I went to the BLEND 2012 Retreat in Boulder, CO this weekend and wow, what a weekend!! This was my first blogging event and, to be honest, I was extremely nervous considering how new I am to the blogging world. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I was just hoping to pick a few people’s brains about their blogs.

All I can say is that is was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. It was nothing like what I expected. The whole weekend was filled with food, fitness, and people who blog because they love it. Seriously, does it get better than that? Pretty sure it doesn’t.

Let’s get into some highlights, shall we?

Friday night I had amazing cupcakes. Like, life-altering amazing cupcakes.

Mini-cupcakes are the best idea ever. You get to try all these different flavors without feeling guilty about eating 3 whole cupcakes at one time (oh yes, it has happened before).

Raspberry Lavender, Smors, and Peanut Butter Pretzel. The Peanut Butter Pretzel was my favorite. A chocolate cupcake, peanut butter filling, peanut butter frosting, and a pretzel on top. It was a magical experience.

After the first night, I was so excited for the rest of the weekend I barely slept! It felt just like the night before the first day of school. Yes, I was the kid who actually got excited for the first day of school (obviously I still am that kid, if you didn’t know that by now, you haven’t been reading my blog long enough).

The morning started with boot camp. At 7am. Thankfully Fitmixer provided some amazing amino shakes for us before and after the workout. I was really surprised that I was able to keep up with everyone!

Picture by Janetha

Picture by Janetha

Working out in a park with a gorgeous view of the foothills almost makes you forget how much those squats and lunges make your legs and butt burn. Almost.

After the workout, we had a gorgeous breakfast sponsored by Xagave – YUM.

Before I get to what we did after breakfast, I just have to say I am not much of a hiker. I know this is blasphemy to say as a resident of Colorado, but it’s true. The only hikes I have been on have been easy and scenic and I never really felt like I was getting enough out of it. Let’s just say it has been YEARS since I went hiking.

Enter a 4+ mile hike following breakfast on Saturday. I thought to myself, “I can totally do this! 4+ miles isn’t that much!” Haha little did I know that ¾ of the hike would involve literally climbing stairs…. It totally kicked my butt.

Picture by Kelly

There was a point (well several points) where I probably could have turned around and gone back. However I refused to give in (much to the dismay of my body, particularly my knees).

I was so proud of myself when I reached the top! The best part was I always had wonderful women with me who pushed me to keep going and who helped me up when I fell… Yes I literally fell. Is it that big of a surprise?

Though I am still suffering from some muscles aches, it was completely worth the pain.

After the hike, we were all pretty exhausted and starving. We ended up at Mountain Sun Café for lunch. The glass of wine and blue cheese burger with chips was the perfect way to celebrate.

I realize this is a picture of a half-eaten burger. I was so hungry I completely forgot to take a picture before I shoved it in my mouth. If you are disappointed, I truly apologize.

The evening was filled with icing my knees, falling in and out of sleep on the couch, an amazing mother who brought me dinner, and a hubby to dote on me until I finally passed out for the evening (my family rocks).

Despite the muscle aches and spasms, I got myself out of bed at 5:15am the next day to get up to Boulder for boot camp #2. Surprisingly enough I managed to make it through the entire workout and I felt better after I finished it. Right there I learned a valuable lesson for the future.

The retreat wrapped up after another delicious breakfast sponsored by Chobani, Cheribundi, and Love Grown Foods. I have to say it again – YUM!

I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this retreat. I figured I love food and I love to blog so why not get away for a weekend with a group of people who share those same interests? It exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Everyone I met at this retreat inspired me to push myself harder in every aspect of my life. Now I am even more inspired to continue blogging and to really try and turn this into something big. Talking with all these women who share the same passion for blogging as I do made me realize how much I love what I do on this site.

Picture by Lauren

Wonderful women, amazing connections, fantastic food, and some workouts that kicked my buttI will definitely being going to BLEND 2013!

Thank you Lindsay, Janetha, and Katie for all your hard work!

By the way, look at this swag!

And this is only half of what I got… Score.