Dixie Crystals sponsored my trip to Mixed. All opinions are, as always, my own.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately, which came to a close this past weekend when I attended Mixed in the mountains of Virginia.
I went to Mixed last year, loved it, but wasn’t planning on going again due to the high cost involved. As it grew closer though, I kept remembering how beautiful it was and how much fun I had, and knew I was really going to feel like I was missing out if I didn’t make it again. I decided to reach out to Dixie Crystals, the conference’s platinum sponsor, and they said they’d be happy to sponsor me at the conference!
Mixed took place at Mountain Lake Lodge, a resort in the mountains of Virginia where they filmed much of the movie Dirty Dancing. They’ve been busy updating the accommodations which makes it both rustic and luxurious. I would love to take my whole family there on vacation as they have so many more rooming options than a standard hotel.
Due to a late flight, I got to the Dixie Crystals Sugar Suite with just a few minutes to spare. They were whipping up homemade sugar scrubs in all sorts of delicious scents. I will definitely be making some of these sugar scrubs at home to hand out at Christmas time! You can head over to my friend Tracey’s blog to see some beautiful pictures she took of the scrubs themselves.
The food this year was phenomenal. Each meal offered tons of delicious options (including desserts). On Friday night we had the pleasure of taste testing three kinds of cookies for the cookie contest (which I participated in last year with my secretly spicy pistachio and dark chocolate dipped shortbread) sponsored by Dixie Crystals. They were all SO good, but my favorite were the pumpkin dark chocolate cookies made by Lynda of Me and My Pink Mixer. They were soft, seasonal, and full of – hello – dark chocolate! My vote must have helped, because Lynda won the $500 prize from Dixie Crystals. Congrats Lynda!
The sessions were great this year. My favorites were when Meredith from In Sock Monkey Slippers showed us all how to make our own photo boards (I am so doing that) and Helen DuJardin and Tammy Hardeman-Boutte did some hands-on teaching about food photography and styling. They are total masters at their craft and it is so inspiring to see them work.
One of the things I was most excited about in returning to Mixed was exploring the outdoors. I loved exploring the dried up lake last year, but this year I wanted to see more of the mountain. I woke up super early on Saturday morning to try reach the scenic peak by sunrise. I couldn’t find the trail I was looking for but did find another beautiful trail to explore. I guess I didn’t think about the elevation affecting me, but I should have. I ran about twenty feet before I had to slow down and catch my breath (which I never did). I ended up having a little asthma attack and was coughing and wheezing the rest of the trip (but I’m fine mom, fine. Not dead). I was still glad I made it out because I got to see the dawn surrounding what used to be the lake.
On Saturday night I obviously had not learned my lesson because as soon as the sessions were over I went in search of the trail I hadn’t been able to find that morning. I did find it this time, and was so glad I did. From there I could see miles and miles of mountains rolling off into the mist. It was beautiful and engulfing and humbling all at once.
The Band Concord played at the closing party again, which really made me homesick and ready to see my family. One of my favorite things lately is for my husband or I to play fun songs for the kids on the guitar while they run around screaming and singing. The guys in this band really get into it, jumping around and laying on the ground while playing. They might have reminded me of my kids? Oh boy.
Thank you so much to Dixie Crystals for sponsoring me on this trip!