My blogging life is usually just me and my glowing laptop screen in the 2 a.m. darkness. This weekend was a happy change. I left my computer at home (which caused me even more separation anxiety than leaving my kids) to attend The Big Potluck, a community-oriented gathering of food bloggers in sunny southern California.
At first it was like attending someone else’s reunion – many people knew each other or came with friends – but I soon found that food bloggers deserve their reputation as a warm and welcoming bunch. Writing is a solitary activity, but this was a generous crowd that celebrates good company as much as good food. This weekend had both in abundance.
The Big Summer Potluck was created three years ago by Pam Anderson, bestselling cookbook writer formerly of Cooks Illustrated magazine, her daughter Maggy, who with her mom blogs at Three Many Cooks, and their friend Erika of Ivory Hut. This weekend’s gathering of 75 bloggers in Murrieta, CA, dubbed The Big Traveling Potluck, was their first event outside the Andersons’ home turf of Bucks County, PA.
When an event is planned with care and good intent – whether it be a party, a wedding, a reunion, or a conference – it’s an entirely different experience than events planned primarily with logistics in mind. Though the logistics of this weekend were flawless – the food, the incredible hilltop settings, the thoughtful agenda – the really amazing thing about the conference was the atmosphere. No business cards were exchanged, or rehearsed elevator speeches. People talked much more about who they are than what they do.
That kind of environment doesn’t happen naturally – it comes from a warm, honest tone, set from the top, that allows everyone below to relax and disarm. Huge props to Pam, Maggy and Erika for creating such a safe haven.
And now for my discoveries…
A smart map app
How did I live without Waze, a mobile phone app that provides real-time, traffic-informed navigation? Not just a map, Waze tells you based on current conditions, the fastest way to get from A to B. Waze gets its information, including drive times, traffic accidents and roadwork, from its user base (34 million at the end of 2012 and growing rapidly). Waze also tells you where the cops are, where the closest gas stations are and what the price per gallon is at each one. read on…