Wine Days and More 2017

Each year, we're in a rush to find all of the "official" wine days to celebrate. Last year, VinePair posted this awesome list, but we haven't seen an updated one, so we're starting anew. We just found this list from Wine Lady which we're loving - thanks for helping us fill the calendar, Wine Lady!

Help us fill in the blanks! Also, are there more beer days? Spirits days? Let's book 'em, Danno.

  • National Drink Wine Day: February 18, every year
  • National Wine Day: 
  • Chardonnay Day: the Thursday before Memorial Day (May 25, 2017)
  • Cabernet Day: the Thursday before Labor Day (August 31, 2017)
  • International Sauvignon Blanc Day: April 24 (by most accounts...)
  • MerlotMe Month: October
  • Pinot Days?
  • IPA Day: the first Thursday of August (August 3, 2017)
  • Moscow Mule Day?
  • Whiskey Day? Wait, this is every Wednesday, I believe.
  • Feelin' rummy day? (no?)

Let's build the most comprehensive celebratory adult beverage calendar out there.

Food Photography: Props

Booking a food photography shoot still gives me butterflies. I absolutely love shooting food & drink, it's been a passion of mine for years and now I get to do it as a part of my business. One of my favorite parts of prepping for a food photography shoot is collecting props. Part of that is, of course, it's a mandatory shopping trip, whether that's retail, thrift shops, around the house...or someone else's house. Lucky for me, my parents have collections of insanely cool kitchen tools. 

Props for a shoot at The Girl & the Fig, 2015

Props for a shoot at The Girl & the Fig, 2015

As a part of this adventure, I wanted to document some of the things I've learned along the way and hopefully help someone else in their food photography adventures.

When prepping for a shoot, there are a million pieces to figure out:

1. Ask the client to complete a creative brief, either on their own or with you. The creative brief will cover everything from placement to usage, branding, style and type of shoot (product, beauty, lifestyle, etc.)

2. Create a mood board. "Light & bright! Dark & moody! Rustic! Modern! Elegant! Fancy! Casual!" What does it all mean! Nothing helps both the photographer and the client like a mood board. Use Pinterest or collect images based on the creative brief and review in depth with the client. You want to be sure what you envision is what they envision - it's amazing how much of a disconnect there can be when using only words to describe a photo...hence the saying, right?

Now to the really good stuff...

3. Props! Now that you know what you're looking for exactly, you can start prop shopping! (Exclamation points are truly necessary here, shopping is exciting.) Assess what you have at your house. You have a lot more than you think you do - even something that may not be the right style could be the right shape, color and height. Grab it. Shop other people's houses: if you're lucky enough to have parents like mine (for many reasons, Mom & Dad, in case you ever read this), you have a treasure trove of props to choose from. Thrift stores & garage sales: visit and visit often. One man's trash is another man's prop. Finally, shop retail. Fill the holes in your prop list with items from discount stores like Ross, Marshalls, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx. Sign up for email coupons for places like Kohl's and Target. When you see something that is neutral enough to fit in many shoots, pick it up! 

  • Collect more props than you think you may need if the shoot is on the flexible side. Nothing is worse than going for another setup and having to reuse props that already had their time in the spotlight. 
  • Regardless of the style of the shoot, bring glass items. The slight sparkle in the bokeh can sometimes be just the thing.
  • Bring a variety of heights. Short, medium, tall - you'll need all of them.
  • Bring a variety of hues in your color palette.
  • Bring a variety of widths.
  • Bowls can be tough - the deeper the bowl, the tougher it will be to get the shot if you need one from the side. Having a variety of bowls from shallow to deep will keep you sane.
  • Use boxes (metal, wood, ceramic, glass, etc.) for risers - sometimes your salad just needs a little lift.
  • Linens: choose the fabric and colors (and patterns) that fit in your shoot. Bring tablecloths, napkins (small, large), and runners. Linens will soften your setup and add texture that can bring it all together.

Do you have any tips to share?

First North Bay Blogger Event

Meeting up with people who do what you do, are interested in what you're interested in and are just generally great people makes for a great middle-of-the-week occasion. Shana Bull (@sharayray) and Malia Anderson (@styleby_malia) put together a solid group of folks who blog in the North Bay. #NorthBayBloggers

We got together at Malia's 2nd Street office in Santa Rosa, sipped Iron Horse bubbles and 101 North Brewing beers. It was such a pleasure to be around people who have found their niche, something I am starting right now. I know where I want to be, which helps, but how quickly I'll get there is a story that hasn't been written yet. 

I got to catch up with Ken Waggoner, but everyone knows him as @alawine around here, and Shana; met new folks like Malia and Jennifer. I saw my entrepreneur-in-crime, Kristen Newsom, and though we talk every day on Facebook, it was so nice to see her actual face in person. All in all, a fantastic meet up, and now looking forward to the next one.

Let's talk beer...

I've had 101 North Brewing's Heroine IPA quite a few times now, and I really like it. I'm all about hoppy IPAs these days, but am coming back around to other beers as I make this beer trek. (Someday someone will have to train me on Belgians and Sours…not my thing. Yet.) I'm a huge fan of all of the local beers in our area - Sonoma County has it dialed in, Napa County could use more! Yes, I am biased because I live here. And I really want to open a brewery. Really badly. Like it's all I think about when I'm not thinking about this business. I think it would kill here. Ok, anyway...

Marilyn from 101 North Brewing was there to chat beer & social media, #2 and #3 in my top 5 list of things I love. (#1 is photography, in case you were wondering.) She had me try the Golden Naked Ale, a light, crisp ale that's only a tiny bit hoppy. It was refreshing and I can see why they call it the "Breakfast Beer" on their website. (Sidenote: I thought breakfast beer was Miller High Life, but I can live with two in this category.) At this time, 101 North Brewing is focusing their efforts on making more beer (yay!) and opening a tap room in the (hopefully-not-so-distant) future. For now, I'll continue to try their beers and spread the good word.