Food Wine Conference – A Recap

It’s been two weeks and I’m still on a post Food Wine Conference high. If you missed my last post, I got to attend this year’s Food Wine Conference in Orlando as a Brand Ambassador. I’ve had my eye on this conference for the past few years and was thrilled to finally be able to go this year.

First off, Rosen Shingle Creek is an AMAZING place. Having worked for a hotel before, I tend to be picky when it comes to hotels. Rosen has it down. The property is gorgeous and extremely well maintained. The rooms are spacious and well decorated. In terms of our conference, everything ran smoothly (at least from my outside perspective). And the service by the employees was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t meet one employee who didn’t smile and say hello, or who wasn’t jumping to help people if they needed it.

 

And the FOOD…so so so delicious. The first night of the conference there was a Taste of Rosen Shingle Creek event, where the chefs at Rosen presented dishes from all of Rosen’s restaurants. I could not eat fast enough at this event…I wanted to try everything! Unfortunately, I don’t think I was able to try everything, but what I did have was simply amazing. 

food wine conference

food wine conference

food wine conference

Each bite was incredibly flavorful and unique. I loved certain twists on favorite dishes as well, such as Fried Lasagna (yes, you read that right) and Strawberry Shortcake Beignets (yes, you also read that right).

food wine conference

food wine conference

The first full day of the conference got kicked off by keynote speaker, Ina Pinkey. This woman…I wish I could hang out with her on a regular basis. Ina showed a documentary, Breakfast at Ina’s, that was about the closing of her restaurant. It intertwined Ina’s life story and how she got to where she is today. Let’s just say Ina has led an amazing and brave life and many tears were shed while watching this documentary.

The sessions during the first day highlighted everything from social media and branding to book publishing to sustainability. One of my favorite sessions of the day was a panel of farmers, who spoke about their jobs and sustainability with such passion. Being a foodie, it was so interesting to hear about the other side of the plate and how much work goes into us getting our food.

Speaking of food, I was incredibly impressed with, not only how yummy the food at Rosen was, but how healthy it was too. Conference sponsors like Duda and Mann’s helped provide the food, which was all so fresh and so tasty. For a snack we had smoothie bowls and we had a make your own taco bar for lunch that had tons of fresh veggies, including cauliflower rice!

food wine conference

And of course, it wouldn’t be a food and wine conference without some celebrating! Each year the conference has a special family style dinner followed by a fun, themed after party. This year’s theme was the ’50s and it was so fun to see everyone in their poodle skirts and Greaser outfits.

Dinner was hosted by Certified Angus Beef and was BEYOND amazing. Everything from the beef to the collared greens to the cornbread was absolutely delicious. And our meal was paired with CK Mondavi wines, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

food wine conference

food wine conference

The after party was one of the cutest things I have ever seen. They really went all out in giving the room a sock hop feel. Including fun contests like a twist contest (which I lost), hula hoop contest and bubble gum blowing contest. So fun!

food wine conference

food wine conference

food wine conference

I think I enjoyed the second day of the conference even more than the first. It was packed full of informative sessions on how to improve your Instagram, how to make cool videos on your phone, food styling, etc. I’ve been to a lot of marketing and social media workshops in my day and these sessions were by far some of the most informative. It was quite impressive! My two favorite sessions of the day were Sandi McKenna and Jeff Houck’s Fingertip Film Festival and Stefani Polluck’s session on Instagram.

 

It was a long, fun filled weekend and I was so happy that I finally got to attend. I can’t wait until next year! 

 

Food Wine Conference 2017 *Discount Code*

I am tickled pink to say that I will be attending this year’s Food Wine Conference from May 19-21 in Orlando, FL as a Brand Ambassador! I have had my eye on this conference for the past 2 years but something else has always come up and I haven’t been able to go. This conference is basically every local foodie/blogger’s dream. Two days filled with a mix of food industry knowledge and blogger knowledge. I can’t wait!

The Food Wine Conference is put on by Sunday Supper, which is a community of family and food bloggers. From their site: “We strive to create a better future for families, by partnering with brands and services that help families feel good, eat better, and interact with each other. We want our mission to reach the homes of all families and inspire people across the world to spend time around the family table.”

The Food Wine Conference is held at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL. I’ve been to this resort once before and it is an absolute dream. The first night of the conference there will be a Taste of Shingle Creek, where the chefs of Rosen Shingle Creek will display dishes from all of Rosen Shingle Creek’s admired restaurants. Definitely can’t wait for this great kick off to the conference!

There are a plethora of knowledgeable speakers headlining the conference this year. It’s hard to say what sessions I’m most excited to attend, but a few are definitely peaking my interest more than others. 

Keynote speaker, Ina Pinkey, is a chef and cookbook author who ran a restaurant for 30 years. She has won numerous awards and seems to have a true passion and drive for her career. I can’t wait to hear her story.

I have become an Instagram fanatic and being in the marketing field I know how important social media presence can be. So I’m equally excited to soak up some knowledge from multiple speakers on this topic, including Amanda Rettke, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe and Stefani Pollack.

And being the true foodie I am, I’m also interested to see what Debbie Lyons-Blythe has to say during her talk about food sustainability.

Oh and did I mention that the Saturday awards dinner theme is ’50s sock hop??? Fun fact: My favorite musical growing up was Grease and I must have seen it no less than 100,000,000 times. Now should I go poodle skirt a la Sandy or Greaser a la Rizzo?

Have I convinced you yet that this conference is THE place to be May 19-21? I did? Awesome! When you’re ready to sign up just go to foodandwineconference.com and make sure to use discount code: KatieM2017 That puppy will get you $50 off the ticket price! The site also has the full schedule up so you can see all of the speakers that will be attending and what they’re all about.

Hope to see you fellow foodies there!

 

 

 

My Little Sunshine Baby Shower

One of my best friends is expecting a baby boy next month! We had her baby shower this past weekend, where she got showered with love. It was great fun and I wanted to share my planning process in the hopes it may help you in your own shower/party planning!

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

I’ll say this right up front…I have never planned a baby shower before. Luckily, I have some event planning experience under my belt so I at least knew the basic logistics. First things first…we needed a venue! 

I exhausted many venue options before coming across Pasadena Yacht and Country Club in Gulfport, FL. I met with the Catering Manager, who showed me their main room for having events, and it was perfect. Spacious and surrounded by windows with beautiful views of an inlet. Signed, sealed, delivered.

Next, we needed a theme. My lovely Lora can be described as bubbly, energetic and kind. She is very, as you might say, sunny! A My Little Sunshine theme seemed perfect. I loved the idea of cute little suns everywhere and having yellow be the main color with pops of blue.

With a date, a venue and a theme it was time for invitations. I found these invites on Etsy through INVITEDbyAudriana. I also did a custom order with her for a Books for Baby card. We asked guests to bring baby a book instead of a card so we could build up baby boy’s library! 

My Little Sunshine baby shower

It took a LOT of Pinterest and Etsy browsing, and many trips to Michaels, before I finally settled on decorations. In the end I was so happy with the vendors I chose from Etsy. They truly made the vision come alive!

I did a custom order with Craftytude for the main “Welcome Sunshine” banner.

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

Accent banners were from Michaels.

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

Craftytude also custom made these adorable centerpiece sticks. I bought the fence base at Michaels and painted it white. Green styrofoam went on the bottom so I could stick the sticks in and they’d be secure. Green paper filler went on top to give the look of grass.

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

I made signs for the gift table, activity table and favor table. For an added pop of color I got flowers from Michaels, placed them in cute bottles (also from Michaels) and filled them with blue paper filler.

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

For activities, we did Onesie Decorating (stencils by QueenCityCrafty). QueenCityCrafty sent great detailed instructions with the stencils, including what brand of fabric paint worked best (I bought Tulip) and what brushes to get!

baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

And Scrapbook Making.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My mom got me a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday and planted the seed for this activity. Guests took a photo with mama-to-be and created their own page in her baby shower scrapbook. I bought colorful paper and stickers at Michaels to use as decorations. Everyone got really creative! And it was a great alternative to a guestbook. 

baby shower

We also played the Name That Baby Song game. Snippets of ten songs that had the word “baby” in the title were played and guests had to guess the song. Winner received a Starbucks gift card!

baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

On their way out, guests picked up their favor and dessert; these cute little sunshine cookies made by megzcookies.

My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.
My Little Sunshine baby shower
Photo by Raffi Darrow.

It was a great day filled with love, laughs, and of course, sunshine!

baby shower

Here are a few key tips I recommend when planning: 

Baby Shower Planning Tips

  1. Nail down a date and venue first.
  2. Use Etsy to find cute and affordable decorations. Or DIY and hit up a craft store!
  3. Stay organized. Create an outline for your event that includes all of your ideas, day-of specifics, guest list, menu, timeline and a to-do list.
  4. Use checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything!
  5. Keep a loose day-of timeline in your head. Have an idea of how long you’d like for people to mingle/do activities, how long you’ll need for games and how long you’ll need for gifts. I judged about an hour for people to arrive/mingle/do activities, an hour to play a game and open gifts, and then another hour for people to mingle more.
  6. Have fun!

 

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