sharing our passion – food blog forum orlando

One of the things that I adore about writing a food blog is that I have found so many others who share this love with me. Looking around the room on Saturday at the Food Blog Forum event in Orlando, I saw a wide variety of people, with lots of different backgrounds and talents, but all with that same passion for food – cooking it, eating it, writing about it, photographing it. We were all there because of our strong desire to  learn, to improve our skills, to broaden our talents, and to make connections.

It’s making those connections that I love the most.

Helene Dujardin during her food styling session.

Jaden of Steamy Kitchen and Dawn of Wicked Good Dinner spoke about their experiences starting and growing their blogs. Hearing about how they turned their passion for food into a career, a job they love – and don’t think of as a job – was inspiring. Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Purr Design, though nervous about speaking to the group, did a wonderful job explaining basics of blog design. I left her session with my mind filled with ideas – and also very thankful that there are knowledgeable people like her out there to help the rest of us out. Julie of The Little Kitchen is a pure ball of energy. It is because of her persistence and tenacity that the Food Blog Forum Orlando even happened in the first place.

I was lucky to become friends with Helene Dujardin of Tartelette in January, and I was so excited to hear her session on food styling and photography. I was even more thrilled to be able to participate in a three hour, hands-on, food styling workshop on Sunday. Helene’s enthusiasm and love for what she does comes through loud and clear. She is self-taught, and I found that fact very encouraging. It gives me hope for my own photography skills one day. Helene has a book coming out next month, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy.

Lindsay getting just the right shot during the food styling and photography workshop on Sunday.

I was finally able to meet Aggie, a kindred spirit, and I am already counting down the days until college football season. I plan to drag her up to Gainesville to hang out for a Gator game. Florida has so many talented food writers, cooks, and photographers – Binky, Denise, Michelle, Renee, Lael, and so many others. And I met so many other amazing people this weekend, not only from Florida, but also from as far away as New York City and Virginia.

We gathered at the Food Blog Forum Orlando to learn from each other, to teach each other, to share information and advice, and to support one another in this journey. We gathered to make connections with others who share our love of food and creating.

And I left feeling inspired.

The lunch I styled and photographed - and ate - during Helene's workshop on Sunday.

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20 Responses to “napa valley, california: eats and drinks”

  1. Elizabeth Howes — October 26, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    Great shots! I actually live in Marin (40 minutes south of the wine country) but never get tired of photos of the area. Especially when they involve great food and wine.

    Thanks for sharing — and Happy (belated) Birthday!

  2. Kristina @ spabettie — October 26, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    GORGEOUS photos ! I went to Bouchon (Vegas…) for my birthday… I have always wanted to visit all the restaurants in Napa… it all looks delicious!


  3. Kate @ maître de moda — October 26, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    What a great post – the pictures are fabulous!
    Happy birthday! I cannot wait to go to Napa one of these days…the food looks absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Gail — October 26, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

    I got up from my sickbed to have a bite to eat and look at food blogs.
    This post has cheered me up more than words can say.

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  6. Dr. Bob — October 26, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

    Gorgeous photography.

  7. Kate @ Savour Fare — October 26, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

    OK, now I have to open a bottle of wine.

  8. Kim — October 27, 2010 @ 1:13 am

    Happy belated birthaday! Oh how I wish I spent mine in Napa. Maybe next year?!

    Beautiful pictures!


  9. — October 27, 2010 @ 3:00 am

    excellent pictures!
    that weather is perfect for a glass of wine and nice food! 😀

  10. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — October 27, 2010 @ 6:40 am

    Looks like a wonderful trip MJ. Can’t wait to read a little more about it all. And it brought back so many memories 🙂

  11. SMITH BITES — October 27, 2010 @ 7:27 am

    beautiful MJ and so happy you got to go for your birthday! we wanted to see Napa this summer when we were there but just didn’t have the time with everything else that had been scheduled – but i feel as if i’ve been there now because of these gorgeous photos! does make me want to visit even more – love it!

  12. Maria at Fresh Eats — October 27, 2010 @ 9:17 am

    Such pretty photography of a wonderful place. Looks like you had a wonderful time! Makes me want to go back.

  13. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — October 27, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    I was supposed to visit Napa this summer but life went a bit awry, so I’ll enjoy a bit through your visit and pine for the day it actually happens maybe a bit more? Beautiful photos, thanks for taking us along!

  14. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — October 27, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

    What an opportunity you had! Lovely photos!

  15. Nancy@acommunaltable — October 27, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    Gorgeous photos!! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip! Last time we were there it rained the entire time – but it was still a blast and we loved every minute of it!!!

  16. Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet) — October 27, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    Your post is bringing back some wonderful memories of my trip to SF/Napa in Spring 2009. Love Bouchon Bakery…we ate dinner at ad hoc and loved it. I’m sure Bouchon is fantastic as well. Want to go back next year for another ad hoc dinner + Bottega. And more vineyards!

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  18. Steph — October 29, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Lovely pics! I’ve always wanted to visit Napa in the fall.

  19. Nothing better than Napa Valley! I am fortunate to live about an hour away and pop up there often. Bouchon bakery and restaurant are among my favorites!!! Nice photos – thank you for sharing! Must try that Barlow wine!

  20. Jason Phelps — October 31, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

    Holy pictures! I have to get to Napa ASAP.


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