Monthly Archives: November 2012

Generation Fitness Conquers the Spartan Race at Fenway Park

My clients rock. Seriously. They are awesome, hard working people, and I love working with them. I connected with Mike from Generation Fitness a few years ago during a family portrait session. Then he contacted me last spring to photograph his group navigating a ropes course at Project Adventure. (It was awesome.) Then I heard from him a few weeks ago, asking if I’d be interested in photographing his group checking out the Spartan Race at Fenway Park.

Best. Photo shoot. EVER.

Spartan Race Fenway Park

Who wouldn’t want to spend a beautiful fall day, wandering around Fenway Park during the off-season with a super fun group? Okay, wandering is NOT the right term… We ran. We ran EVERYWHERE.

Spartan Race Fenway Park

Over tables, up and down stairs and ramps, through the rows of seats… Over walls…

Spartan Race Fenway Park

Spartan Race Fenway Park

Rowing machines…

Spartan Race Fenway Park

And we got to take in the view from time to time. Fenway Park is a historical site, after all…

Spartan Race Fenway Park

The Spartan Race is no joke. These faces say it all:

Generation Fitness Boston Public Schools

Fenway Park

After running from the street up to the top level of Fenway (maybe 6 stories?), running up and down each set of stairs in the grandstands and Green Monster, jumping over many walls, tossing around medicine balls, and showing the rowing machines who is boss, these guys moved onto the next station – pulling weighed buckets up to the rafters. The girls got 65 pounds, and the guys were given 120 pound buckets.

Generation Fitness

And then there was more climbing! This section of Fenway is usually filled with the smell of peanuts, hot dogs, and sausage. It was so cool to see the concourse turned into an obstacle course. (When else would regular folks get an opportunity to climb up to the rafters?!)

Spartan Race

Spartan Race

If these guys weren’t tired enough, I tagged along for one last challenge – they had to carry 60 pound sandbags all over the bleacher section:

Dunkin Donuts Bleachers Fenway Park

They went all the way up, halfway back down, across, up, and down again. They struggled, but did not stop.

Boston Public Schools

To all of the Boston Public School students involved with Generation Fitness – I had such a blast hanging out with you guys! Keep up the awesome work. It’s really amazing how you cheer each other on and support each other through every obstacle. Hope to see you all again soon!

Generation Fitness Spartan Race Fenway Park

On Being Thankful…

Thanksgiving ends up being a reflective time for me. I think about all that’s happened this year, where I was last year, and where I was five years ago at this time. It’s been an incredible journey, and I have so much to be thankful for.

Photography took on a whole new meaning. It’s been a long time hobby – simple snapshots, to learning how to develop black and white film, to having solo coffee shop shows, and participating in group shows with a magnificent group of artists. I hate to admit this, but my camera sat around collecting dust for awhile until the birth of my friends’ son. A beautiful, joyful little boy was born in January and my friends Colleen and Tim asked me to photograph the new addition to their family. The experience provided a much needed kick in the ass burst of inspiration, and for that I’m thankful.

When Pinterest came into our daily social media mix, and I became increasingly inspired by all the beautiful photos of home improvement projects and recipes. Oh, the recipes… I’m not going to qualify for MasterChef any time soon, but I do enjoy creating delicious meals. Why not photograph them?

I began to play – I started to referring to photography as “play”. I discovered food blogs. Holy black hole of time consumption? Nah. I quickly became a regular follower of a few blogs and learned from them, but one in particular changed everything – I followed my gut when a special opportunity arose. Thank you, Diane and Todd! *HUGS*

I’m thankful for the amazing clients I worked with this year. I had so much fun working with all of you and look forward to working with you again! And I’m forever grateful for my parents and friends. Mom, thank you for always being surprised that I’m earning money through photography. (“And they paid you?!?!”) I’m not quite used to it either, and your reaction always makes me smile. (“Yes, Mom – Really – I got paid!”) Jeff, thank you for constantly pushing and encouraging me to take leaps of faith. Amy, thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me land my first food photography client. And to my “lil’ sis”, Maliha – thanks for keeping me in check and on my toes. 😉

This will be my 10th Thanksgiving that I’ll be working at the TV station rather than celebrating with my family. I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from my seat in the control room rather than a cozy couch. But I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving with both Jeff’s family and my parents this weekend. Not being able to spend the actual day with my family usually bothers me a lot, but this year is different for some reason. While my workplace provides a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner every year (for which I’m incredibly grateful – I can’t wait for apple pie!), I’m prepping a little comfort meal to have when I get home Thursday night.

I have a ton of squash sitting in my kitchen right now. (Yay, sales on locally grown food!) I’ve never cooked a carnival squash before, and need to use up a few things in my kitchen. So a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and ta da – baked squash! What to stuff it with… Oh, I have a ginormous bag of quinoa, leftover dried cranberries from a cookie recipe, some fresh rosemary, and a boatload of other dried herbs. Nothing says “fall” or “Thanksgiving” more than squash, cranberries, and herbs! I tried something new and used a different lighting set up in the photo below – I’m not 100% happy with it, but it was a good experiment. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Carnival Squash

Stuffed Carnival Squash
Author: 
Recipe type: Main or Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
I love this because it's so versatile. Sweet like a butternut squash, just about anything will taste delicious stuffed inside of a carnival squash. If I had some onion or celery on hand tonight, I would have added that in for extra flavor. Instead, I chose some generic veggie seasoning. The ingredient measurements are estimates - I eyeballed it.
Ingredients
  • 1 Carnival Squash
  • ¼ to ½ cup of cooked quinoa, depending on the size of the squash
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut off the top of the squash and take out all the seeds
  3. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and toss in a sprig of rosemary
  4. Fill a baking pan with ¼" water
  5. Place the squash cut side facing down in the pan
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes
  7. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa. Stir the dried cranberries (or other ingredients of your choosing) in when it is completely cooked.
  8. Remove the squash from the oven, stuff with the quinoa mixture, and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1

Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award and Other News…

I have to admit I love a good surprise… A friend of mine contacted me last minute to photograph the Associates of the Boston Public Library’s annual meeting and their Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award competition. I had absolutely no idea I’d be photographing Jack Gantos, Ty Burr of The Boston Globe, Gregory Maguire, and Stona Fitch. How fun is that?! They each read from and discussed titles from 1912 best seller lists. I felt bad that my good friend Melissa – an aspiring children’s writer – wasn’t there with me!

 

Associates of the Boston Public Library

From furthest to closest – Ty Burr, Jack Gantos, Gregory Maguire, Stona Fitch

 

Boston Public Library

From L to R – Gregory Maguire, Stona Fitch, Jack Gantos, Ty Burr

 

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire, author of “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” and “Wicked”.

 

In other news, one of my clients recently launched their business website – check out Maxine Lorenzo Designs! The business features beautiful, sturdy, handcrafted leather tote bags. Congrats, Gayle!

Food Bloggers Support For Sandy – Roasted Butternut Squash

We watched and waited… A storm so big, weather models tracking it all over the place, and not knowing how bad Sandy would be if or when she hit. So odd that some models showed Hurricane Sandy taking a sharp left hand turn into New Jersey…

I was 11 years old when Hurricane Bob hit Rhode Island. Although the eye of the category 2 storm drifted right over us, I don’t recall the destruction being nearly as bad as what Hurricane Sandy brought. But then again, I was 11, living in the middle of the woods, and we lived without power for a week. Our neighborhood made the best out of the situation – we sat in each other’s garages, listening to battery-powered radios, and cooking on a camp grill. We ate a lot of canned soup and pasta.

I do remember the Coast Guard House being heavily damaged, and how big of a deal that was… It’s a Rhode Island landmark and institution – there is really nothing better than hanging out on their roof deck bar, overlooking Narragansett Bay during the summer. Once again, it has to be rebuilt. The wrath of Sandy stirred up the ocean, hurling the rocky shoreline up into the restaurant and all over the road, causing a lot of damage to what we Rhode Islanders call “The Wall”. But as the owner of the Coast Guard House said on the news, they’ll be “better than ever before”. Rebuilding has already begun.

In Westerly, RI, the damage is much worse. Houses were lifted off their foundations and tossed around like toys. Sand is everywhere. And to think that my little home state was spared the worst…

When I heard about Food Bloggers Support for Sandy, I decided to participate because it’s the least I can do to help my Rhode Island neighbors, and our friends in New Jersey and New York. In times of crisis, we tend to come together, and find some comfort through meals and the loving company of others. Warm, hearty meals are so soothing and satisfying…

Butternut Squash

I chose to share this recipe for roasted butternut squash because squash is so plentiful right now, and it can be roasted in an oven, or on a grill.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

 

In times of stress, pasta is one of my go-to foods – it’s cheap, quick to make, and it reminds me of home. And it’s so versatile – you can add anything to it and have a wonderful meal within minutes, so adding the butternut squash over a bowl of pasta makes a perfect fall comfort meal.

The worst of Hurricane Sandy could have hit any of us who live on the East Coast. Those of us in New England are incredibly lucky this time around. Please consider donating just a few dollars to the Red Cross to help provide warm meals and shelter to our neighbors who have to rebuild.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

 
 
Food Bloggers Support For Sandy - Roasted Butternut Squash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • All purpose seasoning, to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Place the cubes in a large bowl.
  4. Combine the squash with the onion, garlic, olive oil, and salt.
  5. Spread the mixture in a roasting pan, and sprinkle all purpose seasoning on top. (Salt and pepper work too.)
  6. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

 

Trip to Toronto – Home Cookin’

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I took a road trip to Toronto. I have so many photos, I have to break everything down into separate blog posts! Every fall, my friend Kelly and her husband Pat open their home to friends for a weekend of food, wine, and conversation. Folks from New York, D.C., Montreal, California, and occasionally from Hong Kong and Perth, make their way to Toronto to catch up with each other.

Kelly is solely responsible for opening up my culinary palette. We met during my freshman year of college, when my diet consisted of pasta, cereal, iceberg lettuce, chicken, and not much else. Being from Hong Kong, Kelly enjoyed convincing her friends to join her for dinner in Chinatown, and ordering in Cantonese so we had no idea what would show up at the table. Having a choice between cafeteria food and eating out, I was convinced to try new things. But Kelly also loves to cook, and she treated many of us to wonderful meals at her apartment. I learned to like asparagus. I learned that real Chinese food does not consist of chicken fingers or beef teriyaki. And ginger in chicken soup? Sure!

Friends Cooking Together

But now Kelly lives in Toronto. (*tear*) This annual weekend away started off as five of us renting a house in Niagara-On-The-Lake , and has now grown into a group of 15+ who invade Kelly and Pat’s house for a weekend. Kelly still cooks for all of us. We still go to asian restaurants, she still orders in Cantonese, and we still have no idea what will show up at the table. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Images of cooking

Friends cooking together

Boston Food Photography

Photos of friends cooking together

I have to give Kelly some props here – not only is she a fabulous cook, but she’s a very talented jewelry designer as well. Check out her website, Elementals Jewellery Design!

More to come!