Happy Saturday all! BlogHERFood11 has been a blast! I have met so many incredible bloggers, eaten way too much food and I have learned a ton of things that I cannot wait to share with all of you.
I did my best to Tweet & Facebook as I attended the sessions so you all could participate in spirit with us and ask any questions you had. It was awesome hearing your feedback and it helped having questions to ask thanks to each of you 😀
I am not sure how my body knows it, but, I am ALWAYS up every day between 5-7 am whether I want to be or not. No worries, flying to the East Coast, somehow, I was still up at 6 am. After registering, I headed down to breakfast.
I was so excited that they had grits (so southern!) I LOVE them and most places in California do not have them and we definitely do not have “Sweet Butter”.
Protein power ~ I’d pick eggs and BACON any day over pastries and bagels.
I still sampled the pastries though…I mean, afterall, I declared points+ do not count for the weekend so I can enjoy without guilt. This was a mini buttery strawberry roll.
Along with some delicious fruit.
The first track I attended was probably my FAVORITE session of the day.
Branding & Design 101 for Food Bloggers
This session intrigued me because I am in the midst of my Danica’s Daily makeover and I wanted to make sure I am putting my best foot forward to show you all 🙂
The hosts Irvin of Eat the Love and Sabrina of The Tomato Tart were funny, entertaining and quite knowledgeable. I really appreciated that they engaged us by showing us how they would use their tips to create a NEW food blog all about entertaining that reflected their personalities.
You can check out the LIVE BLOG post for the session by clicking here for all their tips. I did my best to capture several of them so I could share them with you all.
They took us through a brain storming session that included several words to describe blogs we all know such as Simply Recipes. We started out with a big list….
Then, narrowed it down to one to describe the site.
ONE KEY thing I learned is that I NEED to work on my adjectives when I describe food. Awesome, delicious, tasty, amazing all just mean REALLY GOOD. Find words that evoke a response and mean something to you.
Next up was a discussion that involved your logo mark (hire someone!) and choosing a font that is easy to read that you like.
Indentifont is AWESOME! If you see a font you like and want to know what it is, go here and it will tell you.
I actually never knew you could buy fonts ~ probably would never since there are 1,00’s for FREE.
They recommended creating a mood board to determine what is important to you…to find out what inspires and interests you and what you want your blog to be about.
A few suggestions of places you can get ideas for your mood board.
Be WHO YOU ARE ~ that is your brand and be loyal to that.
Think about your site holistically and go outside your interests to find inspiration.
Next up was selecting a color. They offered up a couple of great resources to help you see all the color possibilities that you can use.
Colourlovers.com ~ this site will tell you the colors that other websites are using so you can grab them.
Colorexplorer.com ~ This site will help you find the colors used in a picture.
This was the final Entertaining Food Blog image that we created in our class. White space is a good thing and I definitely think it makes their site look so fresh and clean.
More resources for Themes that you can customize.
We ended the session with the list of the Top 10 Mistakes You Can Make in Blog Designs.
JUST SAY NO TO THESE
1. GIANT HEADER ~ people can’t see the content
2. GENERIC TEMPLATE ~ use it as a starting point, but, customize it for you.
3. BUSY BACKGROUND ~ people can’t find your content
4. HARD TO READ FONTS ~ just say no to curly fonts
5. TOO MANY TYPES OF FONTS ~ just pick 1 or 2 and stay consistent
6. UNREADABLE WORDS ON TOP OF IMAGES
7. TYPE WITH TOO LITTLE CONTRAST ~ you can’t read grey words
8. UNUSABLE NAVIGATION ~ don’t leave people stranded without a way to get home
9. ABOUT PAGE ~ always include it – people want to know you, what you are about, etc.
10. NO SOCIAL MEDIA ~ embrace twitter, facebook, etc because your fans love it!
11. NO AUTOPLAY MUSIC, SPRINKLES, STARS, ETC.
After our first session, we headed straight to Scharfenberger to get CHOCOLATE!
I think they should have these bins for each blogger to dump in their bags 😉 LOVE!
Is it strange that I thought the food “bugs” at the pork station were cute at a food convention?!
POM TINI ~ I LOVE that they made POM ice cubes – I am totally doing that this summer for my POM Spritzers.
TJ ~ I totally took this picture for you, I know how you LOVE Bob 😉
Deep Fried Turkey ~ Need I say more?! It was amazing.
BlogHERFood11 help feed my recipe addiction ~ I’ve collected so many great ideas to try!
I LOVE how chewy these Bay’s English Muffins are….served up with Feta Spread (I LOVED the stinky cheese!) with apricot preserves, nuts and butah! Sweet, savory, crunchy and pretty much OMG GOOD!
The people at the MANGO station actually showed us how to cut mangos in a quick and easy way. I will do a step by step soon to show you all.
COOL MANGO TIPS we learned
1. The red spots are where the mangos got sun burned (direct sunlight)
2. Color doesn’t matter with ripeness (some varieties stay green).
3. Look for mangos that are firm, but, give slightly to the touch
4. The yellow mangos should get soft and wrinkly to be super sweet.
LUNCH was in true Southern Style. I was so excited to get a taste of the south, I piled it on my plate but was so busy chatting it up with everyone, I only at half LOL.
Mini BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches!
Proteins ~ steamed & fried catfish, roasted & fried chicken.
All together with corn bread & sweet butter, salads, corn on the cob & baked beans.
The cinnamon poached pears made me think I really wanted to try making my own with agave. Crispy, yet, sweet and cinnamon-y ~ they melted in your mouth.
Next up we attended the Cooking Without Recipes session ~ check out the LIVE blog here.
It was hosted by Sarah Breckenridge of Fine Cooking Magazine.
She shared several great resources to help you learn how different foods work together when you cook so you can cook without a recipe.
One of the COOLEST features she shares was on the fine cooking website. They have a Cooking Without Recipes Maker.
Simply drop your ingredients in the bowl and it creates the recipes for you.
She actually walked us through how to use their recipe building tool and cooked up a spicy Thai Curry with all the ingredients who picked.
Coconut+Curry+Chicken+Shrimp & a ton of veggies = spicy, creamy goodness over white jasmine rice.
Check out Alli ~ Food blogger in action ~ I LOVE the fork prop
We were pretty undecided about our last session of the day so we session hopped. We started with the Taking Your Blog Mobile and moved onto a few other sessions.
After the breakout sessions we headed straight to the Welcome Reception cocktail party.
These do not look fancy, but, they were tasty. Rosemary Olive Oil Steak on top of a roasted garlic cheese spread.
Sweet & Sour Chicken.
VEGAN Spring Rolls ~ This was probably my favorite appetizer.
DESSERT ~ ScharfenBerger made these decadent Chocolate Pies ~ shared with Alli.
The Husband tagged along wearing his Get Zesty shirt
There were a few passed appetizers and tons of mini desserts.
I was completed sweeted out by this point but still took pictures because all the desserts looked amazing!
After all the parties, Robin, Alli, The Husband and I headed over to Ted’s Montana Grill. The Husband put Ted’s on his list of 2nd BEST steaks he has ever had in his life when we ate there in Washington DC a few years back.
Robin actually pointed out that they were pretty earth friendly which I LOVED.
I have NEVER seen an Earth Friendly straw but I absolutely LOVE the idea since I just recently learned that most straws cannot be recycled.
I also tried my very first ever “Sweet Tea”. I can see why everyone out here is hooked on it. I couldn’t stop drinking it.
We all got brave and ventured out to try Bison Mini Cheeseburger sliders. The sweet bread they put them on is really what makes the burger ~ it’s cheesy, juicy and you NEED absolutely no toppers.
We all devoured the homemade pickles. I think I actually LOVE greener varieties now more so than the typical jarred kind. They are crunchier and had a nice spicy kick.
We wanted to try so many things and decided to share a little of everything ~ we each picked something off the menu to try. I had about 1/3 of everything you are about to see.
Bottomless homemade chips and ranch onion dip ~ If you get one appetizer here, get these!
Chopped Salad with garlic toast.
Melt in your mouth Rib Eye with the perfect salted crust
Southern Green Beans that totally reminded us of collard greens and chicken noodle soup.
Squash Casserole ~ buttery, cheesy, comfort food
Soft and sweet roll!
Believe it or not, that was JUST DAY 1 of BlogHERFood11! More coming up tomorrow.
Good luck to all my fellow Weight Watchers doing the 5K Walk It tomorrow! We will be walking it with you all here in Georgia at 8 AM!