Lessons (and Photos) from the Love Where You Live Dinner, The Hello Sessions, and Portland, Oregon

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The Hello Sessions always struck me as a delightfully appropriate name for a party that brings together total strangers from all over the country. Whether dressed up in hoodies and jeans or svelte cocktail dresses, more than 100 of us gathered in Portland, Oregon earlier this month to learn how to take our job/blog/writing/art/whatever to the next level. And the hellos? Well, they flowed easily…

I was there to speak about turning this website into a cookbook (my new cookbook is called Food Gift Love), and all the steps it takes to figure out your big book idea, set your expectations for success, find an agent/publisher, actually write the thing, and love every moment of the process.

My five days in Oregon were the sort of days that make you want to pack it all up and buy a small craftsman in east Portland, camp out in the School House Electric space all the time, and maybe even learn to surf on the weekends. You’ll see why once you browse through these photos. But more importantly, I left with lessons echoing in my head, lessons that may help perk you up, push you to just try, and get you ready to take your craft to the next level.

Four Lessons from the Love Where You Live Dinner, The Hello Sessions, and Portland, Oregon:

1. A hello is all it takes. Really, that’s it. Through our day of activities, everyone was gracious and open to meeting each other, even the shy ones. Say hi more often, please. You’ll make new friends and maybe even new colleagues.

Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com

Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com

2. Even the most wild, impressive, creative people need a creative push back into their path. A creative journey isn’t a straight shot and sometimes we go off on random tangents to explore new techniques or ideas. A quick passion project — maybe writing 1 sentence about food every day for a month or posting a new image of flowers to Instagram everyday — can push you back into your path or introduce you to your next creative project. (Thanks, Lisa Congdon!)

3. If you want to write a book (and this is from me!), you are 100% in control of making that situation the best it can be. You don’t work for anyone but yourself — and if you keep that in the front of your mind, your work will be on time, focused on your brand or purpose, and it will exemplify who you are and who you want to be. You don’t want to let yourself down, you want to get your stuff done.

4. Proximity shouldn’t hold us back from making special things happen. People who have never met and live across the country from each other can make special things happen. My best example is the Love Where You Live dinner that I helped Chelsey of Type A Press bring to life. She did all the work, really — but she’d text me images or ideas or thoughts at all hours and we’d talk about ways to make it beautiful. They did make it beautiful. It really was pure joy, and very delicious. See for yourself…

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Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com Love Where You Live // eatboutique.com

My friends at The Hello Sessions plan to do this all over again next year. Register at their site to be in the loop for the next time around. Ciao!

A big, big, thank you to all the sponsors of the Love Where You Live Dinner including the LetumEAT folks who make delicious food!

Honest Chocolates – Jacobsen Salt Co. – News-Register Publishing – Republic of Jam – Oregon Olive Mill/Red Ridge Farms Red Fox Bakery Sokol Blosser Winery – Community Plate – Third Street Flats

Lead photo by Maggie Battista, conference photos by Linnea Paulina Photography, and Love Where You Live Dinner photos by Kelly Searle, courtesy of The Hello Sessions.

Eat Boutique is the go-to resource for all things food gifts, including one-of-a-kind, small-batch products and inspirational articles. We’ve got food gifts in our award-winning shop and story-driven recipes for everyday cravings, special occasions, and for anyone who needs a little food gift love—and, really, who doesn’t?!

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