Long time, no blog!
It has been an absolute whirlwind ten days. It all started with a trip to Sandy Eggo (yes, I am the girl who finds that funny) and snowballed from there. In my attempt to summarize everything, I have broken this post down into three sections: the conference, the food and the nieces pieces.
BlogHer ’11 was a fantastic event, although it went by so fast that I did not have a chance to catch up with as many people as I had hoped! We arrived Thursday afternoon and walked past the gorgeous Marriott hotel to the convention center for check in.
The weather in San Diego was perfect – mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 70s and (the best part) no humidity. It was especially nice when running the BlogHer 5K on Friday morning with two of my good friends from my former job at the PR agency, plus Kath and Jess, who zoomed ahead and finished in speedy time!
There were several sessions I enjoyed, but by far the most valuable for me personally and professionally was How To Pitch A Book, moderated by Ellen Gerstein along with Carleen Brice, Colleen Lindsay and Sarah Maizes.
You can view the entire transcript here. Some of the highlights included:
- Use AgentQuery.com as a helpful database for finding literary agents in your genre.
- If you see a trend, don’t write about it. Chances are by the time you get published, it will be over.
- When writing a query letter for fiction, start by listing the genre, word count and title; then write a 1-2 sentence hook to draw the agent in. Sum up the story with a 1-2 sentence plot description and finish with a short, simple bio. It will also help to send a couple pages of the novel itself, even if it is not requested by the agent. They will likely read it anyway — and they may like what they find!
- Contests are entered at your own risk. Often times agents will receive a flood of query letters after they are over, which is not the ideal time to be trying to get noticed. Also, you need to be certain about what you are giving up – and still able to retain – by putting your work in the public eye. **This made me feel a lot better about my decision to not enter The Next Big Author!**
- Great books and documents to read: How To Write A Book Proposal by Michael Larson, Thinking Like An Editor by Susan Rabiner and Writing A Winning Book Proposal by Michael Hyatt.
I’m looking forward to utilizing these tips as I continue on my novel-writing journey.
Jill and I stayed at The Sofia Hotel, which was roughly 1/2 mile away from the conference. It was great to stay in another part of the downtown so that we could explore more of the city, but the one place we kept returning to time and time again was the restaurant just below our hotel: Currant.
Three words explain why: red wine sangria.
It tasted just as fresh and fabulous as it looks. We are not ashamed to say that we enjoyed multiple glasses of this throughout the weekend! On our first day, we also stopped by for lunch. Both of us went with the Chicken Club Sandwich, which was made with avocado, sprouts, applewood smoked bacon, tomato and chipotle aioli. It came with a side of thyme fries.
The sandwich – and the bread it was made with – was delicious! I need to make my own chipotle aioli.
Another food highlight from the trip was our visit to Sushi Deli. We had heard rave reviews from multiple people – this was the place to go for sushi in the city. We started with orders of edamame and seaweed salad.
Then the three of us – Jill, our friend Gio and me – shared six different rolls.
From left to right:
- Azusa Roll: shrimp tempura, lobster mix, crab surimi, cilantro and jalapeño topped with avocado, salmon, crunchies and spicy mayo.
- San Diego Roll: lobster mix and cream cheese topped with spicy tuna, crab surimi, crunchies, spicy mayo, spicy sauce and sweet sauce.
- Spider Roll: soft shell crab tempura, smelt roe, avocado and cucumber.
- Broadway Roll: spicy tuna, avocado and shrimp tempura topped with salmon and crab surimi.
- Navavava Roll: lobster mix, cilantro, jalepeño, crab surimi, smelt roe, cream cheese and fried calamari topped with avocado and spicy mayo.
- Dragon Roll: shrimp tempura, crab surimi, cucumber topped with eel, avocado and sweet sauce.
I sampled each one and found that I enjoyed the Azusa, San Diego and Dragon Rolls best. We could not finish everything but all agreed that it was incredible, made with fresh ingredients and bursting with creativity. If you’re a sushi lover, I highly recommend paying a visit if you’re ever in San Diego!
On Sunday morning, we had brunch back at Currant, complete with mimosas.
I went with the mushroom and greyére omelette and was not disappointed.
The omelette was perfectly cooked with plenty of mushrooms and “just enough” cheese. It was served with a side of potatoes and nutty whole wheat bread. Like I said, we thought Currant was the bee’s knees. Everything they served was sensational.
San Diego has so much more to explore – an entire Gaslamp Quarter full of unique restaurants and boutiques. Not to mention the zoo and Sea World. I look forward to many more visits in the future.
How do I know that I’ll be back? Well, that leads me to my next section…
The Nieces Pieces
It wouldn’t be a trip to San Diego without seeing these faces.
As you also likely remember, I can’t take enough pictures of these two adorable faces. Especially now that they are making eye contact, smiling and cooing. Just go ahead and melt this aunt’s heart.
We hung out for a couple of days, going on walks and enjoying tummy and bath time. The girls put on matching outfits on the last day. Any guesses as to who picked them out?
All in all, it was an amazing trip. We made some great connections at the conference and had fun with family, too. I’ve been playing catch up on the business front this week and am looking forward to doing some cooking with Bobby this weekend!
What are you looking forward to this weekend?
I’m visiting my Dzia Dzia (grandpa) on Saturday and attending Bobby’s work summer outing on Sunday. It promises to be a jam-packed, very fun couple of days! Hope you enjoy yours, as well.