Better Blog Retreat


We’ve been blogging for about five years now and I have attended several blogging conferences. Blogging conferences are fun, but sometimes they are overwhelming and crazy busy. I’ve said for years that I wish we could have a blogging retreat instead of a conference. An event where we could discuss, brainstorm, share, ask questions, and inspire each other. Oh, and cook and eat good food together…and relax a little.

Well, a few weekends ago, it happened! I got together with some of my best blogging friends for the first Better Blog Retreat in Park City, Utah.


The retreat took place at Pinion Pines, an Anthology Storied Destinations home, nestled on the mountainside in Park City. The private home is accessible only by slope or a hidden tunnel. Yes, a tunnel. I felt like Batman when we drove up to the house! ha!


Pinion Pines was the perfect location for our retreat! The house sleeps fifteen, has a theater room, spa and sauna, wine room, and lots and lots of space!


The kitchen was absolutely beautiful! It was perfect for a group of food bloggers! We put it to good use:)


The KitchenAid Stand Mixers and KitchenAid toaster made the kitchen extra sparkly!


Pinion Pines also has an elevator. Cool, huh? It came in handy with all of our luggage:)


Welcome goodies for all of the guests! I may have snuck an extra Justin’s candy bar for myself:)


One of the six beautiful bedrooms!


Check out this bathtub! If you get in, you won’t want to ever get out! Talk about relaxing!

better-blog-retreat-kevinandamanda-1photo via Amanda

The house also has seven fireplaces! Every room was super cozy! The attendees also received welcome baskets from Harry & David!



The dining room was big enough for all of us! Love the rustic table!


When the bloggers arrived, the large house was instantly filled with laughter.


We had a sweet station with treats from Sweet Tooth Fairy Bakery and snacks from Whole Foods Market. The OXO Pop Jars were perfect for our snack station!


We kicked off our weekend with appetizers from Wisconsin Cheese and Harry & David. Sandy shared some of her favorite easy entertaining tips and her baked brie recipe. I think we get the world record for the largest wheel of brie! Holy Brie! It was SO good!


We went to dinner at High West Distillery our first night. We took a tour and enjoyed a delicious meal. The highlight for me was the Smoked Cheddar Biscuits. I can’t stop thinking about them. I think I need to recreate them:)


On Friday, we woke up to a winter wonderland! It snowed!! Everyone was super excited! I am glad the out of towners got to experience Utah’s gorgeous fall colors and the pretty snow!


Chobani spoiled us with a healthy and delicious yogurt bar for breakfast. They made yogurt creations from their Chobani SoHo cafe. They were all delicious!


After breakfast, we got down to business. Apple would have been proud:)

better-blog-retreat-kevinandamanda-2photo via Amanda

We spent the day discussing and learning from each other. One topic lead to another and we kept the conversations going. Everyone in the group had something to share. I was amazed by all of the talent in the house! I took a lots and lots of notes!


Of course, we took a few breaks to eat. DeLallo served up their new SaladSavors for lunch! We love DeLallo’s pasta and now I’m in love with all of their SaladSavors. There are five SaladSavors toppings and I love them all! They will be available in grocery stores soon, so stay tuned! You will want to get your hands on all of DeLallo’s SaladSavors!


Chobani whipped up a Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse for dessert! It was heavenly…and super cute served in Weck Jars! I will be sharing the recipe on our blog soon! It’s a winner!


We spent a lot of time in the kitchen together! The kitchen was definitely the party room! On Friday night, we all made dinner together. It was so much fun having 15 food bloggers in the kitchen together. You better believe our meal was tasty!

We featured a recipe from each blogger throughout the retreat! It was fun tasting everyone’s recipes.


Heidi made sure the weekend involved burrata! No one complained:)


Every morning a group of us did a workout together in the spa room. It was so much fun! I think we will be releasing a food bloggers workout dvd soon:)

After our workout, we deserved a good breakfast. One morning we enjoyed a waffle bar! We used KitchenAid’s Waffle Baker. It is the BEST! It bakes two Belgian waffles at the same time! I topped my waffle with berries and Chobani’s whipped yogurt topping. Dreamy!!


On Saturday afternoon, Zante Spa came to the house to spoil us with spa treatments! We had chair massages, manicures, and foot massages. I’ve never been so relaxed! It was the best foot massage of my life! Such a treat!


Ali, Lori, and Amanda cozying up by the fire!


Me and Jess!


Me and Gina!


We took a lot of photos! It’s what we do!


Kelley, Heidi, and Me! So grateful for these gals!


Lori and Sandy! Love this photo from Amanda! I think it captures our weekend perfectly!


Beautiful tablescape thanks to Whole Foods and World Market…and Heidi’s mad decorating skills!


Setting the table for our special dinner with Deer Valley Resort.


Deer Valley’s Executive Chef Jodie Rodgers took over the Pinion Pines kitchen to create an amazing meal!


Gathering in the kitchen to watch Chef Jodie work her magic!

photo 2-5

The cheesy farro with vegetables and garden harvest chimichurri sauce was sooooo good! One of the best meals I have ever eaten! No joke!


Dessert was outstanding! I saved room to try both:)


It was a perfect dinner! Fabulous food and company! Thanks Deer Valley for making our final night together so special!


On Sunday morning, my guys came up to say hi and to bring us Les Madeleines famous Kouing Aman pastries for breakfast! I think Caleb was more excited about the Kouing Aman than seeing his mama:)

It was hard to say goodbye to my blogging friends. The weekend was just what I needed. I took home a lot of great blogging and business advice, but more importantly I took home a renewed love for life. I’m so grateful that blogging is my job, but it is only my job. My friends reminded me that it’s ok to turn off the computer to enjoy life! I am working on appreciating the little things in life and spending more time with my family, friends, and making time for myself! Don’t worry, I will still be blogging, but I will be blogging as a better person! At least that is my hope!

better-blog-retreat-kevinandamanda-4photo via Amanda

I love these ladies! Such an empowering group of women!

From top left: Heidi, Sandy, Kristen, Amanda, Jessica, Jenny, Rachel, Ali, Lindsay, Kelley, Gina, Lori, and Dara

And a special thanks to Anthology, Chobani, DeLallo, KitchenAid, Deer Valley, OXO, Whole Foods, Harry & David and Wisconsin Cheese for making the first Better Blog Retreat a huge success! We couldn’t have done it without you! And to all of the other sponsors that made our weekend special. Thank you!

On the Side Travel