Hi there and welcome to Poppyseeds & Polka Dots!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
“What do you do in ‘real life?’”
“How did you get started blogging?”
When I started my first blog entitled Gluten Free Vegan Connecticut, I was experiencing digestive issues and was on the search for a solution. I was young, in college, and had no idea to cook. I was spoiled by parents who were amazing cooks, but as an Italian American can relate, my parents never wrote down a recipe. When I eventually ventured on my own, I literally had to sit for hours watching my parents and writing down my own approximations because, unfortunately, “a little bit of this, eyeball it” is not exactly helpful to a novice! The few things I did know how to cook were on a regular rotation, and I grow bored very quickly. I loved cheese, pasta, bread, and meatballs…but I also loved my skinny jeans. I was petrified of sea food, had no idea what hummus was, and had no idea how to cook a steak, let alone turn on a grill. Add various dietary needs and restrictions as doctors figured out what was going on, and I was one lost little puppy.
At that time there was little available about gluten free options, and I had read the trendy book Skinny Bitch. The next day I went completely vegan and 100% gluten free. Talk about will power! I woke up one morning and decided to start a blog. I decided to start a gluten free blog using Google blogger. I had no idea what I was doing, I used pictures of my food from my cell phone camera, ruined them even more with terrible editing, and used a fluorescent font on a black background! BUT, I had a large following because it was raw, real, and honest. My followers were on my journey to health, offering support and interacting in wonderful forums on my Facebook page. With that blog, I won second place for the Hartford Advocated Best Blog in 2010, which was a huge honor!
I had two other food blogs in between that first and now Poppyseeds & Polka Dots. I finally feel at home using WordPress and the amazing Modern Blogger theme from Pretty Darn Cute Design. This layout is “me,” and this blog is my baby – my absolutely needed creative outlet. I have expanded from simply a record of my favorite recipes to a place where I take my readers along on my many amazing vacations, show DIY creative projects, tips and tricks for a healthy, well-organized home, and my can’t-live-without beauty bites. With the exception of purchasing the basic layout of this blog, I self-taught and did all the coding for this blog myself. Graphic design and website creation is a passion I had no idea I possessed, and it has become a talent that I am so proud of.
“Who does all of your food photography? Looks like they could be in a magazine!”
I get this questions a lot, and to be honest it is one of the most flattering comments I’ve ever received! I do my own photography using my professional quality Canon Rebel EOS T1i with a 50mm macro zoom lens. When I started my very first blog, I used my Barbie pink Palm Pilot cell phone’s camera, and they were just awful! I laugh thinking about those old photos, but constantly reflect on how far I have come. I still have SO much to learn about props, staging, and lighting. My new favorite resource is Helene Dujardin’s Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling. If at all possible, I shoot in natural sunlight or outside on my patio. Since the New England days grow short and dark early in the fall in winter, which is also my favorite time of year to cook, I use a special photography lamp to simulate sunlight along with a white board to deflect light and reduce shadows.
“Where do you get your fun props and backgrounds in your food photos?”
I am always in search of thrifty, nifty finds! Many of the plates and bowls you see are actually individual pieces from plastic outdoor dining sets at Target. When they go on clearance, I scoop up a bunch for only a few dollars each. I used to thrive on matchy-matchy dining sets, and store all my props separately. I now use them daily, mixing and matching. Some have become favorite bowls, and sometimes I just enjoy eating breakfast or a snack off a cute plate ~ makes the experience more special. I also score amazing finds at Marshalls Home Goods (for example my most favorite Tiffany Blue ribbon laced pie plate for $14.99.) I just became a huge fan of the delicate, vintage-inspired home goods at Anthropologie as well. If it is Tiffany blue or has ribbons, bows, or polka dots, consider it sold. Lastly, I make good use of my insane stash of scrapbook paper for backdrops. It is an inexpensive, fun way to mix things up.