BlogHer Food 2011: A 48-Hour Whirlwind

by Lori on June 3, 2011

I am so late in getting this post up.  But it’s for good reason.  When I returned from the BlogHer Food 2011 conference in Atlanta, I had a stack of business cards that I collected from everyone I met.  I was so anxious to get home, check out their blogs and get to know them more via their photography and writing style.  I’m still not finished visiting them all, but I needed to get back to my own blog for the time being.

I attended BlogHer without really knowing anyone.  I had some blog and Twitter interactions with Kelly, Christianna and Winnie beforehand but finally meeting them and realizing they are even more delightful in person were among the high points.  I honestly never felt more welcome in a group of people I didn’t know than while I was at BlogHer.  And when I finally met Chris on Friday night, I felt like I’d known her forever by the time Saturday evening rolled around.  For me, the conference was all about the people and 48 hours wasn’t nearly enough time to meet even half of those in attendance.

There was a bit of a gray cloud though.  Unfortunately, there were a number of people who had some icy interactions when trying to meet other bloggers.  Thankfully I didn’t experience that type of behavior firsthand, and I am puzzled as to why it happened at all.  Networking is an expected component of any conference regardless of its size, and courteous and professional behavior should be both given and received even if one is too tired, too busy or too full of themselves.  But there is a silver lining.  Attending a large conference gives you the opportunity to interact with plenty of other people who would welcome a smiling face and a gracious introduction and would happily reciprocate.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

So how about some pictures?

A sunrise view of downtown Atlanta from my room on the 51st floor. Thank goodness there was an express elevator.
My first session was conducted by David Leite and Nancy Baggett. They were prepared and provided a handout with links (yay!) which further emphasized their presentation.  There were plenty of food writing tidbits to chew on in that session.  It was a highlight for me.
The Scharfenberger Chocolate display and samples.
Stephanie Stiavetti, Pamela Braun, Geoff Allen and Rene Lynch (LA Times Food Editor and one of the nicest people I met) conducted a session called SEO Smackdown.  It was a lot to take in and understand.  And Pamela recognized this when she saw some of our blank stares or eyes rolling back into our heads.  She really read the audience well and provided simplified explanations as much as possible.  This was an informative session, and I definitely came away with more than I went in with.
This isn’t such a great picture of the Aran, Tami and Stephanie, but it’s a great picture of the back of Irvin’s head!  I admire the work and photography style of these ladies so much.  I developed a bit of a crush on Stephanie’s style.  (And I like Irvin’s conference style too.)
Some images from the Sweet Auburn Curb Farmers Market and Sweet Auburn Bakery which had the best sweet potato cheesecake samples (photo below).  I’m definitely going to recreate that at some point. And the picture with the green fruits are actually a kind of sour plum, not green tomatoes as you might think given the fact that they’re next to Roma tomatoes.
One of my biggest regrets was not having enough time to really explore Atlanta or its food scene.  I did grab a delicious burger at the Grind House though.  Definitely worth the weight (pun intended).
Pork was where it was at in the meat cases; it is the South afterall.  But this bin of live crabs really caught my attention.
Actually it was this little guy with this long eyelashes that got me.  One of the crabs had bubbles all around it, which caught his interest and gave me just enough time to take his picture.
Getting up close and personal with the sweet potato cheesecake.
Alison Lewis, Marge Perry and Katie Webster giving us the low down on Professional-grade Recipe Development, which basically means how to write recipes to ensure success for the home cook.  Very helpful, but there was a sausage-making demo going on in the conference room next door with lots of laughter that was making me really jealous that I wasn’t able to be in two places at once.
The closing party at The Tabernacle.  The pomegranate martinis got everyone going.  Very tasty and potent!
Heading home.  I was sad that I didn’t have more time to explore and eat my way through this city, but SO incredibly thankful that I didn’t have one bit of travel-hell that so many other attendees experienced.
After being home for a couple of days, this arrived!  I won it on Friday night of the conference.  Tasty Kitchen hosted a party for all BlogHer Food attendees and my business card was drawn for this mixer.  A yellow one was won by Carrie.  We didn’t get to meet at the conference, unfortunately, but we’re now friends on Twitter.  Connected by mixers!  How cool is that?

Please visit the websites/blogs of those whom I’ve highlighted throughout this post.  I know you won’t be disappointed.

I’m glad this post is now behind me because I cannot wait to share a gelato recipe that I’ve finally finished!  Stay tuned.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

brandi June 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm

ah, you won the mixer! it's gorgeous :) so sad we didn't meet at the conference. it's fun to read everyone's recaps!

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kellypea June 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm

It's so nice to have met you, because now I can hear your pleasant speaking voice in your writing. It's a treat! You are SO lucky to have won that beauty KA — my old Bertha is still going strong after 14 years, so I know you'll have fun creating great food for years to come. Terrific photos!

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Hillary Fiedler June 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Love reading about your trip! That sounds so fun. I am up in your area the week of June 20-24th for Hockey Camp – can I stop by. Email me. Thanks,
Hillary

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Nancy June 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

So glad you had a good time at BlogHer food!! From your photos, it looks like it was a wonderful event – can't wait to hear more about what you learned.
Glad you also had a chance to meet Chris!!!

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Kelsey (Happyolks) June 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience, I must say I was relatively out of the loop to what BlogHer food was really all about until reading all the reflection posts.

Congrats on the Kitchen Aid mixer! Love the glass bowl. Glad to find your blog, looking forward to hearing about the gelato!

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yummy supper June 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Lori,
Thanks for sharing a bit about the BlogHer conference – so interesting. I keep reading about the catty behavior and I am glad to hear that you were able to glean some good tips and make nice connections nonetheless. Good for you!
Hi from Greece,
E

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RonJoe 'Geezer' June 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Greetings From Southern California

I am your newest follower. I invite you to visit my blog and follow back if you want too.

Have a Nice Day :-)

BTW, Great Photos! :-)

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Nancy Baggett July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Just discovered this post and your blog. Very nice! So delighted that the session David Leite and I did on improving blog writing was a highlight for you–wow thanks!

Also, sorry to hear of your icy moments. A colleague of mine once said, if you're feeling alone at a conference, look around and go talk to somebody else that's looking alone. It works & I've met some great people that way!

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Lemons and Lavender July 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Thank you Nancy! Lucky for me, I didn't have any icy moments. I heard from some others that they did. I met wonderful people and had a wonderful, exhausting time!

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