What IS Blend Retreat?
It’s not a blogger conference. It’s not even limited to bloggers. It’s a bunch of girls (and some guys!) who know each other from blogging or reading blogs getting together for a weekend to hang out, eat some good food, and possibly get a little sweaty.
And it all started with this …
… and ended in this:
Last weekend’s incredible event wouldn’t have been possible without these three lovely ladies: Lindsay, Janetha, and Katie.
Or the help of the wonderful sponsors who helped fund the event and make it affordable for those of us who don’t have much cash to spend taking vacation. And they put together this fantastic bag-o-swag for us all to take home.
I can’t even begin to describe how much last weekend (and last year’s retreat) meant to me.
I feel like I’ve known most of these girls for years — some of them my whole life. There are no high-school-esque cliques. No girl drama (except when your roommate forgets her entire makeup bag — not cool, but luckily we share!). Just smiles, hugs, and lots of giggling.
(and maybe just a few cocktails)
Friday night kicked off with said cocktails, which fueled some pretty creative photo booth snaps.
(midwest gals represent: Mollie, Amanda, Katie, Alex, and me)
And we answered the obvious question: How many beautiful ladies can you cram into a photo booth?
The answer? This many:
Dinner was fantastic, though I wasn’t supremely hungry after traveling. L, J, and K had the foresight to do a smorgasbord style this year since we are all very picky (or maybe specific is a better word?) eaters.
Though I wasn’t really that hungry, I couldn’t turn down dessert. Or at least a bite of it that allowed me to recreate last year’s infamous photo.
We crashed really early, and got up in time to get a kickass workout from GPP.
Neil from GPP (general physical preparedness) has a really interesting and refreshing take on fitness: fitness should work for you; once you start working for fitness, it’s broken. He encouraged us to use proper form and to push ourselves, but not kill ourselves. This is a hugely different philosophy from most of our WOD-obsessed society. I’ve been tentatively following their workouts online (for free!) and am planning on really diving into them this week. Who wants to workout for 15-30 minutes a day and actually obtain a better level of fitness? ME. I’d love that.
Both Saturday and Sunday we were provided with some pretty incredible breakfast spreads.
Chobani went above and beyond with some creative uses for their product in oatmeal, pancakes, and omelets. Of course, tons of photos of food were taken. 😉
After Saturday’s breakfast, we split up.
The planned activity was a hike, but it was raining and cold. I was torn between going to yoga and going on the hike. I knew I did NOT want to do zumba. Yuck. I found out that yoga was regular yoga and not a hot class, so I opted for the hike. Besides, I packed my camelbak and hardly ever get a chance to use it. The hike turned out to be tons of fun, and the mud squishing between my toes was a plus.
After a good, long, hot shower, everybody disbanded and went exploring on our own.
This is the part of the weekend that I wish I could have been in five places at once. My biggest regret from the weekend was all the people I didn’t get a chance to meet and all the others that I met but didn’t get to spend as much time with as I would have liked. Some of my friends were going to pizza, some were doing sushi, but I was determined to eat dinner wherever Laura ate because I
stalk follow her on instagram and constantly see all of her high-scale restaurant choices — I just had to be a part of that!
We went to Wasatch Brewery first, and had a few taster glasses (two at a time! two at a time!).
Jalapeño cream was my favorite. So. Good. Of course we don’t have any around here in Iowa though. We walked around downtown for a bit, and stopped when Laura found a really great-looking restaurant called Riverhorse. Long story short: the food was amazing. The waitress was not. We didn’t order any weird special things. The waitress acted like she had a stick up her ass, then had the audacity to add 20% gratuity to our check — for 6 people; no policy at the restaurant. Thankfully, Heather had the chutzpah to ask about the policy and ask for our bills to be corrected. It wasn’t about the money. We pooled the extra tip together and gave it to the nice man who had been refilling our waters and who had shown us (not told us) where the restrooms were that evening.
It was a late night, and I was tired from the workout the previous day, so I skipped Sunday’s workout.
It wasn’t my plan, but I ran into Heather on the way to the workout, and she was going to skip out and do a different workout anyway, so I went to the fitness room with her. After about 5 minutes and realizing that she couldn’t do her leg workout in a room of cardio equipment and dumbbells, we decided to do coffee instead. Then we had breakfast as a group, and showered, then went to the closing ceremony.
After the ceremony, Lauren, Heather, and I went to the airport.
Heather is a frequent traveler for work, so she had some passes to the sky club. So Lauren and I enjoyed the free drinks and snacks with her while we waited to fly into Denver.
So sad that Blend was over, but very excited for my next leg of my trip at this point.
I was staying with Lauren in her newly-moved-into home in CO. Which meant that I finally got to meet her
kids doggies: Lance and Jackson (right to left in top left photo). I pretty much fell in love with them the minute I walked in the door. Jackson and I became buddies and snuggled a bit the next few days. Needless to say, Mr. Barney was a bit jealous when I got home. But he’s kind of a jerk, and never wants to snuggle with me anyway, so it’s totally his loss.
I didn’t have any plans, and I didn’t expect Lauren to have to entertain me the whole time, but I did manage to hop in on some of her workouts.
We explored Boulder a bit, but it was raining and crappy, so we didn’t get to hike the flat irons like we’d planned. Although, I made some interesting plans after a chance foursquare check-in.
One of my friends from college who lives in ATL and works in Denver (for now) asked if I was going to go to Denver before I left town, so we met up downtown by his hotel and just walked around.
He showed me some cool stuff in the city. And we happened upon a filming of part of American Ninja Warrior that was going on live downtown. Along with the prettiest tree in Denver, which was two branches attached to a pole for what I’m sure were cheese-tastic through-the-branches overly dramatic moon shots.
The next day, Lauren took me to Red Rocks and we hiked around.
I sadly had to hop on a plane that evening, but this was the last thing I saw before I left. It was really, really hard to get on that plane. Especially because my flight was delayed for 2 hours.
But, I finally made it home, and maybe might have caught up on sleep. Or am getting there. What a great vacation!
Would you travel halfway across the country to meet a bunch of strangers? And what did you do on your day off (if you had one) today?