Blend Retreat 2012

Hi Friends!

Yesterday was Secret Recipe Club Reveal but today I’m back with a full recap of my amazing weekend at Blend Retreat in Boulder, Colorado!

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I left super early Friday morning, flew through Dallas and arrived in Denver around 11am. I was one of the first to arrive so I hung out at the airport for a while before meeting up with one of my roommates for the weekend- Sarah. We had a really exciting afternoon lined up! After meeting up with a few bloggers I already “knew” from reading their blogs, Courtney & Alyssa, as well as a few new friends- Bobbi & Brittany, we were picked up from the airport in style.

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That’s right. Maddy and Alex, the founders of Love Grown Foods, picked us up in Elby, The LOVE bus. Isn’t it awesome?! Maddy got super excited when she heard some of her LOVE bloggers were coming to Denver so she offered to pick us up and take us on a couple of tours. We got to see their office- check out the ping pong table! They built all the furniture themselves. We learned some fun stuff about Love Grown Foods and the whole office smelled like cinnamon raisin granola. It was heavenly. Then we saw their old production site, a super small manufacturing space attached to their office. It’s currently almost empty because they just recently outsourced their production to Fresca Foods. Maddy and Alex also hooked us up with a huge box full of some of their favorite local food products. I cannot wait to try them all!

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The next stop on our journey to Boulder was touring the Fresca Foods facility! So many awesome products are produced here: Love Grown Foods Granola, Lara Bars, Justin’s Nut Butter , 34 Degrees Crackers and Boulder Ice Cream just to name a few. We saw their research and development room, their recipe testing room and then headed to the back to see the actual production rooms! We saw Lara Bars being packaged and got to taste one right of the line. It was AMAZING. So much better than when you buy them in the store.

We also so the LGF room. Maddy and Alex told us about how they used to make all the granola themselves, mix it by hand and seal all the bags with the help of their parents. It’s so amazing to hear how much they’ve grown. They’re two of the most passionate people I’ve ever met and you can tell they really pour their heart and soul into their business! So proud to represent them as a Love blogger.

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Here’s some more pics Maddy snapped of all of us:

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As an added bonus, THE Justin, of Justin’s Nut Butters, just so happened to be on-site at Fresca Foods while we were there. We got to meet him, chat with him for a while and he gave us a tour of his production room. It was amazing. He’s also built his company up through a lot of hard work and dedication. In fact, it’s growing so fast that the whole reason he was there on Friday was because they were installing more equipment so they can keep up with the demand for his products! We even got a picture with him icon smile Blend Retreat 2012

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After our tours were over, they drove us the rest of way to Boulder and dropped us off at Blend! The Blend Retreat was held at Chautauqua Park. It was beautiful! We checked in at the lodge and met our amazing hostesses- Lindsay, Katie & Janetha, got t shirts and MORE food. So.much.swag! It was incredible. I could barely carry everything to the cabin! Sarah and I had just enough time to say hi to our other roomates- Maria, Jen & Jess and change before it was time to head to the cocktail hour and dinner. At the cocktail hour I got to meet some of the other bloggers I was looking forward to seeing at Blend, including Laura, Tina, Heather, Jill and so many more!

Following cocktails, we had a sit down dinner. Dinner meant meeting even more new friends like Amy (she’s pregnant and totally adorable), Dena, Heather, Katie, Amanda and more! I had the vegetarian pasta and then we had mini cupcakes for dessert from a local Boulder company. We got to vote on what flavor we wanted, and then Lindsay, Katie and Janetha each picked a flavor. I tried s’mores, chocolate peanut butter pretzel and one with lavender. After dinner, we headed back to our cabins. Everyone was exhausted after traveling all day and we had an early morning ahead of us!

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Saturday morning we woke up bright and early for bootcamp at 7am. It was sponsored by Fit Mixer who gave us some great aminos to drink before and after our workout. Tina & Lindsay took us through a bootcamp workout and it was tough! We used resistance bands and I definitely worked up a sweat! We ended with a fun game that involved splitting us up into teams and seeing which team could do the most of a variety of different exercises. Tina blogged about it! Click here if you’re interested in our workout!

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After bootcamp we headed to breakfast. It was sponsored by Xagave and it was AMAZING! They had so much good food…tons of fresh fruit, oatmeal, Chobani, so many different toppings, almond butter and muffins baked with xagave. Everything was delicious and I was totally stuffed by the end. I also met Julie, Katie, Susan and some others I hadn’t met on Friday. Side note- Xagave is one of my new favorite companies. I’d never tried agave nectar before but I really love their product! Actually, all of the sponsers of this event were amazing. I was introduced to a bunch of new products like Fit Mixer, Xagave, Green Mountain Coffee and Cheribundi….and some of my all-time favs were there as well- Chobani and Love Grown Foods!

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A few of the sponsor companies actually sent employees to the retreat to spend the weekend with us and it was really cool to get to talk to them. I finally met Lindsay and Emily from Chobani, who I’ve been emailing and tweeting with for the past 2 years!

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That’s Lindsay from Chobani. Isn’t she adorable?!

After breakfast, we headed back to our cabins to get ready for the hike. At 10am we all gathered at the trailhead and headed out on a 4 mile round-trip hike!

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I was actually in the very front of the pack the whole time with Lindsay, Laura and Heather. Guys, this hike was NO JOKE. Probably one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done. There were tons of rock stairs and super steep parts.

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It was definitely the hardest workout of the day….but it was so worth it.

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We hiked up to The Royal Arch and the view from the top was AMAZING! You could see all the way to Denver. And the weather was absolutely perfect.

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By the time we made it back down, it was about 12:30. We headed back to shower and change and then I spent a little time in the lodge putting together the Foodie Penpals assignments. Foodie Penpals doesn’t stop for Blend! Then, a large group of us headed out to lunch at a local restaurant. I got to meet even more new friends like Kelly, Gina, Calee, Ashley, Lynne and Lauren!

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I got an FYIPA and a grilled cheese with pesto, avocado and tomato, which I devoured in about 2 minutes because I was STARVING! It was so fun to sit next to Gina. I drool over her food pictures every day!

After lunch, we headed out to Avery Brewing. The hubby was SO JEALOUS! Don’t worry, I got him a t shirt. We tasted several beers and even got a special, short little tour. We sat outside and chatted for a while. I ordered some hummus and Heather got some sweet potato tater tots that were AMAZING. And I don’t even like tater tots!

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Later, we headed back into town and went to Rio Grande- it was Cinco de Mayo after all. I was pretty wiped out by this point and still full from my hummus so I was chugging water, but lots of people enjoyed margaritas and food and mayyyyybe a few too many tequila shots for some people, who shall remain nameless icon smile Blend Retreat 2012 At dinner I got to meet Ashley…another amazing food blogger/photographer and Lena.

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That’s Lindsay’s photo I think!

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And that one’s from Ashley. Thanks ladies!

We headed back to the lodge after dinner and spent some time hanging out and munching all the extra food we had laying around from the sponsors.

Sunday morning brought another 7am bootcamp, led by Chobani…but I skipped out on that one in favor of an extra hour of sleep. My body thanked me. I walked 20,000 steps on Saturday! Chobani sponsored Sunday’s breakfast which was also delicious. Lots of greek yogurt, fresh fruit and bagels. I also tried a Mocha Nut Fudge K cup from Green Moutain and it was AMAZING. Probably my new favorite thing…and I didn’t even think I liked mocha. It was so good that I had two cups. I must find it in the regular coffee version since I don’t have a Keurig.

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After breakfast there was a raffle and the hosts were sweet enough to make sure everyone got a prize. I originally won a giftcard for a new blog header design, but since I just had mine redone, I told them to give it to someone else! My new friend Brittany actually ended up winning and I’m so excited for her! I won a gift certificate for some Xagave products and I’m SO EXCITED about it!

After that it was time to head to the airport. My roommate Maria got a rental car and was sweet enough to drive several of us to the airport. It was a long day of traveling, but totally worth it! It was so awesome to meet so many of the bloggers I interact with every day online….and to meet so many new friends and find even more blogs to follow.

Huge shoutout to Lindsay, Katie and Janetha. They did an AMAZING job planning and organizing this retreat. It was an incredible amount of work and they made it pretty much perfect. All of them were absolutely amazing to meet in person. They are beautiful, sweet and down-to-earth, just like they are on their blogs and it was so fun to get to hang out with them. They each made an effort to meet and talk to every single person that was there and make everyone feel included in everything we did.

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There’s already talk of Blend Retreat 2013 and trust me, you guys will all want to be there…so keep you eye out for more info!

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Group shot thanks to Lauren.

Oh, and if you think we went home empty-handed, you are incorrect. Check out all this swag!

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I definitely had to check a bag on the way home!

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!!

–Lindsay–<

About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


Comments

  1. FABulous. I LOVE all of the photos!!! Great meeting you. :)

  2. Your recap is epic. Can you write mine too? LOL! That 20K+ step day was no joke. I am STILL sore.

    It was awesome to meet you in person (finally!). Can’t wait til the next time!!!

  3. I’m so glad that I got to meet you!!! My legs are seriously on fiyah from that hike and 2 days of boot camp, but it burns so good. I hope to see you next year (or maybe sometime before?)!
    Lena @Fit on the Rocks recently posted..I Left My Brain in Boulder

  4. I was worried for a while…didn’t know how I was going to fit my clothes in the suitcase with the swag. Suitcase was just about to bust at the seems. Great recap, Lindsay. And was great to meet you!

    I agree, was a difficult, but worth while hike!
    Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl recently posted..#BLEND2012 recap (Day 1)

  5. I’m completely jealous of all the fun you had in Boulder/Denver. I can’t wait for details of Blend Retreat 2013.
    Julie recently posted..#photoadayMAY Week 1

  6. SO great to FINALLY meet, m’dear! What an EPIC weekend….and an EPIC post! ;)

    Roommates in 2013?
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted..Colorado is for LOVE(Blogge)Rs

  7. Wow, great recap! I’m so jealous! ;) Thanks for sharing!!
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Fried lemons and Krispy Kreme Milkshakes.

  8. Everything from the retreat looks amazing! I am definitely keeping my eye out for information on 2013 :-)
    Michelle (Better with Berries) recently posted..Workouts I Love to Hate

  9. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I loved seeing the photos. Loved hearing about the festivities. Loved that it was full of LOVE!
    lindsay recently posted..A “Whoa” Weekend

  10. Definitely such a great weekend!!!! I was so pumped to finally meet. It had been a long time coming. Hope we get the chance to do it again – at the very least next year Blend because I know I will come back. Best one ever!
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..Move It Monday: Bootcamp Style

  11. seriously amazing!! looks like SO much fun!! that LGF place is very cool – how fun!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Bob’s Red Mill + A Giveaway

  12. Wow sounds like you had quite the weekend! I have to say that this proves that you can be a foodie/beer connoisseur (I happen to be a fan of the Avery IPA!) and still live a balanced & healthy life. Hope you’re ready to get back to the real world. This was fun to read while I enjoyed my coffee :)

    Thanks for sharing, Lindsay
    Jonathan (The Nerdy Gym Rat) recently posted..Dymatize Elite Casein

  13. Ahh! That looks like so much fun!! After reading your post and Tina’s, I wanna gooooo! <–whining ;-) The food and the swag look amazing as well as the hike and the bootcamp! perfect weekend!
    jobo recently posted..Throwbacks on comparison and number fixation.

  14. Wow that looks like so much fun! I’m so jealous! I love the Justin’s products! Looks like you had a great time and tried some delicious looking food!
    Jaren @ Kiwi Fit Blog recently posted..Photo A Day, Reflection and Preparation

  15. I SO need to get my butt to Blend next year!! This looks like my kind of blogger un-conference in so many ways!! I LOVE IT!! I especially love that you got a ride from the LGF peeps, that is SO COOL!!!!
    Jess recently posted..Why I run: today.

  16. WOW! Sounds like you all had a great time. I loved seeing all the pics when I’d scroll through Instagram :)
    Aparna B. @ Not A Leaf recently posted..First Ever Foodie Penpals

  17. It was GREAT meeting you, Lindsay!! And I’m so jealous of your Pre-Blend activities- especially that you got to meet THE Justin (and whoa, he’s not too bad on the eyes!)!! I definitely have to try to get to Fresca Foods when I go back in July!
    What an awesome weekend… I think I’m going to be recovering all week! (I still can’t believe you also managed to send out the foodie pen-pals while you were there!)h
    Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning recently posted..Pre-Blending in Colorado

  18. This looks so absolutely amazing… I wish I was there with you all! Next year, for sure. PS – pictures… gorgeous!
    Bex recently posted..It’s Planting Time on Borucki Farm!! : Yummy Monday

  19. After reading your post I hope there is a retreat next year because I want to go! (:
    Danielle recently posted..Flowers to Garden

  20. Wow, what a great recap!! I am SO. SO. jealous of all that Chobani in your pics…not to mention the granola…OK, pretty much everything you got to eat. :) It looks like such a wonderful weekend!

  21. i am so bummed that it didn’t work out for me to go this year. if there really is another one next year, i will be at the front of the line to buy a ticket! :)
    sarah @ sarah learns recently posted..blend 5k recap

  22. Blend seriously looks like so much fun! I would love to attend it sometime, it’d be fun to meet some blog friends!
    Heidi @ Idlehide recently posted..sunny side up

  23. Hiking through the mountains is the best…I lived in Utah one summer and we visited Zion National Park. So awesome! Colorado is a really beautiful state, too.

    By the way….super jeal of all your swag, haha!
    Alysia @ Slim Sanity recently posted..5K training

  24. What an amazing fun time you had!! I am so glad you got to go and thank you for sharing your experience with us. Justin, swoon! And the FOOD, double swoon!
    Caitlin recently posted..So G Coffee Roasters

  25. Awesome! That looks like such a blast.

  26. Wow, SUCH an awesome post!!! You got everything, girl. :)
    It was so fun getting to hang with you for the weekend!

  27. i’ve been LOVING all the recaps on Blend! it makes me wish i could’ve been there… i hope next year works out that i can be there! what a FUN weekend! :)
    Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..Trainer Tuesday: Heart Pumpin’ Cardio Circuit Workout

  28. AWESOME recap! I love the LGF tour y’all went on! I buy local as often as possible and just recently discovered the beauty that is Love Grown granola. And who knew Justin’s was making bars now! Totally need to find that!

    I also forgot that your husband is really into beer – is he brewing his own? I forget!

    Anyway, so nice to meet ya! I’m home in Cincinnati frequently so we’ll have to try to meet up sometime!
    lynne @lgsmash recently posted..Fun: Blend Retreat 2012

  29. Wow, EVERYTHING about the retreat sounds amazing. Thanks for the play-by-play and swag photos ! Looks like a great time, great workouts, great foods, and most of all, great people!
    Meredith @ DareYouTo recently posted..Get Motivated by Music

  30. I loved reading this, looks like so much fun! I hope I can make it next year!

  31. Holy Love Bus that looks like a fun time! I love Boulder, I loved there for several of my college years (my sister still lives there) When I saw the picture of the Royal Arch it reminded me of when I would stay out all night drinking (this is when I was in my 20′s) and I would hike up there in the dark, fall asleep and wake to a beautiful sunrise the next morning, hike down and have breakfast, then sleep all day. OY what the heck? I was insane, I had so much fun though. OK enough about me.. so glad you had such a nice time surrounded by wonderful people and yummy, healthy food!
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..10 Tips for supporting a runner during a marathon

  32. Adri @FoodieBeFit says:

    Oh! How fun! I could not put my phone down as I saw your and the other’s pictures in Instagram all weekend. I would love to do something like this soon, we make so many connections online must have been so nice to meet in person and share fun times together.
    Adri @FoodieBeFit recently posted..Some New York Thoughts {In a New York Minute}

  33. It turned out so amazing and I’ve been hearing wonderful stories! Next year! :)
    StoriesAndSweetPotatoes recently posted..Back Away From The Sweet Potatoes

  34. Loved that you had fun! It looks like it was seriously awesome. SO great that you got to do a lot of fun festivities, and got to celebrate with awesome people at that!
    Lisa recently posted..Oh My Squash

  35. How fun!! I’d love to go next year!
    Maureen recently posted..{Almost} Wordless Weekend

  36. GREAT recap!! And that hike was so freakin hard, I’m still sore from all the workouts this weekend (in a good way).
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..Cocktails + Cupcakes: Blended Together

  37. SO MANY PICTURES!! I love it! It was good to meet you and I’m excited to participate in my first foodie pen pal extravaganza! :-)
    Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut recently posted..Sitting on Babies

  38. Your pictures show so very much! What a fabulous time! 2013–I’m coming for ya BLEND!
    Jess @ Blonde Ponytail recently posted..I almost forgot this feeling..

  39. Looks like so much fun and great swag. I think I would’ve liked the hike best. And the cupcakes!
    Carissa recently posted..Burn 50 Calories in 5 minutes

  40. Looks like such a good time! Did you get invited to go to BLEND, or did you look into it on your own?

    I have never tried Justin’s nut butter, but now I may have to. What a cutie!
    Katy @ Couch to 5Katy recently posted..Sunburned and Fancy Free {Chocolates}

  41. Blend 2013 will be in my life. All of these recaps are so amazing!! :)
    Abby @ Abz ‘n’ Oats recently posted..Check Out My Guest Post!

  42. Love this post!! I love the pic of me and you going hiking. I’m incredibly happy we met this weekend!
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted..Back from Blend

  43. So. Jealous.
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..#PhotoADayMay: Smell You Adore

  44. So glad you guys did the Royal Arch trail! That is one of my favorites for trail running cause it is so pretty and I love the top :)
    Heather@Just a Colorado Gal recently posted..Coaching for the Special Olympics

  45. I’m so bummed I didn’t go this year! After reading so many wonderful recaps, I’m definitely in for next year. Sounds like it was a great, quick retreat!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Wallis Sands Half Marathon Recap

  46. So disapointed that I didn’t find out about the Blend Retreat until it was too late :( ! Looks like you had an awesome time. Love all the pics and was glued to your tweets all weekend! Waiting for Blend 2013 to be announced!
    Kat recently posted..Go Figure – A Look Back at How it all Began

  47. oh man, looked like a great time!! we really wish we could of gone..next year
    Pure2raw twins recently posted..vegan protein powder muffin recipe

  48. This looks like it was an awesome time! I really want to go to a blogger retreat, they look like so much fun! That’s so awesome you got to meet Justin, their candy bars sound really cool. Do you like them?
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted..Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

  49. wow! That sounds like Amazing weekend!!! Look at all that swag! Glad you ladies had so much fun!
    I so want to go next year :)
    <3 Sam
    http://Www.samswlsjourney.blogspot.com
    Sam recently posted..Maternity Pics!

  50. Looks like such a fun time!
    Fran@ Broken Cookies Don’t Count recently posted..Photo Array~WIAW

  51. Blend sounds (and looks) like an incredible, delicious, fun-filled time! I enjoyed reading your recap and living vicariously through it!

  52. WHEW! I’m exhausted just reading about your epic weekend. Looks like so much fun. I don’t think you’ll have to work out all week – which probably comes in handy during exam time! :)

  53. Looks like you had SO much fun, Lindsay. Loving reading all the recaps :)
    Paige @ Running Around Normal recently posted..My Favorite Fitness Apps

  54. I’m loving all these recaps, yours is great! Blend Retreat sounds like a blast, I will have to consider it in the future!
    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) recently posted..My Under Armour What’s Beautiful Goal: A Speedy 5k

  55. It looks like you had so much fun! I have never been to Colorado, I want to go so bad!
    Leonor @FoodFaithFitness recently posted..First spin class and cake in a cup

  56. What a fun trip – so glad you had such a great time!
    Kerstin recently posted..M&M Cookie Dough Tart

  57. What an awesome weekend! That Bus Ride and Factory Tour is PRICELESS. I had no idea all of those great companies worked so closely together. BLEND Retreat could not have picked a more perfect location!

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