biscuits: the beginning

I think I’m going through a 1/3 of my life crisis. For the past year or so, I’ve been struggling with big questions and largely vague dreams. I have been in a constant state of discontentment, which, if you know me really well, you know that’s not particularly out of the ordinary. However, these particular questions and desires feel different. They have more pull and far greater consequences than my irritating desire to move every six months, or the fact that I can rarely stand to eat the same meal twice. I thrive on change, it energizes me, but something so big as jumping into a new career or even a new phase of life is proving to be less exciting and far more scary than I expected.

Making it all more difficult is my inclination to like most things, leaving me with no real direction. If I do actually want to pursue a new career, I can’t simply choose to do all of the things I enjoy, or could I? Is it even possible to do everything I love and call it a career? Cooking, baking, photography, antique collecting and writing are among the group of the beloved, but how can I do all of those things and do them well? Clearly I need to narrow it down.

These images are the product of me attempting to do just that, to find a direction I enjoy immensely by actually spending time exploring and working. The amazingly warm and kind hearted Van Dao of Biscuit Bender agreed to share his insanely delicious biscuits with me and spent an afternoon allowing me to photograph them in a beautiful cafe in San Francisco. Though I was nervous to do a shoot like this for the first time, it ended up being a beautiful collaboration and resulted in images that I’m incredibly proud of. I feel so fortunate to have friends like Van who are willing to support me in such a tangible way, and who are shaping the very direction of my life.

I would be remiss not to mention another group who has greatly encouraged these dreams, shaping my life dramatically. YOU ALL, the ones who read this small blog, and encourage me to keep at it. I’m so thankful for all of you. I hope you stick around and travel this road alongside me, wherever it might take us.

Be sure to take a good look at these images. I don’t want you to miss how utterly gorgeous these biscuits are. I sampled all of them, and with full conviction I tell you, they’re the best biscuits you can get in this city. Not only are they beautiful (and quite photogenic!), they are made with a watchful eye and a talented hand.

If one day you have a particular hankering for just about the best biscuits you’ll ever have, or maybe you really miss mom’s meatloaf and figure you can’t go wrong having it wrapped in a biscuit (I know, right?), treat yourself to Van’s biscuits. And because he is genius, he also makes homemade bloody mary’s to go with your biscuit wrapped meatloaf. Yep, I know.

You can find biscuits in the completely inspiring Hollow, as well as a delightful chai latte and ridiculously friendly staff.  Mission Cheese also stocks Biscuit Bender biscuits. Can you imagine that cranberry biscuit slathered with some brie, or even some blue cheese? Go get it y’all. And thanks again, for everything.


May 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . bread, breakfast, photography, san francisco food finds, things you should check out. 18 comments.

food styling and photography

I’ve only been taking pictures of food for as long as this blog has been around. If you look at some of my earliest posts, you can see that I had no idea what I was doing, and that I’m continuing to learn what it takes to produce photos that make you want to reach out and eat your screen. I am constantly learning about lighting, arranging dishes, using props and everything else that might possibly come up. I feel like I am pretty ok at taking a decent picture of the food I make, but when it comes to making food professionally pretty, I am at a total loss. Thankfully, there are people out there who do these things for a living! Enter: Abby Stolfo, food stylist. I met Abby at a class put on by the incredible church the husband and I attend in San Francisco. We hit it off right away, after discovering a common obsession for food. Right away we planned a time to cook, eat, and refine our respective food skills. What a fun meeting it was! Abby prepared all of the food, styled it and tweaked it to make it completely beautiful and magazine cover worthy. I took that food and photographed it, and photographed it and photographed it. Abby had a wonderful eye for arrangement and placement of the elements of each dish. It was fun to see the process that I go through often, from the perspective of a stylist. An attention to detail was something I realized I lack, and hope to now give some extra thought.

I’m constantly learning and am certain that I will never be through with it. Thanks so much for joining me on this journey and for hanging with me through this process. It’s been a complete joy!

Here are some of the fruits of our labor. I hope you like them!

August 27, 2010. info, photography. 4 comments.

Joleen Willis Photography

I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends who have come from many different parts of my life. Many of the people I am able to spend most of my time with are friends from the newest part of my life, some whom have only known me as Jons’ wife. There are those friends however, that have known me long before I became a married woman. They befriended me in the awkward stage of adolesence and stuck by me through the growing pains of becoming an adult. I enjoy reminiscing about those days when life actually seemed joyfully complicated. Always worried about what I looked like, or what I was going to be when I grew up. Searching desperately for that guy who would sweep me off my feet. There are so many photographs from that time. Pictures of friends with dorky clothes, big glasses and braces. Pictures of Prom and Winter Formal, all capturing those nostalgic moments that seem so distant. Now, photos from the recent past keep memories fresh, replaying some of the happiest times in life. Those photos have become irreplaceable memories that tell the story of our lives.

wedding program

click here to read more about Joleen Willis Photography->

April 19, 2010. Tags: , . photography, stories. 8 comments.