As a graphic designer, it’s in my nature to be drawn to good design, and I feel that business cards can be little works of art if done right. So in addition to meeting some fabulous people at the IFBC in Portland, I also collected a slew of creative cards that I’ll file away as inspiration for future designs. I especially love the ones with the photos on the back. Those may have to go up collage-style on my bulletin board in my office.
Tip of the weekend: don’t dismiss that badge hanging around your neck at your next conference. It most likely is a plastic sleeve, so store your own cards behind your badge so they’re close at hand. It took all of ten minutes for me to tire of diving into my bag to get a card, and this convenient trick made networking much more streamlined.
When I walked into the lobby of the Portland Doubletree, I was wrapped with fear like a tighly swaddled baby. This was completely new territory to me, and although I travel as much as I can, it’s never alone, and never to a conference such as this. I had no idea what to expect, and the sea of people around me were very intimidating. Everyone looked organized with their laptops and tablets out, pecking away at what I assumed were blog posts already, so immediately I felt like I was lagging behind. I circled the lobby a few times, called my husband to tell him I’d arrived, then finally perched on a sofa that had just been vacated. Maybe if I kept my head down and pretended to be tweeting or checking email, that I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone yet — I just wasn’t ready to dive in to the deep end.
My first tweet of the weekend: “Just arrived at the Doubletree Portland for the #IFBC conference. Is everyone this nervous?” Almost immediately, I got a response from my new friend, Marlynn, at Urban Bliss Media, “@TeaRelish I am! we can be nervous together :)”. Whew! So I’m not alone, now I can move on and enjoy myself. And it was only moments later a woman sat down next to me, presented her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Catherine.” Turns out Catherine is Sicilian Girl, and this was her second IFBC trip. First introduction down, I’m on my way! Read more
Now who doesn’t want a pig-shaped cutting board in their kitchen? It never occurred to me to seek one out, but there it was, propped up in all its glory on the sprawling gift suite table at the IFBC 2012 “Taste of Oregon and Gourmet Fair”, donated by the National Pork Board on our first night at the conference. The generosity of the vendors at this event was staggering. Thank you immensely all vendors who were present, as well as Foodista and Zephyr Adventures for putting on the event. Practically the entire length of the center of the banquet room was piled high with goodies: food samples from hemp seeds to gourmet chocolates, and kitchen collectibles like my piggie cutting board, as well as a stunning cookbook — Canal House published by Andrews-McMeel, and a huge wooden spoon that will take its place as my official chili spoon this winter — just to name a few.
I passed on the bag of organic flour, but snagged a box of the gluten free hemp/buckwheat cereal that had its debut at the conference — it’s not even available in stores yet. OXO’s “Good Grips” line made a nice showing with a handy water bottle that we got at registration, as well as this nifty avocado slicer. And my new friend Lauren from Made in Nature tossed bags of dried fruit at us every time we sat down at a table with her. Thanks, Lauren! The pineapple is my favorite.
My husband, a conference veteran, warned me that I’d come home with “stuff”. But since he’s a web developer, his “stuff” consisted of some cool notebooks and a lot of paperwork and pens — maybe a rogue frisbee. That didn’t prepare me at all for what we were offered at the IFBC. I smartly took a suitcase large enough to still be carried on the plane (I’m a diehard carry-on-only girl), but left room for my “stuff” — it didn’t even come close to being big enough to get everything home. I stuffed my suitcase as far as it would go, with the zippered expandable space open, and I still had to hand-carry a large canvas bag on board along with my purse. I ended up checking the suitcase home out of necessity. (Many thanks to the AlaskaAir guy who checked me in for not charging me for my nearly 30-lb. bag.)
My new friend Regina (my-midlife-musing.com) actually walked across the street to the Lloyd Center and bought a larger suitcase to get her stuff home, and graciously donated her smaller bag to my other new friend Michelle (glutenfreegabber.com) because she mistakenly only came to the conference with a backpack — silly Michelle!
So note-to-self for next year, suck it up and check a big, empty suitcase to the conference so I have some way to get all my “stuff” home. Either that, or don’t let the conference fever hit me so hard, and be more selective of the things I acquire. That said, I’m very happy with my little pig who now sits prominently on my kitchen countertop and is just too cute to cut anything on — yet I still had to have him. Truth be told, I had to have two!