I went to my first BlogHer and I survived!


It’s funny.  I’ve been wanting to attend BlogHer for over 2 years, pretty much from the day I heard about the big blogosphere and this conference.  I had ideas in my head about what this conference would be like.  Things such as an opportunity to connect with brands, I’m not going to lie, lots of swag, and of course, meeting people at every corner, and the fantastic parties.

What is an ACTUAL BlogHer conference like?

Now, keep in mind, I can’t really comment on the conference sessions since I only purchased the Expo/Party pass, but here’s a lowdown and some advice:

1) BlogHer is something every blogger must experience!

There. I said it.  There’s one thing to hear thoughts from others attending, but it’s a completely different thing when you’re attending yourself and you’re able to create your own thoughts on the conference.  And… in the end, your thoughts may be quite different from others.

2) The SWAG is Overrated

I remember many comments from past BlogHer attendees about the insane amount of swag at BlogHer.  But, really?  Yes, it’s swag.  But, by the second day I was already tired of grabbing stuff and was already limiting what I wanted to bring home with me.  That still didn’t stop me from accumulating bags full though.  And, don’t get me wrong…. chances to win Apple Ipad Minis will get you every time.. hence my two board games I took home on behalf of Chucke E Cheese.  PS: This was great because our official board game collection has now begun.

When it comes to coffee mugs for the next year, trust me, I am set! However, I must admit, the best swag was an item I just randomly ran across when I was looking through the Skype Booth.  An extra on the go battery charger was the best gift any sponsor could have given me!  Thanks SKYPE.  Ohhh, and a really awesome pen from San Jose that could also be used as a stylist for my phone or tablet.   I love those geeky tech products!

3) The Downside of a #SelfieBration

This year’s theme at BlogHer was none other than the infamous #SelfieBration meaning there were many photo booths and opportunities to take photos… however, what they don’t talk about, is the time you hit a wall and realize that you’re no longer narcissistic and the torture of taking one more photo.  Yes, I hit that wall.

#SelfieBration

During that moment I decided to take a break from the conference and walked around San Jose taking photos of the beautiful Historic Theaters that San Jose has kept going through the years.

4) Those Down Times

Yes.  You will hit a wall.  And even more so if you’re an introvert.  There were times where I could go and go for a few hours then I’d hit a wall.  During those moments I’d sit on a random bench or at a table and people watch around me, but it was also in those rare moments that I may have crossed paths with a person I was looking to connect with, and soon the down time was over with.

But, its in these rare moments, that some of the best experiences can happen at the conference!  Start a conversation up with the person sitting next to you and just see what may happen.

5) It’s Good to Get Away!

I soon learned, that it was okay to take time away from the conference.  During those times, with roommate in tow, we took to the streets of San Jose, and found some great gems around the city.

A new Wine Spot in Vino Vino, a fantastic donut shop where I became “Psycho of the Month” at Psycho Donuts, and lets not forget about the food.  I mean, seriously, just stop into the San Pedro Square Market and you won’t be disappointed.  Ohhhh, and San Jose has some great craft beer joints around town.

Downtown San Jose

But, after those breaks, it refreshes you and you’re ready to network and connect with others around you.

6) Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

You’re at a conference with tons of other bloggers.  Go up to someone and start a conversation if you usually don’t.  Attend a session that you wouldn’t have thought to attend before, or stop by a sponsor booth you don’t know anything about.  It is through the conversations that we allow ourselves to grow and learn.  And of course, find if somethings a fit or not for us too.

I had many of those moments during the conference, and let me tell you, I don’t regret them at all.  Some led to some great conversations and learning opportunities.

7) Be Yourself

It’s funny.. when I look back through my photos of BlogHer, I realize that I looked at the topics I blog about here, and realized I incorporated them into my BlogHer experience.  Through the life of food, wine and travel.  When we blog, we have to remember to be genuine and authentic.  When we are, that’s the moment that others will also begin to connect with you.

Psycho

But, whats even more important is showcasing that genuineness through our social channels too.  And well, it’s really branding too, right?

8) Always Good to Have Someone There to Hang Out With!

Throughout the conference I had many times where I was wondering the halls alone, and going to various events on my own.  It was great in that I could meet other people for the first time and connect, but one key factor that really helped my BlogHer experience was having someone to talk to with my lovely roommate.

At the end of the day we could share our wins and our losses, and meet up at random places throughout the conference.  It really does help having that friendly face to motivate you more, and to have fun with to.

I also told myself many times that this would be a hard conference to attempt going to on your own… although, really, everyone was incredibly friendly so maybe not ;)

9) All About the Closing Party!

One thing I learned?  McDonald’s knows how to throw a great party.  Another thing? Rev Run still has it going on, and made an excellent end to the BlogHer conference.  Can’t remember the last time I had that much fun.

Me at #McDBlogHER

In the end, I survived my first BlogHer.  I learned a lot about myself in the process along with the direction I want to take my blog.  And also learned what I liked and did not like about the conference.

 

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The Carmel Food Tour!


Whenever I think about my visits to Carmel By the Sea this past year, I think of a few things.  The cute storefronts with their wooden signs full of so much character and charm.  The beautiful art galleries that adorn the shops along Carmel.  The Beach, with it being in such close proximity, and the food.  Carmel truly has some GREAT restaurants that cater to those that visit yearly, but also to locals.  A huge reason that these restaurants are able to stay open year round.

Carmel Food Tour

When I first found out about the Carmel Food Walk, it was because my friend Jen over at The Mom Reviews wrote a great article about it.  I had to experience the tour myself, so on one of my recent visits, to give back, I purchased a ticket.

Once we purchased our ticket, the location of where to meet was given to us.  The tour takes between 3 to 4 hours, and through the experience we are truly given a sample of the area’s restaurants.  Tours may vary by tastings.

Some unique experiences on our tour included:

Spanish Tapas Tasting at Mundaka

Mundaka

Wood Fired Pizza at La Bicyclette

labicyclette

Amazing Gnocchi at Casanova

Gnocchi

Olive Oil Tasting at Trio Carmel

icecreamoliveoilYes! Even an Olive Oil Tasting over ice cream was involved, and let me tell you, an incredible treat that compliments each other quite well.

Cocktail Pairing at Terry’s Lounge at the Cypress Inn

manhattan-cocktailThe Classic Manhattan.  And yes, we got a little education on Whiskey.

Wine Tasting at Figge Cellars

figge-cellarsI loved that they even had wine on tap available with their recent released, and I LOVED their Gewurtztraminer.  As you taste your wine you’re invited to walk around the art gallery and appreciate the art around you.  A GREAT wine tasting experience if you ask me.

Chocolate Tasting at Lulu’s Chocolates

luluschocolate

Between Beverages, Chocolates and Eats, you will not go hungry.  And of course, during the tour, tour guide Staci Giovino gives some great insight into Carmel By The Sea.

Carmel Food Tour:

Ticket Price: 69 Dollars

Fridays and Saturdays: 11am – 2pm

My experience? I loved this tour because it gave me a GREAT insight to the areas restaurants and specialty shops around the beautiful town.  And it also brought me inside restaurants, that if I were just visiting, I may have just walked by.  I found some new favorites while trying some different food pairings I otherwise may not have thought of before.

 

Categories: Cooking, Travel, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

5 Reasons I love my Dell Venue 7!


#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

When I first received my Dell Venue 7, I was beyond ecstatic.  This would be my first tablet, other than my kindle.  I’ve been curious about Intel Tablets , but was completely overwhelmed with all the varieties out there and what to buy.

Dell-Venue-7

I was also hesitant because I just wasn’t sure how much I’d use it.  Well, a month in and guess what?  The tablet is slowly but surely replacing my smart phone.

The first place I go for photos?  Yep, the tablet.

The first place I go to read?  Yep, the tablet.

The first place I go to watch videos? Yep, the tablet.  

It has taken over my life, but in such a convenient way.  Now here’s my reasons as to why I love the Dell Venue 7.

Taking Photos

I covered this more thoroughly in a previous post, but one thing I’ve noticed is how the tablet truly captures all the colors in an image creating for some really spectacular photos:

IMG_20140713_173456

Watching Videos:

I use to try to watch videos on my kindle, but I got so frustrated with the streaming that I gave up so I didn’t have good thoughts going in about videos on the tablet.

Boy, was I ever proven wrong.  The Intel inside the Dell Venue 7 has made a huge impact in the video streaming, and the quality of the videos is spot on.  So, yes, watching a movie in bed before bed is ohsoconvenient!

Fits Easily in the Purse

The tablet easily fits in my purse making it easy for on the go.  Whether I’m in the waiting room of a hair salon or hanging out at the beach, I can pull the tablet out and it’s right there.

Wi-Fi Abilities:

Easily connect to the area’s wi-fi and instant internet access.  What I’d recommend would be to purchase a hotspot so you’d have access all the time for when you need it most.

Instantly Connects to Google Apps:

When I first connected to my tablet it asked right away for my Google Account.  I plugged the information in and it instantly began to download apps I had on my android phone.

Some of my favorite apps instantly added: Instagram, Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest and many more.

It saved me the time from having to look them all up.

As I continue to explore with the tablet I’ll keep you informed.  If you have any questions about the device please ask below.

In the meantime, enjoy some of these Tablet Inspired Adventures so far this summer:

tablet-adventures

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