As you know, I recently had the awesome opportunity to be a blogger team member for the Gluten and Allergy Free Wellness Event in Charlotte, NC. In Part One, I talked about the delicious blogger dinner I went to the night before the expo. In Part Two, I wanted to highlight some of the awesome vendors/booths that I saw and enjoyed. This is my final post on the event (tear), where I reflect on the entire thing (what else are conclusions for?)
I am so grateful to have made so many amazing connections this weekend. I’ve loved building a network within the food allergy community, and it just makes me so excited to keep doing things like this.
My absolute favorite part was making new friends. As I’ve stated before, the people in this community are all pretty similar in our interests/typical conversation topics/experiences, which all make for really strong bonds. Just on Friday, I met so many cool people. (Shoutout to Blondeal, Susan, Nikki, Erin, Kristina, Pam, Tracy, Mary, Desere, Sebastian, Missy, Sarah, Josh, and of course, Tarah, who I’ve known for a while!) If I hadn’t gone to the blogger dinner, I would have missed out on getting to know all of these fabulous people and new friends. Also, I ended up running into an old friend from middle school who I haven’t seen in about 9 years! Crazy, right? But so cool.
One meeting that stuck out to me in particular happened at the event on Saturday, completely out of the blue. I was at the Roots booth sampling every hummus flavor imaginable, and talking to the representative about my role as a blogger and what I do for allergy awareness at school. After that, I collected my blogger swag bags from where I’d stashed it, and was walking around with those, plus two bags of stuff I’d bought. And my purse. I was a total bag lady. Anyways, I was about to walk out the door when another guest, Mike, stopped me and told me that he’d overheard me telling the Roots lady about my blog. We got to talking and it turns out that he recently started a blog of his own, called Go Veeg, about his journey with veganism. He was genuinely interested in learning about this blog and hearing what I’ve been doing. We exchanged contact info, and I returned home to an email from him saying he loved my writing and wanted to re-post some of my stuff on his site sometime. It absolutely made my day. It was super random, but such a cool thing. Plus he’s a State fan (GO PACK!).
So what did I learn? Well, I love plantain chips. Also, apparently whatever I’m doing with my hair is working because I got so many compliments! Such a nice thing to hear (rockin’ that straight from the shower look, ya know). But most importantly, I’ve found something that I’m super passionate about and really enjoy, and for me, that’s a big deal. I’ve always felt like I like a lot of things, but love nothing. Now, though, I’m finding my niche and my “people” and it’s so great. I’m excited to continue my journey down this path…not sure where exactly it’s heading, but at least now I know that I’m in the right direction!
Oh and I lied: the actual most important thing I learned is that Mary makes fantastic bacon potato chip chocolate chip cookies (yes, you read that correctly). And she’s awesome because now I have like 5 lbs of them in my room. Yep, definitely important.