Hi all! I am so pumped to share with you all about my trip to San Mateo! If you haven’t read my previous blog post, I just traveled up to San Mateo, California for the GFAF Expo! This was my first even that I attended as a blogger, so I wanted to be able to share my experience.
Day 1- Friday
Friday morning started bright and early at 4:30am to head to LAX! I am very thankful that there was very little traffic on the way to the airport! Once I got through security, I grabbed a coffee and got some blog work done before the flight! I flew United into San Francisco Airport which was bound to be delayed due to the huge fires in Northern California. I was very lucky to only be delayed half an hour!
Once I landed, my first stop was to pick up some lunch! I headed to Pie Five Pizza Co. to try their gluten free pizza! I ordered a build your own pizza with pepperoni and sausage and I was very satisfied!
My next step was to head to my hotel. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Foster City San Mateo. I was picked up by the hotel shuttle at the airport and headed to the hotel! I was very lucky to be able to check in early since I arrived a few hours before the normal check in time. I stayed in a room with a king bed and a sofa bed as well! The bed was one of the comfiest I have slept in quite a while! It was also so nice to have a king bed all to myself! I spread out across the entire bed both nights! The bathroom had a shower/tub combo with a large countertop and one sink.. I had a window that looked into the center of the hotel, which was one of the restaurants as well.
After I got settled in and took a quick nap, I decided that it was time to go and explore! I took an Uber to the Hillsdale Shopping Center to do a little exploring. That evening there was a Christmas event at the mall, so they had Christmas crafts for the kids and carolers that roamed around the mall and sang! The mall was massive and had so many stores that I love! I stopped in Victoria Secret to take a look at their sales, H&M, Forever 21, Bath and Body Works, and Francesca’s. I also stopped in Lush to pick out a holiday bath bomb for a bath that night!
I also stopped to have dinner in the mall as well. I ordered food from Tacos El Grullense, which is a Mexican restaurant! I ordered a few chicken and pork tacos. I am a huge Mexican food fan, and these tacos definitely did not disappoint!
After I finished up at the mall, I took an Uber back to the hotel to take a bath and relax! I had picked up the Holey Night Bath Bomb from the Christmas collection to use that night! I had also brought along my Berry Gel Gommage from Arcona to use as a face mask while I took a bath as well! It was a much needed relaxing break after traveling! After my bath, I watched some TV while catching up on social media before bed.
Day 2- Saturday
I started off my Saturday right by getting a short workout in before I needed to head out. The fitness center in the hotel has windows on both sides, which was so nice to have a view while working out! After I finished my workout and got ready for the day, it was time to head to the Expo!
I went over to the San Mateo County Event Center for the Blogger Breakfast before the Expo started. BFree sponsored the Blogger Breakfast which was such a pleasure! They supplied both flavors of their bagels, which I had never tried before. I went for the plain bagel with some butter which was so tasty! I didn’t want to eat too much because I knew that I would be snacking throughout the entire expo! It was such a nice time to meet the other bloggers and get to know them! After our breakfast was over, it was time for the expo to start!
There were so many booths to look through that I didn’t know where to start. Some of the brands that I spoke with on the first day were Brazi Bites, Enjoy Life, Zevia, Safe + Fair.
Brazi Bites are a brand of Brazilian cheese bread that comes in the frozen section in the form of little balls. They have all different flavors, including Cheddar and Parmesan, Garlic Asiago, Zesty Pepper Jack, and 3 Cheese Pizza! Enjoy Life is a very prominent brand in the allergen friendly community because they are free from gluten and 14 common allergens. I always love trying all of their different items, including cookies, granola bars, chips, and so much more. Zevia was a brand that I had not yet heard of, so I was so excited to try some of their 0 calorie drinks. Of the sodas, my favorite was by far the Cream Soda and my favorite of the teas was the Peach Sweetened Black Tea. Safe+Fair was another brand that I was not familiar with, but I was so excited to stop by their booth! They had their Popcorn Quinoa Chips. My favorite flavor was the Olive Oil and Sea Salt, and I even took a few bags home with me!
For the classes during the event, I attended 2 of the 3 for the day. The first class that I attended was put on by Steve Taneman from Bio-K. His presentation was all about probiotics in terms of which ones are the best for you, myths that come along with probiotics, and answered any questions that anyone had! The second class I sat in was with Elizabeth Anthony Gronert and she spoke about how autoimmune disease and food allergies can affect the skin. This was a class that I had been looking forward to since I had previously dealt with pretty severe cystic acne. She had so much information on steps to take to help your skin and what not to use!
After browsing more booths, I headed back to the hotel to take a little break before I continued on with my day. I picked up a quick Starbucks Peppermint Mocha and laid in bed while watching the end of the UCLA football game! After relaxing for a little while and getting a little work done, I decided to head out for dinner. Since I had a lot that I wanted to get done I picked up some food to go and went back to the hotel to relax. I spent the night getting work done before heading to the pool for a little!
The pool is indoor, so I didn’t have to endure the smoke, which was so nice. I spent a little just relaxing before heading back up to my room to relax for the rest of the night!
Day 3- Sunday
On my last day, I decided to sleep in, just a little, before getting ready for the last day of the expo! The ultimate task was trying to fit all of the goodies that I had picked up into my suitcase and backpack. Even though I had packed a small amount of clothes and shoes for the trip, it was still a task to fit everything in! Once I had completely packed myself up, I dropped off my luggage at the front desk for them to hold, and I was on my way to the expo!
I felt a little less overwhelmed going in to the second day of the expo, so I was ready to go! Some of the brands that I spoke with on day 2 was Zellee, Bob’s Red Mill, and Odd Bagel.
The ladies at the Zellee booth were such a pleasure to talk to! Zellee is an organic fruit gel, which is essentially a plant based, healthier version of jello! I personally tried the Strawberry Pear flavor and you can say I’m OBSESSED! Bob’s Red Mill is a brand that I have been using since I found out that I had celiac! They have a large variety of products, including flours, oats, other grains, and protein powders! They were sampling their protein powders in the form of smoothies, which were delicious and very easy to make! Bagels are a gluten free product that are very hit and miss. Whenever I try new GF bagels, I am very skeptical. Odd Bagel instantly caught my eye and once I tried their everything bagel, they had me hooked. I even bought a bag to bring home with me because I couldn’t get enough!
For the second day of classes, I also sat down for 2 of the 3! The first one for me of the day was with Jennifer Reynolds on Infusing Flavors! She made a multitude of different combinations, including herb butter, blue cheese butter, and milk infused with habanero! It was very helpful in thinking of new ways to spice up meals or snacks! The last class of the day was with Jillian Love and she made Spiced Dark Chocolate Superfood Brownies! She gave me a new perspective on how to make a dessert that is almost always unhealthy into something that taste fantastic and is still good for you!
After the last class, I did one last walk through of the booths and headed out! I had a few more stops that I wanted to make before heading to the airport!
One stop that I made was for lunch at Armadillo Willy’s! I went for the Texas BBQ Plate with the East Texas Pulled Pork with sides of caesar salad and Texas Tots! I am a BBQ lover, so I was veryt excited to try this place out! The portion size was large, s I would definitely go for the small plate next time, but the food was so good and I would definitely go back!
My last stop before the airport was Starbucks to grab a tea and get some work done. I absolutely love to order the Peach Tranquility hot tea when it is cold out! While in Starbucks, I realized that my flight was going to be delayed. It was only supposed to be delayed for under 30 minutes, so I decided to head to the airport at the same time that I had planned to.
Once I arrived at the airport and got through security, I was notified that I was going to be delayed for over an hour. I decided to make the best of my time and work on some blog posts and some TV shows that I had missed out on! Once on the plane, I relaxed and watched a few shows before I landed!
My first ever trip to an event as a blogger was success and I can’t wait to experience more! I hope this post can help you try some new gluten free brands!