How time flies……the first year.

It’s a month of some epic celebrations.
Pink Champagne cupcake from Sift | whiskandmuddler.com

So that calls for sparkles. And lots of glitter. You see, my little bloggie here turns one year old today. Whaaahooo! That was an incredibly fast year wasn’t it? And I have a semi-milestone birthday myself this weekend. Oh, and my jury duty was postponed till December- double whaaahooo! All 100% awesome-possum reasons to pop open a bottle of bubbly and toast away! (wow, with that line, it doesn’t take a Sheldon to figure out how old I am- geessh!)

As I was looking back through old posts to find my first one (June 12, 2014), it gave me the opportunity to peruse some of the earlier articles I had written. I’d imagine that all of you once-newbie-bloggers out there also experienced a cringe-worthy trip down memory lane when reflecting back on your blog’s first year. Especially when it comes to the styling of pages, quality of the photographs, the randomness of thought & organization of topics. Writing a blog, has for me, been a wonderful (and much needed) creative outlet, which is now fueling a new career on the creative side of the culinary & beverage world.  However, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that all my years in the retail & wine biz did absolutely– without question– directly contribute to where I am today.  I would not have the knowledge (or courage) to embark on this slightly terrifying incredibly exciting adventure without all my past accomplishments (and failures) to guide me along this crazy, wonderful path. And it of course goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway!) that YOU— all of my family, friends and readers—have given me so much encouragement, inspiration, post ideas, and the occasional spell-check (you know who you are & gracias!). And to all my Inspirations– everyday you teach me a new kitchen hack, share an interesting POV, or make me hungry. So to ALL of you, a ginormous thank you, thank you, thank you!!

In honor of my first blogiversary, thought I’d feature some of my most favorite posts, as well as answer some camera questions that I’ve received this past year. Enjoy reading (or re-reading) because I’m going to leave you now so that I can dive into these glitter-bombed bundles of sweetness right this minute!

 DSC_0409-1-1The BEST Peach Pie (posted June 21, 2014). This was one of the first posts where I shot all the photos. I had just purchased my fancy-schmancy DSLR camera about a week before-hand and was happily clicking away! I didn’t know diddly tu-tu about lighting back then (obvs), but I am proud of my novice composition. And seriously, it is one killer peach pie!

ifbc2014_125x125IFBC Countdown Is On (posted Aug 10, 2014). I was sooo excited to attend my first blogging conference. And the experience did not disappoint. My little pea-brain was on stimulus-overload by the time it was over. I left feeling inspired, energized, informed and ready to delve so much deeper into all aspects of writing, photography and brand promotion. I made great social/networking connections last year, all of whom I hope to see again this year.

Citrus SaltCitrus Salt | whiskandmuddler.com (posted Dec 1, 2014)- This was the first time I felt like I was getting the hang of composition and lighting (well, sort of). Needless to say, that journey continues today as I read, practice, watch others, practice and then….do more practice. But I am happy with how the majority of these shots turned out. Plus the recipe is dead simple and it honestly is something I use daily in my kitchen.

Aussie wine adventures | whiskandmuddler.comAussie Wine Adventures Part 1 & Part 2– (posted Feb 18 & March 4, 2015) Okay, goes without saying that a trip down to my favorite place on earth—eating, drinking and have a bloody good time with my friends– totally qualifies as memorable posts. I loved (to infinity!) every minute of it. Enough said.

Fresh Cherry SconesFresh Cherry Scones | whiskandmuddler.com– (posted May 17, 2015) this was a recent one where I had some fun with a macro extension lens to get some good close-ups. Was so happy to finally have something I baked that week turn out right. For some reason, it had all been massive fails. You can read all about it in the post.


FAQ

What kind of camera do you shoot with?
I use a DSLR -Nikon DS3200 with a Nikon DX 18-55mm lens. Sometimes for a real tight close-up, I’ll use an auto focus macro extension tube set.

I noticed you shoot with natural light. What’s your preferred time of day to take photographs?
It all depends on the time of year and the weather that day really. During the winter months when the light is lower, I only have a window from about 1pm- 4pm. I like to shoot in my kitchen where I get the most even light. Natural, soft light is the best for food photography. In the summer, I can start as early as 9am but by 2 or 3pm, the sun has shifted and then it becomes a struggle to get ‘the shot’. I sometimes use studio lights for bottle or product shots.

What software do you use for touch-ups and finishing?
I initially used PicMonkey because it was free and very user-friendly. But as of February, I only use Lightroom and Photoshop. I took a couple classes on both, but have really learned it by hands-on trial and error. I still have a TON of learning to go, and probably only use a fraction of what it can do. But I love the results with both products.

What color of food is your favorite to photograph?
I seem to be on a red & green kick at the moment. I love the deep, dark red colors of cherries and rhubarb…especially on a rustic or darker background. That’s probably why you see so many recipes featuring both of those ingredients. I also like anything green. Shooting the Super Greens Smoothie Discs post was so much fun. All the hues of green throughout were beautiful, plus the textures of lettuces, fruits and vegetables gave it some interest.
Battle Royale cupcake from Sift | whiskandmuddler.com


Notes: these are two cupcakes from my favorite! cupcakery, Sift Dessert Bar here in Sonoma County. The first one up top is Pink Champagne (raspberry cake with champagne frosting) and the bottom one is Battle Royale (almond cake with blueberry tequila filling, topped with acai berry cream cheese frosting)…..it’s the flavor they won Food Network’s ‘Cupcake Wars’ top honors with. It’s probably my most favorite….after the now discontinued (R.I.P.) Chocolate Peanut Butter Ripple. But EVERYTHING they bake is delicious,  so can’t really go wrong with any of them.

Yes, it appears that ‘favorite’ is the only descriptive word I know today….counted it five times already….probably missed one in there too. Forgive me!   ;>)

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