The number one question people asked me when I said I was going to Alaska was “Why Alaska?” Actually, it was more like “Alaska? WHY?” There were a few key things that played into the decision to visit Alaska:
Thanks to everyone who submitted entries for the FEASTIVAL ticket contest! Reading the submissions was kind of like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach…I wanted to eat everything that was mentioned on the page!
To eliminate any biases I might have had toward the submissions (my biggest problem is that I liked them ALL), I solicited the help of 3 judges to read all the entries blindly and give me their thoughts on who should win. Before I get to the winner…let’s meet our judges…
1. Mike Sendek – Mike and I have known each other a LONG time (you may remember him from his engagement session abroad). Mike is a very talented technical designer for the Walt Disney Company and has recently started doing some graphic design work for some of my clients! A fellow foodie, he supported my decision to pick a completely random dish at our first meal in Germany, and when it turned out to be boiled pork knuckle, he still helped me eat it.
2. Russell Mahoney – A very good friend of mine from college and extremely talented artist, cook and wine/beer maker (he made rhubarb wine last year that was TO DIE FOR!). He’s been involved in the Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival so I thought he’d be a perfect judge for this! If Russell could live in Di Bruno Brothers, he would (I think he has tried).
3. Ed Tenuto – My dad. Thanks to him I got the foodie and photographer genes. He’s been a cop, media/public relations consultant, pastry shop owner and best of all fantastic cook. A beer snob, a wine maker for 25 years and an avid cook book collector, he has shown me how to make every meal an event. It’s not about eating to live, it’s about living to eat.
And now – on to the winner! *drum roll* Chris Mazzino! Chris’ entry showed a true passion for food and all of the judges agreed that it was deserving of the big prize! The entry is below. There are still some tickets available for FEASTIVAL but they are going fast, if you are interested in buying tickets, visit www.phillyfeastival.com.
Food, like air and water, is a necessity of life. Good food—no, great
food, however, takes this basic need to a whole different level.
Whether it be the simple comfort food of my youth, like creamy tomato
soup with crisp toast or saltines, or baked macaroni and cheese with
the burnished, tan skin of the cheese and milk on top keeping it warm
and moist—both homemade, of course—or one of the many ethnic dishes of
my hometown, when I indulge in a good meal or sweet treat, that basic
need in life is elevated to a level that only true foodie can
appreciate. In its simplest form, food excites me. The crunching of a
baby cucumber from my grandmother’s garden when I bite into it or
thick, rich panacotta made from fresh cream and honey create an
intimate experience between the palate and the food, almost like
making love. Besides its taste and appearance, I would have to say
that one of the best things I like about food is how it brings people
together. Read any good novel or watch any great movie and you will
see the communion between family and friends as they gather together
to eat. This bond has been the same for me all my life. From early
childhood through today, some of my most memorable experiences with
family and friends come from us spending time together eating simple,
delicious food. I suppose FEASTIVAL is much the same—good food, good
friends, and good experiences for the palate and the soul.
Those of you who know me personally know that I love food. Ok, I know everyone loves food, we need it to sustain life…but I LOVE food. Almost to the point of embarrassment. I get giddy when I see something on a menu that is unusual (like geoduck). I do a little happy dance when I see components of a dish that I would never have thought to mix together (like a burger between two Tastykakes). I do the Nutty Professor Hercules clap when a plate gets put in front of me that is so beautiful I almost don’t want to ruin it (but I will). Remember the scene in the diner in When Harry Met Sally? The “I’ll have what she’s having” scene? Ok, maybe her actions were not specific to what she was eating, but that’s how I sometimes act when I am enjoying a good meal. See? Embarrassing.
To me, food is art, and there are no better culinary artisans than those in Philadelphia. So you can imagine my excitement that I am going to be the official photographer for FEASTIVAL on September 14th! FEASTIVAL is a culinary event that gathers together some of Philadelphia’s most distinguished restaurateurs and chefs to benefit the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe. You get to stuff your face while supporting the arts in Philadelphia. Sign me up!
Wait – there’s MORE! I’m giving away a pair of tickets to FEASTIVAL, valued at $500! It’s simple to put your name in the hat…just leave a brief comment below stating why you are a foodie. And then be sure to stop by my Facebook page and hit “like” because that’s where I’ll be announcing the winner on Wednesday, August 31st. Deadline to enter is Friday, August 26th. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.phillyfeastival.com.
Because I can’t post without a picture, here’s one of me at age 3 enjoying a lovely breakfast of eggs and cereal…and wishing I had a couple of Tastykakes to go with it.
I’m not quite sure it gets more fun than this, especially if you are a Phillies fan (like moi – I grew up with the Phillies practically in my back yard). When Sara and Ralph suggested doing their engagement session at Citizens Bank Park, I was ALL OVER IT. Did you know that if you ask really nicely, the fine folks at CBP will let you have free reign of the park for an entire hour?? Ok, maybe not free reign, we were escorted around by a very nice staff person with gave us all sorts of tidbits about the park. The only thing we couldn’t do was step on the turf…OMG it looked so tempting to just jump in and make a big old grass snow angel. I tried to just dip a toe in it when no one was looking, just to be rebellious. But I am a rule-follower (so boring). After the ballpark, we went across the street to FDR Park for a few more photos.
Enjoy the photos and if you’d like to see more, check out the slideshow!
Last night I watched the season finale of Glee (which, by the way, was filled with so much cheese that I just might be lactose intolerant). Anyway, in the episode, the Glee kids go to New York City for a national competition, and it got me thinking about the big apple and how it’s portrayed in movies and TV shows. New York can be romantic (think When Harry Met Sally), action-packed (Spiderman), funny (The Muppets Take Manhattan- ha!), gritty (Taxi Driver), bittersweet (the final scene of The Way We Were), sexy (Sex and the City), enchanting (ummm…Enchanted). I probably wrote down a dozen more adjectives while watching Glee, partially because the episode didn’t really hold my attention (except for the Wicked duet!) and I knew I needed to write a blog post.
When I was photographing Christina and Anthony’s engagement session I was trying to capture the romantic New York. I hope I succeeded.
We spent a couple of hours roaming around Central Park and I saw parts of the park that I never knew existed. Did you know there is a castle in Central Park?? Well, there is. Believe it or not, Central Park was not the highlight of our session, we were lucky to have access to 620 Loft & Garden, which overlooks 5th Ave and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Aside from the people in the office buildings across the street, when do you have the chance to be eye level with that beautiful building!? This is a pretty exclusive space, so I can guarantee you Christina & Anthony are among the special few to have engagement photos taken there! Enjoy the photos below, for more, check out the slideshow!
I was having a conversation with my blog recently, it went something like this:
Blog to me: I miss you
Me to blog: Me too. I miss you too.
Blog: What is it? Is it Facebook, Twitter…did you get a boyfriend?
Me: No…I’m just being dumb.
Ok but seriously, the lack of blogging has to stop. My only excuse is that I have been wanting to change up my content a little bit to make it more creative and to share photos and other things that are not just about the work I get paid for…that’s how my blog started…so I am getting back to my roots. I’ll still blog about weddings and babies and all that fun stuff (actually have some really great ones to share from this winter!), but that won’t be ALL I blog about.
Since one of my blog posts wouldn’t be complete without a few photos, let me introduce one of the newest members of my family – the fisheye lens. I think the name is pretty self-explanatory…this 16mm ultra-wide lens gives a 180 degree view and squeezes it into the photo frame, so there is some distortion, but that’s what makes it cool. Also, if this is how a fish really sees…well, I don’t ever want to be a fish…it’s a bit nauseating. Here are a few shots taken with it, I think it will become very obvious why this lens is not made for portraits, but it’s fun nonetheless!
I was so far into wedding land in the fall that I forgot how much fun it is to make good old family photos. Particularly of the little bambinos – oh those teeny toes and fingers, I don’t know how their moms haven’t just gobbled them up (I’ve been known to sneak a little kiss of the baby feet periodically…whatever, you would too, they are irresistible and it makes them laugh!).
Here are some of my favorites from some of the baby sessions I’ve done this winter. If you simply can’t get enough, check out some more on my Facebook page!