I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, 6 of those have been recipe blogging and in that time you’d think I’d have run out of things to say…Well yes, there were times that I had writer’s block but telling stories through food is what makes every day and every post a new adventure!
Last week I went to Food Blog Forum in Orlando, of all the conferences I’ve been to over the years I really loved this one and not just because it was at Disneyworld! It was small and intimate and the messages that were presented all hit home.
We stayed at the amazing Grand Floridian Resort, visited the parks and ate like crazy! But it was the panels that I was most interested in. Even after all these years of blogging you can still keep learning and creating in new and exciting ways.
Jaden and Scott Hair of Steamy Kitchen talked about ‘Redefining Success‘ and how emotion and storytelling can make a connection. This makes sense not only from a blogging standpoint but in everyday life. “Finding your passion and pursuing that emotional feeling you want.” It’s something I’m always working on and the things they talked about made me want to refocus a bit and keep challenging myself.
Todd and Diane from White on Rice Couple spoke about ‘Taking your Visual Ideas to Flight‘. Like most blog conferences, there is a focus on photography and video and it wasn’t until I got home did I really look back on my notes and realize how much of what Todd and Diane said about ‘looking beyond the obvious’ to express your own message really meant when I am creating my recipes visually. We learned a few tricks from these masters (one of which you see here) and I’m excited to start putting them into action!
What’s a conference without a few tiny giveaways? Uh, like I said – this conference is like no other and there were over 50 giveaways! Some of the featured sponsors gave away incredible prizes: A year’s supply of milk from the Florida Dairy Farmers, so many wonderful gadgets from OXO and KitchenAid not only gave away top of the line mixers and food processors but two bloggers received MAJOR appliances! Sadly, I wasn’t picked which is too bad because how badly do I need a new refrigerator?? I didn’t win the fridge but I did win a Steamy Kitchen shirt cookbook which I had Jaden sign! It was great to talk to her again after seeing her for years on panels at other conferences!
In the afternoon, Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, Babette Pepaj of BakeSpace and Erik Deutsch talked about Technology and creating new opportunities for success. I talked to Babette later about how great it was that they touched on Pinterest which is having an amazing impact on food bloggers.
We were treated to a talk by Tim Warzecha from Walt Disney Imagineering. He spoke about ‘storytelling’ and how important it is in Disney projects. The real take away from this is how you incorporate storytelling into your own blog. I also thought it was such a coincidence that Tim’s early work was on the same projects that I’d worked on back in the day! Life really does come full circle!
Finally Jeff Houck of the Tampa Tribune, David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria amd Julie Deily of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil, (who both put this whole conference together!) spoke about ‘Grassroots Community Building‘ and how social media and your blogging community of readers and peers is critical to the growth and success of your blog. This was really important to me. I’ve known some of these bloggers for years and even if you never meet in person you feel a connection and trust which is a great online communal feeling.
It was a fantasic weekend of sessions all paced out perfectly! I walked away from the conference feeling renewed and ready to start yet another decade of blogging! But what’s a food blogger conference without food? To say we were showered with abundance of eats by Disney is an understatement. We were treated to so much amazing food that it requires a second recap…