Weekends of food and photos

February 21st, 2016

Last weekend, I did a photoshoot with Hindari for her Touken Ranbu cosplay! While I do like doing photoshoots at conventions, the ones outside of them give me way more flexibility in time and locations. Leading up to the shoot, I researched several locations, scouted out 4 of them in person, and got permission for 2 of them. In the end, we decided on a botanical garden!

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I really love how they came out. That amazing feeling of being happy with your photos is why the effort is worth it and a reminder of why I love photography. Here are some more of my favorites from the shoot!


Last weekend was also Valentine’s Day, which I used to hate, but over time, I’ve become okay with it. I know an argument against it is that you don’t need a special day to do something romantic, but come on, real talk here. My husband and I have been together for over 10 years, and we spend almost every day together. It’s easy to fall into a routine, and many “date-like” activities are just normal things for us now. Sometimes it’s nice for something to come up and remind us, hey, maybe we should do something special.

I mean, really, if it makes people happy, then let them be happy. After all, you can always treat it like a normal day if you don’t like it. /steps off soapbox

Anyway, we like to cook together for Valentine’s, and we normally cook some nice aged steaks with a potato side. I decided to change it up this year and suggested we cook Japanese food instead. So, I made gyoza (dumplings) and my husband made okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)! Both have pork and cabbage in them, and it was actually our first time making both of these. They were tasty :D

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After that weekend of food… we just had another one! Yesterday, I hosted an Anime night at my house with some of my coworkers. I suggested a potluck since we were watching Food Wars. As you can tell by its name, it’s an Anime about food and cooking!

My husband made a spicy fried rice with pineapple and shrimp, and I made gyoza again, except with shrimp filling this time. We also picked up some taiyaki (pastry shaped like a fish) while at the Asian supermarket. A few coworkers made tofu katsu musubi, banh choux (cream puffs), and chocolate chip cookies. A couple others picked up bundt cakes and chips.

Everything was delicious! Fortunately, we are not Anime characters, so though the food was good, we kept our clothes on. Food Wars, on the other hand, likes to exaggerate people’s reactions to food, and there are way more naked scenes than we were prepared for.

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Rating food would probably be more fun if we did it Food Wars style. Did it feel like a refreshing spring day? Or was it so good that your clothes flew off? Or was it just that amazing that you felt like doing a magical girl transformation?

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To be fair, there are also really nice visuals of food, but what really makes the series is how ridiculous the reactions are. It was super fun to watch together and made us crack up so much.

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As for today, my husband and I had left over potluck food for lunch, and now I’m being lazy on the computer while still in my pajamas. That is how I hope to stay for the rest of the day ;) I hope you all had a good weekend too!

22 Responses to “Weekends of food and photos”

  • Olivia says:

    ALL THE FOOD!!! I’ve been eating so much lately too, with Chinese New Year and many birthdays :D The Japanese pancake looks so good and the dumplings, ahhhh~ I like that they look different than what we always have, what kind of dough is it? And I love the results of the photoshoot! The lighting is so beautiful <3 Cosplay goals!

    • Cat says:

      Thanks! I bought a pack of dumpling skins at an Asian supermarket that said they were gyoza/potsticker ones. I tried a couple different brands, and they were fine, but I’m still kind of looking for a better one :)

  • Jade Rachel says:

    The cosplay photos look fantastic – I love the framing and the colours of the nature against the costume. Brilliant choices.

    And mmm gyoza. Although, really all that food looks delicious and the anime sounds hilarious!

  • Georgie says:

    I think it’s cute and quite romantic that you and your husband cook together. :) I can’t really cook, but Nick and I have plans to learn together, it is always fun doing that kind of thing with someone else. I also used to dislike Valentine’s Day and find it overrated and silly, but I was in some pretty terrible relationships and I feel like now it is actually not a bad day at all to do something special.

    Food Wars sounds quite funny, I suppose it puts an image to the word ‘foodgasm’! ? It is funny that we also say certain things when food is that good – I have been known to say ‘this tastes so good, oh my god I’m going to die’ (because it tastes so good). ?

  • Michelle says:

    You always surprise me with your photography skills. Photoshoot came out wonderfully! Food Wars? I’ve heard of it, before. I might check it out..I do love food, after all Hahahaha

    One day, I’ll get my husband to cook alongside me, for now, I cook alone. Lol

  • Chynna says:

    Amazing cosplay! I’m not too familiar with this character, but I love the photos :)

    Hmmm, gyoza dumplings are amazing. I’ve never tried okonomiyaki, but it looks tasty! I love a good potluck :D

    I feel like I would be the anime character if I ate good food. Good thing I’m not, haha.

  • Becca says:

    Your photos are awesome, like always! Botanical gardens are such beautiful places to shoot! We have a great one in St. Louis and I love to visit any chance I can get!

    Oh my goodness, yes. The most annoying thing about Valentine’s day is everyone complaining about it or judging everyone else for celebrating it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but no need to shove your discontent with the day in EVERYONE’s face. Do what you do, and let everyone else do what they do. That Oatmeal comic is cracking me up! I like Valentine’s day now for the same reason as you: it’s nice to have a reminder to do something special amidst the routine and busy schedules.

    All your food looks sooo good! It looks like something they would serve straight out of a restaurant, especially the okonomiyaki. And I feel like I need to try your chocolate chip cookies; they always look so perfect and delicious!

  • Nancy says:

    I’m loving the shots you’ve taken! Especially with the background being all scenic and natury XD. My favorite angle would be the one where she’s next to the koi pond. ~much peacefulness~

    YES!!! I agree with you! If people are happy, who are we to deny them of their happiness? Happiness comes in all form. ~respect~

    Your homemade gyoza looks AMAZING!!!!! You’re making me crave for some right now XD. Do you like them boiled or pan fried? I like them pan fried because of the crispyness @___@. The okonomiyaki looks pretty cool! It’s practically like a Japanese pizza sort of thing! Glad you enjoyed both of them :).

    It looks like you had some pretty good food at the pot luck!

    • Cat says:

      Aw thanks! I still need more practice on folding gyoza, haha. I like them both ways :) For these, I pan fried them a little on the bottom, and then I steamed them the rest of the way.

  • Carolynne says:

    Hahahaha that anime sounds hilarious!!’ I’m surprised they didn’t break into song as well!! Sounds like a really great party. Your Gyoza look amazing!! So tasty. Did you use a specific recipe or just did it on the fly?

    • Cat says:

      Thanks! For the pork ones, I used a recipe from a book called Japanese Soul Cooking. Then I altered it a bit to do the shrimp gyoza. It’s a very cool cookbook!

  • Megs says:

    I completely agree with you on Valentine’s Day – live and let live, as they say :)

  • Jamie says:

    That food looks delicious! Believe it or not, a friend of mine had a Japanese exchange student for a friend, and she cooked us all Okinomiaki (sorry if I butchered it). It was delicious! I think a friend of mine and I tried to cook it and we totally butchered it. We told our friend’s friend about this and she laughed and said she will make us some. So, I was lucky enough to try real Japanese food. :D.

    You are a wonderful photographer! If I lived near you, I would have you photograph me as well. You should do more outdoors photography. My sister and her family just had her photography done with Evan Gaston, and they went to the beach for it. It was beautiful. What kind of camera do you use? I heard the DSLR are quite good.

  • Gretch says:

    Wow!You really did a fantastic job with the cosplay photoshoot.

    And wow!So much food! Those photos look like they came from Japanese food heaven~! I love watching Food Wars, I am actually amaze about the ingenious food ideas and I often wonder if those are applicable to real life foods. Ah well, I’m not someone who’s adventurous in the kitchen anyway. I can’t wait for the second season.

  • Kim says:

    That food looks delicious! Gyoza, never heard of it but I really like the look of them. They remind me somewhat of the polish dish pierogi.

    The photos from your photosshoot are great! I enjoy seeing cosplay photo shoots “on location” rather than the background being the hall of the convention centre. I saw a Batman villain photo shoot in a multi story car park at London Film and Comic Con last year, it fit really well with their costumes, they looked like they were on the run from Arkam Asylum.

  • Kya says:

    The photos look absolutely fantastic! :D The location looks like it was such a perfect mix. The most important thing, I am so glad that you liked them. :’)

    That sounds like such a nice thing to do, cooking for Valentine’s day. :D It also looks delicious!

  • Jenny says:

    The photos from the shoot look great! I think it’s really sweet that you and your husband cook together for Valentine’s Day :) I get the whole argument that every day should be about celebrating your love, but you’re right, if you’ve been together for a while, changing things up a bit doesn’t hurt!

  • Tara says:

    Great photos! I’m happy for you that the shoot went well. The photos really came out nice!

    And the food. Oh, my yum. The gyoza and okonomiyaki *_* I’m drooling here. And all those food for your anime night. Oh, I wish I could have been there! Please invite me if you ever do that again and I’m in the area :D

  • Hiro says:

    Oh my god. Everything looks so freaking delicious. I’m so jealous. Also jealous of your awesome coworkers that you guys can have a freaking anime night. LOL.
    My Valentine’s night was pizza and chicken wings and tater tots, all thrown into the toaster oven or oven, watching the Da Vinci Code. LMFAO. XD We’ve known each other for almost a decade, and been together for almost half a decade, so like you, it’s kind of like, every day is every other day… What’s a date… You mean a dinner out. Haha. I guess we need to figure out a way to get a “romance” thing going once in a while too!

  • Liz says:

    All the food looks so perfect! ‘Food Wars’ sounds like a funny series, if it has nakedness…over food.

    I always love looking at your cosplay photos! You take great photos, and the peoples’ costumes tend to look…well, like they’re supposed to be in an anime/manga/comic book or something. :p

  • Tiff says:

    Your photos turned out so great!! The makeup & cosplay look fantastic. You did such an amazing job, Cat. *applauds* Love the photos. :)

    Your pictures are making me soooooo hungry right now. Yum, gyoza! Haven’t had okonomiyaki in awhile too! Blargh, sounds so good right now…maybe I should make some hehe. :) Your gyoza folding skills are wonderful, teach meeeee. I can’t fold those things for shizzz.

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