About Renee Blodgett

Renee Blodgett

Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.


Latest Posts by Renee Blodgett

GlazedCon + Wearable World Expo Come to London This Fall

July 21, 2014 by  

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I’ve attended a few GlazedCon events now and find them to be incredibly useful from both a content and networking perspective. They are specifically focused on an area that is exploding and isn’t going to slow down anytime soon: Wearables.

Glazed-london-1-blur

We’re proud to be a media partner again and this time, GlazedCon is expanding to London on October 22, 2014, where they’ll gather together Wearable and IoT executives, along with other top tech thought-leaders to debate the real business opportunities for the hottest emerging tech ecosystem.

The event is instrumental for key executives, startups, media, mobile warriers and investors. In conjunction with GlazedCon London, they will be holding the first annual Wearable World Expo where over 50 of the hottest Wearable Tech companies will showcase products so cool you’ll actually want to leave with them….or at least let the world know about them!

We have a special 30% discount code for those interested in attending below:

Discount Code: 30% off tickets glazed_weblogtheworld

Eventbrite: www.glazedlondon2014.eventbrite.com

SCOTTEVEST Travel Jackets & Vests for Men & Women Boast Up to 24 Pockets

July 16, 2014 by  

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The SCOTTEVEST SeV Lola Jacket recently arrived on my doorstep, a very soft and and lightweight jacket with 17 pockets — yes 17. It’s a great option for women travelers who want something lightweight they can pack for colder travel months.

In addition to the 17 pockets, which are customized so you can pack all of your travel amenities and gadgets you need on the road, there are other great features to the jacket.

 

Rather than having to prioritize what will fit in the two side pockets that most alternatives offer, SCOTTEVEST jackets pockets are sectioned off inside with places to store everything you could possibly need on the road. The jacket comes in three fun colors – Sparkle (light grey), Rhapsody (purple blue), and Fluff (a bright white). The pattern is quilted honeycomb nylon outer with Polyfill for extra warmth and the interior and zip plackets are lined in contrasting yellow color.

Imagine having access to things you use frequently without having to carry a bulky day bag or purse, such as lip balm, phone, camera, gloves, credit card, keys, wallet, phone, earbuds , sunglasses, pen, notebooks (inside the small PadPocket which is included) and more.  Oh yeah, and energy bars for the slopes for the skiiers among us  It’s also machine washable which is a must for travelers.

For men, we’re testing out the Sterling Jacket, which actually comes with 24 pockets, one of which can even fit an iPad. Most of the jackets don’t have as many pockets but this one does matches the number of pockets in the SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest for Men, but has an entirely different look and feel. The coat’s goal is to bridge the gap between stylish and functional. The coat can be a regular coat but it can also be a vest — the sleeves are actually removable, which is a great feature for travel when you may not know what conditions you’ll be facing during your trip.

The Sterling Jacket has an RFID-blocking material lining a special interior pocket to protect your credit cards and passport from RFID skimmers, who could otherwise steal your data and identity without your knowledge. You can stay charged and tangle-free with the patented PAN (Personal Area Network) that is integrated into each jacket. Special channels in the jacket lining allow you to wire a battery pack from one pocket to a device in another pocket. You can also wire headphones through the PAN and see/control your phone through the material of the interior clear touch pocket, so once you put on the jacket, you’re wired for the whole journey.

The coat is also Teflon treated for water and stain resistance to protect your you and your stuff from getting wet. It also has an anti-static treatment to help keep you fuzz-free. The SCOTTEVEST SeV Sterling Jacket for Men is made of a Cotton/Nylon blend, is machine washable and is available in a variety of colors.

For more information and to order online, check out their site.

 

 

 

The Winners of the 2014 Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards

July 13, 2014 by  

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This year’s Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards recently announced their winners for 2014, an Awards Program which recognizes the companies in the travel and tourism industry showcasing the best and most innovative uses of social media.

I am proud to announce that I was a judge this year, together with Skift’s Jason Clampet, Twitter’s Mike De Jesus, Gogobot’s Travis Katz, BuzzFeed’s Ashley Perez, travel photographer Cole Rise, NBC Today Show’s Al Roker, Google’s Rob Torres and travel social media strategist Ann Tran. We reviewed hundreds of submissions and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts took home the most awards with four wins and Virgin Atlantic and The Hertz Corporation received two wins in two categories each.

The winners and their campaigns can be seen on travelandleisure.com/smittys, with additional information available by searching #TLSMITTY on social media. The SMITTY Awards is also featured in the Travel + Leisure July 2014 issue which went on stands in mid-June.

To celebrate the SMITTY Awards, Travel + Leisure hosted an event on July 9, 2014 at the Refinery Hotel rooftop in Manhattan. Below are a handful of fun shots I took at the event.

Travel + Leisure’s Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Novogrod, Renee Blodgett, and Rich Beattie, Travel + Leisure’s Executive Digital Editor

Above, Four Seasons’ Laura Fairweather

Above, Tadashi Matsushita from ANA (All Nippon Airways), Renee Blodgett and Athanasios “Tommy” Sikolas of ANA (All Nippon Airways)

Above, Rich Beattie

Above and below, kudos to the Hyatt team & a few others :-)

Above, Travel + Leisure reps from social media, digital and design!

Above, Ruth Moran (left) from Tourism Ireland even made a showing :-)

Below are the Winners:

Best Use of Twitter:                                                                                        Virgin Atlantic; Runner-Up: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Best Use of Pinterest:                                                                                    VisitBritain; Runner-Up: Explore Georgia

Best Use of Instagram:                                                                                  Tahiti Tourisme North America

Best Use of Facebook:                                                                                   Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Best Use of Tumblr:                                                                                        VisitSweden; Runner-Up: Sofitel Luxury Hotels

Best Chat/Hangout:                                                                                        Residence Inn by Marriott

Best Long-Form Video:                                                                                  Virgin American; WestJet (tie)

Best Use of Foursquare or Other Location-Based Services:                 Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Hilton Hotels & Resorts; The Hertz Corporation (tie)

Best App or Technology:                                                                               Roaming Hunger; Runner-Up: Oberoi, Mumbai

Best Blog:                                                                                                            Butterfield & Robinson; GrandLife Hotels (tie)

Best Use of Social Media for Public Service:                                         Montage Hotels & Resorts; Runner-Up: Fairfield Inn & Suites

by Marriott

Best Contest/Giveaway:                                                                               The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel; Runner-Up: South African Tourism

Best Use of and Emerging Platform:                                                        Iceland Travel; Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (tie)

Best Customer Service:                                                                                 Hyatt Hotels & Resorts; Runner-Up: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau

Best Use of Social Media: Independent Travel

Journalist/Blogger:                                                                                          Amateur Traveler

Best Use of Social Media: Independent Travel

Photo Journalist/Videographer:                                                                Bohemian Trails; Runner-Up: Let’s Get Lost

Best Overall Use of Social Media:

Airline:                                                                                                                  Virgin Atlantic; Runner-Up: All Nippon Airways

Airport:                                                                                                                Singapore Changi Airport; Runner-Up: San Francisco International Airport

Attraction:                                                                                                          Vail Resorts; Runner-Up: Rocky Mountaineer

Car Rental Agency:                                                                                          The Hertz Corporation

Cruise Line:                                                                                                         Princess Cruises; Runner-Up: MSC Cruises USA

Tourism Board/DMO/Marketing Association:                                      Pure Michigan; Runner-Up: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Global Hotel or Resort Chain:                                                                      Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Runner-Up: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Individual Hotel or Resort, U.S.:                                                                 Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel

Individual Hotel or Resort, Global:                                                            The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai; Runner-Up: Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel

Outfitter:                                                                                                             Big 5 Tours & Expeditions; Runner-Up: G Adventures

Travel Agency/OTA:                                                                                        Expedia

Travel Resource:                                                                                              Fathom; Peek (tie)

Restaurant/Food Truck/Market:                                                               Sam’s Chowder House

Non-Travel-Industry Company:                                                                 Cubavera/Perry Ellis

The Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards 2014 Jury

  • Renee Blodgett, Founder and Editor, We Blog the World; CEO, Magic Sauce Media
  • Jason Clampet, Co-Founder and Head of Content, Skift
  • Mike De Jesus, Head of Travel and Tourism, Twitter
  • Travis Katz, Co-Founder and CEO, Gogobot
  • Ashley Perez, Senior Editor, BuzzFeed
  • Cole Rise, Travel Photographer
  • Al Roker, Co-Host and Weatherman, NBC’s TODAY Show
  • Rob Torres, Managing Director of Travel, Google
  • Ann Tran, Travel Social-Marketing Strategist

Below is a very short video snippet shot at the event of Rich Beattie congratulating winners and giving kudos to his team. They did an incredible job pulling together yet another year’s Awards event. Kudos to Rich and his team!

 

Celebrating the Fourth of July Fireworks in the Bronx

July 5, 2014 by  

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There are firework celebrations and there are fireworks celebrations. If you’re an American and grew up at a time when the Fourth of July was celebrated with barbecues, fireworks and back lawn parties, you know how different the fourth can be when a community creates a celebration  than when it’s done more formerly.

I grew up in the Adirondacks mountains of upstate New York, in a small town where kids were allowed to be kids in all the best ways. It was before the time of lawsuits, or when parents were paranoid or when towns had more rules and restrictions than not. Rules were meant to be broken and the order of the day was “no risk, no reward.” In the summer,  we used to get fireworks from my uncle who traveled to the New Hampshire border to buy them since they’re illegal to purchase everywhere else in New England.

Others followed suit and because enough people around the lake where we had a summer camp and spent every summer did the same, there were plenty of fireworks from the community to watch a spectacle all night long.

Then of course, you move into an urban area where you need to travel in busy traffic to get to a Fourth of July firework celebration and even then, you’re not able to get close enough to them to feel the fire. I don’t know about you, but I want to feel the fire — there’s something magical about it.

California, eat your heart out! I had the opportunity to experience America’s Independence Day this year in…of all places, the Bronx, a northern borough of New York City. Unlike every other night the previous two weeks, the night was cool after two days of rain. Regardless, people in the Country Club area of the Bronx, not far from Crosby and Buhre Avenues (a stop on the 6 line if heading north from Manhattan), set up chairs on the streets to take in a full evening of fireworks.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of course, since every Fourth of July since I left the east coast has been kinda….well, lame. Midnight at Disneyland or Disneyworld doesn’t quite count as America’s normal.

We were having a barbecue in a backyard along one of the neighborhood streets when we started to see a magical display of fireworks above us. Here’s the thing — it didn’t stop. From 8:30 pm to around 9 pm, the sounds continued to blast around us. By 9 pm, we decided to take a meander around the neighborhood streets. From Pelham Bay Park and Country Club Drive to Kennellworth Place, Ohm Avenue, Spencer Street, Stadium Avenue, Rawlings Avenue and finally Valhalla Street, we roamed. Standing in the middle of the street, we would take in one display of fireworks from a few feet away and after it finished, we would follow the noise and the brightly lit colors and run to the next…..this continued for most of the night.

On each occasion, we were only a few feet from where the boxes exploded and as they blew high into the air, they’d trickle down from the sky, over the roofs, and eventually onto the streets where we stood in awe and excitement. We were so close that we had to duck in some cases to miss the sparks.

On all sides of us, fireworks were going off — locals were shooting them over cars, over houses, in the middle of streets, in back yards, over bushes, trees and lawns.

They were going off on all sides of us. When we finally reached Valhalla Street, we found several dozen people who had set up chairs on the corner waiting for a family on the end of the street to set off one canon after another. This family seemed to be the Chief of Fireworks for the area, and apparently is a tradition every year. Families chip in money for the experience of an all night long Fourth of July spectacle. As such, thousands of dollars of fireworks proceeded to go off over the course of two hours. This was no 15-30 minute show that you typically get from a more professional display.

We could see and smell the smoke around us and as they went off, we were literally under the fireworks as they were falling down from the sky. Magic was happening and the community created the whole thing! Streets competed with each other and as one street ended a bout of fireworks, another street set theirs off….and this went on until 11 pm or so in the evening.

I forgot my camera, so what’s included here doesn’t capture the magic that we experienced last night. At one point, we were so close to them, that the thunderous roar of the fireworks and the sparks of one threw us backwards and we rolled on the ground laughing. We were at a safe distance but at times, it didn’t feel like it and I was a little shocked by how close they were shooting to cars, houses, cats, dogs and kids. And yet, it was part of the culture and what made the experience so magical and well, so…..American.

Just like my childhood days (and rarely found in other parts of the country unless you travel to the Midwest), rules were meant to be broken. Immigrants from Italy, Greece, Albania, Irish, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Ukrania all lived among these streets. They brought their energy and culture with them and of course, their contribution to this very special American national holiday.

Photo credits: www.uptowncollective.com, bronx-pr.com and thebronxjournal.com.

 

ScreenGuardz Pure Anti-Glare Protection for your iProducts While on the Road

July 3, 2014 by  

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If you have an iPhone or iPad, it’s worth checking out the ScreenGuardz Pure Anti-glare screen protector, which features precision surface etching to reduce glare, a clear matte finish to reduce fingerprints, and extreme impact and scratch protection,  represents the best anti-glare screen protection available.. The surface of ScreenGuardz Pure Anti-glare is etched to create “ridges” that scatter light as it hits the screen. The etched surface is also naturally resistant to fingerprints and smudges. It supports the following products and is able to resist falls, thumps, bumps and hits, a great insurance against the possibility of a broken screen, the last thing you want to deal with when you’re on the road.

BodyGuardz was founded in 2002, in Draper, UT. What began as a small line of screen protectors for a limited number of devices, grew into a solid organization that provides thousands of protection products to mobile device users throughout the world. BodyGuardz was recently placed on to the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in 2011.

 

Introducing Dwellable, the Online Vacation Rental Search Engine for iOS & Android

July 1, 2014 by  

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Relatively new to the market, Dwellable, now in beta, is the world’s foremost online vacation rental search engine. Dwellable is just like Google except that the search focuses specifically on vacation rentals. They list high quality listings from other web sites. When visitors want to book a rental, they send them directly to the vacation rental site to complete the booking. At the moment, they feature more than 250k rentals worldwide and are continuing to expand. They include reviews, photos, maps and more. 

Some of the areas they cover in the early days of their beta product include Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach, Outer Banks, LA, London, NYC, Park City, Whistler, Vail, Disneyland, DisneyWorld, Legoland, Hawaii, Caribbean (St. Barths, St. Maartin), Mexoci, England, France, Italy, Spain and more.

Getting known in the Seattle start-up tech scene, one of the founders of Dwellable, Adam Doppelt had a history with startup launches. He bootstrapped Urbanspoon to success, and now he’s trying to do the same with Internet veteran Brenda Spoonemore at online vacation rental startup Dwellable.

Dwellable is the top vacation rental app on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and supports, Android, iPhone and iPad. Go to dwellable.com to learn more, to search and/or if you’re a vacation property owner, to list your offering.

 

5 Gems on New York’s Upper East Side

June 30, 2014 by  

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I know a lot of people who live on New York’s Upper East Side but I never really thought about it as an area for shopping or dining. While there are some great restaurants in the 80′s and 90′s, most of my favorite haunts are over on Amsterdam. Here’s a few fun finds for your next trip to the Big Apple.

Dulce Vida Colombian Cafe & Restaurant on Lexington Avenue between 82nd and 83rd. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also do catering as well as deliveries. In addition to Colombian specialities, they have little cakes and pastries as well upon entry — to eat at a table or to go. The staff is also incredibly warm and inviting.

Atlantic Cafe on 1341 3rd Avenue at 77nd Street.  In addition to sushi rolls and salads, they have great seafood including a Maine Lobster Bisque. Also try the Kale Caesar salad with hearts of palm, dill, scallions, romaine, endive, radish cucumber, feta cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. Or the tuna tartare with avocado, sesame, ginger and wonton crackers. There’s also a location near Lincoln Center. While the tables are small on the upper east side, you can sit out on the street in the summer and warm fall days and nights.      

Joe Coffee New York on 1045 Lexington Avenue between 74th and 75th. They have fabulous coffee and while the upper east side is only one of many of their locations and one of their newest, it’s worth knowing about if you’re spending time in that area. It was originally founded in 2003 as a singular specialty coffee house in manhattan’s west village with the simple vision of brewing the highest quality, unique coffees. They are committed to making certain that every green coffee transaction is both fair and traceable. in addition to purchasing coffee directly from producers, Joe also works with importers, exporters and brokers who are equally committed to selling coffee that can be traced back to the farmer, group, or cooperative. through a traceable supply chain, so they can ensure that farmers are paid well above both commodity prices and fair trade minimums for the coffees they buy. 

ORVA Shoes for when you’re ready to shop, on 155 East 86th Street. ORVA have stores beyond the New York metro area from Syracuse to Detroit, Columbus, Dayton and more with roughly 20 or so throughout the country. They specialist in shoes, dance-wear and hosiery. It is headquarters for popular brands like Geox, Minnetonka, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Bruno Magli, UGG AUSTRALIA, Timberland, Nike, Puma, Ecco, Birkenstock, The Flexx, Ara, Rockport, Florsheim, Bostonian, Stride Rite, Clarks, Indigo, Privo, Miz Mooz, Teva, Keen and countless others. LOVE the designs they represent in their store — let’s just say that it was hard to walk out.

Mandana Boutique on 1175 Lexington Avenue at around East 80th Street. They’ll do custom designs and creations as well as alterations for things that you need fixed, often on the same day. Designs by Davar have crafted fine couture creations and performed expert tailoring. I fell in love with their hats!

 

Paris for Foodies: Our Top Ten List for Authentic French Cuisine

June 29, 2014 by  

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If you’re a foodie and well, I’ve definitely become one over the years, Paris is a godsend since it’s nearly impossible to find a bad meal even in the more touristy areas. We’ve written quite a bit about food in Paris, including great places to get coffee, chocolate, the best creperies and so on. Here’s the latest short list from a more recent trip. Enjoy and be sure to take notes for your next trip to this romantically delicious gem.

Le Marche des Efants Rouge in the Marais. Along Rue de Beauce, this is a classic French restaurant, small, quaint and perfect for a casual night out. The food is great as is the service but if you want upscale, fine dining and dark romance, go for one of our other picks below.  The closest metro is Temple.

L’Eclaire de Genie in the Marais. Think candy, pasta, incredible pastries and creative craquettes and sweets. The closest metro is Saint Paul. 

Les Bougresses is also located in the Marais on 6 Rue de Jarente with the closet metro also being either Saint Paul or Temple.  This place is incredibly authentic at its core and has long wooden tables which is perfect for a small group share. It’s located in the Marais in a quaint part of Paris and is a must visit if you’re spending time in this part of the city.

Like I said, traditional French food and authentic at its core. I love the old world style to this place.

L’Escargot on Rue Montogueil. A must try – classic, traditional French, historical, old and has been around since the 1800s.

Le Christine on 1 rue Christine. I love this restaurant and have been several times. Located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, between Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, they also offer cooking classes in addition to lunch and dinner. At the classes, you can learn all the secrets of their head chef or just simply perfect on revenue of the card or on one of your personnelles. The closest Metro is between St. Michel and Odeon Metro stops.

Restaurant Le Coupe Gorge is on rue de la Coutellerie. This place is adorably quaint, with old fashioned rustic wooden tables upstairs. You almost feel as if you’re in someone’s old house and that someone’s grandmother is about to bring you homemade soup and chicken any minute as the candles make the room dim and romantic in a very basic and spartan kind of way. It’s not in the main tourist district so feels more out of the way however is still a relatively close walking distance to Notre Dame. Check out the rare duck breast with sliced potatoes and pepper sauce. The desserts are pretty great also.

L’Atelier de L’Eclair — think eclairs and desserts. Yum! If you have a sweet tooth, head to Sentier metro stop and walk. 

Solyles is all about chicken, but chicken served in the noble way — just the oysters and if you know anything about chicken, you know what I mean. They call it a “new concept.” It’s so unusual, it’s worth checking out. It is located on 74, rue Damrémont and the closest metro is Lamarck Culaincourt.

Chez Ramulaud is located on 269 rue du Faubourg St-Antoine and is another amazing French classic. The restaurant itself is retro and peaceful at the same time. Think old world again, but with a bit of a brasserie style thrown in. The menu is like many classic French restaurants, on an old fashioned chalkboard. Think chicken, coddled eggs, soups, terrines, mushrooms and exquisite desserts.

Pied de Cochon in Les Halles. See our separate individual write-up/review on the restaurant from this June.  Authentic, historical, classic – try the oysters on the half shell, the fish and any of the soups. They also serve traditional meat dishes which are worth trying depending on how hungry you are. The presentation is also lovely – think more authentic and traditional in a large but classic brasserie style than romantic but the food and service is great and the place is a known Parisian institution. The closest metro is Les Halles or St. Michel.

Classico Argentino in the Marais. Okay, this one doesn’t necessarily qualify for traditional French cuisine but it’s a great experience for old fashioned meat lovers who are also foodies so we decided to add it to the list. The closest metro is Filles du Calvaire.

Also check out the Wine Museum on 5 Square Charles Dickens / Rue des Eaux, which is the actual cellar of the former abbey of Passy in the 16th arr, so you’ll be surrounded by medieval architecture. The closest metro stop is Passy. They’re fairly well known so it may be worth calling ahead and booking in case it’s difficult to get in. It is relatively close to the Eiffel Tower right in the heart of Paris and awaits you with its 15th Century vaulted cellars. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 6. 

Be sure to see our top Paris creperie write-up (where to go for the best crepes in Paris) as well as our take on the top Paris restaurants from previous trips.

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