Frequently Asked Questions

The Pastiche

In case you might be wondering, too. (Eventually I'll add this to my About page, but for now I thought I'd feature it here.) By the way, please feel free to ask anything you ever want to know. I'm all about questions :)

Why did you start a blog?

There were all of these things that I enjoyed doing as casual hobbies but wanted to formalize a bit more and hold myself accountable to—cooking, baking, writing, connecting, sharing, decorating, crafting, taking pictures (I’m a millennial who is terrified of not having hobbies and determined to not list “trolling Instagram” and “stalking others” as my favorite pastime and best talent, respectively). Blogging is a vehicle for combining all of these things I love in a feasible, approachable, accessible way. I have always felt like I’m a creative and open person, but not one to dive head first and a mile deep into one thing. I want to dabble in all of it, at my own pace, and on my own watch. I felt like that notion would be relatable to others, too. I’m not Ina Garten cooking roast chicken for my loving husband every Friday night and I’m not Martha Stewart living a perfectly curated life with a casual fresh cranberry wreath on my front door and marbled egg shells on my Easter tablescape. But sometimes, I have my shit together, and I’m good at something, and maybe you’d like to see it or read about it. Or other times, I’m struggling, or having an Aha! life moment, and I really love sharing that, too, with the hope it might resonate with some of you, or provoke some dialogue in return. In summary: I take pride in my authenticity, as well as striving to produce beautiful content, and I hope the result is enjoyable and inspiring to readers, not annoying and eye roll-inducing.

What’s your background with cooking and food?

I feel like my interest in cooking came later in life. I don’t have stories of cooking and baking beside my mom or grandma as a youngster or declaring as a little girl that I wanted to be a chef when I grew up—but I did always have a fondness for food and a certain nostalgia surrounding childhood memories related to it. But as I got older and gained more exposure to good food (locally and through travel), my passion (and cookbook collection) grew with a vengeance. And it’s become an enormous part of my life whereby food is the center of so much of what I value most (family, friendship, and a sense of community and human connection). I’ve since had a determination to teach myself to be both a good home cook and chef—someone who can follow recipes but also adapt them and create them for my own tastes and cravings. Oh, and yes, I fail all the time, but I love feeling like I'm learning from my mistakes (and the temper tantrums that sometimes ensue—if you've ever aggressively thrown things into the garbage and sworn off cooking/baking forever, we may have that in common) and getting better along the way. It’s really important to me that my family have dinner together on a (hopefully) nightly basis, and it’s my hope that my someday-kids and soon-to-be husband will associate certain dishes and meals with a degree of love and comfort that makes a dish taste even greater than the sum of its parts. And like other good people in our generation, I have a desire to revert back in many ways to the simple joys of slower living, despite easy or quicker alternatives or the pressure to “feel busy,” in order to truly live a more fruitful and enriched life.

Do you ever feel vulnerable?

A new friend recently asked me this, and it dawned on me that it’s a question I’ve gotten so many times in slightly different variations. The short answer is yes. I’m a relatively private person by nature unless with close friends, but I’ve always felt a confidence in writing. It has always been my preference to write down how I feel or what I think, whether for myself or someone else, and that has been a huge part of the blog, naturally. So while at times I feel vulnerable, it mostly feels empowering to put myself “out there.” I think that the more honest I am, the more it hits home with others, and the more gratifying it feels.

What kind of camera and equipment do you use?

I use a Canon 60D and a combination of a 50mm lens and 18-135mm lens. I’m also utterly dependent on my tripod, as well as my remote shutter controller (a little cord that plugs in and allows you to click the shutter without touching the camera). But the truth is that the one piece of “equipment” I depend on most for quality pictures is natural light. For a somewhat novice and certainly non-professional photographer, I truly feel there is no substitute. Trust me, there are countless times I want to capture something (particularly indoors at night, say at a restaurant or something), and the quality just doesn’t cut it, so I simply do not capture it. I try to schedule my food shoots around natural daylight (the golden hour, or just before sunset, is truly ideal), or else I really struggle to produce quality pictures, even with editing. I’ve found that editing can’t really ever save a bad photo; it can only enhance a good one.

Who takes your photos?

My fiancé Jon takes some of the style photos of me (and I take some using the remote controller mentioned above), and I take all the other photos on The Pastiche.

What do you use to edit your photos?

First, I spend a while narrowing down the photos in their raw form, giving star ratings to those photos that stand out most within iPhoto to be able to quickly filter them. I narrow it down to anywhere from 3-12 photos that I think are the best (sometimes more for certain posts). Then, I use the app Pic Tap Go to edit them slightly. I don’t use filters per se, but I generally like to increase lightness or increase contrast or sharpness using the app. Sometimes, I’ll like the effects of a filter (Awake, High Fives, Skinny Jeans, Brightside, to name a few), but generally not for food photos that I prefer to keep their original integrity.

How much time do you spend on a post?

I spend one to two hours per weekday and upwards of five to seven hours per weekend on blogging. It’s hard to say how that breaks down per post, as it really depends on the topic at hand. Most Thoughts posts happen spontaneously and in real time—when the inspiration hits, I sit down and write for a couple of hours. I may go back later for some fine tuning, or ask my mom or Jon for initial big-picture editing help, but those posts are generally fairly raw in nature. Outfit posts are the quickest things because, to be honest, they’re not Jon’s (or my, frankly) favorite thing to do, so we will try to squeeze them in on the way to whatever else we’re actually doing that day (grabbing coffee, going to a friend’s house, etc). I try to keep a list going of potential spots for outfit shoots so that when it’s go-time, we have a place in mind with good lighting and not too many people around to witness the (still embarrassing) act.

A little more about me:

My family and friends are most dear to me, and as someone who has often been called an “old-soul” since childhood, I finally feel as though I’m hitting my stride in the world as I approach my thirties—the older I get, the more comfortable and at home I feel in my role as a friend, daughter, sister, and partner. I love living in Rochester but for as many times as I’ve professed that, I’ve also had a slight mental breakdown about wishing we could pick up and move somewhere else (Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn). Unfortunately, this is not exactly possible for now—Jon owns and operates three restaurant-bars in Rochester: Dorado, The Daily Refresher, and Ox & Stone. I love early mornings, spending money that I shouldn’t be spending on fresh flowers, pickled-anything / cheese-anything / garlic-anything, being outside in the sun, stationery, long (alcohol infused) dinners at warm restaurants with my people, learning from/about others, writing, rearranging the furniture, falling asleep when I’m really really tired, and experiencing new places through walking and eating.


Photo by Katie Finnerty for Roc Girl Gang's Roc Girls to Know feature