Virginia Bloggers Kick-Off Brunch

by Sarah on April 23, 2012 · 67 comments

Two weeks ago, Liz and I launched a new website called VirginiaBloggers.com.

Our purpose was to make it easier to discover and connect with other local and statewide bloggers (and blog readers), as well as local events and businesses that support our passions. The community of blogging is the reason I ‘keep on keepin’ on’ with it, and I knew Liz felt the same. We turned the #VAis4Bloggers hashtag from a half-serious chuckle into reality!

(Beautiful header designed by Adrienne)

We are so excited about how quickly our blogroll began to increase, the support we have received from both national companies and local businesses–did you catch my feature on feast?–and the discovery of many bloggers statewide that we never knew about. And of course, we wanted to celebrate with a party.

And as we all know, “party,” for food bloggers, means brunch.

[And "party," for Miss Smart, also means goodie bags. ;) ]

The site was Stella’s, a Greek and Mediterranean taverna with a casual atmosphere and an incredibly extensive (and mouth watering) menu. Despite the rainy day outside, the vibe was upbeat and cheerful. [And I got to wear my rainboots, so how bad could the day really be? :) ]Although the lunch and dinner menu is very veg-and-vegan-friendly, the brunch menu is not. [At least at first glance, anyway.] I said to our waitress, “I’m a vegan. What can you do for me?” And I received what can only be described as amazingess in a bowl.A saute of bursting cherry tomatoes, portabello mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, creamy potatoes, and gigante (elephant) beans, seasoned with something deliciously addictive I couldn’t place (but wanted more of), this creation was a winner. The bonus of black kale rounded out the bountiful bowl.Perhaps because we were all tweeting about how delicious everything tasted (or because I stood up and made a speech?) the chef sent out complimentary loukoumades for all of us.Although they did resemble cute little chicken wings, these Greek doughnuts were like pieces of puffier, lighter funnel cake, that Stephanie proclaimed “must be covered in crack.”I know Liz and I were both SO excited* about how enjoyable and successful the event turned out to be. On our way back to pick up my car, we both were just reveling in Virginia (and blogging) love.

*We were only slightly less excited that I color coordinated my flannel with our logo.

Thank you Stella’s for receiving us so warmly, and thank you Chobani and Love Grown Foods for helping make up some delicious goodie bags! [And Lauren for the salted chocolate peanut butter-stuffed strawberries...]Because I am a nerd–and perhaps a future PTO President?–and love a good raffle, I also raffled off full-sized bags of Love Grown Granola AND the newest peanut butter creation to come out of The Smart Kitchen: Coconut Honey Roasted Peanut Butter.Because I’m feeling so much Virginia love, and happiness to be a part of a blogging community both regional AND national (AND international!), I want to give away some treats to you. All you have to do is:

  • Leave a comment telling me what you love about your city, town, or state OR what you love about the blogging community
  • “Like” Virginia is for Bloggers on Facebook
  • Follow @VAis4Bloggers on twitter

In exchange for participating in this flagrant bribery for self-promotional purposes, I will mail you your own (full-sized) jar of Coconut Honey Roasted Peanut Butter (unless you would prefer the original cinnamon variety), as well as coupons for free Chobani and Love Grown Granola (which can be purchased at The Fresh Market).

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Speaking of giveaways…we now move from big bowls of bountiful beauty…

…to big bowls of salad!

The winner of my Big Friendly Salad OXO Salad Spinner giveaway is…Matilda!

Source

Just kidding, although it is my favorite Roald Dahl book, too, y’all. According to the number generator on random.org, the winner (and sorry, Jenn, even though you snorted a little bit, I don’t think your entry counted ;) ) is…Kristen @ Not So Domesticated!

There’s something to be said for simplicity. (And for being just a tad bit more domesticated now? ;) ) E-mail me with you address and I’ll send a salad spinner your way!

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 23, 2012 at 7:32 am

YAHOOO!! ;) I’m pumped! Thanks so much … I’ll email you now!

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Renata April 23, 2012 at 7:33 am

I love the blogging community because they come up with so many creative recipes to try out of the box!

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Renata April 23, 2012 at 7:34 am

Just liked you on Facebook!

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Renata April 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

And following you on Twitter – the pbs recipes look scrumptious! I LOVE PB! – Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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lindsey April 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

I love that my town has 4 farmers’ markets to choose from in the spring and summer! :)

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Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) April 23, 2012 at 8:05 am

NC is for bloggers, too. Can you start a group for my state? :)

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

I want nut butter from the great Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!

My blogging community rocks – these girls are some of the sweetest, most supportive in the world and we all make a good effort to stay connected/hang out whenever possible. We need to have a GA+VA meet up! :)

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Cari April 23, 2012 at 8:23 am

I love the philadelphia food scene– so much unique and local deliciousness! and there are lots of great concerts here, too!

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Cari April 23, 2012 at 8:24 am

i liked the “virginia is for bloggers” facebook page :)

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Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count April 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

I love how I have been welcomed in to the blogging community in general. I never expected to have people even read BCDC let alone follow me and comment so regularly and with so many compliments. I feel like I have so many friends across the country now. In fact I keep thinking in the back my mind…Ok Ralph and I will be driving cross country this summer…we could stop in Nashville and Charlottesville and Temecula and maybe we can swing through Canada on the way back. I would love to meet every one of my blogging friends in person to thank them. Haven’t told Ralph yet. Wonder what his reactioni will be… ;-)

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Alex April 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

All I saw was cinnamon honey roasted peanut butter… is there a rule about a VA blogger being disqualified? Or can I perhaps bribe you to bring me some on Thursday? :)

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Stephanie @cookinfanatic April 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

Such a fabulously fun brunch event, it was so great meeting you and enjoying the afternoon eating delicious food and chatting it up with everyone! Can’t wait to try my coconut pb, it’s on my desk at work for snacktime and has already received some glances and questions – maybe I better put it somewhere safer to make sure it stays there! ;) Happy Monday girl!

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Mattie @ Comfy and Confident April 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

What a fun event! That is so cool you organized it and launched that website. I need to find something like that for NH or Mass.

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sarah @ sarah learns April 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

i love madison, wi so much and feel lucky to call it my home! my absolutely favorite thing about madison is the gigantic and truly awesome farmers market on the capitol square every saturday morning. it’s life changing.

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sarah @ sarah learns April 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

i’m following virginia bloggers on twitter!

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sarah @ sarah learns April 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

i liked the facebook page too! i wish we had something like this in wisconsin…

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Debbie (accidently delish) April 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

I am so glad the brunch was a success!!

Phoenix is huge so there is so much going on here, but what I love about my part of Scottsdale is the chic edge we have. We have more of your small local shops, farmers market and shopping.

Ps I am so jealous of the coconut butter. I am on a huge coconut addiction right now!!

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Debbie (accidently delish) April 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

I liked Virginia bloggers on facebook.

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Debbie (accidently delish) April 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

Follow on twitter <3

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers April 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

What an awesome project! That’s a great idea.

Oh, and that bowl looks like heaven, even for a non-vegan with extra benefits.

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Danica @ It's Progression April 23, 2012 at 10:41 am

The blogging community is always motivating and supportive in terms of all of my healthy living goals and that’s exactly why I love it so much!

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean April 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

can i move to VA?

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Sarah April 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

My door is always open!

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Heather @ Better With Veggies April 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

Wow – what a cool group you have created!! It sounds like a successful launch too – congrats!

I’ve been lucky to get connected with an awesome group of Atlanta bloggers – some of my new favorite people, actually! :) We’re not as official as what you started, but it’s still a TON of fun!

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Parita @ myinnershakti April 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I wish I lived in VA!!!

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Sarah April 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I wish you did, too. :)

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Sassy Mandrz April 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

What do i love about Portland, Oregon? Well, its very eclectic and we have some of the coolest best food trucks around! In fact, we have like little mini cities of food trucks…its awesome. we’ve got some really great neighborhoods with small intimate restaurants and we’ve got a variety of food choices…vegan and carnivore friendly :)

I’m new to the food blog reading but i’m learning all sorts about other food choices and I’m really enjoying it!

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billiejean April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

What I love about the blogging community is that I can “meet” other people from across the country! I’m just a reader, but it’s fun to read what other people do outside of my own community!

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billiejean April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Liked Virginia for Bloggers on FB!

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billiejean April 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Following on Twitter, too!

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Katie @ Nutrition in a Peanut Shell April 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I’ve never wished so hard I lived in Virginia!
Perhaps this should expand to ALL the states…imagine if you could get a ___ is for bloggers in all 50!

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Nana Phyllis April 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I love Victoria, Texas for its friendly people. I always know that I can drive down the street and anyone I see will wave. I don’t have a blog but love reading several, including yours.

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Liz @ IHeartVegetables April 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I love that picture of us!!! :) Awwww. We’re blogger-soul mates! That totally deserves to be on facebook ;)

Yesterday was SO MUCH FUN! I seriously can’t wait for the next event. I might just need to take a random trip up to Charlottesville to see your lovely face!

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Sarah April 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Dude. We ARE blogger-mates. Although that does sound a bit like our blogs are moving in together…

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Tonia April 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I love that I’m close to both D.C. and Baltimore with so many things to do and delicious places to eat!

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Tonia April 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I’m following @VAis4Bloggers on twitter!

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Molly l. April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

What I love about California is the huge variety of fresh delicious foods (produce, cheeses, wine) that are always available year round!

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Molly L. April 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

…. and I follow VAis4bloggers! :)

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kath April 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

So sorry I had to miss all the fun!!

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Sarah April 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

We missed you!!!

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Georgina April 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

The blogging community is full of team support and sharing different ideas and tips to keep us all on a healthy and fit lifestyle!

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Georgina April 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Like you on FB

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Georgina April 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Following on Twitter too – thanks for a yummy giveaway!

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Diana @ VeggieNextDoor April 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm

You are so awesome! Congrats on your big launch and thank you for offering such a sweet giveaway!

I love that all of the bloggers I’ve met in Chicago are so health oriented – and that there is an abundance of healthful activities to do together in Chicago. I’ve done several running meetups and yoga meetups and we’re hopefully going to be working out in Millenium Park & visiting the Green City Market together this summer!

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Diana @ VeggieNextDoor April 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

And i LIKE VA4bloggers

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Diana @ VeggieNextDoor April 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

And i FOLLOW VA4Bloggers

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Kelly O-ski April 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I love the Pittsburgh Penguins!!!

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Kelly O-ski April 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I also liked the Facebook page…

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Kelly O-ski April 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm

…aaaaand followed them on Twitter. haha

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Maria April 24, 2012 at 12:51 am

Oooh, such a toss up between Matilda and The Witches, but I guess Mathilda wins. I remember freaking myself out reading The Witches in bed at night as a 10 year old. It scared me. And Matilda is a freaking genius. Though Mrs. Trunchbull l scared me too.

Wait. What was the question again? I’m totally disqualified.

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Ray April 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

I love the state of VA and the culture of VA so many sites to see, food to eat and people to visit! Thank you for the great recipes and the yummy giveaway!

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Ray April 24, 2012 at 6:53 am

I’m following on FB

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Ray April 24, 2012 at 6:54 am

Fan on Twitter too -thanks!

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Ashley @ Freckles & Spice April 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

What a giveaway!! I’m so jealous of all your meetups and fun brunches lately.
That’s what I love about the blogging world – meets up! Bloggers are always so friendly and the conversations never lull.
I love NYC because of all the unique food finds.

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Ashley @ Freckles & Spice April 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

I liked on fb!

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Seema April 24, 2012 at 7:56 am

Liked Virginia is for Bloggers on facebook!

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Seema April 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

I LOVE Chicago :) probably for 10,000+ reasons….I just get chills every time I drive down the highway and glance at the skyline…because I had my first date and later got engaged at Navy Pier…because my old work building has a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe in front of it and no one knows why…our architectural tour…Da Bullz….so many more :)

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marie April 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I live in the New Orleans area. I love that there are many, many places in this city where I can show up in head-to-toe pleather and a feather boa and not get a second glance.

I’m also pretty fond of the Jazz-Blues-Funk fusion music exemplified by The New Orleans Nightcrawlers that is indigenous to the area.

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marie April 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I FB like VA is for Bloggers!

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teabagginit April 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I FB like VA is for bloggers!

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teabagginit April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

i love california because 2 hours in any direction and you can be in a different climate/terrain/culture. you can’t get bored!

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Kari April 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

What’s not to love about Minnesota? We have a great, under the radar, food scene here. There’s something for everyone.

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Tt in nyc April 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

What i love about food in nyc is that there are more choices and options, markets, restaurants and neighborhoods than i could ever visit in five lifetimes. Anything your wildest imagination could come up with is here waiting to be found ( tibetan vegan food? Yup. Australian pubs, cuban markets, swiss cafes, jewish delis….) There will never not be something new to go and see and eat:)

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Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner April 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

GIRL, I LOVED the PB from Sunday!!! In fact, I loved it so much that I’m going to enter this giveaway. I love the blogging community because of all the unique and awesome people that I get to meet!

So good to meet you, can’t wait to hang out again :)

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Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner April 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

And of course I follow on twitter

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Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner April 26, 2012 at 12:23 am

And now I’m following on facebook too!

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sara April 27, 2012 at 8:22 am

i love our local shops and restaurants back home!!

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