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Bloghouse Chicago

We attended Bloghouse Chicago in 2014. Check out our experience.

Bloghouse Chicago Class
Bloghouse Chicago Class

“Do you shoot your photos with a DSLR?”

The seemingly simple question posed by Navigate Media Group’s Lisa Lubin shot like an arrow through Daryl’s heart. Photos are an element that 2foodtrippers have pointed to with pride, as food porn is a hallmark of our culinary travel content. We’ve been photographing food since our honeymoon seven years ago. Food photography is not something that we approach lightly.

“No. We use a good Canon point and shoot camera. It’s light and allows us to be discrete during our dining experiences. You don’t like our pictures? I think our pictures are really good!” Daryl exclaimed.

“A DSLR would make your pictures better,” Lisa explained while informing Daryl that she was excited to be working with the food-imbibing travel duo during the valuable one-on-one sessions that make the Bloghouse experience so special.

Daryl then charged off to the hot tub at the beautiful Villa D’Citta Bed & Breakfast, introspective yet intrigued by the learning experiences that the blogging retreat would offer. Meanwhile, Mindi was downstairs mingling and enjoying some Goose Island beer.

What Is Bloghouse?

Bloghouse is a three-day retreat/workshop run by the Navigate Media Group and their crack team of blogging professionals. During the intense yet fun three days, Bloghouse focuses on important blogging issues like writing, photography, video, social networking and search engine optimization (SEO).

For us, attending Bloghouse provided an opportunity to dig deep into our blog, both technically and conceptually, in a way that took us and 2foodtrippers to a new blogging level.

Our Bloghouse Experience

Chicago is not the first Bloghouse city, but it’s the first one in the USA. We jumped at the chance to attend when we were accepted since we were attracted to the intimate setting that is so different from the big blogging conferences. Plus, we’ve been looking for an excuse to re-visit the windy city.

From the accommodations to the training to the food to the evening entertainment, everything was thought out and well-executed by the Navigate Media Group team:

Accommodations

Villa D'Citta - Views from our Bed and from our Deck
Villa D’Citta – Views from our Bed and from our Deck

The setting of Villa D’Citta, a FlipKey property in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, exceeded our wildest expectations. We were mentally prepared to share a room with other bloggers.

Instead, we were assigned our own suite which was decked out with a fireplace, a flat-screen TV and a very comfortable bed.

Training

Photography Lessons: Rule of Thirds and Depth of Field
Photography Lessons: Rule of Thirds and Depth of Field

We learned so much during the classes, and we have the notes to prove it. Armed with information shared by the Navigate Media team, we now have a long list of to-do’s as well as an invigorated view of where 2foodtrippers can go.

However, it was the interactive sessions where we learned the most.

Lisa audited our site, honing into the importance of photography and video. Mike helped to optimize our site, which would have been so much more difficult without his guidance.

Ayngelina prompted us to re-evaluate our particular take on culinary tourism. Sherry reinforced valuable fundamentals of photography including the rule of thirds and depth of field.

Food

Bloghouse Chicago Food at Villa D'Citta in Chicago - Needless to Say, Nobody Went Hungry
Bloghouse Chicago Food at Villa D’Citta – Needless to Say, Nobody Went Hungry

We went to Bloghouse Chicago for the learning opportunity, not for the food. As it turns out, we’re not the only bloggers who like to eat.

We never went hungry with the Italian-inspired B&B’s stocked kitchen and delicious meals, not to mention the catered tapas lunch and a refreshing Jeni’s ice cream break.

With an endless supply of Goose Island beers, a wine tap built into the wall and the constant flow of Intelligentsia coffee, we had no excuse to be thirsty.

Evening Entertainment

Industry Night at Vertigo Sky Lounge in Chicago
Industry Night at Vertigo Sky Lounge

A full day of blogging education can be tiring. The hot tub would have been enough, but the planners didn’t stop there.

Mercadito Dinner in Chicago
Mercadito Dinner

We spent the evenings out and about in Chicago for a schmoozy industry night at a rooftop bar, an electric boat ride on the Chicago River at dusk and a boozy Mexican feast at Mercadito.

The Best Part of Bloghouse Chicago

Cheers to Bloghouse Chicago 2014 - Photo Courtesy of Lisa Lubin
Cheers to Bloghouse Chicago 2014 – Photo Courtesy of Lisa Lubin

The learning was great, as were the food, drinks and evening activities, and it was totally awesome when Daryl won a Briggs & Riley international carry-on spinner. But the absolute best part of Bloghouse Chicago was the people.

We already mentioned the professionals, but there were also twelve other participants – fellow travel bloggers with whom we shared the unique experience.

Although we live in different cities and countries, we are just a few mouse clicks away. We’re having fun reading their travel blogs, and we recommend that you do the same.

Writing a blog can feel lonely at times, even when there are two behind the wheel. Thanks to Bloghouse Chicago, we are now part of a special, select community. For that, we are grateful.

Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Disclosures

Sponsorship
We thank FlipKey, GoGo, Goose Island and MegaBus for their sponsorship of Bloghouse Chicago.

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Richelle

Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

I kept seeing everyone's instagrams from this and it made me so hungry!!!

Lauren

Monday 4th of August 2014

What a cool experience! I'd love to attend something like this someday!!

Kristin

Monday 7th of July 2014

It was so fun reliving the workshop through your post! Really enjoyed chatting with you guys while we tasted all the yummy treats at Mercedito!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Monday 7th of July 2014

We enjoyed chatting with you as well. Hopefully we can eat more yummy treats with you in New York or Philly.

Susan

Monday 7th of July 2014

I so agree. It was wonderful!

Chanel

Saturday 5th of July 2014

It was so great to meet you guys at BlogHouse! Can't wait to catch up in NY!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 5th of July 2014

Ditto ditto ditto!

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