Disclosure: My attendance at the event is partially sponsored. By writing this post I received a discounted registration fee.
August 5, 2014...that's the day I officially became a Registered Dietitian! (You can read more about my journey here.) There were many ups and downs along the way...and the ever-recurring thought of "this is never going to end!" However, persistence and drive once again proved their invaluable worth. The day finally came. There's no denying my overwhelming joy and sense of accomplishment. But...now what?
With a degree in psychology and having worked in the retail and advertising world, I still think it's crazy how I got to where I am today. But if there's anything that I've learned from my 30+ years of life, it's that following your heart, no matter how crazy and difficult it may be, is the best medicine there is. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there were many times when I wanted to quit because I was sick of being a student, struggling financially, having a heck of a time balancing my time (sorry, husband), etc. However, I learned a lot about myself through the whole process, and the best part is, I can now do what I'm really passionate about rather than feeling like a hamster stuck in a wheel.
My passion for nutrition stems from an appreciation and love for food and cooking that began several years ago. When my husband was first diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening heart condition, my world was rocked, and I suddenly found myself in the middle of the kitchen searching for answers. As lost as I was and as difficult as the challenge before me was, I knew I had to dig deep and rise to the occasion. I truly believe there's always a blessing that comes out of hardship and trials, and honestly, if it wasn't for his diagnosis, I still may not be able to crack an egg properly to this very day. Imagine that!
Fastforward three years - My husband was at a MUCH better place, and it turned out that he didn't need a pacemaker after all! Not to mention his medicine dosage got cut by half. Even his doctor was amazed by the improvement in his lab values. In the midst of all this, I went through a HUGE transformation as well. I overcame my obsession with numbers, counting calories, etc., which I developed after marriage when I felt like everything was spiraling out of my control. I began to understand and practice intuitive, mindful eating. That's a testament to the power of food and nutrition. It's THE way to take back our health and well-being without relying on medicine and all the other quick-fixes that are widely available on the market.
I started this blog almost 2 ½ years ago as a creative outlet. At the time, I was working on my prerequisites to get into a nutrition program, and as I became encumbered with textbook readings and research papers, time spent in the kitchen became little to none. Thus, this blog was a way for me to not lose sight of why I embarked on this journey in the first place - to combine the science and knowledge of food and nutrition with cooking and be able to translate this into real-life applications. Yes, it required much commitment as an INSANE amount of time and effort was put into every single post I put out there.
I suppose I could've spent that time earning some sort of income, but even without any financial incentives, I continued to develop recipes, make a crazy mess in the kitchen, take millions of photos in the most awkward positions, and work on my writing skills unceasingly. Why? Because that's what made me truly happy and continues to do so today.
Through this blog, my eyes were opened to a who new world (a.k.a the blogosphere), which I would not have known existed otherwise. I began to connect with others (through the recipe redux) who shared similar interests and desires of communicating nutrition in the most tangible way - food. I reveled in the fact that I had finally found a support group..a niche if you will. I started to look up to and be inspired by Registered Dietitians, like Regan Jones of Healthy Aperture, Deanna Segrave-Daly & Serena Ball of Teaspoon of Spice, Gretchen Brown of Kumquat Blog, and Robin Plotkin of Robinsbite, to name a few.
So when these amazing ladies sent me an invitation to attend the very first Blog Brûlée Conference that will be held in Vermont on September 12-14, I instantaneously began packing a suitcase in my head. I seriously can't thank them enough for this opportunity. As I read Robin's post, I related wholeheartedly to everything she had to say and my excitement grew all the more thinking about being in the presence of others who are driven by the very same desires that propel me.
This conference couldn't have come at a better time. As I decide on what steps to take next in nurturing and using my passion to create my career, I feel fortunate that I get to be in the company of 19 other like-minded dietitian bloggers and nutrition communication experts from whom I'll be able to seek advice and learn. I hope to gain insight on marketing, branding, and using social media effectively. I'm also looking forward to getting to know and developing friendships with all the attendees, and what better way to do so than kicking back in the picturesque Green Mountain State, sharing delicious eats and swapping stories?
Now all that's left to do is to count down the days. Vermont, here I come!