Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Bloggin' Mama Social

Thanks to Free Fun in Austin, I got connected with LiveMom and Orange Wall Collective, leading to both the See's Candies event I attended Thursday night and the great Bloggin' Mama Social I thoroughly enjoyed tonight.

The event was held pretty much right on the river at Alta's Cafe, so I got to ride my bike! I don't mind telling you that I was a little nervous. I rode over 10 miles in a stretch two weeks ago, but since then, I've grown a lot in the general baby area, and the last couple of rides I've taken have been significantly more challenging. I'm pleased to report that this was no problem, especially getting there, as it's mostly downhill.

Overcast skies, I presume, and a chillier-than-the-past-few-days temperature meant I didn't have to share the trail with much of anyone.

Under the First Street bridge. This is the first time I've seen it from the north side of the river.

Alta's Cafe is located in the Waller Creek Boathouse, and is a lovely place to sit and watch the action on the river. 

If you're on the Ladybird Lake trail, on the north side of the river just east of the Four Seasons Hotel, you'll see trail signs for the Waller Creek Boathouse. You'll know you've made it when you see this thing:

Conversely, if you're downtown, just take Trinity south until it ends. Literally. There is probably some parking around there, but you really should just walk or bike. It's beautiful, even on a cloudy day!

Plus, if you get there at the right time, you can watch the rowers coming in for the evening. They all put their boats up on stretchers, hosed them off, then stacked them for storage for the night. 

As the event started, I met a former homeschool mom who has a cultural event blog. It was fun talking to her before I took my seat at a table and started in on the food.

The cheeses and bread are from Alta's, but the brownie was a gluten-free one from Peoples RX kitchen... and I have to give them props, because most gluten-free stuff eventually breaks down and tastes like moist sawdust to me, but this brownie was delicious.

Meanwhile, sharing my table were three other interesting women. Araya Hildara has a Spanish-language section on pregnancy and childbirth, and she blogs on the site as well. Her friend, Gisele, a midwife, was with her. Gisele is just starting on a blog about raising children naturally. Finally, Cheryl Carey, founder of Taste and See Healthy Baby Food, is working on raising funds to give gift cards on Mother's Day to the moms who are in engaged in the family support services with Any Baby Can of Austin. Any Baby Can is a great program, and our small group adopts a family at Christmas. If you can help contribute, click here and write "Gifts for Moms" in the comment box. Also, I plan to take Cheryl's baby food class some time early next year! She has a couple of group classes a month, so check out her website.

These are the first treats I've had from Baked by Amy's. They were good, but apparently the pecan bars were the awesomest, because when I passed the table later, willing to try one because of the rave reviews (I don't typically like nuts in sweets), they were *gone*! 

Catherine Prystup, hostess, and Michael Swail, co-owner of Alta's Cafe.
Michael explained that they'd just opened this outdoor venue during one of the coldest winters in Austin history. You should totally go check it out, now that it's nice, though. Besides, check out their menu from the link above. Good stuff! I can personally vouch for the cheese part of their charcuterie plate. The meat stuff looked delicious, too, but is off-limits to me in my delicate (giggle) condition. As was the sustainable wine and the local craft beer. But I can't wait to go back and try it all very soon.

Mike McDonell of Kidventures Camps, a sponsor of the evening.

Pro blogging mamas panel.

Hilah Johnson of Hilah Cooking

Shellie Deringer of Saving with Shellie

Wendi Aarons, freelance writer and blogger
They were all insightful and interesting, but I won't go into detail here. Lots of stuff to think about, though. It was very neat that people actually care about local businesses and local bloggers and how we can help each other enough to put on an event like this. I loved meeting moms with totally different perspectives than I have, and seeing what a wide range of interests and passions we have.

About the time I decided it was time to head home before it became completely dark, it started pouring rain! Fortunately, I don't melt, but I did get pretty drenched. After my shower, though, I was rewarded with being able to riffle through the swag bag all attendees received. We have some awesome businesses around here, and I cannot wait to try the Daily Greens juice tomorrow morning!

James and I laughed because of the contents was a Cutie in a clear cellophane gift bag, tagged by McDonald's. They're trying, gosh darn it. But you can be sure that I will use the free small smoothie gift certificates!

There were door prizes given out at the event, too. I might have won a night at the Omni Downtown (where I paid half price to stay once, thanks to, or a $50 gift card to a local fine dinery, or even a gift basket from Terra Toys. Instead I won this. And, yes, I will be reading it tomorrow. I like to start my week off inspirationally.

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