THE NICOLINA.CO BLOG
Sunday Cam and I had a brunch date in Atlanta at Krog Street Market. I remembered reading a post on my favorite blog, Studio DIY, about some fun walls in that area and when we found this one I knew it would be the perfect spot to take some pics of the newest tee coming to our shop - Happily Ever Tees.Read More
Last weekend I attended the Gluten Free Allergn Friendly Expo in Atlanta as one of their official bloggers.
I met some great bloggers, and tried SO MANY yummy gluten free items. We got to see a few companies we already loved and find some new favorites.
Thank you so much to the GFAF team for inviting me to attend and to all of the vendors who sent us home with some amazing products.
Seriously the free samples/take home bag is worth the cost of attending alone. This is just my bag's worth of goods. It took up my entire dining room table.
Thinking of attending?
Here's what's included with your ticket:
- Entry into the Expo
- SO MANY samples
- A SWAG bag filled with products and coupons
- Classes on living Gluten/Allergen free
Vendors that attended ranged from well known Gluten Free brands to smaller local companies. A few grocery stores and resturant chains were represented as well.
Half of the Expo is set aside for brands who are not only gluten free but also peanut/tree nut free. I invited my friend Meghan (hayesdays.com) who is allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts and she was able to learn and find some new brands to love as well.
Each booth has a little sign, with clearly marked ALLERGENS HERE signs. So it was very easy to tell if an item was safe to eat or not.
Here's a sampling (no pun intended) of the amazing brands/companies that were represented at the expo.
With so much to see and taste we found ourselves getting FULL from all the samples. Come hungry and bring a water bottle!
I thought I would share some of our favorites from the Expo. A few of these were already favorites coming in, but most of them are new to us brands that I am so excited about.
BEST PIZZA - Spinato's
Pizza was the most represented item at the Expo I think. Of all the brands there Spinato's was BY FAR the best. Everyone in our group went back for 2nds (and 3rds). They also offer amazing dressings, and pasta sauce.
The sauces and dressings are currently in Sprouts and the pizzas are coming at the end of the month. They are also working on getting into more retailers.
GO REQUEST THIS BRAND at your local store. So so so good!
CUTEST PRODUCTS - Safe Happy Family
This brand specializes in products for food allergy families. I especially loved the plates and untensils to remind you to keep things ALLERGY SAFE.
I think I need this dish towel she has as well.
BEST MIX - Ardenne Farm
Their muffin mix is hands down the best I have ever tried. I am super excited to team up with them on a giveaway next week as well.
This was no dense heavy muffin, so light and fluffy you wouldn't know it was missing any gluten.
BEST BREAD/BAGEL - Canyon Bakehouse
We already loved Canyon Bakehouse before we found them at the Epxo. But seriously if you miss bagels, you need to find some Canyon Bakehouse bagels.
Their everything bagels are literally EVERYTHING.
BEST FLOUR - Sugar & Spice Market
We tried a lot of cupcakes at the expo. A LOT. This was by far the best flour we tried. It's a 1 to 1 flour replacement so it's perfect to use in recipes.
Please go check out some of these brands. I would love to hear what you think!
Each booth had some samples/coupons/discounted products for sale. They also had some information to take with you to be able to request some of their products at your local grocery store.
I would recommend attending this Expo to anyone who is dealing with food allergies, especially gluten because that is the focus of the event.
Check out the website here to find an Expo near you.
I am so excited to join the GF & AF Expo team as an official event blogger for the Atlanta Expo next weekend!
This will be my first year attending, and I would love if you would join me.
First a little more info about this event, then learn how to get 20% off advanced tickets, and at the end of the post you can enter to win 2 free tickets to this event.
The event is taking place
April 2nd - 3Rd at the Cobb Galleria Centre
from 10am - 4pm
Parking at the Cobb Galleria Centre is free.
The mission of the GF & AF Expo: The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo is dedicated to meeting the needs of the celiac community, those with gluten and food sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases, and autism. The public is helped through vendor expositions, educational sessions, and online resources. The manufacturers are serviced through vendor expositions, marketing programs, and consultative services.
Not only will the Expo introduce you to some great Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly brands, the Expo also offers informative classes related to the gluten free and allergen-friendly lifestyle.
Over 100 brands will be there for you to visit with and of course lots of coupons and samples. There will even be an opportunity to purchase some discounted items.
All of this and more is included in your Expo ticket which you can purchase ahead of time using the link below to get 20% off.
You can also purchase tickets at the door, but you save 20% by making the purchase ahead of time.
Now for the fun part! The amazing people at the GF & AF Expo have given me four tickets to give away. Two winners will each receive two tickets to the event. The giveaway starts today and goes through the 30th, that way you still have time to buy your tickets and get 20% off if you don't win!
We are officially 25 days away from the DISNEY PRINCESS HALF MARATHON. I wanted to do a quick running check in and a recap of the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15k/5k.
When I drafted this post I intended to tell you all about how I totally rocked the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15k.
Then winter happened.
The closer we got to race day, the more sure I became that we were going to freeze our butts off. With a winter storm just days before, and a foretasted wind chill at 15* they decided to implement the cold weather plan.
This meant that if you couldn't maintain under a 13 min/mile pace, you would be moved to the 5k course (the previous required pace was 15 min/mile). In all of my training I have gotten from +17 min/mile pace down to a solid 14:10 min/mile pace but there was no way I was going to shatter my personal best and PR in a race that was happening on the coldest day of the year with some serious wind and Atlanta hills to tackle.
When we walked down to the staging areas, there was a stage where they had a Zumba instructor getting everyone warmed up before the race and a single space heater that had about 20 people stuffed inside a bus stop looking thing. Oh and about 100 port-a-potties. That was good news for me because I never had to wait very long to take a pee break!
We headed to our corals and there was some (read: mass) confusion. I think we ended up in the right spot. There was lots of yelling and we couldn't really hear the announcer.
I got off to a pretty slow start. I don't know if it was the cold or what but I would say about 90% of the people in our coral were walkers who didn't know how to stay to a slow side. By the time I found my pace, we hit a BIG hill. Between the hills and the fact that I was worried about how quickly one might get frostbite being out in freezing temps, I wasn't running my best.
By the time we got to mile 2, and it was clear they weren't going to let us to the 15k I kicked my butt into gear and ran the rest of the way to make up some time.
I think in the confusion of everything, my time didn't get recorded for the 5k, but according to my apple watch I accomplished what I wanted, a sub 45 min 5k time.
Once we crossed the finish, we were handed water - which was FREEZING as I was drinking it. Then I went to get my medal. Even though we didn't get to complete the 15k, everyone who signed up for it was still given their finisher medals.
Which I was happy for because it may or may not have been the reason I signed up.
I met up with Melanie and we pretend to eat our shiny chocolate medals before heading off to get in line to get our finisher mugs.
FINALLY I am a happy camper because I have my chocolate. Not pictured the sugar coma that followed.
Overall, it was colder than it was fun. I think the winter weather plan kind of threw everyone off. It was my first time experiencing corals and a large number of people so I am glad I got to see how that all works before we head to Disney! AHHH.
I'm headed out now to finish up my miles so I can feel proud displaying my medal! Have you ever done a Hot Chocolate race?
Welcome to Sunday Lately, a weekly link up I host with some of my blogger girls Meghan and Katy. Join in on the fun using the linky list below, use our prompts or your own!
Guys. We brunched so hard this week. I got in the habit of cooking all of our leftovers and adding eggs to make it brunch-y on the weekend.
You should try it, it's amazing.
Planning out some big things for the week like a Black Friday sale for Designs by Nicolina and an order cut of date for Happily Ever Tees. Next week we have a pop up market we are participating in at one of our shops we stock in Atlanta, so I am doing some prep work for that as well.
Also filling up my planner for the next couple of months. I am currently working out of two planners since it's basically 2016! I can't believe it.
Our friends. Teenage Nicole was filled feelings. OK 25 year old Nicole is filled with feelings. Like most teenage girls I struggled to find friends and acceptance. Adults around me told me not to worry, and to just hold on because it would get better.
For the most part I didn't believe them. But they were right, it got better. Now we are surrounded by some of the best people I could ever imagine. Friends who would do anything for you and expect nothing in return.
I wish I could go back and tell teenage Nicole that everyone was right. It gets better. You will find your tribe. Even though I can't, all of the pain and tears were worth it to get me to where I am today.
Some new lettered items and projects for Designs by Nicolina.
It's coming up on DBN's 6 year anniversary and the past couple of months I have been feeling quite uninspired to be honest. But I feel like I have a new energy about it and I am so excited@
The next few weeks to be pretty crazy. But it will all be worth it! We have some fun adventures planned for 2016.
Do you have anything fun planned for 2016? I would love to hear about it!
We had a blast this weekend at the Atlanta Braves Star Wars Night. I also got to check out some of the Gluten Free options at Turner Field.
We purchased a special event ticket for Star Wars night that got us a discounted ticket, a limited edition Star Wars night bobble head, the ability to participate in an on field costume parade, and included a donation to Stand Up 2 Cancer.
At the entrance to Turner Field - Cameron showing his #BravesCountry pride, and me rocking my Star Wars tank I posted about on the blog last week.
This was the other half of my Tyler's graduation present, and my Dad joined us as well. My Dad is where we get our Star Wars nerdy side from. I have a very vivid memory of him taking me to see A New Hope for the 1997 theatrical re-release.
Along with the special music and themed fireworks, they had character meet and greats around Turner Field's entrance. The longest lines were for Chewy, Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers. I heard Princess Leia and R2D2 were also meeting, but we didn't see them.
I was surprised at how ALL OUT these characters were. They weren't just party city costumes, these were the real deal.
Thanks to some research I knew that Turner Field had a Gluten Free kiosk. I was really excited about this because the few other sporting events we have been too since Cameron's gluten allergy we had little to no options.
The food is prepared ahead of time, in a safe environment. There isn't a risk of cross-contamination because there is no other food available at this location.
Cameron tried the turkey club and I got a hot dog. We were both really impressed with the buns that they use! My hot dog was your basic baseball game hot dog, I thought it was really good. Cameron's sandwich was also great. Lots of turkey, the tomatoes were fresh and as you can see there were 2 giant pieces of bacon.
The only options for sides were chips and a cookie. I went with the chips because I was saving myself for a King of Pops treat later (they usually have a few GF options to choose from, all the ingredients/allergy info are on the labels)!
After dinner it was time for the game to start!
The game started and it carried on the Star Wars theme with some fun character appearances on the field as the players were introduced.
All of the Phillie's players were assigned villainous characters to come up on the big screen when they were introduced, and they had photographed the Braves player's dressed as Jedi's to introduce them.
The Braves won, and all was right in the galaxy.
It was time to end the night with Friday Night Fireworks which were going to be extra special because they had set them to the Star Wars soundtrack.
We had an awesome time and I would recommend checking out this event, I believe they do it every year to any baseball/Star Wars fan!