After landing at San Francisco on New Year’s Eve with just enough energy to shower, share a glass of champagne and crawl into bed, I went through a phase best diagnosed as “Europe Withdrawal Syndrome” (E.W.S.). You won’t find this condition anywhere in the DSM IV, but it’s happened to me often enough that I feel qualified to label it as such. The lament begins at SFO’s baggage carousel, worsens with the drive South on the 101 and really hits home the next day, waking up a view of Silicon Valley suburbia instead of a picturesque French countryside. And so it goes on for the first week, then the second…reuniting with good friends over a meal certainly help with the post-holiday transition, but the best remedy, I’ve found, is time.

Another side effect of E.W.S. this time around too, is a stronger inclination towards saying less and doing more. Part of that came from a compulsive motivation to sort through mounds of paperwork ahead of tax season (oh joy!), egged on by the prose of Stephen Pressfield’s books, a call to action so compelling it would rouse even a sloth from its perch.

But this desire for silence, I have come to realize, was a product of our vacation as well. Stepping out of the Silicon Valley bubble to a place where people don’t check their phones every two minutes starts to have an effect on you after a while. It was strange, at dinner, to leave my iPhone out of sight (quelle horreur!!) and resist the urge to scratch that “itch” of pressing the home button every five minutes. It was a powerful lesson in being present, of lingering over a meal and taking one’s time. We’ve brought that practice home, and, five and a half weeks into 2012, I’m happy to say that the majority of our meals have been iPhone-free. And we plan to keep it that way.

All this is a rather roundabout way of reconnecting on the blog and an excuse for me to share some of the photos from the trip. Thanks to the iPhone’s excellent camera and apps like Instagram, the Nikon got a lot less attention than it deserved. I’m thinking twice now, about lugging it around on our trips, because, as I hope these photos show, these smartphone cameras do the job pretty well. In tandem with photo-sharing apps like Instagram, I’ve found that the iPhone has actually helped me become a better photographer (Penny sums it up perfectly in this post).

Bref, I won’t keep you from the photos any longer. Enjoy them and I’ll be back soon enough with a recipe. Promise!

  • Welcome home. I’m glad you had a relaxing trip away from everything. The photos are beautiful (and I agree the Nikon is heavy). I love the photo of the chef with the giant pan- amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Welcome back, my friend. I know, so painfully, what you mean about not wanting to come back. Being away from your everyday makes you realize just how much you check your email, Facebook, Twitter, your phone, etc…I’m trying to be more present myself, spending more time away from my computer (when I can) but it’s hard 🙁 I can’t believe that those photos were all taken with your iPhone camera. It’s truly phenomenal to see how far technology has come. It’s nice to see you back here again. xoReplyCancel

  • Thanks for sharing what I have experienced first hand since moving to Europe, Germany to be exact. I too use my IPhone less while at dinner and with my family. And you know what, IT’S OKAY, the world didn’t come to an end because I was having dinner. Life is more relaxed here, and I for one, love it! I won’t experience EWS until I venture back to America in June. Instagram I can’t live without…VeronicaReplyCancel

  • Such incredible photos. Even though I enjoyed those you posted in real time on Instagram, I’m delighted to have an opportunity to see them here again. Your series on doors really drives home that a talented photographer with an open mind and a careful eye can bring visual magic to everyday objects and scenes.

    Bien fait.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle

    @El: Thank you El. My right shoulder is still sore thinking about those days spent lugging it around while I snapped endlessly with the iPhone. Sigh.

    @Kasey: Thanks, it feels great to be back 🙂

    @Muy Bueno: I checked out your blog and…wow, from California to Germany? That must be a huge transition, climate-wise at least. I can live without Instagram for a day or two at most, ha!

    @Cheryl: Merci mon amie!ReplyCancel

  • Nickie Gorsky

    That first photo (the large one) is truly incredible! Are you telling me that it was taken with an iPhone? Where in Silicone Valley? Lovely blog…I check in often…ReplyCancel

  • Glad you had a great trip! Lovely photos! I can’t wait to visit Europe one day. Its been my dream to go to France for as long as I can remember.
    I love my iphone too. The camera is great for travel pics. What are your favorite photo apps?ReplyCancel

  • Danielle:
    I agree with you. It is hard to let go. But in time we miss so much while taking care of so little. I really enjoyed your last post. While listening to the music, I was right there with and your family bobbing my heard to the sound of it.ReplyCancel


Kale Cranberry Salad

And so it begins. Planning gifts and holiday cards. Ending farewells with “See you next year!”. Emptying the fridge, freezing whatever can be frozen, giving away everything else that can’t. Shelving 2011’s planner, putting up the 2012 calendar. Closing bank accounts, paying bills, putting the mail on hold, sacrificing sleep to finish projects, whatever the cost. A hectic rush to the finish line where the (cramped) space of an airplane seat awaits, free of the shackles of the Internet.

We leave in four hours for our vacation in France, and while I’m really excited, the full prospect of the journey hasn’t had the time to sink in. That’s partly because I’m still sitting here, blogging, trying to delay the inevitable task of packing that awaits. Ah, packing. It’s a good thing that M’s a wonder packer. Can you imagine how horrifying trips would be if I had married someone who was as inept at packing a suitcase as I am?

I shudder at the thought.



PhotoMuse Austin 2011

Somewhere over New Mexico


I hope you had a wonderful start to your holiday season


I hope as well, that you don’t mind the gaping silence since the last post.

PhotoMuse Austin 2011

Morning light, Hyde Park, Austin

Truth is, the trip to Austin exceeded expectations in every way, and then some. Here I am, three weeks later, still decompressing and working through all the ideas, inspiration, anxieties, hopes, dreams and fears that came up during the week. It was intense, exhausting and powerful, and these words that I’m conjuring do little justice to express the depth of the experience.

As my silence showed, we didn’t have alot of time to post scenic “postcards from the road”. Every ounce of energy went into talking, doing, living and breathing all things photography, from ‘boring’ stuff like photo archiving and backup options to getting awestruck at a presentation of George Krause‘s work. The week was billed as a “spiritual and creative tune-up”, but oh, it was more than that. So much more. PhotoMuse was my coming out party – as a creative person. I came home realizing that I no longer wanted to be ‘theoretically creative’, to paraphrase Hal Fields in Beginners, that it’s time to stop living in my mental space of “If onlys” and start living in the world of “Whys, Hows and Why Nots”.

PhotoMuse Austin 2011

The "Penny Sandwich": Ed Zwadzki, Penny De Los Santos and Denise Woodward


  • Looks like you had a blast. Welcome home. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful post, D. Can’t wait to go check out the band photos on your site. It has been a pretty monumental year — don’t you remember just sitting (was it at Out the Door or??) and you saying you think you want to work on your photography more?! Now look at you! Truly amazing. xox.ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @Megan: Oh my, Out The Door feels like a lifetime ago. Look at our lives now! Totally right about a monumental year, I wonder what the next year has in store for us 🙂 xoReplyCancel

  • What a gift. I felt a simliar creative rejuvenation where I had a week we me and my camera in a place that was completely new to me. It was so inspring and fulfilling.
    So happy you had this time and that is is pushing and growing you. Thank you for sharing your experience.ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @Ashley: Those are the best times aren’t they? Spiritually nourishing moments.ReplyCancel

  • That had to have been an unforgettable and incredible experience. I wanted so badly to sign up, so I’m thrilled to live vicariously through you. I’m looking forward to spending some time browsing through the links. The idea of embracing my own creativity is something I’m working on as well, so your intro really resonated with me. I’m looking forward to seeing your site and creativity evolve. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @Kelly: Wow, this has got to be one of the sweetest comments I’ve received. Thank you, and I look forward to following your creative journey as well.ReplyCancel

  • Awesome photos, always great to learn new ways of seeing. Looking forward to more of your posts!ReplyCancel

  • I really liked reading this post, Danielle—so much so, that even though I read it this morning, I’m still thinking about it and still processing what exactly I think about it. Here’s to seeing, really seeing the world around us and the people in it and to making photos as we do. Love that.ReplyCancel

    • Danielle

      @Shannalee: Yea, there’s a lot of stuff in here that takes time to process. The learning never ends, and thank god for Instagram!ReplyCancel

  • […] Love love LOVE this post about being creative. […]ReplyCancel

  • Whoa! I just stumbled on your site and now I am truly crying in my cup of tea as I read this. I signed up for this workshop in advance and had to cancel, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I will be following your blog, and am so grateful to be able to glimpse your experience.! I hope to be able to take a week for myself and my camera in 2012. In the meantime, I will feast my eyes on your images and just keep on taking baby steps. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • So inspiring! I recently embarked on a new career path as a writer and consultant and definitely relate to the challenges and rewards associated with coming into contact with and then articulating one’s own vision. Scary but so satisfying tosee what comes from exploring it. Your photography is beautiful and I am glad that this experience was so rewarding for you. Keep up the good work.ReplyCancel

  • […] to introduce you to the work of my friend, Pauline Stevens, based in Austin, TX. I met Pauline at Photomuse last November and became a big fan of her work. She has an eye for capturing the essence of a […]ReplyCancel


Pumpkin Soup & Chanterelles

After a rather calm and easy-going Summer, the last quarter of 2011 is turning out to be a rather hectic one, as I find myself hustling to wrap up the year before the holidays arrive. Fall has, so far, been full of trips, projects, new clients and challenges, all of which I love and thrive on, but which have also taken me away from blogging as frequently as I would have liked. I hope to make it up to you as best as I can in the coming weeks. I’m off to Austin on Sunday to spend a week immersed in photography with Penny, Scott and Lynn, and while there’s not likely to be many recipes coming out of that, I do plan on sharing a couple of snippets and images through the week, schedule-permitting. It’s going to be intense and fun, and my first time in Austin. I can’t wait.

Also, I’d like to take the chance to thank Saveur for featuring this blog as one of their “Sites We Love” profiles, as well as the UK’s Fork Magazine for including me in their blog round-up for their Christmas issue. If you’re here because of these recommendations, welcome, and I hope you stay a while!

Chanterelles and Thyme


  • Stunning, D. I can’t get enough chanterelles and pumpkins in my life these days.. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Hi Danielle. I discovered your blog a little while ago and I have been looking forward to your next post.
    I have been drooling over the wonderful food you feature here but I LOVE this dish. The buttered chanterelles are the cherry on top. This is my kind of comfort food!ReplyCancel

  • Oh how marvellous! Two of my favourite things in one bowl: pumpkin and chanterelles! The photos are just gorgeous too 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I just cooked some chanterelles, but ended up using them with some pasta, in a soup they would be wonderful.

    I love baking butternut squash with some shallots as a side dish to meat, delicious!

    I just looked through your portfolio and recognized Chad, a sous chef I used to work with, small world. And is it the pie ranch in one of the photos?

    Loved the close up with the thyme, the colors are so vibrant.ReplyCancel

  • beautiful Danielle 🙂 I too have my socks, fleece and a cup of chai hehe. Have so much fun with Penny! Jealous.ReplyCancel

  • Gorgeous post! The soup looks warming and delicious- perfect even for the Thanksgiving table. I always include a squash or pumpkin soup on Thanksgiving as an easy side that can be kept warm on the stove top or in the crock pot.ReplyCancel

  • My two favourite Autumn foods, squash and chanterelles! I used the same ingredients to make a risotto, prepare the chanterelles as you did, make the risotto in the usual fashion whilst roasting the squash (called courge here in Provence) with garlic olive oil and some wild thyme. Add to risotto and top with chanterelles and some chopped parsley, delicieux if I say so myself!ReplyCancel

  • It looks like you made excellent use of your pumpkin. Delicious. Enjoy your class.ReplyCancel

  • This looks just divine! It’s definitely going on my (ever-growing) list of soups to make this winter.ReplyCancel

  • This recipe looks delicious and your pictures are beautiful! I really like the addition of the Chanterelles. I think you’ll enjoy my spiced pumpkin soup… check it out:


  • I love pumpkin soup and I adore chanterelles. I will surely make this soup, so conforting! Italy ahs turned gray and cold, too, so nothing would be better that this soup for lunch these days.ReplyCancel

  • Meg Finn

    How stunning! Found your blog via the excellent turkey post.
    Have a lovely weekend,

  • This is stunning. Adding it to my recipe queue. @Angela, I like the idea for risotto.ReplyCancel

  • […] Pumpkin soup w/Buttered Chanterelles […]ReplyCancel

  • I love turning pumpkins and squash into soup – but with buttered chanterelles?? Wowzers! Your photos are gorgeous too. Just lovely.ReplyCancel

  • What a delicious look dish! Id never really thought of the mushroom and pumpkin/ squash combination before! I love the way squash and roasted tomatoes go together sooo much – but they’re not a very seasonal combo so I think I might need to give this a try! Lovely, lovely site – I was raised in Berkeley and miss the Bay Area sooo much!ReplyCancel

  • This looks delicious and comforting, awesome photos!ReplyCancel

  • This looks absolutely divine. I am so glad I found this before Thanksgiving, as it will definitely find a place on the dinner table! Thank you for the inspiration and the outstanding photography.ReplyCancel

  • […] Pumpkin Soup with Buttered Chanterelles […]ReplyCancel

  • Looks like delicious comfort food for fall! Great photos!ReplyCancel

  • […] had pumpkin soup topped with buttered chanterelle mushrooms and cream biscuits for our starter. If you’ve never had cream biscuits, I implore you to […]ReplyCancel

  • Wow those pictures just made me hungry for some tummy-warming soup!ReplyCancel

  • Julia A

    Great recipe! I am sure it goes well with Acme’s Pan Epi 🙂 I miss their bread…ReplyCancel

  • Stunning! I stumbled across your blog about 2 weeks ago. Now it’s my drug. Thanks for sharing this!ReplyCancel

  • Pei

    Stumbled upon your site via Etsy, and am delighted to have found a fellow Singaporean who has such an incredible way with words, pictures and food. This soup is GORGEOUS, I can’t wait to try my next batch of pumpkin soup with buttered chanterelles!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen

    Absolutely gorgeous food photos. Looks like you have good recipes on your site too. Thanks for posting for us.ReplyCancel

  • sara

    Awesome recipe I really enjoyed this.
    Here’s another recipe you might like.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • This looks delicious, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke

    We should make this for ourselves!ReplyCancel



Halloween’s not really my thing. I don’t do the whole dress-up thing very well, partly because I get really self-conscious about it. But this year, I think I may have found an activity that really gets me in the mood for this not-quite-a-holiday annual event: PUMPKIN CARVING!

A few weekends ago we decided to check out a local pumpkin patch to see what it was all about, for a lark. We trundled home with a hefty and auspiciously orange fruit which we promptly transformed into Ernie. Unfortunately, he didn’t last very long before developing a white fluffy inside and had to be thrown out. So we got another one to carve, which we christened Harry (above). But we still had a bunch of images from our short time with Ernie, so I thought it’d be fun to do a visual essay of sorts. Presenting: From Pumpkin to Ernie, With Love.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Pumpkin Patch Halloween

  • haha! You did great! My pumpkin skills are….very weak! Happy Halloween!ReplyCancel

  • You’re a natural. I hope this post got lots of hits because I’m sure there are millions of people out there who could really benefit from this very clear visual tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Well done! It looks like you had some fun and the pumpkin turned out great. Did you roast the seeds?ReplyCancel

  • Danielle

    @Tracy: Mine aren’t that much better – this is all M’s work! 🙂

    @Cheryl: Thank you! We gleaned a lot of good tips from Extreme Pumpkin as a matter of fact.

    @El: No, we’re just drying out the seeds then shelling them for future use. Do you have a good recipe for roasting them?ReplyCancel

  • What a darling pumpkin! I did one too!

    And roasting the seeds is so worth it, that’re a lovely snack!ReplyCancel

  • Nice model you have there 😉ReplyCancel

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