Food Blog Forum Atlanta – Take two!

After 2 days of basically living with my Kleenex box clutched to myself and glasses upon glasses of liquid and very good, knock you out, cold medicine - I’m out of bed.  I still do not feel 100%, but there is so much sleeping and bad TV I can take – Bravo I’m looking at you, no more Housewives nonsense and shame on you for getting me hooked to Rachel Zoe.

When I stared to write about the Food Blog Forum Conference, I thought of giving you a long longer post about everything that happen in Atlanta, but with over 100 bloggers in attendance, I’m sure most have already seen plenty of recaps about how much fun we had, how much information we got from all of the great speakers, the amazing food we all ate (I’m so craving those pork belly tacos from chef Kevin Rathbun, which I’m totally going to duplicate) and the great goodies in our swag bags, which I had to ship separately because there was no way I could come up with an valuable explanation for the knife at ATL airport.

But, I do want to give out a shout to the amazing people I had the pleasure of meeting and what stayed with me from each one of them.  Let’s start with the obvious ones:

Jaden Hair from Steamy Kitchen is bubbly, funny and sweet, a tiny tornado in a little package – everything that everyone else has said about her, you can pretty much double it or even quadruple it.  I been reading her blog for almost a year now, and she is totally the same person in the actual flesh that she is in her blog.  And she is so gracious too.  She took the time to pretty much meet everyone in the conference; there was not one single time that she was not talking to a blogger, or making the time to take pictures, or giving advice.  She is a “Simple pleasure, deeply felt”.  I love her philosophy of giving it back, she is not shy in sharing so many tips, resources and if it would not have been for her and the collaboration with White on Rice, in launching Food Blog Forum we would not had had this great forum tribe in the first place.  Here is to SHARING!

Scott Hair – I LOVED him.  Jaden husband is a great speaker, motivator and, like her, a total sweetheart.  We had the pleasure of starting our second day with his energy and let me tell you, he can move mountains.  Throughout the conference he was our “dream” champion, he made sure we could visualize our dreams – whatever those dreams may be.  But his many power bites that he gave us through the day “If I can’t, I must” (I wrote that in great BIG LETTERS and it now sits front in center in my desk at home) and encouragement to building “our” dream has been one of the things that have stayed the most with me.

Then we have Virginia Willis and Alisa Berry, founder of Bella Cucina. After listening to these to women talk, I’m proud to know that the industry has their voices.  They are simply an inspiration to me. They took their personal passion and built their brand.  At the end they showed us that when you stay “true” to yourself, your feelings, and your story – it will set you above the rest.

Last, but not least, photographers extraordinaire, Todd and Diane from White on Rice.  What more can I say about these two that has not been said by my fellow food bloggers?  Their photography portfolio is AMAZING.  In fact most of what I know about food photography I have learned from their Photography tutorials on their blog.  When I started my food blog, I took pictures like this:

Yuck!Then I found their blog, drank up their tutorials and ended up with this:

Better, don’t you think?

It also does not help that I’m totally in love with their dog.

But, even after meeting all of these food-blogger celebrities, nothing can prepare you for meeting your own peers.  That room was full of a gazillion amount of knowledge and talent. Every single one of them had a bit of information, resources and the biggest desired to share it with as many people as they could - we were bursting at the seems!

The first person I meet at the conference was Andrea from Off her Cork.  She and I carpool together to the Viking Store for the first night mixer.  We were able to share some of our history and our expectations for the upcoming days.  I was actually nervous about it, this was my first conference and did not know what to expect.  But, after meeting her and seeing how sweet and kind she was, I knew I was in for a treat.

I finally learned the way to modify my little P&S camera manual settings for Aperture from Jodie at Eatin’ on the Cheap – she was my neighbor during the conference and then we had the opportunity of getting to know each other more that night at the after party.  And have you checked out her blog? – That girl is funny, and her photos are superb, not to mention her recipes – since the conference she has posted two that I have booked marked for future cooking.  After I downloaded the photos of the conference I realized that I took a photo of her making the turkey dumplings in the Viking mixer, without even knowing her – and that folks is what I call faith. 

I wanted to buy the whole store and take it with me! Jodie and Tory hands on.

Next to her is Tori from Food Victoria.  We all go to meet Tori more when Scott used her to illustrate how easy it was for all of us to envision our dream, even when we got lost along the way.

I also got to know Kristina from Knuckle Salad during the Spice Market after party and did not realized how talented this lady is.  She cooks, she Crafts and she’s also a graphic designer, illustrator, and maker of fine recycled jewelry – people, she is like the total package.

Cookies, Pork Belly Tacos, The Shed and muffins - anything better than that?

During lunch I sat with Diane of Spoon and Chair, Lynn of MamaSays and Fran from Frantastic Food.

I got to meet the White’s from Cup a Dee Cakes.  Jennifer and I found out how much in common we had when we both had to physically hold ourselves from entering The Container Store across from our hotel and hold our self back from buying the whole store – thank good for small suitcases.  The same goes for Trader Joe’s.  I think we both lost on both attempts.

Other highlights was meeting Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen.  Alicia from KitchenScoop, Robyn from Add a Pinch, and Amy of She Wears Many hats.  I got to meet Bakerella in the flesh!  Had great conversations with Rhonni of Rhonnirocks, Lori of Fake Food Free, Mandy of The Self Trained Chef, Lauren from Everywhere and Lisa from Lisa knows Tea.

And there are so many more, that I could go on and on telling you all about them.  Instead you can check out these posts from others to see how much this one day impacted all of us in different ways.

And for those that I did not get to meet this time around, see you at the next one!