Thursday, September 18, 2014

Four Very Important Things I Learned at BlogPodium

CONNECTION. CONVERSATION. COLLABORATION. BlogPodium is conference series that brings design & lifestyle bloggers, marketers, and the design community together.
The day honestly went by as quickly as it came. Between the rush of set-up the night before and the inspiring closing remarks, BlogPodium happened. And this year it happened in a big way. With more bloggers, sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers than ever before, the BlogPodium team put together one hell of a conference (not to toot our own horns...). 
Apart from being an attendee, I was also in charge of keeping the twitter stream full of blogging tips and information. As I found myself running from room-to-room, trying to capture tweetable tidbits from the speakers, it became very obvious how much everyone loved being there. Every seminar room had attendees feverishly scribbling notes, constantly tweeting out updates, or simply sitting back and soaking it all in. BlogPodium really inspired everyone, and that was a true honour to see.
While I didn't have much time to take in any of the concurrent sessions, I did have the opportunity to hear both keynotes. And while Funky Junk Donna made the stage her home, and Scott McGillivray Jen Flores, and Monika Hibbs discussed entrepreneurship, I made four little notes to myself. Four little notes that no matter who you are - a blogger, a baker, a candlestick maker - can make you a better person and a better blogger.

1. Measure everything against your mantra. If you don't currently have a mantra or vision statement for your blog you should most definitely put some thought to it. If you ever entered into a situation with cloudy judgement and are not sure of the direction, simply measure it against your mantra. If it doesn't fit, ditch it. Your mantra will keep you true and authentic in whatever you set out to do.

2. Learn from your failures and successes. You will fail. You will succeed. These are facts of life. However, when you are an entrepreneur, the initial stages of a launch can often be littered with failures. Don't let this deter you. Evaluate what went wrong and try again. Keep a positive outlook and envision yourself accomplishing your goals.

3. Understand delayed gratification. As entrepreneurs it's important to know success (in whatever form) does not come instantly. Think of your blog (or business) as a farmer's field. As a farmer you prep the land, plant the seeds, tend to the plants, water as needed... and only after you have put in month and months of energy and time are you ready to harvest. The gratifying moments come after the hard work.

4. There ARE people who will help you. Being in a room with 300+ bloggers who have the same mindset, speak the same lingo, and go through the same trials and tribulations you do is comforting. You could ask advice from any person in that room and they would be happy to provide you with a point of view, an opinion, or a tip. The blogging world does not have to be competitive. We all can help each other out.
At one time or another we all experience a turning point. I feel as though this year's BlogPodium brought me face-to-face with mine. As the blogging landscape changes (as many larger bloggers have point out this year), I have started to become more and more comfortable with what my blog is, and alternatively, what it will never be. I need to embrace myself, work with what I have, and appreciate it moving forward (now there's a tweetable quote if I've ever seen one!).
And I say this every year... a BIG thank you to Jen and the rest of the super talented BlogPodium team, for once again organizing a stellar event. Everything from the swag bags + bloggers "black book" directory, to the scouting of the generous sponsors, panelists, and speakers. More than ever before I am looking forward to the next BlogPodium!

If you could only pick one, what was your one most important take-away from BlogPodium?

Credit: I'd like to thanks Flow Photo for the use of their event photos in this post.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pulo Mango Chili Turkey Tacos

I don't think I have ever met a taco I didn't like. No really. They could very well make it onto my official "I could eat this everyday and never get sick of it" list... which is starting to look pretty long these days.
But seriously, how could you not love tacos? The possibilities are endless! Shrimp, fish, pork, turkey. Soft shell, hard shell. Coleslaw, salsa, rice, and beans. No matter what why you mix 'em up, tacos are the best in my eyes! So when I given the opportunity to try out Pulo Sauces and Marinades I knew exactly how I would put my spin on an authentic Philippine sauce; tacos. Since Pulo sauces are inspired by the 7000 islands of the Philippines, they are a fusion of flavours from Malasia, China, India, Spain and Mexico. I knew my tacos would not be far off.
The hardest part of making these tacos was deciding which Pulo marinade to use, the Mango Chili, Lemongrass Atsuete or the Pineapple Tamarind. In the end I opted for the sweet heat of the Mango Chili

Mango Chili Grilled Turkey Tacos
If your family enjoys "Taco Tuesday's" these delicious tacos are for you! Using Pulo's new Mango Chili Marinade really takes these tacos up a notch. Top with your favourite coleslaw, salsa, or even add sour cream and guacamole. The possibilities with these turkey tacos are endless.

Makes: 8-10 tacos

1 large skinless, boneless turkey breast
1/2 jar of Pulo Mango Chili Marinade
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 bag of red cabbage coleslaw mix
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4-6 yellow cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a red onion, diced
Squeeze of lime juice
Fresh cilantro, chopped
8-10 small tortillas

1. Place turkey breast in a resealable bag or in a glass baking dish. Pour over marinade, seal/cover and place in the fridge. Allow to marinate for 3-4 hours.
2. In a bowl mix together mayo, sugar and vinegar. Add coleslaw and mix until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
3. Remove turkey from marinade and place on preheated BBQ. Dispose of any remaining marinade.
4. While turkey grills, in a bowl combine diced tomatoes, onion, lime and cilantro. Stir until combined. Set aside.
5. Continue to cook turkey and brush with a new Mango Chili Marinade. Turkey will be done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F, which will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
6. To assemble taco, spoon coleslaw and fresh salsa onto tortilla and top with thin slices of grilled turkey. Enjoy!

What I love most about the new Pulo Sauces & Marinades is the fact they are made with real ingredients - nothing artificial is added. There wasn't a single thing in the ingredient list that I could not pronounce. And to my surprise, they are all made in Canada! So if you are looking for a fresh new take on your traditional family favourites (like tacos), I suggest giving Pulo a try!

Disclosure: I was provided with the entire line of Pulo Sauces & Marinades to try. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. If you know me, you know my appreciation for consumer products that are made with real ingredients, and Pulo fits the bill. Plus it tastes great!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What to Wear to BlogPodium

I can't believe the big day is finally here! This coming weekend I will be heading to Toronto for Canada's ONLY Lifestyle Blogger Conference, BlogPodium. I am lucky enough to be a part of the hard working BlogPodium team, and led by our fearless leader Jen, we are bringing you the best-of-the-best. I mean, we have awesome sponsors, fabulous exhibitors, knowledgeable speakers, killer keynotes... what else could you ask for?

As we start to wrap up "planning mode" and transition into "execution mode," I finally have a minute to focus on the most important conference decision: what to wear. Last year I opted for a dress, but this year I am thinking super conference casual. Jeans. Sweater, Blazer. Boots. You can't go wrong.

Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and getting to know the many new ones!

What are you wearing to BlogPodium?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Roasted Nectarines over Honey Mascarpone Cheese

My goodness, where did the summer go? I can't believe it's September 1st already. In just one day the kids will be back to school, the leaves will begin changing colours, and my favourite local fruits will be gone for an entire year. 
Right now I am really trying to make the most of it. I've been enjoying raspberries at breakfast, blueberries at lunch, and peaches and nectarines for dessert.
Simple recipes like these roasted nectarines really taste like mid-summer on a plate. The tangy sweetness of the nectarines is perfectly complemented by the creamy mascarpone cheese. So whether you are enjoying this dish in the middle of summer, or enjoying them during those last few days of warm weather, these nectarines embody the fresh flavours of summer.
Roasted Nectarines over Honey Mascarpone Cheese

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp honey
3-5 small nectarines, cut into quarters
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp spiced rum
Sprinkle of all spice
Fresh mint (optional)

1. In a small bowl, mix together mascarpone and honey until smooth.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Quarter nectarines and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar, rum, and all spice.
4. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
5. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. To serve, spoon mascarpone onto plate and place roasted nectarines on top. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

How are you enjoying the last of the local summer fruit? Have any recipes to share?