Weekend Inspiration: Travel, Food, Fashion and Fitness

Wow, what a week! From Disney in Orlando for Food Blog Forum to Sandestin Resort (pictured above and below) in South Walton, my kids and I have had quite the treat. I guess this is the true definition of an “awesome” spring break. Here are some inspirations from last week from my travels as well as across the blogosphere. Let me know what fun things you are doing this weekend. Have a great one, Alison

Beach Inspiration: Beaches at the amazing Sandestin 

Travel Inspiration: Gelato from Sangelato Cafe in Sandestin

Children Inspiration: We had so much fun in Disney. Especially, Leigh.

Passover Inspiration: Flourless Chocoalte Cupcakes with Marshmallow Meringue Frosting via Urban Baker

Food Inspiration: Baked Whole Wheat Banana and Chocolate Donuts from Top with Cinnamon

Easter Craft Inspiration: Glittered Easter Eggs via Martha Stewart 

Fashion and Home Inspiration: Lavender  “Apartment 34” and Whitney of “The Curtis Casa”

 Workout Inspiration via “Plus One Fitness”

Food Blog Forum Orlando: Disney Fun

I had the best time this past weekend at Food Blog Forum in Orlando, Florida in Walt Disney World. I was so fortunate to get to share a round table speaking with the amazingly talented, humble and genuine, Angie of Bakerella. We spoke on “Writing a Cookbook From Two Perspectives” to four different groups.

Food Blog Forum was founded by Jaden and Scott Hair of Steamy Kitchen and Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple. This one day conference is always so inspiring (this was my 3rd event), and this is the most wonderful, sharing, open and welcoming group of speakers and food bloggers. I must give a shout out to the fantastic staff at Walt Disney World for their incredible hospitality and generosity as well as to Julie, from The Little Kitchen, and Dawn Viola for coordinating this event. One the big themes of the weekend which spoke to me is: “Dream big and share your dream with others” via the man himself, Walt Disney.

Of course, there was food to be had at a “Food Blog Conference.” We had the most incredible parties, including Friday night by the beach at the Grand Floridian, lunch by a multitude of top Disney’s chefs (see above), and a wonderful Irish dessert party while watching fireworks in Epcot on Saint Patrick’s Day.

I met so many new fabulous food bloggers, and I had the pleasure to connect with old friends as well. (See Kelly, from “Just a Taste”, and me at Epcot, above).

I also had the chance to check out some of the best Disney attractions. The Epcot “International Flower and Garden Festival” (above) was this month. It was unreal!

This shot (above) from Animal Kingdom is the mountain of Expedition Everest. Doesn’t this look like I could actually be at Mount Everest?

We went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride (above) in Animal Kingdom, and we saw so many rare, beautiful animals. I can’t believe how close this giraffe got to our jeep.

Downtown Disney is always a blast. You never know what you might find in Disney World. Did I mention that my kids came along as well? They haven’t been there in seven years, so it was quite a treat. My son, Zachary, was a little timid of her (above).

My daughter, Leigh, (above) told me she wanted a picture with Mickey and Minnie. Honestly I wasn’t sure that it would be possible, but if there is a will, there is a way.

We loved staying at the convenient, and very, fun Polynesian Resort. Their beach (above) was so pretty, and their water slide in the pool was a hit with the kids. It’s a perfect way to spend time outside of the parks for some down-time.

Disney World For Food Blog Forum Orlando 2012

I couldn’t be more excited to attend and speak at my 3rd Food Blog Forum, but this time in Disney World in Orlando. It is a great line up produced by White On Rice Couple, Steamy Kitchen, The Little Kitchen and Dawn Viola. The line-up looks amazing with too many incredible people to name. I am thrilled and honored to be speaking on a roundtable with the talented, Angie of Bakerella on “Writing a Cookbook from Two Perspectives.”  I am jumping up and down typing this. Have a great weekend!

Photo via Pinterest

Boosting Your Metabolism: Speaking Event Saturday

How can you boost your metabolism? I’ll be speaking this weekend at Bikram Yoga Birmingham on Saturday at 11:15 (immediately after the 9:30 class) on this important topic. I’ll be talking about the top foods, drinks, tips and types of workouts that will maximize your metabolism to its fullest potential. If you can’t attend, check out my “small group coaching series online” this month being held online for The FoodLife Project.

Big Announcement: The FoodLife Project

I have been hinting for a few months that I have been working on a very big, exciting new project at Ingredients, Inc. I am ecstatic to announce my new healthy living consulting business, The FoodLife Project: The art of Eating and Living Well for Life. This venture will be done in conjunction with my 11 year old company, Ingredients, Inc, and has come about by so many requests from friends, colleagues, physicians and readers asking me to consult with them individually and in small groups on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I am delighted to be partnering with a large OBGYN Group in Birmingham, Alabama to offer my services, but The FoodLife Project is open to anyone interested in the art to eating and living well for life. My first Small Group Series will start Tuesday, March 27th, and I’m offering a day and night group to fit everyone’s schedules. There will be 4 sessions for 4 weeks. See more information here. One lucky person who signs up for each group series will win a $100 Lululemon Gift Card. I will be giving away a few other prizes to others attending the group as well. Spaces are limited and going fast, so act as soon as possible. Click FoodLife Project for more information.

Oscar Night Recipes and Games 2012

It’s Oscar Night 2012 this sunday night so I wanted to share some favorite Oscar night recipes and games. To start, check out Pear Pecan and Gorgonzola Crostini (pictured above) by Ingredients, Inc.

Super Quick Dark Chocolate Brownies by Ingredients, Inc.

Saucepan Popcorn by Ingredients, Inc.

Oscar Red Carpet Bingo

Oscar Night Party Game from Better Homes and Gardens  

Food Blog South Conference This Weekend and Teens

If you haven’t heard, this weekend is FoodBlog South, a great southern food blogging conference in my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama. Last year was the first ever FoodBlog South, and it was one of the best conferences of the year. This year has an incredible line-up of speakers and attendees, so check it out. And guess what?  I am so excited that this conference also has a teen blogging conference too.  “Teen FoodBlog South” is for students in grades 7th-12th. It’s a free half-day blogging conference teaching them tips and tricks of the trade. I’ll be there teaching “Recipe Development for food blogging,” so don’t miss out if you live near or around Birmingham.

Top 5 Things I learned at Altitude Summit about Life and Blogging

I spent the last week at my first design conference ever: Altitude Summit in Salt Lake City. It was great to step out of my box and learn from so many talented and creative people. I thought I would share the top 5 things I learned that apply to blogging and life.

1. “One of the best ways to be happy in life is to make other people happy.” Gretchen Rubin

2. “Make connections in life, and make it personal. The most important thing is to be sincere, genuine and personal.” –Alison Lewis

3. “Jump in with both feet, but decide where you want to land first.” Liz Stanley

4. “Knowing your brand and value will put you in power to do just about anything in your buiness.” –Alison Lewis

5. “Discovering things about the world will help us discover more about who we are.” Ben-Founder of Pinterest.

Images above by Kelli AndersonAlex Profit, and Yan Photo

I made so many awesome friends at this conference that it’s hard to make a shout-out to everyone. I did want to mention that the team from Rue La La were so genuine and awesome. I truly loved hanging out with y’all.

Headed to Altitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City

Fun news! I am super excited! Today, I am headed to Alt Summit (Altitude Design Summit) in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a conference I have been wanting to attend, so I put it on my to-do list a long time ago. If you’re asking yourself, What is Alison talking about?” Read on. If you’re obsessed with lifestyle, food and fashion blogs; fantastic images; smart ideas and great design; this is where you should be. Keynote speakers include Editors of Martha Stewart Living, Apartment Therapy and The Wall Street Journal Magazine as well as Founder of Pinterest and New York Time’s Bestselling Author, Gretchen Rubin. Images above by Freshly PickedDaniel Staemmler, and Mode:lina

I’ll be learning more about Design. Lifestyle. Photography. Fashion. Events. Styling. Art Direction. Food. Interior Design. 

Holiday How-to Class at Four Seasons Atlanta


When I think of a luxurious hotel, I always think of the “Four Seasons”. I have never actually stayed a Four Seasons hotel (until now), but I have visited many. When I was traveling in Milan this summer, I visited the Four Seasons Milan. Trust me. If I ever get the opportunity to go to Milan again, I will definitely want to stay there. The closest Four Seasons hotel to me is The Four Seasons Atlanta. So, when I heard about their “Holiday How-To Classes”, I put it on my to-do list. The Saturday afternoon 1 1/2 hour class was packed with great food and recipes, entertaining ideas and even new friends.

The class started with Executive Chef, Robert Gerstenecker, teaching us how to make Candied Pecans with only 3 ingredients. So easy and so good…

Chef Gerstenecker shared recipes that that make entertaining easy. He taught us how to prepare several crostini appetizers such as Pimiento Cheese, Chicken Liver Pate and a creative Red Pepper Dip. He demonstrated how to make Homemade Cheese Crackers which are only 5 ingredients (I couldn’t stop eating them).

He also proved that Kale Chips are so easy to make and delicious. Most of the women at my table had not tried kale chips before and were hooked.

Next, The Four Seasons Mixologist, Matthew Buckly, demonstrated how to make some holiday cocktails. Oh darn!

The Candy Cane Martini demonstration was hugely popular. (I’m so glad he gave us the recipe.)

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Floral Designer, James Hurley, gave us a flower arranging 101. I need this desperately. We learned how to create the napkin holder (top picture above), how to make individual place cards with fresh herbs and raffia, and how to make a pretty table arrangement. We turned this (below)

into this (below).

When the class was over, I explored the hotel. Since it was too cold outside, I found the perfect spot for relaxation or a workout. This indoor pool was was the perfect place to warm up.

And who wouldn’t want to step into this this jacuzzi?

The Four Seasons Atlanta also is equipped with a great workout facility, and the locker rooms were fully equipped with sauna, steam and everything you could ever need.

The Four Seasons Atlanta is located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta right near Piedmont Park, The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, The Georgia Aquarium, The High Museum of Art, The Fox Theater, World of Coca Cola and more. Since I needed to do some holiday shopping, I headed over to Atlantic Station which is an incredible venue for families with great stores so close by. The Four Seasons Atlanta is a truly special big city family destination or a great couples getaway.