As I sit in front of my computer this morning and reflect on my weekend, I almost don’t know where to begin. I returned home last night from an amazing three days in Orlando, after attending the Food Blog Forum conference.
I’ve attended a number of blog conferences in the past, both large and small in size. Each time, I go in with the goal of taking away something at the end. It can be new technical knowledge for behind the scenes of my blog (I always want to learn a new skill or hear about a new tool)…it can be new connections with brands and companies…it can simply be inspiration.
Thankfully, I would say I walked away with each of these things after Food Blog Forum. For me, learning a bit more about how to utilize video on my site was incredibly valuable. I’ve spent time in the past thinking about how to begin incorporating video to the blog, and I now have a little more insight (and perhaps the courage) to try it out. I know it won’t be perfect at first, but you have to start somewhere, right? I think back (and look back) to the photos I used to post on the site three years ago when I was still very new to using my camera, and am reminded at how much I’ve progressed in that area. For me at least, it is pretty awesome to look back through time and be able to see a visual representation of improvement…to see how I’ve implemented the tricks and tips I’ve been taught at conferences like Food Blog Forum and moved myself forward. And I’m still learning.
One of the best feelings I think you can get after attending a conference like Food Blog Forum is the sense of energy created by being around like-minded, creative, inspiring individuals. I never want blogging to become a chore for me, because I honestly love everything about it – the friends I’ve made, the opportunities that have crossed my path, the skills I’ve learned, and the confidence I’ve developed in myself as a result. I love how I can return from a conference like Food Blog Forum and immediately walk into my office, take a look at my mess of a closet that I haven’t organized since we moved into our house, and now know EXACTLY what I’m going to do with it.
Why hadn’t I visualized my idea before? I suppose I just needed one little spark to send me in the right direction. So thank you, Food Blog Forum, for rejuvenating my creativity and inspiration. And keep your eyes peeled for the DIY post that will soon follow this one…I am getting started ASAP!
Ok, so I’ll continue on to share some of the fun-filled activities and food I was fortunate enough to experience this weekend. We were at Disney, after all!!! I opted not to bring my DSLR with me on this trip, so my photos were all captured with my iPhone.
On Friday, Justin, my mom, and I headed over to the Magic Kingdom for some Disney magic. We met up with Amy from The Nifty Foodie as well! We’ve been “online friends” since our days blogging for Weddingbee – it was so nice to finally meet in person and spend some time together! Since Justin’s birthday was on Monday, I made sure he wore the “birthday” button that day. He also was picked from the crowd to be a knight in one of the new attractions at Fantasyland. Hilarious.
Later that evening, we enjoyed some small plates (like polenta with fricasseed mushrooms and fennel crusted grouper) at the opening reception for the conference. There were a lot of introductions, in addition to meeting up with old friends.
I met up with Justin and my mom for a mind blowing dinner at Prato later that evening. Can you say – stuffed squash blossoms, the Widowmaker pizza, and hand made pasta? Drool. I am still thinking about how amazing every dish was. I’ll be back again…hopefully sooner than later.
The organizers at Food Blog Forum and Disney really pulled out the stops for the day of the conference. We were greeted in the morning by a breakfast spread featuring fruit cups with light up ice cubes…were treated to lots of Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses on our conference tables thanks to OXO…and enjoyed an expansive lunch spread, including freshly dipped cake pops, jumbo Minnie Mouse cupcakes, and a “paint your own Nemo” dessert plate. Burp.
After grabbing dinner, we headed back into the Magic Kingdom to catch the fireworks…and get a Dole Whip.
On Sunday morning, we gathered at Whole Foods for an incredible brunch spread and to say our goodbyes. We were treated to items like biscuits with roasted apricots, ricotta, and local honey, strawberry caprese…
Mason jar parfaits, key lime shrimp, smoked trout mousse with caviar…
BBQ pork with habanero cornbread (so tasty), and quinoa breakfast salad. Plus, a local gelato food truck, Muse Gelato, pulled up to the parking lot with bananas foster gelato, Biscoff gelato, and my favorite – an affogato: vanilla gelato topped with espresso. I may or may not have had 3 of these…
And then, it was time to drive home and collapse on the couch. Thank you (again) to all the wonderful speakers, organizers (shout out to Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil), and sponsors of this year’s Food Blog Forum – it was an incredible experience and I’ll be looking back fondly at the memories for quite some time!