Monday, January 24, 2011

What I've Learned from Alt Summit and Great Links to Great Blogs

Last week I spent Thursday and Friday at the Altitude Design Summit for bloggers here in Salt Lake City at the fabulous Grand America Hotel, which is full of fancy things like this chandelier. I learned a lot, and I will try not to bore you with the nitty gritty, but maybe you'll find something that interests you in my travels. Get ready for some link love, because I'm full of it today.
First and foremost, holy crap...I met Kelsey Nixon from the Food Network's sister channel, the Cooking Channel! I had to control myself and not turn into a total groupie. Yes, we are both totally short and totally cute. Look how cute she is in horizontal stripes, nonetheless. Although she already has a show, she decided she needs somewhere for her fans to go to get more Kelsey, so she's starting a blog. And yep, she is just as sweet and kind in person as she is on TV. Check out her show called Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking channel.

The next holy crap moment was getting to meet Stephanie Nielson from the Nie Nie Dialogues. Talk about your gracious and kind people. Stephanie just exudes love to people and spreads joy while triumphing over adversity with her blogging. If you've ever read her blog, I'm here to tell you she's the real deal. And if you've never heard her story, head over there for the morning. You won't be disappointed. I could go on and on just about what I learned from her, but that's a post for another day.

I got to hear Mondo from Project Runway 8 talk a little bit about how he comes up with designs for clothing and his inpirations. The best thing he said was: If you're shopping for trends, stop. Go thrift shopping. That's where the good stuff is. Yes! I've been thrifting a lot for the last 6 months and I love being validated.

I attended an awesome (read: informative, deep, and pulpy) roundtable discussion with Pam Keuber of Retro Renovation. She is one of my new faves, and her site is amazing if you are in love with vintage fixtures like toilets and faucets for mid-century houses. She even has another little website called Save the Pink Bathrooms. Too cute.

Here is a stalker-ish photo I took of Heather Armstrong of Everyone loves a little dooce now and then. I felt bad because she obviously had a cold and didn't feel too well, but she was doing her duty and even singing "Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning" to us, which is only funny if you're Mormon like me and read dooce to get the joke.

Have you heard of Swiss Miss? Apparently everyone else in the WORLD has. Her name is Tina Roth Eisenberg and she's a Swiss native who moved to Brooklyn and created your basic blog empire. If you've never seen her site and you love clean, graphic-laden euro design, check it out. She is like the Renaissance woman of blogging. She told us she reaches around 250,000 people a day with her blog. Are you kidding me? Wow. She gave a great ending keynote address that was also pulpy and helpful.

The best surprise was getting to hang out with my blog's designer, April of April Showers Blog Design. We sat and giggled and oohed and aahed and basically had a couple of girl's days out. She owns like the world's fastest laptop. She didn't even laugh at me when I pulled out my gluten free sandwich from home on the first day! True friendship, I tell you. Yeah, we're hot snot in this here photo.

But let's get to the real reason you're reading this: what did I eat at the fancy lunches? I actually had the foresight to call the hotel before and ask what the menu was. Day one they were doing sandwiches and soup and a bunch of stuff I couldn't eat, so I brought one from home. No one even noticed. Ha. Day two they had a lunch waiting for me that was mostly the same as everyone else's, and it was sooo dang good. Salad was first, and then this honey mustard chicken with warm cranberry compote and veggies. Yum-O with a capital Y. I'm going to try to replicate it for dinner sometime this week. I love how I just think I can figure out how to make something by tasting it. We'll see how good my skills are... Then dessert, and those of you who know me will be rolling your eyes at my lemon obsession here, but we had Lemon Mousse Bombe with citrus sauce and fresh berries. I was literally scouring the back tables looking for an extra one to eat because it was so tart and delicious I wanted about five more of them to satisfy my lemon-tooth. I even toyed with the idea of paying April to eat half of hers, but I thought we might not be friends after that.This is one recipe I'm going to HAVE to learn how to make, it was that good.

Every afternoon I would casually wander into the hotel's new patisserie (bakery) called La Bonne Vie and buy a $1.50 macaron for a little pick me up. They have different flavors every day, and I told them they needed to add...lemon, of course, and the manager happened to be there and he was having a V-8 moment, like, yes! Why didn't we think of that as we put our bakery menu together? I felt smart.

They had a grand display of the new ElectroLux appliances there, too. Drool.

I met a lot of great people and learned tons of tips and tricks, so hopefully my blogging will continue to improve as well as the recipes! Here's a list of my favorite new blogs from Alt:

Jenny from Little Green Notebook
Erin from Design for Mankind
Liz of Cool Mom Picks
Maggie from Mighty Girl
Karey of Mackin Ink
Marta of Marta Writes
Nicole from A Little Sussy
Brittany from One Charming Party
Victoria from The City Cradle
Cambria from Re-Nest

I didn't meet one food blogger other than Kelsey...hmm. Interesting. But I do want to know more about you, and what you'd like to see more of on Off the Wheaten Path. Recipes, product reviews, weekly menus? Less opinion and more how to? What are you interested in reading about? I hope no one says fish because it's not going to happen. Leave me a comment, I'd love to know!
Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. I am just amazed at the number of people I didn't get to meet while at Alt! It looks like you might be from the area though...maybe we'll meet in the future.

    Loved your recap of the event!


Blog Design by April Showers