Travel

Mar
14
2014

Chit Chat Twenty Fourth Edition

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Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy past couple weeks, lots to chit chat about :)

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Last Friday I was on my way to NY to meet Amanda for a fun girls weekend.  We’ve had this planned for a while and I can not tell you how excited I was to go back to the city!  I had my magazines, Tieks and I was ready to go!  Oh and can I just say that I walked ALL day in my Tieks and they didn’t bother my feet even once.  They are the perfect traveling shoes.  So excited to collect more colors :)

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We met at the hotel Friday evening and headed out to dinner to “Parm.”  Not even kidding the best Chicken Parm I’ve ever had.  The baked ziti was to die for too.  Keep in mind that it is a very small restaurant, so call for reservations to prevent long waits.

71376a34a67311e39f0c127ea8075ce8_8After shopping it was time for some late night Max Brenner.  This 80’s Milkshake and S’mores Waffles are such a treat.  Theres’ nothing quite like it.

Breakfast

We had some amazing breakfast during our trip.  The picture on the left is from Laconda Verde and we had a Zucchini Fritatta and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  Those pancakes were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had.  So excited to try and re-create them at home :)

The picture on the right was from the cutest little bakery/cafe called Sugar and Plumm.  We ordered those crunch french toast sticks topped with fruit and lots of butter.  Such a treat.

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We made our way to Chelsea Market after breakfast.  Seriously one of my favorite places to shop and eat ever.   Such a charming place.

Jen and Amanda

Had so much much fun walking around the city!  Time Square and the cute Oreo Wall in Chelsea Market.

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Later Saturday night we walked around Union Square.  So gorgeous at night!

Celebrity Sightings

These are my favorite pictures….while we were walking through Eataly in Union Square Saturday night, for a split second, I made eye contact with Scott Foley….of Scandal….of Felicity walking through the busy walkways!!  I stopped dead in my tracks and after I froze up I managed to tell Amanda who it was, lol!  We turned around and followed him (In the green puff jacket, this is exactly what he was wearing).  He and his friend walked very quickly into one of Mario Bataly’s restaurants so this is the best I got.  We were dying.

So, the picture on the right is a bit out of sequence, but after I left NYC, I had to fly into Atlanta and I saw Ian Somerholder of Vampire Diaries!  Not even kidding.  I was talking to my mom at the time and could hardly even talk, lol!  Can you tell I don’t do well around celebrities?!  I wanted so badly to ask for a picture with him, but just couldn’t do it.  Such a chicken!

Sweets

We also tried some fun treats while we were there.  Had an assortment of macarons from Dana’s Bakery like the left peanut butter and jelly then some amazing gelato from Amorino shaped like a flower!  Love!!

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Sunday morning, there was no question that we were going to Levain Bakery.  I mean look at that cookie!  Hot out of the oven, chocolate peanut butter heaven!

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After breakfast at Sugar and Plumm and getting our nails done we made our way over to this fun Bowery Mural.  Its a huge wall painted with these amazing colors.  It also just happened to match my Tieks, lol!

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Later Sunday afternoon we made our way over to Rockefeller center to watch the ice skaters and grab a bite to eat at Bouchon.  How perfect is this?!

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Can’t say enough about Ippuddo.  We had the best steamed pork buns and Ramen I’ve ever had.  You have to start lining up 1/2 hour before they start dinner at 5pm or you’ll be waiting a very long time.  We got there about 4:45 and got right in.  A must visit!!

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You know we had to go to Serendipity 3 for Frozen Hot Chocolates!  This time I tried the peanut butter frozen hot chocolate and it’s even better than the original if you are a peanut butter fan.  Delicious.  Keep in mind that even at 11pm there will be a wait.  We got there at 10pm and had to wait 45 minutes to be seated.  Good thing Dylan’s Candy Bar Shop is just down the street to browse through while you wait!

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Amanda and I stayed at the lovely Omni Berkshire Place Hotel and had the best experience.  They made sure we had everything we needed and then some.  Highly recommend them!!

So much fun packed into 2 days in the city.  There’s just nothing like a little trip to NYC!  Can’t wait to go back again :)

Have a great weekend!!


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Mar
7
2014

Chit Chat Favorite Sweets and Eats in New York City

Happy Friday! Chit Chat day here at Picky Palate.

Favorite Sweets and Eats in NYC

I am on my way to NYC this weekend to meet one of my best traveling friends Amanda of Kevin and Amanda.  We have been traveling together for years and one of our favorites is definitely NYC!  Please be warned, my Instagram feed this weekend is going to have LOTS of food pictures and I mean lots.  If you are on a diet, you might want to unfollow me, lol!

I’ve put together some of my favorite places to eat while visiting this weekend.  I intend to eat every single one of these goodies, lol!  Can’t wait!

Levain Bakery Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie

Levain Bakery.  Quite possibly one of my favorite cookies on the planet is this warm chocolate peanut butter cookie.  Can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!!

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant!  Heaven help me when I walk through these doors.  There’s no telling how many doughnuts I will order, lol!  That top one is a creme brûlée doughnut and there’s nothing like it.  Amazing to say the least :)

Bouchon Bakery

Photo via Amanda

 Bouchon Bakery, Columbus Circle location is a classic and has the best macarons I’ve ever had.  The vanilla one is to die for!

Max Brenner

 Max Brenner!  The best milkshake I’ve ever had.  Period.  It’s called the 80’s milkshake.  A must order.  Their breakfasts are over the top delicious too :)

Chelsea's Market NYC

Photo via Amanda

Chelsea Market is one of those places you could just move in and live in the walkways.  So many fun places to eat and shop.  Food Network Studios are here too.  A must visit.

Eleni's New York City

Inside Chelsea’s Market is Eleni’s Bakery.  A must visit in Chelsea’s Market for whimsical sugar cookies and irresistible cupcakes.

Serendipity 3 New York City

Serendipity 3 is a classic.  You don’t go to NYC without getting a Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity.  I re-created the recipe, be sure to check it out HERE.

Magnolia's Bakery NYC

Magnolia Bakery has all kinds of delicious baked goods to choose from.  Famous for their banana pudding, and adorable store front, I can’t wait to go back :)

Crumbs Bake Shop

Photo via An Edible Mosaic 

Another cupcake favorite for me is Crumbs Bake Shop.  Their Cookie Dough Cupcake is one of my very favorites!

Waffles and Dinges Food Truck

The Waffles and Dinges Food Truck is a must too!  Belgian crispy sweet waffles.  Mmm!

Artisinal Mac and Cheese NYC

Photo via Amanda

I know I’m talking mostly sweets, but a trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Artisinal Bistro for the best mac and cheese around.  Love!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!  I’m going to live by the motto that there’s no calories when on vacation, lol!  At least I’ll feel better :)


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Nov
8
2013

Better Blog Retreat Re-cap

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Photo via Amanda

Early last month I had the opportunity to travel to Park City, UT for the Better Blog Retreat hosted by Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod and Heidi of Foodie Crush.  The pictures do not even do justice to the amazing time we had.  We laughed, learned, ate, exercised, got pampered and ate some more.  I feel so lucky to have spent the weekend with these amazingly talented women.  I truly love my job.  See bottom of post for a link to all of these gals.

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I met these two adorable girls at the airport to start our fun in Park City.  Left:  Rachel, Me and Amanda.

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Photo via Amanda

Ok, seriously this house?!  This is where we got to stay in Park City courtesy of Anthology.

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Photo via Amanda

Amanda and I shared this gorgeous room together with all kinds of goodies waiting for us on the bed.

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Photo via Sandy

Sandy made us the most delicious Baked Brie using Harry and David products. We were in hog heaven.  Look at the foodie paparazzi, lo!

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Our first evening in Park City, it started snowing!  Dara and I walked arm in arm in the snow to dinner.  I used my scarf as a hat, lol!

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Photo via Amanda

We woke up to a winter wonderland outside!  Amanda caught the snow perfectly here.

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One morning we had a Chobani yogurt bar and one morning we had Dine and Dish’s fabulous waffles.  Mmm!

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Photos via Kelley and Rachel

Most of the time we spent gathered around the living room talking and learning from each other.

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Sweet Tooth Fairy spoiled us rotten with cookies, cupcakes and cake bites.  Oh baby!

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One afternoon we got pampered by Zante Spa with mini massages, manicures and foot massages.

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Photo via Amanda

Before our last dinner together we got some group pictures!  Love these women!

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Photos via Amanda and Gina

More silliness snapping pictures :)

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Right photo via Maria

Our dinner table was so beautiful.  We had the most lovely dinner prepared by the Deer Valley Resort Chef.  I’m still dreaming about it!

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Photo via Amanda

Better Blog Retreat GirlsHeidiSandyKristenAmandaJessicaJennyRachelMariaAliLindsayKelleyGinaLori, and Dara (And Lisa, not pictured)

Thank you so much to all of our sponsors: AnthologyChobaniDeLalloKitchenAidDeer ValleyOXOWhole FoodsWisconsin CheeseHarry and David and many more.  Thank you for providing us the best weekend!


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Jul
15
2013

Where To Eat at the Orange County Fair

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Welcome

Cullen says:  Having only moved to California 4.5 years ago, we’re not too privy on the history and tradition of the OC Fair.  This past week, our boys had a baseball camp right across the street so we couldn’t resist on doing a review of some of the food that sits hot and ready to be consumed by non-calorie counting people.  All rules are left at the gate when it comes to food at the OC Fair.  Over exaggeration is probably the theme when it comes to cooking or preparing recipes for the fair.  Here we’ll show you some of the food we tried.

We arrived at 10:10am on a Saturday, the 2nd day it was open.  Not crowded at all.  Perhaps, everyone is at the beach, or it was because this just opened yesterday.  Did you know if you show up on Saturday or Sunday between 10am to 11am, fair admission is only $3 per person for ages 6 and up.  Age 5 and less than are free.  This is a huge discount as adults, 13+ are normally $11 and children 6 to 12 are $6.  We saved $22 for the 4 of us just for being bright and early.  Also, before we ate even the smallest granule of sugar, we spent $22 for tickets and parking, the latter being $10.

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Right as we walked in, we ran into The Snout v2.o or The Grilled Cheese truck which is owned by BACON MANia Food Truck.  We skipped over trying their staple Jack Back Sammie, which is a twice grilled bacon cheese sandwich for their more outrageous Spaghetti Doodle (pictured below).  We should have gone for their staple but outrageous is the name of the game today.

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 Spaghetti inside a grilled cheese just didn’t tickle us pink and we thought it was just Ok.  In the end, the Spaghetti Doodle just wasn’t outrageous enough for us.  At least now we know about the BACON MANia Food Truck and will be on a lookout for them in the OC area.  This baby runs you $9 and we give it a 5 out of 10.  Good but didn’t blow us away.

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Jenny says:  Bacon  A-Fair was next up.  They had about anything and everything you could think of wrapped in bacon.  They said their bacon wrapped portobello kebab was one of their favorite items, but for $15 a kebab, I decided to pass on that.  Lots of other things to choose from.

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 Bacon A-Fair’s giant bacon wrapped turkey legs smoking on the grill looked delicious if you ask me.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

 The boys and I thought the obvious choice was chocolate covered bacon.  The chocolate was really thick for the thin piece of bacon, but that’s just me being critical.  It tasted good to us.

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 The bacon wrapped hot dog was quite tasty.  Talk about a juicy smoky hot diggity dog on a stick.  We were happy with this choice.

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 I was on the hunt for Chicken Charlie’s after hearing about his crazy Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe Sandwich.  We tried at least a half dozen menu items, let’s take a look at our madness.

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 We saw them grilling these chicken kebabs outside of their food station.  They looked delicious, but unfortunately the one we ordered was overcooked and dry.  Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe

Who on earth thinks of a Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe?!  Well, you know we had to try it.  Surprisingly it was pretty good.  I was scared of the sweet and savory aspect being too extreme, but it wasn’t.  Our only complaint is that they gave us a cold “sloppy joe” center.  I thought maybe it was supposed to be cold and they later said it should be hot.  Make sure yours is hot :)

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 Too weird?  You decide, haha!

Deep Fried Oreos

 Deep fried Oreo’s have been a state fair staple for a few years now.  Always a treat.

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 The deep fried avocados were just ok.  I wouldn’t order them again.

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 We all agreed the deep fried bacon wrapped pickles were REALLY good.  Sounds kinda weird, but totally worth the calories.

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 The huge surprise of our day of eating goes to the deep fried Klondike Bar.  I’m not even a fan of Klondike Bars but something magical happens when it gets deep fried, no joke.  The melting ice cream center makes the whole treat worth it.  Yum, I want another!

Corn

Cullen insisted on the char-broiled corn.  He raved about it.  If you are into corn, we recommend this place.  It was directly across from Chicken Charlie’s.

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 As if we were not stuffed to the gills, we passed by the homemade cinnamon roll booth in the exhibit hall.  I ordered…..extra frosting.

Cinnamon Rolls 2

 I am not going to lie, even being really full, this was a darn good cinnamon roll.  Do it.

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 A little later in our day at the fair, we picked up a waffle cone ice cream sandwich from this colorful place.

Ice Cream Sandwich

 With sprinkles!  It was half dipped in chocolate.  2 nice thin waffle cones.  Cullen was the one who ate this one.  He gave it 2 thumbs up, but would have preferred no sprinkles.  Party pooper!

Basketball

 A little game stop.  Cullen won Brady this AZ State Basketball he wanted so badly.

Texas Donuts

 I was also on the hunt for the Texas Maple Bacon Donut.  For obvious reasons, lol!

Maple Bacon Donut

 It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it really is the size of your head.  Massive and absolutely delicious.  This baby will run you just under $10 so make sure you are hungry for it.

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The boys and I rode the sky rider back to the front of the park where I got this shot.  It’s always fun to go to your County Fair and I will gladly eat as many crazy fried foods as humanly possible.  Hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Where to Eat at the Orange County Fair.  Chances are you can find the same grub at your local county fair :)

Our tip: Go knowing you are going to eat like crazy and share a bunch of items with friends/family so you get to try a little of everything.


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Jun
13
2013

BlogHer Food Conference 2013, Austin

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What a fun weekend in Austin, TX!  The BlogHer Food Conference 2013 was smack dab in the middle of downtown Austin where hundreds of food bloggers across the country gathered together to learn, socialize and EAT. When you see my pictures below you’ll definitely understand what I mean about eating.  Boy did we eat, lol!

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a live preview of my weekend.  For those of you who didn’t, take a peek at what we were up to!

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First Photo-Left to Right: LoriSommerSandyHeatherBetsyMe, Lisa, AmandaMaria

What a whirlwind from the second I stepped foot in Austin.  I arrived to the hotel and had 5 minutes to change my clothes and run to our first party for Tasty Kitchen with Betsy and Ree.  These girls are so sweet and had their party in a lovely upstairs restaurant called La Condesa with amazing lighting.  Had a great time talking with these amazing women.

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After the Tasty Kitchen party, we scurried over to a KitchenAid party at Uchiko.  One of the best sushi restaurants I’ve ever been to.  There’s Amanda and I enjoying our dinner :)

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After Uchiko, we went over to the Ziplist party for desserts and more chit chat time with friends.  Busy busy night!  Here’s Lauren, sweet baby Blake, Amanda and I.

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Chit Chatting with more friends.

BHF Austin

 Woke up Friday morning to such a lovely view from our hotel room!

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First things first, I had Amanda take me back to Torchy’s Tacos where we shared a delicious breakfast taco and these ridiculous fried cookie dough bites coated in corn flakes.  Oh baby they were good.

BHF Gourdoughs

After Torchy’s it was off to Gourdough’s Doughnut Truck.  Take a look at this table!  Ridiculous.

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This happened too.  I believe this was the Banana Split Doughnut off of the secret menu.  Yikes!

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For lunch, we met up with the Michael Angelo’s Brand for a delicious lunch at Backspace.  This pizza was one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever had, not kidding.  Salivating just thinking about it.  Michael Angelo’s mom was one of the sweetest ladies around.  She reminded me so much of my grandmother.  She has such a love for her family and good food.  What a gem she is.

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Left to Right: DesereeMariaJulieMe, Lindsay, and Amanda

Here we are after a delicious meal from Backspace.  This was such a lovely afternoon.

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Photo by Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Not even kidding when I say that snuggling Kristan’s sweet baby Lucy was one of the highlights of my trip.  There is something about this little girl that just absolutely melts your heart.  Her little and smile and giggle is just perfect.  In fact, her and Pax need a play date asap Kristan, come to CA girl :)  Love Love Love this little gal and her mama.  Had so much fun chatting with Kristan on our LONG, hot walks back to the hotel.


Cupcakes

When food bloggers get together you know there’s bakery hopping.  We started at a bakery called Delish then went to Sugar Mama’s.  How cute is the little devil cupcake?!

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We stopped at a jewelry shop called Kendra Scott Jewelery.  I found these sparkly earrings to take back as a souvenir. Love them!  Check out the ones Shelly got too.

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Later Friday night we went to a lovely dinner at Moonshine hosted by Land O Lakes and  ReeMariaSommer, Brenda, and Julie.  It was a night of good food, friends and lots of laughs.

Land O Lakes Lunch

The food!  I got the Green Chili Macaroni with Chicken.  It was to die for.  Then there was the Skillet Apple Pie.  No words needed to describe the flaky crust on this little pie of heaven.

Photo Booth LoL

Then there was the photo booth, with Shelly,  Amanda and Maria.  Be sure to see Amanda’s re-cap for our silly animated version.

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What an honor it was to host a Nestle Lunch Saturday afternoon with Maria and Amanda in organization with Chris from Nestle at the lovely Parkside Restaurant.  Chris put together the most lovely group of bloggers for an afternoon filled with great food and wonderful friends.  Thank you Chris for the amazing opportunity to work with Nestle.

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I absolutely adore Lisa of With Style and Grace.  Our sweet baby boys are only a couple months apart and we always have so much to talk about.  It’s always a pleasure spending time with Lisa.

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Our appetizers were so pretty!!  Strawberry and rhubarb with brie bites.  Mmm!

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Love this shot that Chris captured of us enjoying our lunch.

Nestle Lunch

Lovely Roasted Chicken, Mushrooms, Sweet Corn Puree for lunch.  The desserts blew our minds.  You are seeing a Butterfinger Mousse with Salty Peanuts and Roasted Banana then a little Key Lime Pie and another crazy good mousse cup.

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Before the closing party, hopped on a pedi-cab with Ali and Maria for a Driscoll’s Strawberry Shortcake Party.  We were digging our driver’s mow hawk :)

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What a treat meeting Camille, Elyse and Kristen from Six Sister’s Stuff.  Also got to meet Kristen of Kristen Duke Photography on the right and Nikki from Chef in Training.  Sweetest girls.  Just love meeting new blogging friends at these events.

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JessicaTina, Amanda with Lauren ‘s sweet buddy Blake, and me :)

There’s always the epic photo booth pictures, lol!  I cannot get over Lauren’s sweet baby Blake.  He was the best little 5 week old baby ever.  His little face kills me.  Can I have him Lauren?  Lol!

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So, this Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwich was one of the best treats of the weekend.  Soft Chocolate Chip Cookie with Coffee Oreo Ice Cream.  Nuff said :)

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Left to Right: BrendaSommerLori, me, AmandaCherylSandyKristen

I have known most of these women in the above photo for years online and what a treat to have real one on one time with them.  Definitely my favorite part of going to these conferences, just being able to chit chat in person.

 BHF Austin

As I was getting ready to head to the airport ,Amanda and I got some pictures with these adorable girls….Ali from Gimme Some Oven and Cassie of Bake Your Day.  Photo via Amanda.

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Left to Right: KarlyErinJocelynAimee, Amanda and me

We also ran into these cute gals.  Such a fun and exhausting weekend.  Loved every minute of my time in Austin!

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I came home to this.  Love these boys so much :)  …and to my husband who had the boys all weekend-You are amazing.  xoxo


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May
24
2013

Food Blog Forum Orlando, 2013

What a weekend in Orlando!  The Food Blog Forum took place at Disney World May 18th and bloggers from around the country joined together for a weekend full of food and fun.  You know I can’t resist Disney, so I gladly endured the 5 hour flight to partake in the fun.  So glad I did!

Florida in Flight

How gorgeous does FL look from the air?  Was so excited to get started with the festivities.

Walt Disney World Entrance

I was aboard the Disney Magical Express Shuttle Bus headed for my hotel.  So close!!

Disney's Grand Floridian

We stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort for the weekend.  It was perfectly stunning.

Food Bloggers

Back Row left to right: AggieSommerKatrinaMeganRachelErinGinaCarlaAudraJulie
Front Row left to right: MeaganJennyTina, me (Photo via Audra)

After our opening dinner a giant group of us food bloggers were headed to Magic Kingdom.  Can you tell we were excited?  Lol!

Magic Kingdom Castle

We made it!  There’s something so magical about Cinderella’s Castle at Disney.  Even as an adult.

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Left to right: RachelGinaMeganMeaganCarlaErinJulieMeJennyKatrinaTina and Sommer

First things first, we made sure we got our photo in front of the castle.  Then we proceeded to Space Mountain and hunting down churros, turkey legs and dole whips.  Fun night indeed :)

Speakers

Right photo via Julie

Saturday morning we met nice and early in a lovely conference room at the Grand Floridian to start our sessions.  We were so lucky to hear from the Steamy Kitchen Family including their adorable boys, The White on Rice Couple, EliseJulie, Lindsay, David and so many more.  So inspirational sitting in that room.

Food Blog Forum Orlando

Photo via Julie

We are ready to go!

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During our breaks we always had time for some chit chat and photos.  Love all of these gals!  Left:  Angie, Leslie, Paula, me, Rebecca and Tina.  Second photo Aggie and I.

Friends

Julie, Amanda and I on Saturday at the conference.  Love these gals!

Robin and Kiran

Two of some of the sweetest women around.  Robin from Simply Southern Baking and Kiran.

Lunch Party

Left Photo via Cate O’Malley

Where there are desserts, you can find Amanda and I photographing like maniacs, lol!  Had so much fun.  We were served a gorgeous lunch and dessert from the Disney Chefs Saturday afternoon.

Epcot Center

Saturday afternoon Amanda and I spent some time at Epcot Center.  Love this place.  We darted straight to walk eat our way through all of the countries.

Countries

Have you ever been to Epcot Center and walked through all of the countries?!  It is amazing.  You can find authentic foods that you would actually eat in the country you are visiting.  We got a steamed BBQ Bun and Curry Chicken Pocket from China, Werther’s Caramel goodies from Germany and Gelato Cookie Sandwich from Italy!  What a dream!

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Later Saturday night we raced to Hollywood Studios to hunt down a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake and I reluctantly went on Tower of Terror with Amanda.  That ride scares me to death, lol!  If you look right above the goofy guy folding his arms, that’s Amanda and I.  I am closing my eyes screaming and Amanda smiling :)

Magic Kingdom Main Street

Sunday morning Amanda and I packed up and spend a couple last hours at Magic Kingdom.  We were determined to try a gooey cinnamon roll we heard about.

Gastons

How adorable is Gaston’s Tavern?!  Get a load of our cinnamon roll we shared.  We begged for extra frosting which is a must should you go.  Gooey and delicious!

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Photo via Julie

Huge thanks to these adorable girls Julie and Lindsay  in the above photo who put together this whole event for us.  They worked so hard and we are so grateful!

More Food Blog Forum Re-caps (will update as more come in)

Amanda of Kevin and Amanda

Julie of Table for Two

Rachel of Baked by Rachel

Audra of The Baker Chick

Angie of Big Bear’s Wife

Liz  of The Lemon Bowl

Amy of Nifty Foodie

Please link in comments so I can add your re-cap!!

Check out my first video attempt from Animoto.com  Thanks Todd and Diane for the recommendation!


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May
3
2013

Chit Chat Eighth Edition, Big Traveling Potluck

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend The Big Traveling Potluck which is a food blog conference/event that was held in Temecula, CA.  My friends Amanda and Angie flew down a day early and we may have had a dessert fest.  See below, lol!  Oh yah, what you see above is a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake from the Shake Shack in Crystal Cove.  It overlooks the beach.  Such a fun spot.

Sweet and Saucy

Angie, Amanda and I decided we definitely had to go visit Melody at her “Sweet and Saucy Shop” in Newport Beach.  Melody has some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts around.  You can see we sampled our fair share.  Party time!

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Photo via Melody

Here we are doing what we love to do!!  Take pictures of our treats…..then eating them of course :)

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Photo via Amanda

And more snapping photos of our desserts, lol!

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Photo via Amanda

After we checked into our hotel Friday afternoon we hit up a mall in Temecula for a little shopping with Maria.  Of course we spotted a cupcake shop that we HAD to try.  It was called “Truely, Madly, Sweetly.”  How cute is that?

Cupcakes

Left photo via Angie

 You can see we ordered an assortment.  Their S’mores was to die!  A great little bakery.

Dinner night 1

Left photo via Angie

We showed up for dinner Friday night to the most gorgeous home on a hill with a backyard that opened up to an amazing view.  It was a perfect place to catch up with old and new friends.  I can not get over Diane’s ginormous lemon cream cake that she brought.  It was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  Look at our faces, lol!!  Right:  Lisa, Maria and I.  Love these girls!

Breakfast

Here’s the scene of our breakfast Saturday morning.  It was sunny and lovely.  The food could not have been better.  Fruit, yogurt, breakfast pizzas, muffins, breads, you name it we ate it, lol!

Bakerella and Picky PalateAngie and I at breakfast.  We always have the same bright colors on.  Love spending time with Angie.  Soooo wish we were in the same city.  Absolutely LOVED the KitchenAid mixers on display for our fruit.  Lovely!

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Photo via Sandy

More breakfast friends. Left: Maria and Caleb, LoriHeidi, Ali, Me, Amanda and Sandy.

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After breakfast we went right into our speaker sessions.  What a great group of speakers we had.  So motivational and uplifting.  This is Matt Armendariz talking to us about his journey through photography.  Love him.

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Spending a little time outside with my gals.  Maria, Angie, me and Amanda.

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Oh my goodness Whole Foods had the most gorgeous spread for lunch.  Every kind of grain and topping you can imagine.  It was heaven in a bowl.

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Had a fun lemonade spritzer bar from Whole Foods.  How refreshing does this look?!

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Photo via Angie

Later in the afternoon before dinner we had a guacamole party with Gaby Dalkin in this most fabulous backyard.  What a setting for us.  Loved every second of it.

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Ree was here too!  It’s always so fun chit chatting with her.  Fun Fun Fun weekend!

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Our last morning together, we had a beautiful breakfast and said goodbye to our friends.  Here we have…  Left: Dara, Angie, Ethan, Amanda, Me, Lisa.

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Photo via Brian

One more of more friends! Left: Cathy, Lori, Dara, Angie, Ethan, Brian, Me, Lisa and Rachel 

A huge thanks to Maggy, Pam, Erika and the rest of the Big Traveling Potluck team that worked so hard for this perfect weekend of food and friends.  Loved every minute of our time together in the California sun!

More Big Traveling Potluck 2013 Re-caps.

Kevin and Amanda
Two Peas and Their Pod
Bakerella
Reluctant Entertainer
Foodie Crush
Bake Your Day
A Thought for Food


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Jun
26
2012

Gold Medal Flour Trip to Kansas City

I had the opportunity to head to Kansas City with a group of wonderful bloggers to learn all about Gold Medal Flour who I’m partnering with this Fall.  What an exciting wheat filled 2 days we had.  This first photo was taken at a wheat farm.  How fun is that?  Let’s take a look at my trip.

We stayed at the lovely Raphael Hotel.  The room was adorable!

I kind of LOVE Room Service and enjoyed Bananas Foster French Toast the first morning and a Belgian Waffle the second.

The first afternoon I arrived, met up with Jamie, Kristen, Maria and Bev for a fun lunch and cupcake party.  Love these ladies.  Yes, for those of you who do not know yet, I AM indeed 7 months pregnant as it is now very obvious, lol!

Here we are day 2 in the wheat farm.  Bloggers include:  (Top Left) Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg MD of Artisan Bread in 5, Jamie Lothridge of My Baking Addiction, Maria and Josh Lichty of Two Peas and Their Pod.  (Bottom Left) Lori Lange of Recipe Girl, Me and Meagan who will be the new blogger for Betty Crocker.com.

We had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the wheat farmers and watching how the wheat is cropped.

We even had the opportunity to take a ride in the giant tractor.  Being 7 months pregnant, I passed.  Lol!

All the wheat berries getting transferred.

After the wheat farm, it was off to General Mills to see how Gold Medal Flour was made.  It was incredible to see the wonderful passion that each of the General Mills employees had for their job.  Loved spending time and learning from all of them.

 

Here we are geared up for our grand tour :)

Our last day in Kansas City we headed over to a charming Culinary Center where we got to bake with each other.  Lots of fun.

 

Our tables were assigned for us!

We got to bake each others’ recipes. Meagan was baking my Baked Pumpkin Ice Cream Donuts and I stopped by to help.

A sneak peek at the new Gold Medal Flour packaging.

Here we are getting started at the culinary center.

I had the opportunity to bake Zoe and Jeff’s Almond Raspberry Pastry.  It was gorgeous!

Braiding dough is quite fun.

Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar!

Transferring our lovely pastry to a serving tray.

Had so much fun with these lovely bloggers.

After our baking, we whipped up some homemade pizzas for lunch.  Delicious!

Thank you to the Gold Medal Flour team for having us in Kansas City.  Had a wonderful time and look forward to working together this year!

**All photos minus a few of my own Instagram photos are courtesy of Gold Medal Flour**


This post is in partnership with Gold Medal Flour, but opinions are my own.


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Jun
15
2012

Seattle and Tree Top Orchards

What a whirwind of a weekend Amanda and I had last week.  I thought for sure since we had a good 5 nights in Seattle that this trip would seem nice and long, but nope, it went by in the blink of an eye.

BlogHer Food Conference was going on which is why we came out.  We didn’t go to any sessions, but rather ran around town to eat and see our way through Seattle and caught some fun parties too.  Let’s take a look at our fun-filled weekend :)

photo via Amanda

Last Thursday started out with a fun cooking video day with the National Pork Board and these wonderful bloggers listed below.  We had good food, great conversation and lots of laughs.  Look for our pork videos coming up later this year.  Should be fun :)

From Left to Right: Sandy & Paul @ Reluctant Entertainer, Jaden @ Steamy Kitchen, Diana @ Eating Richly, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Lauren @ Lauren’s Latest, Jessica @ The Novice Chef

After our video shoot Amanda and I scooted over to Top Pot Doughnuts which we heard wonderful things about.  They were gorgeous and that Old-Fashioned one in the front should be illegal, lol!

 

The inside of the shop was adorable.  Had it’s own little library and upstairs seating for a relaxing experience.  Loved it.

 

Yes, this is what Amanda and I look like most of the time on our trips.  Snapping photos at our food :)

Look at the size of that glazed doughnut?!  Fabulous.

photo via Amanda

Here’s Amanda and I at a party Thursday evening.  Keep in mind my chubby face is also almost 7 months pregnant, lol!  Gotta love it.

 

 

photo via Amanda

Loved meeting Leigh Anne of Your Home Based Mom in Seattle.  Her blog is beautiful and what a wonderful sweet person she is.  Not to mention has the cutest style too.  She always looked perfectly adorable!

 

Thursday night the fun continued at a Ziplist party.  My pregnant body was pooped by the time I got there but had fun in the photo booth with these adorable ladies :)

Darla @ Bakingdom, Shelly @ Cookies and Cups, Kristan @ Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Leslie @ The Hungry Housewife, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Shaina @ Food for My Family, and Tara @ Unsophisticook.

photo via Amanda

More fun continued Friday, lots of sightseeing and eating for sure.  We met up at this Tasty Kitchen party that Ree and Betsy put together.  Had a blast with all of these ladies listed below.

Jenna @ Eat Live Run, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jenny @ Picky Palate, Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Elise @ Simply Recipes, and Bev @ Bev Cooks.

photo via Amanda

So fun to meet Lisa of With Style and Grace.  ….and we are both pregnant and in stripes.  Too fun!

photo via Amanda

Bev @ Bev Cooks, Lisa @ With Style & Grace,  Amanda @ Kevin and Amanda, Maria @ Two Peas and Their Pod, Jessica @ How Sweet It Is, Me, Tracy @ Shutterbean

photo via KitchenAid

Maria, Amanda and I at the KitchenAid table.  Yup, there’s that baby bump of mine :)

Saturday, we stopped at a fun cupcake shop called Yellow Leaf Cupcakes.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

photo via Lori

Wouldn’t be a food conference without a dessert PJ Party right?!  Met up with some of our favorite friends Saturday night and Brooks of Recipe Boy came for a visit!  What a cutie he is.

Sunday morning, we took a bus ride with the Tree Top group to Lake Chelan, Washington.  Here’s a shot from outside my hotel room.  Gorgeous!!

We had a tour of the Tree Top Apple Orchards.

How pretty that the orchards overlook Lake Chelan.  Loved it here.

After the orchards, we had one of the most beautiful dinners I have ever had at Benson Vinyard Estate Winery.  The views were breathtaking.

 

photo via Epicurean Mom

The ladies in our group: Me, The Epicurean Mom (Katie), Kevin and Amanda (Amanda), Reluctant Entertainer (Sandy), Food for my Family (Shaina), Kim Sunee, The Healthy Apple (Amie), The Novice Chef (Jessica), The Kitchen Magpie (Karlynn), Mom Start (Louise), Mommie Cooks (Julie)

We started with these gorgeous appetizers.

After our appetizers, we headed into this gorgeous banquet room where we had a beautiful dinner.  It was unforgettable and we ate until we busted, lol!  Thanks Tree Top for a perfect end of our trip!

 


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