Behind the Scenes on 2016

We’re almost a week into 2017 and I’m still writing 2016 on everything. This happens every year so I’m not sure why I’m surprised but I am. Between closing out Q4 and taking a few days off to do some intensive wedding planning in Maine, 2017 snuck up on me when I wasn’t paying attention.

Now that the new year is here, I thought I’d take the opportunity (read: excuse) to look back on some of my content from 2016 and give y’all a little sneak peek at what was happening behind the scenes. I wasn’t sure what content to pull but luckily the #2016topnine trend is back on top so my decision was made for me!

Looking over my ‘top nine’ I’m not sure I would have guessed these would have performed the best, especially since many of these were taken on the fly while I was traveling! My friend Katie made the same realization looking at her content last week and came to the decision that she needs to travel more. I may need to join her and hit up more food spots on-the-go!

Alright, here it goes, my thoughts on what Instagram deemed to be my top nine photos of 2016. I apologize for advance for any ramblings or TMI. What can I say, I love walking down memory lane. 

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The purple sweet potato pancakes that caught me by surprise

I love pancakes. I also love sweet potato pancakes. So of course I would love purple sweet potato pancakes. The logic that drives my recipe testing is sometimes flawed but in this case it made total sense. I love photos with something being drizzled or dripped onto the food but in most cases I’m shooting photos alone so it can be a challenge to achieve. This photo was taken with my camera in one hand, left hand clicking pictures while my right hand held onto a giant bottle of maple syrup. This method is risky at best so I’ve since invested in a quality tripod to help make it run more smoothly (and guarantee straight photos). I was in Montreal when this photo got posted and it performed almost 10x better than any other photos I had posted that week so I walked around my parent's’ condo being highly confused every time I checked Instagram.

The chocolate pecan bars that were super dark

I like chocolate. I also love pecans. So of course I would love chocolate pecan bars. Once again my simple recipe testing logic was right. I was out of regular cocoa powder this week so I had to use the special extra dark cocoa powder I had on a hand. This resulted in a super dark base to these pecan bars but you know what? It worked. This was one of the shoots from this fall though that helped convince me I needed better photography lighting. When the food is dark and I only have two workable hours of natural light, I stress and rush and things don’t work out. The lesson here is to always consider photography lighting when picking a new apartment. Even if only one of you cares about that.

The day I dragged colin out of bed at 5am to take pictures

When Colin and I started our wedding planning, there were two things that I was immediately super excited about. The first was planning out the dessert spread (of course). The second was picking a photographer. We struggled with this one because we are getting married in Maine but live in Washington so the solution ended up being two photographers, one local to maine and one local to DC. I’m excited to work with Carly in September but if anyone is getting married in my part of the world I highly recommend Alicia. She shot our engagement photos at sunrise to get the best light which means she had to deal with Colin and I in the wee hours of the morning. For those who haven’t experienced that, consider yourself lucky. Also it was 40 degrees so serious shout out to Alicia for making us look like pleasant people.

The donut place I just had to go to in NYC

Despite living just a few hours away, I rarely make the trip to New York. This fall I decided to change that though since one of my besties (and occasional guest blogger) as well as my brother are now both living in the big apple. I didn’t have an excuse not to go visit. Before I headed up, I made sure to reach out to the queen of donuts on Instagram. I was only going to have time for one donut stop during my 48 hour trip so I wanted to make it good. Lauren’s recommendation was spot on. I ordered 4 different donuts to see which photographed better. This blueberry stunner was the winner.

The birthday cake ice cream I made a month before my actual birthday

For a few months last year I was guest blogging for Female Foodie. One of my favorite posts to write was an ice cream filled with crumbs of funfetti cake. It was delicious. I wrote the post as if it was in celebration of my birthday but the truth of the matter was the cake was made weeks before my actual birthday. That’s one of the unfortunate truths of blogging, sometimes blog posts get written way before you might think. Others are written at the absolute last minute. This one for example could have been written weeks ago but instead I’m writing it the night before it goes live. Way to go Charlotte.

The ice cream joint I can’t not stop at when I drive by

If you’ve taken route 29 south from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville, you’ve likely passed Moo Thru. It’s basically at the halfway point and I have a very hard time not pulling over to get a sweet treat. Confession time, this giant waffle cone filled with ice cream was actually not mine. The strawberry malt milkshake at Moo Thru is my go-to so I borrowed Colin’s ice cream to snap the picture.

The rosemary shortbread that wouldn’t behave

These rosemary shortbread bites were for a blogger brunch hosted by Ashlee back in December. The ones that appear in the photographer were also the third batch I had made in two days because I wasn’t happy with how the first couple turned out. The lesson here? Maybe don’t make brand new test recipes before an event you promised to bake for because you never know how they will turn out.

The ice cream puffs I ate for breakfast

This photo was snapped about 20 minutes before I ran out the door to play golf with a friend. At 10 in the morning. Sometimes blogging involves doing things at odd hours of the day. Before I got my photography light, I used to photograph everything by natural light before going to work. That often means tasting the sweet treats that appear on my instagram at weird times of day. Now that I have the light, I can photograph food at a much more reasonable hour. Namely midnight, right before bed.

The muffins I made jumbo just because I could

Last on the list of top nine photos for 2016 is my jumbo chocolate chip peanut butter muffins. I go through a lot of bananas on a weekly basis but when I can’t get through all of them, banana bread or muffins are my favorite way to use them up. This batch was made after the jumbo muffin tin was sent to me from Trudeau to test out, along with the rest of their silicon bakeware line. Not much of a story behind these muffins but honestly, I’m pretty surprised to find something as simple as jumbo muffins in the top nine instead of something more exciting like my boozy s’mores milkshakes.

Well, there you have it. A bit more behind my top nine photos on Instagram from last year. And now I’m onto resolution planning. Wish me luck!