By Cat Royka, Forest Home Media Summer 2014 Intern
You are NEVER too old for a field trip and Forest Home Media’s latest was to Birmingham, Alabama visiting the famed Southern Living headquarters. Joining us was Nashville media friend, Meryll Rose, NewsChannel5’s Talk of the Town anchor, a SL super fan; and, we also invited along a few of our favorite top lifestyle and home décor bloggers from the Birmingham and Atlanta areas – Rhoda (Southern Hospitality), Beth (Unskinny Boppy), Heather (At The Picket Fence) and Lucy (Lucyinspired).
Our SL colleague from last year’s Nashville Southern Living Idea House, the wonderful Nellah McGough, SL office manager, was kind enough to give us a tour of the impressive digs located on a 28-acre campus also home to the editorial staff of Cooking Light and Coastal Living. While on the behind the scenes tour, here’s some of the SL scoop we found intriguing.
- Southern Living’s Test Kitchen is run by director Robby Melvin who swore us to secrecy over the Christmas recipes they were testing although we are pleased to report shrimp is in the mix! He shared his key to staying slim while testing each recipe a minimum of three times. The secret? The chefs use tiny tasting spoons. Another test kitchen tip we learned is they shop just like you and me finding their ingredients from stores like Kroger, Publix and The Pig (that would be the Piggly Wiggly).
- The prop closet is the stuff of dreams! Shelf after shelf is filled with an impressive plethora of cake stands, mugs, napkins, aprons and pie plates of every size, shape, style and color! You name it, and it was there and variety is definitely key to producing those classic vignettes.
- A nearby photo shoot found SL staffers styling food for the upcoming issue. There was a photo embargo on the set but we provided a little glimpse below. Relying heavily on natural light, this seems to be a key element to those picture perfect photos we love in each issue.
From the modern art in the lobby to the incredible atrium within, the SL headquarters weave magically with their natural surroundings. Located just below tree line, the architecture has wonderful hints of Frank Lloyd Wright incorporating numerous stone pathways, waterfalls and rivers running underneath the structure.
No longer open for public tour, we were honored to meet various editors and writers throughout the day including Sid Evans taking over the helm for blogger and reader favorite Lindsay Bierman. We know the bible will be in great hands! Next up, FHM partner Nancy McNulty is heading to Haven, a DIY Blogger conference, so give us a follow on Twitter or Facebook to see the latest.