Welcome to the Beginning

March 1, 2021

If you are one of the first to stop by my new website, thank you so much! Virtual cin cin/cheers!

I’m Kelly, and I can best describe myself as I’m a multi-passionate creative. My favorite mediums of creative expression are writing, photography, and video, and my favorite topics are food, wine & travel. Above all, I love learning! I am constantly honing my creative skills and always learning more by tasting and exploring.

The Story Behind It All

Writing

Writing was my first love. In first grade, I “published” a book in class (by writing and illustrating my own story, complete with a cardboard cover, author bio, and fictional critical acclaim). Ever since then, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I often wrote short stories for fun as a kid, and I always breathed a sigh of relief when a school involved writing instead of math.

However, After grad school and years of teaching college academic writing, I’m working on getting back to writing for the joy of it and finding my creative writing style again (academic writing is about as exciting as watching paint dry!).

Photography

I took my first photography class in high school, and I was captivated by the magic of developing my own film in the darkroom. After that, I served as the photographer for the school newspaper my senior year. I had wanted to continue photography in college, but required courses for my degree took priority.

I didn’t pick up the camera seriously again until I started my first food blog (a secret blog years ago that I was too shy to share at the time). I realized that if I wanted to write about food, I would also need to be able to take pictures that actually make the food look appetizing. It has taken me years of practice (and I’m still learning) and mastering artificial lighting since the shady trees outside my window block out most of the natural light.

Video

Video is my most recent passion, but it feels the most magical because it came to me through pure serendipity. I didn’t seek out learning how to film and edit – rather it found me.

As a kid, my parents always took videos of us, and it has been such a joy to go back in time as an adult. When I went to Italy with my cousins a few years ago, I took some video clips on my phone. I realized that I would have to learn video editing to put all the clips together into a cohesive film for us to watch. I downloaded a trial of an editing software, and the rest is history.

I loved the process of editing the footage into a captivating storyline, and most of all, synchronizing movement with music to create stunning and emotive visuals. As a childhood ballerina, I always feel the beat. I was thrilled to find another way of choreographing music and movement. Additionally, I love the way that video captures a perspective of space and time beyond what the eye can see. My favorite things to film are places and recipes.

What You’ll Find Here

Consider this space a peek into my kitchen, my creative studio, and my adventures between Italy and California!

Food

Perhaps my love of food started as a toddler licking the chocolate cake bowl. Or perhaps cooking for the first time without adult supervision at around 8 or 9 (a boxed coffee cake). I found great joy in making delicious things and sharing them with others.

My passion for food blossomed when I studied abroad in France and Italy during college and tried so many new flavors and traditional dishes. I was particularly captivated by Italy, and how such flavorful recipes have such simple, complementary quality ingredients. I found cuisine the best way to connect to the culture abroad. I love that each dish tells the story of the local traditions and the history of both the people and a place. Upon returning home, I loved sharing my experience abroad with family and friends by making my favorite dishes.

I was so captivated by the European way of cooking with simple, fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional methods that I almost dropped out of grad school to attend culinary school instead. In fact, I attended a teaching conference in New York City, and I snuck in a visit to a culinary school instead of attending teaching seminars all day. I met a chef there who asked me emphatically in a thick French accent, “do you feel it?” I knew exactly what he was talking about: that burning passion for cooking and the desire to let that passion consume you. He gave me his business card and I have kept it for over 1o years to remind me that even though I didn’t go to culinary school, I always have that culinary passion inside of me.

Wine

For me, wine was an acquired taste. I took my first sip on a visit to a winery during my semester abroad in France. After a few sips, and couldn’t even finish the glass.

Over time, I slowly warmed up to wine. I outgrew the sugary cocktails of my college days and learned to love big, bold, dry reds. When I realized how much a good pairing enhances both the wine and the food, I wanted to learn more about wine. In 2018, I completed the level 2 Wine & Spirit Education Trust certification, and plan to eventually continue my studies.

Drinking wine is like a meditation for me. When you go through the entire tasting process, it engages all of your senses and brings you completely into the present moment. I love refining my palate by identifying all of the flavor characteristics. I enjoy trying lesser known Italian grapes and learning about the region they come from.

Travel

My love of travel began when I was nine years old when I took my first flight to LA for a trip to Disneyland. My dad is an Air Force veteran, who served as an aircraft mechanic during the Vietnam War. He also held a single-engine pilot’s license. I was at ease during the flight because my dad explained all of the noises the airplane was making and what the plane was doing. When we landed, my family was the last to exit the plane and the pilots invited my little brother and me to sit in the cockpit (sadly, something that would probably never happen today). I was absolutely thrilled. For this reason, I have (mostly) never felt nervous to fly (until I encountered roller coaster turbulence in a thunderstorm over Texas, that is). I remember just craving another trip the way I crave chocolate after my first flight.

Nature

Nothing brings me peace like nature. I grew up hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and to this day, I love spending as much time exploring the great outdoors as possible – from the mountains to the sea.

Italy

From a young age, I wanted to know this legendary country called Italy. It was the mythical land of my ancestors on my mom’s side. I wanted to know this place that my great-grandparents came from – the land that gave my grandfather Italian as his first language, even though he was born in California. It turns out, even generations later, my soul recognized Italy. I love everything from the people to the language, the culture, the architecture, the landscape, and especially the food. My “soul place” is the region of Liguria between the mountains and the sea. I have never felt such an instant recognition deep in my soul of belonging to a place before.

California

I was born and raised in Reno, a town in Northern Nevada near the California border. My parents are both from California and most of my relatives still live there. I am captivated by the beauty from the mountains, to the Pacific. I grew up hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and when I think of “home” when abroad, it’s the pines and granite mountains.

The Dream

I’ve found what all of my various passions have in common is the joy I find in always learning and expanding my skills, connecting with people and places, and being in the magic of the present moment.

Although this is just the beginning of my new website and creative journey, it has taken many years to bring my creative vision to life in this form. Years of learning new skills, years of refining my skills, and ultimately deciding, if not now, when? And most of all, believing that I CAN do it all – that I don’t have to choose between one of my passions.

And we are never alone in the creative process – grazie di cuore to Melissa Schollaert, my brand photographer and website designer who understood the soul of my vision and made it come to life far better than I ever imagined.

“I’ve seen too many sunrises to ever doubt the beauty of new beginnings.”

@f.e.marie

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