A recap of the amazing relaxing and inspiring blogger retreat I just attended in Traverse City, Michigan.
If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that recently I went to Traverse City, Michigan for a retreat with nine other bloggers.
Now I know… doesn’t seem like the “hot spot” to visit, but you know what! It seriously so IS!!!
Growing up in Wisconsin, my favorite time of year was the summer. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, it was always low or high 80’s, beautiful breezes from Lake Michigan – pure perfection. When I got off the plane in Michigan it immediately reminded me of my childhood … ahh.. the good ole Midwest! There is a reason they call it #PureMichigan people! It really is THAT amazing. Gorgeous clear blue waters, white sand beaches, old town feel when you get into town, and cute quaint shops! I mean really … I want to move there during the summer!
The retreat was sponsored by Milk Means More who were more than generous to provide for ten food bloggers for a entire weekend! Being a Wisconsin girl born and raised I am very familiar with the dairy industry, after all, the Green Bay Packers fans are called the cheeseheads! We were known for our dairy and I grew up on fresh cheese, milk, and ice cream! Knowing that Milk Means More was sponsoring our #SharingbytheShore retreat I knew we were in good hands.
We started out the retreat Friday afternoon by heading to L. Mawby for a sparkling wine tasting in the middle of the vineyards… with the owner Larry Mawby leading us through the tasty wines he makes paired with the fresh cheeses made in house!! It was absolutely incredible and a great way to kick off the retreat!
After that we headed back to the house and started on our fajita night! Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny was our grill master for the evening and she whipped that grill into shape and told it who’s boss … ah-mazing dinner thanks to Milk Means More and Door to Door Organics! Door to Door Organics was more than generous and we were filled to overflowing with gorgeous produce and meats! My taco of choice was the grilled flank steak with portobello mushrooms, Rachel’s refried beans, lettuce, tomato, and this Mango Peach Salsa by Sabra that I am now OBSESSED WITH!
Later that night we got into our jammies (which on a side note do you know how excited I was to put a hoodie on! Yelp!) and huddled up in the living room for some hot fudge sundaes and a talk on time management. Blogging might seem like an easy job, looking in from the outside, but there are SOOOO many different components to it. There is the recipe development side, photography, editing, writing the post itself, the big beast of social media exposure, emails, communicating with brands, the list goes on! Honestly, it can get quite overwhelming if you don’t have a plan!
The talk on time management was extremely encouraging! Most of the girls who were speaking had been blogging for 5-7 years, they have been through the ups on and downs and have a very refreshing view point. Namely… make sure you are happy! Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of tasks and to do lists. Make sure that you are doing the things that keep you happy, and if you’re doing something that you don’t enjoy – outsource it or hire someone to do it for you! Deep breathe! Exactly what I needed to hear and I think it can be applied in more than just blogging! Namely, I hate cleaning… so outsource! Yippee!
Saturday morning was my favorite! Well, first off we had a Waffle Bar, and who doesn’t love that! Best way to start a day I think … that and coffee! Then we moved into a photography session with the incredibly talented Kristen from Dine & Dish and Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny. These two are both so different in photography style and watching them each set up their “area” and plate the waffles in an mouth watering way that makes you want to dive in was inspiring. Photography has been one of the areas I love most about blogging. I love learning new things, experimenting, and being able to see the photos progress. I learned so much from both of these lovely ladies and am already putting some of their tricks to use! #beaboxer
Later that day we headed to downtown Traverse City and visited a jewel of a place called “Cherry Republic.” You can guess by the name that they are all about cherries!
Ya’ll, let me tell you, they have mastered the cherry! The store itself is so fun. They have little tasting areas all over so you can try any and everything, from Cherry Horseradish (my favorite), to Cherry Salsa, Cherry Fig Jam, Spicy Cherry BBQ Sauce, or Chocolate Covered Dried Cherries. They even had a cherry wine tasting bar and restaurant! The head chef of the restaurant came out to give us a tour and then sat us down to try a few of the menu items! If you ever go, get the Bacon & Blue Fig Jam Pie! It is to die for! The pizza dough is cooked in a wood fire grill then topped with a blue cheese cream sauce, mozzarella, bacon, fresh basil, and a cherry fig jam! The sweet salty combination is addicting! I actually bought the cherry fig jam to bring home just so I can make that pizza!
After our Cherry Republic tour we walked around the downtown a little bit and made our way to the beach for a selfie photo shoot. Because every good trip needs a photo shoot by the beach! 🙂 hehe Then we headed over to the Grand Traverse Resort to have a elegant dinner at Aerie with a gorgeous sunset view over the lake! The food was absolutely incredible! It was the perfect way to end an evening!
Overall this retreat left me feeling inspired, thankful, and honored. Inspired by the ladies who were there, the things they have accomplished in just a few short years and a feeling that I am starting to follow in their footsteps! Thankful to have been able to continue to build relationships with some of the friends already there or start new ones with those I had not previously met. Thankful to be able to work with such good quality brands who truly care about their products and represent health and wellness which are both dear to my heart! And lastly honored to be invited to such an incredible trip. I’m still pinching myself that I am friends with some of these amazing ladies AND that I got to go on a memorable trip with them!
The amazing bloggers who were at the Retreat were: Erin from Well Plated, Rachel from Rachel Cooks, Deborah from Taste and Tell, Aggie from Aggies Kitchen, Liz from The Lemon Bowl, Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny, Kristen from Dine & Dish, Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen, and Monique from Ambitious Kitchen.
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE BRANDS WHO SPONSORED THIS TRIP AND THE FUN SWAG WE GET TO REMEMBER THEM!
- Door to Door Organics
- Cherry Republic
- Traverse City Tourism
- Sharing by the Shore Mug – Printable Wisdom
- Paper Straws – More Sprinkled Joy
- Cherry Printed Tea Towels
- Cherry Republic products
- Bob’s Red Mill products
- 5 Jar Set of Bonne Maman Jam
- Zester from KitchenIQ
- Fair Trade USA Products
- Items from Door to Door Organics
- Waffle Bakers from KitchenAid
- Le Creuset selections
*Disclaimer: Our retreat was sponsored by Milk Means More. I received no compensation other than retreat activities and swag for the retreat. I was not compensated or asked to say anything positive about any of the brands. Thanks for reading!