Saturday, February 14, 2009

About Me

2012.05.29 Ethiopian Lunch Mar Me Jen in Philly
Hi there and welcome to my humble corner of the interwubs =)! I'm Xiaolu (or you can call me XL), a Chinese-American girl in her mid-20s who loves baking, cooking, and pretty much any food-related DIY project. I recently left the legal field to return to a student's life -- all in order to pursue a career in nutrition. In addition to food, my other biggest passion is music. If pushed to pick a favorite genre, I'd say "indie rock," but then I'm not even sure what that means ;p. Some of my favorite artists are Stars, Tool, A Perfect Circle, NIN, Incubus, Jimmy Eat World, The Decemberists, The National, Patrick Wolf, The Jezabels, The Notwist, Muse, The Temper Trap, The XX, Gackt, and countless others.

You may notice from my recipes that I eat mostly vegetarian (with some seafood) due largely to taste and upbringing. Although I also agree with many moral, ethical, and environmental reasons for reducing meat consumption, I completely respect and try to accommodate whatever diets others follow. I actually live with my meat-loving boyfriend and have recently resolved to learn to cook some meat dishes he enjoys. So any tips for prepping meat or recipe recommendations would be great!

Though I'm still relatively new to blogging, I'm grateful to already have connected with many fabulous foodies around the world through this community. Plus this blog has led me to discover a great passion for food styling and photography. If you're just starting a blog or considering it, there are a number of wonderful basic tutorials online (many of them from bloggers). I encourage you not to be shy about contacting bloggers (myself included) to ask about specific shots or techniques you like. I certainly wasn't! For anyone who's interested in my photography set-up, I've shared some tips and behind-the-scenes photos in this post and have posted a more extensive compilation of beginning food photography and styling tips HERE. I use the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS camera with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. Both are on the lower end of the price range for DSLR equipment. Though the Rebel XS has served me well, I'd recommend starting with a slightly higher-end model if you expect to be serious about photography. Regardless of the camera, I guarantee the 50mm lens is the best bang for the buck you'll get from a lens. While I have no professional aspirations, I do try very hard to make the images here as inviting and mouth-watering as possible for your viewing pleasure!

Please feel free to comment here or email me about anything from food to photography to music to cute baby tigers at xiaolu6+info[at]gmail[dot]com. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. OMG, I am so happy that finally can see your picture. how very pretty girl you are :), so young and so talented. Glad to found your blog!

  2. Aw thanks, Elra! You're always such a sweetheart. I'm so glad to have met you through our blogs, too. I recall from a photo a few months ago that you're quite beautiful and youthful looking at well =D.

  3. You poor student:D. Lucky and gutsy is what I would say. It is not easy to take the decision to go back to studying, especially after working and earning! Wishing you a good life, in the kitchen and off it! Like the new setting. It has been such joy meeting you through flickr! I hope your liking for 'Indie Rock' will force you to visit India and then we could meet:D.

  4. Lay off the Jelly/no fair using high school pics!My cousin makes jelly every fall,I will run this idea by her on Easter,I need a new camera too,still using film,with my ever faithfull Canon.Thanks,

  5. Thanks for the support, Harini! I would love to visit India and meet you in person one day. Until then, I will greatly enjoy all your photos and our exchanges via Flickr.

    Mike, I'll take that as a compliment, though I'm not sure you meant it as one ;p. This photo was taken 6 months ago, at which point I'd been out of high school for 7 years hehe. I think the goofy expression does make me look a tad younger. I hope your cousin likes the jelly idea and would love to hear how it comes out if she makes it. Though I'm not personally experienced, film cameras are wonderful in their own way and produce certain results that can't be imitated with digital. I'm glad your Canon has served you well, too.

  6. look shy in the photo with glasses on. But in the other photo, you look mature, and you have beautiful smile ! You're younger than me (OMG, suddenly I realized how old I am)

    Love your blog !

  7. Hi Xiaolu,

    Your pictures are honestly amazing, some of the best food photography I have seen, and I look at a lot of different food blogs. Makes me really want to get a proper camera and start practicing my photography skills =).

  8. Hi there XL,

    Wow! I'm so happy i found your are such a talented young lady. I really admire you for your given talent, you inspire me more to try stuff and not to worry about the outcome coz in those little errors that makes the cakes/pastries taste good...Good Luck!!! Nice to see you.


  9. Hi XL!

    I am so glad that I came across your blog today after reading your Foodbuzz top 9 post, congrats! I too have just recently left my career to return to school to study nutrition and blog about my food adventures in the kitchen, where are you studying?


  10. Hi XiaoLu, Finally get to know more about you. Even if you have no professional aspirations, your photos certainly look very professional! They always blow me away :)

  11. Thanks for the support, everyone =D

  12. Hi Xiaolu--you made some divine cupcakes for my sister's b-day yesterday (her name is Tini) but they were gone b4 I could snag one. Why don't you post your cupcake/cake offerings on the main page of your blog? That would allow more peeps to order & sample your fabulous treats. Just a thought.

  13. Thanks Uyen! I'll work on a page for that info!

  14. Your pictures are straight out of a magazine. I would love to get some pointers from you.

  15. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog today, and I love your photos. They're all gorgeous! Keep up the great work!

  16. Hi XL!
    just discovered your blog, and i love it!
    i m also into food (have been all my life) and photography (late starter compared to you) and so am grateful for all your tips...
    keep it up!

  17. Hi!
    I discovered your blog a day ago and I couldn't stop reading it!!!!
    Anyway, I have 2 questions:
    Do you still use your Canon EOS Digital Rebel XS camera?
    How did you create your blog (on, etc)?

    Thank you so much!
    Big fan of your blog

    1. Thanks for your nice comment, Mariane! Yes, I do in fact still use the same camera and lens as described in this post and my photography one. I created and still have my blog on the blogger/blogspot platform. However, I read early on that it's a nightmare if you decide to switch away from the blogspot URL later on, so I pretty much immediately bought my own domain (there's several popular sites for that) and all my posts are on This way, if I decide to host my website elsewhere later on, the URLs won't have to change and all the links that have been created to my page won't be broken. Hope that helps! Feel free to comment again or email if you have more questions.

  18. Thanks for your good advice!

  19. Hi Xiaolu, I think that you, multi-talented are :)

  20. Hi there XL,
    I have visited your blog several times and I just love every bit of are really talented. Keep writing!!
    Shema George Lifescoops


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu