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#IFBC 2014

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So about a month ago I went to a killer conference in Seattle, WA. I totally fell head-over heels for the city. Like skip down the sidewalks in heels SJP style, do a twirl and throw my hat in the air like Mary Tyler Moore-kind of love {as the original Seattle hipsters all shutter at the mainstream thought} What can I say? It doesn’t take too much to impress me. Good fooooood, beautiful buildings with imaginative architecture, a strong sense of community among a feel of hustle & bustle, astonishing mountain views, incredible street art, picturesque waterways, intriguing/innovative people…. it really doesn’t take much to impress me, I swear. Perhaps Seattle weighed in with an impressive amount of impressive qualities. Ruling : unfair advantage. The purpose for flying across the country however was not just to explore a new metropolis or check off another city on the travel-bucket-list…no, the purpose was to meet, greet, and absorb some incredible knowledge about this craft of ‘food blogging’ I’ve been working on for the past 3+ years. I think it’s taken me over a month to truly process all the lessons {amongst other lifey things}. Now that I’ve digested the goodness that was offered to me during this foodie experience, I’m ready to share with you my take-aways. You hungry? Because they were tasty.

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First of all…what is #IFBC anyway? Well it stands for International Food Blogger Conference. This conference began in 2009 as the first of it’s kind. It’s presented by Foodista, which is an online passionate community of food lovers who want to share and exchange its collective knowledge about all things culinary…editorial content informs and entertains readers with a daily dose of food news, cooking tips and recipes, health and nutrition information, holidays and special events, and more…they feature a wealth of encyclopedic content about foods, tools, and techniques, and house a growing database of user-added recipes. This conference offers up a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the world of food blogging with an emphasis on writing, technology, and food…of course.

The overall vibe of this conference was very authentic and genuine which really washed a sense of relief over me. It’s important to truly step outside your comfort zone, but only if it’s going to grow you in a positive direction. It was clear as soon as I arrived that this was definitely a move in the right direction. Seattle stole my heart the moment I stepped off the plane. Although a relatively large city the sense of community and local preservation is ever present. Being surrounded by water creates almost an aromatherapy-esque encapsulated-atmosphere. It puts tired travelers at ease and it’s easy to see why Foodista would want to hold their conference there annually.

Leading up to the conference, reading and rereading the agendas I knew I was in for a treat. The organizers did a great job of giving lots of break-out session options to attendees. The day and events flowed very nicely. Sometimes conferences can be so overwhelming. Cross country travel, new city, and networking at every turn is bound to make anyone feel a bit out of sorts. Although out of my comfort zone, this was not my first rodeo. I felt anxious (typical) but prepared. I’m an outgoing introvert. Make sense? Nope. It’s an interesting combo I’ve learned to adapt to. For instance,  in situations like conferences where I’m going to be around thousands or hundreds (in this case) of people I don’t know,  (I know) I have to give myself time to adjust. I go solo to these things for a reason. I’m an observer. I enjoy sitting back and watching…everything. Interactions, reactions, introductions, small-talk, real-talk, girl-talk…all of it. It’s fascinating. I love meeting new people, but for me it takes an adjustment period before I feel comfortable enough to take the plunge. It always works in my favor to start small and build. One solid connection builds the foundation and from there the sky is the limit. Every conference I’ve gone to solo I start off usually at a table by myself, somewhere up by the front, where I can get myself situated. Once I’m comfortable, aware of my surroundings, know what’s coming up next…my confidence is restored and the out-going facet of my personality can genuinely shine through. Without that adjustment time any interaction would be forced and when people are meeting you for the first time they can smell that from a mile away. All I need is my iphone, my favorite pen, and an empty notebook to jot down the bits and pieces that resonate with me. That’s it. Oh and usually a scarf because conference rooms tend to be freezing! I know some of you are probably thinking, wait isn’t this a technology conference too? What are you doing with a notebook & pen, lady? Here’s the thing, while I love technology (hello bff aka iphone)…there’s just something so fluid and honest about taking notes the old fashion way. I guess the educator in me would say I have a strong kinesthetic or tactile learning style. I’m a visual learner too so if I see it and have the opportunity to do it, I got it. Bottom line; I’m a paper and pencil girl when it comes it note taking, lists, and calendars. The best part is you have these vivid memories documented clearly (and not so clearly) recounting your experience and scribbled in your notebook forever. I’ve kept all of my conference notebooks. They’re like my own personal self-help books!

 

Ok enough about how I function at conferences or why Seattle is my spirit animal. Lets get down to the bits and flavorful bites of this conference. The nitty-gritty, the bread and butter, the whole enchilada, the meat and potatoes, in a nutshell the stuff that’s worth your salt…

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The conference started out with keynote speakers/authors/chefs/recipe developers/ culinary innovators/all-around coolest couple; Karen Page & Andrew Dorenburg. You may know their work. Ever heard of “The Flavor Bible”? Yep. That’s their baby. Along with “Becoming a Chef”, “Culinary Artistry”, “Dining Out”, Chefs Night Out”, “What to Drink with What You Eat”, and “The Food Lovers Guide to Wine”…just to name a few. I truly feel like they set the tone for the whole conference. Which is essentially what you want your keynote speakers to do. They had a debonair yet really down to earth quality about them. They weren’t afraid to be bold and honest. And even after all their success and accomplishments, their humility made them approachable. I had many take-away bites from this inspiring duo but the one that truly stuck out was…

  • “don’t take no for answer…come up with a really good idea and someone will say yes. then work your ass off.”

Duly noted.

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Second up on the agenda at the IFBC was photographer Todd Coleman. This was by far my favorite presentation/session of the whole conference. His ‘badass/ I know my sh#%/mega-talented’ aura totally captivated me. What can I say? I’m a sucker for visual artists with great stories. Besides a slight man-crush, I also learned A LOT from this session. Photography is a huge aspect of my life/blog. Capturing moments is a hobby that I take seriously. And this former executive food editor of SAVEUR magazine had some pretty amazing tips to share about food photography. He’s seen some stuff and been some places. And I’m purposely being extremely vague by saying that because I don’t think a detailed description would  do him justice. He gets those shots and has the eye. You can just tell. Lucky for us he shared some of his insights which included…

  • always remember BUFF {balance, unity, focal point, flow} when shooting, anything…
  • color trumps ALL : go for bold, add pops of red > it’s not comfortable
  • shoot food anywhere with anything : against bathroom tile, on carpet squares, the back of picture frames > it’s not about going to prop house > keep it real > it’s cooler when you discover it yourself > be resourceful
  • improvised light : natural light is a LIE! it doesn’t take much but creating good light is key > keep the light low > light should drape over the food
  • low is high : mix low end prop with high end food > solo cup + lobster bisque
  • make friends : stage situations > be invasive
  • no fear : go whole hog!
  • over the top mess : let the food sit > melt, drip, fall apart
  • pushed perspective : get close, change the perspective > get in there
  • Sara Moulton‘s soliders : repeating rows of food is always attractive
  • unseen perspective : show it in a way that you’d not normally see it > make people wonder what’s happening > do something unexpected
  • the best photos take a lot of effort.
  • get pushed, take a risk, people will react but it’s worth it.

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Good stuff. Like really good stuff. Marinate on those juicy pieces. I’ll be back with my summary of the last 2 sessions + final recap of the overall experience and what it means for The Daily Deelight. :)

ta-ta for now.

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Hello Seattle!

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So I flew across the country this weekend. Why? Besides fueling my wanderlust spirit aka my need to seek, discover and adventure, I flew to Seattle to attend the International Food Blogger Conference. I’ve watched, wondered, and have wanted to attend this conference for a while now. So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped (and perhaps squealed) at the chance.

Seattle is a city I’ve been wanting to get to know for a couple years now. The scenic serene views, culinary conscious culture, and street style really had me intrigued. And I can honestly say its lived up to (or even surpassed) my expectations. And let’s face it, sometimes my expectations get me into trouble because of the often and inevitable let down. However, this weekend in Seattle, that’s not the case. I’m happily soaking up every bit of the goodness the Pacific Northwest has to offer and it feels pretty damn delicious.

After being at the conference from 8am-7pm already today, I decided to put my self in time out. Well kinda. Not because I’m in trouble but because I wanted to take a moment alone, away from masses to step back from the whirlwind and be still. There’s so much to gain and see and taste and learn and grow from before|during|and after these events, that it usually takes a while to give it the processing time it deserves.

So while I’m processing, check out my trip thus far through the lens of my bff …umm iphone. Seattle sure makes it easy to capture moments beautifully.

ciao for now, ya’ll.

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 officially sleepless in Seattle.

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Did you say monogram?

 

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Yep.  All day everyday! As one of my bestfran’s would says “I’d monogram my underwear if I could.” She speaks truth. Who doesn’t love a good monogram-ed anything? One shop that would agree is, Country Shabby Chic in downtown Frederick, MD. They opened their doors in April of this year and have been making quite a splash among the monogram in-crowd. They specialize in customization, personalized gifts, home décor, furnishing, as well as clothing and adorable accessories {monogrammed-striped-infinity-scarf…yes please}. They also offer up Wine & Design classes for you and your friends to attend. Let your creative juices flow while sipping on some other kinds of um juices… You might learn how to re-purpose some furniture, make your own chalkboard paint, or create your own custom picture frame. Sounds like a killer pinterest party where what you set out to make, actually turns out like the pictures! Go figure. 

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With football season right around the corner {HAIL yes}, CSC’s owner and myself thought it would be fun to give-away this fun chip & dip platter to get the finger food season started right. Oh and in addition to the fun geometric design, it will also be personally customized with the winner’s monogram. It’s a beautiful thing. Enter to win below & be sure to check out this awesome shop for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a gift or something for yourself, this shop has a little bit of something for everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 North Court Street
Frederick, Maryland 21701
www.countryshabbychic.com
like them on facebook

 

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Back to School Essentials

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Well it’s here! Ready or not school is around the corner. As a teacher {going into my 6th year} I have my personal list of essentials for the school year. Nothing too exotic or unexpected here, but just a collection of my favorite things that get me into the teaching groove and help make the magic happen. You know, nothing like a little brain food, kitschy office supplies, and minty/gold accessories to get the synapses flowing. Looking forward to routines, post-it note over usage, catching up with colleagues, lesson planning fun STEM lessons, filling up my planner(s) like it’s my job {oh wait it is}, and most importantly meeting all of the incoming 4th graders! It’s time to be more awesome. #letsdothis

The Gear

 

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The Organizational Tools

 

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The De-Stressers

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The Snacks 
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The Inspiration

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