Eat Love Sandals

Back in October I had the most amazing opportunity to attend a blogger hosted conference at the  Sandals resort in Ochi Rios Jamaica.

This was the first conference of it’s kind that I have attended.
Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Jamie from My Baking Addiction were the queen planner behind this wonderful event. Unlike the big foodie conferences that I have gone to in the past, this was intimate, with only about 20 people. I loved this. It gave everyone a chance to chat and bond..not get lost in a sea of unknowns.
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Oh and before we arrived in Jamaica, we were showered with gifts from all of the wonderful sponsors.. It was like Christmas every day!

1. Sugar Wish is super fun. You basically give someone an e-gift of the box and then the recipient chooses the candy they want sent to them. FUN AND YUM

2. I’m slightly obsessed with this Foil journal that Inkspot Workshop sent. It reads, “When in doubt, add sprinkles”. True statement. Their custom stationary and party invitations are the cutest.

3. Sweet & Treats sent the most adorable cupcake liners. Such fun colors. Their site has so many cute baking supplies.

4. A fun care package from Coaction Public Relations.

5. For all you gluten free peeps out there, Partners Crackers has you covered. They sent their Free for All, gluten free line.

6. New West Knife Works are little sharp works of art. Made in the USA to boot!

7. Graze Box is amazing! You choose from over 100 delicious and nutritious snacks and they mail you the yumminess!

8. I was super excited to receive my favorite extracts from Nielsen-Massey. Have you had the vanilla bean paste? It’s amazing!

9. Minted sent a beautiful foil print of Florida. I have it proudly displayed on my desk.

10. I am obsessed with Heirloomed.We received vintage-y kitchen towels that are both functional and beautiful. Hop on over to their site, you will be blown away by their products.

11. Super fun IT Cosmetics sent us their CC+ Radiance Vitality Creme Disc and their Vitality Flush Stain lip and Cheek Reviver. I need all the makeup help I can get.

12. I was so very excited to receive my FIRST Fiesta pieces. Now I’m hooked!!!

13. ProFlowers sent this amazing airplane terrarium. I have managed to keep it alive since October. I am quite proud of myself. They have great flowers, plants and gifts on their site.

14. How stunning are these stunning Kendra Scott earrings. I wear them almost everyday!

 

The resort was Fab. We were treated with champagne upon arrival…not a bad way to be greeted.

 

The rooms were lovely. Very spacious and tastefully decorated.

This is the sitting area upon walking in the room. I was in love with the clay tile floors.

 

You see those double French doors in the photo above?? They lead to this….

A private porch with a semi-private pool. Yeah, that’s kinda dreamy.

The king size posted bed was just beautiful.

Our first evening was a delight…

We had a true Caribbean Welcome and a private dinner.

These lovely folks were our colorful dancers for the evening.

They were fierce…I mean look at them.. gorgeous and colorful..

After a few drinks, I attempted to dance like a native. Not sure if I pulled it off, but I sure had fun.

 

The food was scrumptious…Airheaded me forgot my good camera, so I could only snap pics with my iPhone, so I apologize for the unappetizing lighting.

The next morning, I woke up quite early and headed down to the lobby to have coffee and pastries overlooking one of the beautiful pools.

The group met for Breakfast and Bellinis.

And of course, this is what food bloggers do..pictures of food.

I must say the omelets were amazing….

 

Jamaica…I mean seriously??? It was beautiful. While we did have a lot of time to play. We also had some learning time too.

We all shared the “Best Thing I Did For My Business” and also got some GREAT information about ads from Eric Hochberger of MediaVine

After our round table discussions, we broke for some free time.

A few of us girls decided to take a catamaran tour to Dunn’s River Falls.

Pictured (left to right)Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife,  Jenn from Yummy Healthy Easy and me.

The water!

yep

 

 

And dontcha’ know my shoes of choice to walk around Jamaica were my Clover Tieks!
I know I have professed my love for them before here. But I am still in love with them. I can wear the ALL.DAY long and my feet don’t ache. This is big for me people. I have plantar fasciitis, so this is huge! I swear, they are little magic shoes. I want them in all the colors! I was super excited to receive a new pair for the trip!

 

One of the most memorable experiences of my life also happened that day.

We took a road trip to visit sweet little children at one of the local Jamaican Schools.

Prior to arriving in Jamaica, we were sent backpacks. We were given the option to fill the backpacks with school supplies for our trip to the school. I had a blast filling it with supplies and a few fun things like stuffed animals and jump ropes.

Here we all are with our packs ready to our visit.

Thanks Julie from The Little Kitchen for the photo!

We arrived at the Seville Golden School

The students were anxiously awaiting our arrival.

When we walked into the room. They broke out in excitement.

They ran up to us and hugged us like I have never been hugged before!!

As you can tell from these photos, I was an emotional mess. I had the ugly cry going on.

Can you spy me in the sea of children?

They loved for us to read with them, do puzzles and color.
But what the loved most of all was to see our cell phones…. Here is Shelly from Cookies and Cups and her new friend having a blast on her phone.

And you know what else the cuties loved????
MY HAIR!
I know I look a bit crazed in the picture..but I was hysterically laughing!

But seriously, these little children were soooo smart.
They shocked me how smart they were! Some of them seem to be reading at a MUCH higher age level then what they were. They were reading words on a middle school level.
Such smart little children. They warmed my heart and it will be an experience I will never forget.

These children need a lot of help. Feel free to donate to the Sandals Foundation HERE.

That even we got our hands dirty in the kitchen.

We learned how to make traditional Jerk.

Here is Kristan helping the chef rub all of the wonderful spices into the pork.

I had never had authentic jerk. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I snapped a few photos of the resort that capture its romance..

 

 

 

I want to go back…like yesterday.
The entire experience was fulfilling. The resort, the food, the company, the learning and the children…I miss them all.

You may be wondering why I have a heart around someone in a few of my photos.
That is Joan from the Chocolate Chocolate and More website. Two week after we got home from Sandals Ochi, I got a text from Shelly asking me if I was in shock to hear the news of Joan? I hadn’t heard anything yet. Well, our sweet Joan passed away in her sleep. I was indeed in shock. How would we all be laughing and sharing memories with a healthy and happy Joan, and then just 2 weeks later, she was gone? Joan was super talented, sweet, caring and a giver. She left behind 3 children. Please continue to go to her site for delicious recipes as the visits will help her children.
I am proud to have know her.

Feel free to browse some of my friends post about the trip as well….

Confessions of A Cookbook Queen

The Decorated Cookie – My twin from another motha’

Food Fanatic

Stetted

Comments

  1. 1

    OH my gosh, that picture of me is hilarious! I look possessed!! Such a fun trip…can’t wait until we can do it again!

  2. 3

    I miss you SO much. That was such an amazing trip and I’m having so much fun reliving it through the recaps this morning. Thank you SO much for coming — it would not have been the same without you!! xo

  3. 4

    This looks like the best blog conference EVER. Every single bit of it. Also, I love your whisk tattoo and that photo of you with the kids! You look SO happy 🙂

  4. 6

    It was a beautiful trip in so many ways. It was great to meet you!