About 5 months ago my friend Melissa Lanz texted me and said “Come to the Big Travelling Potluck. Buy a ticket right NOW.”
I responded to her “Why?”
She said “Just do it”
I looked at the website.
I texted back “a whole weekend with 100 lady bloggers in the middle of nowhere California? No, I am good, but thanks”
Melissa replied “I didn’t ask, I am telling you to buy a ticket. Everyone is going. You won’t regret it.”
I spared the arguing with her, because I have learned I can never win. She’s smart, and much quicker than me.
Reluctantly I ended up buying a ticket, and this past weekend was the big event. Even though I was excited to see all my friends, I was still not thrilled on the concept of being stuck at a barn in the middle of God knows where for 3 whole days talking about quiche and God knows what else food bloggers talk about.
To my pleasant surprise I ended up having one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. I got to meet so many new people and was inspired by everyone there. The creativity was infectious and the food was overflowing. It was totally my kind of gathering. I let loose and had a BLAST!
If you know me, you know that I can’t go anywhere or do anything without making a ridiculous statement. In honor of my love affair with tequila, and the launch of my new friend Gaby Dalkin’s book Absolutely Avocados I brought many sombrero themed costumes to wear through out the conference. They were a huge hit. They were so ridiculous, but everyone seemed to really enjoy them…..at least I know my friends and I did.
When I first started food blogging my friend and my mentor Diane Cu told me “you will meet your best friends in this community”. I rolled my eyes and thought she was crazy. Turns out Diane was right. I have met some of the most incredible, creative, driven, supportive and loving friends anyone could ask for. Even though I just met some of them recently, I know our friendship will last a lifetime. I am so thankful to call these idiots my friends.
This weekend was one of many more I hope I get to spend with them, and everyone else I met at the event.
After it was all over, I was exhausted, but my weekend was far from finished. My friend Rachel and I headed down to Costa Mesa, CA for a photoshoot with my friends and mentors Diane Cu and Todd Porter for a new KitchenAid campaign. Any chance I get to be in the studio and watch these two masterminds work, I do. I learn so much from them every time I am around them and their love and passion for what they do seeps through their pores just like tequila does mine during a hot and sweaty soul cycle class.
Even though I was mainly on dishwashing and prep duty all day, I didn’t care one bit. Just being apart of the process was priceless to me. Diane and Todd were one of the first people to encourage me to follow my passion for food and food photography. They believed in me and my talents as a chef and an artist which in turn has fueled me to keep going, to keep learning and in turn show constant gratitude to the people who believe and encourage others in their daily lives. The whole experience on the set was humbling and inspiring.
After a 12 hour non stop work day we headed back to Diane and Todd’s house for a wrap party. I am surprised any of us were still standing, but we were. We were all on a high and ready to keep going.
For those of you who don’t know Diane and Todd’s site White on Rice Couple, they are obsessed with their backyard garden- and rightfully so. Built from humble beginnings the two of them have created a special santuary for themselves. Right now it’s citrus season and their trees were dripping with gorgeous blood oranges, tangerines, meyer lemons, kumquats, and oro blanco.
I don’t know about you, but when I see a whole mess of citrus I can’t help but think TEQUILA!
I grabbed the blood oranges off the trees and I started juicing.
Next I muddled some fresh mint I picked,
added a bit of lime for brightness, orange bitters for body and voila. A clean, delicious light margarita. The juice was sweet enough where I didn’t have to use any sugar. It was pure, simple and delicious. A no added sugar margarita? I will take 5…I did…I took 5….and drank them…all of them….5. It’s okay you can judge me.
After this weekend, I am full. Physically, emotionally and which ever other way you can be, I am. I learned so much and experienced something I normally would have passed up on. To think I almost didn’t go because, well frankly I was being an asshole. It makes me realize if I was just a bit more adventurous, a little less cynical and believed in living in each moment there isn’t anything that could stop me from experience all that life has to offer. Sometimes our biggest enemies our ourselves, and it takes a few good people and maybe a few good cocktails to help you realize that.
If you are in a position to help someone, give words of advice or just believe in someone you see trying to find their way, I encourage you to please do so. Your simple words, or actions can influence someone’s life in the biggest way…. and who knows it might earn you a killer cocktail as a reward.
Blood Orange Margaritas
(makes 4-6 cocktails)
- 4 cups blood orange juice
- 1/3 cup tequila
- 2 limes, quartered
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 2 teaspoons orange bitters
- In a medium pitcher add limes, and mint. Using a muddler or a wooden spoon mash the mint and limes together until the juice from limes has been released.
- Next add blood orange juice, tequila and orange bitters. Mix well with wooden spoon.
- Place ice into cocktail glasses. Pour cocktail over ice, allowing bits of mint to fall into each cup.
- Garnish with mint and enjoy.