Food and Wine Conference 2015 Recap #FWCon

 

2015FINALFW

I can’t even believe that the Food and Wine Conference (FWCon) has been over for more than a week. It was a conference I had been looking forward to for months, and now I have to wait until next year – wahhhh.

Last year, my first year as an attendee was so much fun! This year, I felt like I almost knew too many people, and therefore never got a chance to see everyone like I had hoped to. Those are things I never thought I would say; that I knew too many people. That’s how much I love this conference and finding my “people” those who love to blog, love food, and combining the two. Not that you needed to be a blogger to attend. But there truly is something at any blog event that my husband, family, and non-blog friends don’t get the way blog friends do. And that’s okay, because things like this…they’re just for me. They’re my thang, that fulfill my creative side, and I kind of like that.

AshleeHamonPhotographyFWConWEB-11

IMG_20150717_170626

So, back to the FWCon! It is three full days of events. Hosted each year at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL, this resort is a place you could go on vacation alone without even attending the conference, or any other Orlando attractions and still have a good time (note to Jason: let’s book a weekend getaway, stat!). I roomed with Lora Hogan, another Tampa Bay blogger, a yogi and a fellow foodie. We had a great time together, and I even periscoped Lora while she did yoga on Saturday sort of as a light tease, but also because after the food we had already had, you wouldn’t catch me trying yoga! But then Lora made that whole situation into a blog post about Hotel Yoga, which just shows you the type of person she is (find me on periscope @casadecrews).

Tampa Bay Bloggers

#roomies

Friday night kicked off with a welcome event hosted by Dixie Crystals, and a Make-Your-Own Sugar Scrub station. I got too caught up chatting and never made it to an actual station, but it looked fun!

Next up on Friday, The Florida Strawberry Grower’s Association welcomed us with a fun Signature Strawberry Shortcake Cocktail using St. Augustine Distillery Vodka, one of the sponsor’s I was a brand ambassador for (along with Premier Beverages and The Hess Collection). I clearly had a good time, because I started posing Jammer, the Florida Strawberry Grower’s Association mascot with cocktails… Jammer had a good time, too!

Jammer

Lastly on Friday, we were welcomed into the Butler banquet room to try tapas-style bites from different restaurants located at the Rosen Shingle Creek. The Taste of Rosen Shingle Creek was a lot of fun! The drinks provided by Premier Beverages were also tasty (duh).

After several hours of chatting, eating, and drinking it was time to call it a night. Saturday would be another full day! But not before enjoying a treat from the hotel; all the macaroons in a chocolate shoe! [Read more…]

Life: An Update (Summer 2015)

 

This summer has been a packed one! So packed that I apparently made myself sick (if you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you already knew this).

I knew it was coming. Do you ever feel like you’re just going, and going, and going and you know something needs to change but you can’t stop it? That’s how I felt for a few weeks, and then last week, my body made me slow down. I went to the doctor and was told I have bronchitis – no one else around me has it; not my husband, not co-workers, or friends. Just me (isn’t that weird???). I have had no choice but to slow down. Sadly, even writing this blog post took two days to write, because I got tired halfway through.

+I’m not used to having a husband who is home so much. At first it was awesome! We took a few trips, spent loads of time together, and hung with our friends. But then my new 9-5 had assignments and I was trying to get into a routine with that, and the ol’ blog needed my attention. I was feeling like I couldn’t balance being an attentive wife, a full-time employee who blogs (as a business – more on that later), while trying to keep the house clean. Never mind working out. I wasn’t eating well, either. Again, I knew things had to slow down but wasn’t sure how to. Like I felt as though I couldn’t stop the train…

jasonandnichole

May 2015

I’ve always been honest and real on the blog about my marriage (for that’s how this blog came to be in the first place, right?!), and all my busy was hard on us as a couple. I’ve talked about how Jason going to law school helped our marriage. I had to find my own interests after several months of depression over the fact that my new husband was never home. But right now he’s home, though very soon we’ll be back in the swing of our own routines as Jason begins the Fall semester. I feel like I embraced our time together 110% in May/June, but then I didn’t want to lose myself again and what I have been working for with my blog, which at this point, I almost consider a second job.

It’s not like Jason needs my attention all the time. He’s a low maintenance guy. But he was as excited as I was to spend time together and hang this summer in a way we haven’t been able to in three years because of law school. [Read more…]

BLT Panzanella Salad for #SundaySupper


Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.

BLT Panzanella Salad #SundaySupper #GalloFamily

Things I love about summer: late nights, grilling with friends, fruity fresh cocktails, and picnics! I’ve got the late nights with friends, grilling while sipping cocktails down, but sadly, not nearly enough picnics have been had.

The last picnic Jason and I went on was last summer to the beach – it was a perfect night. There was absolutely no stress. We threw two chairs and our cooler in the trunk, and picked up a few salads and snacks from the grocery store. #perfection

sandkey beach, fl

That is pretty much the best thing about a picnic, no stress. Seriously why haven’t I gone on more picnics?!

One of my all time fave sandwiches any time of year is a good ol’ BLT, but since that’s a sammie best served hot, it isn’t going to hold up all that well for my perfect picnic. Do you know what will work? A BLT salad! But not just any salad, a Panzanella Salad. If you’ve never had a traditional Panzanella, you’re totally missing out; an Italian salad made of bread and tomatoes that’s just perfect in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and fresh tomatoes. I only recently discovered this flavorful, yet simple salad myself a few years back when I was at a local restaurant here in Tampa. WHY HADN’T I HEARD OF THIS SALAD BEFORE?! It’s all good though, I will eat all the Panzanella to make up for lost time.

BLT Panzanella Salad #SundaySupper #GalloFamily

[Read more…]

Lobster Tacos with Avocado Aioli #WeekdaySupper



I pretty much used all my vacation time up with our spring break cruise in March, and our trip to DC in May. That means no summer getaways for this kid. But I can pretend I took a trip to Key West over the summer with Lobster Tacos!

Lobster Tacos with Avocado Aioli #WeekdaySupper

We have several groups of friends that take an annual trip to The Keys for Lobster Season, and lucky for me, they bring us back lobstah – which may actually be better, because while I love KW, I have like zero desire to dive for lobsters. I do have a strong desire for pub crawls, bike rides, and Key Lime Pie, but I digress.

These tacos are fresh, light, and indulgent! They sound fancy, but are easy to make, and can be on your table in less than 3o minutes. If you’re going on a summer vacay, you could wow friends and family with these tacos. If you’re stuck at home, you can ‘pretend’ like me, and always pick up lobster from your local seafood counter.  [Read more…]