Category: Expos and Conferences

GFAF Expo Schaumburg — Ticket Giveaway!

As many of you know, I’ve attended the GFAF Expo in Schaumburg {NW of Chicago} for many years. You can see my post from last year here!

Each year, as I become a more seasoned blogger/media member, I have a more worthwhile experience at the expo–I attend and look to get a handle on some of the new products and trends in the gluten free + allergy friendly industry right here in my home state {without the expense of getting to Expo West!}.

My greatest recommendation for all those attending:

Seek out the small brands with the little booths. While the bigger, familiar names sometimes seem to have more exciting decor and more samples to offer, as an entrepreneur myself, I can speak to the great grit, passion, and courage it takes these small businesses to enter our community and put themselves out there for critique at an expo.

Last year, I met my now-friends over at SunKrunch Granola. Their granola is now part of my daily routine and I order a shipment from them monthly– all because I took the time to talk to the unassuming booth–just a couple and a sign and some little taster cups.

Interested in attending this year? I have FOUR one-day adult passes for the expo to give away! All you need to do is comment with a brand OR product type you hope to see at the GFAF Expo this year by next Friday, 3/24/17,  and you’re entered to win!

Don’t want to take a chance? You can always get an expo ticket here and major discounts are happening now!

  • 30% off  w/ code EARLYBIRD (thru 3/21)

  • 20% off w/ code ADVANCE (thru 4/21)

Go ahead and follow along with the pre-expo hype on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram {GFAFExpo} and don’t forget, I’ll be covering the whole event on my Instagram and Twitter!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogCon) 2016 Recap

FABlogCon, the brainchild of Ms. Sprague, had been on my bucket list since I began food blogging in January 2013. All the chatter about feeling like you’re surrounded in a huge family, like you can just breathe a sigh of relief, like the safety of food is not a concern–they’re all true.

My passion–as demonstrated in my work on Find Your Ditto–is breathing in-person connections into the chronic illness community on an individual level. Jenny has accomplished her mission–creating a larger scale opportunity for the ever-important human connection in the food allergy community.

My roommate for the weekend, Esther {The Gluten Free Nerd}, has been a long-time online friend–following her quirky Instagram photos of delicious GF food with cartoon characters in the most creative videos I’ve ever seen. When I arrived at our room, she was waiting with open arms and celiac-safe, egg-free chocolate chip cookies.

As many of you know, I’m recently egg-free and it has been the most emotionally devastating food restriction I’ve dealt with to-date. With full transparency, I’ve lived on eggs my entire life as the best Brianna-safe low-carb food option and the discovery that they’d been making me deathly ill has turned my life upside down. I’m learning how to adjust but Esther’s gesture {and a weekend with people who have been doing the GF/EF thing for much longer than me!} lifted my spirits higher than any words can describe; I am forever grateful.

I followed the blogger track (though there was also an educational track all weekend) and attended sessions like Food Photography and Styling {keep an eye on Instagram for improvement!}, Legality and Taxes {with the funniest accountant I’ve ever met!}, and the ever-popular Expo.

Of course, the highlight of the weekend was Chef Keith and his attention to every single food detail. With hundreds of food needs–even my low carb request was catered to without a grunt or eye roll when beautiful proteins and veggies arrived at my table instead of pasta salads and potato bars.

I must give a particular shout-out to the most special experience of the weekend–I arrived at the final lunch dessert bar to find a sign with my name {well, my social name!} and cupcakes made with sugar-free frosting. The simple gesture Allergen Free Bakes made for me to enjoy a cupcake that weekend–gluten free, egg free, AND low BG impact–brought me to tears. I am so grateful for her love.

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This community lifts me up and to see them in person was invaluable. To all the faces I can now match to Instagram and Twitter handles, I miss you already.

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

GFAF Expo Chicago– Top Finds!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at live-streaming anything, regardless of the social media platform. I get wrapped up in talking, eating, looking around, and the photos/videos/tweets/snapchats, etc.  just sorta fall by the wayside. Despite lack of visual evidence, I have some fantastic finds and old favorites that I gobbled down last weekend at the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois to share with you.

{Needless to say, the blood sugar day was a nightmare between all the eating and being on a CGM vacation, but one day a year–absolutely worth it to me.}

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Let’s start with the go-to favorites that I was munching on last weekend:

Smart Flour Foods Pizza {review here}, Whole Note Crepes {review here},  San-J Sauces {review here; they sponsored the bloggers this year!}, Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies {review here}, Sweet Note Bakery {currently revising recipes and rebranding, but previous review here}, Path of Life {review here}, Simple Mills {absolutely loving the new crackers; review here}, and of course the big player favorites like Glutino (oh those animal crackers!), Enjoy Life Foods (chocolate chips and crunchy cookies are my favorites!), Canyon Bakehouse (hello everything bagels), and Chebe Bread (fun to make into shapes!)

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Finally met CMO of Enjoy Life, Joel!

How about the favorites that I’m yet to review on ADSG? I couldn’t stop eating Beanfields Chips {I love the nacho flavor!}, Glutenfreeda products {purity protocol oats! And more than just oatmeal now!}, MyBread {that pita…yum.}, Three Bakers {some of the best bread for toast, in my opinion}, and plenty more I’m probably forgetting!

And for the new ones to me and/or the gluten free scene that I enjoyed sampling:

  • Freedom Foods: Yes, I know this one has been around the block a few times, but I rarely can find safe cereal that is also relatively low carb (21g/1 cup; also purity protocol oats!). This company did it! Check it out here.
  • Isola Imports: Definitely a top find at the Expo for me. They have delicious flavored butters {that taste like cheeses, but less lactose=happier stomach!}, gorgeous balsamic vinegars, and brand new gluten free gnocchi that was to die for! Look out for an opportunity to hear more about them and perhaps even get some for yourself!
  • Jovial: A curious brand to me, as they have a full and successful gluten line as well as a safe gluten free line. I did finally get my hands on some bow tie pasta (can I get a heck yes for gluten free pasta shapes?! Where were these in my childhood?!) that I’m looking forward to making.
  • Kiki’s Gluten Free: This company actually won several awards for innovation in food as they’ve created a pouch that their delectable deep dish pizza can be delivered in to larger universities/restaurants/etc to keep it 100% safe and away from cross contamination!
  • La Brea Bakery: Apparently well-known for their gluten breads {I had no clue, of course!}, they’ve begun a gluten free bread line in a separate facility. Their loaves are counter stable for an entire 7-10 days and the most squishy, pliable gluten free bread I’ve found yet. Loved it.
  • Milton’s: With an entire line of crackers and a line of chips, this booth was happenin’. They were kind enough to provide me with lots of different flavors to try, and I’ve been enjoying tasting them all!
  • Osteobroth: Just getting myself onto the bone broth trend a little late–and still hating the name of the category, so I’ll call it broth from now on–the individuals with Osteobroth were excited and kind and their broth was delicious! Though hard to believe, a warm cup of it was so refreshing after all the samples I’d had on the floor so far that day.
  • Sun Krunch Granola: A local small business, this couple is producing the most flavorful, simple, and low carb granola I’ve ever had! Working on getting some bags sent to me ASAP!

 

Phew, there you have it. GFAF Expo Schaumburg in a nutshell. What’s your long-time favorite brand? What product do you wish would hit the market in a gluten free/allergy friendly form?

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Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

 

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Disclaimer: I was a sponsored press blogger for the GFAF Expo, meaning I was asked to write a pre- and post-event blog piece and was given extra product from vendors/the blog sponsor, San-J. All opinions are my own.

GFAF Expo Chicago 2016!

On May 14th and 15th, the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo comes to Chicago! As an attendee the last two years, I cannot even wait to be a sponsored blogger this year.

Now, you may ask why I am so darn excited. The answer is simple: not reading labels is a wonderful feeling. Everything at the expo is 100% gluten free, and most are free of additional allergens (which are labeled on the tables themselves, making life super easy!) Additionally, there is an entire half of the expo hall for nut free items, so children and adults with severe nut allergies can safely take part. You’ll leave the expo loaded with goodies (usually tons of sample sizes perfect for packing lunches!) and coupons for your favorites, old and new!

As you can imagine, I usually spend the whole day roaming the hall munching on samples of old favorites and newbie products. Such an eating situation poses quite the challenge for a type 1 diabetic, and I personally decide not to read labels for carbs at the expo (seeing that it is the only time I can ever go anywhere without eating labels of every food that goes in my mouth). So, the last two years I’ve been on the pump and have set temp rates and done little boluses every hour or so, accepting the not-so-ideal outcome that needs attention when I return to the car. My first year I was on shots, which meant some larger fast-acting injections about 3 times throughout the day. Let me tell you– a CGM is glorious for days like these. But, it won’t be a perfect science, and the expo is worth it for me!

Are you ready to enter GFAF wonderland next month with a tote bag in hand to fill with endless goodies to take home? Well, you’re in luck! Not only can you get 30% off tickets until 4/13 (and 20% until 5/13) but I’m giving away 3 one-day tickets to the expo! 

Come meet me at the expo and I promise a big hug awaits you.

Check out all the excitement by using #GFAFExpo on Twitter/Instagram or go to facebook.com/gfafxpo

To purchase tickets: Go to goo.gl/I0WZLo and enter promo code EARLYBIRD (until 4/13) or ADVANCE (until 5/13)

To enter the giveaway: enter via the Rafflecopter below! I’ll draw the winners on Monday, April 11th (so you can still buy early bird tickets! 🙂 )

GFAF Expo Ticket Giveaway!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

 

PS- Here’s me at the last expo!

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