Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Everything Food Conference in SLC, UT. It’s a series of classes and events for food bloggers and I got to finally meet up with a few of my favorite gluten free-ers and learn some great tips to help improve the content I provide for you. On top of that (this is the REALLY exciting part!) the weekend included Cupcake Battles hosted by Justin Willman himself (host of Cupcake Wars, look him up!). Chrystal from Gluten Free Palate and Brianna from Flippin’ Delicious represented our community and showed the foodie world how amazing gluten free cupcakes can taste!
I want to share a few of my takeaways, pictures of all the fun we had, and because you’re all so amazing and keep coming back to read these posts and try new recipes, I want to share some of the fun swag I brought home with YOU! Be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway when you’re done reading.
A few things I learned over the weekend:
Pat Flynn was the opening speaker. He has some inspiring pod casts and also donated a copy of his book “Will It Fly” to our swag bags (be on the lookout for another giveaway 😉 ) I learned quite a few things from his address, but had one major takeaway: Life is hard. Life is complicated. We all have dreams, hopes, things we want to accomplish, an endless to-do list (can I get an AMEN for this one??). It isn’t about working harder, doing more, wearing ourselves thin until we have no more to give. It’s about working smarter and prioritizing so the things that are truly the most important to us and those around us are the things that get done first and the things that get done best. Some things (many things) are going to have to be dropped, and we need to learn to be OK with that. Just be sure you’re keeping your top priorities and doing them well.
One of the best, if not THE best part of the weekend, was finally meeting these fellow food bloggers in person. Let me tell you, these ladies are amazing! Take a moment to browse through and follow their blogs if you don’t already. Not pictured here is Erica from Celiac and the Beast, I also got to meet her but she had left to attend another conference before we got our group photo. She is always up-to-date on celiac info and is a great resource!
Having dietary restrictions or caring for someone who does adds stress to your life. It was nice to hang out with people that could relate! If you’ve been diagnosed with food allergies, intolerances, or celiac disease, I recommend finding a support group or at least meeting up with friends in a similar situation to alleviate some of that stress.
You know, having chronic health problems is a (really) tough journey. Caring for a child with food allergies is stressful. I realize those might sound like gross understatements to you! I only know a piece of this, and I’m sure many of you have many more struggles. My heart goes out to you and this is exactly why I do what I do. You are warriors. You are fighters. It’s might be a struggle to care for yourself, to care for a loved one, to serve a friend so they don’t feel left out or get sick at your next gathering.
That gluten free, dairy free cupcake you keep in the freezer to pull out when you find out (last minute) that someone in your child’s school class has a birthday and you want your child to have a treat, too? That’s a beautiful thing.
Giving up gluten at home to keep a loved one safe and healthy even though you can still eat it? That is love and service at its best.
It’s a difficult journey and I sincerely applaud all you do, day in and day out. And when you choose to fight, when you choose to keep going, to try a new recipe even though the last 14 attempts failed, to stay up late making a cupcake so your kid doesn’t feel left out, when you choose to smile or laugh it off, to see the bright side, to educate those around you, you’re making a difference. You’re making a positive impact on the world and you grow stronger every time you do it.
Of course, seeing Brianna and Chrystal bake up a batch of unbelievable gluten free cupcakes was huge highlight of the entire weekend. The mock Cupcake Wars was hosted by Justin Willman himself (host of Cupcake Wars on Food Network) and judged by a panel of previous Cupcake Wars winners. They had exactly 45 minutes to mix, bake, cool, and decorate cupcakes to present to the judges. We all had so much fun watching and cheering them on! The judges had only positive things to say about their cupcakes and were amazed they were gluten free. Way to go ladies for proving that #glutenfreeisgood
To top off the weekend we were privileged to hear from the amazing Mary Crafts from Culinary Crafts. Hearing her story was inspiring and just what I needed to hear at that moment. My favorite quote from her remarks:
There is so much in life that can keep us from reaching our potential and our dreams. Let go of that, and fly. We all have something beautiful that can change the world, however seemingly insignificant that something might seem. YOU are making a difference. Thank you for coming back again and again to read, comment and share. Reach out anytime with questions, I’m here to help and support you on your gluten free journey! <3 Celeste