EVO 2012: The Evolution of Women in Social Media

Before I go into why I attend blog conferences, and in this particular post, EVO, I want to briefly explain why I started blogging to begin with.

I have been blogging for a total of 4 years.  I started a family blog in 2008 to keep friends and family updated on our current happenings, but made it private to keep it just at family and friends.  I fell in love with the whole blogging concept.

After having my first baby, I found that I had a lot of extra time on my hands. I was a new stay-at-home-mom with only one baby, who at the time, only ate, slept and went to the bathroom. With a newborn, you don’t leave the house very much, especially in the winter months here in Utah, just to keep them safe from all the many bugs going around.  I struggled with this new found “Spare time.”  Believe me when I say, I absolutely LOVE being a mom!  It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  But for me personality, I needed something that was “mine” and that would help keep me sane….  Something that I did for me.  It was then that my true love for cooking and baking began.  I loved to have a delicious meal prepared for when my husband arrived home from work.  Being in the kitchen let me create, let me relieve stress, let me…. be me.

I started getting requests for recipes from friends and family, so I would email them out… over and over again.  To make it easier on myself, I decided to start a blog, aside from my family blog, so I only had to post a recipe once and so that anyone who wanted to, could access the recipes.  I started my blog “Chef in Training” in the beginning of 2010.  Soon, I started seeing traffic from random places all over the world.  It was then I realized that I could make something of this new found hobby and passion of mine.  In the beginning of 2011, I decided to take my blog to the next level by posting more regularly and to try and improve in every way I could…. only, I didn’t know what those ways were.

I began connecting with other bloggers and making friends that I will always stay connected with.  Some of you may think its nuts that some of my best friends were made through this crazy blogging world, but it is so true.  One friend in particular has made all the difference in my blogging life. Kristyn, from Lil’Luna, branched out to me.  She knew my site was growing, but also knew that I could be doing so much more that I could do to make the most out of my blog.  We talked through text, Skype, and phone calls.  She pushed me to attend my first blog conference, SNAP!, which happened in April of 2012.  I was SUPER hesitant about attending a blog conference.  I didn’t know what they were, if they were worth the money, or if it was the place with for me.

Attending a conference was one of the best decisions I ever made and was totally worth the money spent.  If any of you wonderful bloggers are on the fence about attending a conference but are looking to grow your blogs, I would highly recommend it.  There are so many classes offered that are taught by people who KNOW what they are talking about.  I would discourage going to every single one out there, because they can get expensive, but the two I have been to, I would definitely recommend and will definitely be attending next year.  SNAP! was one of them, but the one I am going to talk about today is EVO.

EVO was amazing!

EVO is filled with bloggers of all varieties… mommy bloggers, craft bloggers, DIY bloggers and Food Bloggers like myself. I met so many AMAZING bloggers at SNAP! that a bunch of us decided to room together for EVO.  We stayed in an INCREDIBLE condo from Links Luxury Rentals.  The condo was absolutely amazing!  The details, the spaciousness, the location… everything was WONDERFUL!  (Sadly, due to the heaviness of carrying around my nice camera, most of the pictures are shot with my iPhone)

Isn’t it AMAZING?! We all LOVED our condo! Thank you so much to Links Luxury Rentals for helping us find such an amazing place to stay while in Park City attending EVO.  It could not have been more perfect!


When you go to a blog conference, MAKE SURE to bring your business cards.  You will be networking like CRAZY! Whether to other bloggers or conference sponsors, trust me you will definitely want them!

Not only will you be passing out business cards, but you will be collecting them from other amazing bloggers, too! Thanks to SNAP! for this brilliant idea :)

One thing I absolutely LOVED about EVO, was the food classes they offered.  They were hands on learning and the things I learned were so applicable to me and what I blog about.  On the first day of EVO, I attended a class sponsored by Truvia and we had so much fun baking with this sweetener!

After all the baking fun, it was time for the second half of the class.  What I learned here will forever change the way I photograph and style my food photography.  Todd and Diane, from White on Rice Couple, did such an incredible job teaching and sharing with us what they know.  They have such a passion about photographing food and styling their sessions and it came through in every detail of what they showed us.  I was completely moved by their class and a new passion for my photography was sparked.  I cannot wait to start applying what I learned.


The second food class I attended was sponsored by Mizkan Nakano. We had a fun competition and enjoyed some yummy food!

I had the privilege of attending a dinner put on by California Avocado!  The food was INCREDIBLE!


I also had the opportunity to take some other wonderful classes.  One particular statement that stood out to me in one of these classes was given by Allie from No Time For Flash Cards, she said….

“Bloggers are your community, not your competition.”  I think that this statement is so true, but so hard for some to grasp. The blogging world is big enough for all that want to participate.  If you are looking at bloggers as competition and wishing ill on them, trying to do better them or out due another, it is definitely time to rethink things.  My blog friends have become some of my GREATEST friends.  They have taught me so much.  Not only have they taught me so much, but I feel like they are some of the few people that actually get me.  We are there to help each other and promote each other. I write and post for my readers and because I LOVE it!


Aside from all the wonderful classes and knowledge learned, EVO provides a way for you to hang out and meet other bloggers.  I have met SO many amazing people through blogging, that I would not have met in any other way.

Here is me, Jamielyn from I heart Naptime, and Kristyn from Lil’ Luna.  I met these to girls (in person) at SNAP! and have stayed connected with them.  I picked them up from the airport for EVO and dropped them off. I also got to room with them! These two girls are two of my best blog friends.  They are such cute girls and are a riot to hang with.


You also get to meet your blogging idols… one of mine being Shelly from House of Smiths!  This girl is SO FUN!


You get the opportunity to network and meet big companies… like Disney!


and you will meet people that will become some of your greatest friends….

Michelle from A Little Tipsy, Kristen from Kristen Duke Photography, Kristyn from Lil’ Luna, Jamielyn from I heart Naptime, me, and Linda from Craftoholics Anonymous


Riding “The Orange Bubble” to our next class with Desiree from 36th Avenue and Kristyn from Lil’ Luna


Late nights with all our roomies and yummy food! :)

I roomed with the most amazing girls: Jamielyn I heart Namptime, Linda Craftoholics Anonymous, Tauni SNAP!, Heather Whipperberry, Amy The Idea Room, Michelle A Little Tipsy, Desiree The 36th Avenue, Kristyn Lil’Luna, Landee Landee See Landee Do, Jen & Jodie Eighteen25, Shauna & Courtney The Orange Blossom Shop, Mandy Vintage Revivals, Brooke All Things Thrifty, and Kristen Kristen Duke Photography.   We had some of the best talks and I felt like I really got to know these girls so much better.  We had some crazy fun times and shared some crazy delicious food and late night snacks!  I cannot wait until the next time I get to see these cute girls again!

I would HIGHLY recommend attending EVO! It was such a fun and great experience! I learned so much and made so many new and amazing friends! If you go next year, we just might get to meet :)


If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #chefintraining and/or #chefintrainingblog. I would love to see how these recipes take shape in your kitchens.

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  1. Dawn

    Thank you for a great (inspirational) blog! I have wanted to start a blog for years and have always felt I just wasn't up to the task. It would also be incredibly random. You're post today makes me think I could do it.... Just maybe!

  2. Jamielyn@iheartnaptime

    Great wrap up post! I loved rooming with you at EVO and getting to know you better. You are so sweet! So glad we met through this crazy world of blogging. Can't wait for next year! XO

  3. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Sounds like you had a great time!!!
    The statement about other bloggers being your community, not your competition is so true! I love the blogging community and I can't wait to go to a conference :)

  4. Ashton @ Something Swanky

    I really love this post! And I can't wait until I can attend a conference and start making personal connections with all of my blogging friends/inspirations! It's true-- it is kind of a crazy way to meet people, but this is kind of a crazy life. And it helps to be friends with other people understand why you're so passionate about blogging!

    Thanks for telling us all about your fun trip!

  5. Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta

    Loved this post, thank you, I'm contemplating a conference or two next year and it's a scary thought at the moment but exciting too!

  6. Nicole

    Thank you for posting this. I find it very encouraging as a new blogger. I have been second guessing myself lately and feel overwhelmed with all the information. Seeing where you have started and where you are now makes me feel like I can do this!

  7. Carole

    I'm not sure what is available in my part of the world - New Zealand - but I will look into what is available in Australia - I definitely need to learn more. You do pick up stuff along the way but things like photographing food are a bit of a mystery to me - as you can see from the photos on my blog.

    Have a good week.

  8. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Thank you so much for sharing the fun details of the conference. It looks like so much fun! Attending a few conferences next year is on my list of things to do for my blog. It will be so fun to connect in person with some of my favorite bloggy girls!!! Some of my besties I have found through food blogging:-)

  9. Maureen

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience at EVO with all of us. I haven't attended a blogging conference yet, but I would love to be able to. I hope that more bloggers will take the attitude that Kristyn took with you, and provide help and support to one another. I know I could use it, and I am sure I am not alone. Thanks again for a great and I formative post!

  10. Shelly Bailey

    Wow, what a great post! You did an awesome post explaining these conferences. I make crafty YouTube videos and just recently started a blog and I have been trying to explain these conferences to my husband. I am going to have him read your post because it is perfect. Thanks so much. Love your blog! Hus, Shelly

  11. jen@eighteen25

    Nikki... you are as sweet as they come and I loved reading this post. So glad we were able to be roomies and get to know you a little better!
    Jen :)

  12. Tauni

    Nikki, It was so fun to get to know you just a tiny bit better - you are a delight and pretty to boot! I too think some of my very best friends have come from blogging and social media.

    Thank you so very much for all the sweet things you said about SNAP! I do hope that we're able to get together again before that!

    xoxo, Tauni

  13. Kristyn

    Girl, I LOVE you! So glad we have become friends over the last year and so glad for you and your success here on the blog. You are awesome! XO :D

  14. Michelle @ My Gluten-free Kitchen

    Have you seen anything about an evo'13? I really wanted to attend because it looks like this has been a great conference the past few years. I can't find anything about one for this year!

    1. Chef in Training

      Sadly, I don't think there is an evo'13. I heard rumors a couple months ago that last year was their last year. I was so sad to hear about it. It was one of my favorite conferences. If I hear otherwise, I will let you know.