In September 2018 William Jackson and I, along with several students, attended FlBlogCon, created by the lovely Bess Auer. Sponsored by Ford and hosted at Full Sail University, the conference was well attended by bloggers from all over the state of Florida and beyond. It was rife with knowledgeable bloggers sharing their journeys and strategies for success. We all learned a great deal in those sessions.
There were also vendors, like The Shoe Bakery, selling their adorable ice cream shoes and unicorn purses, as well as, stations to make things like cool 3-D trinkets with the 3-D printer or button pins with the FlBlogCon Logo. Outside, the Southern Ford Dealers generously had several of their cars, including a sexy blue Mustang (can you tell it was my favorite?) on display for attendees to view, touch and explore.
Needless to say, we had great fun!
At the end of the conference, Ford announced the start of a new program for bloggers and invited bloggers to apply. The aim of the program is to show the community that Ford is about more than just cars, Ford cares and supports community programs and events. Selected bloggers not only get to attend Ford sponsored events, but they also get to drive a Ford vehicle of their choice to the event – review of the cars is optional.
It’s been a few months since the day William and I found out we were going to be #FordVIP bloggers. At the time, I had attended the announcement as support to William’s acceptance into the program. I was surprised to learn that I, too would be joining the original #Fab15 (now twenty). I cannot express how excited I was for him when he received the email accepting him as a blogger! I could not think of anyone more deserving. William is one of the most dedicated, prolific bloggers I know. He works diligently on perfecting his craft and getting valuable content out to the community. Yet, to find out that I, too would be joining the ranks of all these fabulous bloggers I was over-the-moon happy!!
We have had such an incredible time, since that wonderful day in January! For our first event, we attended the Rolex 24, which for me was one of the highlight events of my experience, so far. I have often enjoyed watching race car events on television, but nothing… and I do mean nothing, compares to being at a racing event in person. We were at the starting line and when that green flag goes down – your adrenaline goes up! We even got to meet the pit crew on pit row!! WOW!! You can check out our videos on youtube. Here is one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR0fqjYduuc
That was just the beginning! In February, we attended the Black History Unity Mixer and met many local activists and even teen entrepreneurs doing great things in Orlando, many of which were the first in their family do so. We even had the honor of having a video made of us sharing the event! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AViFgtTsifs
We also attended the Jacksonville Auto show. We, well I, swooned over all the cool cars – especially the sports cars, including a green Ford Mustang, looking all sexy with it’s racing stripes and the even sexier Orange Corvette (sorry Mustang, you’re usually my favorite, but this one was – woo!).
In May, we attended the 3rd Annual Women on the Rise Awards Gala, which was a lovely dinner and awards ceremony created to highlight the efforts of pioneering women in the Orlando area. Each woman highlighted during the event was an absolute inspiration – from each nominee to the recipients of the awards. The evening was filled with music and poetry, prayer, and a fun fully stocked Ford photo booth. It was stirring to be in a room filled with such inspirational women. It was also an honor to be seated with many of our fellow bloggers that also attended the event, as well as, Theresa Campbell and Chaun Avery, who are two of the major catalysts of the Ford VIP Blogger Program.
In July, William went to see the Orlando Pride Soccer Team in action and live-tweeted the fun! I was not able to attend, but I did get to watch the fun from home! Then our latest adventure brought us to the lovely, uber-romantic, (even with hundreds of people present) Lake Eola in Orlando, where Ford sponsored an all-day family fun event and a spectacular fireworks display for the 4th of July!
Driving us to all of these spectacular events, of course, were the wonderful Ford vehicles that were on loan to us. As I said earlier, reviewing the cars is optional, but how could we not review them? I had so much fun riding in these cars (up to now, William has done the driving) and learning about each of their cool features. Currently, I’m in the market for a new car so this experience has been even better than just going to a dealership and test driving. I actually see for myself whether or not any of these vehicles fit my needs and lifestyle. So far, I know the Ford F150 – you know the really big pick-up truck? – is a luxurious ride, but WAY too much truck for me and the Ford Edge, with its fantastic panorama sunroof/moonroof, which I absolutely love, is slightly big for my taste. You can check out our video reviews on the Ford F150 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi3j74wmxj8 and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsDfp_ukRgk & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chm8HVAKnAY
I cannot express enough how exhilarating this experience has been so far and how much we’re looking forward to many more exciting events and opportunities to come. Thank you, Ford, especially Your Southern Ford Dealers, for seeing the value in supporting the community and for allowing us as bloggers to not just share your commitment and engagement, but to also be engaged in the process!