It can get lonely writing a blog. Every now and then it’s good to get out from behind the old computer and hang out in real life with some of the people who are doing the same sort of thing. That’s what BlogHer 11 was such a joy for me; a great confab of so many amazing people who are experiencing the same thrills and trying to solve so many of the same challenges. It was a delight to see a handful of my Camp Blogaway food buddies, including Andrew of Eating Rules, Melissa of The Fresh 20, Jean of Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes, Stephanie of Recipe Renovator and Diane of Created By Diane. I also loved meeting food bloggers whose work I have admired from afar, including Laura from Hey What’s for Dinner Mom, Diana from Dianasaur Dishes, and Mrs. Q from Fed Up With Lunch. I was thrilled to see so many of my MomsLA friends, especially my party pals Deborah from Between Parents and Yolanda from Sassy Mama in LA. And of course I had a great day with the incredibly awesome Laura from Family Spice, who was brave enough to join me for some goofy pictures in the Pfizer photo booth. (I’m only printing one of them; if you want to see the whole string of outtakes you can go to Laura’s BlogHer recap here.)
BlogHer is also a great opportunity to meet companies and learn more about their products. There were a few companies that made a big impression on me, starting with Jimmy Dean. Jimmy Dean has made a commitment to Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger by 2015 (which is, of course, one of the causes nearest to my heart). Their BlogHer promotions were almost entirely centered around the Share Our Strength effort, and they got more than 1,100 pledges at BlogHer for No Kid Hungry. Nice work, Jimmy Dean!
Speaking of hearts in the right place, I loved meeting the team at Flip Flop Wines and its partners at Soles 4 Soles. For every bottle of Flip Flop wine purchased, Soles 4 Souls donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Thanks, Flip Flop folks!
As far as new products I tried, I was charmed by the little pouches of fruit and veggie purees offered by Ella’s Kitchen. They are primarily marketed as food for babies and toddlers, so I figured that my older kids would be turned off by the “baby food” aspect. Nevertheless, I liked the suggestion of adding them to tomato sauces or smoothies to bump up the veggie quotient, so I brought a few pouches home to sample. Who knew? The kids were fighting over them! I got a taste of the carrot/apple/parsnip and it was like a tangy/fruity applesauce. Alas, it was only a taste because the kids wouldn’t give it up. Note/update: Ella’s Kitchen addresses the packaging/waste issue by partnering with Terra Cycle in the U.K. so you can “up-cycle” the packages when you’re finished. Here in the U.S. Sprout Organic Baby Food is the official TerraCycle baby food partner.
I also enjoyed the samples from Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. I brought home a loaf of Udi’s whole grain bread, which I’ve toasted for breakfast each morning since I got home. It’s a little more crumbly (less gluten-y?) than regular bread but it’s incredibly tasty and the kids would never notice the difference. I also brought home a bucket of gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies and the one I got to taste was quite good, but once the kids got hold of them, they all disappeared before I could blink.
Another great find was these new containers from Glad that are going to be coming out this fall. They have a little sub-container that snaps inside the lid so that you can carry your dressing along with your salad, or your dip along with your fruit…you get the idea. I’m always pushing ways to carry your own snacks and this is a great little container that makes it possible for moms on the go to bring along a homemade healthy snack (and what mom isn’t on the go?).
Last but not least, BlogHer was incredible because I was in my very first flash mob (yes, you read that right). Theresa from Rock on Mommies and Mary from the Mama Mary Show put in hours and hours of time choreographing, coordinating, and cajoling a whole bunch of bloggers into joining the mob. The result was a super-cool bunch of women getting their groove on in the middle of the enormous Sails Pavilion at the San Diego Convention Center. Extra bonus: I got to see Chelsea (and meet Alex) from Breezy Mama after many many years. Nice work, ladies! Now, who said blogging was a lonely occupation?