Croatia {First We Eat}

I had the pleasure of attending my first FWE workshop with Eva & Carey two years ago, held in Iceland.  My expectations were totally exceeded and I was left wanting more.

So, when I saw that they were hosting a  food & styling workshop in Croatia, I jumped at it! 

The weeks and days leading up, I was connecting with fellow attendees via social media, and making plans to stay in Croatia to explore once the workshop ended.  I was unsure what to expect of Croatia or how this workshop would differ from the previous one I attended but, I was ready for anything!

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There is something to say for when you get the opportunity to be in the midst of someone you admire in your field.  To spend a few days watching how they work, listening to their advice and soaking up as much information as you possibly can that leaves you feeling blessed. 


This is how I felt after attending the First We Eat workshop held by Eva Kosmas Flores

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Upon arriving in Croatia, I met up with 3 other gals at the airport.  Our 3 hour drive through the Croatian countryside to Istria county, where the workshop was being held, was filled with laughter and great conversation. A perfect start to an amazing journey.

We were all so excited to learn and be amongst like -minded individuals, creating art and sharing our passion with one another.

  Tournant  : boutique catering

Tournant : boutique catering

Driving through Istria County is a treat in itself. It is filled with windy country roads, beautiful trees, rolling hills, and small narrow streets lined with vineyards.  

Once we pulled up to the house we all gasped with awe to how stunning and romantic the villa was.  Eva & Trisha came out running with a warm welcome and showed us to our rooms.  The following few hours were spent meeting with everyone and dining by candle light.  We were served with Incredible food prepared by Jaret and Mona -which was the perfect way to end a day of travel. 

 

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The next few days were all planned out for us.  They were filled with food styling demos, Lightroom overviews, learning social media strategies, eating wonderful food, wine tasting, truffle foraging, exploring, late night chats by fire, and of course- Photography!

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Besides the wonderful food & beauty that surrounded me daily I was amongst some of the most amazing ladies.  The talent, joy, enthusiasm, passion, and drive that sat around the table daily was the biggest reward of this workshop.  Coming from all over the world, with different levels of experience, we came together and shared our passion for Photography.

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  Tri lu  kne  ceramics 

Tri lukne ceramics 

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Lets not forget one of the most important elements of the workshop- FOOD.  We were spoiled by the most amazing food prepared from seasonal ingredients by Chefs, Mona and Jaret of Tournant.

These two individuals were simply incredible.  Yes, they knew how to cook, but their passion for cooking is what left a lasting impression.

Every meal they prepared had us running for our camera's. Then our forks.  Then for seconds. 

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  picnic overlooking town of Motovun

picnic overlooking town of Motovun

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When you sign up for a First We Eat Workshop you are getting a whole experience filled with knowledge, adventure, and inspiration. What goes on behind the scenes is pretty remarkable.  On behalf of one of my favorite food photography inspirations, Eva Kosmas Flores from Adventures in CookingTrisha Hughes of Eat your beets blog, and  Danielle Firle of Tendue, Thank You!  Your hand in all of this truly makes the experience special. 

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local truffles

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  The lovely Miss Mona

The lovely Miss Mona

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styling food

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parting gift

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The morning of our departure we decided to stop in the town of Hum.  

 Hum is located on Istrian peninsula of Croatia and in the Guinness Book of Records as the 'smallest town in the world'.  It is recorded to only have 17 people living there.  The streets are not drivable but perfect for exploring by foot.  And that is just what we did.  With hot coffee in hand, we walked around the town of giants and castles.

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Then it was goodbye...

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 Motovun

Motovun

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Our truffle pups 

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ICELAND { First We Eat}

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Words are not my strong suit but I will do my best to share this amazing experience with imagery and a few words mixed in here & there.  

 
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First We Meet

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Day 1 :

 After arriving in Reykjavik, I was patiently awaiting to start the  First We Eat Workshop!  

Soon I would be meeting Eva Kosmas Flores and Carey Nershi, the hosts of FWE and joining the rest of the group.

 

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This was my second trip to Iceland, and I hope not my last.  The magic of this place has not changed, but this journey was quite different than from my first.

I have to take a minute to share how  brilliant this workshop truly was.  FWE was hosted by two of the most talented young ladies along with the talented Linda LomeliMaggie Pate, and Ingrid Hofstra.  All in which had a huge part in my experience.  Together they made a wonderful team- busted their asses, showed us iceland, and fed us well!  


To be photographing along side of these ladies; learning, observing, and exploring is a real gift.  I thank each and every one of them! 

After a full nights rest, I woke up in Mosfellsdalur with a wonderful homemade breakfast and a day full of surprise and education ahead of me.  I was well rested and ready for anything!

 

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Waterfalls are so powerful and moving.  They have such a huge presence, and the ones in Iceland are no exception.  Eva & Cary took the whole group to visit Seljalandsfoss along with a secret hidden waterfall ( my favorite ).

 I found myself escaping the crowds and running around like a kid, exploring the hills and views behind the falls.  I can just stand and watch a waterfall for hours...so captivating.

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 Laxnes Horse RanchThis was one of my favorite activities during this visit to Iceland.  I do not have much experience riding horses, and my little guy, kinda scared me here and there, but he kept me safe and it was an incredible ride.  The area in which we rode was full of rolling hills, green mossy mounds, and lava rocks!   We were not allowed to bring our cameras, but I managed to sneak a few with my phone.

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What a day... Following horse back riding, picture taking, and food (of course) we headed to the Secret Lagoon!  Had a little picnic outside, with light drizzle and then enjoyed the geothermal pools.

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fine group of ladies

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 Linda Lomeli seriously makes some of the best looking, and tasting baked goods.

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This bundt cake had us all over the table - shooting at all angles! 

After a little lesson on how to style your own images, we were given some time, props, and a slice of cake to play around with.

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 Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

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After chasing waterfalls, we went to on dirt roads to reach Keldur (grass houses that are thousands of years old on ancient farm land).

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Upon our return to our sweet little cottage (Airbnb) in Mosfellsdalur was this incredible full rainbow!  It was such a nice little treat to come home to.  We quickly recollected ourselves and prepped for a wonderful dinner and mini photoshoot.

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  breakfast hash

breakfast hash

I loved waking up, walking outside, being surrounded with beautiful views and a table full of stunning desserts to photograph,  No better way to start the day.

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Then walk inside to enjoy homemade soup and a perfectly set table.

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On the last full day of the FWE workshop we had some extra time to choose which activity we wished to partake in.  Some ventured downtown to shop in Reykjavik, others went to geothermal pools, some needed to rest, and a few went on a hike.                  

Which activity do you think I choose?

 

 Perfect rainbow over   Laxnes Horse Ranch

Perfect rainbow over Laxnes Horse Ranch

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  Erla Gretarsdottir

Erla Gretarsdottir

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After everyone came back together to the house, we got ready for our last meal!  The weather had cleared up so we were able to eat outside, with beautiful rolling hills and mountains in the near distance.

 And of course, one last pictuesque dessert. 

We followed this wonderful meal with a little lesson by Maggie Pate on textiles and how to weave a loom.

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As the Workshop was coming to an end, the goodbyes started going around. Though, I was saying goodbye to the group I was not saying goodbye to Iceland.  Not yet! 

I had planned to rent a car and drive around for two more days before flying home.  Erla, a local to Iceland, helped me map out my next two days in Iceland.

I was ready for lots of driving and some solo time.

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After getting my car, I stopped at  Reykjavik Coffee Roasters, got a Swiss Mocha and went onward with my journey into the beautiful landscapes of Iceland.

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The Snæfellsnes peninsula

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After driving up and around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula , stopping in Hellnar for a nights sleep, and exploring Arnarstapi, I headed to Reykjanesbaer. 

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My last night in Iceland was spent at OkHotel in Reykjavik.  

After a full day of driving around it was nice to be on foot and walk around the city.  Jen, one of the gals that I met during the worshop was still in Iceland, so we met up at Kaffi Vinyl for some vegan food.  Afterwards we wondered around some stores before I went back to my hotel...I had to get up at 4am.

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I thank Erla for my detour to the Southern Peninsula of Iceland.  

Reykjanesviti was stunning!  Just a short drive from the city you can find yourself in geothermal fields, views of the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, and cliffs with crashing waves against black beaches.  

On my last trip to Iceland, I visited Vik.  I was so bummed to not be revisiting those beaches this time around, but Reykjanes Peninsula totally made up for it!

 

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Grindavikurbaer

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On the drive to the airport, in the wee hours of the morning, I enjoyed the full moon over the mountains and sun rising on the water.  It was so emotionally beautiful. 

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Till we meet again... Iceland you will be missed!




1500 Miles + 5 days = Road Trip to various places in Canada

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My friends, Matt & Marcella do a big road trip every year and try to gather their friends to join them in on the adventure... The past few years they haven't been as successful getting people to join, until now!  

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Thursday, August 20th, Matt, Marcella, Alyssa, and I piled into Matt's Tahoe with their pup, Dixie, and headed to Canada. 

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North Thompson River Provincial Park, Pocahontas campground in Jasper

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Due to the many miles that needed to be covered there was a lot of sight-seeing done through the car windows.  Along with great music, yummy snacks, stories shared, fingers pointing, and the counting of waterfalls....it was picture perfect! 

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A day of Waterfalls!

  Athabasca Falls  (above)  Sunwapta Falls  (bellow)

Athabasca Falls (above) Sunwapta Falls (bellow)

  After a wonderful day driving and all the sight seeing we arrived to Lake Louise campground to set up camp for the night.  

After a wonderful day driving and all the sight seeing we arrived to Lake Louise campground to set up camp for the night.  

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Our last two days were hijacked by smoke from local forest fires.  The visibility was low, and the air quality was slim to none.  So, we arrived at our campground in the Okanogan Region early and set up camp. Smoke aside, the last night of camp was a blast!

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Ended our last night with games and doodling in the air.

Till next time' thanks for the memories and wonderful memories!