Playing in the sand with Pia – Now if only it had been food, too…

blogher, kids, my blog | August 17, 2011 | By

I swear I’ll get back to food stuff soon. In my very next post actually.

But this first. Because this was awesome. And was a cause of yet another high I rode after BlogHer was over.

As I mentioned yesterday, my mom and sister flew out to San Diego to hang out with me after the conference. We basically had less than 48 hours to fit in as much as possible. A friend of mom’s said we needed to go out to the Hotel del Coronado to eat, so off we went.

hotel del coronado resort whole thing in panarama wide

I wish I could say everything went smoothly, but of course it didn’t. Long story short, we were given vague directions, eventually stopped a cop outside a hospital who called a cab for us, and when we made it to the hotel, we were given two different stories about food options, neither of which was what we were there for, and ultimately ordered an appetizer at a commercial diner in the basement. But hey, we made it! Finally…

hotel del coronado from the view of out in the water the beach

And after food, we headed straight out the back and down to the beach. San Diego has *incredible* weather, and this day was no different….it was beautiful. Seeing as how we’ve always lived in landlocked Midwest US and my sister hasn’t gotten to do much traveling, that meant she’d never been to a real beach either, so it was a must-do while in California.

While she braved a bikini and chilly water, I played in the sand…..and later, she did, too. 72 hours straight of nothing but Quirky Cookery talk and it was still on my mind at the beach, so I was writing the name there.

Out of no where, this little girl walks up to me and asks if I know Spanish. I told her I only know a little (5 years of classes and I can read it rather well still, but speaking it isn’t as easy beyond conversational Spanish). Turns out, she spoke English fluently, but told me that she saw me drawing and thought I was drawing in Spanish. Seeing as how Q’s aren’t exactly used much in English, but a lot in Spanish, I’m guessing that’s where the connection was.

So I told her what I was writing and how I was trying to draw a bunny, but I’m not very good at that. She watched and then helped! I know my excitement over this probably sounds silly, but you know what? It *is* silly and that’s why I loved every single second.

I have a ton of pictures, so I’m  not going to ramble on much longer and will just get to those. Briefly after our first bunny was done, we stood up to admire and the tide came in (it hadn’t been anywhere close before then) and washed it away!! She had been trying to catch crabs with her sister and offered to draw another bunny for me when I was done, so that’s why there’s two different sets. And at the end? We tried shadow bunnies. You can’t see them very well, but there’s one where we’re standing together and our bodies ended up looking like bunnies, too! Loved, loved, loved this.

I gave Pia a business card so she could come look, but who knows if they even remembered beyond the few minutes we were at the beach together. For me, though, it was absolutely fantastic experience. <3

^ This is my “oh my god, I can’t believe she just drew me a bunny!!” face.

*Gasp!* It’s gone! You can see my sister’s in the very bottom of the picture, too.


She started a new one in the wet sand, but we decided to try elsewhere instead.

Check out the beach behind us. Stunning.





Laziest BlogHer Recap Ever – My, what big ears you have!

blogher, my blog, pictures | August 16, 2011 | By

The better to hear you with, my dear readers. <3

And therefore, I heard your whining.

I heard all fussing about how there are soooo many BlogHer11 recaps and you’re sick of hearing about it.

I heard all the procrastinating from the others saying “I’ve been home for a week and still haven’t posted about it!”

And the only reason this post is happening at all is because I most definitely heard your whining of “When are you going to post your recap??”

But I don’t waaaannnnaaaa. It’s a food blog. I post about food. And while there were a few quirky food items at BlogHer, those were far from the highlights. I’ve been slowly trying to upload pictures but there are so, so many, and most of the things I *would* post here, are going to get their own special posts.

So here’s your recap. Collage style. Not even edited….you see those pictures that need rotated? Oh yeah, tilt your head, pfft.

Really, I *will* get to sharing more of what I experienced. If we’re not Facebook friends, make it so…..tags there are showing pictures of my time there faster than I am. And if you only want food stuff, just like here.

Short answers to some questions I got about it from BlogHer non-attendees (and well, attendees, too, actually, but they already got the answers).

Did you wear ears the whole time you were there??  Yup, sure did. Most fun ever. <3

Weren’t you wearing different colored ears earlier? Yep, probably.

How many ears do you have?? Um, I took 4 pairs with me. Blue, yellow, white, pink (which are white with pink middles really)

Why are you wearing ears? Why not? It’s fun! (And the longer answer being that it goes with the rest of my bunny display pictures and people wouldn’t recognize me if I weren’t wearing them…duh. :P )

*insert another question about ears….and then maybe another* People loved the ears. I love the ears. I knew they would draw some attention….wearing bunny ears to a professional conference and all….but I really had no idea I would have my picture taken *quite* that much. And not like the posed ones up top. There were times where random BlogHer photographers would snap a picture of me before I could even smile…or sit down…or turn to face them…or even notice them. The flash often preceded the photographer, yikes, lol.

In all seriousness (or not?), it was so much fun and I met so many great people. I’ve kept up with BlogHer stuff the last several years as everyone took off to the various conferences, so I knew what it was all about….but at the same time, as prepared as I thought I would be from that, nothing could describe what I actually ended up experiencing. It was incredible….and trying to say anything beyond that would still be a flat understatement.

So many, many thanks to the people who made it possible in the first place (even if that falls on deaf ears….I cannot express how appreciative I am)….and to all the people I met at the conference who made it a spectacular time (especially Sarah from nerdyapplebottom who became an instant friend and balcony escape buddy)….and to my friends who came out before and made the pre-conference days special in San Diego….and to my mom and sister who flew across the country to meet me after where we continued the whirlwind of activities at Coronado, Seaport, and the huge SD zoo in under 48 hours.

And yes, I’m wearing ears while I write this.

I wish they had speakers. Ooo, or maybe spy cameras so I could record people’s excitement, confusion, and giggles when they do double takes at my ears. Remind me of that if I go to BlogHer next year….

Kodak Photobook + BlogHer ‘11 = One heck of a scrapbook

A couple weeks ago, Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program sent me an email saying that I had been selected by Kodak Gallery to receive a free photobook. Awesome, right?

Except I had no idea what to do the book on and the email came just days before I left for BlogHer….with a two week deadline for a review. Yikes! At first, I figured I would do pictures of my food from here, but really, my photos aren’t that high of quality and do I really need a full book of them when I have a blog for that? Not really.

But riding the high from BlogHer, I saw the opportunity to put together a memory book of sorts from BlogHer….an event I will never forget.

At first glance, Kodak Gallery website is super easy. Select the book you want to make, hit “quickstart,” and you’re ready to upload photos either from your computer or directly from Facebook. The hardest part of this process is deciding which photos you want to use!

Now I did run into a few issues. The cover concept is great in that your cover photo is actually on the first page of the book and you view it through a hole in the cover. This is great to feature a large photo with the cover showing just a snippet of it.

For me, though, I didn’t realize this initially and spent quite a while putting together a collage that I thought represented “Quirky Cookery”….and then spent a much longer amount of time, tweaking the pixel size so that it would actually fit and show correctly through the cover viewfinder. Oy. With a larger picture, you can zoom in, but there’s no option to zoom out beyond the picture to make it smaller or anything.

(Slight variations of the same picture as I edited in PhotoShop repeatedly to get it just right. )

I uploaded and uploaded, rearranged, moved, added, saved, uploaded some more, and finally reached a point where I was sick of looking at my own pictures, ha. I didn’t even take the time to edit each photo as I probably should’ve, nor did I add captions as I would with future books. I was actually expecting a more elaborate editor directly in Kodak Gallery book section, but instead, I could really only do things like zoom or make it black and white or sepia. Not even crop really or adjust location beyond it automatically centering.

But for a quickstart option, this worked really well. It did most of the work for me and I just had to tell it where I wanted the photos.

When I decided to check out finally, my code didn’t work. Wah. It claimed it had already been redeemed, which it obviously hadn’t been because I’d been gone entirely and not even played with the site yet, much less created an account and tried to check out.

Customer service live chat was really quick, though, and after a few troubleshooting ideas, it finally went through correctly.  While I would rather flawless execution on something like that, I’m kinda glad mine briefly glitched out so I had the opportunity to try out their customer support. Fransisco was super nice and even when he had to be silent while he looked into the matter, he checked back a couple times to apologize for delay and thank me for my patience, hehe.

Ultimately, it went rather smoothly and while it was kind of annoying not having a few more editing options, for a quickstart book, it was awesome.

And now it’s your turn. Until August 31, the medium and large books are 40% off. Before my code worked correctly, that showed my 20 page medium *hardback* book costing only $13. That’s cheaper than most books in general so for a personalized, customized book of your own with full glossy inside paper and Kodak quality printing, you certainly can’t complain.

(In case you missed the disclosure, reread the first line of this post. I did receive a book free from Foodbuzz Tastemaker and Kodak Gallery in exchange for an honest review. )