In case you’re living under a rock or have a life outside of reading healthy living blogs, I should inform you that the 2012 BLEND Retreat starts today.  Tonight actually, with our kickoff cocktail hour and dinner at the historic Chautauqua Dining Hall.

FINAL - Blend Retreat copy copy

You probably already know this.

In fact, unless you’re actually attending, you’re probably TIRED of hearing about it. 

I don’t blame you. 

As excited as I am about this event, I’m kinda ready for it to be over and to have this last week in Colorado where I’m not tied to my iPhone and email, working out last minute details. 

What you might not know is how BLEND came about.  That’s the story for today (warning – there aren’t any pictures and if you’re coming to dinner tonight, you’ll hear most of this then).

Idea IN:

To tell you the truth, I had to go searching through my emails for the answer. 

But let me backtrack from there.  To the time when this idea was held “in”. 

I had been blogging for maybe a month when I noticed all these blogger conferences that people would write about.  Fitbloggin’. Healthy Living Summit. Foodbuzz Festival.  There are a lot actually.

And they all target bloggers.  People who have deep passions – for writing, for food, for fitness. 

These retreats/conferences are a way of bringing these “shared passion’ communities OUT.  From behind the laptops and cozy couch blogging.  Bringing people together in person.

I loved that idea. 

So much so that when I saw that Bonnie and Janetha, two blogger’s who I desperately wanted to meet in real life, were going to Healthy Living Summit, I BEGGED Travis to let me go.  He said yes (he’s a cool guy).

The logistics just didn’t pan out – I was still nursing Clara.  I was short on time for finding a roommate.  (Sidenote – Bonnie, if you’re reading, I’ll never forget how you offered to share your room with me.  That act of generosity to a stranger made me fall in love with you even more.)

It was then – when I had decided to step out from behind my computer – that the wheels started turning. 

I wanted to go to a retreat. 

But I wanted to make the agenda. 

To be in charge.

That sounds arrogant or something.  But that wasn’t my heart. 

I wanted to create an environment where bloggers could meet in real life and just hang out. 

No schedule, no speakers.  This isn’t your typical retreat format.

Falling in Blog Love:

If you read blogs, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  You find a few that you really and truly love.  The people behind them and the words that they write.  You start to remember their husband’s names or that they hate almond butter but like cashew.

I wouldn’t say you become obsessed (although that does happen), but you begin to care.   About people you’ve never met. 

It’s truly bizarre.

But it happens.  I suppose that’s how blogs are supposed to work.  If not, then why wouldn’t you just write in a diary.  Blogger’s want others to follow them.  They want an audience that cares, that can relate.

Based on this assumption, I thought that bloggers would like the idea of a “fellowship retreat”. 

I just needed help creating it.

Idea OUT:

Three planners were needed.  Two is too few.  Four, too many.  I picked Janetha and Katie before they knew they were targets.  Smile

Katie Unger and I had been emailing behind the scenes for just a few weeks before I opened up the discussion.

(read from bottom)

b1

She lives in Denver, so nailing down a location was easy enough.  I knew I wanted it in the West – most of these retreats are in the Northeast.

She was frightened.

But intrigued, I think.  That intrigue gave me hope that this wasn’t a cockamame idea.

I needed to convince Janetha.

b

Notice that I asked, “How hard would this be?”  HA!

I wish I could show you her response.  It’s full of expletives. 

But there was definite interest. :)

And it was her idea to keep it SMALL.  Always under 150ish people.  The point would be the fellowship – and you can’t truly have fellowship with 2,000 people.

Idea Reality:

Fast-forward to today.  2,983 emails back and forth.  Countless phone calls made. 

Feelings of desperation.  Prayer.  Excitement.  Second guessing. 

Contracts signed.  Heated discussions.  Disappointment.  Joy.  Price negotiations.

Fulfillment.

TRUTH:  This has been hard.  Event planning for 100 people isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

TRUTH:  I’ve learned SO much.  About myself, about working with companies, about my husband’s patience.

TRUTH:  I picked the most perfect co-hosts.  Not just words of flattery.  Honest to goodness, the three of us belong together.

TRUTH:  I’m so happy that today is May 4th.  The first day of the first ever BLEND Retreat.

Funny how ideas become actions. 

It’s truly bizarre.

splendid…lindsay

I’m not sure how much I’ll be around this weekend!  Tell me – what are your plans??  Anything fun?

  1. bex says:

    “impressed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about your awesome accomplishment. this is amazing… truly! I NEED to be a part of this next year. count me IN! xo

  2. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    I’m so glad you’re crazy & organized & planned BLEND! It was seriously one of the most fun weekends ever – I don’t usually even like girls that much, so that many for an entire weekend shouldn’t have been as much fun as it was. But it was awesome!!

  3. sherice@foodieluvsfitness says:

    will next year be invite only or will tickets be available? I’d love to come!! I’ve been wanting to see Colorado for some time. I think it’s just a beautiful state!(assuming it will be in the same place) and the retreat sounds so fun and invigorating.. something to look forward to and to fill you up for another year of healthy living. Nothing better than surrounding yourself with like minded positive people.

  4. lynne @lgsmash says:

    THanks for such a great weekend, Lindsay, Katie and Janetha! Y’all did an amazingly fabulous job! I appreciate all of the time and effort you guys put into this to make it so fun for everyone. Putting Blend 2013 on my calendar now :)

  5. Lisa says:

    I applaud you for putting this all together, it seems like it would be a ton of work! Enjoy this whole weekend and all the effort you put into this event!! Can’t wait to hear about it.

  6. STUFT Mama says:

    You all are amazing! I so wish I was there with you. I’m so jealous (along with everyoen else). I hope you get to relax, enjoy meeting everyone and have a blast!!!! HUGS!

  7. Christie says:

    I am so proud of you guys, I just wish I could be there to meet you all and experience the whole thing. I just know in my heart that it is going to be amazing. Enjoy yourself and all of the hard work you guys put in.

  8. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    I not ashamed to admit it: I AM SO JEALOUS!!! My plans? Final today, dr apt tomorrow, final tomorrow, drinks with my cousin after her marathon and my final tomorrow, then packing to go home to Kansas city! And sleep. Somewhere in there. And froyo, duh.

  9. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats says:

    I really hope you guys make Blend a yearly happening. I would love to participate next year when I am more on my feet financially! :) Totally bummed that I can’t join in on this weekends festivities. This post is sooo true though. Sometimes I feel like it is creepy that I know some of my favorite bloggers preferences or am reminded of them when I see things on the street and stuff but I feel like I have “met” some of my best friends through blogging!

  10. Kris says:

    *sigh*

    oh how my life and free time has changed since last year… I remember being asked ‘behind the scenes’ if I’d be interested in attending this if it were to happen – I instantly and without hesitation said yes!

    …I still feel that way, for the record, and wish SO MUCH that I was there with you all. have a fantastic time, if there is another one I will make it happen! XXO

  11. Bonnie says:

    Oh Lindsay – thank you for your kind words in this post! I can’t believe I’m not attending BLEND! Choosing between two good things is tough, but this family vacation was so needed. I cannot wait to be a part of this event next year (because I know this year will be so successful!), LOVE that this was is in the West (wahoo! the East Coast is so hard to get to for me!), and I loved reading the background to blend. I cannot WAIT to hear how the event goes and look forward to the pictures and event recaps and joy that I know I’ll see from everyone in attendance! …count me in for next year – it’s time we meet in PERSON, Lindsay! :D Love to you, Katie, Janetha, and all those going – it’s going to be AWESOME! Enjoy, and thanks for all your hard work to make community happen!

  12. Tamara says:

    I’m so excited for you! I have planned a conference before (academic biologists) and it was a huge pain AND a huge joy all at the same time.
    The best thing is, you’ll have learned so much this time round that NEXT (yes, after it goes swimmingly, you’ll want to do it again; maybe not for a year or so…) time will be so much easier!

    Have a fun weekend my friend!
    I’m looking forward to seeing The Hunger Games (finally!) and teaching a new core and stretch class!

  13. Amy says:

    love the idea-obviously im coming! haha. but seriously i think its great you guys went through all this time and effort to put together a retreat not only for bloggers but for readers too…or anyone! it’s gonna be such an awesome, healthy weekend i cant wait!! see you tonight! :)

  14. Jess says:

    PLEASE tell me you’ll host another of these Blend retreats?? I NEED to get my butt there next time. Sounds amazing and EXACTLY the kind of bloggy “conference” I can get into. Have a BLAST, you’ve worked your butt off!!

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