Food Bloggers Forum Seminar LA and Tartelette’s Photography Class!

While I was twittering early last week, I got this exciting message from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen that said, Congratulations Picky Palate, you have won a ticket to the Food Blog Forum Seminar in LA!  Oh my gosh, I was so excited. The Seminar was held in Downtown LA at Gallery 1018 put on by Jaden from Steamy Kitchen along with Diane and Todd from White on Rice Couple.

I don’t even know where to begin, it was a jam packed day full of incredible speakers, information and high energy.  I think it’s safe to say we all left feeling motivated to work harder at our blogs!

I had to show up a little late, but quickly found my seat in Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites and Adam Pearson’s Food Photography and Food Styling Class.  These two guys are amazing!  Seriously, their work is just beautiful and they really broke it down step by step to us.  I was a like a little sponge trying to soak up all of their information!

The next class was by Todd Porter and Diane Cu, the White on Rice Couple. They taught Food Photography Gear and Workflow.  These two are an amazing couple that have such incredible talent with their photographs.  Their information was priceless.  I learned about the importance of lighting that I can’t wait to play around with!  I was thrilled with this class if you couldn’t already tell!

Next up was Building Traffic with SEO and Social Media by Gary Nicholson, founder of Relevant Trafik that specializes in Web Design, SEO and Social Media to better your brand.  This was a really interesting class all about the ins and outs of working the “google” system.  Really interesting.  Definitely took home some good tips.

The closing class was done by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, Marketing and Monetization.  Jaden has this way about her that lights up the entire room.  She has this amazing energy that motivated every one of us to work our booties off!  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to her speak.  What a talent she is!

The last half hour was dedicated to a Q&A session with the entire panel of speakers.  They were all so great!  It was so much fun catching up with my new LA/OC blogging friends and even meeting new ones.  Kinda wish I could just travel around from location to location and go to every Blogging Conference out there!  What an awesome community food bloggers are :)

Here are our amazing speakers for the day…

Scott and Jaden Hair, Matt Armendariz, Adam Pearson, Gary Nicholson, Diane Cu and Todd Porter

Thanks for an AWESOME Saturday!


Thank you Donna from Dishy Goodness for lending me your beautiful picture!!

March 6th, 2010 I had the opportunity to attend a photography class held by Helene Dujardin, the incredible blogger and food photographer of  The class was held at the Academy of Culinary Education in Woodland Hills, about an hour drive from Newport.  This class exceeded my expectations.  Helen is so talented, her work is just gorgeous!  We all brought our cameras, some sort of baked good to photograph and some styling equipment.  Helen worked with each of us to answer any questions we had and to achieve a beautiful photograph.  It was a wonderful day!

Thank you Donna from Dishy Goodness again for allowing me to use the second photo!!

Helen looking oh so natural with her camera!  Me, Rachel from lafujimama and Gaby of whatsgabycooking comparing notes on our canon cameras!

My chocolate cookies styled with the help of Helen and Cathy/Show Food Chef’s Limes getting ready for their photo shoot.

Huge Thanks to Gaby, Jen and Rachel for setting this awesome class up!  Loved every minute of it :)

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Balboa Beach 2010

One thing I never get tired of is visiting Balboa Island!  When our family comes to visit us, we will almost always spend a nice afternoon at Balboa :)  The kids love going across the ferry boat, riding the ferris wheel, going to the arcade and picking up a slice of pizza.  It really is a great place to visit if you have never been.  You’ll see some of the cutest beach houses and life living by the sea!

Here are my snapshots of our day at Balboa with my family :)

The ferris wheel is always a treat for the kids.  It’s 3 bucks a ticket, but they let you ride for what seems to be like 10 minutes!

My dad and little guy, they are the best of buddies :)

My sweet beautiful mom!

Walking down the Balboa Pier

My all time favorite Ruby’s location….right at the end of the Balboa pier.  You can sit on top of the restaurant that overlooks the ocean.  Love it!

These last beach pictures are from the “wedge” which is another favorite beach spot.  The waves are massive and the surfer’s/body boarders are out of their minds which is really entertaining to watch!

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Irvine Railroad Park, Easter Eggstravaganza!

What a gorgeous day it was Saturday at the Irvine Railroad Park in Orange.  We had never been to this park and what a treat.  Seriously felt like we were at an awesome camp ground or something.  So green and beautiful right by the mountains.

So from March 20 to April 3rd, the park has this fun Easter Eggstravaganza for the kids.  There was an Easter Egg Hunt, train ride, pony rides, bounce houses, food and just about everything else you can think of that the kids love!  Tickets get a little pricey if you do too many of the activities, but we chose a few for the kids and they had a great time.  Check out the pictures throughout our day :)

We arrived just in time to race to the Egg Hunt.  Fun Fun!

After some whining, I got the boys to stop for a split second for a picture :)

Here’s part of the crew we had with us.  Love these kids!

Up next was the train ride.  The kids loved this!

This baby girl melts my heart!  I am so jealous my sister gets to have her!  We took lots of pictures of her while the kids were on the train ride.

It has been such a great weekend with my sister and her family :)

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Watching Sunset at Corona Del Mar Beach…

We love having our family come and visit us from AZ.   Makes being away from everyone so much easier when we have visitors!  One of our favorite things to do is go watch the sunset at Corona Del Mar Beach, talk about breathtaking views.  It really doesn’t get much more beautiful than this :)  Hope you enjoy my snapshots of the evening!

Can you imagine owning this house?  Not sure if I’d ever need to get out of the house!

Stinker would NOT look at the camera tonight, so I took what I could get :)

Roxy the chihuahua is like a celebrity at our house.  My parents bring her each time they visit us and my boys go nuts for her!  She enjoyed the sunset as well tonight!

Just another reason I LOVE living in So CA!!

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LA Mom Blogger’s Event…

Sunday February 28, 2010 I was invited to a wonderful evening for 50 LA mom bloggers at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel! The ladies of SV Moms group, an organization that owns and operates regional blogs across the US dedicated to real woman sharing the ups and downs and everyday humor of motherhood put this event together.  They did an outstanding job!  Talk about spoiled rotten, we had the opportunity to sit through 2 blogging classes to sharpen our skills then we were let lose in a fabulous room of 24 sponsors just waiting to tell and share their new products with us.  I went not really knowing anyone and left meeting some new wonderful friends!  Take a peek at our evening at the Ritz :)

Thanks to Carla from for taking all of these beautiful pictures!

Here we are at at one of the blogging sessions.  I am sitting by my new buddies Kelly and Julie our backs are to the camera.

We learned about the world of video blogging from Kimberley Clayton Blaine, The Go To Mom and about strengthening our “brand” so to speak by Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential, really learning to work with different sponsors.

The first sponsor I stopped at was Taga Bike, I totally want this bike/stroller/just about everything else contraption.  It is incredible!

Then there was iGo, the new love of my life!  This charger will charge your iphone when your battery is low!  So perfect for when I go to Disneyland!

Me, looking around at all the booths!

Pure heaven in a cupcake….Cinnabon now has cupcakes.  I can’t begin to tell you how good these were!

Adorable baby bags from Ju Ju Be!

Dole was passing out these cute zebra packs, my boys loved them!

Stonyfield won me over with their new Caramel Yogurt, couldn’t get enough of it!  The blueberry was great too.

You all know how much I LOVE Whole Foods, they were there passing out these great lunch boxes filled with all kind of lunch time goodies :)

One of the desserts on the dessert table, yum!

A small peek inside out goodie bags to take home.

Me and Kelly from Just Spotted and According to Kelly :)

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Taking A Peek Inside The Smucker’s Family… Orville, Ohio



Had so much fun at The Smuckers Company in Ohio!! It was me along with 8 other great bloggers, not sure how I got so lucky to be chosen to go, but am I ever glad I was!  Follow along if you’d like as I take you on my journey, it was a blast!

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Wednesday afternoon the gang took a tour at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I was still flying in, so I missed out.  I did however get to go to dinner with everyone at Ken Stewart’s.  Can I just say YUM!  One of the best steakhouses I’ve EVER eaten at.  They started us out with a beautiful array of appetizers and For dinner I ordered a potato crusted Halibut with a corn saute and chipotle tartar sauce.  I am drooling just thinking about it.  For dessert we had a flaming pot to make our own Smores as you see in the picture along with about 10 other options.  So cool!

Let me just say I was so full, I thought I was going to bust, seriously.  We got back to the hotel and crashed, I could barely move!  Little did I know the eating had only just begun!


Thursday morning, we met at 6:45am to head to the beautiful Smuckers Store.  We were greeted by none other than the………………


Pillsbury Dough Boy!  Talk about some good dance moves, he was bustin’ a move for all of us, it was hysterical.  Click HERE for a peek thanks to my new friend Erin @ 5 Dollar Dinners :)


I think our mouths dropped as we stepped inside to see this gorgeous shop.  It was newly decorated for Christmas and was really a sight to see.  My pictures just don’t do it justice.


Lovely Christmas decor.  Really put us in the mood!

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We all sat for a quick breakfast and had the privilege of hearing from 4th Generation Smucker Family CEO, Richard Smucker.  Talk about genuinely nice people.  Loved them.

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We also heard from 5th Generation Smucker Family Member, and President Mark Smucker (left) and granddaughter Kimmie (right-black jacket).

Nicole from Baking Bites and I snapping pics while shopping :)

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After a quick bite to eat, we were each given a giftcard to go shopping in the beautiful Smucker’s Store.  Talk about tough decisions!  I could have spent all day in that shop!


Yes, this chandelier is made from Smucker’s Jelly Jars!  How cool is that?!

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More shopping!


Richard Smucker, Tanya @ Mommy Goggles, Nicole and I in the Smucker’s history room.


Hated leaving, but we had lots more to do.  One last picture of the building.


How gorgeous is this area?  Bye Smuckers, hope to visit again soon!

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After our breakfast and shopping we made our way to the Smuckers Headquarters.  We met in a room where we learned all about Crisco products.  We even got a first hand education on how to be an Olive Oil Taster!  The man on the left was telling us we needed to swirl the pretty little blue cup in our hands to warm the oil, as you see me doing in the picture.  Then we were to take a sip and slirp… slirp… slirp… to get the taste through our entire mouths, then spit it out into a little cup.  There was some choking going on in the room.  I don’t think any of us will be getting calls to be professional oil tasters :)  Was fun though.

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One of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen was walking into the Smucker’s Culinary Kitchens to see a table full of Thanksgiving food and treats of all kind waiting for all of us.  I’m talking 2 huge turkeys, stuffing, salads, cookies, cakes and pies.  They really outdid themselves.  We were all amazed!


While we were sampling, they had some of their personnel talking about new products with us.  We were talking about their “good for you” line they have.


Another shot of our feast and the other side of the table.   Jennifer, Shannon and Tanya.


After a bit of sampling the Thanksgiving Feast, we got a brief Photography and Food Styling lesson.  Really useful information.  One that we all loved was taking a gold cardboard cake plate and using it as a reflector on your food.  It was amazing the color it brought to the pictures.

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Next we were challenged with a little bake-off.  We had a whole assortment of decorating items along with brownies, cookies and cupcakes.  We were to create whatever we wanted with all of our products and then take pictures of them.  You can see the goodies I came up with.  It was quite fun!

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Next it was off to lunch at the J.M. Smucker Home which is right on the Smucker’s Campus.  It has been renovated into a little museum.  What a treat to eat lunch here.  Really beautiful.  The food was great and the desserts were to die for!  Click HERE for the Peanut Butter Pie Recipe.


After lunch, we got dressed in hair nets, white jackets and headsets to prepare to enter the Smucker’s Factory to see the workers in action making Smucker’s products.  No cameras were allowed, but it was really quite something to see.  The smell was so sweet.  We walked by the area where the apple butter was being prepared.  It was just like something you would see on tv.  A giant machine was pushing apples through an assembly line of workers picking off leaves and any bad apples that might come through.  Then they went through a bath and off to the next line.  The whole process is really amazing.  You don’t realize how much work goes into each little jar of product.  Glad I had the opportunity to walk through their factory.

As if we all hadn’t eaten enough for 1 week, we ended our journey with the best butter pecan icecream I’ve ever had with an assortment of Smucker’s toppings.  What a treat.


One last picture before we headed to the airport.  I’ll never forget this trip or the amazing group of people I was so lucky to meet.  Thank you Smucker’s!

Front: Nikki@ Art and Lemons, Shannon@ Mommy Files

2nd Row:  Tanya@ Mommy Goggles, Me, Theresa (PR), Jennifer@ The Dirty Shirt

Back group: Wendy (PR), Stacy@ Mommy Central, Cody (PR), Nicole@ Baking Bites, Amanda@ Mommy Mandy , Erin@ 5 Dollar Dinners, Jill (PR), Barbara (PR)


Thanks for sharing my trip with me.  Have a great new week, see you soon with a new recipe!

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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate! I'm Jenny and I love food if you haven't noticed :) I love sweets, treats and everything in between. The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!




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