Eat Write Retreat

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This is a long over due (and possibly long post) but I feel that it’s a timely post since Eat Write Retreat (EWR) 2014 will be happening in June and there is still time to join in the fun!

I had the privilege to attend EWR in the capacity of volunteer last year. I felt very fortunate to be asked by Casey and Robyn – the great women behind EWR. I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was fantastic to experience the behind the scenes as well participating in the festivities scheduled.

If you never been to a food blogger conference and it’s on your bucket list then may I suggest Eat Write Retreat. Why?

It’s a great opportunity to network with other food bloggers. The blogger spectrum is diverse. There are novice bloggers (like myself) intermediate, and the experienced attending EWR. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS – when else will you get a chance to meet those who know (and understand) what it means to blog.

*EWR Takeaway* From Joy Manning and her workshop entitled Contact High – A fresh approach to networking is to make friends on purpose. Also be sure to share information and not just simply contacts. Be authentic in your generosity.

“You are gonna learn today!”

You learn so much at Eat Write Retreat that it can make your head spin. My head is still spinning and it’s February! Also the speakers enjoyed sharing their knowledge. SEO, cache, photography, sponsored posts – oh my! You are going to want to make sure you have the ability to take notes. There were a lot of bloggers that brought their tablets or computers to capture the information.

Bonus, after the conference Casey and Robyn made sure to provide follow ups to the workshops. Awesomeness.

In between all the learning there is eating … so much eating. Bring your expandable pants – I’m just sayin’.

If you do choose to attend Eat Write Retreat may I impart some bits o’ wisdom. These are the the things that I either learned or made note of during the conference.

Since the conference is in Philadelphia again be sure to enjoy a Philly steak.

Bring comfortable walking shoes. Comfort is king when it comes to shoes. I packed my most unforgiving shoes on this trip – oweee woweee.

Don’t forget to have an empty piece of luggage for all the swag that you are going to end up taking home. It’s plentiful and beautiful. Thank you so much EWR and the amazing sponsors.

Be prepared to become impassioned to create the best damn possible blog. If you have been battling blogger burnout, I feel that EWR will shine a new light and invigorate. I know my blog is still not finished (it’s STILL being remodeled) but attending EWR made me want to take the next step in blogging. Letting go of my wordpress hosted blog and making that leap to self hosting.

Make sure that you have business cards. I know that this might sound stupid but I was that girl who did not have business cards with her. Special in my own way, I am.

The closing of Eat Write Retreat you will have an opportunity to pitch to the pros. So here is that chance to put to use some great knowledge that you will be presented with at the conference and perhaps work with that company you admire.

Last year, the keynote speaker Monica Bhide presented on the topic of sponsored posts and provided some great thoughts on the matter. 

*EWR Take Away*
-When thinking about sponsored content  - think outside the box.  Your post could include product information, service information, links, and messaging.

-Would you consider running this content if it wasn’t sponsored

-Be honest, make sure you declare that the post is sponsored even when mentioning it on social media #ad 

There is so much I learned and so many take aways that I could go on for days but instead I think I will share those bits via FB in weekly posts starting next week.

To sum up this post … if you can, you should go to Eat Write Retreat. If you are interested in hearing fellow bloggers experience of EWR check out these blogs!

Devour and Conquer
Food Marriage
Small Chick Big Deals
Savory Simple
Sarah in the Kitchen
Fifteen Spatulas
Real the Kitchen and Beyond

Don’t delay and purchase your tickets for Eat Write Retreat 2014! Also if you are interested in the digital downloads from the 2013 workshops they are available for purchase.

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Disclosure: I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own. I was just a fortunate volunteer. :)

Sponsored Post – LifeSize Portions

LifeSizePortions4| Licious Food2013 is full of new beginnings. One beginning for me is to lose weight.

I was suppose to start this quest before 2013 yet stress and thoughts of losing weight don’t go hand in hand.

I am still stressed but as I get older and I carry all this unnecessary weight I realize if I don’t start this journey into weight loss then I may not be here to talk about my procrastinated stressed out ways … and that truly scares me.

Luckily, I received a product to review entitled LifeSize Portions. It’s a neat little kit. It essentially teaches you how to live in moderation and lets face it …. we don’t live in moderation (typically) but in excess. We want it and we “gets” what we want. You know what I mean and I think you do.

Real talk -I am at my largest and I am not happy. The legs that I use to have no problem showing are in hiding. I now have enough tires around my waist to outfit a small car.

Perfect case in point to illustrate my unhappiness is this video (below) that was taken in March/April of last year. A video shines and never hides. Please don’t pay attention to my crazy faces and lack of rhythm. I am part of the Rhythmless Nation and I think I need to visit LiviRae  since my bra was not helping anything.

Well if you are not happy then you should turn it around.

So I am. It’s not going to be easy but I am going to try my damnedest to get healthy and in a way that I can live with myself.

So let me give you a tour of  LifeSize Portions. Step this way and watch your step.

Like I said earlier, it’s a kit that has all these food measurements and instead of putting items on a scale you use these measurements.

LifeSizePortions4| Licious FoodThere is a measurement for everything INCLUDING dessert. Dessert is not an everyday occurrence; you have to earn that bad boy!

The kit also comes with a wall chart, DVDs, and CDs to help you with understanding the plan and how to build your meals.

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LifeSize Portions 2| Licious Food
Product Review LifeSize Portions| Licious FoodIt’s an investment in time and in the beginning it seems overwhelming however I feel that going through the LifeSize Portions process will teach me once and for all to eat the right portions. Did I mention the beauty of this process? I can essentially eat what I want. That’s right … I can eat what I want. I am not planning to eat fried food galore and countless French Fries because that’s just not me. What I can do is occasionally treat myself to those treats using LifeSize Portions’ tools as my guide.

I am feeling good about this. I am excited by this. 2013 is here and I will be healthy! If you want to see how it goes with LifeSize Portions in my everyday life then be sure to follow me on Instagram. If you have questions then feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email. I will do my best to answer your questions. This will not be my only post about LifeSize Portions. I plan to do progress reports throughout the year.

My first goal is to lose 10 lbs. Once I lose 10 lbs. I will reward a lucky reader with a prize … that’s right my second ever giveaway!

I am hoping to lose my first 10 lbs. by the end of February. I think that is realistic. My biggest hurdle will be simply meal planning along with eating three meals. I tend to eat once a day and then I snack and drink the wrong things. Bad, bad, habits.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for your readership. I know I am a stop and go blogger and I am trying to change that (another 2013 goal). I have some plans for this blog but that’s another post at another time.

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* I received LifeSize Portions to review. I did not receive compensation for this review. This is my honest opinion.

A Few of My Favorite Things

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“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things …”

Those things are cute and lovely however those are not my favorite things (at the moment). Since everything I have tried to make recently has been complete and utter failure. I have given up trying to do anything baking/cooking related for the rest of the week. May next week bring some great blogging my way and yours. So since yesterday was about love, my thought to you would be to share some things I love, just a day late.

I love nail polish and by love I mean LOOOOOOVE! Since I have all this down time from being unemployed I have been using some of my time to paint my nails and try out nail combos thanks to reading nail blogs. Those blogs are enablers. They are my pusher and welp, I have no will power. A job is what I be needing so I can continue funding my habit. The nail polish I am loving at the moment is China Glaze’s “Dorothy Who?”It is a beautiful shade of blue, dare I say Sapphire in color, and it’s glittery! It applies like a dream and when you apply some chunky silvery glitter polish to your tips; you can give Lady GaGa a run for her money (not really).

Fat Kid Friday Candle

Next up is this fabulous candle that I got from Domestic Goddess Ltd on Etsy. Etsy is such a great place to find anything! You are looking for a gift then head on over to Etsy. I have a wishlist a mile long with all the great things I want. There are baking supplies, party supplies, scarves, hats, NAIL POLISH, jewelry, and the list can go on and on.

Back to the candle that holds a spot in my living room. This candle is called “Fat Kid Friday” and it smells like the most tempting sweet you can imagine. Light it up and let the smell waft over you. It feeds that need for sweets without putting anything on your hips. So if you are dieting or taking a better life approach and trying to curb your sweet tooth, this candle is like having your cake but not eating it. Oh, this candle does come with some bite size candies that you can devour, so if you don’t want to be tempted I’d advise you to tell the Domestic Goddess no to the candy.

Music. I love Music. So if you have some suggestions for me put them in the comments below. I listen to just about anything. What I am loving is Spotify. You connect with Spotify through your Facebook but unfortunately it is not everywhere say like Canada, sorry my friends to the North. It’s a listening party that you can customize. You want to know how the latest Colbie Callait is before buying? Take a listen on spotify. Want to create a Period Playlist a la that movie “No Strings Attached”? Do it in Spotify. If you have iTunes installed on your ‘puter it will sync with your iTunes and import those playlists to your spotify, allakhazam! Spotify allows for some great listening. My fave playlist of the moment is this GIGANTIC 80′s playlist, the creator is still adding music.

Jarlesberg Cheese Dip

Cheese. If you love some good cheese then head on over to Kitchen Play, for the month of February they are doing 29 Ways to “Leap into Jarlsberg” and yours truly will be Number 29, no pressure. This dip is fabulous. I used it it for the dip to end all dips, which I will reveal on February 29th. I have plans to use it for my favorite quiche. If you like the nutty/sweetness of Swiss then I promise you will love this dip. It’s fun what masterpieces you can create with it. Be sure to check out the food bloggers who have already contributed some ideas on Kitchen Play – spinach dip, Mushrooms, Pretzels, Cheesey Hummus …

 

Until Next Time,
Jennifer

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Where in the world is Jennifer? A Real Life Post

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It’s been a long while since I have posted anything. I haven’t forgotten about my blog, it’s always on my mind. It’s the getting from the mind and sitting down and composing a blog posting is the problem …. but not for much longer.

Remember last year around this time I wrote that I would be unemployed well it’s finally happening.  September 30th is my last day and I am excited! Luckily, I do have a severance package so I am not completely down and out. This is my opportunity to really go for my dreams along with working and improving on items that I have let fallen to the wayside BUT NO MORE!

Licious is long overdue for a revamp and it’s going to happen in October.  It’s time to take this blog to the next level and that means self hosting; since lets face it hosting on wordpress.com has some limits.   Everything is in the planning stages so there is not much to reveal at this time – just look out.  :)

Until Next Time (which will be an actual food post),
Jennifer

Blog Mania is Coming! {Giveaway}

We interrupt my normal shenanigans to inform you about a pre-giveaway designed to kick off Blog Mania, coming October 6th and Licious: A Food Blog will be participating. So without further ado …

Coming soon to 80 blogs near you is the 4th season of BlogMania!!! You will see a wide range of prize packages that you be able to enter to win. You can see some of the sponsor prizes HERE.
For now, let’s ‘warm’ up with a pre-BlogMania giveaway! Two Prizes, Two Winners.

Prize #1 is from 39dollarglasses.com and open to US/Canada. One winner can pick two pairs of glasses from their site, up to a $150 value!!

Prize #2 is from BlogMania Events, it is technically open WW; you can spend up to $20.00 at any one sponsor shop listed on the sponsor linky shown HERE. This is open to wherever your shop ships to.

So, how to enter? From any BlogMania bloggers that chooses to post this giveaway you can enter directly into the Rafflecopter form below. Since blogs hosted on wordpress.com will not allow javascript that nifty Rafflecopter will not work here and I want my readers to enter this cool giveaway you can do so at the source,  Blog Mania Events!

This giveaway will be open from Sept 27th 12am, EST until midnight Oct 4th, 1 week.

Winners will be notified via email from Bree@blogmaniaevents.com on Oct 5th, you will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. We thank you for your entry and look forward to seeing you on October 6th at noon for the grand event!

Nothing left but “Crumbs”

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I am journeying back to New York City in my mind to collect my thoughts about the best damn cupcakes I ever had the pleasure to taste minus my own (yup that’s me, modest mouse).

Crumbs Bake Shop was not even in the plans for my NYC trip it was just serendipity, plain and simple. Can I say when I walked into the store and saw the case, I truly wanted one of everything … it all looked so delicious and fantabulous! If I was a Billionaire and hung with the likes of Ophree or the Queen I would have bought all the cupcakes since that would be how I would roll.

It took awhile to decide what cupcakes would have the pleasure of leaving with me. Cookie Dough was looking good and so was Mama Mia, Milkshake, Red Velvet, Half Baked, Happy Birthday …. Happily, I did reach a decision and it was chocolate all the way with these two beauties:

Cupcakes from Crumbs

I like to think I made the right decision.

I was going to try and wait to eat my cupcakes when I returned home to Virginia but I did not have that much restraint, I had to sample one or both before the trip back home. I only sampled one; Devil’s Food was my poison and it was de-frickin-licious! It was perfectly chocolately with a surprise (to me) creamy center and Vanilla Buttercream. The cupcake was not one note like some chocolate cupcakes or cakes can be at times. Oh, did I mention the size of the cupcakes? They are ginormous – seriously, GINORMOUS. You get your money’s worth when you buy cupcakes from them

I should also mention that Crumb’s cupcakes freeze beautifully. I froze my cupcakes so they would have a chance to remain fresh until I arrived back home. Using the freezing and refrigeration technique I was able to enjoy Devil’s Food and the Blackout cupcake upon returning back home.

The Blackout Cupcake is a chocolate lovers dream … if you love chocolate, plus more chocolate, and then some more – then this cupcake is for you (and me). It’s moist and rich and I could not eat it in one sitting, it actually took me a few days.

So, if you are going to New York City or California, Washington DC, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey or Virginia you need to find Crumbs Bake Shop and indulge – you only live once unless you believe in re-incarnation.

Until Next Time, Jennifer

One last look …

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Crumbs Bake Shop – 43 West 42nd St (5/6th Ave) – New York, NY 10036 – 212/221-1500

Shaking the Shack

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I had a chance of taking a long weekend to New York City last weekend. It was much needed since my life has been resembling a country song as of late.

Sometimes you have to get away to recharge the batteries and perhaps pay a crazy price to get lost in an action adventure movie with so much eye candy you don’t know where to look (Fast Five). Or reconnect with friends that you haven’t seen since last summer or later.

Another thing one must do while in New York City is eat! They have so many food options how can you not? I created my food wish list to which my friend responded, “you know you are only here for a weekend, right?” Yes, I knew I was only there for a weekend and I was ambitious.

I overshot however that just means I need to keep visiting NYC until I actually accomplish my food wish list – not a hardship by any means.

Today’s post is about burger love which is fortuitous since May is National Burger Month. I knew the place I wanted to go to and sample their delights thanks to subscribing to A Hamburger Today. A Hamburger Today is a deadly thing since reading their articles will have you dreaming of your next burger and wanting to take a cross country trip to sample the “burgery” delights of each state or maybe that’s just me.

Shake Shack was the name of the game I was playing. Hearing good things about this “burgeropolis” I knew I had to sample the delights, so I did. One word, Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

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They had me at Potato Bun and then the taste buds went on happy overload with what was between those buns. Oh Em Geeeeeee! A juicy burger cooked to medium and topped with the usual suspects; lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, cheese — I am not a Plain Jane, I like my burger fully dressed. The accessory to this party in my mouth was the Shake Sauce. I am not sure what it is but it is goo-OOd! The Shake Shack burger is truly a burger that I would be happy to eat time and time again; the line out the door proves that I am not alone. I am already thinking about a return trip, sigh.

Until Next Time,
Jennifer

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Shake Shack: 691 8th Avenue/Corner of 8th Avenue & 44th Street NYC, 646.435.0135

A Goal Achieved, now only 999,999,999 to go …

I can’t believe it, I finally FINALLY had a photo of mine (hot diggety dog!) make it into Foodgawker and Tastespotting . The funny thing is it was for two different photos.

Foodgawker loved my Sweet Potato Bread photo yet hated the faux Double Double photo. Tastespotting loved the faux Double Double photo yet hated the Sweet Potato Bread. It really brings the adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” home.

I have been trying since the beginning to get my photos in both Foodgawker and Tastespotting and silly me I thought it would be easy peasy … uh yeah, no.

I think it is every food bloggers dream to have their photos be featured on both sites and the rate I was going I never thought it would happen and miraculously it did, when I least expected it!

The rate I was going I surely thought it would be the end of 2011 before I ever had an accepted photo (it was on my 2011 goal list).

My personal reason for wanting to be featured on both Foodgawker and Tastespotting is that it would allow for those unaware of my blog to become aware. Secondly, pride – I took a great photo! Me – the novice took a photo worth seeing!

I am not sure how long it will be until I have another photo accepted by both sites but for now I celebrate.

Until Next Time,
Jennifer

Life or something like it …

Life has been crazy and unexpected of late. My job has been a lot more demanding, so much so that I feel there is not enough time in the day. However, the crazy part of that is that on Monday I was informed that in September my job will no longer exist …. The crazier part is that I am actually okay with it. I keep visualizing our repeat clients with their crazy requests being actually told no — it is downright gleeful! Now, the Virgo in me does not like the fact that I will be unemployed and with no sort of safety net and no MEDICAL BENEFITS!

I do feel that this is God’s way of pushing me towards something new and fulfilling a dream I always think about yet I have not done anything to try and achieve. My dream is to move to California – LA area specifically and find a career that makes me happy and excited with growth (not too much to ask) and begin a new phase of my life. I just need to figure out how to accomplish? My first goal is my resume – that baby needs to overhauled, pronto! I have set my first goal for my dream and that is to have my resume re-worked by the end of July. I also decided to let a professional do it. I think it’s the best move.

Another crazy thing that happened is that I won that beautiful camera that you see at the top! Me a winner! I don’t win contests – wait that is not totally true I did win a Blue Ribbon at the State Fair when I was in High School for Carrot Cake. So let me rephrase and say I have not won a contest in many many moons. I woke up to a tweet saying that I had won a DSLR camera back in May thanks to simply posting on Food Blog Forum. Can we say AMAZEBALLS?!? I have not had a chance to use it but there are plans – lots o’plans. I enjoy visiting Food Blog Forum; they answer those questions that you have and you also converse with other bloggers. When I started this blog I truly had no clue and inch by inch I am getting a clue thanks to them.

Speaking of Food Blogs that brings me to my blog. I have been experimenting in the kitchen and thinking how to get myself on a schedule so my blog doesn’t look deserted. I plan to post my kitchen adventure in Sloppy Joe land in the days coming. A decision has been reached (by me) that each month I will have a theme to my blog and July’s theme will be cupcakes. Each week in July I will post about cupcakes. This guarantees that I will have at least four postings a month which is a lot more than I have been posting. (Edited on 08.15.10 — Hmm , did not accomplish that goal. My full time job is taking more of my time than I thought and what little down time I have I am sleeping. However, I will return! I am sure I will have oodles of time when my job comes to an end.)

Well that’s my current life in a blog posting!

‘Til Next Time!

Eh, Zed, Postal Codes, Ryan Reynolds, and all things Canada


So I went to Canada – Toronto area if you would like to get all specific and Brampton if you really really want to get down to the nitty gritty. It was just a long weekend to recharge my batteries and catch up with an old friend. It was also a chance to EAT … I am very fond of that action as my waistband likes to tell me every day.

Since I have not baked or cooked anything since returning I thought I would share some pictures. Who doesn’t like pictures?

The first picture is of Poutine. Poutine is heaven – take the goodness of fried potatoes (fries) add the yumtasticness of gravy and top that with cheese (curd). You know if a cheese curd is good stuff if it squeaks (according to my research). The curds squeaked. I was not sure if I would enjoy this delicacy but I had to try it. After doing research and narrowing down the prospects my friend and I decided to visit

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Look at the menu choices … decisions, decisions

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Being the novice that I am; I went with the traditional. A great decision all around. The “traditional” Poutine was like manna from heaven! Hot fries , tasty gravy, and good curds.

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If you are ever in Toronto you should visit!

Poutini’s House of Poutine
1112 Queen Street West, Toronto
647/342-3732

There are three things perhaps more that I am always on the quest for when traveling … a great burger; a moist and delicious cupcake; and taking a gazillion and one photos. However with my time constraints I did not get to enjoy a burger but did have great Prime Rib at The Keg!

Did have a chance to visit a cupcake shop entitled The Cupcake Shoppe.

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Had a cupcake or two — they were ok, not my favorite. A bad cupcake is like a bad day; never a good thing! I didn’t enjoy the icing or the cake. Their tastes reminded me of cake that the cafeteria ladies would serve in school (you eat it but don’t enjoy it) – that was just me!

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Meet “James Brown” and “Frost Me”. I loved the cupcake names!
Lesson learned – don’t choose a cupcake shop based on the cupcakes names!

I really don’t have anything else to add except I love Canada. I know I could never live there though even if it was shacked up with Ryan Reynolds … I don’t do winter!  Virginia winters are my limit and I really don’t care for those either.

Before I end this post I thought I would share photos of other things I saw while on my long weekend that went oh so fast!

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Golden Arches with a Maple Leaf …

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Cool building and rock in downtown Toronto

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I learned how to use the macro function on my camera! It’s only been a year, I guess I should have read the manual?

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Until next time!