Spooning the Ladies of BlogHer

Last week, I went to BlogHer Conference in Chicago with only one lens, my 50mm 1.4, a lens that is great if you’re standing 24 inches from a plate of food that you’re photographing, or a portrait shot if you’re standing a few feet away. It’s a fixed-focal lens which means, if you want to zoom in and out – it’s a highly technical process that involves moving your feet.

Walk 3 steps forward if you want to get closer to subject.

Walk 3 steps back if you want to get more in the shot.

And if you’re taking a group photo – you might as well walk 50 yards back and holler real loud when you’re ready to click. Which doesn’t work well in tight spots. So I snatched this pic from Kalyn’s Kitchen since she was sensible and brought along an all-purpose lens.

This is Elise (Simply Recipes), Cora (Cora Cooks), Lydia (Perfect Pantry), Kelly (Barbaric Gulp), me, Kalyn and kneeling is Alanna (Veggie Venture)


A few of you emailed and Twittered me, asking about the swag. Yes, there were lots, but of the dozens of items that showed up in the goodie bag, Elise totally went ga-ga over this:


A plastic ring that opened up to reveal pink, sparkly lipgloss:


That’s why I love Elise so much. Check out those glittery lips! PUCKER UP BABY!


I can’t even begin to tell you how (!*$!#@&* GORGEOUS this woman is….do you know her? Sara married a sexy Italian and now lives in Milan. Really! Do you not just want to stare at that beautiful face forever?! You know that commercial…”Please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…married to a luscious Italiano….living in Milan and will have cuter babies than you!” And then just when you thought you couldn’t stand all this gorgeousness…Sara tells you her curls are NATURAL.


Sigh. I’m so in love with Sara.

Then there’s sweet Kathy of Panini Happy, whom I shared a hotel room with. I think I out-snored her.


And if you haven’t visited Show Me the Curry, go quickly now and check out their videos on Indian cookery. But I don’t know why whoever I gave the camera to chose to include the photo of the 2 men sitting like crabs above us? What does that mean?


The babies of BlogHer…oh there were BABIES EVERYWHERE! Just look at this kid hanging upside down, curious about my camera. btw, I totally forgot who’s baby this was! Yo! Come claim your child! Would love to email you this pic of your upside down cute kid!!!


Who can resist baby feet?! aaawwwww…..Kristen’s (Dine and Dish) baby.


Since there were only about 30 or so food bloggers who attended BlogHer (out of the 1,000+ attendees), we sorta banded together. Kalyn and Lydia brilliantly organized a Food Blogger dinner at Greek Islands restaurant.

My favorite dish was cheese on fire. See? What did I tell you about this 50mm lens on food?! No flash, baby.


My client, Vine Connections, sent over a BIG box of artisan Japanese sake, so we enjoyed that at the restaurant. Japanese sake at a Greek dinner!? HELL YEAH.

I think Deb of Lunch in a Box loved it most.


I finally got to meet Ree of Pioneer Woman in person – she’s every bit of genuine and funny as you can imagine! Come check out her newest adventure called Tasty Kitchen.


I’m really digging black and white photos these days, sometimes the lack of bright distracting colors just make you focus on the graceful curves, the smile and happy eyes. Yep, these photos were all taken with the same lens and no flash. This party was held outdoors, it was 10pm. Now I’m glad I brought that lens and happy that I listened to Diane who told me to buy it.


Then, five of us…me, Elise, Ree, Deb and Sara packed into a cab after dinner and headed to the Nikon party. Four of us were cramped in the back seat (this was RIGHT after we all enjoyed a 6 course Greek feast), spooning each other to even fit. We each had 1/4 of an asscheek touching the seat and holding our breaths because there literally was no room at all. In fact, we had to alternate breathing, because if all of us breathed out at the same time, I’m sure we would have popped out the back window.

Anyways, halfway there, the cabdriver suddenly yelled an obscenity in another language, Elise in the front seat jolted and as the cab swerved sharply, us spooners in the back seat all screamed Okay, *I* screamed shit- and may have been the only one screaming shit, but that’s the only thing I heard.

We sooo almost died.

Spooning 3 other bloggers.

Now THAT’S the way to go…blogger style.

But how would I explain this to my husband?

Well, we didn’t crash…and finally made it to the Nikon party, downed 2 cocktails and took a photo with Carson Kressley of Queer Eye. Here’s my Hollywood moment.


And he slapped my butt as I was walking away.




Okay, just kidding. I’m totally making that up. I have no idea what the hell inspired me to make the Scream face.

Oh there’s more to this trip…including a dinner at Alinea, a trip to New York City, sleeping on the couch with Buster and a way cool announcement….but time for bed, boys and girls.

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Comments 54

  1. Elise

    Jaden, you totally crack me up. You know the sad thing about that pink plastic power-girl ring? I sat next to a fidgety 2-yr old on the plane back. I gave her the ring to play with and she was so entranced (opened and closed it the entire flight) I gave it to her (well her mother actually). It was my favorite goodie of them all. Now I have to go to Walmart and try to find one for myself.

    What a fun weekend! That Nikon party turned out to be quite the adventure. Almost getting killed on the way over there, getting all dolled up by the make-up artist and hair stylist, meeting Carson Kressley who is just as adorable in real life as he is on camera, playing with friends. And the Greek dinner! Kudos to Lydia and Kalyn for being the master planners.

    Can’t wait to see you again m’dear. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. Caitlin

    Abso-freaking-lutely hilarious! I’m kicking myself that I didn’t go now – it sounds like so much fun! Are you hitting up BlogHer Food ’09 in Sep?!?

  3. Jen

    jaden, you’re just lucky no one crapped themselves while you were spooning in the near death experience cab ride!!! πŸ™‚

  4. Kay

    Thanks for the laugh at 8am, it cracked me up πŸ™‚
    You looked amazing, btw! Love the gorgeous blue shirt.

  5. Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets)

    Haha! you are hysterical girl! Pulling a face randomly like that is something I would totally do! The pic of the upside down baby is gorgeous! And, I love Reeeee! I’m so making it to the next one. Why don’t they do any in london? (i know because it’s cold, miserable and depressing πŸ™‚

  6. Kristina

    Wahhh! You guys have all the fun! Wish I could come to Blogher Food in Sept, but can’t!

    I’m with you on the lens thing. Last month I took my prime lens to Vietnam plus a 70-200mm zoom. The prime was great for all the food shots, but frustrating for everything else. The other one was too long to be practical for walking around. Sigh. Live and learn. Next time I travel it will be with a 18-55mm zoom plus the fixed one.

  7. My Year on the grill

    Hey Steamy, first time commenter, long time reader…

    Last week, I was inspired by (stole) your recipe for Domino Potatoes, and adapted them for my grill. They came out great, thanks.

    The flaming cheese is called Saganaki. I have not had this for years. Thanks to the web, I now have a recipe, and can easily make this on my grill with my fajita pans. Thanks again for the inspiration, and all the hard work you have devoted to your site. It always looks great and is a great read.


  8. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    I’m already missing you guys! I’m bummed that I can’t make it in September….highly highly unlikely πŸ™ We’ll have to plan the next rendezvous…maybe in Italy? πŸ™‚ PS: I didn’t tell you but I actually think Asian babies are the cutest, so I think you win!

  9. Haley J.

    I think Elise might be a saint for giving her ring away. Or maybe desperate, because we all know how bad kids on airplanes can SUCK. I am way jealous of the awesome time had by all at BlogHer this year, and I am soooo getting my way and going next year. Looks like you guys had a blast!

  10. IronStef

    It was great to meet you and all the other lady food-nuts at the dinner! I’m still jealous of Elise’s ring. I think she said she got it in a wal-mart swag bag… The wal-mart swag people gave me a bag in the elevator the next day… no pricess ring, just “ageless perfume” to make me smell “younger.” wtf.

  11. Marc @ NoRecipes

    Looks like it was fun! I still haven’t gotten around to processing photos from DBGB, but I’ll try to put those up somewhere this week.

      1. Amy

        You need to invest in SLR, takes quality pics w/o the processing time. Well worth the 3k investment!

  12. Half Assed Kitchen

    That ring has lip gloss in it?? I had no idea. Must go check now.

    I’m sick that I missed the food bloggers dinner, but glad I got to meet you and Elise at the Food Blogging panel Saturday.

  13. Shannalee

    How fun! I love Greek Isles! If I’d known ahead of time, I totally would have crashed your food-blogging party, especially since I’m from Chicago!

  14. Dr. Biggles

    Awww, I love my 50 1.4. I even bought a 40 year old, battered, metal lens shade for it so it has a little “Elvis” to it. In fact, I’ll usually take that over any dumb consumer zoom (can’t afford those fancy pro zooms) wherever I go.


  15. cheryl @ 5secondrule

    Okay, so glad to know I’ll see your friendly face at BlogHer Food in September. You promise blogging conferences aren’t scary? That I won’t want to hide in the corner staring at my sensible shoes?

    A 1.4mm lens, eh? Does it come with the flaming cheese or do I need to order that separately?

  16. Alta

    Okay, so now for real I need to start budgeting for my “food blogging” vacations! Soooo wish I could make BlogHer Food in September! Next year, next year! You look like you had a great time. And I would love to claim that upside-down baby…how gorgeous.

  17. Kim

    What fun you must have had! You are all so beautiful!

    I love the black and white photos of you and Ree…gorgeous!

  18. Dawn in CA

    soooo… I’m thinking of jumping into this blogging world and was hoping to attend BlogHer Food in S.F. (my old hometown) to kick-start things. BUT… it’s sold out. πŸ™ I’m on the waitlist, keep your fingers crossed!

    Oh, and September in S.F.? Gorgeous. So gorgeous that more S.F. weddings are held in September than any other month. Indian summer, baby.

  19. scrapper al

    So jealous you got to hang with all those awesome bloggers! Glad you had a great time, near death experience and all!

  20. Maria at Fresh Eats

    What a great time! It was hard enough knowing my friends from my day job were loving life at BlogHer (and possibly mingling with some of you) but reading your account makes me SO much sadder I wasn’t there…possibly mingling with some of you!
    : )

  21. Hetal Jannu

    Ha ha ha! What a funny post! BlogHer in a nutshell! Speaking of swags, my 10 yr old daughter was excited as Elise about the lip gloss ring!

  22. kamla

    long time follower and reader,…first time commenter too! just love your pics!!!!!! so gorgeous and you are a hilarious narrator!!! love your website and recipes!!!! can’t wait to get a few copies of your book….presents for everyone!
    Your “i remember you when” friend….

  23. EMily

    I have been a huge fan of Ree for a long time. I was reading her blog and clicked to your site. LOVE IT! I have 5 kids and am always needing good recipes. I will be putting yours on my favorite list. Thanks.

  24. Kim Sacha

    Hey, I’m claiming my baby! That’s Rodger. My friend Malissa saw this picture while browsing your site today. How funny. We were at the BlogHer foodie dinner with you. I’d love an email pic!

  25. meeso

    Like I said in another post, Jaden, your life is much more exciting than mine! It’s neato to see some familiar blogger faces πŸ™‚

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