Food Photography Workshop with Honest Films

December 8, 2014

There are certain events in my life that come together so perfectly, that it’s only until later that I get to reflect on what a dream it all is. Yesterday’s food photography workshop with husband-wife duo of Honest Films, was one of those events.

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I met Erin at the Creative Connections San Diego meet up event a couple months back, and immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with her and Chris. Shortly after we met up at Bird Rock cafe in La Jolla and started to dream together about what a farm to table food photography workshop could look like. Together with Hazon San Diego and the Leichtag Foundation, we were able to create a day filled with delicious local and organic food, a natural light photography workshop and gather some awesome local bloggers and writers.

The first half of the workshop was composed of going over the basics of composition including leading lines, balance, the rule of thirds, golden mean, symmetry and cropping. A lot of the things we discussed I had heard before, but Chris gave examples for each subject matter, which was really helpful in making the connections.

Photography has been an interest of mine since I was a kid, using up dozens of disposable cameras on pictures of my neighborhood. My favorites were cloud shots. I think I’ve come a long way since those kodak disposables, but I’m still learning new techniques everyday, and trying to sharpen my photographer’s eye.

We got to practice the basics of composition on a dessert table that my co-host Gabi and I styled. It was so fun creating this indoor dessert scene – there was lots of pink, lots of candy and also some gorgeous pomegranates against the dark wood table. Everyone took turns around the table and we got some awesome action shots as well (check out #honestworkshop on Instagram for all the blogger submissions).

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The second half of the workshop, we talked about color, light and editing software. I finally learned the difference between Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, and officially want new editing software! We discussed contrasting colors, the amazing power of VSCO cam, and the fun community of photographers that exist on Instagram and other social media platforms.

We also talked about different tools you can use to enhance your photos and adjust for white balance. I think the hardest thing about shooting food is getting the lighting just right, and finding the perfect place in your apartment to set everything up. This is definitely something I want to focus on in the coming weeks.

Afterwards, we went outside to the second table scene where we ended the workshop by eating all the delicious food. Gabi and I styled the table exactly as we envisioned it in our planning phases. A ton of beautiful food, with lots of pops of color, gorgeous settings and small fun details for interesting shots. I think we succeeded.

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I had such an amazing day yesterday – a huge thank you to Chris and Erin for their patience with all our questions and for being amazing teachers, and of course to the Leichtag Foundation for letting us make our dream of a farm to table photography workshop happen on the Ranch!

For more photos from the event, take a peek at Instagram with the hashtag #honestworkshop. 

Autumn Persimmon Smoothie + A Beaming Giveaway!

December 5, 2014

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I’ve never been a huge fan of medicine. As a kid I would run out of the house just at the sight of the bright pink syrupy liquid that was going to rid me of my cold. I’ve carried this mentality into adulthood, often preferring drinking orange juice when I needed more Vitamin C, drinking ginger-honey tea when I feel cold coming, or just eating straight ginger in dire situations.

The thing about food is, well, it’s incredibly healing. Ask anyone who practices Eastern medicine – fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and herbs all have amazing healing properties.

When I first came across Beaming, the huge sign in the shop that read “Let food by thy medicine” is what really caught my eye. I love that with a little bit of planning and care we can take care of ourselves.

In celebration of the fall equinox, a drop in temperature and the holiday season, I teamed up with Beaming to showcase their exclusive fall menu and let you all get in on some of the Beaming love.

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Currently: November

December 4, 2014

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Reading Brain on Fire, a memoir about a woman who goes from working at a newspaper to being strapped to a bed in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there.

Obsessed with my goodies from Black Friday Sales.

Grateful for the little rain we’ve seen in San Diego.

Wondering about new adventures waiting for me in Boston!

Creating partnerships with brands, bloggers and artists. It’s so nice to connect with creative individuals who all care about local, nutritious food.

Watching Food Chains. This film came out last week, and if you care about local food, then definitely check out this movie which depicts the struggles of farm workers.

Loving the venue Mish and I decided on for the wedding! You’ll just have to wait and see!

Currently: October

November 19, 2014

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Enjoying time spent with friends and family on the East Coast for my engagement party!

Reading Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl. Next up on my list is Amy Poehler’s Yes Please- have you read either of these books? Lena Dunham’s book was laugh out loud funny, and I imagine Yes Please is going to induce some fits of laughter too, I can’t wait.

Obsessed with Instagram. Actually though, I’m happily addicted.

Grateful for such an incredible past 15 months on my fellowship. Things around here are winding down and come January, I head to Boston! Going to miss living with and being inspired by six incredible food justice warriors.

Wondering how I’m going to cope with going from a 75 degree December, to a 32 degree January. Can humans go into hibernation too?

Exploring Northern California and Pie Ranch with my girlfriends. A weekend filled with pie, barn parties, ocean-time and kittens. It was perfect. Also, Idyllwild Camping Grounds this weekend. Excited for hiking, campfires, starry nights and time away from computer screens.

Creating an awesome food-photography workshop! Details coming soon!

Watching Gilmore Girls. Can’t. Stop.

Loving my new blog! The amazing logo and illustrations were created by the sweet and talented Maggie Waller, of Type and Title. Homegirl knows her stuff. If you need branding, wedding design, calligraphy – I can’t recommend her enough! Seriously, go check out her website!

James Beard Food Conference 2014 Recap

October 28, 2014

Hi friends! I’m writing today from New York, where I’ve spent the past day and a half learning about food and public health at the annual James Beard Food Conference. I’ve met some of my favorite food heroes, connected with amazing folks in the food movement, and thought a lot about how we can make the American food system healthier and more equitable.

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photo credit: james beard foundation (Left to Right: Jane Black, Michael Pollan, Sam Kass)

There were so many amazing panelists and speakers crammed into the past 36 hours, that I’m honestly a little overwhelmed at where to begin. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been feverishly live tweeting, while taking healthy doses of time to just sit and listen. Check out my tweets from the conference here!

A large portion of yesterday’s line up focused on the health issues related to sugar consumption. We watched clips from the new film Fed Up, and discussed sugar consumption in relation to obesity and diabetes with Laurie David, executive producer of the film, Dr. Robert Lustig, who is a prominent researcher of this issue, as well as Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and NYU Professor and Corby Kummer, Senior Editor of the Atlantic. I told you it was an all-star cast, right?

What surprised me the most about the conference, in a good way, was that the James Beard Foundation was honest and transparent about all of their initiatives, and their funding and sponsorships were in line with what they preach. Good, healthy food for people and for the planet. Unlike the last food conference I attended in D.C. where the corporate sponsors were Walmart and Monsanto.

The conference also surprised me in the multi-faceted approaches to food and health, the inclusion of diverse communities as well as a strong emphasis on equity in the food system. My introduction to the food movement has always come from a place of justice and equity since working with issues of urban farming and food access. The food system is f’d up because we can’t feed our communities healthy and affordable food. I’m really happy that conversation was pushed to the forefront of the dialogue, instead of as an after-thought.

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photo credit: james beard foundation (Left to Right: Mitchell, VP of JBF and Mark Bittman)

We heard from Architectural designers from Harvard, who are re-inventing the way we think about space and food, we heard from the big shots like Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, we also got to hear a whole lot from doctors, who are often missing from the conversation. Doctors of all kinds spoke out at the James Beard conference, and wanted to partner with food folks. I would be remiss to not mention the recent launch of Tulane University’s culinary program specifically designed for medical students. So go check that out.

I think what I’m getting at is that the James Beard Food Conference really went above and beyond my expectations. I’ve always revered the Foundation for their recognition of chefs and good food, but JBF really proved themselves a leader in the food movement.

I’m going to share a couple more posts from the conference in the coming days, but I wanted to check in and let you know where I’ve been. Next stop is Sacramento to visit U.C. Davis Agriculture Program, and then a lovely Halloween weekend with my girlfriends in the Bay Area!

Thanks so much to the James Beard Foundation for a wonderful and thought provoking conference! 

Food News Friday

October 10, 2014

The Week in Food

This week’s round up of food news includes restaurant calorie counts, debates over school lunch and coming this Spring a new app, Carrot. It’s dope. 

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  • I remember a friend telling me that as a child she and her sister would be rewarded with celery. They LOVED celery, and only received them on their best behavior. I love this article by Mark Bittman on how to ingrain healthy eating to your kids.
  • Every since Michelle Obama came out with her Let’s Move Campaign, school lunch has been a hot topic nationally. Here’s a detailed article about school lunches – a long read, but definitely worthwhile.
  • Restaurant calorie cutbacks should be reducing obesity, right? This article explains how it actually hasn’t made a dent. Yikes.
  • Beautiful photo story about breakfast around the world. I like Istanbul’s, really similar to an Israeli breakfast.
  • Lastly, this new app will make you LOL. But really, do you have Carrot yet?

Currently: September

October 7, 2014

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I can’t believe it’s already October you guys. September was a whirlwind of a month, I guess this should be expected with the wrapping up of summer, a slew of Jewish holidays and lots of exciting plans in the works.

I got this idea from Maggie over at Type and Title, and it was actually a really fun practice of taking a look at what’s been going on with myself. So, here we go:

Starting to study for exams and write my graduate school application. Three years out of school and it seems I’m a bit rusty at this! Excited what will come at the end of this long process.

Enjoying HONY’s worldwide travels, especially the photos from Jerusalem. Definitely making me nostalgic for my year spent living in that wonderful, crazy place.

Reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. Home girl knows her way around a kitchen, how to save everything and cook in such a beautiful and holistic way. This book is really worth a read, I highly recommend it!

Obsessed with the candle I made at Mr. B’s Luminaries. I combined lavender, bergamot and eucalyptus essential oils for a calm and refreshing candle that burns nightly on my bedside table. So good.

Grateful to have spent some time this month in my favorite city, San Francisco. I went up for a couple days to for the Jewish new year and got to see my fiancé (that’s almost a normal sentence for me), his family and some dear friends. Love you, Bay Area.

Wondering how the next couple weeks will play out- I have so many plans this month that I’m getting a bit overwhelmed! [think: wedding planning, engagement party and lots of travel!]

Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix starting from Season One. All the fashion faux pas and hurried conversation on that show make for the perfect unwinding after a long day of work. My roommate and I may be addicted. Are you watching?

Loving my new blog theme from Blogzilla! We’re slowly making some changes around here to better fit the look and feel I’d love for this blog. If you’re looking to spruce up your own blog, check out Molly and Natalie’s Etsy site here.

Interviewing Mark Bittman, New York Times Food Writer

April 8, 2014

Did I ever tell you guys that time I interviewed Mark Bittman? You know, the same guy who started the Minimalist column, has written several books including How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. You know, super casual right? ;) (By the way I’m totally humble bragging bragging, but it’s Mark Bittman!!)

Interviewing Mark Bittman

For those unfamiliar with Bittman, I would highly recommend checking out his column in the New York Times where he writes mostly about food policy and investigative pieces about the most pressing food issues of our time. This guy is no joke, friends.

What I love about Bittman is that he plays no games. He tells it how it is, sometime to one’s own discomfort and I totally respect that. You could chalk it up to the fact that the guy is a New Yorker through and through, but whatever it is, we need more voices like his.

In this hour long interview (I would suggest listening to it while you cook this) myself and another Jewish Food Justice Fellow ask Mark Bittman questions about food stamps, sustainability and local vs. organic food. It was an incredible experience to be able to ask one of my food heroes some of the questions I’ve been thinking a lot about over the past few years, and I feel totally blessed to have had this opportunity. I hope all enjoy this video and please feel free to leave some comments below!

Thank you Mark for spending time with us and sharing your expertise and wisdom!

Thank God It’s Monday

March 17, 2014

Hey bellpeppers!

I was planning to post a meatless Monday recipe from my semi-new Plenty cookbook (Ottolenghi can’t stop, won’t stop), but instead I wanted to offer up a bit of reflection, since today is my birthday!

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Birthdays are so strange. We celebrate the anniversary of our own birth, a moment in time none of us remember, yet in fact shape our whole existence.

I was walking around San Diego yesterday just thinking about birthdays, and being born, and coming into the world. Everyday of our lives we are learning, growing, doing, shaping, making, expanding and we do this without ever pausing to reflect on how wonderful it all is!

This birthday I am taking the day to think about all of the amazing things I have accomplished (which I rarely ever do), the places I’ve traveled, the people I’ve met and cultivated relationships with, the work I have done, the things I have created, the moments of laughter and joy, the moments of crying and despair, my truly remarkable family that accepts my never-ending madness, my friends who I care so deeply about, my boyfriend who has been my source of happiness for the past five years, the many many people I meet and move on, the way my body is growing and changing, and how even though we congratulate one another on being born, what we are really saying is- I’m happy you were born and that we came to know one another.

I am taking my anniversary day of myself to congratulate myself on all the successes, the ups and downs, and just being in the world. I’m so excited for the next 26 years of life and all it has to offer. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, and for being so incredibly inspiring to me every single day. Here’s to another expansive year filled with creativity, love and happiness bursting at every twist and turn!

 

Moments from the Weekend

March 10, 2014

I spent the an amazing weekend in the desert at Joshua Tree National Park with six of my fellow fellows. What an incredible weekend hiking, cooking, skill-sharing and rejuvenating in the blissful desert sun. Here are some of the moments from the weekend. I hope you all had relaxing weekends and are ready to jump into the work week :)

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