What’s New at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Disclosure: I was invited to Disney’s media night for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018, however, all opinions are my own.

What a night! The first night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party did not disappoint. There were characters and rides and desserts and candy and new ride overlays, and fireworks and did I say candy?

This is my favorite event at Walt Disney World, so while I knew I would have fun, I didn’t know there would be so many new amazing additions this year. The “new stuff” can be broken down into three main categories: food, entertainment, and merchandise. I will go through each but be warned, reading this post will make you want to buy a ticket ASAP.

what's new at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Food:

(Please note, while most of these desserts are new, a couple of them are repeats from last year.) We were treated (haha) to a special cooking demo where we saw exactly how the not so poison apples are constructed, and then we got to eat our own. I can attest that they are very delicious but VERY rich and sweet. No way I could have eaten a whole one by myself.

No-So-Poison Apple Cupcake – Main Street Bakery

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Maleficent Dessert – Storybook Treats

Madame Leota Dessert – Liberty Square Market

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Hitchhiking Ghost Dessert – Aloha Isle

Worms & Dirt – Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café

Jack Skellington Cake Push Pop – Sleepy Hollow

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

Oogie Boogie Meringue – Gaston’s Tavern

Pumpkin chesecake – Main Street Bakery

Candy corn milkshake with cotton candy and Mickey marshmallow:

There are other offerings like a burger with tater tots and special nachos, the above were just things we were able to take photos of.

Related: Tips for taking your toddler or preschooler to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party

Merchandise: 

This year just so happens to be the 25th anniversary of one of my ALL TIME favorite movies, Hocus Pocus. I was super pumped a few years about when the Sanderson sisters were added to the stage show line up at the party, so you can imagine my excitement when I got to see all the special 25th-anniversary merchandise.

I purchased the black cauldron mug, it was just so adorable and I had to get something to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

It’s all so cute! I may or may not also have my eye on the amuck amuck amuck spirit jersey.

There are ornaments, shirts, pins, a mug, bag, and so much more all for Hocus Pocus.

There are also special annual passholder options available for purchase.

I also was smitten over this adorable glow in the dark magic band. The box glows, too!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

In addition to the Hocus Pocus amazing-ness, there was regular Halloween merchandise. I snagged a few photos for you:

Merchandise can be found during the event at the Emporium on Main Street, and at Big Top Souvenirs in the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland. Frontier Trading Post will also offer the event pins.

Entertainment: 

New this year on the entertainment front, three rides have had special elements added to them:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Live action pirates have been added to the ride, as you search for “Gunpowder Pete” on your journey. We had the privilege of hearing all about it and more from a cast member and his pirate friend.

Space Mountain: Hurdle through space completely in the dark with a new soundtrack and special effects.

Mad Tea Party: As you spin faster and faster there are new lights and a cool new spooky soundtrack.

Also new for this year is a Disney Junior dance party in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland. Here you can party with a DJ and friend like Doc MuStuffins and Timon from the Lion Guard.

Whether it is your first or fifteenth time at the party, there is something for everyone. We watched the parade, fireworks, and got tons of candy. The decorations are on point, the vibe is amazing, and it’s the most fun you will have this Halloween season.

What is your favorite part of the party? Any new food you are excited to try or merchandise you are ready to buy? Stay tuned later this week for a video recap of our night at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018!

Visit MickeyHalloween.com for ticket info, and start planning your visit for these party nights: August 24, 28, 31; September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, and 31. Prices start at $75 for adults.

Check out this video I took at the party!

*If you want to check out all my Instagram stories from the night of the party, go to my profile and click the highlight titled “Mickey’s NSSHP”

5 Huge Mistakes I Made As a New Blogger

I have been blogging over eight and a half years (wow) and there is still plenty that I don’t know. That’s what is so fun about this job, I learn something new every day because things change so quickly. If you want to be successful, you have to learn to adapt, which admittedly isn’t my strong suit…hence why this has been so good for me. Anyway, I’m rambling. I recently came out with an online guide for bloggers wanting to make money working with brands.  I wanted to help bloggers that were looking to make money with their blog and social media accounts that didn’t really know where to start. But then I started thinking…let’s back up to before you even get to that point, right? I feel like I skipped a step. I have a free email course for people wanting to start a blog, then I have my how to make money eguide I mentioned above…but nothing really for “in between”, so I thought I would craft a post with 5 huge mistakes I made when I was in my first 6 months or so of blogging in hopes that you can avoid some of them, and be on a faster path to success.

5 huge mistakes I made as a new blogger

1.) Blogging too often just for the sake of posting: When I first got into blogging, I was writing posts SEVEN days a week. Lawd. I mean, I know I didn’t have a child then so I had more time on my hands (can you believe I used to get BORED on the weekends?!? That clearly hasn’t happened in over 3.5 years)…but WOW that’s a lot of writing. The problem was, I felt like I “had” to blog every day because that’s what everyone else was doing, and so I would crank out a post even if I didn’t really have anything to say. This led to some really boring and useless posts that make me want to hide my head in shame. Now, I only blog typically two or three times a week, and my posts are much more informational and “deep”. Writing a post and editing photos is a big undertaking. Don’t get burned out by thinking you have to put up new content all. the. time. Because you don’t. It’s better to have QUALITY stuff that people will resonate with and want to come back for more of again and again.

2.) Not asking for help/not networking: Sometimes I will admit I can let my pride get the better of me, and this can lead to me trying to do things on my own. Blogging is NOT one of those things that you want to try to do on your own. Your peers are a wealth of information, and most bloggers are happy to share tips, help cross promote for you, and encourage you. If you put yourself on an island, you will remain on an island. People talk, PR agencies talk about bloggers to each other and to other bloggers. If you are viewed as someone who doesn’t play well with others, it could hurt you in the long run. There are some great Facebook groups out there you can plug into for some help and advice.

3.) Tried to be someone I wasn’t: I think at one time or another we have all fallen into this trap. We see someone else having success, and we want success too, so we do as they do. Granted there is nothing wrong with getting ideas from other bloggers, but there is a difference in getting an idea and making it your own, and trying to be someone you aren’t. Remember that your readers are reading your blog because they like you and what you have to say, not because you are just like someone else. Own your unique perspective and find your own voice. People will notice and you will find your tribe!

4.) Not being self hosted: It took me a minute after I started blogging to jump on the self hosted bandwagon. One because frankly I had no idea what it meant other than it sounding technical and complicated, and two, it meant spending money on my blog, and I had not even made any money, so it was scary to take that leap! Just remember, if you wait until you “have more money” to do things in life that have the potential to MAKE you money, then you will never make the leap. Being self hosted does have a cost, but it’s not high when you consider all the things you most likely spend money on in a week. You can get started for just $3.95 a month, and it will enable you to host ads on your site that will make you income. I don’t have to ever touch my ads and the money just gets deposited into my account every month, and it way more than pays for my self hosting.

5.) Not promoting my posts enough: When I first began blogging, I thought you wrote a post, shared it to Facebook and Twitter once, and that was that. It’s sad to think how many of my posts would have done so much better had I promoted them more. (I have gone back and reworked and re promoted some things, but still, it’s sad.) There are so many more ways to promote your posts, and you should definitely promote them more than one time! You did all that hard work, so get as many eyes on it as possible!

If you have any questions about the links above such as my free email course or my new eguide, let me know.

RELATED: The Ultimate Blogger Guide for Working With Brands

The Ultimate Blogger Guide for Working With Brands

I’ve been blogging a long time. Back when I first started over eight years ago, I had no idea it was something you could make money doing. Working with influencers was still a new term, and brands were hesitant to open their wallets to pay a blogger to advertise for them. My my how times have changed, and it’s so exciting to see most brands embracing online influencers and acknowledging that they are an integral part of making sales. We already have an audience that knows and trusts us right? Plus it’s way cheaper to have bloggers post for you than pay millions of dollars for a print or television ad!

The Ultimate Blogger Guide for Working With Brands

So we “know” that money is being exchanged and floating around out there, but so many people are still at a bit of a loss on how THEY can get a piece of that pie. It can be downright frustrating to see huge bloggers get massive contracts, but don’t worry, you can make money too! You may not get a 20K contract to start out like the big guys do, but there is a way for you to make money via your blog or social media profiles as a full time career, or just a side hustle to help out your family, and I can show you how to do it.

After seeing the plight of so many bloggers, and getting tons of emails on the topic, I decided to create my own guide specifically for frustrated bloggers who were ready to take it to the next level. Maybe you have already worked with brands before but in exchange for product only, or maybe you want to work with brands but just don’t know where to start, or how to get your blog “ready” for such a thing. (I mean after all, the brands are going to LOOK at your stuff before they hire you, right?) Maybe you are a stay at home mom who has been blogging as a creative outlet but would love to also make some money from it to contribute to the grocery bill or mortgage payment, or for that summer vacation to the beach.

That’s why I created the Ultimate Blogger Guide for Working with Brands. It’s concise, it’s no frills, and it has no pretty fonts or extra printables. It’s all text, ready for you to absorb so you can put it into action ASAP.

See, I feel there is a mix of issues going on here. One is lack of self confidence, and one is fear of putting yourself out there/not knowing where to start. Well, if you have been following me for any length of time you should know how I feel about fear. Punch it in the face! Be afraid, but then DO IT ANYWAY. Sometimes we just need a little nudge, and I hope my guide is the nudge you need to feel confident when it comes to:

-creating a media kit

-approaching brands

-pitching brands

-writing your posts

-making sure the brand wants to work with you again

PR people talk my friends, so you want to make sure you have a good reputation of doing good work. Your blog and social profiles are kind of their own “resume”, and you have to decide what story you want them to tell.

Ultimate blogger guide for working with brands

My guide is priced very fair, starting at only $15 (price going up in a week!) because I know you may be short on cash since you are looking to make money, right? I feel ya, trust me I do. I have been there, and I want to help pull you out of the black hole as quickly as possible, so you can do things like I did this morning, like draft a Facebook post where I am making over $100 just for that one post, or replying to a shipping email on the $250 worth of product I am getting to review and will make $800 total for. Y’all this is REAL money and it’s REALLY possible, I promise!

So head on over to my sales page and grab your copy. It could make for some great weekend reading, and then come Monday, implement, implement, implement! You can do this my friend! Holler if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

5 Reasons To Get Over Your Fear of Starting A Blog

A lot of people have really good things to say. They have knowledge on a topic, or many topics, and have thought about starting a blog. However, that’s as far as it goes for some. For one reason (or maybe many!) they have fears and reasons why they won’t actually take that next step and start a blog. Today I am hoping to ease your mind and get rid of some of those fears for you. Blogging has literally changed my life in so, so many ways and I absolutely love getting to share my life with you, my readers. I want you to have the same excitement and feelings I have as well if that’s something you desire, so let’s get over these fears together!

5 Reasons to get over your fear of starting a blog

Reasons to get over your fears of blogging. If you can do this, you can potentially…

1.) Make Money: Let’s call a spade a spade. A lot of folks get into blogging so they can make money and work from home. Don’t be afraid to speak out if this is your answer. ‘Aint no shame in my game, I definitely like to make money! Granted when I started blogging eight years ago it isn’t why I started…back then I didn’t even know it was possible to make money blogging, but things change and it’s definitely high on the list of motivating factors for me. I love being able to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and work with brands that I really love. It’s very satisfying to be my own boss and make my own decisions!

2.) Have a creative outlet for your thoughts and knowledge: This is kind of why I started. I wanted to start distance running, and decided to blog as a way of holding myself accountable, and a way to share my training with others, in hopes it may inspire them to do the same. Here we are eight years later. Many things have changed, but one thing remains: I love having a place to share and inspire and teach others. I have always loved to write, so this is right up my alley!

3.) Learn and grow as a person: If you asked me to tell you what I have learned about myself and about other topics in the course of the years I have been blogging, it would take me approximately 27 years to tell you all about it! When I look back at a lot of the ways I have grown as a person over the years, so many things stem from my blog and things I have learned, mistakes I have made, and people I have met. Heck, I even owe my husbands CAREER to a friend I met through blogging. It’s so fun and a little unreal to be able to trace back important life milestones, experiences, and decisions to your blog or someone you met via blogging.

4.) Meet great people: Speaking of people I met through blogging…some of my very best friends in the world I met all because of the internet. I love how it connects people from all over the world, and you can share a bond with people you have never met or don’t see that often. I have also made some amazing business contacts, met celebrities, and had mind blowing experiences all because of my blog. It’s awesome, and to think of not having them if I had never started makes me so, so sad.

5.) Have the chance to inspire and change the lives of others: This is definitely my favorite part of blogging. I have a folder in my email titles “happy emails” where I have saved emails from over the years where people have taken the time to write me and tell me that I have helped them, encouraged them, or inspired them in some way to make a change, get over a fear, or try something new. Those emails warm my heart and make me feel like I truly am making a difference in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, some days are hard or frustrating, and it’s not always happy emails, but I wouldn’t change any of it if it means I got to connect with or help someone through my written word. I hope that these reasons to get over your blogging fear have encouraged you to stop being a fence sitter! The best things in life are often the scariest, but come with the greatest reward. Who knows what your life could look like a year from now? You will never know unless you try.

Hey! guess what? Ready to take the plunge and get over your fear of starting a blog but don’t know where to start? You are in luck! I have a completely FREE 5 day email course on how to start a blog of your own. Every day for 5 days I will meet you in your inbox with tips, encouragement, and how to’s for getting your own blog up and running. You can sign up now and get going on that blog!

How to Get More Blog Readers

 

After the post I wrote about starting your own blog, I had a lot of questions along the lines of “ok, I started my blog, but how do I get readers?” Great question. Keep in mind it won’t happen overnight. The numbers I used to get excited about for a whole day on my blog are now what I get in an hour. But it took time, and lots of hard work. Here are a few simple things you can do to start building your pageviews.

7 tips and ways to get more blog readers and page views on your site

1.) Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. Pinterest is a great way to get traffic, but you have to use it effectively. That is a whole other post in and of itself, but this free WordPress plugin puts a pin it button on your picture when you hover over it (like on my blog) so readers can easily pin any photo on your post. Don’t forget to put descriptions on your photos so if they do get pinned, there is a better chance or them getting repinned!

2.) Comment on Other People’s Blogs/social media. While you are sitting around waiting for a blog or social media comment…so is everyone else. Take some initiative, and go comment with genuine comments on some blogs or social posts! I try to hit at least 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon/evening, more if time allows. Also I try to read NEW blogs and mix them in with old favorites. You will start to see people clicking over to your site from a comment you wrote on another blog!

3.) Interact with your readers. No one wants to feel like they are talking to an empty void, so try and reply to comments when you can, on your blog and on social media. People want to feel like you are a real person and that their time spend commenting wasn’t for nothing.

4.) Be active on social media. I avoided Twitter like the plague when I was first blogging because I didn’t understand it, but now it’s one of my preferred forms of social media and I get a ton of pageviews from it daily. Don’t just talk about your stuff, but engage in conversation with other people and make some friends! Also, Twitter chats are a great way to get exposure, more followers, and readers. Facebook and it’s every changing algorithm is a different animal all together, but I also try to at least like every comment left for me there. Instagram has become wildly popular, and don’t forget about stories! Interact with people on stories, answer questions, and comment. People will start to notice!

5.) Host a giveaway. This may cost you a little money, but could be worth it. You may even be able to get someone to donate a product. Put a post up on social media announcing your giveaway and have people enter, and share about the giveaway as an additional entry. That way, you get extra exposure! (I use Rafflecoptor, it’s free and so easy!)

6.) Write a guest post. A lot of bloggers will put out a call on their blog or on their Twitter or Facebook asking for guest posters. This is a great opportunity for you to be seen by new readers and get exposure on a more experienced blog. It takes a little time to write that extra post, but is definitely worth it if you are guest posting on more well known blogs! Some companies and brands will even let influencers do an Instagram takeover. This is a great way to get exposure from a new audience.

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7.) Be Yourself: People can sniff out a fake like a bloodhound. Don’t try and mimic your favorite people and blogs that you follow. Sure you can take tips from them and learn the right way to do things, but use your own voice and put your own unique spin on things. You will find your tribe and your following, just keep being consistent with these steps and don’t quit!

don’t forget, I highly recommend becoming self hosted. I use Bluehost, and WordPress is free through them, and the prices are very very reasonable. It’s also pretty user friendly. Click the image below for more info: (affiliate link)


 

QOTD: What is your best tip for getting more pageviews on your blog?

January 2018 Blog Income Report

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I get a small commission.

I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about the income I make from my blog, so I thought I would share an income report for the first time ever. Do I plan to do these every month? Probably not. However I just want to share with you what is POSSIBLE with your blog and social media, and that there are many different avenues to do it. I absolutely do NOT do this to brag, there are a lot of bloggers out there who make way, way, WAY more than me a month. I decided to do this to help people believe it’s possible, and like I said, to show there are so many different wants to monetize online.

income report

For instance, I do a *little* bit of affiliate marketing, not a ton, but I do sell a product and I also do sponsored posts and run ads. It goes to show that there is not one end all be all with blogging, and different things work for different people, and that’s ok.

Before we begin just a little back story for those that don’t know me. (hhhiiiiiii).

I started blogging eight years ago, and had no idea you could make money from it. After a couple of years I started getting pitched by brands and slowly made a little money and got a lot of free products and experiences.

Then about two or so years ago, I started taking things more seriously. I wrote an ebook, and this past year I created an online course teaching people a side hustle, how to be a freelance social media manager (from home) in 21 days or less.

I typically blog twice a week, and am very active on social media. I also have a podcast where I (tend to) create new episodes every other week. I also have been going live on Facebook lately which is a lot of fun as well.


I struggled with how to break up this income report because my job as a social media manager is in direct correlation to my blog. If it were not for my blog and the social media channels associated with it, I would not have social media clients or know how to be a social media manager. So I decided to show you both “sides”, meaning just showing you what I strictly made from my blog + social channels, and also showing you what I made from my clients, which I still feel is “blog related” if that makes sense.

So what do I owe my success to this month? Here are a couple of things I considered:

1.) Spending more time on my email list: I used to hear people talk about creating an email list years ago, and I would roll my eyes. What would I say to these people? I mean, isn’t that what my blog is for, to talk to my readers? I can’t come up with even MORE content in a week than I already do! Who cares if I have their email address on file? Then about two years ago I decided to start my list and if I could go back in time I would kick myself for not starting it YEARS sooner! Being able to speak directly to your audience is so important, especially if/when you start selling your own products or services. Now I spend a little time each week working on my list, creating lead magnets, or sending broadcasts. Sending out links to my posts and podcasts has helped boost my traffic significantly. I love Convert Kit because it is super user friendly and there are so many ways you can keep track of people, and they really helped me visualize getting people into an email sequence. They also host fun webinars and training’s all the time!

2.) Spending way more time on Pinterest and utilizing Tailwind: I have really got to start listening to people, yall. This is another one that I heard people talk about forever, but jumped on the bandwagon later in the game. Sure I liked Pinterest as much as the next guy, but I didn’t see what all the fuss was about as far as using it to get people to come to my blog, or about timing your pins or pinning a certain amount a day. Now, I totally get it, and with the help of Tailwind, Pinterest is now my NUMBER ONE traffic source to my blog. Yes, even more than Google or any other social media site. It truly is amazing! Tailwind makes my life so easy and I can get my pins scheduled in a snap at the beginning of the week.

3.) Getting in Facebook groups that are encouraging and challenging me as a blogger: Ok I admit it, I can be kind of a loner. I was the kid in school who hated group projects because I always ended up doing all the work and I would much rather do my own thing and get it done quickly. This has since translated to me relying on myself and myself alone when it comes to all things blogging and social media. Sure I do tons of reading, but I wasn’t really interacting with or learning from others until the past couple of months. I think this has helped me to up my game and stretch me a little bit!

Ok, so let’s get to it.

First I will break down strictly my blog and social media income, then I will do a separate part for my social media clients. Please note I base these numbers off of payment GIVEN, not work I have done but haven’t gotten paid for yet.

January 2018 blog and social media total: $2,616.47

Ads: $76.86

Social media posts: $285

Blog posts: $1000

affiliate income: $45.07

Online course and eBook sales: $1,209.54


Now for the money I made working as a social media consultant and manager, which is a job I have because of my blog and social media channels. (I freelance for several companies).

January social media consulting and management: $1200. <—–This number is actually about half of what it normally is. I lost two clients at the end of the year. one I knew I was losing because I was just helping for a few months while they got their restaurant open, but the other was a surprise. I was steadily making between $2k and $2,500 a month in 2017. Thankfully I have already added in a new client for February, and have a couple companies in line to hopefully start with me in March to bring that number back up.

*Also keep in mind I do social media management PART TIME. Very part time. Like 15 hours a week. If you are interested in becoming a social media manager but don’t know where to start, I highly recommend checking out my ecourse, Social Side Hustle. It will tell you exactly how and where to get clients, how to pitch them, how to handle/manage accounts, how to automate a lot of your posting, what to do about paperwork, etc. I even give some free templates to help you out!


The numbers above do NOT include expenses, and are before taxes. I had an estimated $100-$150 in fees I had to pay out for things like my email service, and Teachable, where I host my course. I pay for web hosting and tailwind as well as a couple of other things up front for a year so it’s hard to factor those things in.

Posts in January: Here are a list of the blog posts I wrote and published in the month of January.

Occidental Grand Cozumel All Inclusive

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista

How the Fabletics VIP membership Works

Sandals Ochi Beach

Universal Orlando Resort Blue Man Group

Health and Fitness on the Carnival Vista

5 Reasons to Stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Christmas Recap 2017

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

Something to keep in mind if you are wanting to grow your blog and not only make money but have fun experiences, is that a lot of the fun things and events don’t include a paycheck, especially in the travel space. For instance, in January I blogged about going to Universal Orlando, Blue Man Group, Staying at Sapphire Falls resort, and my Carnival Cruise from last year. All of these things were amazing experiences, and they were all free but I was not paid to go or blog about them. A lot of these experiences were not cheap, and afforded my family the ability to do super fun things that normally I would have to pay for, so in a way, this can be considered “income” if that makes sense.

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So in total this month, I made $3,816, before expenses, which is down for me considering my social media income was about half of what it normally is. Also keep in mind that with all of my endeavors added together, I probably work around 32ish hours a week. It is entirely possible to be a blogger or work in social media part time and make full time money.

Again, if you are curious about becoming a social media manager, you do NOT have to be a ninja to get started. My course will teach you what you need to know. As long as you have a basic grasp of the platforms, you will do just fine in the course.

Or, if you want to start your own blog but are overwhelmed at where to begin, you can sign up for my free 5 day email course which will teach you how to get started, even with picking a name.

The goal of my blog has always been to help people, motivate, encourage, and inspire, so that was my goal with this post. I am currently working on a guide for bloggers about how to work with brands so be on the lookout for that to release!

Be sure you follow me on Twitter, PinterestInstagram, and Facebook for the latest videos, photos, and news. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Clearwater Uncorked 2017 Review

Disclosure: I attended the festival free of charge, however all opinions are my own.

The Clearwater Beach Uncorked festival takes place right on the beach next to Clearwater’s famous Pier 60. It’s a fabulous time to enjoy amazing food, drinks, and weather (December in central Florida is the best!) I had the opportunity to attend the festival for the first time, and it did not disappoint. 

Bobby and I checked in and were given media passes as well as some goodies before meeting up for a special presentation. The weather was PERFECT and I couldn’t wait to see all the fun things this day would bring.

The way the festival works is there are general admission passes and VIP passes for purchase. VIP’s get access to the tasting village at noon, while everyone else waits until 1:00. VIP’s also had access to an outdoor lounge by the pool at the Wyndham across the street. The lounge was open from 1:00-5:00, and the tasting village was open until 4:00. Media got to sneak in early before the madness and take some photos and here all about chocolates and desserts.

We toasted to the festival with the most adorable bottles of champagne.

And were treated to the most delicious chocolates I have ever tasted from Norman Love. (My favorite was the almond and chocolate one, I’m trying to figure out how to get my hands on more as we speak!)

We also heard from Norman himself.

Cake pops were also had by all (red velvet was delicious!)

After the dessert indulgence, it was time for us to work backwards and start tasting all the food and beverages in the tent.

There were so many options we really didn’t know where to start! Everyone was so friendly and answered all of our questions.

When I saw someone handing these bad boys out, I was so pumped. What a perfect invention! It was hard to eat and hold your drink at the same time, so, problem solved!

After awhile we decided to head over to the outdoor VIP lounge at the Wyndham across the street.

Patron popsicles? Yes please! I may have had more than one…

Again, so many options, and generous portions and as many seconds (or thirds) as you wanted!

Again, the weather was so perfect and the location was on point, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day with great food and great (and some new!) friends.

My only wish would be that it was open longer! I didn’t get a chance to visit all the booths because there were just too many and we only had four hours. I vote for opening an hour early next year. That would be my only criticism. 🙂

If you have the chance to go to Clearwater Uncorked next year, I would highly recommend it, totally worth the money. I have gone to a lot of events in the short year I have been in Tampa, but this one is near, if not at the top of the list!

To see more photos from the event search hashtags #UncorkedWeekend and #CLBU17. Fair warning, it will make you hungry!

BlogHer 2017 Recap

Last weekend, I attended the mother of all blogging conferences: BlogHer 2017. Lucky for me, it was being held in Orlando, just a little over an hour away from me. I have always wanted to attend this conference, but plane tickets plus conference pass plus hotel was just not in the cards, so I was pumped when some of those things ended up being taken care of!

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I arrived on Thursday to the beautiful Hilton Bonnet Creek. I LOVE this hotel yall. It was my 3rd time staying here, and it was just as beautiful as ever.

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I had the opportunity to have snacks and drinks with some blogger friends and some of the marketing team at Bonnet Creek, and it was a great way to kick off the weekend!

Thursday afternoon was registration, and my roommates arrived just in time. We heard Chelsea Clinton speak, then got checked in. 

With 2500+ bloggers trying to check in, the line was super long so we waited awhile before doing so. I went to the expo by myself after this, and compare it to the first day of a runDisney expo–a little crazy!

Then it was time for the Princess Cruise event. They are rolling out new technology similar to a Disney Magic Band but way prettier and more advanced. You can tap a screen and it will tell you how to get to the pool with the fastest route considering traffic flow on the ship.

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I was pretty wiped out after that since I still had my cold, so I went to bed. The next morning we were up bright and early for the 7:30 newbie breakfast we had registered for. Imagine our surprise when we got downstairs and the line was well over 100 people long. We waited a few minutes then were told the breakfast was full to capacity and we would have to go to regular breakfast. Huh? We REGISTERED for this…why were they not checking names?! I was really irritated by this and it sadly wouldn’t be the last time this happened to people over the weekend. We got breakfast and headed in to the breakfast keynote, which was WAY more political than I was anticipating at a blog conference.

We then had our first breakout session, then lunch, then another breakout session. But let me backup. I was eating lunch with a Disney friend of mine, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Serena…Well, duh! So I ran off after him to the backstage area where we hung out for a few minutes before she took the stage. It was amazing! I was slightly starstruck and on a high the rest of the afternoon.

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I ran over to another special event with HP, and then back for the afternoon session. The session rooms were super crowded as they did not have enough chairs so I had to sit on the floor. Not a huge deal, but just thought planning would have been better for the amount of people there.

After this, we were on our own for dinner. There was an event that night my roommates and I decided to skip, and instead we ubered to Disney Springs for dinner and drinks and had a blast.

My food was very good and I will definitely be back again.

We had a happy hour I was invited to that we attended next, so we ubered to a different hotel for it and met some more great people, and had yummy drinks and snacks.

We were all tired after that so we got in our PJ’s, made some drinks and watched TV in bed. Adulting is hard.

The next morning we had to pack up all of our stuff since we were checking out of the hotel, so we brought it all to our cars before breakfast. We ate, had another keynote (Gabby Reece and Laurie Hernandez!) and then I had another special event called “speed dating”. I had 90 seconds to talk with 6 brands and see if they wanted to work with me. It was super nerve wracking but also fun.

I went back into the expo after that was over because I had some time before lunch. I grabbed a mashtini from Bob Evans (yum!) and met with a couple more brands.

After lunch I had a meeting with another brand, so I missed part of the keynote but came back to see Carla Hall and Cat Cora speak.

Then we went to our last session which was by far my favorite. I am implementing things I learned as we speak, and can’t wait to do more! I decided to not stay for the closing party so I could get back to Tampa and help my husband with Emma Kate, but I was also too worn out to stay up late then drive home.

I had a blast getting to know my roommates more and also meeting other bloggers and brands. That in itself was worth it to me.

So to recap BlogHer:

Things I loved: Meeting new bloggers, hanging out with my roommates, meeting with brands, a couple of the sessions and special events. The host hotel was amazing.

Things that were just OK: variety of food. At breakfast there was no protein which made me sad. Some of the sessions didn’t have space/seating and were more surface level teaching than I would have liked.

Things I didn’t like: Being turned away for an event I registered for. This happened again later in the weekend for a special movie screening some people attended as well. Way way way too much political talk. And it was very obviously one sided. Was not a fan. Teach me about blogging! teach me about networking!

Would I attend again. It depends. If it was in an easy to get to location and my friends were going as well as great brands/sponsors, I would go again. I would just skip some of the keynotes and things I know that I’m not going to be a fan of hearing.

If you have any questions let me know, I would be happy to try and answer.

 

5 Things Friday XXV

Hey guys! I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought it would be fun for this Memorial Day weekend Friday.

1.) Me, Bobby, and Emma Kate are headed to Orlando on Sunday and will be hitting the Disney Waterparks (her first time at a water park!) We will be going to Blizzard Beach because I hear that is the most kid friendly of the two. I can’t wait! I haven’t been to a Disney Waterpark in YEARS.

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2.) While we are in Orlando we will be staying at the Wyndham I-Drive, which is the official hotel for International drive. I will be posting pictures and Insta stories on Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned!

3.) I attended a Carnival Cruise Lines event yesterday at Port Canaveral, and will be posting a blog post about it soon. We were on the Carnival Liberty for a couple of hours, eating hamburgers!

4.) You may have noticed I am finally back to running! I haven’t done anything over three miles, but my leg is feeling better and better. I still have to foam roll and stretch really well, and don’t have 100% range of motion when I squat or lunge, but I have no knee pain!

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5.) Recently we tried out FitLife foods, which has locations here in Tampa, and delivers meals right to your door. You get to pick what meals you want and when you want them delivered, and they just show up! Some of them tasted pretty good, and some were honestly pretty bland and needed some serious salt and pepper. I enjoyed not having to think/worry about what I was going to eat for dinner as a busy working mom, which was the main/huge draw for me. I just knew we had meals in the refrigerator, and so that stress hanging over my head was gone, plus I didn’t have to go to the store as much. But, the one downside for us/Bobby is that the portion sizes were too small for him. He eats a lot and works out a lot and would need 2-3 “meals” for one meal, and that gets expensive quickly.  I may give them another go the next time he is out of town and it’s just me and Emma Kate, because I truly enjoyed the convenience! If you haven’t tried it out I say give it a go one time!

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Blog to Business at Food and Wine Conference

Good morning! I have some fun news to share today. I will be speaking on a panel at the amazing Food and Wine conference next month in Orlando, Florida!

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I am super excited, as it has been awhile since I have attended and spoken at a blog conference. I love that I live in a place now where I don’t have to travel far to attend fun things like this!

My session will be on Sunday, and you can check out my speaker bio here. The panel I am speaking on will be discussing turning your blog into a business, and how to handle/balance it all with everything else going on in life. I will be speaking with three other great influencers, and I can’t wait to share my journey!

If you are looking to attend the conference, you can still sign up.

Why would you want to sign up? Well, first of all, because it is being hosted at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek resort in sunny Orlando, Florida.

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I mean how gorgeous is this place?

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There are going to be some GREAT sessions with awesome speakers, I am already planning out who and what I want to see. Also of course, don’t forget about the amazing FOOD that will be there! I can’t wait to share my experience with you through social media, but I do hope some of you will sign up and join me at the conference!

QOTD: Have you ever attended a conference like this?