Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Pie for Mikey & A Fund for Jennie

 I want to take a minute, interrupt my recap of BlogHer to share something really special with you all.
If you are a food blogger, chances are you've heard the story about Jennie Perillo. If not I would like to share something really amazing that has happened within the blogging community over the past couple weeks.

Jennie Perillo, a food blogger at In Jennie's Kitchen, lost her husband, Mikey, very suddenly to a heart attack. Jennie, in all her wisdom, asked that we, within the food blogging community, do something special to show our loved ones how much we care. It was a tribute to Mikey. So that Friday hundreds of food bloggers paid tribute by making Mikey's favorite dessert: a peanut butter pie. 

                                                                     (from Steamy Kitchen)

And so began one of the biggest out pouring of love for a relative stranger I have ever seen. So many people wanted her to know she was in their thoughts, prayers, and even in their pie's made with love.

But a pie just didn't seem like enough. So some very clever and generous bloggers got together and created a site called Bloggers With Out Borders. BWOB is a site for helping folks within the blogging community. The first project:

Shauna, from the wildly popular Gluten-Free Girl and a friend of Jennies, put together an auction to help her with all the financial burdens she'll be facing. Shauna writes:

"[Jennie] just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay will be more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone."

I don't know about you but as soon as I heard this I knew I wanted to help. And if you ARE like me, there are ways for you to help.

The San Diego Food Bloggers, which is becoming a rather tight nit community, has put together a gift basket of what we think represents the finest of San Diego food, sports, and past times. Our fearless leader, Marie at Meandering Eats, is hosting the auction at her site. So PLEASE go take a look at it. It's for a wonderful cause!

Some goodies from the basket, including my fish taco kit!

The bidding will start at $150 and the auction will be open until Friday, September 2, at 11:59pm PST. So hurry on over!
And if you'd like, let them know you came from DYKTMP? It will make my life to know that my followers have the biggest hearts! There are so many other items to bid on as well. Just head on over and check it out! 

Also, if you would like to donate, click on the button on the side bar label "For Jennie." 100% of the donations and money earned through the auction goes to Jennie. So far, we have raised over $14,000 for her. That is just plain awesome!

I love being a part of this blogging community. I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amazing BlogHer Weekend: Part 2

With all the obvious "hardwork" Hailey and I did on Day 1, we deserved a very luxurious Day 2 of BlogHer hehe.

After a relaxing car ride, which meant not taking the bus at 6:30am, we headed right into the Expo Hall. And who did we spot as we walked in?

The Jimmy Dean Sun! Hehe Hailey and I heard he was there the day before but had failed to spot him. We were very excited to have our picture take with this "Super Star." Get it, Super Star? lol I couldnt resist. 

Next on our list of very important matters was cheering our friend Amanda on from What Were Eating and Food Porn Daily in the Knorr Cook-Off.

She made Mahi Mahi with Chorizo, Poblano and Caramelized Onion Sourdough Stuffing and a Roasted Garlic Sauce. MMMMmmm! It looked SO GOOD! Of course she won...cause she's awesome!

 After the big win, Hailey and I continued around, "shopping" through the Expo Hall until we truly felt we could take no more.

In the end, this is what we came home with. Three bags filled with tupperware, clothes, food, coupons, face cream and god knows what else. Thank goodness for driving or we would have suffered, big time.

Our way from the car to the next session, look who we had the pleasure of running into! Ms. Amanda from KevinandAmanda and Ms. Jenny from Picky-Palate. If you don't know already, I think these ladies are awesome. As demonstrated here and here!

After saying our hellos and goodbyes, Hailey and I headed over to what will be considered the most important and informative session we will attend at all of BlogHer... and it wasn't even a BlogHer sponsored session!

Hillshire Farms (Go Meat!) was holding a very informative and small session on...drum roll please... Food Styling!

This was exactly what we had been hoping for. The info from this session will stick with me for a long time. We learned how to make the best of what you already have i.e. low lighting, no props, repetitive food, etc.

We learned to think outside the box. Use materials you have at your disposal to create beautiful and interesting looking "tables" and backdrops. Move the food outside, move it to the garage, the front door, wherever you think the light is the best. Don't be afraid to use your own style. I really liked that. With food that seems to be a repetative shape like mine, its important to keep the staging in the photo visually diverse so as not to bore my readers.

We also learned that not everyone can pull of Pioneer Woman's style, nor should we try. Sometimes too much is really too much. I really really liked that. I think that with a little practice (and a better camera *hint hint*) I can start taking some really awesome photos!

And so after our wonderful session, with all the learning and knowledge, we treated ourselves to a relaxing afternoon/evening.

It went something like this:



Really, just a tough day indeed!

But it doesn't stop there! Stay tuned for the 3rd and final day of our fabulous BlogHer experience, including what I've learned about blogging so far. :0)

P.S. I couldn't leave without sharing my favorite picture of the night. This is from CheeseburgHer, where Hailey and I only stayed a moment to dance the Cupid Shuffle cause the smell of burgers and fries was really too much. But I couldn't get enough of this scene I saw unfold.
I imagined it went something like this:
 Girl 1: Let me just get that for you *wiggles bag hat* Aw perfect. Now you look cute!  
Girl 2: Thanks! Wasn't sure what to wear with this beautiful sparkly skirt!
Okay now I'm done :0)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amazing BlogHer Weekend: Part 1

This was seriously an amazing/fun/inspiring weekend.

It all started Thursday night when I went to pick up Ms. Hailey of Naked Cupcakes from the airport. After 3 flights, one delay, she finally made it to San Diego.

Hailey was such a great house guest. Besides being extremely nice, she and I seemed to speak the same language. Hard to explain but just very easy to get along with. A rare thing I think.

We started the conference bright and early Friday morning. Because we were there so early we had the run of the place before the crowds came. It was nice to actually wrap our head around the venue before everything started. And take a quick look at our first load of swag.

Cool shades huh?

After a yummy breakfast we decided to go down and check out the Expo floor. It's all a bit of a blur but within 10 seconds of being in the Expo Hall I was wearing an apron and was on a stage looking out at a small crowd... huh? Turns out I was in for a really rare and special treat.
Chef Marco Pierre White was doing a demo on how to properly cook risotto. If you aren't familiar with Chef Marco I'll just give you a little blurb: He mentored Gordan Ramsey! And now he's teaching me! SO awesome and unexpected. Here he is explaining... well something about risotto. Like I said, its a bit of a celebrity blur. Thanks to my own personal paparazzi, Hailey, I get to relieve this fun experience a little better the second time around hehe.

Fellow SD Bloggers Lisa, Kathy and I learning from the best

Immediately following this cooking lesson Hailey and I booked it up stairs to our next session. Penny de los Santos, photographer extraordinaire, was teaching a session on how to “make” (not take) photos. Just a simple change of words and photography becomes a real emotional experience for her and everyone she shares her photos with. We could have done this session, and maybe just the parties, and have been  happy with the whole conference.

Penny, Hailey and I

She shook my hand, took my card, and even, later on when we ran into her for the 342nd time she said “this girl is cracking me up. You're hilarious!”

It pretty much made my life.

After this, I'll admit, we didn't go to many "Blogging 101" sessions. But what we did was perfect for us. Like the next session.

There's a little song called "Single Ladies" by this artist named Beyonce. Not sure if you've heard of her or seen this music video but next time you see me ask me for a re-enactment cause I now "know" (and I use "know" very losely) the Single Ladies dance!

Following the dance lesson, Hailey and I took our very heavy, over sized bags of swag to change for the Dove at First Sight Cruise. Man was this awesome! We ate, we drank, we watched our own "private" fireworks and best of all we met some lovely people.

When the cruise was over, we ran over to Sparklecorn. Sparkly + Unicorn = Sparklecorn! We danced our booties off on stage and off. 

Oh man did we have a blast!! And of course we were ready to start it all over again the next day! So stay tuned for Hillshire Farms photography, pool time, and more from the second day of BlogHer in the next post!

P.S. Also check out Hailey's awesome post about BlogHer '11!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BlogHer 2011 is here!

Hey Friends,
I know I've been away a long time but I've been SO busy with work and life that my computer has been feeling neglected. But that's okay. Every so often it's good to remove yourself from the digital world and actually interact and communicate with your voice and not the keyboard. Which is exactly what I'll be doing for the next few days. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my very first blog conference, BlogHer 2011. While my blog will still obviously be a big part of why I'm there, I will be meeting and learning and partying with your and my favorite bloggers.

If you a Twitter person follow me on Twitter @lilmsmuffinpan to see what I'm doing, who I'm meeting, what I'm learning, and what kind of goodies I'm picking up! Feel free to ask me question as I would love to share this expernience with you. I will be posting after the conference is over as well so stay tuned for the recap.

After that's all over, I'll get back to the good stuff: the miniature treats!

Oh I almost forgot. My favorite blog buddy Hailey from Naked Cupcakes will be joining me as well. She's flying all the way from Canada tonight so that we can share this experience together. I am so grateful to have her along with me 'cause having a partner in crime is always more fun. You can check her out on Twitter as well @naked_cup_cakes.

Now I wanna share something with you. Here's a peek at my new business cards!

Here's the front:
And here's the back:
Isn't that so perfect? It's a muffin pan! I love them, can't wait to share them!
See you guys real soon. Wish me luck!

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