Food Blogger Camp Riviera Maya

by Marla on January 10, 2011 · 76 comments

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Food Blogger Camp 2011 in Cancun

Part of my personality is to dive in with both feet, seize opportunities, grab ’em & run. This past week I attended Food Blogger Camp at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort near Cancun, Mexico. Camp was very busy as it was filled with instruction, inspiration, playtime & extravagance. Not only was I taught valuable information from some of the most successful bloggers, but I connected with people & myself. Life is all about relations with others & having a strong personal core. Thankfully my job is built around food & food brings people together. It strengthens, unites & nourishes the body, mind and soul.

Food Blogger Camp in Cancun Mexico

I decided that I would let my photos from Camp speak for themselves, you can view our agenda too. These items appear in no particular order as each & every part of camp was equally important to make the whole experience complete.

Session leaders at Cancun food blogger camp.

Top notch & practical education from
Elise Bauer, Jaden Hair, Todd Porter & Diane Cu, David Lebovitz, Matt Armendariz & Adam Pearson. We soaked in all kinds of info on branding, SEO, food styling, photography. We even had a speed blogging session where each camp leader reviewed our blogs for 3 minutes a pop. Boy did I learn loads hearing their feedback!

Food Blogger Camp near Cancun Mexico 2011

Five Star resort living
The Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a gem. I have been to many fine resorts & I can tell you that this place caters to your every whim, wish & desire. It is all inclusive so you never need to reach for money. 24 hour room service, gorgeous rooms, lovely staff, pools & lounging areas are everywhere.

Food Blogger Camp at Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort near Cancun

Splendid Surroundings
At every turn there was gorgeous views, architecture, striking interiors, jungle views, infinity pools and of course the ocean.

Roomates at Food Blogger Camp in Cancun Mexico

My Roommate
Carrie Vitt publisher of the blog
Deliciously Organic. She is one of the most honest, smart & genuine people I know. It was so wonderful to celebrate the release of her new book called Deliciously Organic. Not only is the book gorgeous, her whole food recipes will be passed down through lifetimes.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort near Cancun.

Might Tasty Food
From the freshest ceviche, to the creamiest guacamole the dining was superb. Each morning Carrie and I ordered room service & we felt like royalty!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort near Cancun Mexico

Even the in room coffee machine brewed up a mad good cup of espresso topped with a perfect crema.

Conchas pastry at Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort

I sure do have a lot of photos of those Conchas pastries – they were so beautiful!

Making New Friends
Sometimes you bond with people & sometimes you don’t, yes? First impressions are everything, non? Prior to camp I knew all of the team leaders other than Mr. Lebovitz. He has a fantabulous blog. He loves sweets, I love to read about them. Before you meet him you feel like you know him from his books, blog, tweets, etc.

During his session he almost had me run out of the room as he suggested words NOT to use in your blog name including “family, fresh & food.” These words do not drive him to a blog – he prefers a more descriptive name, like David Lebovitz??!! For a moment I was very scared of him – but his charm quickly changed all that.

Food Blogger camp at Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort

Visual Creativity
The amount of creative inspiration at Camp was empowering and inspiring. Matt, Adam, Diane & Todd are the utmost professionals. There is a reason why they are so very successful. They share their expertise in ways that make sense. They are all self taught & that gives me the motivation to KEEP AT IT. Their individual & collective talents are awe inspiring.

Food blogger camp near Cancun Mexico.

Matt & Adam rock tattoos and pretty much everything.

White on Rice Couple teach photography to food bloggers

It is always fun to catch up & learn from Todd & Lady Diane.

How to Shoot a Chef
Not only did we photograph & style food, but we got to shoot chefs – with our cameras sillies!

Chefs at 5 star resort in Mexico.

How sweet is this waitress!

Beautiful mexican waitress at fancy resort hotel.

Community Building
Time with my great buddies & creating everlasting memories was worth the trip in and of itself.

Food Blog Camp Grand Velas Riviera Maya trip

Friends pictured here include Gaby Dalkin, Carrie Vitt, Lucy Lean, Matt Armendariz, Susan Salzman and Michael Procopio.

Food Blogger Camp 2011 near Cancun Mexico

More Food for Thought

Molecular gastronomy at 5 star resort in Cancun Mexico

Related Links

A great big thank you to Bard Valley Medjool Dates who sponsored me to attend this event. I am looking forward to working with them on delicious, healthy recipes in future posts.

Campers Blog Posts

Here are posts from fellow campers. It is so fun to read about everyones unique experiences & to relive this event through their eyes.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cookin' Canuck January 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

It looks and sounds as though you had a fantastic time, Marla! Beautiful shots!


2 Joanne January 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Oh yay I’m so glad to see you guys had such a great time! Looks like an eye-opening and awe-inspiring experience!


3 the urban baker January 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm

marla, i am so proud of your photos! these are truly your best photos – EVAR! you learned tons, my dear! missing you already! xx


4 Amanda January 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Looks like SUCH a wonderful time and location!! SO happy
you had so much fun and learned a lot!!


5 Maria January 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I LOVE all of your photos! I am glad you had such a great


6 Lucy Lean January 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Love all this fab photos – distant memories of fun fast
fresh times! x


7 Rosa January 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

What a great event! It must have been thrilling to be there
amongs the other great bloggers and personalities. Cheers,


8 Elise January 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Wow Marla, what a terrific write-up! I love love love your
photos. And I so enjoyed getting to hang out with you a bit and
getting to know you better. I love your spunk!


9 Chris January 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm

What a great recap. Loved living vicariously through your
eyes. Fabulous shots! :)


10 Bunkycooks January 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Great photos and recap! What a gorgeous resort and the
food…wow! Sorry I missed out on all the fun. Hope to see you here
in Atlanta in May (if the snow melts by then!). :)


11 angela January 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Thanks Marla, this is such a good piece, I don’t feel I
need to write my own, I’ll just keep yours for the memories! Great


12 david January 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Gulp–Thanks for not pushing me in the pool! ; )


13 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm

i would LOVE to go there with you guys! what an amazing and
fun group of people :)


14 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Wow that place looks gorgeous! What a fun and educating time for you. Those cookies do look delicious, I’d take tons of pics too!


15 Jersey Girl Cooks January 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I have to say I am very jealous!


16 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Looks like such a blast! Glad you had such a great time! Great pictures


17 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Omg Marla. This looks like an over the moon amazing trip.
THIS is the kind of trip I want to be on, be a part of, go on and
learn learn learn. I just want to tell you that you and your blog
amaze me and what you’ve done with it the past 18 mos. You had a
vision, goals, and standards wayyyyy back when…and you’ve held
fast to them all, and look at you now girl! The tattoos, the
pictures, the ocean, the networking,the learning…wow. We need to
talk!!! Can’t wait to hear more deets!


18 Chris @nestlefoodie January 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Such a great recap and just love all your photos! So happy
you were able to attend.


19 Nancy@acommunaltable January 10, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos and a wonderful recap of the
event!!! I am so glad that we got to hang out together !!


20 Jeanette January 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Wow, sounds like this event was amazing, and you learned a lot. Wish I could attend. Looking forward to seeing how your incorporate what you learned into you already gorgeous blog. Love all the photos!


21 Heather at Multiply Delicious January 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Wow Marla! What a fabulous recap and your pictures are gorgeous!! It was like I was there. Really amazing! Sounds like you a wonderful time.


22 Marla January 10, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Heather: It was kinda tricky to cover so much with these collages – but I feel like I covered a lot of ground with these photos. Missed you girl!

Averie: This would be your kinda trip for sure. For a gal that loves the hot weather – this place was paradise like none other.

Jeanette: I learned so much on each & every aspect of blogging. Through the upcoming months I will be implementing many changes. Some will be very obvious to my readers, others will be a bit more discreet. I want to make this blog simple to navigate & filled with all kinds of information that you guys can access with ease.

David: I thought about pushing you in the pool & then I got scared you might show off that thong 😉

Nancy: So fun to catch up with you too!

Jersey Girl: Don’t be jealous – join us next time!


23 Daydreamer Desserts January 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Looks like you have a very productive and fun trip, to say the least. Gotta love Mexico!


24 Kristen January 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm

What a fantastic recap of what appears to have been a most wonderful time. I’m sure we’ll be the beneficiaries of all that you’ve learned as you continue to grow and nurture yourself and your blog! Way to go :)


25 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking January 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm

What an absolute paradise! It looks like you had so much fun in the sun with great company, scenery and best of all, FOOD! Thanks so much for sharing these lovely photos, Marla.


26 Molly Chester January 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Love your opening pic! Looks like it could be a postcard! This trip looked AMAZING.


27 sophia January 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Ahh!!!! I wish I could have joined. But I know I would be hanging on to one of the trees refusing to go back home after this! What a wonderful experience, Mara!


28 Liz - Meal Makeover Mom January 11, 2011 at 5:17 am

You are having way too much fun! Wish I could have been there. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be at BlogHer Food in Atlanta (not as glamorous as Mexico), so hopefully you’ll be there too.
Love your photos. They are amazing!!


29 megan @ whatmegansmaking January 11, 2011 at 6:34 am

Looks like an amazing trip!! I so wish I could have gone.
Your pictures are beautiful though – makes me feel like I’m right
there with you! And that 3 minute critique your blog thing?? How
scary and wonderful was that? I need something like that


30 Jenny Flake January 11, 2011 at 6:42 am

Oh my gosh, this post is amazing! What gorgeous photos,
wonderful friends and flat out awesomeness! Loved every photo :)
Talk soon girl!! xoxo


31 Sara January 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

Wow!!! Gorgeous pictures! Looks like you had a wonderful
time! Like you said, time with friends and building everlasting
memories is a beautiful thing! Also you look Mah-velous Dahling!
Pretty Lady! :) xo


32 Jennifer (Savor) January 11, 2011 at 7:33 am

Thank You for posting this so quickly Marla – I will be
there next year and I expect you to be sipping drinks with me and
commenting on the uh, ‘sites’. I look forward to reading every
details for al lthe food blog posts AND calling you for photog
tips. XO


33 Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) January 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

Those pastries look incredible! I thought they were cookies
at first — looked like chocolate/peanut butter. I guess I need to
get my head out of the cookie gutter. :) So glad you shared this –
looks like an incredible experience!


34 Shaina January 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

Looks like you had an incredible time, Marla! I am beyond
jealous, but I’m so excited that you had the opportunity to go. It
looks like it was perfect!


35 teresa January 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

Marla! You live life with such a PASSION for what you LOVE!
I just adore this about you! YOU inspire me in so many ways! Thanks
for sharing YOU!!!!!!! xo


36 judy meridith January 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

Marla, what a fun and such a beautiful trip. You look
great, love that tan. You will have to tell me more about it. Glad
you are home safe and sound. Now back to the computer to bring us
all good recipes and great pictures. love ya,


37 Faith January 11, 2011 at 11:57 am

What a wonderful trip this was, Marla! Everything looks perfect — the food, people, surroundings, and information! Isn’t it great to be part of such a fun, talented group of individuals? :)


38 Wenderly January 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Wow Marla, does this ever look like paradise! Such gorgeous
shots…felt *just like* I was actually there with you enjoying all
the fun and the golden warm sun and the incredible food and,
well… not actually like I was there, but it was good enough!
Thanks for sharing! :)


39 Marla January 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Wendy: Glad I could get you to Mexico via the photos. We all need to get together soon, okay??!!

Faith: Yes, everyday I feel blessed to be around so much creative talent! Love my job. There is inspiration everywhere :)

Judy: As great as it is to travel, it is awesome to be home with my family. xo

Shaina: Missed you girl. I am getting used to seeing you on trips these days!


40 Angie January 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

OMG!!! that is amazing. Beautiful photos and a 5 star resort. I am so envious! I am signing up to be your bitch and carry your bags next time you go on one of these! Truly, your photography has grown leaps and bounds. Every photo is exquisite. This is just the beginning!


41 Barbara Bakes January 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

What a gorgeous resort and such a wonderful opportunity to learn from and spend time with such fabulous people. Sign me up for next year!


42 diane and todd January 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

wow marla, your photographs are just beautiful! your
photography has grown by leaps and bounds, we’re so proud of you.
And we’re excited to see your new ideas on the blog. Keep up the
great work!


43 Marla January 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Diane & Todd: With you guys as my mentors & teachers I am understanding more & more all the time. It feels like all of my senses have been heightened since I started taking all of this photography so seriously. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us on this trip. I look forward to many more great times down the road :)

Angie: Anytime babe, you can be my bag bitch. xo


44 Cooking with Coley January 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Looks like an incredible experience – from the food to the friends to the atmosphere!


45 Lentil Breakdown January 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Who can think about blogs when you’re in the Yucatan? Hope you got some tats like Matt’s.


46 Megan January 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

Looks like a great time. I need to start saving for next
year, I would love to go!


47 Cristina - Teenie Cakes January 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Great photos Marla and looks like it was a lotta fun with
some favorite food bloggers and photographers.


48 A Canadian Foodie January 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I a so happy for you, Marla. Wonderful fun! Certainly, I
miss your dialogue at my site, too! :) Valerie


49 Sally January 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

Marla, You should be called Marvelous Marla–wonderful
write-up and well, you are quite the photographer yourself! Really
lovely photos. I so enjoyed meeting you and look forward to reading
more family fresh cooking–there aren’t too many other ways to say
that, are there? Your blog looks terrific, I can’t imagine how you
will improve it, but I would like to see : )


50 Grace January 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

Marla than you for a fabulous summary of the week. I am
green with envy!!! I so wanted to attend. Sounds like you learned
so much, strengthened relationships and made some new ones.
Everything you hope to achieve when you attend one of these events
but it sounds like it was so much more. I am going to save my
pennies this year and hopefully I will be able to attend the next
one. Thank you so much for sharing and taking some many beautiful


51 Cara Craves... January 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

What an amazing location to learn and have fun!


52 Mariko January 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I’m sorry I missed it. I am loving your pictures as a consolation prize, however. :)
That is so funny what Lebovitz said. Well, I am attracted to your blog by those words!


53 Marly January 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Looks like such a great trip. Thanks so much for your photos and great descriptions of the camp. I hope I can make it work next year!


54 Marla January 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Marly: I hope you can make it to Food Blogger Camp too – it really was life changing and so inspiring. Hopefully we can meet there or before then :)


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