Monday, September 29, 2014

What I Learned From Women Get Social Philly

Two weeks ago I attended Women Get Social Philly, hosted by The SITS Girls. I had been hesitant to go to the conference mostly because I've attended a lot of blogging conferences this year. But everyone I talked to said this was the one to go to, so 2 weeks before the event I took the plunge and got a ticket off the wait list.

Women Get Social was held over 2 days at the DoubleTree in Philadelphia and The SITS Girls packed those 2 days with so much information that it took me 2 weeks to wrap my head around all of it.

If you are a blogger or thinking of starting a blog, if this conference comes to a city near you it really is a must do. But because you all couldn't be there in Philly with me learning lots and getting to meet a vintner, I will share with you some of what I learned at Women Get Social Philly.

Don't do it for free and expect to get paid next time. So many times as bloggers we get asked to write about something for free and sometimes it's by big name brands that we would love to work with. And it's easy to think well if I write about it for free surely they will see I'm awesome and pay me next time. But like the old saying "why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free", it's highly unlikely that you will get paid next time. If you are going to do something for free ask for a Linked In endorsement.

Hate media kits but have them. You have to have a media kit but it was suggest not to give them out unless asked for and to have one for each social media platform. Make sure to use your media kit to highlight what you do best.

Pretty matters. Blog design and your images matter. Make them pretty and if you don't know how find someone who does. Blog design is the number one reason you are not getting sponsored posts.

YouTube is the great equalizer. With YouTube the views always come back to you. You can set up ads on your video and get paid based on how many times it is seen. When doing a post think, what can I do a video about?

You can not be a super star on every platform. There is such a pressure to be everywhere all the time. To be active on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and a host of other social networking platforms but you can't be a superstar on every platform. Take your two best platforms and put your time and energy there. Have a presence on the others but work your best two.

Link to your about me page. All your social media bios should link to your about me page. That way you are always putting your best foot forward when brands are checking out your page.

Keep office hours. This is something I am trying to get better at, setting aside time that is just for blogging and also something I'm always telling my husband to do. By setting limits on your time you are saying to others my time is important.

Multiply your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. If you are a great editor but horrible at photography outsource the photography so you can focus on your content. If there is something that you are great at swap services with someone who is an expert at something that you aren't great at.

Personally my biggest take away from Women Get Social was the confidence boost to take myself and this space seriously. Women Get Social changed the way I think about my blogging career and definitely gave me some ideas about where I want this blog to go and how to get it there. I'm excited about the plans that I have for this space and grateful to all of you who have stuck with Wine In Mom since the beginning.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dishes and Drinks

Now that I'm getting back into a routine, I've been getting back into planning our meals. Meal planning can be a lot of work but is definitely worth it. I'm going to to try something new here, since I usually spend some time on Sunday planning our meals I thought I would take some time to share my meal plan with you and hopefully save you some time or inspire you to try something new. Don't miss the great wine pairings, that go with. 

Monday: I've been wanting to make eggplant parmigiana for awhile and my friend Marci of Vegging at the Shore gave me her recipe. I've never made eggplant parmigiana before and I'm excited to try it out. I'm serving it with my favorite spinach and tomato risotto. The risotto is great on it's own and can be a whole meal if you are a carb lover like me.

Tuesday: I only like to cook fish the day I get it and since I don't work on Tuesday it's a great day for me to visit my local fish store and pick up some fresh flounder. While this recipe is for Honey Lime Tilapia, I'm going to sub flounder.

Wednesday: I work on Wednesday and usually don't want to cook when I get home so tonight it's most likely leftovers.

Thursday: We've decided to try and have taco Thursday's at our house, tonight we are having a family favorite Sweet Potato and Black Bean tacos. I was a little wary of sweet potatoes in tacos but this was an instant hit at my house .

Friday: This was the last week that my local farm stand, Reeds was open. I picked up some butternut squash and apples to make this Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple soup. I like that this recipe doesn't call for any cream. I will likely pair this with a salad, possibly this Kale and Apple Salad.

Wine Pairing suggestions:

This week I'm on a chardonnay kick and have been enjoying Mirassou's Chardonnay it would pair great with either the Honey Lemon Tilapia or the Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. I like Mirassou's Chardonnay because it isn't overly oaky and has a great finish.

I'm a big Dave Matthews Band fan and was pleasantly surprised by their line of Dreaming Tree Wines. Crush, a red wine, is a great everyday red wine and would pair well with the Eggplant Parmigiana and the risotto.

Mirassou Chardonnay Dreaming Tree

All of this weeks recipes can be viewed on my Pinterest board This Weeks Dishes.

What is on your meal plan this week?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Best Disney Quick Service Dining

There is always a lot of talk about which Disney restaurants are the best and much is made of getting those dining experience reserved 180 days in advance. But what about those who don't want to plan, or who are traveling with young kids and don't want all the fuss of a planned sit down meal. For those that don't want to do a table service meal, that doesn't mean you have to be left out of the Disney dining fun. Disney World offers many wonderful, fun and delicious quick service dining options.

What is Quick Service Dining

Quick Service dining is also known as counter service dining. You order at the counter and in most cases pick up your food on a tray and then seat yourself. Food offerings vary from standard fast food fare to much nicer options like an ahi tuna salad or prime rib sandwich. Quick Service meals cost less than a table service meal and there is no waiter to tip.

Best Disney Quick Service Dining

Best Quick Service Dining Options at Magic Kingdom

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe, located in between Adventure Land and Frontier Land has plenty of ample seating which is always a plus when it comes to quick service dining. I hate wondering around with a tray and I've never had a problem finding a seat here. Pecos Bill's menu includes burgers, salads and pulled pork sandwiches. I recommend the pulled pork sandwich, it is big, delicious and just a bit messy. Kids menu includes burger, pork sandwich, and a turkey sandwich.

Be Our Guest, located in Fantasy Land at Belle's Castle you can't find a prettier or more enchanting quick service dining option in all of Disney World. Some lucky guests have been known to get Fast Pass Plus lunch reservation invitations. We were one of the lucky guests who got one on our last visit. Unlike other quick service restaurants at Be Our Guest you order on a computer screen and the food is magically delivered to your table on via a serving cart. When my husband asked how it worked our server replied, "Sir, this is an enchanted restaurant". There are three dining rooms the rose room, where you can see the enchanted rose, the ballroom and the library. Each room is gorgeous and worth peaking at. The Be Our Guest lunch menu offers soups, salads and sandwiches that are far from your average park eats. On our last visit I had the Tuna Nicoise Salad which was excellent. The kids menu has a lot of variety, I've heard complaints that the kids options aren't traditional and while chicken fingers aren't on the menu you will find meatloaf, pasta, and grilled cheese. Quick service dining is available for lunch only.

Be Our Guest Ballroom
Ceiling in the ballroom at Be Our Guest

Best Quick Service Dining Options in Epcot

Tangerine Cafe, located in the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase serves up large portions of delicious Moroccan food. The Shawarma Chicken Platter that comes with hummus, tabbouleh and couscous salad easily could feed two adults. Seating is offered inside and outside. The outside seating is a great place to people watch. The menu at Tangerine Cafe, offers traditional Moroccan food while the kids menu features chicken fingers and burgers. If your kid will eat chicken that is not breaded order the chicken platter and let them eat off your plate.

Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, located in the France Pavilion in World Showcase features french sandwiches, soups and desserts. While I'm sure the soups and sandwiches are wonderful I have only gotten desserts here and once you go you will see why. They offer an amazing variety of french desserts from Pain Au Chocolat to Macaroons that are incredibly delicious. I love the feeling when you are in France that you are really there. Grab a glass of wine from the nearby wine shop and enjoy your pastry outside in the square.

Best Quick Service Dining Options in Hollywood Studios

Starring Rolls Cafe, located on Sunset Boulevard near Villains in Vogue is a great place to grab breakfast as they have a wide variety of pastries and cupcakes. The menu at Starring Rolls Cafe also offers sandwiches and sushi. The children's menu includes peanut butter and jelly. Seating is outside and you can also get a glass of wine to enjoy with your dessert or meal. 

ABC Commissary, centrally located on Commissary Lane a short walk from the Great Movie Ride or Star Tours. We stumbled upon this place while trying to grab something to eat on a crowded night before viewing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. We were really surprised by the healthy offerings and ample seating. The menu at ABC Commissary includes a variety of salads, burgers and sandwiches. I recommend the Asian chicken salad which could easily be split between two people. The kids menu is a bit limited but does offer the Mickey Check Meal in a Lightening McQueen bucket. 

Best Quick Service Options in Animal Kingdom

Yak and Yeti, located  in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom offers quick service dining for lunch only. The menu at Yak and Yeti includes a variety of Asian specialty dishes such as dim sum, wonton soup and curry. Don't worry that there won't be something for the kids, the kids menu does include chicken fingers and mini burgers. They also offer a variety of desserts and alcoholic beverages. I had the lo mein here for lunch and it was more than enough for 2 people. I'm excited to go back and try the table service dinner on our next trip. 

Best Quick Service Dining Options at Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express, has two locations in Downtown Disney, though I'm partial to the one in the Marketplace. There are lots of Quick Service Dining options in Downtown Disney but this is hands down the best. Here you can have a gourmet meal, a glass of wine and excellent service all for a low price by Disney standards. While I've been a big fan of Wolfgang Puck Express for years, what really won me over was when I dined here with Jackson. The service and care they showed the two of us was amazing. The server brought me extra cups of water and napkins and regularly checked on us. The menu at Wolfgang Puck Express includes a ton of variety including: soups, salads, pizzas and pasta dishes. If you are on the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan this place is easily the best bang for your buck. 

These are just a few of my favorite Quick Service dining options, there are tons of great dining Quick Service dining experiences throughout Walt Disney World. I know there are a few fan favorites that are not on my list, mostly because I haven't had the chance to dine there yet and only included places I have actually dined at. I recommend checking the menus before dining to make sure there will be something for everyone in your group. Also it's best to try to dine Quick Service at off peak hours, though most places offer enough seating that even during peak hours you can find a table. 

We did a Disney vacation with only the Quick Service dining plan and never felt like we missed out on the fun of Disney dining. 

What is your favorite Quick Service Restaurant? 

For more on Disney travel, please check out these other Disney Vacation Planning Posts.