Disclaimer: In 2016 I was a member of the Beef Expert Bureau. This trip was sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.
One common theme in my gratitude is the internet. I’ve gained so much from the world wide web, and the opportunities and experiences that have come my way because of my love of interneting. This is an amazing privilege all around; the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, the opportunities for education, and experience, and deliciousness.
Last fall I took a trip to Aspen, Colorado with the Beef Checkoff that was filled with just that: great people, opportunities for education, experiencing local sites, and of course, delicious food!
The people! This was a great trip because it was about 50% being reunited with internet friends and “beef staff” I adore and 50% falling in love with the new friends I was meeting for the first time on this trip. I could absolutely go on and on and on about the wonderfully talented, encouraging souls with brilliant minds I’ve met through working with the Beef Checkoff over the past several years. This long list of smart and creative folk I have in my network is a bonus compliment to the seemingly perfectly mirrored personalities in my friends on the beef team.
The places! Aspen is such a cool city. Landing was the most gorgeous of any air plane trip I’ve been on, dipping in between spans of mountains covered in bright yellow Aspen trees. The city was quite adorable with lots to see and do in the small space of town I explored.
We stayed at a terrific resort in the heart of Aspen, The Little Nell. It was a gorgeous property and a fantastic room filled with luxurious comforts and beautiful details throughout the resort. We visited a handful of other great locations throughout our trip, too, including the Cooking School of Aspen, Elk Camp, and Lynn Britt Cabin.
And the views! Holy moly was I spoiled this year with all the fall foliage colors I was able to take in. I was in Aspen at the very end of the aspen peak season and these photos do not even come close to doing the beauty that is Colorado justice!
the experiences! One morning we went on group guided hikes which was one of the most breath taking experiences of my life this far. I had such a great time moving along the trail with some of my fellow bureau members and other friends in our group. I decided to leave my phone and camera in my room and focus my energy on taking in the views in real time.
We were also given the gift of time with the Executive Chef of Element 47 at The Little Nell, Matt Zubrod. Throughout our week together Chef Zubrod gave a cooking demo and lead food discussions during several of our meals.
Each and every meal we had during this trip featured a delicious plate of food and terrific food discussion with wonderful people. This is usually the case when I’m traveling with the Beef Checkoff, but the food talk this trip was especially memorable and has had lasting effects on my approach to food, from meal planning to where I turn for celebration dinner menu inspiration.
the opportunities! The theme for our time together was ‘Celebrating New Heights in Food and Health’ and was a combination of educational sessions and creative discussions on beef topics, health topics and blog/internet topics.
One of my favorite sessions was “Watch What Happens Live: Building Your Skills to Shoot Live Video and Interact with Food in Real Time.” This session took place at the stunning Elk Camp in Snowmass. One of my favorite women rocking the internet, Regan Miller Jones shared with the group the benefits of live video to communicate and along with Vijay Karunamurthy, co-founder of Nom.com, reviewed tools, techniques, tips and steps to get started.
I learned a bit from each of the discussions and presentations throughout our trip. Here are three main takeaways from other sessions from our time in Aspen:
3 Major Takeaways from the Celebrating New Heights in Food and Health LiveWell #KnowYourBeef Experience
Takeaway: I want to give my future self the gift of health.
Session: Aging with Vitality – Beef Throughout the Life Cycle
Early last year I was in a FUNK. It was nothing serious, but a simple lack of motivation to make healthy choices or do anything to make my life better. I was stagnant and though I knew I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t ready or willing to do anything to find the happiness I knew I was, if history was accurate, capable of finding and living with.
This session gave me a new perspective on motivation. For the first time I really thought about the need to take care of things now to make it easier on myself in the future.
I’m no spring chicken now, but I am younger today than I ever will be in the future. I want to take advantage of every day and give my future self the gift of health.
Takeaway: Lots of nutrition questions can be answered with meal planning.
Session: Building Beef into Your Family’s Weekly Meal Plan
The topic of meal planning came up time and time again throughout our week together, which was a great lead up to a session from Jessica Fishman Levinson, a dietitian and nutrition consultant who serves up healthy, delicious content at Nutritioulicious
I’ve been in a fairly regular habit of meal planning and food prep over the past several years, but it’s always nice to have a refresher discussion with my peers about tips and tricks they are using in their own kitchens to make the most of the habit.
Takeaway: You have something valuable to share; don’t believe me? look outside your immediate community.
Session: Putting Our Work into Practice
During our last session, my friends Melissa and Toby presented on how beneficial partnering with other creators can be and Tera Miller lead us through creative planning exercises. Collaboration can cover a wide range of involvement and interaction, and is a great way to show support for others’ work you appreciate and respect, while also taking the opportunity to work towards results for yourself, such as an introduction to an existing audience or working with an experienced creator of a specific field.
Cross collaboration can be such a powerful tool [and one I’ve been known to get preachy about from time to time!] Of course, partnering with the bloggers/influencers in my close network who cover the same topics and have the same expertise and audience as I do makes sense. Swapping guest posts, partnering for a twitter chat, or offering an Instagram takeover is an easy way to work your creative muscles and interact with a new following in a safe space. But when I look beyond my immediate circle of influence I can reach much further potential.
Melissa and I have partnered with one another a handful of times in the past. As a Registered Dietitian and award winning, nationally recognized food and nutrition expert, Melissa brings the smarts and science to the table, along with her winning personality, creative ideas, and brilliant communication skills. I bring my willingness to share my real-life experience of trying to fight for my health that Melissa’s clients and followers may also be facing, along with a tiny bit of know-how about internet tools and the power of online community. When we work together, we are building each other up and offering more to the work we are doing together, because we are doing it together.