Celebrity Sighting!


I knew things were going to be alright when I walked up to the conference registration line yesterday and ran smack into The Pioneer Woman. O.M.G!!!


Ben was with me and was all – what the hell is wrong with you?! – when I started geeking out.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever? Cinnamon Rolls to die for? Creamy Artichoke Pasta? Beef with Snow Peas? THAT’S HER!

She was quickly surrounded by dozens of fans, and I was too shy to say anything anyways, so I took a stalker photo with my iPhone.


This morning I woke up wondering what else would be in store for the weekend. :)

After a nice sweat sesh at the hotel gym, I picked up a Starby’s with my new pre-paid AmEx card to sip on before the conference got started.

American Express sponsored my trip and ticket to BlogHer, and I’m using their new pre-paid card for my expenses while in San Diego. The card is re loadable, has zero fees associated with it, doesn’t impact your credit score and is great for giving to unsupervised, San Diego-wandering husbands to make sure they don’t spend too much moolah while you’re sitting in conference sessions. ;)

I met a new friend Emily in line at Starby’s and we hit the exhibition hall before the first session of the day started.

Holy swag! Brands from Skinny Cow to Dove were inside handing out dozens of samples and coupons. I sipped on everything from a Mango & Pineapple Smoothie from McDonalds (TO DIE!!!!)

to Nutty Dark Chocolate squares from Lindt (among a million other things.)

I lugged my goodie-filled bag to the first session of the day, Bad Blogger Pitches (The Other Side of the Blogger/PR Relationship.) Here are my takeaways:


When pitching to a brand/PR company, approach them with the following information:

  • Why you want to work with the company/brand
  • What makes you and your blog special
  • What your background is
  • Other similar companies/brands that you have worked with
  • Who your community is (age, gender, location)
  • Traffic AND engagement metrics
  • How the relationship can be mutually beneficial

After the session, it was lunch time. I’ve been so impressed with the meals/snacks provided at the conference so far. Not only is everything super fresh and healthy, but they have gluten-free and vegan options available at every meal. Nice, right?

Spider monkey!

Better. ;)

OMG there was a flash mob during lunch – HA!

I was going to head back to my room for a little R&R before my next session, but as I was heading out the door, I passed by the Tropicana booth which was giving out free manicures.


They were offering pink or yellow, to coincide with their lemonade flavors.

I chose pink, natch. :)

Afterwards I headed to my second session of the day, Photography: A Metaphor for Life with Penny De Los Santos, an incredible photo journalist and food photographer.

INSPIRING was the first word that came to mind as I left this session. This woman is almost as good of a story teller as she is photographer, and I had goosebumps the entire time. CHECK OUT HER WORK!!!

Here are my takeaways:

What makes a great photograph?

  • Light. Where is it coming from, how strong is it, is it filtered or direct, etc.
  • Color. Follow the color. Examine the time of day, what people are wearing, background, etc.
  • Composition. Something you learn and study.
  • Subject. Pick a very visual subject. If shooting food – pick something that has tons of texture, detail and is very visual – ie, not white rice.


  • Practice patience. It may take HOURS to get that perfect shot.
  • Change your perspective a ton – up high, down low, etc.
  • Follow the color and movement
  • Use props when shooting food
  • Don’t be afraid of movement in a photograph (blur)

How to grow:

  • Look at photography everyday. Magazines, books. Study the photographs and styling.
  • Practice regularly.
  • Keep a visual journal to develop good habits.
  • Surround yourself with people that challenge you
  • Show your work to your peers, editors, anyone who can give you constructive feedback

Gahhhh I wish you could have been there – it was such an incredible session, and I now want to be a professional photographer when I grow up. :)

Well I’m back in my room now snacking on some Skinny Cow treats I got at the expo hall while I wait to meet some girls for happy hour.


In case you were wondering, Ben’s been pretty much livin’ the dream today. Hung out at the pool for a bit, had a beer & burger for lunch, and was enjoying a nice forty on the balcony in his boxers when I got home.

Must be rough. ;)


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  1. I AM SO JEALOUS! I am totally considering going to BlogHer next year, it sounds like so much fun! :)

  2. Lexi 08.05.2011

    The Pioneer Woman!!! I met her last fall when she was here in DC for the National Book Festival, and she’s the sweetest thing ever! I managed to get a few photos with her, and she signed my cookbook too! Love her!


  3. Rachel 08.05.2011

    That workshop sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing some of what you learned with us!

    And OMG, so cool you saw PW in person! The blogger world is all very jealous!

  4. Lauren 08.05.2011

    This conference sounds incredible! And I would have totally freaked out if I was The Pioneer Woman too!! It’s almost the same as our guys running into their favorite NFL player right?

  5. Thanks for sharing with us! I wish I had been able to make that conference. :(

    Glad Ben is living the high life. LOL

  6. Kelly F 08.05.2011

    Giuliana Rancic is suposed to be there, If I was there I would be soooo stalking her! Find her for me! Haha.

  7. OMG! You ran into P-Dub!! I would totally freak out too. Looks like a great event. I would love to attend BlogHer conference one of these days!

  8. cracks me up that you’d be too shy to approach Pioneer Woman when I think of you as such a huge blogger! I guess she is the queen of food blogging…lol. I would be way too shy to go up to her too!

  9. Wow! What a day!! The Pioneer Women, free samples, a manicure, informative seminars, girl time. . . sounds perfect!

  10. Looks like the best conf yet! Love the pink manicure. That’s a great color. And how awesome is it to see TPW?? Very! :)

  11. Ha, not sure whose day I envy more, yours or Ben’s!

  12. Sounds like a ton of fun and that you both had great days
    Swag makes me swoon :)

  13. Lisa 08.05.2011

    PW……if you get invited to the Ranch can I be your driver? please?
    I would have freaked. And then been too shy to say a word. I think!

  14. Looks like you are having tons of fun! Thanks for sharing your adventures! Poor Ben! ;)

  15. Dawn Marie 08.05.2011

    You are only here until tomorrow? Ugh!!!! Too bad!!
    Come back next weekend and meet us in Bev Hills… shopping at The Grove and Beverly Center baby! ;-)

    I hope you had a good time!

  16. NOelle 08.05.2011

    It is so fun that your husband came along! Hope you two have fun! I wish I were there!!!!

  17. Courtney 08.05.2011

    How exciting that you got to see The Pioneer Woman! I am pumped for her show on the Food Network… I know it will be a hit :) Thanks for the recaps on the sessions, have fun!

  18. Ali 08.06.2011

    Have fun at the conference. It looks like so much fun! I will be really jealous when you get to see Stephanie Nielson!

  19. Sounds like tons of fun! I would have been the same way if I saw the Pioneer Woman! And it sounds like Ben is having a great time, too!

  20. Ash Bear 08.06.2011

    I went to BlogHer last year when it was here in NYC. I wish I could have gone this year but it just didn’t work out. Have a blast and take advantage of all the other bloggers there. That is who I learned the most from- Kath, Tina, and Sabrina!

  21. Glad you’re enjoying SD! Blogger meetup for breakkie/lunch/dinner yet?
    (Totally unrelated, what jeans are you wearing? I’m about your height and can never find jeans that fit where I don’t have to hem them. LoL. Sorry…It’s always cost of the jeans + $6 hemming! = expensive! =\)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.16.2011

      They are “jilt” jeans from Von Maur. They do free hemming, which is key!

  22. Haha how exciting! I would totally geek out too.

  23. OMG – So wish I was there. I keep sayin’ someday. I can’t really justify it since I’ve only been blogging for eight months. But soooooo want to go!

    Keep the posts coming. Love to hear all the dish.

  24. What an amazing Friday.

    I would have totally passed up R&R for a manicure :) I love your ring btw.

  25. […] was at the Tropicana booth, where I got my manicure at yesterday, giving an interview to someone – I’m not sure who. She was roped off, so I had to play […]

  26. Melinda 08.06.2011

    Looks like so much fun! You’re not going to believe this, but my wedding ring is EXACTLY like yours- so weird!

  27. Jessica A 08.07.2011

    Eeeeeek! You saw Ree! In PERSON! So cool.
    Ive only met one person that might be considered a celebrity (at least here in the south). I met Craig Shields who is the saxophonist for The Edwin McCain Band. And…I almost died. I might have cried a little.
    I can’t handle the excitement.

  28. Emily 12.21.2011

    I am new to the blogging world, but your posts from the blog-her conference are awesome and incredibly helpful! This sounds like a neat experience, thank you!


    I am a fan of hers (who isn’t?), but also a friend. She’s constantly surrounded by admirers, but she’s so awesome that you’d never know she was a superstar.

    And PeeEss, I covet some of the code on your blog and sent a screenshot to my coding husband to make him do it for me.

  30. […] from McDonald’s Pineapple & Mango Smoothie. I know. Judge me. I had a sample of it at the BlogHer conference I went to several years ago and have legit been thinking about it ever since. On the 5+ hour drive […]

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