This weekend provided both Scott and I a painful reminder of why we should never skimp on hotel rooms. The $200 or so we saved by booking at a so-so hotel will be promptly spent on massage and chiropractic visits.

We were attending Scott and the boys’ Taekwondo Nationals Tournament held in Orlando, and being the bargain-huntress that I am, I looked online and found a massive discount at the Nickelodeon Resort. “Oh, the kids will have a blast! They can get sliiiimmmmmmeeed!”

I really should have thought it through:

Nickelodeon: For kids, all about kids
Kids: all about play, not about sleep
Me & Scott: it’s all about the sleep

Never again.

Despite the torture bed, we had a blast at the tournament, which was held at the ESPN Center.

The 15 minutes prior to each event starting is frantic. Every single participant is wearing their official ATA Taekwondo uniform – white jacket (dobok – pronounced doe-bock), white pants and their color-ranking belt. In the kids’ ring, we had what seemed like 10,000 kids, their doting parents, judges, grandparents, classmates and instructors all rushing around to get to their correct ring.

It’s like playing “Where’s Waldo” just trying to find your kid!

In case you’re wondering, “Is this anything like Karate Kid?” Well, yes and no. Tournaments are set up for sparring, but most of the competition is around your individual form that you perform by yourself on the mat. Some forms include weapons like plastic swords, lightweight poles, padded nunchucks – so no, you really couldn’t do much damage to yourself or others with those things.

Sparring is done wearing padded gear protecting your shins, hands, face and chest….so no breaking bones or fancy jumping crane, crouching tiger moves.

Scott came home with bling, and the kids got a chance to meet Mickey!

Hey, did you know Mickey can do the splits?

Neither did he 🙂

It was incredibly inspiring to watch some of these kids and teens – you could immediately tell which ones had taken tumbling or gymnastics – their routines were peppered with jumps, triple flips and flexibility like a Twizzler stick.

The great part about the weekend was that Mimi and Papa (Scott’s parents from Clarence Center, NY) were with us and got to see everyone compete. And, yes, they too got the same cheapy beds we did. I’m sure they are poppin’ pain meds right now.


One of my favorite parts of my “job” is being able to host 1-day events with Todd and Diane, our Food Blog Forums. We’ve held ones in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, and last month in Nashville.

It’s our chance to gather some of the most inspiring and forward-thinking food bloggers and photographers and have a small, intimate setting to share what we know, sort of like a “passing it forward” to new bloggers.

A big thanks to all who came out, and especially to these three lovelies, Lindsay Landis of Love & Olive Oil, Beth Sachan of Eat.Drink.Smile., and Leah Short of So How’s it Taste for spearheading, hosting, coordinating the entire event.

An event this amazing couldn’t have been possible without the generosity of these sponsors who believe in bloggers and support our community – they provided us with so much bling that every single participant went home with a prize!

OXO Just a Pinch Recipe Club
Calphalon Girard's Dressings
Nashville Farmers' Market The Patterson House Chicago Metallic Swissmar
Whole Foods Farm Flavor Kitchen Aid
Artisan Books The Loveless Cafe  

Cheers! Oh and pssssttt…..if you’re free March 17th next year, come join us for Food Blog Forum Orlando again – this time, our host is Walt Disney World! Oh, boy, I can’t wait to share with you the magic that Disney has planned for us…..

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Comments 15

  1. Winter

    Congrats to Scott on his bling! Isn’t that ESPN complex a cool place? We went there for the first time a few weeks ago for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and had a blast! Anyway, I’m going to see if I can swing going to Orlando in March–sounds awesome.

  2. Jessica

    Wow! Go Scott! And it looks like the boys had an awesome time too. 🙂

    And I will make sure to never stay at the Nickelodeon hotel haha!

  3. Kath

    Ah, yes…cheap hotels! My family will never let me forget my enthusiastic proclamation: “How bad can it be?” And, sadly, I’ve said it more than once when the experience turned out to be truly bad. Of course, I actually have, on occasion, found some amazing deals, but it does backfire sometimes. 😉

  4. JulieD

    I agree with you on cheap hotels…sigh. Congrats to Scott! That’s a lot of bling. 🙂 I love the pictures of your boys with Mickey…and I can’t wait for March. It’s gonna be awesome. Thanks for letting us bring it back to Orlando…and have fun in Texas!!!

  5. Katie

    Congrats to Scott & the kids for the championships! I can’t wait for FBF Orlando. I learned so much earlier this year at the first one in Orlando!

  6. Monica

    Congrats to Scott and did one of you boys took a medal too? or did Papa lend it to him? jejeje

    After traveling for work … that is what I look for in a hotel.. bed, pillows and the bathroom… everything else is not important.. not even the TV!

    And ohhh.. you have me anxiously waiting now for Orlando FBF .. if you need a hand.. reach out and I will be there…

  7. Chris

    Congratulations to Scott and the boys. That is seriously great!

    We spar in gear too (except when rolling for jiu jitsu) and I can tell you, it doesn’t make it all fun and roses. It can still really hurt, especially the unprotected body shots, leg kicks and getting caught clean as you come in to strike. Yet….it’s still fun, what is wrong with us?

    It was a true honor to meet you guys in Nashville.

  8. rita

    YAY and big congrats to scott and the boys! i’m sorry to hear about your crappy hotel, though. it’s true, sometimes paying a little bit more is better than going to a cheaper hotel. at least, you know what you’ll be getting. looking forward to your next year’s event. woohoo!!

  9. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Yay!! So it’s true. Michelle was telling me that you guys were bringing FBF back to Orlando. I peeked around on Twitter last week to disover something about DISNEY!! Oh wow…we are Disney fanatics at our household. Our 3 girls live, eat, breathe Disney! I can’t wait!!

    I’ve heard a few things about the Nickelodeon….glad to see you can confirm we should pass it up. I am such a hotel snob!! 🙂

  10. LIly

    That’s cool that they’re in Taekwondo. I’ve been in Taekwondo since I was 9, and I’m a 2nd degree black belt at 13. How many tournaments have they been to?

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