- If you realize the day before you pack for the conference that you only have two suitcase sizes — a smallish duffle and a suitcase normally used for packing your entire family for a week — make a TJMaxx-run to get a cheap mid-sized carry-on. “All the swag” can fit into your computer bag. And if it can’t, it’s not worth bringing home.
- When you read tweets that talk about saving room in your bag for “all the swag,” keep in mind that “room” and “all” are relative terms.
- Be prepared for the fact that being dropped off at the airport alone, for the first time in years, can be a bizarre, panic-inducing experience. Have a list of mantras ready to repeat to yourself, things like “stop looking for your children,” and “no, the guy at curbside check-in will most likely not intentionally lose your bag because you forgot to tip him.”
- Remember to never again use curbside check-in.
- Be thankful that your husband is amused, not annoyed, when you call him “just to talk” 10 minutes after he drops you off at the airport.
- Contain your disappointment when the food served at the food blogging conference is less than stellar.
- When mid-morning hits on the first day, and you are crashing from your breakfast of a soggy croissant and over-salted bacon, already over-stimulated by all the extroversion, realize it’s probably best to take a breather and find some protein before handling a sharp knife in front of a video camera.
- When being prepped to film your video of “How to Cut a Mango,” observe that the knives on set are much sharper than your neglected knives at home.
- Try not to utterly die of embarrassment when you cut yourself on set of the Mango Video. Be reassured when they tell you about “the magic of editing.”
- Be prepared for a moment when you offer your business card to someone and they don’t reach out to take it.
- Even still, keep offering your card to people. The vast majority will accept it with a handshake and a smile.
- Don’t be afraid to skip the late-night dinner run with all those fun people and hit the sack at 11pm.
- Be thankful for Tylenol PM.
- Next morning, be thankful for caffeine.
- Keep in mind that the madness only lasts 48 hours.
- Don’t be surprised when you actually learn things in your sessions.
- Avoid coveting every iPad you see.
- When you are no longer able to control yourself, and finally walk up to David Lebovitz and say, “I’m a really big fan,” don’t be surprised when he awkwardly looks down at his shoes as if to say, “Really? That’s the best you could come up with?”
- Try not to focus on the absurdity of a scene where you are standing next to David Lebovitz at the Bay’s English Muffins booth feeling conspicuously gluttonous as you wait for your feta-and-jam-topped muffin while David requests “only butter” to let “the flavor of the muffin” shine through.
- Remember that no one cares what you eat on your english muffin.
- Take and enjoy every opportunity to have a conversation with a new person.
- Buy the hotdog from the street food vendor at the Sweet Auburn Market, even though you’re not hungry. One bite will be worth the price.
- Submit to hugging people that you’ve only previously known online.
- Go to the party on the last night of the conference.
- When you see David Leite, of Leite’s Culinaria, dancing to Blondie like a man moved by external forces, put down your plate of food and join in. The opportunity will not likely present itself again.
- Don’t take it too seriously. At the end of the day, we all just write about food.
27 things I learned at
my first food-blogging conference.
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