cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Hello Codets.  We have a few catering and cake events coming up at the end of this week, but in the meantime we want to share with you some portrait projects. Food undoubtedly is and always will be my favorite subject to photograph. Unfortunately, food shots alone don't pay the photography bills. So I am trying to poke my nose into the portrait business as there is a much higher demand for this line of photography work. To be honest, portrait sessions are pretty fun. I enjoy it a lot, and believe it or not i have a pretty good bedside manner with model subjects which allows them to relax and enjoy the session as well. I loved the (one) wedding i shot way back in 2011, and am really going to push myself into photographing humans more frequently so that i can secure more clients.

I was lucky enough to get an amazing model subject for my first photo session back in Sao Paulo--a dear friend. We went to a (sort of) community center in Sao Paulo called SESC Pompeia, which is a government sponsored rec center with an amazing infrastructure. The center has a huge gym, pool, library, game room for children, restaurant that serves good cheap
food, rotating art exhibits AND a boardwalk with misting spray poles complete with bikini clad sunbathers. At the beach with no beach. A little surreal. SESC has a very rustic industrial feel so it was a great alternative to the classic park bench shoot. It was about 100 degrees F during the shoot, but my model disguised the discomfort well.

Enjoy the shoot, one of my first with human subjects, so we'll hopefully be improving soon. See you all this weekend for a cake and catering update.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Year and Dog Flights

Happy new year codets. Sorry i have been MIA--i was on vacation. Yes, I actually was. Went home to Seattle to visit my family for the entire month of December. Took my dog, Sybil, along with me. Why didn't i post? I spent the greater part of one month playing with my baby niece, sweating at kickboxing classes and lounging about on the couch while watching all six seasons of Doc Martin. But alas, the fun and games are over with. Back to work. Not that making cakes isn't fun--it is. Well, for me at least. I'm usually a bit blue after a trip to the US. Mostly due to the fact that it marks the end of the holidays, i won't see my family for some time, and honestly and truly i miss the Pacific Northwest. Luckily this time i had a distraction the moment I landed in Sao Paulo--I had a cake to make that night. No time to be blue. This cake is a four layer gluten free carrot cake (no nuts or raisins, just carrot and spices) with three layers of brown sugar buttercream, three layers of cream cheese frosting with peach colored roses on top. I was informed by my client that most of the party goers, trying to keep to their New Year regime, all asked for half a slice to "share" with their partner. She also informed me that the half soon turned into a whole and the sharing concept was chucked out the window. Success.

I thought i would take a moment for the travelers out there who read this blog (are there any of you?) to mention how traveling internationally with a dog went. When i told friends and family that i would be taking Sybil with me on my vacation to the US I received a lot of shocked looks--most people can perceive traveling with a dog when you move to a new country, but not just for a vacation. I mean, i didn't have to take her. I could have sent her to a dog hotel. The total cost of her trip was probably the same as a hotel anyway. But, as a former street and shelter dog, i didn't want to put her through the thought that we abandoned her to a new shelter. So elected to go the hard route and take her along for the ride. It's stressful no matter what country you are flying into or out of. Vets have to be visited, paperwork signed and appointments made. That in itself is the most stressful part. The actual travel itself is variable. Flying from Brazil to the US with the pup required a visit to the vet to obtain a health certificate and an appointment at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture within three days of departure. The ministry processes the paperwork for free. How nice of them. On the return, i had to do the same thing. Go to the vet, obtain a certificate of health and make an appointment with the USDA. The vet visit was twice the price in the US and there was a 38 dollar processing fee with the USDA. Not so bad.

I chose to fly Delta because they had a good pet policy and only charged 75 dollars each way for the pet to ride in the cabin. Even though the rules state that a dog or cat must stay in their carrier under the seat for the duration of the flight, i took Sybil out of her box on held her on my lap under a blanket during the flight from Sao Paulo to Detroit. None of the flight attendants cared or asked me to put her away. The same thing happened on my flight from Detroit to Seattle. No problem. She was silent, still and scared out of her mind. Customs in the US was practically non existent. They didn't even ask me to take her out of the box, and they handed me back the difficult to obtain paperwork after superficially glancing at it. Unfortunately my cabin crew on my return flights were not as keen on rule bending. My Seattle to New York flight went well until after an hour the first class attendant walked by and told me to put her box under the seat. Things got worse for poor Sybil on the flight from New York to Sao Paulo when the flight attendant told me that she must stay in the box under the seat for the full trip. About 12 hours total without getting out. I felt cruel for doing it, but i passed her food and water through the carrier. And she made it. In the end it really depends on the cabin crew. And a crowded 767 with screaming babies does not make for a cheery crew. I definitely recommend traveling with your pet if you are going for a significant period of time. Despite the stress of traveling, i know she had more fun passing her vacation in a big house with a big yard and cousin dogs to play with than scared in a dog hotel. And there you have it.