Welcome to the Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers Chapter

Ft Lauderdale Bloggers Local Blogger Community
Follow us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, & Periscope
To contact The Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers email FTL@thebloggerunion.com.

Chapter Officer: Holli Lapes

Holli Lapes is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN), Photographer and Blogger. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and believes we should never stop learning! Holli is the founder of The South Florida Sage (TheSoFlaSage.com) a food & drink blog featuring culinary experiences from the Miami, Broward and Palm Beach area. Holli will be launching a nutrition & wellness blog soon! 

Kind Collaboration at Think Escape Games in Ft. Lauderdale

Founded by Greg Kormendi and Shannon Best in November 2015, Think Escape Games offers live-action team-based games where players solve puzzles, accomplish tasks and work together in a hands-on environment to escape the game in a set amount of time.

Currently offering three rooms of unique unfranchised gameplay, Think Escape Games offers players the chance to stretch their minds in new and unique ways. This is great for corporate teams, as colleagues have to work together to escape the room in 60 minutes or less. It’s also the perfect outing for any type of players such as friends or family to work together while having fun at the same time. Bring the grandparents or recently retired mom and dad – it’s great for their brain health!

Before or after your escape game, feel free to play some other games in the front lounge area.

Think Escape Games Ft Lauderdale

courtesy photo

Our escape game was theme was “The Study” and it had a difficulty level of 8 out of 10. Up to 12 players can participate and it is recommended to have at least 3 players involved.

The Study: You have been recruited as part of a massive effort to capture The Ragdoll Killer. Due to your level of involvement and vast experience with similar subjects, the lead detective sought you out to help him stop this monster. He wants you to meet him in his office to debrief and show you some evidence. You have to solve the case before your own life is on the line!

No photos are permitted once inside the escape room, and besides, we wouldn’t want to spoil the awesomeness that awaits you! Here is a shot of the hallway leading to the different escape rooms, currently three, PLUS there is a fourth room on the way.

Think Escape Games Ft Lauderdale

courtesy photo

We had so much fun working together and practicing one of our core values of kind collaboration as we solved multiple puzzles along the way to escape the room!

Here’s what some of the bloggers had to say about it:

“When Think Escape Games, here in Fort Lauderdale, invited me and some blogger friends to try it out, I jumped at the chance. I love getting to know my new home and I love puzzles & strategy games” – Kassie

“One of the funniest things I’ve done in the last few weeks was attending an Escape Room at Think Escape Games at an event hosted by the Fort Lauderdale Bloggers. There was a counter full of food and delicious coffee offered by the Revenant Coffee House, the lobby is eclectic, full of 80’s games, including a Pac-Man arcade game that made me go back to my childhood.” – Eveline

“I underestimated the amount of work but definitely had a great time. Awesome non- gym way to get some activity in!” – Sarah

 


Event Photos: Blogger Dinner at Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken – Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers

The Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers recently had the opportunity to try a first of its kind on the market; Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken. Spatch serves up poultry with personality and an eat-in or take-out fast-casual dining experience unlike any other in South Florida. At Spatch, there are so many nutritious options to satisfy everyone’s tastebuds!

Photos by Holli Lapes – The South Florida Sage

Peri-Peri is Chili-Chili in Swahili. Spatch chickens are marinated in a special brand of this Peri-Peri sauce, in varying degrees of holy-smoking spicy to soul warming, and grilled over open flames until they are lip-smackingly Peri-Peri GOOD. “Peri-Peri Good is our food and our philosophy. Friendly and professional fast-casual service, our promise.”

THE CLASSIC SPATCH SALAD Iceberg and romaine lettuce, chickpeas, feta, tomato, red onion, carrots, cucumber, celery and oregano vinaigrette dressing

There are a variety of salad options to choose from!

Flame Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken A SPLIT AND FLATTENED BIRD, MARINATED IN SECRET SPICES, GRILLED OVER FLAMES, AND SMOTHERED IN UNIQUE, MOUTHWATERING PERI-PERI SAUCE.

CHICKEN CLUB Grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and mayo // SWEET & SPICY KALE / Kale, butternut squash, dried cranberries, raisins and pumpkin seeds

THE SPATCH Grilled chicken thigh, sharp cheddar, coleslaw, house pickles, sweet hot peppers, and Spatch Peri-mayo

House made pickles? YES PLEASE! This was one of our favorite dishes of the evening.

PINEAPPLE CHICKEN Grilled chicken thigh, grilled pineapple, avocado, pickled onions, cilantro, and Spatch Peri-mayo

GRILLED STREET CORN ON THE COB / Grilled corn, chili mayo and queso fresco

The chicken at Spatch is flavorful & perfectly cooked, with care. The sides are fantastic – our favorite was the street corn. We love the influx of healthy fast casual concepts  in South Florida, including Spatch.

Group photo with the Mural inside the restaurant:

We ❤️ our bloggers! Fun dinner tonight at @spatch_chicken ✌🏼🐓 #ftlbloggers #kindcollaboration

A post shared by Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers (@ftlbloggers) on

Many thanks to the team at Spatch and The Restaurant People for hosting us!

Follow Spatch on Social Media: Facebook and Instagram


Recap: How to Speak to Your Audience Through Podcasting

Michelle Talbert talks about Podcasting for bloggers.

If you listen to podcasts, you know the power they have to educate, motivate and inspire. Our speaker Michelle Talbert taught us how to put that podcasting power to work for our blogs during our May meetup.

We sipped mimosas and sake Bloody Mary’s (thanks Brew Urban Café!) as we heard Michelle, a podcast pro and “recovering attorney,” tell us about her podcasting journey. It actually began with the written word… a book she co-wrote about online dating. It helped launch a successful radio show that also led to podcasting.

“Podcasting is another way to connect with your audience on a different platform,” she said.

And connect she does. She has since interviewed many well-known guests for her podcast, Her Power Hustle, a resource for women entrepreneurs. (Catch it on iTunes or Stitcher.)

Podcasting Tips

Here are her tips for podcasting or creating audio content that can help your blog:

  • What’s the purpose?
    Use podcasting to reach a new audience or talk to your existing one on a new platform. As Michelle says, meet people where they are. Some people prefer audio over text.
  • How should you use it?
    You can create new content or repurpose your blog content. Read a blog post, for example, or create a downloadable freebie audio file. You can even upload audio to YouTube and have it play with a static image.
  • What about schedule/length?
    Stick to an episodic schedule (weekly, biweekly or monthly) and create shows that can be consumed during a commute (up to 30 min.)
  • Plan your interviews
    Michelle has at least 3 questions in mind for each interview and uses them to have a conversation with her guests.
  • Always have a mic ready
    She carries lavalier microphones with her for impromptu interviews at live events, conferences, etc.
  • Start small
    Before going after sponsors, start small and leverage social media to grow. She suggests building an audience of 20,000 listeners to attract sponsors.
  • Go beyond iTunes
    While it’s free to get on iTunes (need approval first), don’t forget those on Android. Syndicate to different networks like Spreaker, Stitcher, SoundCloud and others. Have at least 3 episodes ready to go.

Her favorite tools…

  • AudioBoom – Smartphone app for recording audio & distributing it to podcast networks.
  • Audacity – Desktop program for recording & editing audio.
  • Lavalier microphones – These mics can be used with smartphones and clip to your collar for hands-free use. Many are available on Amazon. She also uses a double lavalier with mics for interviewer and a guest.

 

Ready to podcast?

She’s motivated a few of our bloggers to try it. Here’s her quick list of 3 steps to get started with your podcast.

We thank Michelle for her insights and advice! Connect with her online and say hi…

Michelle Talbert.com

HerPowerHustle on Facebook

Her Power Hustle podcast on iTunes or Stitcher

Thank you also to our sponsors Brew Urban Café and C&I Studios for hosting us and for the yummy drinks!


Blogger Opportunity: Think Escape Game Blogger Team Building

10 spots are available to attend a live escape game at Think Escape Games in Ft. Lauderdale

10 Bloggers are invited to have fun with their fellow bloggers while using #KindCollaboration to escape the room at South Florida’s most innovative escape game location.

Post Event Requirements

*** All attending bloggers must post on social media & write a blog post on their site within 2 weeks after attending. ***

Date: Wednesday, May 31st 2017

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Location: 2635 E Oakland Park Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

Website: thinkescapegames.com

How To Participate

If you are interested in participating please email FTL@TheBloggerUnion.com with a link to your profile on thebloggerunion.com. If you do not have a profile, you can create one by registering, it’s free: thebloggerunion.com/register.

Please remember it is SUPER important that you FOLLOW THROUGH with any commitments you make with The Blogger Union opportunities. If you don’t follow through, you are not only hurting your reputation but the entire South Florida Blogger’s community reputation. There are only 10 spots open for bloggers to participate. Please, only sign up for this opportunity if you are 100% sure you can attend & follow through.

About Think Escape Games

Live escape games are team-building adventure games in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit from different scenarios.


FT LAUDERDALE BLOGGERS MAY MEETUP

Join us May 20th for our meetup featuringMichelle Y. Talbert!

In this interactive presentation Michelle will walk you through unconventional and time-saving (yes, time-saving!) ways to add podcasting to your content offerings without pulling out your hair! Attendees will learn the benefits of podcasting to expand your audience AND create closer bonds with your existing readers. If you’ve considered podcasting and thought, “I just don’t have the time” or “I hate the sound of my voice,” then this presentation is for you!

RSVP Your Spot

 

GUEST SPEAKER:

Michelle Y. Talbert, Esq

Michelle Y. Talbert is a recovering attorney who through Her Power Movement uses digital and social media to provide tools and resources such as podcasts, videos, live events, and written publications to Empower Women from the Bedroom to the Boardroom(TM).  She writes for major publications and is a sought-after presenter and speaker on topics related to relationship building in love and business. She is an expert tribe builder and is known in networking circles as frequently introducing Peanut Butter to Chocolate.

After attending community college part-time for 10 years, while working as a secretary by day and raising her children, she transferred to Cornell University and then went on to receive her law degree from Penn with a Business Certificate from Wharton. Michelle left the full-time practice of law in 2012. She has been quoted in USA Today and Forbes.

 

Thanks to our sponsors:


Event Photos: Blogger Dinner at Sirens Table – The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

The Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers were recently invited in to experience one of the latest additions to Fort Lauderdale Beaches’ “restaurant row”; Sirens Table, which is located at The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

The property has been around since 1964 and is known to welcome vacationers and locals alike. The resort caters to convention goers, which account for 30% of visitors.

We were impressed by the collaborations Siren’s in making with local communities such as the recent Tortuga music festival and partnering with the upcoming air show. So, naturally, the Ft. Lauderdale Blogger Community was delighted to be apart of the efforts. #KindCollaboration

Our evening consisted of a 6 course tasting menu with wine and spirit pairings. See below!

Commentary & Photos by Holli Lapes – TheSoFlaSage.com

Sirens Table Ft Lauderdale Beach

Sirens Table Ft Lauderdale Beach

Sirens Song – Tito’s Vodka, Hibiscus and Pineapple

Nothing like a tropical welcome cocktail when you’re beachside. A great way to kick off the evening!

{amuse bouche} Ahi Tuna Tostada – Crisp Wonton, Sriracha Aioli, Avocado and Cilantro

{first} Lobster Bisque Cappuccino with Cognac Cream

We’ve never had anything quite like this soup. Under the alcoholic froth was lobster-y deliciousness. At this point, we knew for sure that Siren’s Table was something special. This calls for a prosecco toast!

{second} Spinach and Watermelon Salad with Shaved Fennel, Barrel Aged Feta and Caramelized Shallot & Lemon Vinaigrette

Chef let us in on his secret to this seemingly simple dish. The shallots are sliced thin and carmelized in olive oil. Then he adds certain parts of the lemon for a citrsuy and sweet taste. The watermelon is compressed / vacuum sealed to keep it bright red and crisp.

Queens Park Swizzle

{third} Butter and Lemon Basted Scallop with Asparagus & Crab Risotto, Morel Mushrooms and Fried Leeks

YUM-O these scallops were so good and the risotto was really unique and tasty. Bravo!

Kung Fu Girl Riesling

{main} Dry Aged Prime New York Strip Steak with Potato Gratin, Creamed Spinach and 4 Peppercorn Sauce

As chef said, “the good stuff”. This savory delight was paired wit Joel Gott Pinot Noir from Sonoma Valley. This dish was very rich but so good that you can’t stop eating it.

{dessert} Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Almond Brittle

We were pleased that dessert was on the lighter side after finishing that rich entree. It was also really fantastic. The passion fruit wasn’t too sour and had just the right amount of sweetness. This one was of the best panna cotta’s we’ve ever had. Plus, it’s a “from tree to table” dessert, sourced from farmer Bob Petrucci who is located in the Redlands area. In fact, several things on the menu are from South Florida such as the grouper, snapper and shrimp. Chef is looking to incorporate lionfish on the menu soon as well to support the environment.

Thank you to the Siren’s Table team for hosting us!

Stay connected:

Sirens Table on Facebook

Ft. Lauderdale Bloggers on Instagram


Recap: How Your Story Makes All the Difference

Alexa Rose Carlin on how bloggers should share their stories.

Our April meetup was inspirational. Not only was the space visually appealing (Visual Design Art Gallery in North Beach Village), but also our speaker, Alexa Carlin, inspired us with her amazing story. We celebrated a milestone too… our one year anniversary.

We sat in a sunny gallery surrounded by floral art as we listened to Alexa speak about “How Your Story Makes All the Difference.”

Alexa is a woman who defied the odds in overcoming a health scare at a young age. At 21, she went into septic shock and was told she had a 1% chance to live. She overcame it and still deals with health issues today, but that experience motivated her to change her life and her purpose.

Since then, she has launched a national conference, Women Empower Expo, to empower women, has spoken before many audiences and has motivated thousands.

Alexa Rose Carlin speaks about being authentic and sharing your story.

She told us how sharing her story made all of the difference and how sharing our own stories will help us make deeper connections.

Here’s her advice in clickable tweet form…

 

“Share your story. It makes you more relateable and trustworthy.” @alexarosecarlin  Click to tweet

 

“Strive for authenticity. Your idea might have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you.”  @alexarosecarlin Click to tweet

 

“We’ve been told we have to be picture perfect to be loved, but that’s not true.”  @alexarosecarlin  Click to tweet

 

“What if you do things with unshakeable confidence? Try it.”  @alexarosecarlin  Click to tweet

 

“I challenge you to put more of YOU in your posts, designs and work.”  @alexarosecarlin Click to tweet

 

“You find your real tribe when you share your story.”  @alexarosecarlin  Click to tweet

 

“I fear regret more than I fear failure.”  @alexarosecarlin  Click to tweet

 

Follow Alexa on her website beapublicspeaker.com, on Facebook or on Instagram @alexarosecarlin.

Thank you to all who shared our one-year anniversary. A big thank you also to North Beach Village and the Village Design Art Gallery for sponsoring this meetup.

 


Blogger Opportunity: Dinner at Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken in Ft. Lauderdale

10 spots available to attend a blogger dinner at Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken in Ft. Lauderdale

10 Bloggers are invited to enjoy dinner at Spatch on Tuesday, May 2nd 2017 at 5:30 pm. Bloggers must post on social media & write a review on their blog within 2 weeks after attending.

Date: Tuesday, May 2nd 2017

Time: 5:30pm – 7:30 pm

Location: Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken

3848 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Website: https://www.spatchperiperi.com/

How To Participate

If you are interested in participating please email FTL@TheBloggerUnion.com with a link to your profile on thebloggerunion.com. If you do not have a profile, you can create one by registering, it’s free: thebloggerunion.com/register.

Please remember it is SUPER important that you FOLLOW THROUGH with any commitments you make with The Blogger Union opportunities. If you don’t follow through, you are not only hurting your reputation but the entire South Florida Blogger’s community reputation. There are only 10 spots open for bloggers to participate. Please, only sign up for this opportunity if you are 100% sure you can attend & follow through.

About Spatch Peri-Peri Chicken

Peri-Peri is Chili-Chili in Swahili. Spatch chickens are marinated in our special brand of this Peri-Peri sauce, in varying degrees of holy-smoking spicy to soul warming, and grilled over open flames until they are lip-smackingly Peri-Peri GOOD. Peri-Peri Good is our food and our philosophy. Friendly and professional fast-casual service, our promise. A first of its kind in the market, Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken serves up poultry with personality and an eat-in or take-out fast-casual dining experience unlike any other in South Florida.


FT LAUDERDALE BLOGGERS APRIL MEETUP

Join us April 29th for our meetup featuring Alexa Carlin! And help us celebrate our

ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

She will discuss “How Your Story Makes All the Difference.” As the founder of the Women Empower Expo, she has used her story to connect with and empower women throughout the country. She will tell us how we can also share our stories in our branding online to be authentic and to connect with our audiences.

RSVP Your Spot

GUEST SPEAKER:

Alexa Carlin

Alexa Carlin is a nationally renowned speaker, author, Founder of the Women Empower Expo and Creator of BeAPublicSpeaker.com. In college, Alexa found herself in a coma with a 1% chance of living. This life-changing experience and the constant struggle she deals with from her autoimmune disease inspired Alexa to share her story authentically to audiences all over the world, amassing a social media following of more than 50,000 people. She was recently featured on the cover of Meetings & Conventions Magazine as 1 of 15 “Young Millennial Go-Getters to Watch.” Alexa’s mission is to make a difference in at least one person’s life every single day.

Thank you to our sponsor:


EVENT PHOTOS: Writing for the Mobile Web

Event Recap: Writing for the Mobile Web

Did you know mobile readers bounce away from sites in 1/3 of the time compared to a desktop?

Your first impression online is more important than ever and it needs to be quick. That means your visuals and your writing need to be on point and easy to digest on mobile screens.

Here are some tips from freelance copywriter Barbara Chaney. She gave us some advice on how to adjust our writing for the mobile web during our March meeting.

First, Check Your Posts on Mobile

To start off, check your posts on mobile. She suggested we make it part of our regular review process to check all blog posts on mobile.

It’s all too easy to write and publish on a desktop and walks away. But you need to see what your readers are seeing when they view it on mobile. Try to improve that experience as much as possible.

Grab attention

Your home page headline should give them a reason to stay.  This is prime real estate on your website. Is it fully visible on mobile? More importantly, does it tell readers what to expect on your site? Does it give them a reason to stay and read?

Please don’t use “Welcome to Our Website.” That is a waste of important space and doesn’t tell them why they should read your content.

If you don’t have a static home page, make sure your blog page has a slogan, tagline or subhead in the header that tells them what you’re about. Remember, your blog headlines are constantly changing, so try to have a consistent message at the top or in your header. (Don’t rely on the sidebar. It’s now at the bottom on mobile.)

Front-load blog post headlines for mobile.  Keep the most important information in the first 40 characters in case the headline is cut off in the screen view, in emails or in social.

Use copy elements that grab attention on the page. These are often the first things visitors read – headlines, subheads, and photo captions. Sure, you’re using headlines, but what about subheads and captions? Try them. Some bloggers even put links in captions.

Other eye-grabbing elements: block quotes (or tweetable quotes), bullet points or lists.

Make the first sentence count. Try to hook your reader in with an interesting first sentence. As copywriter Joe Sugarman said, “The primary goal of the first sentence is to get readers to read the second sentence.” You want them to keep reading!

Keep it short

Use shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs in your body copy or text.  You’re writing for people who skim or scan text on mobile and even on a desktop. Keep paragraphs to 3 sentences or less.

The post itself doesn’t have to be short, just the text. Try to keep your writing tight and concise. And don’t be afraid to break a few rules of grammar to do this. It’s OK to start sentences with contractions, for example. Use a tool like Grammarly to check grammar.

Avoid a screen full of text on mobile. Readers are turned off by huge blocks of text. Use shorter paragraphs and don’t forget subheads and other elements that break things up and add white space.

Get or “Sell” the click

Are you using a call-to-action (CTA)? Every page should have one, even if it’s just “sign up for my emails” or “follow me on Instagram.” Be careful with using pop-ups for this. They don’t always work well on mobile.

Where is your CTA on mobile? Double check the placement on mobile. Remember, sidebars move to the bottom and things get repositioned.

Long links are better for mobile clicks. Users shouldn’t have to zoom in to click a text link. So, avoid one-word links like… “See her post on mobile marketing here.” Instead link whole phrases or even sentences, like… “See her post on mobile marketing.”

“Sell the click” in the Meta description tag of your page too. What tag is that? It’s the short description that shows up under each page name in Google search results.

If someone sees your site in a list of results, they should be enticed by the description to click on your page. In other words, “sell” them on the click with your words. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, click “edit snippet” to edit this.

Remember…

When writing, grab their attention, keep it short and sell the click!

 

 Thank you to our sponsor: