Seattle, Washington: Dear Reader, I am old. My blog is old. But I am open to learning new things, meeting new people, trying new products and testing new ideas to make this website the best it can be. Precisely why I am attending this conference.

The opening session of BlogHer Food 12 started at the unholy hour of 8 o’clock. In the morning. This meant I had to be awake, dressed, presentable (mascara!) and registered for the event before 8 o’clock.

Torture.

The breakfast buffet was lovely – tons of fresh fruits, including fantastic Washington cherries, pastries, bagels and the usual steam trays of scrambled eggs and cured pork meats. The hash browns were embellished with morel mushrooms though – just the perfect breakfast buffet for 500 foodies. (Of course, vegan and gluten-free options were available.)

The opening remarks were on a survey conducted by BlogHer about the many facets of food blogging and why people read food blogs, who reads food blogs and how food blogs are impacting the way America cooks/eats. Then Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple took the stage and talked about their (very popular) blog, their life, their garden and their dogs. Porter & Cu were super inspirational. The photography on their site is beautiful.

Though there were several sessions to choose from during the day, I am Only One Woman and decided to attend Food Photography Trends: Beyond Pretty, monitored by food photographers Anita Chu and Stephanie Shih.

This was my view at the morning photography session. I learned to arrive early and get
a front-row seat at subsequent session. I am old and my eyes are a bit wonky.

Photographer/Chef Anita Chu and food photographer Stephanie Shih from Desserts for Breakfast gave the most interesting talk of the day (for me). They discussed the eight (roughly) styles of food photography, the merits of each and how to achieve the shots. I learned so much from this lecture and hope I will one day be able to incorporate some of what I gleaned into the photographs on this little website.

Okay. Probably not, but I promise to try.

During the lunch break I met with the lovely ladies of Chobani Yogurt, one of the many conference sponsors. Not only a great Greek yogurt, Chobani supports the US Olympic Team – specifically the track & field team. (I know, I know, it’s basically too much happiness for me to handle.)

Chobani will send their knowledgeable representative (center) to Eugene for the Track & Field Trials. Isn’t it fun that we have already met? I can’t wait to see her again in Track Town.
Thank you, Chobani for supporting Team USA!

Speaking of lunch:

Spinach Salad on a skewer – gazpacho in a glass
Assorted sandwiches

This “sandwich” included roasted tomato & grilled eggplant – the
“caviar” was some-sort of balsamic wonder. Completely vegetarian.
(After that fabulous food photography session,
I snapped these photos with my iPhone. So naughty.)

I can’t imagine a more daunting catering gig than preparing food for food writers.

Copyright panel: Julie Ross Godar of BlogHer, Christine PittmanElise Bauer & Liza Barry-Kessler

In the afternoon I attended two interesting sessions. The first was about copyrighting and legalese pertaining to recipes on the internet. I can’t say I really learned much from this session, but was happy to know everything I was doing was correct and validated by experts and lawyers. Keep it legal, people, and don’t steal.

The last seminar I attended today was on Humor’s Place in Food Writing. I learned five things from this panel (none of which really had much to do with humor’s place in food writing):

1. Exclamation points are discouraged!

2. Ellipses are… you guessed it, discouraged. Excuse me… why?

3. My occasional use of strikethroughs is frowned upon.

4. The three no-nos listed above work so well on my website. They work with my style of writing (I write exactly as I speak… lots of dots, dashes and exclamation points!) and using a strikethrough is the best way for me to relay sarcasm. (Sarcasm is very, very difficult to write.)

5. BlogHer will never ask me to sit on one of their panels.

The best thing about attending the Humor session was meeting the most interesting Mr. Michael Procopio. Procopio sat at my table and after the panel discussion ended, he stayed and we talked about humor in food writing and blogging in general. I really enjoyed this talented young man (insert exclamation point here).

What did I learn from this panel discussion? The same thing I have heard over and over again: FIND YOUR VOICE. I have been blogging since (before) 1999. By now, I have found my voice. It lives in my heart and is apparently filled with exclamation points, ellipses and strikethroughs.

Until my next update, I remain, your flowery correspondent.

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