So inspired I could burst. Literally burst.

I actually am not sure if I will be able to string together coherent sentences tonight. I think I am mentally drunk on inspiration. (and surprisingly NOT on the juicy smoky quota 31 Zin I am sipping right now) I am at the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle and day one has just wrapped. ET phone home. I have found my people.

If you can visualize metal saudering right now, that is how I would describe what is going on in my brain. Sparks a'flying. Bright, beautiful, inspiring sparks. This is my first experience at a conference for personal interest. Fifteen plus years in retail and commercial banking generously sent me on conferences all over North America, but I can assure you...I never sipped a spiced gazpacho from a wine tumbler on a session break nor shivered in sweet awe as I watched a dog I don't know chase bubbles in a home garden....

...all while learning. Learning so much. I spoke to loved ones tonight and it was (as sister C would say ) pue...pue...pue.... I was firing on all cylinders...linking nothing coherently, consistently or concisely. 

Our opening session was warm and comforting. A couple (the dog I don't know couple) I would love to be friends with. White on Rice. And they were funny. Naturally dam funny. Their love and appreciation of ... just life...was so authentic and genuine. They radiated living to the fullest. I took away many quotes I will reflect on and explore deeper in days to come. 
"your eyes are your lens. your heart is your shutter. bonding beyond the plated dish. The value of imperfection. don't compare yourself, your photographs, your stories. there is always a story within a moment."

I'm a no-experience-newborn-point and shoot amateur photo taker (no where near a photographer) with the benefit an entry level DLSR... so naturally I sat in on the advanced Food photography session. Better photos through osmosis. Here's hoping. Surprisingly though, I kinda followed along. Definitely some photog industry jargon I jotted down to wicki later, but for the most part, I got what they were getting at. Mostly because the presenters (Anita and Shih) were fabulous. (with the word "desserts" in both their blog titles, how can they not be fabulous) Their approach of One Cake, Eight Styles was brilliant. They made smart photography so accessible (a white foam board from a craft store and suddenly I am using a diffuser)

" what is the story you want to tell? what emotions do you want the viewer to feel? chiaroscuro, an Italian word for light dark. a picture that says I wish I could dig my spoon right into that versus an artistic shot. knowing where light is falling and how its accenting its subject. make a shot list before you start cooking. different shots for scale. and never...ever...ever...use your camera flash"

These were just a couple of the sessions I attended today. They don't include the great techy presentation that didn't make me feel stoopid for asking exactly what javascript was. It didn't include takeaways from the four brilliant woman who spoke so candidly of how they turned their food/photog/writing passions into monetizeable (new word) assets. Nor the final (and perhaps most inspiring) session on great food, good health and social justice.

And even the non-sessions (conversations with the vendors or attendees at the table) were all gifts today. Beautiful, thought provoking, generous gifts.

I think now I need to let things simmer. pun intended. My notebook is full of websites, blogs, and quotes. I need to sort, organize, compartmentalize and evaluate. That doesn't sound very organic but its how I process things.  The photos today were all from the buffet of breakfasts, snacks and lunch the hosts provided. Some of the highlights were:

A gluten free and vegan table.
Spiced Lentil Gazpacho with floral accents.
Spinach, Bococcini spears with Creamy Balsamic.
Cones in sand of Yogurt & Chocolate covered pretzels, raisins, almonds, cranberries.
Ice cold cherries.
Smoked (table side!) wild salmon, with individual aoli injectors.

Big, bold flavours in everything. And presentation like I have never seen before. I was inspired and will absolutely be copying re-creating some of their techniques the next time we entertain.  

But in the meantime...

...I'm back in my hotel room, sipping great Zin, savouring LaBrea garlic artisan bread with Farmhouse Fig Goat Cheese and Beechers Smoked Flagship grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to be here and for the people in my life who made it possible for me to take off all my other hats, and just be inspired.

So inspired I could burst. Literally burst.