Ford Fabulosity for the Holidays

Through my relationship with Ford, I’ve been able to attend some pretty amazing events, like the Go Further With Ford Conference in Detroit and the Drive Orlando event. So, I was thrilled when I was invited to a decidedly “girlie” outing of food and fashion hosted by Ford. And the best thing? It was right here in my hometown of Winter Park!

Ravenous Pig

If you haven’t yet been to the Ravenous Pig, definitely make plans to eat at this local favorite. It is known for its farm-to-table policy of sourcing local farms and so this falls right in line with Ford Motor Company’s green efforts and their sustainability vision. We were treated to a 6 course meal of sumptuous dishes. Just take a look at the menu:

Amazing menu at the Ravenous Pig for the Ford Blogger Meet Up

A 6 course meal!

It was hard to pick my favorite course, but I think it was probably the Cape Canaveral Flounder coupled with locally-caught rock shrimp. Oh my!

Cape Canaveral Flounder at thee Ravenous Pig

So yummy!

While we were eating, we had a round-robin of introductions. Fortunately I already knew most of the bloggers, at least virtually, or having met them at FLBlogCon. Bloggers in attendance included Christine of @cookthestory, Katherine of @tasychomps, Christine of @savingsaidsimply, Julie of @thelittlekitchn, Danielle of @shikshinfashion, Jeanette of @jseverydayfash, and Kerry @kerrygorgone. It was an intimate group that felt comfortable, as if I were relaxing with a good group of friends.

The Cars

After lunch we went out (okay, rolled out – totally stuffed!) to see some of the Ford cars. We got to preview the Ford Fusion as well as the Ford Escape. My friend Katy Widrick has been doing a really neat charity project in a Ford Escape, and I can see why she’s so excited about the car. What do I like best about it? The magically wonderful hatchback that opens and closes itself which is great when your hands are full of groceries! Just take a look at Christine trying it out:

We then piled in cars and drove over to Park Avenue, the historic shopping district in downtown Winter Park. I was lucky enough to snag the driver’s seat in the Ford Explorer. (Hey, Hubby, don’t I look like I belong in this car? Hint hint!)

Ford Explorer at the Ford Blogger Meet Up

What a gorgeous car!

Bess Auer trying out the Ford Explorer

SwimmerJoe needs to get me one of these!

Gratutious selfie in the Ford Explorer - haha

#fordselfie

The Paper Shop

Ford chose some strategic shops to take us to; places that fell in line with their corporate mission, so it was fun to see how it all tied together. The first stop was The Paper Shop, which has been in the same location for over 30 years. (For those who don’t realize, this is quite a feat on trendy Park Ave., where the rent is so high that the Ralph Lauren store couldn’t last but a year or two.)  A longtime local favorite, The Paper Shop was where I got my wedding announcements over twenty years ago, so it was fun to revisit.

The Paper Shop on Park Ave.

This is where I got my wedding announcements!

Kerry, Danielle, Julie at the Paper Shop

Kerry, Danielle, and Julie at the Paper Shop

The Paper Shop’s ability to build multigenerational relationships with families is similar to Ford Motor Company. There are tons of families out there that will only drive a Ford generation after generation!

Hutton

Hutton is a relatively new shop and specializes in high-end fashion. (Jeanette and Danielle were in their element! haha) “Hutton” is supposedly a South African word for a lady who walks with a determined presence; one who makes a statement when she walks in the room. How perfect for the group of ladies I was with! My two favorite things from Hutton:

A handbag that is a phone charger

This is a handbag and iPhone charger in one!

Hutton has fabulous painted ceiling.

Hutton has these gorgeous painted ceilings!

Hutton’s strong sense of style matches Ford’s sense of design for their cars. Did you know that Ford brought in one of DKNY’s head designers to consult on some of their car designs? Ford put a ton of research into designing their new cars, even keeping the Myers-Briggs personality test in mind!

Ancient Olive

Our final stop was the Ancient Olive, which played right into the food bloggers’ hearts – Christine, Katherine, and Julie were loving it! The Ancient Olive specializes in extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. After a short educational session we were then introduced to two food vendors who utilize some of the products sold there, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Jane Hursh of Jane’s Short and Sweet. I had first met Jane during FLBlogCon’s Progressive Tweet Up, where her foundation was the beneficiary.

Tasting stations at the Ancient Olive

Tasting stations at the Ancient Olive.

Sampling the goods - photo from Kerry O'Shea Gorgone.

Sampling the goods – photo from Kerry O’Shea Gorgone.

Bloggers listening to about the variety of olive oils.

Bloggers listening to the variety of olive oils.

Bess Auer and Jane Hursh of Jane's Short and Sweet.

Hanging with Jane of Jane’s Short and Sweet.

The Ancient Olive stresses working with global communities on sustainability, which comes full circle to Ford’s green mission, so it was a great way to finish the day. We got to taste all sorts of goodies (loved the black truffle oil!) and even toast with a balsamic vinegar soda!

Toasting to Ford!

Toasting Ford with Audrey and Katie!

Take Aways

Overall it was an incredible day and a wonderful way to kick back and relax before the craziness of the holidays begin. And when I got home, I was amazed as I looked through all the Ford swag, including a small gift from Hutton and a cookbook from the Ravenous Pig! (Very cool!)

Ford swag - nice!

Ford swag – nice!

Signed cookbook from the Ravenous Pig

The cookbook was even signed – nice touch!

Chaun, Audrey, and Katie worked very hard to make this a special event and they pulled it off flawlessly. Thank you, ladies!

Ford continues to be a company that is looking for long-term relationships and the deeper I go, the more I see how dedicated they are to quality and sustainability.  I witnessed it in Detroit, and the culture is world-wide, saturating down here to the local level. The care and thought that was put into today’s event sets them apart from other car companies.

Great job!