The past week was a week of firsts for me. It was my first social media conference, the first time I have been away from my toddler overnight (and for a few days!), the first time I roomed with someone I had never met in person before, and my first time back in my city of birth since…well, maybe since June for my daughter’s Mount Sinai Hospital Preemie/NICU Graduates Picnic.
It was so hard to say goodbye to Little One. There were lots of tears. Ummm…strictly on my behalf though. To be honest, she didn’t really care that I was gone. All she knew was that she was having a blast at Lola and Grampy’s house.
I called every night and Little One’s last conversation with me went something along the lines of, “Mama, please don’t call me anymore. I’m busy. I’m washing dishes.”
I bawled my eyes out. She’s Two-Teen going on eighteen.
Oh! It was also the first time I saw my brother and his girlfriend in months! They’re a busy young Toronto couple. We live on Manitoulin Island. You do the math.
The Fashion District. Oh, how I’ve missed Toronto! I love posting random pics. Giant thimble, anyone?
It’s been far too long since I have taken a walk on Spadina. I miss Chinatown! Scored some inexpensive comfy shoes. My pretty shoes for the conference landed me with band-aids on my toes within the first hour of me wearing them.
Also my first time having Chinese Dim Sum in a long time! I love you, Northern Ontario, but you seriously do not know what real Chinese food is! Sooooo delicious! Don’t know what Dim Sum is? Click here to find out.
On our way back to my brother and his girlfriend’s condo, we stopped at Cool Hand Luc’s for some ice cream. You know, because we didn’t already stuff ourselves at Dim Sum only moments earlier!
Aren’t you diggin’ that barfing ice cream guy? Too funny! Almost tempted to paint this scene on Little One’s bedroom walls!
Raspberry Thunder or Tornado (I can’t remember the name) and Birthday Cake ice cream. Deeeeelish.
Whew! Thank you for patiently waiting for me to get to the conference part. That’s what you were waiting for, right?
You know which one I chose right? Ummm hmmm! The Hedgehog! As my toddler would say, “Awwwww! It’s toe tute!” Translation: “It’s so cute!” Didn’t stop us from devouring (I mean “sampling”) it!
Lots and lots of amazing sponsors (and lots of swag).
Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA)
Life Choices Food
Royal Canadian Mint
Do you see who I’m with in this next photo?!?! No, you do not know how excited I was! It’s Christine Cushing! Yes, the Christine Cushing! Celebrity Chef Christine Cushing! You know who I’m talking about! I’ve been a fan of hers for years! My grandfather (may he rest in peace) was the one who got me into her cooking show back in the day. Now my toddler loves her. LOVES her!
Christine Cushing was so friendly and personable. You know I was totally letting out a loud teenage girl #SQUEEEE in my head, right? She gave us a copy of her cookbook and a bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil. She signed Little One’s cookbook too. Thank you so much, Christine!
AaricaMakeUpBlog and I had to go to our room and deposit our swag. It felt like we were carrying 100 lbs of product. Oh, okay. I won’t lie. I also needed to change my shoes. Ouch!
Back for some networking and meeting with the brands. Honey, my birthday is coming up. Toshiba Tablet? Just sayin’.
I’m such a weiner!
This is me with my gal, GGirlGGreen. Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous?! Her personality is just as beautiful. Love this Tweep!
Goofing around for our “red carpet” pics. Yes, I normally wear pink feather boas for pics. Isn’t JustNikiV hilarious? Love her!
Also in red carpet photos are Whispered Inspirations (Ha! Nancy and I were THE shortest tweeps at #SCCTO! No, seriously! We were!) and Aarica Make-Up Blog (my roomie for the conference)!
I have to say that #shoesconnected sure knows how to throw a party! Check out how packed it was in there! Two floors packed with people! Scrumptious hors d’hoevres and great wine! Thank you STLTO for the delicious wine.
Did I mention that the #shoesconnected after party was held at Town Shoes? Food, wine, friends, SHOES!!! Can’t get any better than that! Oh, look! There’s Gingermommy! Love her!
It was so hot in there with all those happy tweeps, that we had to grab some fresh air. Okay, I joked about how I thought I was having hot flashes. I was hot!
Look! Bewildered Bug, Whispered Inspirations, Aarica Make-Up Blog, and I are all wearing PURPLE! We’re the Purdy’s Chocolate mascots! 😉
After the after party, we decided to head to Earl’s for a bite to eat and a little more to drink. Upper Canada Soap, Etobicoke Moms, Little Ms. Save, Aarica, Sweet Mama Brady, MadeByHandShow, GGirlGGreen and I had a great time. We got back to the Sheraton in one piece, although we were almost down a tweep! Toronto taxi drivers are crazy. #chickenwing incident! That’s all I am allowed to say or SweetMamaBrady might kill me.
Early the next morning, we made our way back to the conference room to learn and acquire some “nuggets”, if you will. No, not chicken nuggets! There was chicken there! Hi, JanesFood and Dana McCauley! Hi, Chicken Farmers!
After the conference, I had to buy a new suitcase to lug all my swag home. This being my first social media/blogging conference, I didn’t expect that much swag. I only brought one carry-on for my four days away from home. I figured I’d bring back one extra bag with all the swag, but it turns out I needed an extra suitcase!!!
Oy! How was I going to get ALL that on a plane? Yes, that is a thong you see in this pic! Thanks, divine.ca!
Etobicoke Moms branded me in the ladies’ room. Cute tattoo, yes?
Last night in Toronto. Still on a high from the amazing She’s Connected Conference. Sharing wine and tortellini with my girls, BewilderedBug, SweetMamaBrady, and AaricaMakeUpBlog at Trattoria Mercatto.
Remarks from the busy two days at #SCCTO:
I learned so much about brands, relationships with brands, what they expect/want from bloggers.
Donna Marie Antoniadis is my idol. I really admire her. Oh, and when she gave me a huge hug and said, “You are so sweet”, I was worried she would pinch my cheeks! She didn’t.
Listen2Lena is as gorgeous in person as she is online and she’s got a fabulous personality! She is so amazing!
SassyModernMom is stunning and sweet. I love her!
Mom vs. the Boys is exactly as sweet and wonderful in person as she is online.
Highlight of Day 2 was bumping into Julie Cole and her having breakfast with us and sitting at our table for key note speech and panel. I love Julie. She is one of the funniest women I’ve ever met! My husband was even shocked that the Mabel’s Labels maven sat at our table.
Just discovered that Dana McCauley, the Canadian chef, food writer, food trend tracker, culinary director for Janes Family Food and I share a Manitoulin Island connection…and it’s even closer than I’d imagined! How crazy is that? First, my serendipitous meetings with BewilderedBug and AskMamaMOE and discovering how our paths are connected, and now Dana McCauley?! Surreal!
Deborah Lowther is stunning, radiant, vibrant. Those vitamins are amazing! I’ll have whatever she’s having! 😉
PTPA Sharon has great style and great hair!
tjzmommy just wows me all the time. I am in awe of her. Check out what you can do for Zack’s Dream Room.
Next day: Plane ride home. Back to reality. Thank goodness for swag. This got me by until I could get to real food. The Sudbury airport has nothing near it!
Finally home to see my sweet little toddler and my husband (who was also away from our poor toddler! Daddy was on the www.wildERmed.org course over the weekend).
“Christine Cushing signed this for me?!?!” She was so excited!
Life Choices mac and cheese. “Can we make this now, Mama?”
IronKids Gummies! She loves them!