Dialing over & over desperately trying to get through?
(Here's where my age shows) Back then, we didn't have redial and all I could imagine was ticket after ticket being sold & my seat would go to someone who CLEARLY didn't love Van Halen as much as I did.
Snagging a spot for this conference was kinda like that... These tickets were a hot item. Apparently it sold out in 10 minutes flat. My ticket had been hanging on the front of my refrigerator (an appropriate place) for the past 3 months. I was anxiously awaiting for the day to arrive and this past weekend it finally had.
The Food Blog Forum was here!
I left early in the morning to drive up to Orlando because registration started at 10am and I had already planned to say hello face to face with a few blogger buddies I only knew online. We also had passes to the parks, and we were free until the evening to play! Hello Epcot!
Friday evening was our "Welcome Reception". I only knew one person going in and although I'm generally not very shy, walking into a room of over a hundred people who all do what you do is a little intimidating.
I just kept telling myself "pretend you're not scared, it will be ok".
This was my first food blogger conference, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Walking into that room of bloggers was overwhelming. I'll be honest, it was a little scary.
I'm sure that I am not the only one who thought to themselves "will they like me?" "is my blog good enough?"
There were people there that are a very big deal and have huge followings on their blogs.
Some of them have been doing this for well over a decade and they really know their stuff.
So, yes... I was scared walking into that room, but I didn't need to be.
I met some great people, some of whom were just as nervous as I was!
Lobster Salad with Avocado
After a few hors d'oeuvres and a glass of wine, chatting with some new friends the reception came to an end and it was time to get ready for a full day of presentations on Saturday.
Jaden & Scott Hair of Steamy Kitchen started the day with their presentation "Redefining Success & Setting Goals"
The points made during this presentation were applicable to real life and not just blogging life.
- You need to clearly define your goal. If you can't define it, how will you be able to achieve it?
- When I achieve _______, then I'll feel _________.
- How do you define success? For some of us it is financial, for others it is a sense of freedom to do more of what they'd like to do. For example, being able to spend time at home with their families.
-Life changes when you change your focus.
Next up was Diane Cu & Todd Porter of White on Rice Couple. This presentation was titled
"Taking your Visual Ideas to Flight" and I could've listened to them for hours.
They spoke about finding your visual voice, telling a story and finding inspiration. The best camera? It's you. Your eyes are your lens, your heart is your shutter. That really resonated with me, because sometimes I am so busy taking photos that I feel like I'm missing the experience.
One of the best little nuggets of info from their presentation was learning about Animoto, a website that helps create video from your still images.
The day ended with a Grassroots Community Building talk with panelists and organizers of FBF Julie Deily and Lindsay Landis, Jeff Houck and one of my favorite guys David Leite.
This group led a discussion on community and the various communities that surround us. From our closest friends and family to colleagues, fellow bloggers and blog readers everyone is critical to the growth and success of what we do.
My big takeaway from this was that to someone out there, you are a star. This again, I feel goes beyond blog life and into real life. Each one of us is special to someone out there in the world and each person we interact with is a potential member of our community. Be authentic and engage your community.
I have always been fairly open, but there will be a few changes coming in this little space of the blogosphere. I want to connect with my community, my readers in a way that perhaps I haven't before. It is daunting to really put yourself out there, but that is exactly what I'm going to do because it's worth it. You guys are worth it. Without you, there is no blog and I am so very appreciative for the time you take out of your day to be here.
Sunday, our final day, was a brunch at Whole Foods. It was our last chance to see a few of our new friends before everyone went back home. It was a great time, yummy food and more canoodling with like minded people who also need to photograph their food before they eat it.
Here is the entire group!
photo courtesy of: Jennifer Holt
Lastly, a big thank you to the wonderful sponsors of Food Blog Forum:
Walt Disney World
OXO (I won a gorgeous steel mandolin from OXO in one of the giveaways! YAY!)
Florida Dairy Farmers