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my trip to SAN FRANCISCO

I can hardly believe it has been a week since I arrived in San Francisco for the Blogher Food conference. I would love to share some random-schmandom pictures with you and then I have a few closing thoughts……

Is this town not one of a kind? San Francisco is a treat and I’m not talking about rice.

Friday morning. They took a minute to find my name tag. I had a minor panic attack. I don’t think anyone noticed, but I had a river flowing out of my arm pits.

Blue Jar coffee at the Ferry Building…..I HEART you.

I think I scared the ladies at the Nutella table. I came running over to their table jabbering about how much Nutella our family eats….I was nervous…and we do love Nutella, but I think they were thinking, “Whoa there Strawberry, bring it down a notch”.
The highlight of the weekend for me. Michael, Rebecca so blessed to have met you and to have sat in on this session. Diane you were very surprising to me. I read your book “Will Write for Food”, which has been very helpful to me. I don’t know what I was expecting when I heard you speak, but I found you lovely, and warm and I wanted to give you a hug afterward. (you too Michael and Rebecca)
I met this beauty and bought two of her books, one of which my kids wants me to cook through. I believe I will use it often, but no offense “Steamy”, I don’t think I am going to cook through it and blog about it, been there done that.

New friends!

Dinner at Farina, and a jar of truffles. Oooh lala.

Too many decisions for Sandy and Amy at Bi-Rite Creamery. Which by the way the Salty Caramel was worth the plane ticket out there!

Beautiful California grapes at the Farmers Market on Saturday.

It had been a very long time since I had been to SF. I do not remember the Ferry Building having so many good eats. Thursday afternoon I pretty much ate non-stop for 2 hours here. So many choices so little room in my jeans!
This was my Dirty Farm Girl sandwich at the Il Carne Rosso. I was fine with eating alone….cause this sandwich was SO good, I wanted to have a love affair with it! Don’t tell my husband.
I didn’t partake in eating any of these, but they sure looked good, and the smell was intoxicating.

Dorie, Dorie, Dorie you are a treasure. I bought her new book. I wanted her to sign it of course. But I was nervous about approaching her. When she saw me walking her way with her book clutched to my chest, she threw her arms open wide and broke into a smile as bright as the sun. Like I had her child and she was ready for me to give it back to her to hold, if even just for a minute. So sweet, brings tears to my eyes. Can’t wait to use it.
And then this luverly Lady. Molly. I love her book. I borrowed my girlfriends to read a while back, and had been putting off buying it for myself. So when I saw Molly would be at the conference I nearly peed myself! She too was so warm and easy to talk to. We ended up having a strange life experience in common…anyone else been to the Haitibu Viking museum in Kiel, Germany? Her closing talk was very, very touching. Blessed to have met you in person Molly.

Sandy and Tricia enjoying all the good eats at the Bash that Elise, Jaden, and Ree threw.
Tricia, so nice to have shared a laugh and a bite to eat with you blogging sistah.

Some lady that lives on a Ranch took this picture for me. A thorn between two roses!

Oh yeah, there was music, and dancing, and food, and drinks and BACON.

This is my long lost sister Carrie. We have our own language. Giggle. You crack me up girl, so fun to have met you!

My friends Ree, and Alice aren’t they extremely beautiful. I’m a ding dong…I commented on Alice’s blog and said “……….I wish I’d have met you!” She twitter messages me, “We did meet!”. Alice I’m a self proclaimed numb-skull. That’s for the record.
Did I mention there was a Bacon Experience? I am so there. I was running to experience the bacon. Running with my Chocolate Bacon Martini. I’m not a big drinker. I had two. They were fabulous. (see picture below)
Michael Ruhlman showing Elise how to experience the making of bacon. Now get your minds out of the gutter he is a married man! Sheesh……
The food was beautiful. The entire weekend was full of beautiful, exquisite, yummy food…
and swag…lots and lots of giveaways. I didn’t even win any extras and I could barely haul my suitcase home. Kristen won a KitchenAid mixer…lucky bum! Georgia was liking something in her bag. Kristen and Georgia two more people I hung with, so sweet, so genuine!

There it is the “Piece de Resistance”. Bacon&Chocolate Martini, it’s a lovely thing.
Here is just one of the many awesome gifts that I recieved at the conference. I love the perfect spot for my thumb on the handle…and it’s strawberry red!

Well, I kinda went a little nutso at the book table. As you can see I bought more than one of a few of the books…for giveaways. Can’t wait to share!
I hope I haven’t offended anyone for not doing a linky post. I realize that there has been some hub-ub about some of the intentions behind why people were at the conference. I am not trying to make a stand about that at all. I just really want to share my experience…..to clarify I have absolutely nothing against linky linky. For me I am afraid, yes afraid, that I would forget to linky somebody and I rather not give anyone a link than forget someone.
I met (and reconnected) with so many people this past weekend that I am truly in awe of and have been for many years. Before I even knew what the blaze a blog was I was reading their “blogs”, and some of them I had read their books and until this weekend didn’t know they had a blog…..that is what a dork I am.
I have to admit this past weekend was very overwhelming for me. Even before I left, I was overwhelmed. I almost backed out, but my husband wouldn’t allow me to.
Why am I going? I kept asking myself that question.
The answer I kept coming back to was, to find community, to meet like minded people face to face. To hopefully learn how to make my blog better. To network with other bloggers. Because besides the unusual and amazing blessing of my visit to “the Ranch” in June, before this past weekend I didn’t know ONE other food blogger. And definitley not anyone from West Michigan. There had to be someone, but I hadn’t found them. My prayers were answered when someone, introduced me to Elaine at The Italian Dish, who I can’t wait to meet up with again soon.
I started blogging because I was coaxed by friends to blog about a five week road trip my family took cross country. During that time I realized that I really enjoyed writing. I really enjoy food, and it turns out most of what I wrote about on our trip was about the food. After I expressed sadness to friends at my trip being done, therefore my blogging also ending, those same friends encouraged me to start a new blog about food and the things I enjoy in life….which is mainly food. I am surprised everytime I get a comment, everytime someone new becomes a follower. My blog is selfish, it keeps me sane. One thing I realized, well it actually hit me in the face like a Le Creuset pot this weekend, was that if not for my silly blog I would not have had so many amazing people come into my life. And not just you all from this weekend…..I do mean you, but I also mean so many more people. It has broadened my world outside of my very small dutch community in West Michigan.
I love my blog, and I really luv all of you very much too!
I’m a hugger…so hugs to you all!
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  1. Sheila,

    You inspire me. Thanks for reminding women how important it is to DREAM, to do things that bring LIFE, and to LOVE yourself and others well. I am touched by your passion for food, this blog, your friends, and life in general. I am truly honored to count myself among those you would hopefully call "friend." You remind me to keep pursuing the things in life that bring me joy, freedom, and wholeness.

    Love you sister!


  2. Kristen, You definitely do not look crabby, tired maybe, but not crabby. You had a very full weekend my friend. And I too look forward to spending more time together someday! Sheila

  3. Oh my – I look like a crabby witch in that photo. I was soooooo exhausted by that point!
    It was fantastic to meet you. We'll have to spend more time together next time!!
    Love your recap and your photos. That dancing lady makes me smile. Wasn't she a hoot?

  4. Great post! Although we didn't meet at the conference, I learned of your blog there and am excited to come back again.

    Isn't Dorie a doll? Love her! Just lovely.

  5. Sheila– Just to let you know, I read your blog everytime you put up a new one. I enjoy it immensely. You are such a good writer, you make me laugh.
    Thanks for letting me be your friend.
    Amy Walters (DuBridge)

  6. Sheila: I loved this post! I laughed out loud about your behavior at the Nutella table. And you had dinner at Farina? So did we – Friday night! It was so good. I went with one purpose to the conference and that was to meet other bloggers – it was a great time. I really hope we can hook up here in MIchigan. Let's make it happen.