Five Reasons To Go To ShiftCon 2018

Five Reasons To Go To ShiftCon 2018

I just recently received news that I have been invited to ShiftCon 2018! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I pretty much geeked out on my Insta-Stories. I went to ShiftCon 2016 in NOLA this past year and fell in love! This is THE conference to go to if you are a) a blogger, journalist, social influencer; or b) a human being who cares about their food or this planet. I am pretty much obsessed with this platform and just had to share my top five reasons that ShiftCon is the must-attend conference!

Food

Cajun Jumbalaya

The food at ShiftCon is without a doubt the best I’ve had at any conference. Not only is every meal organic, but mostly sustainable, responsibly farmed, or locally sourced. Did I mention delicious? In a room full of media, we all couldn’t stop talking about food. I mean, I cover food on my blog at all times, but I was wowed by the selection and presentation of the food at ShiftCon 2016. They were also able to make sure and really add some local flair to the prepared food. We dined on some of the finest N’awlins Oysters from the infamous Dre’s, and I tasted my very first gumbo!

People

NOLA

Which ever way you slice it, the ShiftCon attendees and community are some of the most supportive I’ve come across. I truly found my tribe in NOLA last year and have been talking about it ever since. It wasn’t just the media, but also the brands. They were completely engaging, and I’ve made some very real connections in a fast-paced industry where it’s easy to get “lost in the sauce.” The Expo hours were separate allowing brands to sit and dine with media during keynote speeches, or learn alongside each other in various workshops. The connections made were very real and organic. Pun totally intended!

Culture

New Orleans

ShiftCon is structured in such a way that there is plenty of time to experience the local culture. They’ve also made it possible to include a bit of the local culture in workshops, scheduled tours (I was able to enjoy a local ghost tour in the heart of N’awlins y’all), and special guided activities. All putting you in touch with your surroundings, and the good folks trying make #ShiftHappen in these cities. It’s both inspiring and eye opening.

NOLA

NOLA

Education

NOLA

There is so much education at ShiftCon. These folks are passionate about the cause and have lined up an array of educators to help you to spread the good word. They’re fighting the good fight all over the nation and have come from far and wide to share it with all the ShiftCon Shifters. These are some of the most passionate and engaged educators teaching us about anything from soil degradation, agricultural news, and farming practices, to social media growth and SEO courses. A wide range of all things “shifty” if you will. The ways and means on how to report your news and the most effective way to get it to the masses. The panel’s were jam-packed with CEO’s (not marketing reps) from major organic brands answering some tough questions about their practices, and future plans for remaining authentic in a consumers market. I left each session feeling as though I’d learned something new, and feeling more connected to the brands that I use and write about.

Swag

NOLA

If you’ve ever spoken to someone whose attended a ShiftCon conference, then no doubt you’ve heard of their infamous swag bag. I kid you not, I couldn’t begin to even go through it all. There was something inside from every beloved (albeit pricey) organic company I could think of. The swag alone outweighs the cost of the ticket, and is well worth it. I actually had to ship it home to myself because it was way to much to haul in an airport all on my own. The swag bag is given to you on the first day you arrive (perhaps so you have time to figure out how to get it home), and it doesn’t end there. Each day / night there is a new raffle or opportunity to win a new prize. This year, there will be an awards ceremony for the media that is attending, I can’t wait to see what they get to take home!

Either way you slice it this event is a “gotta be there” kind of event, and this year it’s returning to its roots in the OC. Yours truly will be there getting all of the scoop and sharing with all of the other “shifters” via social media. You can join the #ShiftHappens movement by getting your very own tickets here.

See you in California!

Essentially yours,

Erika

Feeling Whole this Mother’s Day + Ageless Strawberry Kiwi Collagen Smoothie

Feeling Whole this Mother’s Day + Ageless Strawberry Kiwi Collagen Smoothie

Disclosure: I’m partnering with Stonyfield Organics Yogurt, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

“What do you want for Mother’s Day?” I get this question a lot lately. I’ve written at great length about the gifts that matter to me, and they can’t be bought in a store. I always ask for uninterrupted time with the family, just enjoying each other’s company. While this is still true, this year has been a year where I’ve learned to put myself first a bit. I’ve focused less on pleasing everyone around me, and more on celebrating my authentic self. I’ve taken some time to really focus on what keeps me whole. It’s the small peaceful moments (I call these pockets of peace), that really keep me going.

A balanced and nutritious diet is the fuel my body needs to keep going, a sense of purpose and overall feeling of self-gratification is also important to me. I find lots of peace in having compassion for myself and understanding that I am always doing my best. Giving back and making conscious decisions in different areas of my life is also key to helping me feel whole. Loving and embracing all of these parts of me is essential to being a good, mother, wife, and person.

Collagen Smoothie

 

Which is why when Stonyfield Organic and prAna clothing line partnered up this month, I was excited to participate. I feel whole when I am balanced and making deposits in all areas of my life. I try to take a bit of “me time” to get my body moving. Whether it be yoga, or just going for a walk. The prAna clothing line is perfect for this lifestyle, their pieces transition smoothly for a mom like myself on the go. This Liana summer sweater can go from the yoga studio, to picking up the kids from school, and out to dinner. Simplifying your wardrobe is key to a stress-free life. I love using Stonyfield Organics Whole Milk Greek Yogurt in my fruit smoothies. I never have to worry about any pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or GMO’s. Only organic pasteurized yogurt perfect for smoothies, or just a quick nutritious snack. I added collagen powder to this delicious smoothie for added support. We could all use a little more collagen ladies!

 

Collagen Smoothie

Less stress means less wrinkles, let’s face it. Watching what I put into my body is also one way I stay balanced. Just taking a moment to just sit and enjoy myself with a few tiny pleasures (like my new favorite comfy prAna sweater), while enjoying a nutritious yogurt smoothie that is good and good for me. This is what I will be celebrating this Mother’s Day. Me, the WHOLE me.

From now until May 31st, you can save 15% on your entire prAna purchase online when you use coupon code WHOLES17EEV. Enjoy!

Essentially yours,

Erika


 

To Zoo, Or Not To Zoo?

To Zoo, Or Not To Zoo?

Growing up in New York, we often visited the Bronx Zoo. It’s a huge zoo that could take a full day to really see everything. We’d spend long hours walking through the different exhibits and learning all about the different species. As a kid growing up in the “concrete jungle”, it was the most interaction I had with nature and any kind of wildlife. It wasn’t until I was much older and had kids of my own that weighing in on zoo trips was really thought. To zoo, or not to zoo. That was the question.

Did I really want to give my kids the impression that animals came from or even worse belonged anywhere other than in their natural habitat? As an advocate for all wildlife, like many others, I believe that animals and their habitat should be respected and even preserved. I donate to causes and charities to help preserve these habitats and prevent extinction of many species. The connection I feel to nature is powerful, so my feeling behind this issue measures up just the same.

As a parent, I struggled with how to broach this issue with our kids. They have class trips to the zoo, friends who frequent the zoo. However, it’s important for me to express that animals do no come from the zoo, and in fact live in a much broader world that I wish they will spend the rest of their lives learning about. I needed to find a way to introduce this issue carefully and help them to truly understand the world around them.

A happy compromise I’ve discovered is contributing to organizations that act as a conservation society. Supporting your local conservation society can help house wildlife that are incapable of surviving in the wild, while educating patrons about their species and natural habitat. The AZA (Association of Zoo’s & Aquariums) / SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) is working closely with Stonyfield YoKids together on a mission to help save endangered species. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only be contributing funds to field work but aiming to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening.

By sponsoring the AZA’s efforts, Stonyfield is working towards supporting conservation efforts for 10 endangered species, including the African Penguin just in time for World Penguin Day on April 25th! In keeping with Stonyfield’s long time effort in conservation and sustainability, they will be featuring most of AZA’s SAFE species on their packaging all year-long so kid’s can collect all of the species.  Stonyfield YoKids will be offering a special on-pack offer to encourage families to visit any of the 131 participating AZA accredited member zoos and aquariums in their own communities.

From now to the end of September families who buy two specially-marked YoKids yogurt multipacks will receive a FREE kid’s admission to their local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium when they also buy an adult ticket.  Stonyfield has long been a company with high standards using only organic, non-gmo ingredients in all of their kids yogurt. Most recently stepping it up with a sugar reduction across the line available in cups, squeezers and smoothies.

Check out this adorable video when kids were asked if a cow could save a penguin?

By encouraging more kids and families to visit their local participating zoo or aquarium and experience endangered species firsthand, Stonyfield hopes to inspire a lifelong appreciation of our planet and commitment to animal conservation in the next generation. We can’t wait to visit our local AZA SAFE accredited Zoo in Miami and share all of the wonderful details!

Essentially yours,

Erika

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