Thanksgiving is coming our way this week - AAHhhhhh! I'm stoked to cook up a storm and enjoy the day with the fam (and sip on this cranberry thyme gin and tonic all day!) Last night, we ended up putting up our Christmas tree, and it sure made the apartment all cozy! (The painting you see there is by the very talented Adam Carlson, and that is Chip napping away on the couch!)
This week for Meet My Inspiration, I'm so overjoyed to be featuring someone who I've been looking up to since I started blogging 2 years ago. I was ecstatic when she agreed to take some time out of her busy life to answer a few questions!
What can I say about this DC based food blogger? She's the real deal! With her culinary background, you can be sure that her knowledge about food is legit and trustworthy. I don't think there's anything that Laura of Blogging Over Thyme cannot cook or blog about. I mean, come on, She spun sugar! And she can make a luxurious, five-star-hotel breakfast, and whip out a gourmet 30-min dinner! On top of all that, her writing is witty and honest. And I really admire her down-to-earth story-telling ability which makes her voice distinctive from other bloggers. Beside cooking up a storm and constantly putting up original recipes, she also manages to publish interesting posts on the side like the Sunday Thymes, and let her readers into her personal life. I follow her not only for her recipes but I truly think that she's an amazing person, friend, blogger, and cook. Her work ethics and attitude towards blogging and life has inspired me quite tremendously. So THANK YOU, Laura for always setting the bar a notch higher!
Now, I have to warn you. Before you stop over her blog, grab a napkin, because her photography will make you drool like you haven't eaten for days.
And don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list to get more of this blog series right into your inbox in the coming weeks! (Sign up form is on the sidebar or towards the bottom of the page if you’re on a smaller screen).
Now, here's the behind the scenes chat with Laura of Blogging Over Thyme!
1. What inspired you to start a food blog?
During my senior year in college, I started to become aware of and start reading several different food blogs regularly. Since my family and I have always had a huge passion for food (and I had been making my own twists on recipes for years!), it seemed like a natural fit for me! At the time, I thought it would be a great creative outlet and never realized my future career path would evolve out of it.
2. What was the first post/recipe that you published on Blogging Over Thyme? (no peeking!)
Believe it or not, Blogging Over Thyme was not my first blog! I actually toyed with a DC-focused blog with my best friend for about six months. I quickly realized that I only enjoyed creating and writing food-related posts, which is when I created Blogging Over Thyme. I think my first post was a recap on a family trip to Montana! I'm too scared to look!
3. If you have to pick 5 words to describe your blog, what would they be
Authentic, inspired, comforting, seasonal, ..and a little bit sarcastic!
4. What's your weekend routine like? Food shopping in the morning? Cooking and shooting dishes at a certain time before the sun goes down?
Since leaving my full-time job in August, my weekend routine has changed quite a bit! Before I left my job, my weekends were jam-packed with recipe development, photography, and trying to get ahead as much as I could for the week ahead. Now that I have more time on my hands, I do most of this work during the week and try to reserve at least one weekend day for relaxing, disconnecting, and spending time with friends, family, and my fiance, Connor. No matter what, I always shoot cook and shoot during the day so that my pictures can be taken with natural light! Natural light is key.
5. Your food photography is superb. Mind to share a tip or two? What's in your camera bag?
Oh my gosh, thank you! My food photography has been a work in progress and labor of love! It did not happen overnight (i.e. my blog is over four years old), and I definitely still struggle with it.
My biggest tips are the following:
1) Get to know your camera inside and out. Move your body and practice. Change settings and study the cause and effect in your photos. You can own the fanciest camera and best lenses in the industry, but that is secondary to actually understanding how to use them effectively. Learning how to shoot in Manual mode (and understanding how various settings affect depth of field, exposure, etc.) is key. Invest in photo editing software (my favorite is Adobe Lightroom) and start shooting in RAW.
2) Natural light is key for food photography. Use your ingredients and dishes as inspiration for composition and mood. Often people confuse the value of natural light with too much light--and that can be a very bad thing. Over-exposure can result in lifeless photos and washed out colors. Experiment with diffusing light, bouncing light, and creating shadows with black and white foam boards! Go outside your comfort zone!
As far as my camera bag, I upgraded to a Canon EOS 6D (full-frame) camera body and 100mm f/2.8L macro lens this past September. Before my upgrade, I used a Canon Rebel t1i and 50 mm f/1.8 lens.
6. After reading your Reflections on Culinary School posts, what do you miss the most about being a culinary student or cooking in a commercial kitchen?
I definitely miss the learning environment and camaraderie of culinary school and commercial kitchens! There is no such thing as office politics in a commercial kitchen. It is honest and raw, and I love that. I have so much admiration and respect for anyone that works in the food industry, especially those that work as chefs and line cooks. They are some of the hardest workers out there.
7. And how did having a culinary background shape you as a blogger?
My culinary background has had a huge impact on my blogging style, content, and values. I try to share little tips and pieces of knowledge that I've picked up from my culinary training with almost every post. There are so many recipes out there to choose amongst-- I try to put a creative spin on classics, encourage readers to look at an ingredient in a new way, or simply present something a little bit differently! At the end of the day, good-quality ingredients are key to any successful dish. Less is more!
8. How's DC treating you? Any other places you can see yourself living now or in the future? California? Italy?
I have a lot of affection for my hometown of Washington, DC! I grew up here, moved back here after college, got my first job here, and attended culinary school in the area. My fiancé, Connor, is currently in medical school and applying to residencies, so will be most likely moving this coming summer. As much as we both love it here, we are actually very ready to experience a new city!
As long as we live in a city that is vibrant and has a good food scene, I'll be happy! Right now, my heart is set on San Francisco and heading to the west coast, but I love the idea of living in New York City or Chicago as well!
9. What would you eat as a treat to lighten up a rough day?
As much as I love to make and bake sweet things, my cravings generally revolve around savory foods. Pasta is my ultimate weakness!
10. We'll end with some food blogging love. Any blogs or bloggers who you admire yourself?
This is a very difficult question, because I have a huge amount of admiration for so many fellow food bloggers. The list grows by the day, seriously! Jessica of How Sweet Eats is a wonderful friend, and her work ethic, creativity, and authenticity have inspired me for years!
Right now, my biggest blog crushes include: Sarah of The Sugar Hit, Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen, Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil, Molly of My Name is Yeh, Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet, and Karen & Todd of Honestly Yum. I love everything they do. But the list goes on and on...
(Photo Credit: Blogging Over Thyme – Roasted Carrots with Green-Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate)