how blogging took me out of my comfort zone

I never dreamed that blogging for personal reasons would benefit me in other areas of my life, but I swear it has.

+ Last week, I went away for a business trip. I work for a very large, very corporate company. I won an award and was flown to cold Minnesota for a day, and a half. It was exciting, challenging, and I actually had fun (minus presenting my idea a gazillion times to executives, VPs, and the CEO)! But I was the most entry-level employee at this shindig. It could have been intimadating…but having gone to several blog conferences, I wasn’t as nervous about the networking aspect of my business trip.

Maybe it comes with age, but I didn’t initially know everyone titles, or roles, or experience for this work event. I feel like I jived well with everyone. Something like this would have intimidated me to the point of not going at one time in my life [anyone that knows me now, would probably never think this of me, but it’s true], but I went. If nothing comes of it for me professionally, at least I did it. Not many people in my department will get the opportunity.


+After attending my first blog conference alone last Fall [hey, BlogFete!], I decided I could and would start my own events company. It’s scary, and it is time-consuming, as I work this full-time job, blog on the regular, and attempt to keep a busy social life.

But I am doing it. I met a ton of supportive, and encouraging gals while at BlogFete. I felt so awkward my first night. I only knew Melissa, who was the organizer/creator and was busy playing hostess. I felt like I made a huge mistake in going. But once I set the nerves aside, I had THE best time. To date, it’s still the best blogging conference I have been to. Through it, I made wonderful connections, new friends that get the passion to create things in ways everyone else I know and love may not understand. I have a monthly spot as contributor at The Flair Exchange with it, and several event planners who I message pretty regularly when I have questions regarding my side biz.


Photos by Renee Nicole

Photos by Renee Nicole

+I occasionally get invited to local events here in Tampa Bay. For a while, it was too much. I was afraid to ever decline for fear of never being invited anywhere. But it became more “work” than fun, and I have been better about picking and choosing what I do, and where I go. I’ve made some awesome local, friends. I’ve made new friends that blog, that own restaurants, that just like to explore Tampa like me. If I never said yes to the first invite, I’d not have joined some local groups, and/or made the friends I have. So I have learned to say yes, and also…when to say no from blogging (whoa, that’s deep ya’ll).

+When I went to the Food and Wine Conference this summer, I had no idea what to expect! FWCon was only the second blog conference I had attended, and this time I actually knew people going (and was lucky enough to room with Krystal, and hang with Melissa), and knew there were a lot of folks from the Sunday Supper Movement that I couldn’t wait to meet.



At dinner one night, I sat next to one of the sponsors. We clicked, drank wine, and hung out. Everyone hung out with everyone, really. But I emailed my new marketing friend, and kept in touch, and now I am part of an exciting holiday campaign next month!

Going out of my comfort zone, and attending events alone and reaching out to people I don’t know well…these are not things I would have done three-ish years ago. Blogging has helped me in so many ways. Has blogging ever helped you?


#Thanksgiving Menu – 2014

Thanksgiving is pretty much the time of year where I unintentionally begin to forgo anything healthy and start to eat everything tasty; kind of a crazy thought since I like to think most of the healthier meals I make at Casa de Crews are actually tasty, too.

Though I am determined this year to allow indulgences for the meal of, I hope not to allow them the week, month, and/or season of. This year’s Thanksgiving menu will reflect this idea too – a little bit of healthy, and a little bit of indulgent fun!

We host major holidays the Sunday before with my in-laws, so no one has to travel to two, or three dinners in one day. Ain’t no time for that, for anyone.

This year, we will have 7-8 adults, and 3 kiddos for dinner. I always make too much food, and then we’re stuck with a ton of leftovers, which yea that sounds great in theory, but then we go to my parents house four days later, and do it all again. That’s too much turkey for this kid {mashed potatoes are another story. I digress}.

this guide helped me a ton!

this guide helped me a ton!

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Friday 11.14.14

What a week! I worked in the office Monday. Woke up at 3:30 am on Tuesday, and flew to Minnesota at 6:45am. Thirty hours later and I was home. All I did yesterday was binge watch Gilmore Girls , and snuggled with the pups. #productive.

It was an exciting trip, and while it was short, it was very fast-paced, and I am ready for the weekend (and one more day back at work, blah).

I don’t have many photos from the trip, but I did see snow for the first time since I was ten!!


My husband is having a boys night on Saturday – I think I may be a nice wife and make this dip for them.


I’m going to the bestie’s house for her bday/girl time since her boyfriend will be at Casa de Crews with Jason. I think we need cocktails like this:


 Hard apple cider sangria

This quote pretty much sums up my mood today.

Happy Friday, friends!

P.S. Happy Anniversary to my sister!

Linking with Amanda and Christina


Thanksgiving Decor Inspiration – 2014

I’m not really sure how we’re celebrating Thanksgiving already, but here.we.are. Every year, we host my in-laws the weekend before any major holiday. The first year we hosted (2012) and I clogged the sink with potato peels. Last year, half of our family was over an hour late, and food went cold, and dried out. This year, our third year hosting, has got to be the charm, right?!

We have the new house, more space, and I now know you must buy your frozen turkey at least three days in advance to thaw in your fridge (a rookie mistake from year one, in which I called my mom in a panicked state the night before, and was advised to thaw said bird in the tub, ASAP. I cried).

The fabulous menu is in the works, but here are a few decor ideas I’m planning at Casa de Crews:



PommStyledClose2_large (1)

 Pomme Tissue Paper Tassel Garland Kit





West Elm

What does your Thanksgiving decor look like?

Linking with Kristin

See more of my holiday pins on Pinterest!

Follow Nichole’s board crafting + diy on Pinterest.