My BlogHer 2012 Recap | The Hunger Games

Hello Mamas! I am feeling so refreshed after almost a full week of being unplugged. Coming back from BlogHer was a lot like having a baby for me, I never thought the aftermath of the actual event would be such a long recovery! I’m not sure if it was the months and months of planning and hype leading up to it, or my overscheduled and underfed days while I was there, or maybe the fact that I’m towards the end of my first trimester of my third pregnancy that was making me feel so completely and utterly exhausted last week. The good news is I finally kicked the post-BlogHer “flu” and I’m so excited to share my experiences with all of you!

Day 1 – Leaving the Nest

First things first, let’s talk about the fact that I have never, EVER left my two young daughters for three nights! I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t anticipate my heart pounding and the hot flashes flaring as I stepped onto the Amtrak train on Thursday afternoon. Once the train started moving and I thought about the purpose of my trip, (to meet with brands I have been working with, and the brands I aspire to work with, along with hundreds of brilliantly talented, successful, and creative women)  I was able to relax and let go. I knew they were in good hands between my husband, my mom, my husband’s mom and our babysitter. It really does take a village, people!

I came prepared with a few snacks for my days as I have been “shifting” towards a Paleo Lifestyle since mid July – I have never felt more energetic on this plan of eating “real” unprocessed food.  I felt anticipation as I stepped out of Penn Station with all my bags, I just walked straight to my hotel in Times Square to get ready for my first event. I was so excited so organized…down to what jewelry I would wear with each outfit – I NEVER have the luxury of organizing myself like that at home. Like most moms, I’m focused on organizing the girls’ closets and drawers all the time!

After a quick outfit change I was off to my first pre-party event – getting my makeup done at the Cabi Style Suite by Makeup Forever!

So much fun!!! Afterwards I had some time to kill, so I went for a quick Paleo deli dinner of chicken kabobs and red peppers. Afterwards I headed back to the London Hotel Penthouse Cabi Style Suite where I met the lovely co-hosts Nicole from MomTrends, and Andrea, from Savvy Sassy Moms while tasting delicious gelato from Ciao Bella. The views from the suite were simply breathtaking while we previewed the gorgeous pieces from the Cabi Fall 2012 collection!

Photo Source: Cabi Style Suite

Photo Source: Cabi Style Suite

Photo Source: Cabi Style Suite

There were many other stylish sponsors including Stokke, and Makeup Forever. We were sent home with two Cabi pieces from the collection and I was super excited to choose versatile pieces that will fit me through my pregnancy and after (I’ll share them with you in a later post)!

I met some fellow “Chic Blogger Network” ladies, Betsy and Kristin from The Little Style File blog that I follow. It was so great to meet them in person! Here’s a photo of us sharing a cab while heading to the next party, the Big Toy Book Sweet Suite at the Viacomm building in Times Square.

Sweet Suite was hosted by Corine from Complicated Mama and it was ah-mazing! There were about a bagillion companies showcasing their latest toys for the holidays. I bumped into a few fellow Rhode Island bloggers there, and had a blast with Jen from Keekoin since we have 5 daughters between the two of us – we naturally gravitated towards the pink sparkly stuff!

I decided to walk back to my hotel carrying Santa’s satchels of goodies at about 10pm, but not before seeing the naked cowboy playing his guitar in the middle of Times Square!

Day 2 – Falling Off the Paleo Wagon

My awesome BlogHer roomie and local Rhodey girl, Jess from 30 Something Mother Runner and I got up and out early Friday morning to attend the McDonald’s breakfast. We tasted their latest “healthy” breakfast menu options including pomegranite smoothies and oatmeal with blueberries

 

Unfortunately my Paleo rules went out the window when I smelled the yummy oatmeal! I had eaten dinner at 4:30pm Thursday, and had not had a thing since then. I proceeded to the expo hall for a few hours where I met a ton of companies and may have tasted a cupcake in place of lunch. I couldn’t eat the conference lunch anyway. It was deli meat each day, and without access to heat it up the listeria bacteria can be harmful to the baby.

After my cupcake lunch I headed up to the Avon Corporate Headquarters for a beauty event, hosted by the lovely Romi from Romi Raves. I loved meeting the Avon PR team and learning about all the different products BESIDES skincare – I knew they had a makeup collection, but I had no idea there was so much more – such as Men’s fragrance, jewelry, sweaters and boots! I absolutely loved the color palettes for Fall and the shimmer palette. I can’t wait to try out more Avon products in the future!

I went back to finish the expo hall floor and listen to some sessions until it was time for the big group of Rhode Island bloggers to meet up before the Hasbro party. I had a blast at the Hasbro party, and I am looking forward to working with them this Fall! I hear there is a new Elmo toy, and my youngest daughter is obsessed! I’m sure it will be a huge holiday hit!

After the Hasbro party we hit the Official BlogHer Sparklecorn party around 10pm, and we partied like it was 1999 – or maybe it was more like we partied like we were still our ages when it was 1999! I had so much fun, I seriously didn’t stop dancing until midnight with my Rhodey bloggers including Melissa from The Mommyhood Chronicles in the photo below. Definitely a highlight for me – and sans alcohol since I am preggers. I’m just not the kind of girl that can turn down a dance party :)

Day 3 – Hunger Strikes

OMG I woke up so hungry I was ready to eat the entire unicorn cake from the night before. I vaguely remember shoving a few “pigs in a blanket” in my mouth while dancing – but I would hardly say it was a proper dinner. I was famished, so after getting ready and realizing I had slept in until 9am and missed another conference breakfast, I marched myself downstairs to the Hilton restaurant and happily ordered myself a $38 breakfast. I knew my body had to have a plateful of eggs, and unfortunately only the super duper expensive-inclusive-of-everything buffet had eggs! I knew I would be missing the conference lunch because I was going to another beauty event so I didn’t mind the splurge.

After my budget busting breakfast I cruised the exhibit hall until 11am – then it was time for the Getting Gorgeous event! I was so pumped to get invited to this by a local blogger Audrey McClelland, along with her co-host Vera Sweeney. I went with my fellow Rhode Island Blogging ladies, and spent the entire two hours plus some mingling with other beauty and fashion bloggers and awesome brands like CVS Beauty, Diet Pepsi, Cold Water Creek, Naturalizer Shoes and so much more!

Photo Source: MyWrinkleInTime.com

You can read more about my time at the beauty event in my Getting Gorgeous post!

After the party I decided to have a healthy late lunch, so I headed across the street to the London Hotel restaurant, Maze, owned by Chef Gordon Ramsey. I enjoyed a huge grilled chicken salad with olive oil instead of the creamy caesar dressing. It was delicious and satisfying, and I needed energy to get me through the awesome Back to School Lands’ End event that evening! I didn’t get back until after 9:30pm, so I went back to the London Hotel for a quick dinner since I knew I would be grabbing breakfast on the go in the morning to catch my train. I had another salad, along with pizza (eek)! I was desperate, and starving by then! After dinner I headed back to the hotel room to shower and pack for my 9am train on Sunday.

Day 4 – Icing on the Cake

I had an amazing trip, I met so many interesting people from all areas of the country, a few celebrities, and more importantly, bloggers in my beauty/fashion/family niche. I learned more about the technical aspects of blogging during a few of the conference sessions I attended, and was exposed to hundreds of potential companies and products to work with in the future. I was able to connect with some brands I already work with, and some that I am very much looking forward to working with very soon!

But the most poignant moment for me was standing at the Penn Station Dunkin Donuts waiting for my quick breakfast before my 9am train. A friendly faced woman saw my conference swag bags and starting chatting with me about the ridiculous amounts of swag – I quickly knew she was coming from the same whirlwind I was. We chatted about the events and then she asked me where I was from, I answered Rhode Island and we chatted some more. I put two and two together and realized she was Colleen Padilla from Classy Mommy! She co-wrote The Digital Mom Handbook with local Rhode Island blogger, Audrey McCleland. I read their book last summer when I was yearning for a creative outlet other than my bridal makeup business. One that would allow me to be home with my family on the weekends, yet still have the satisfaction of helping women. Their book was a life changer for me! I know it sounds so corny, but it helped me get through the “how to’s” process a lot faster than if I hadn’t read it. I realized I could finally combine my corporate marketing experience with my esthetics and makeup skills to help women through my blog.

I felt as if lightening had stuck me as I sat with Colleen and chatted about her blog and how she balances her work success with family life. I had already known my trip was a huge success for me before heading to Penn Station that morning. I had come to BlogHer with an open mind and I absorbed all of the information and experiences I possibly could fit into my schedule to help me grow. Meeting Colleen was the perfect ending to my trip!

 

Here’s some Rhodey love to the awesome local bloggers I mentioned above. We had so much fun together, it wouldn’t have been the same without such a great group of ladies!

Kameron from My Wrinkle In Time
Liza from Cira’s Lyrics
Joanna from Baby Gators Den
Megan from A Baby Makes Four
Liz from Learning to Juggle
Jessica from 30 Something Mother Runner
Melissa from The Mommyhood Chronicles
Candice from The New Modern Mom
Sarah from Soxys Diamond
Jen from Keekoin
Elizabeth from Documama
Cathy from Twins with Tots
Audrey from Mom Generations
Sarah from Sweet Lil You
Melissa from Filling our Bucket

Project 10 | Paleo Snacks on the Go

This week I’m heading to the BlogHer conference and I know I will need some snacks to keep me going during my Paleo Shift.

I’ve stocked up on a few things that are easy to travel with:

  • Larabars – OMG the banana bread one is to die for!
  • almonds
  • bananas
  • apples
  • GoGo Squeez Applesauce packets (borrowed from my kids’ snack cabinet)
  • water bottles

These items will keep me going in between meals so I can focus on learning and networking. What snacks keep you going during the day?

Project 10 | Almond Crusted Turkey Stuffed Peppers Paleo Recipe

As a participant in Project 10, and the 30 Day Paleo Shift, I am always looking for healthy versions of my regular recipes. As my love affair with almonds continues to grow, I’ve decided to substitute them in place of cheese in some of my recipes. I know, there is zero connection between almonds and cheese except for the sprinkle on top factor, but that along with adding a yummy nutty taste is enough to make me try anything! I made these stuffed peppers recently and it was a huge hit with my kids and husband. It’s quick and easy to make, and tastes delicious!

Ingredients

- 16 oz package of organic grass fed ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jar of no salt or sugar added organic tomatoe sauce
- seasoning of your choice( I used a palmful of Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning)
- 2 organic green peppers cut in halves
- 4 or 5 fresh sweet basil leaves chopped
- palmful of unsalted almonds crushed or chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sauté the ground turkey in olive oil with spices and chopped basil until no longer pink. Add in half the jar of tomatoe sauce and simmer. While turkey is sautéing I place the peppers in a glass baking dish and microwave for 2-4 minutes until tender. Once the turkey has simmered for a few minutes fill the peppers with the turkey, remaining tomatoe sauce, and then top with crushed almonds. I used my garlic press to crush them and it worked great! Bake the dish for 15-20 minutes until the top is slightly golden and crispy. Serve and enjoy!

 

Project 10 | Paleo Simple Smoothie

OMG coconut milk, where have you been all my life?

I find myself getting hungry after dinner each night around 8pm. I decided to break open the new unsweetened coconut milk, (I have never tried before) and turn it into a smoothie. I found some frozen strawberries we picked a few weeks ago. Then I grabbed half a banana and some ice, threw everything in the blender and voila!

The smoothie was so delicious, I will DEFINITELY be making this again.  I put the other half banana in a ziplock freezer bag, so next time I will use frozen banana! It was quick, AND satisfying. Easy peasy.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of frozen whole strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • Blend until smooth and liquified, and enjoy!