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Inspired Retreat at Deer Valley Resort in Park City Utah

Before I start, I need to give a huge THANK YOU to Lauren and Ashley for the photos in this post. I’m a dork, and when I arrived in Park City, I realized that I didn’t have a memory card for my camera. I did take some pictures with my ancient iPhone, but they are so horrible that I don’t even want to share them here. So thank you, thank you to Lauren and Ashley for so generously sharing with me!!

The attendees – Barbara {Barbara Bakes} Becky {Vintage Mixer} Kristy {Sweet Treats and More} Meagan {A Zesty Bite} Annalise {Completely Delicious} Megan {Country Cleaver} Deborah {Taste and Tell} Alyssa {The Recipe Critic} Carrian {Sweet Basil} Lauren {Lauren’s Latest} Ashely {Center Cut Cook} Lauren {Climbing Grier Mountain} Nikki {Chef in Training}

I have sat down to write this post so many times over the last couple of weeks, and have always ended up erasing it all and starting from scratch because my words have not seemed to come out right. But I’m actually glad that I haven’t made it through this post, yet, because there has been a lot on my mind these last few weeks since attending the Inspired Retreat in Park City, Utah. And I have had a chance to really think about things, and to try to put some things into action.

Sometimes, being a blogger is hard. I know, I know. I can already hear what you are thinking. But you get to stay home in your pjs all day. You get to cook and created and share. You get all kinds of cool swag and product from companies.

All of that is true. And don’t get me wrong. I really do think I have the coolest job in the world. But what you don’t see are the long hours. The many nights up working, well into the morning hours. The failure after failure of that recipe that you are trying to get right, and the frustrations of having it not turn out like you had hoped. The times that you have to turn your kids away because mommy has to work. The nights spent away from your husband because you have a big deadline due. The self doubt because this or that blogger is growing so much faster, but you feel like you are working so much harder. The frustrations with Facebook, and Pinterest, and social media in general. The grocery bills. I could keep going and going.

Sometimes, blogging is hard.

I was really in that place a month ago. Frustrated because I had no balance. My job – the blog – felt like it was taking over every bit of my life. The hours were killing me – I was going to bed at 1am or 2am every morning, and I’d be up again at 6am when my kids woke up. I would put my kids to bed at night, then head straight to work, not being able to spend time with my husband. I was frustrated because I felt like I could either ignore my kids during the day so that I could work and get things done, and then I would have time with my husband at night, or I could spend time with my kids during the day, and then have to work at night, ignoring my husband. I really felt like there was no way I could win.

And then I spent a weekend with a fabulous group of bloggers. And I walked away with a lot more perspective.

One of my dear friends, Carrian from Sweet Basil, put together an amazing weekend for a small group of us at a gorgeous cabin at Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. The name of the retreat was very fitting – Inspired Retreat. Most blogging conferences or trips are all about becoming a better blogger. Upping your SEO game, how to gain more Pinterest followers, how to get published. But this was about becoming a better person. We were a group of bloggers from all kinds of different backgrounds. We all had different blogging styles, different tastes, even different goals for our blogs. But I was surprised about just how alike we all really were, when you got down the the core of it all. The weekend was about building each other up. And I feel like that is exactly what these ladies did for me.

But the biggest thing I brought away from the weekend was that I needed to find balance. I know a lot of people choose a word at the beginning of the year as their “theme” word, and if I were to do that for 2014, my word would be balance. Balance between work and family. And friends and self. Because while I’ve been struggling with finding a balance between work and family, I have completely neglected myself and those around me.

And guess what? I’m kind of getting there! I’m figuring out what works for me and my family. In the last few weeks, I can count on one hand the times I’ve stayed up past midnight. (Before, it was extremely rare for me to go to bed before midnight!) I don’t have all the answers at all. And I still have struggles and frustrations. But I have realized how important this is for me, as a wife, as a mother, as a woman. Balance.

Now that I got all of that heavy stuff out of the way, ;), I’m going to do a speed-round (kind of) through the fun stuff!! It really was a perfect weekend, and there are so many people to thank for making it amazing!!

The Where:

Cabin at Deer Valley Resort for Inspired Retreat

Deer Valley Resort hooked us up with an amazingly beautiful cabin. It was large enough for all of us, with a gorgeous living room, dining room and kitchen as the center point of the house. Rod Works came in and decorated the whole house in the most perfect Christmas decorations. I saw pictures of the house before the decor was added, and while it was still an amazing house, the decor really made it feel homey and welcoming!

The Fun:

Fun at Inspired Retreat at Deer Valley Resort

The day on Saturday started off with an early morning yoga session with Lole. I don’t do yoga on a regular basis – I actually think it’s quite hard!! – so I was a little apprehensive about waking up early to do yoga. But that one session was such a breath of fresh air, and actually has me interested in taking up yoga regularly now. I felt so refreshed after our session, and the girls from Lole were so nice to bring the session to us. (Especially since it was snowing and they had to drive through it to get to us!) And I can’t wait to head to their Salt Lake location to check out their workout clothes!

Deer Valley also hooked us up with a day on the slopes. It was my first time skiing, (yes, I do live in Utah and I’ve never skied before!), so the wonderful folks from Skis on the Run came and fitted us all for boots and skis. I can’t tell you how helpful and nice they were!! They came right to the house, and even said that if we were on the slopes and felt like things weren’t fitting right, they’d bring us a new size.

We spent the morning on the slopes at Deer Valley. Since this was my first time, we had the option to have lessons, and of course, I jumped on that. Megan and I had an awesome instructor that made me actually feel somewhat comfortable on skis. I was terrified going into it, but I ended up having so much fun!!

The Food:

The food at Inspired Retreat in Park City Utah

Of course there was food. We are food bloggers, after all!!

The first night, we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Mariposa. Everything I ate was heavenly, the atmosphere was perfect, and of course, the company was top notch. I especially loved the mushroom beggar’s purse, and the scallop was amazing!!

The second night we had dinner in downtown Park City at Riverhorse. This is a meal I will not forget, and one I hope I will be able to relive when I drag my husband there (hopefully in the very near future.) I was so stuffed by the time we were finished with dinner, but really – every single thing I ate I fell in love with. My favorites were the Pistachio Dusted Trout, and the pork belly from a tasting trio was literally one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth.

It wasn’t all about eating out!! At the house, we enjoyed several amazing meals.

Breakfast the first day was a delicious and healthy meal of granola, yogurt, mini muffins and lots of fresh fruit. The great produce, yogurt and juice were all provided by Real Foods Market, Charming Beard Coffee and Star Fine Foods, and the cookware was graciously supplied by Anolon.

We were all famished after spending time on the slopes, so luckily we had a filling and delicious soup and grilled cheese bar, provided by Wusthof Knives, Hamilton Beach, Pacific Foods, Heber Valley Cheese, and Real Salt. I could eat like that every day!!

Sunday morning breakfast was pretty amazing. Annalise made some of the best (if not the best) buttermilk waffles (you can find the recipe here), Megan made some delicious oven fried chicken, and Nikki made her famous “goodness“. I was stuffed!! A huge thanks to Real Foods, Gold Medal Flour and Hamilton Beach – they all made this meal especially delicious!

And then Whole Foods came and showed us all off with delicious lunches that we could take with us. I wished I could have stayed all day, but that bag of goodness from Whole Foods sure did help for when I got home!!

Of course there was snacking all through the weekend as well, filled with treats from Krusteaz and Cookie Chips. The food was all definitely a highlight!

The Swag:

Inspired Retreat in Park City Utah on Taste and Tell swag

I just have to mention and give a shout out to all of the wonderful companies who donated and made this weekend possible. I was seriously so inspired, and because of that, hopefully I will become an even better blogger and be able to bring you all all kinds of great content!!

Thanks to Red Maple Run (a beautiful cutting board that has already made it’s way into many of my photos!), Grace and Lace (adorable boot socks and scarves), Plum Pretty Sugar (the most comfortable pair of pajama pants that I own), Brin and Bell (one of my favorite take homes – a beautiful necklace. My sister actually ended up buying 2 for Christmas gifts after she saw mine!!), Real Salt (great, all-natural salt), Nature Box (healthy snacks delivered right to your door!), Beauty Box 5 (a great way to sample beauty products), Rod Works (I already sung my praises for Rod Works above!), Gypsy Moonbeams (gorgeous silverware that is a food bloggers best friend), Deer Valley (seriously – they were so generous. As if they hadn’t already provided so much, they also hooked us up with notebooks, chili, and a Christmas tree ornament), and Fashion First Aid (what every girl needs in her purse for emergencies!). So much generosity!!

I know this is already so long, but I really am blessed to be able to do what I love for a living. And I am so blessed to have met (and to already know!) these amazing girls. Seriously – top notch bloggers and women. And I’m so grateful that this little getaway brought so much clarity into my life so that I can continue loving what I do. I am blessed!

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7 Responses to Inspired Retreat – Park City, Utah

  1. Looks like an amazing retreat! Glad you got to have that experience :)
    I hope you can continue to find the balance in your life you’re looking for!

  2. Lauren says:

    I love all your collages you do! So fun. Wish we could go back tomorrow! {PS- so glad we don’t have cancer and are going to die! ;) lol!}

  3. Chels R. says:

    That looks like such an amazing opportunity and I don’t know all of these bloggers, but the ones I do read do seem like they are such genuine, kind ladies! I’m so glad that your fighting for yourself and trying to make more time for you and your family. While I’m still trying to find my way and make my blog something to resemble successful, I don’t ever want to lose the joy that I had when I started. I think that what you do with your job is amazing. My whole family loves your recipes, I love looking at the cute pictures of your kids on instagram and I have really enjoyed getting to know you. I think you are doing a fabulous job and I pray that things only get easier and less stressful and more balanced for you! Keep up the amazing work, but don’t lose you in the process :)

  4. MCS Gal says:

    You tell it right – blogging is a lot of work and rewarding at the same time. Sometimes it is hard to walk away from the computer and ignore it while you do other important things. Being with a group of people who are doing the same things and facing the same challenges sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

  5. Yvette (Muy Bueno) says:

    What a beautiful location and getaway.

    All perfectly said! Blogging is super hard work! Balance is the perfect word! I’m finally exercising again and unplugging when my kiddos and hubby are around. It’s so hard but I’m really trying. Best wishes for 2014!

  6. Rebecca says:

    So great to read your post… My big word for 2014 is also balance! I struggled also the last few month cause I found a full time job but I want to keep blogging. That can actually be quite hard because honestly speaking, a blog could also be a full time job! Mine is obviously very small, but anyway it takes time and care to keep the blog updated. I hope you can find your balance in 2014 (if you find a good way for it let me know :))
    take care and all the best!
    rebecca

  7. […] Blogger Spotlight – Ashley from CenterCutCook – a couple months ago in Park City at the Inspired Retreat. She is so incredibly talented at what she does, and is one of the nicest, kindest people to top it […]

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