Blogger Refresh Retreat : Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA

Holman Ranch 2

sometimes at school pick up, or on the sidelines of a soccer game, or at the store when i am buying one fork and one napkin as a styling prop, i will field questions about being a blogger.  so i begin to explain … most often they can usually hang a few minutes into the explanation but eventually start to glaze over or look at me like i have 5 heads. i’m not mad at them – i get it… it’s a weird job. and on the outside it looks easy. just make food & crafts & have parties. then take pictures. then throw them on my blog. easy peasy… you really get paid to do that? granted, i have some friends and family that do get it – they see the work that goes into it, they taste test recipes, they hear me complain, they celebrate exciting milestones with me.


we just get each other.

i have attended and spoken at blogger conferences before, but recently i was able to have the most wonderful blogging experience ever! with a group of 9 other bloggers we escaped reality and had the most amazing, entertaining, enlightening, and fulfilling blogger retreat at Holman Ranch outside of Carmel, CA. it was ah-mazing.

we learned so much from each other, we laughed like crazy, and yes…we cried…. every. single. one. of. us. we cried because although we come from different backgrounds and experiences – we had so many commonalties. we were not crying about blogging – we were crying about loss, tragedy, insecurities, worries, hope, faith, perceived failures. but blogging is what brought us together. when someone GETS a part of your life that so few understand… the rest just comes pouring out. what an amazing opportunity to flush out these feelings amongst a group who were standing by ready to offer support and encouragement in every way. it was like girls camp. or therapy camp. or laugh until you cry camp. all wrapped up in one wonderful trip in the most BEAUTIFUL location: Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, CA.

the grounds of Holman Ranch were astounding. i think every 5 steps of i stopped in awe of the trees. i’m an east coast girl remember – so trees don’t easily impress me… these were absolutely breathtaking. the flowers, the architecture, the lounge areas, the gates, and doors… it was just all so beautiful! it is no surprise they host weddings and special events here! i kept picturing vow renewals with the hubby… sigh… wouldn’t that be so romantic here?!

Holman Ranch 1

Blogger Rrefresh group

Holman Ranch 3

Blogger Refresh


after driving down with Glory and Heather, meeting up with the group and exploring downtown Carmel by the sea, and exploring the beautiful grounds at Holman Ranch, we were ready for some GRUB! we had a fabulous dinner at Wills Fargo Restaurant as a group. the food was so good! i had a delicious salad, filet mignon, and strawberry cheesecake with an almond crust! we returned to Holman Ranch with full bellies and lots of laughs.

Wills Fargo Wills Fargo dinner

the whole group at dinner! around the table from left – right: Cathy, Me, Dorothy, Lisa, Trish, Hayley, Amy A, Amy F, Heather, Glory. YOU GUYS. these girls are SUPER STARS. blogging queens.

the next morning we awoke for a day full of learning from each other! i’m so thankful for friends with such wonderful talents that are willing to share and build each other up. we learned everything from lighting, props, social media, branding, schedule planning, to photo editing. we had a few specific topics, but quite a bit of what i learned came from all the amazing conversations with these talented women.

the other thing i learned is that i need to step up my breakfast game thanks to Trish’s Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins, Amy’s Hash Brown-Crusted Quiche and Dorothy’s  Overnight Cinnamon Rolls!!!!! lets just say on a blogger retreat with food bloggers – no one goes hungry!

oh. and no food goes undocumented….

PicMonkey Collage

i had such an amazing time. it has been a too long since i learned this much, laughed this hard, and relaxed so completely…. as evidenced by my obnoxious moments captured below lol…. Lisa was so sweet to offer to take new head shots for each of us and i’m sure she was regretting that decision when it was my turn……

Blogger Retreat Headshots Blogger Rrefresh tree

these girls are amazing. i learned so much about each of them – they are not just amazing bloggers. they are amazing moms, friends, daughters, and women.  we are connected by blogging, but cemented in friendship and the memory of this beautiful experience. can’t wait until next time!

A BIG THANKS to the amazing sponsors of this trip!

Holman Ranch

Wills Fargo Restaurant

Jeannie-O | Tillamook | The Tomkat Studio | Hamilton Beach

OXO | Crystal Faye | Red Star Yeast

STAR | Jet Puffed Marshmallows | B. Toffee

Diamond Nuts | Truvia | Planet Rice

ps. photo credit to the other ladies!! i forgot my camera so these are all taken by my talented friends!


  1. I’m so glad I got to hang out with you on this trip Mindy! It was so great to get to know you better!

    • i agree! i loved getting to know each of you so much better! thanks for sharing all your lightroom knowledge with us!!! xoxo

  2. Such a beautiful reminder of our trip! I’m SO thrilled you were able to be a part of it all! Love you!

    • Glory – you are such a sweetheart for pulling this together. It was SO needed!!! I love that we will forever have this memory together!

  3. Such a great time. And the pictures Lisa took of you are my absolute fav!

    • it’s clear i had a relaxing time if i let this side of me show lol!!! amy it was so great to meet you and spend time together!

  4. It’s definitely true that very few people understand how blogging is actually a true full-time job. I was actually at the doctor’s office last week, and one of the specialists asked me how it worked — how could I ever earn money?? That’s why I absolutely LOVE having such sweet and supportive blog friends like you who can relate to that and understand our crazy lives. :) I’m so glad that I was able to spend time with you, and I think exploring the ranch with you when we first arrived, before we even set our bags in our rooms, was my favorite part. The grounds were almost magical! And those head shots… Absolutely adorable. I love how your personality shines through in all of them!

  5. Mindy, you know that you are a pretty spectacular person when you from someone I don’t know at all going into an event and then like 24 hours later I’m pouring out my heart to you. You are amazing. Inside and out. I love your headshots most of all because they capture what a hilarious and amazing person you in the best way ever. If you see someone lurking behind you and wonder if you have new stalker, yup, that’d be meeeeeeeeee!

    • hahaaaaaa well the feeling is MUTUAL! i think we all gained new stalkers – i mean friends- from this trip lol!

  6. what a wonderful experience! I especially love the pic of everyone documenting their food lol! Your awesome

  7. I am SO glad to have spent time with you both in the car and at the retreat!! It was a wonderful three days, and I am already looking forward to next year’s retreat :)

    • Heather you are such a rock star – i was SO impressed with you every time i learned something new about your life. you are such a strong woman and i learned so much from you!! xoxo

  8. It was SO nice getting to know you, Mindy! I love what you said about being around other bloggers – “when someone GETS a part of your life that so few understand… the rest just comes pouring out.” So true. Annnnd….those pics of you…..priceless :)

    • And when we say pouring out… we mean in the form of tears AND laughter lol! It was so amazing to get to know you too!! xoxo