Tag Archives: FABlogCon2013

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2013 Video – Food Allergies in Education with Allergy Home’s Dr. Mike Pistiner and Lynda Mitchell of KFA

With school around the corner, we wanted to share video from last year’s Food Allergy Bloggers Conference about food allergies in the educational setting!  Dr. Mike Pistiner of Allergy Home and Lynda Mitchell from Kids with Food Allergies were so generous with their support and time at the 2013 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference across multiple sessions.  The following session was titled “Education.”  There were many surreal moments last year that made us proud of the event we had worked so hard to bring together and hearing these wonderful advocates present was certainly a highlight.

Dr. Mike Pistiner speaking at the 2013 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference

Dr. Mike Pistiner speaking at the 2013 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference

We hope you enjoy – the “disease management” track (as we call it) is for everyone, not just bloggers!  Be sure to check out this year’s schedule for more and join us in Las Vegas September 26-28 for the 2014 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference.



Conference Connection – Sarah Norris and Justin Cunningham

The theme of the first year of the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference was “Connecting” and we are happy to report many of you did just that!  If you are considering attending this year and want to know if it is a worthwhile event, don’t just take our word for it.  This year’s conference theme is “Celebrating Others” so we wanted to celebrate and spotlight a few attendees that  credit the event with some exciting opportunities and experiences.  

We started with the story of Kate Hufnagel connecting with David Lurie of SunCups.  Now we are sharing Justin Cunningham of the iPhone app YoDish (he and his wife Emily are both food allergy advocates!  Emily writes at Allergen Menu Mom) and Sarah Norris of Gluten Free & Dairy Free Walt Disney World.  The post below is a Q&A between Homa Woodrum, Co-Founder of the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, and Justin & Sarah.  You can also check out Sarah’s Q&A post from last year prior to the event!

Justin Cunningham, founder of the YoDish mobile app (2013 FABlogCon sponsor), and Sarah Norris, owner of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW, connected about a possible collaboration online but it wasn’t until the 2013 Food Allergy Bloggers Conference that the two were able to make it happen.

Homa:  Sarah and Justin – Thanks for offering your perspective about FABlogCon and how it provided you the opportunity to kick off your collaboration, especially for those who haven’t been before.  What were you thinking as you made your decision to attend last year?

Justin:  When I look in the rear view mirror at myself, debating whether or not to attend the first Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, I just laugh.  I laugh because there really wasn’t anything to think about – it was a no brainer.

Justin Cunningham

Justin Cunningham

Nonetheless, I was intimidated because I was a complete newbie to the food allergy blogosphere (in fact, I hadn’t written a blog yet!), and it didn’t help knowing that I would be in the incredibly small male minority.  Secondly, it seemed like a big expense at the time given that I wasn’t sure how connected I would be to the community once I got there.

Fortunately, my insecurity was put to rest shortly after signing up.  The first thing I did after registering was to post that I was attending in the Comments section of the FABlogCon “Who’s Coming” page.

I had wanted to add myself to the list for a long time but couldn’t since I hadn’t committed.  For some reason, I was a little nervous about putting it out there.  I don’t know what I thought was going to happen.  I guess I expected to hear crickets, and then to hear people asking “who is that guy?”, but that is exactly when the group started to surprise me.  Not long after I commented that I would be there, Caroline Moassessi of the blog, Grateful Foodie, replied with, “Just a warning Justin, you’re going to fall in love with this group!”  And that was true, I did.  From that point on, I felt completely welcome, and I was very excited to meet everyone.

Sarah:  Like Justin, I was also debating on whether to attend the conference originally, but fate intervened for me. On a whim, I entered a contest on the Amazing & Atopic blog – Selena  Bluntzer was giving away a free registration to FABlogCon – and one day I got an email from her saying that I had won. Well, how could I say no to an amazing opportunity combined with the amazing generosity of a fellow blogger? Immediately, I was blown away by the support and welcoming nature of this group that I would soon be meeting.

Homa:  It’s a great group of people.  We’re so excited to get everyone back together again for FABlogCon2014 so that others can feel as welcomed as you two were!

Justin: Right, exactly!  As to networking, the conference far exceeded my expectations.  The great thing about FABlogCon is right from-the-start everyone is walking together on common ground with a common purpose.  Extensive work by Simon Sinek and others has established this truism: when you work with people who believe what you believe, the stage is set for innovation and extraordinary achievement.  FABlogCon is the perfect setting for us to come together to take the food allergy community another step forward.

Beyond the common purpose which brings us all together, FABlogCon’s format drives interaction among attendees, making it easy to make new friends.

Sarah:  I couldn’t have said it better myself, Justin. There is something so fantastic about a community that works together on so many levels. And of course, FABlogCon’s format really did bring us all together. By the end of this conference, I came back with so many new friendships and plans to embark on new partnerships!

Homa:  That’s why Jenny started it!  How did FABlogCon enable you to launch your collaboration?

Justin: I had reached out to Sarah via email months before the conference because I knew based on her blog that we shared a passion for helping people safely expand their horizons when it comes to dining out.  I was inspired by Sarah’s blog – an incredible collection of hundreds of gluten free, dairy free restaurant reviews at Walt Disney World – and I was looking for feedback on an early version of the app.  Later, we developed capabilities within YoDish to help bloggers extend the reach of their content to app users looking for restaurant dishes nearby.  So, I reached out again to propose we collaborate.

Well, we were both busy – like we all are – and we weren’t personally invested in making progress because we didn’t know each other.  Since we were both attending FABlogCon, we agreed to connect there to talk it through.

When we met face-to-face at FABlogCon, everything fell into place.  You just can’t establish the same rapport online as you can when meeting face-to-face.

Tess Masters, Joel Warady, and Annalies Zijderveld Speak at FABlogCon 2013.  Image Courtesy of Colette Martin.

Tess Masters, Joel Warady, and Annalies Zijderveld Speak at FABlogCon 2013. Image Courtesy of Colette Martin.

Moreover, in the first panel, Joel Warady of Enjoy Life Foods mentioned Sarah as an example of a blogger who is professional and on top of her game.  That immediately confirmed for me that working with Sarah would be productive and enjoyable.  I might have stumbled across a tweet by Joel saying the same thing, but hearing it in that setting had a much stronger impact.

When we announced that Sarah’s dish reviews were available in the app, people reacted so positively and many joined the movement.  Today, Orlando is the most active community on YoDish.

It has been a great pleasure to work with Sarah.  It is a privilege to interact with someone who demonstrates such consistent professionalism and possesses such a strong focus on quality.

Sarah:  When Justin initially reached out to me, I was intrigued by his work developing YoDish and the possibilities that he had proposed about the project. But, like he said, we were both busy and investing in making progress on a collaboration wasn’t really progressing along without that personal connection. It’s so true that when we met at FABlogCon, things really did fall into place.

Sarah Norris

Sarah Norris

The first thing that struck me when I met Justin was that we shared common goals, passions, and a desire to bring continued awareness to the community. Hearing about his family’s food allergy story really connected us in a much more personal way than any email or business call would. His strong drive to create something unique and impactful on the community was evident immediately. And his approach was so professional and thoughtful. Not only did we share common goals and experiences but we easily began to think of ways we could work together to make the Orlando area reviews a robust resource for local residents and visitors. There was synergy going on, and I think we both knew pretty early on that this collaboration would be a great one.

In this day in age, we’re always working collaboratively, especially in a virtual environment. And in this kind of environment, you look to work with people who you can trust and feel confident in collaborating with, and for me this completely describes my partnership with Justin and the YoDish brand. What has and continues to impress me about working with Justin is his continued dedication to the community and the quality of work that he provides. He has made working on this project such a pleasure, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration serving the food allergy community for years to come!

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YoDish, a free iPhone app, enables people with gluten intolerance and food allergies as well as vegetarians and vegans to share their restaurant dining experiences while on-the-go. YoDish is socially driven and leverages FourSquare’s global locations database to provide users an instant list of the restaurants near their current location. Users can post their dish reviews in the app as well as to Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare. Justin and Emily Cunningham, whose daughter has been diagnosed with severe allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, understand the challenges involved in eating out with dietary restrictions. Learn more about and download YoDish at http://bit.ly/YoDish.

Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW was founded by Sarah Norris in 2009 and is the top source for gluten free and dairy free dining information at the Walt Disney World Resort. Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW contains reviews, tips, tricks and trip planning resources to assist those visiting Disney with a special diet. In addition to resources found on the Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW site, those interested in special diets at Walt Disney World can also find on-the-go information through the site’s podcast, found on iTunes.

Thank you so much Sarah and Justin!  Don’t forget to register today (be sure to check out our new schedule system that lets you build your own schedule of events and panels to attend) and we’ll see you in September!  

Interested in sponsorship?  E-mail us at jenny@fablogcon.com or homa@fablogcon.com.  If you have a connection you’d like us to feature, feel free to e-mail us about it as well.

Conference Connection – Kate Hufnagel and Sun Cups

The theme of the first year of the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference was “Connecting” and we are happy to report many of you did just that!  If you are considering attending this year and want to know if it is a worthwhile event, don’t just take our word for it.  This year’s conference theme is “Celebrating Others” so we wanted to celebrate and spotlight a few attendees that  credit the event with some exciting opportunities and experiences.  

First, we have Kate Hufnagel and Sun Cups.  Both Kate and Sun Cups plan to be back for FABlogCon 2014 and we are thrilled to read about their connection.  The post below is written by Kate, check out her blog at www.thediaryofanaphylaxis.com and see her Q&A post from last year prior to the event.

Kate Hufnagel, the founder of www.thediaryofanaphylaxis.com, attended the first ever FABlogCon about a year after experiencing her first anaphylactic reaction (thanks to lentils) and learning she was allergic to seven foods (this number has increased since then). 


While at FABlogCon, she came across the Sun Cups table and politely explained to the gentleman behind the table that she was familiar with his products but wasn’t stopping because she’s allergic to sunflower. The gentleman, Sun Cups Founder David Lurie, casually slid the box of Caramel Cups forward and said “these don’t have sunflower in them.” This stopped Kate dead in her tracks as her brain attempted to process the notion that there was a nut-free — and sunflower-free — chocolate in front of her. After tasting them, Kate knew she had finally found a new-found love in Sun Cups’ Caramel Cups and frequently stopped by David’s table to sweet talk him into another sample.

Caramel Cups Brought Kate and Sun Cups Together

Caramel Cups

After FABlogCon, Kate ordered three boxes of Caramel Cups to give as holiday presents to people who are important to her (well, she did keep a box for herself). As she was preparing to relocate from Virginia to Colorado at the start of the year, Kate reached out to David to find out if she could do a Twitter campaign for Sun Cups as she drove across most of the country. And, after settling into her new home, Kate contacted David to find out if he’d be willing to give her a tour of the Sun Cups facility (after all, her love of Caramel Cups had now turned into somewhat of an addiction). David happily obliged and invited her to the Sun Cups facility in Boulder, CO.  Little did Kate know that David had other ideas in mind. After a huge welcoming hug and a tour, David asked Kate if she’d be willing to help out Sun Cups. 

Today, Kate is putting her social media know-how and project management skills to use as the Sun Cups Customer Ambassador. She is thrilled to be associated with a company that is fanatical about not only creating some of the most delicious chocolate she’s ever had but also ensuring that their chocolates are free of so many allergens (gluten, nuts, soy; just to name a few).

Thank you, Kate!  Don’t forget to register today (be sure to check out our new schedule system that lets you build your own schedule of events and panels to attend) and we’ll see you in September!  

Interested in sponsorship?  E-mail us at jenny@fablogcon.com or homa@fablogcon.com.  If you have a connection you’d like us to feature, feel free to e-mail us about it as well.