’t know Jessica Murnane, take a look at her site! She’s got a whole lot of delicious plant-based recipes, (see the One Part Plant tab). Because of a really long struggle with her health, she has had to find a new way of eating–something so many can relate to on some level. Her food and spirit is beyond inspiring, and in a health world where it would be easy to get a little crazy and a lot perfectionistic, I find her to be refreshingly accepting and loving. She says, “Change doesn’t have to be all or nothing…it’s about working through things one part at a time.” Amen.
You know how my family is crazy in love with our pug DeeDee? Well, Dee has a mast cell tumor on her thigh, so she’s having surgery to remove it on Monday. By late next week, we’ll find out if the tumor is classified as high grade or low grade. We’re giving her all the love in the world as usual.
What’s new with you? How was your week?