Gleek Retreat 2011

May 24, 2011 by  

Holland, Michigan is one cute little town!

I loved the location for our retreat this year! Holland is on the west coast of Michigan, right on the water. It is actually a college town. A private Christian college called Hope College is there.

Holland MI

There is a fireplace always going and their brick walks are heated! Can you imagine? (So nice in the winter right?)

Holland MI

It was a six hour drive for me, but the weather and traffic cooperated and I got there on Friday about 5:30pm.  I met with Courtney Velasquez and we went out to dinner at a place called CityVu Bistro with a few other Collective Bias members. Some old, some new.. some yet to be. lol

Gleek retreat

From left: Sylvia Hubbard, Elena Wollborg, Elizabeth Edwards, Deb Steenhagen

Look at this spinach dip!

spinach dipCourtney, Elizabeth and I.  Thank you very much for a wonderful dinner CityVu, Courtney and Collective Bias.

Gleek retreat

It was a small group of us for the Gleek Retreat which was so nice. I think we were around 40 or so from what I heard. We all met in one room and we all heard the same speakers. The positive thing about that was that you didn’t feel like you missed anything.

Lisa Lehmann started things off. It is so neat to hear about the person behind the business.  She did a fabulous job.

lisa lehmann

We had some network time to get to know some other the other bloggers.

We also heard from an author of over 20 Romance novels; Sylvia Hubbard.  I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of her speaking (ugh)… but she is up in my picture of when we ate at CityVu.

Brittany Gibbons and Heather Spohr gave us all the ins and outs of how to start and run a group blog.

gleek retreat

Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship talked to us about writing E-books. This was really useful to me. I have been planning on doing a couple, and she gave me some great info!

gleek retreat

We were finished up pretty early. I’m guessing around 3pm.  We had time to walk around the town… and go in a bunch of the cute little stores.

Holland MI

There has to be a cute coffee shop in a cute town right?

holland MIYou also can’t forget the fudge shop. I guess they also have awesome milk shakes.  There was SO much I wanted to buy there, but I was good (for me) and only got a caramel covered pretzel stick.


I loved this cute little shop – it had some really creative hand made items in it.  The owner had made these cake pops.. and they were awesome!  I almost bought the book by Bakerella… and I wish I had. I am going to get it, either in a book store or online. These were just too cute. When I do get the book, I’ll make some and share it on my blog.

cake pops

There were five of us walking around.Shanda, Jodi Michelle, Stacey and Courtney. Jodi and Stacey both live close by, so they knew the stores well….. especially Jodi! Heck, they know her by name when she walks in!

gleek retreat
After our run around town, we got ready to go on the Holland Princess dinner cruise.  It was only a short bus ride there, in the rain….

holland princessThank goodness there was a closed section downstairs.  We all got two drink tickets… hee haw!

dinner cruiseWe were served a lovely dinner (well…. not really very good. The chicken was cold, cheese not melted and noodles dry and it was salsa instead of tomato sauce… but the roll was good! I didn’t eat the dinner, but I did eat my roll and Courtney’s roll.)

gleek retreat

But my drink was good!

gleek retreat

Courtney, Shanda and I went on top of the boat after the rain and it was so nice and cool and the view was great. Shanda was saying how she didn’t have a good profile picture…. so we decided to try and get one. Here are several I took.





and here is one more


The lighting was being a pain. But we had fun. I took a whole lot more than those… lol

Guess where Courtney and Shanda pretended to be?

gleek retreat

Here are a few other fun pics from that night.  (I was trying to hide my band-aide on the side of my nose. But I just photoshopped it!)

courtney and sandy

I love walking around with Shanda!  If you have met me, you know I’m 5’10” tall.  Shanda is obviously taller than I am and I love that! lol

shanda and sandy

I think this picture of Courtney and Shanda is so cute!

courtney and shanda

There was karaoke on the boat… and Heather and Meredith from Life’s Crazy Joke were such a hoot! You can’t fully appreciate it if you weren’t there. But ….there were plenty of video cameras going, so it is possible the rest of the world might get to experience the fun of these two at some point down the road.


Sunday morning started at 9am. I was already checked out of the hotel and ready to go. There were three speakers today, Cynthia from Nap Warden,  spoke on blog design. She showed some great examples of what to do and what not to do with your blogs. Ok… so this isn’t the best picture. I mean, it isn’t a bad picture, I just wish I would have gotten a smile!


nap wardenI also realized I didn’t get Kris from Little Tech Girl talking! What the heck?  All I can figure was that I was too nervous about talking myself. Sorry Kris! She was full of awesomeness as she always is. I wish I could just “steal her tech brain” for about 24 hours and I think of all the stuff I could get done on my site etc during that time.

Up next…. me and Andrea from Simple Organized Living.  I went first and discussed organizing your blogging life. I discussed making a blogging binder and I gave two of them away.  I’ll be getting them ready before long so that you will be able to download the printables or get an entire notebook already prepared.

After looking at these pictures of me, I realize more than ever that a face lift, neck lift and eye lift are well in order! Getting old really sucks! ugh.

sandy jenney

Andrea took the stage as our last presenter. She discussed how to organize your life and family as a blogger.  She said she could talk about five hours on time management, but would talk only as long as Julie wanted her to.  lol

andrea dekker

Julie from Dutch Being Me organized the retreat this year.  Lots of work. wow

dutch being me

It was nice to have a few sponsors there. The “Bissel” guys were there and had carpet cleaner with them (I got some for my sad carpets that need to be replaced… but that we will try to clean and have last a little longer since we have 7 of us and 2 dogs here..{breath})  and also some coupons to rent a free steam cleaner!

Christina from Therapon was also there. She was giving free facials. I needed one, but didn’t get one because I didn’t want to put my make up back on, plus I was sporting such a fashionable band-aide on my nose (the basal cell thing ya know).

Mabels Labels provided the bags and also their cute bag tags. (love those)

Last years organizers were there… Jodi and Stacey

gleek retreat

Courtney also suggested that we get a 2010 Gleek retreat reunion picture!

gleek retreat 2010

Thanks ladies for a fun weekend and thanks Holland MI for such a cute town!






Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Subscribe by Email


3 Responses to “Gleek Retreat 2011”
  1. jodimichelle says:

    So fun! Great recap :) Thanks for a fun afternoon on Saturday – walking around and poking in stores. Oh, I love Holland!

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing your recap of Gleek Retreat. It was fun to see that you enjoyed our little town as much as we do:)

  3. What a great recap! So glad we were able to meet. And that you enjoyed our little neck of the woods! :)

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.