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Less than a week ago, I was in the middle of one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was a 2013 DaVinci Wine Storyteller, and I was in the Tuscan countryside, getting a behind the scenes look at everything Chianti. The weather was gorgeous, the food - out of this world!, and the wine was plentiful. I was being asked: "What has been your favorite part so far?" by our filmmaker, Kesten. And I had to be honest: it wasn't the picturesque views around every corner, or the sumptuous food, or even the heavenly Casale we had the privilege to reside at during our stay. My favorite part of the trip was my fellow Storytellers. And laughing. We laughed and talked non stop for five days. Every meal, every car ride, every outdoor adventure was marked by conversation, camaraderie, and comedy. My cheeks and sides hurt from laughing. I know what your thinking...Sure! Everything's funny when you've had a few glasses of Vino! But that had nothing to do with it. Let me start my re-cap of the 2013 Storyteller Experience by introducing you to these amazing artists!
Karista Bennett is the 2013 Culinary Arts Storyteller. She has a popular Karista's Kitchen Facebook Page, a delectable blog and Instagram collection. Karista is the personification of warmth. Her welcoming smile, delightful laugh, and genuine care for people is hard to resist. She bonded right away with our chef, Anna, pictured above. Their mutual love of food was palpable! Chef Karista was wonderful to have at every meal - she taught be so much about the dishes, shared her versions with us, and it made me want to cook all the time! You could see her mind working as she analyzed every amazing dish. Karista never shied away from sharing her love of Family and Food...or chickens :)
Leela Cyd personifies understated cool. The 2013 Photography Storyteller, Leela may not realize how much she taught me about the Art of Photography in the few days we spent together. I spent a lot of time observing how she worked...Leela has the utmost respect for her potential subjects. While I was busy clicking away as growers, winemakers, and tourguides were talking, Leela held back...and just listened. Absorbed. Observed. Then, when they were done talking, she graciously asked them to pose, and snapped the perfect portrait. You knew right away the portrait was going to be the epitome of their personality, because Leela knew what to look for. A world traveler, a genuinely interesting AND interested artist, Leela is an adventurer, and an amazing storyteller. You must check out her photography blog, Tea Cup Tea and be sure to stalk her amazing Instagram collection as well!
By the time the week as a 2013 DaVinci Storyteller was almost over, a special request was made several times: Kristina and Jim, stop sitting together!! Jim O'Donnell, who writes the travel blog Around the World in Eighty Years, and I were definitely the peanut gallery at every gathering. I suppose it's because we quickly discovered that we had diametrically opposing views on the book "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. And those of you who know me know this: I do not like to be wrong! So I had to spend the whole week contradicting everything Jim said, which usually resulted in fits of laughter. Also, Jim is easily entertained, and simple words like "bipedal" could send him into girlish giggles for several minutes. Our corner of the table or row in the car was always the loudest! Jim was a definite asset to our group - as a writer and as a photographer, he was always looking at an aspect of the experience that otherwise we may have missed - questions about agriculture, environment, and economics were always introduced by Jim, who wanted to understand the whole story. I highly recommend checking out his blog - you will instantly want to book your next adventure!
Ok I have thousands of pictures, pages upon pages of notes, and a few sketches that I am so excited to share with you from the trip, but all in due time! For now...I need to go paint :)