BlogPodium: My 3 Key Learnings

CONNECTION. CONVERSATION. COLLABORATION. BlogPodium is conference series that brings design & lifestyle bloggers, marketers, and the design community together.
Wow, what a day! No really, it was truly an incredible day! Every year I question whether or not this conference will top the last, and every year we seem to out-do ourselves! Everyone from the speakers and sponsors, to the attendees and BlogPodium team... we all had a great time!
This year I had a few jobs including unloading the very heavy attendee swag bags (the sponsors we clearly too generous this year!), moderating the panel on "Insider Secrets," and taking pictures for Julie to share on Twitter & Instagram! It was such a pleasure capturing the looks of joy and delight on everyone's face!
Of course, the speaker's sessions went off without a hitch! From Alyssa's "Instagram 101" workshop to Tiffany Pratt's inspiring keynote address, the day ran smoothly! Phew!

Even though I have been blogging for over 6 years (and this was actually my 5th BlogPodium conference!) I still find myself learning new things from the highly knowledgeable speakers! This year, my key learning were more inspirational than practical blogging advice:

1. Comparison Is Noise // Tiffany Pratt said it best: stop comparing yourself to others. It creates noise in your life that is hard to see through, so just don't do it. We all have our own secret sauce and there is enough to go around... you just need to find what your flavour is and embrace it!

2. Your Guts Know the Answer // Sometimes you just have to trust your gut, and if your gut tells you something you should go with it! I find myself needing to trust my gut more often. There have been sooo many times when I've said yes when I should've said no, or vise versa, and it left me feeling icky! Trust your gut, always!

3. Being a Supportive Part of the Community Will Get You Far! // As a blogger, nothing will get you turned down faster than being negative or mean. Remember, what you put out there will always come back to you, so if you are kind, helpful and supportive the community will reciprocate. Spread love!
And I say this every year… a BIG thank you to Jen and the rest of the extraordinary BlogPodium team, for once again organizing an amazing conference! Everything from We Create Hoopla's beautiful decor + swag bags, to the generous sponsors, panelists, and speakers. I cannot wait to see what BlogPodium 2017 brings!

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

Credit: I’d like to thank LLB Creative for the use of her event photos in this post.

It's BlogPodium Time!

It feels like only yesterday I hopped on a plane and flew across the country to attend BlogPodium in Vancouver! But here we are, one year later, getting ready for BlogPodium in Toronto. Boy does time fly!

This year's conference promises to be a great one! With a line-up of knowledgeable speakers, generous sponsors and ready-to-learn attendees, tomorrow will be a day to remember! In addition to helping the team with swag bags, registration, and speed networking, I will be moderating the panel on "Insider Secrets" with Melissa Allen of Cricut, Melissa Retty of Craft PR, and blogger extraordinaire Alyssa Garrison of Random Acts of Pastel.

Tomorrow also represents the unofficial launch of my new blog! Surprise! I've been slowly, but diligently, designing a new blog and tomorrow I am launching the beta version. You can still follow me here, but very shortly everything will redirect to Exciting right?

Can't wait to see all my old friends and make some new ones tomorrow!

Not attending? That's ok, you can follow along on social media using the hashtag #BlogPodium16!

My Weekend According to My iPhone

1 // Worked the Friday & Saturday at the Collingwood Craft Beer & Cider Festival!
2 // Pie was serving up some delicious wood fired pizzas!
3 // Some of my favourites on ice!
4 // Collingwood has some seriously charming buildings!
5 // The Tremont Cafe sure does impress! It's rustic charm is hard to ignore!
6 // And the food.... oh the food! So good!
7 // Bent Taco sure knows how to serve up a mean taco! Their Baja Fish and Kalbi Short Rib tacos were divine!
8 // Sunday morning brunch with John at the The Belmont Bistro... Clearly it was a food-focused weekend! #ImSoFull

Individual Baked Alaska + Grilled Peaches with So Delicious Frozen Dessert

There's no denying it, it's been a hot one this summer! The long days have been filled with sunshine, blue skies and enough humidity to make you melt.
The other day I climbed into my car and I swear it was hot enough to cook an egg. Last week I went for a 7km run and by the time I got home it looked like I had jumped in a lake. John has been consistently watering our grass (which has been looking pretty sad...) and I am positive the water evaporates before it even hits the ground!
Don't get me wrong, I lurrrrve the heat, but this summer has been... dare I say... a little too hot!

There is upside to the heat though: cold treats! Oh yeah, bring on the popsicles, ice coffees, and frozen desserts! I'm telling you, nothing goes together like summer and a cold treat!
This summer I've been hooked on desserts with super decadent and indulgent flavours, like So Delicious's line of cashewmilk frozen desserts. With flavours like Salted Caramel Cluster, Dark Chocolate Truffle, and Chocolate Cookies N' Cream how can you resist? They are rich, creamy and freakin' dairy free! Can you believe that? Not to mention vegan, soy free, and gluten free. Who knew a simple little cashew could hit so many sweet spots?
While I could very well eat the Dark Chocolate Truffle straight from the pint container, I wanted to show you how easy it is to incorporate So Delicious cashewmilk frozen desserts into a delicious vegan treat.
Pairing So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster with ripe grilled peaches was a no-brainer. Caramel and peaches go together like.... well, summer and cold treats. The Dark Chocolate Truffle was the flavour that caused my brain to explode. So. Many. Options! Shakes, sundaes, cakes, sandwiches! I finally settled on a crowd favourite: Individual Baked Alaska.
What I love about these two recipes is that they both use the same vanilla cake base, so you bake once and get two desserts. Gotta love double-duty!
Baked Alaska
This version of an old-fashioned dessert has a secret... it's vegan, gluten-free, and delicious!


Vanilla Cake:
1¾ cups gluten free all purpose flour, sifted
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar

1 pint So Delicious Dark Chocolate Truffle Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert
1 can chickpeas, drained, reserve water from can
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
Cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
2. In a large bowl whisk together sifted flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
3. Add coconut milk, vanilla, olive oil and vinegar. Whisk until combined.
4. Pour batter into greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
5. In a stand mixer add the reserved chickpea water (you can use the chickpeas for another recipe). Whip on high until stiff peaks start to form; this could take up to 8 minutes.
6. Gradually add the the sugar while continuing to whip. Stop once stiff peaks hold.
7. Using 3-4 inch round cookie cutter, cut four rounds from the cooled cake and place them on a plate. Place 1 large scoop of Dark Chocolate Truffle Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert on top of cake. Using a piping bag or offset spatula, cover the frozen dessert with the meringue. Using a small kitchen torch, brown the meringue (if desired).
8. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve immediately.
Grilled Peaches
Warm grilled peaches are served alongside a gluten-free, vegan vanilla cake that is topped with a generous scoop of caramel cashewmilk frozen dessert!

4 rounds of vanilla cake (recipe above)
4 large ripe peaches, cut in half, pit removed
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 pint So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert
Maple syrup (optional)

1. Preheat BBQ to medium.
2. Using a brush, generously apply grapeseed oil to cut side of peaches.
3. Place peaches on hot BBQ. Grill for 5-6 minutes or until warmed and softened.
4. While peaches grill, use a 3-4 inch round cookie cutter to cut four rounds from the cooled cake (recipe above) and place them on a plate.
5. Place 1 large scoop of Salted Caramel Cluster Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert on top of cake. Place grilled peaches alongside. If desired garnish peaches with maple syrup. Serve immediately.
Interested in giving So Delicious Cashewmilk Frozen Desserts a try? Use their product finder to find a pint near you!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of So Delicious. The opinions and text are all mine.