Thank You, Stonyfield

As part of my ambassadorship, Stonyfield is sponsoring my attendance at Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014.

For the past nine months or so, I’ve been doing ambassador work for Stonyfield. Most of the assignments took place last winter, with posts on my blog and others on theirs.

But the final chapter comes to a close this weekend with my trip to Women Get Social – Philadelphia ’14, the conference to which Stonyfield sponsored my attendance.

Stonyfield Organic

I’ve never worked with a brand that was so focused on bloggers, in a way that benefits both me and them. It’s beautiful, mostly because when you’re working in a creative space, being able to stretch your wings and think outside the box generally produces better work.

I produced fun, yummy recipes. I talked about the benefits of Greek yogurt. The sky was the limit.

Love that.

Women Get Social – Philadelphia ’14

Over the past two days a Women Get Social – Philadelphia ’14, we heard this common message:

Stay true to yourself.

Magic happens when you find a brand that understands that.

I had big plans to do two things this weekend, and both have been successfully accomplished:

1. Meet new people, reconnect with old friends, learn something new and get excited.

Women Get Social - Philadelphia '14 Collage

2. Find an authentic Philly cheesesteak.

So, I was FINALLY able to find an authentic Philly cheesesteak – which locals ended up telling me (as I suspected!) was neither Geno’s nor Pat’s!

Turns out it’s Jim’s Steaks South Street! (Cheesesteak. Whiz. Mushrooms and peppers.)

Philly Cheesesteak from Jim's Steaks South Street
CHECK. And CHECK.

Thank you, Stonyfield.

As part of my ambassadorship, Stonyfield is sponsoring my attendance at Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014.

 

A Real Philly Cheesesteak

As part of my ambassadorship, Stonyfield is sponsoring my attendance at Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014.

Gino's Steaks

As an outsider, I’ve been on a quest to find a real Philly cheesesteak. Those of us that live near Philadelphia (I’m about a 2.5 hour drive away) have heard the hype:

Geno’s or Pat’s?

Therein lies the question. An eternal foodie cheesesteak dilemma.

Pat's Steaks

I’m sure locals will tell you:

Forget the Pat’s and Geno’s hype! You have to check out [insert hole-in-the-wall joint here] to get a REAL Philly cheesesteak.

Perhaps.

Regardless, here’s what I’ve gleaned about a real Philly cheesesteak, what it takes to make one authentic:

  • CHEESE WHIZ – Yes. The gloppy, unnatural, yellow melted cheese product that we all hate to love. It’s oh-so-bad, and yet oh-so-good at the same time. Provolone? Only if you’re an out-of-towner or the restaurant’s out of Whiz.
  • DRIPPINESS – A real Philly cheesesteak should be messy. Juices should run from the bottom of the roll with each bite, and using a plethora of napkins is a sign of perfection.
  • CHOPPED BEEF – It appears that the degree to which said beef should be chopped can vary, but everyone agrees that a real Philly cheesesteak should start with chopped beef. No exceptions.
  • A GOOD ROLL – Traditionally a real Philly cheesesteak is served on a long crusty roll, light in texture and prime for sopping up all the drippiness.

This weekend I’m in Philadelphia for the Women Get Social conference. My husband’s coming with me, and I’ve already informed him that my mission is to find an authentic Philly cheesesteak – Cheese Whiz and all!

Stonyfield Organic

As part of my ambassadorship, Stonyfield is sponsoring my attendance at Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014.

Women Get Social – Philadelphia ’14

As part of my ambassadorship, Stonyfield is sponsoring my attendance at Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014.

This time next week I’ll be in Philly for the Women Get Social – Philadelphia 2014 conference. Philly’s a stop along their multi-city series of visits spanning the country, and I’m really excited to not only hear the great speakers they have lined up, but also to connect with old and new blogging friends!

Let’s reminisce, shall we?

Philadelphia 2012

This shot was at Bloggy Boot Camp Philly 2012. I was excited to, once again, reunite with college bud Erica (just to my right), another frequent-ess of the SITS conferences and meet-ups.

Bloggy Boot Camp Philadelphia 2012In my post-conference recap that year, I blamed the wine cocktail hours on the fact that I missed out on the one thing every foodie visiting Philadelphia should experience: a legit cheesesteak. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, or fair. BUT, the fact remains – no cheesesteak.

We’ll have to fix that this year.

And, if there’s one thing to remember when attending a social media based conference, it’s to SMILE. All the time. Not creepy doe-eyed smiley, but a relaxed “open face” smiley.

Why, you ask? Because not only are photos being snapped constantly, they’re being pushed to social channels faster than you can say cheesesteak.

Case in point….

Boston 2011

Bloggy Boot Camp Boston 2011

Not only am I just *barely* smiling, I also look really, really tired. Maybe I was. But it certainly doesn’t reflect how much fun I was having. (A LOT!)

See what happens when you know you’re being photographed (here with my friend Erica again)?

Bloggy Boot Camp Boston 2011

Nothing like a bright light, smile, arm-to-hip pose to fix a photo. (LOL!) Erica was a trooper, flying to Boston and hanging out at about 7 or 8 months pregnant – we hadn’t seen each other in 13 years! She also gave a killer presentation on attention grabbing headlines and post titles. Check out more from Erica over at No Sleep ‘Til College – you’ll laugh and you’ll relate. Promise.

Fashion. Food. Swag. I shared my 10 Need to Know Takeaways from BBC Boston 2011 here.

Stonyfield Organic

A big thank you to Stonyfield for giving me the opportunity to experience another SITs conference with Women Get Social Philadelphia 2014 – I can’t wait to see everyone!

(And try a cheesesteak while smiling.)

Bloggy Boot Camp 2012 | How to Visit Philly and Forget to Try a Cheesesteak

I spent last weekend in Philadelphia for Bloggy Boot Camp 2012 with the SITS girls.

It occurred to me only after I was halfway back to Maryland that this foodie forgot something very critical on her trip to Philly.

I {gasp!} forgot to find and devour an authentic Philly cheesesteak while I was there! How does that happen?

THIS….


Bloggy Boot Camp 2012

Photo courtesy of the sitsgirls’ Flickr photostream


….is how it happens.

For the second straight year I’ve found myself at Bloggy Boot Camp in May, and for the second straight year I’ve also managed to meet wonderful bloggers, network with said wonderful bloggers and glean insightful and useful information from well-intentioned, inspiring and intelligent speakers.

So, aside from the fact that my life is still missing the allure of a juicy, cheesy, artery-clogging, authentic cheesesteak, I’d say last weekend was a wild success.

Especially since I was able to sip lovely Mirassou wine and eat the outrageously addictive King’s Hawaiian bread pudding which I may or may not have had two giant helpings of.

Which brings me to my 5 takeaways from this year’s Bloggy Boot Camp:

1.  Never underestimate how fun it is to make new friends and connect with old ones. I’m not sure what I love most, chatting with attendees or listening to the speaker sessions. It’s a toss up!

2.  SEO, SEO, SEO! Dali Burgado {@DaliBurgado} gave her SEO 101 presentation in the afternoon, sandwiched by Laurie Turk {@TipJunkie} and Sharon Rowley {@sharonmomof6}. Between the three of them, I took away perhaps the most meaty info ever about SEO and how to my my blog more Google-friendly. Which, friends, means for one, playing nice with G+…. Just a few quick changes based on their recommendations and I’ve already seen an increase in traffic. Funny how that works!

3.  Swag is a very good thing, especially when it includes a fancy new WaterPik shower head! Behold the shower head that really and truly, just like the package says, takes less than five minutes to install. My husband said, “It took longer to get it out of the package than it took to install it!” Here it is in all its glory:

Water Pik

4.  A writer’s workshop that included discussion around books that every writer should read, including Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” among others. Did I mention a goal of mine this year is to start writing the novel that’s been percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of years? Um, that.

5.  Google+ is here to stay, and you better get on the G+ train. Sigh. I’ve had my G+ personal and (a)Musing Foodie pages for a while now, but just can’t seem to get there. It feels like I’m repeating steps that I’m already doing elsewhere on the interwebs. But, it was made clear by almost every social media maven at the conference that Google+ is gaining strength, and you better be there and be active.

All of this goodness was crammed into a very full day and a half, which helps to explain why I never made it out into the city in search of the coveted authentic Philly cheesesteak. Excuse? Nah. I suppose there’s always next time!

PS: Yes my blog is still on Blogger, not WordPress. And yes, they and by “they” I mean Tiffany, Fran and Erica continue to make fun of that at Bloggy Boot Camp. :-D

PPS: As of May 2013 the blog OFFICIALLY moved to WordPress, and they ^^ still make fun of me. (LOVE IT.)

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