I am always looking for opportunities to improve myself as a blogger and conferences are a great way to do just that.  They are good opportunities to learn new skills (like social media promotion) and hone in on current skills, which always involve writing in some shape and form for me. I also really enjoy meeting other bloggers and networking with them.  There are also many different sponsors that attend these events, so the conferences are always a good test of your social skills!

Last month, I attended the IFBC (International Food Blogging Conference) which was held in Seattle. I am doing a 3 part, interspersed series on my IFBC 2015 Seattle experience and this is the first installment. (Consider this a diary of sorts.)

I last visited Seattle 4 years ago and Seattle has changed a lot since then. It has a thriving and exciting food scene and I love their emphasis on sustainability and local products.  This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider the abundance of nearby farms, in addition to all the amazing seafood that comes from the Pacific ocean and of course Alaska. I also love it that they have an extremely efficient light rail system that brought me from the airport to my hotel in downtown Seattle, for $3 in 35 min!

I explored Seattle a little and one of the highlights was my visit to Pike’s Market.  My sister in-law, Gina runs a lavender business at the market.  Lejardindejordan is a small family business that hand makes all their products.  Gina imports the lavender locally and from France and sells items like lavender bath and linen sachets, linen sprays, bath soaps and stress balls.

Gina’s stress balls are filled with lavender flowers so they release the soothing and pleasing lavender fragrance when squeezed.  No oils or perfumes are used, so the fragrance lasts longer, and the more the stress balls are squeezed, the more fragrance is released. I’m a natural fidgeter so these stress balls come in mightily handy when I am mulling over my writing.  The squeezing motion accompanied by the lavender fragrance does wonders for my concentration and helps me refocus on the subject at hand!

A study by the University of Maryland on the health benefits and history of lavender explores the use of “this herb as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue. Research has confirmed that lavender produces slight calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled”.  The study also discusses precautions and possible interactions and I highly recommend that you peruse this study if you would like to learn more about the healing properties of lavender.

Gina also does mail order and I have given her lovely bath sachets as baby shower favors to much success. So if you’re ever in Seattle, drop by her market stand and tell her I sent you.  If her high quality products don’t charm you then her personality and sweet smile surely will!

Another highlight was my dining experience at the Space Needle.  The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and drew over 2.3 million visitors! Did you know that they still hold World’s Fairs? This year it is in Milan, Italy and I wonder what the Italians will build to mark the occasion?

The Space Needle is 605 ft high and 138 ft wide.  It is built to withstand winds up to 200 miles/hr and a 9.1 magnitude earthquake.  There is an observation deck at 520 ft and the rotating SkyCity restaurant is just below, at 500 ft.

We dined at the SkyCity restaurant and I had Caesar salad and mushroom bisque.  I truly couldn’t have eaten a full  meal.  You see, the thing about Food Blogging Conferences is that they always feed you and they feed you well!  So I had spent the whole day  nibbling on delicacies like fresh oysters, smoked salmon, charchuterie, cheeses and of course, wine, wine and more wine.  I know, it’s a tough life but someone has to do it….!

These were 2 of my favorite outings during my time at IFBC 2015 Seattle and I will write more about the actual food workshops in upcoming posts which will be published in between new restaurant reviews.