Photo Food Journal & PS5 Light Box Review

March 6, 2013

Good morning and happy Wednesday to you!

Healthy Vegan Challenge Update:

Today is day 10 of our Healthy Vegan Challenge, how is it going for you? After a few adjustments to my eating habits, I’ve fallen easily into a new, healthier routine and I’m feeling better because of it. In some ways, I am surprised by how easy it has been to make small changes that have big consequences. We have a very supportive group going on over on Facebook, feel free to join at any time and set some healthy goals for yourself for the next 6 1/2 weeks. The Spring Challenge will end on April 22nd which means 46 more days (not that I’m counting…).

Light Box Review:

I am very happy today to include a review of an awesome product I recently discovered and has made a huge difference in the quality of my photos, the MyStudio PS5 PortaStudio made by a company called ProCyc.

You may recall that just about a year ago, my husband made me a photo studio at home using materials from the hardware store. The homemade light box was so much better than any other type of lighting, but the box itself was pretty big and cumbersome:

Homemade light box.

And, to be honest, we spent over $100 for all of the components, not to mention the time and gas spent driving to the hardware store multiple times and putting the thing together.

With all of the food photos I take for my blog and my recipe app, Vegan Delish, I figured it was time to get a real light box for my food photography. After much research on the internet, I finally came across a product that looked like it might be perfect for my needs, the MyStudio PS5 PortaStudio made by a company called ProCyc. I contacted the owner, Sean, who was kind enough to send me one to test out and review.

The PS5 arrived in a compact package:

PS5 My Studio box.

The instructions to put it together were very straightforward and the whole thing fits very nicely into a corner of the room and can be moved if necessary (the tables are not included):

My PS5 light box.

The real test, of course, is how it handles food photograph and I’m happy to report that it’s a winner!

Here is a comparison shot of my dinner last night with and without the light box:

light box comparison shot

The following items are included with the PS5:

1 – 24″ x 60″ flexible white background
1 – adjustable height light stand made of high impact ABS plastic
1 – “Daylight” 5000K color-balanced fluorescent lamp and bulb combo with integrated On/Off switch
2 – reflector support brackets and clips for the white background
Complete setup instructions with photos
2-page detailed “Camera Tips & Settings” to help you get the most out of your PS5

Also, this product is made in the United States.

If you are a food blogger, I highly recommend investing in a PS5. Sean has even created a discount code for $15 off just for us (expires March 31, 2013). To use the discount code, follow these steps:

1) visit this link: http://www.procyc.com/products/mystudio-ps5-portastudio

2) Add the product to your cart

3) enter the coupon code CARRIE (must be in all CAPS) and click ‘Apply’

4) complete the checkout on the website

Sean has also noted that he will also be including a free set of the white bounce card reflectors with that code (normally $13.95).

Photo Food Journal:

Since today is Wednesday, I’m doing another photo food journal of everything I ate yesterday. Actually, I dropped the ball and forgot to take a picture of my breakfast, but it was pretty much identical to last week’s green smoothie. I also had a mug of herbal tea to take the chill off.

Lunch was more exciting as I put a bunch of vegetables including carrots, golden beets, cabbage and onion in the food processor and made this pretty combination with some avocado and tomato:

Shredded vegetables for a pretty and nutritious salad.

I topped the whole thing with some baby greens, crumbled tempeh, and a new salad dressing made from cilantro, hemp seeds, almond milk, and coconut vinegar:

Herbed Hemp Dressing

Here’s the recipe:

So, my lunch salad looked like this before I dug in:

Lunch salad.

I had some leftover smoothie for dessert:

Green smoothie for dessert.

You already saw what my dinner looked like, but it was a kale salad with a simple dressing of almond butter, red pepper flakes, prunes, raisins, soy milk and lime juice topped with radishes and beans (the dressing was very similar to Chef AJ’s Hail to the Kale recipe):

Kale salad topped with radishes and beans.

I also had a roasted yam with the salad (sorry, unpictured). It was a delicious day of healthy eats and I was satisfied and very happy that I consumed so many vegetables.

Dr. Greger DVD Giveaway:

Before I go, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for two fantastic, informative and entertaining DVDs from Dr. Greger, you can do that here:

Dr. Greger DVD giveaway

I will randomly select a winner this Friday when I will also be back with the most popular recipes from Healthy Vegan Fridays! Have a great rest of your week.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

kimmythevegan March 6, 2013 at 9:26 am

Wow I want a light box now. I’ve actually been trying to plan my picture taking around natural daylight, but it’s getting frustrating as that normally means no dinner-time pictures. Silly.
Loving the challenge =)

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Carrie March 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I am loving the Challenge, too, Kimmy. :)

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Moi Conter La Vie March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

I can’t get enough raddishes right now so these pictures have me salivating. Yum! That’s pretty cool about the lightbox, good to know!

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Jennifer March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

WOW! That light box is AWESOME! I sooooo need one!

LOVE the shade of green in the Cilantro Creation, btw!

My Challenge is going well! I have been finding so much more to blog about, too, and have TONS on tap! I have been eating more raw but also looking into other foods. I am continuing with my world foods as well as others. I have been cooking a few things I never thought I would cook for myself including Cabbage Rolls and Hashbrown Casserole Vegan Style!!! My next goal is Waffles! I know it sounds SMALL and petty but I have never made them before – let alone vegan – I’m going to try it soon!

I have also found a few other challenges I will be participating in, too!

Eventho I am on the FB Group I haven’t been posting there as much as I should…looking forward to connecting with others MORE :)

Thanks for everything!!!!

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Paul @ Padorec March 6, 2013 at 10:38 am

That’s awesome Carrie – I love the motivation from this Healthy Vegan challenge! The salad dressing looks awesome – I’ll be trying that on Saturday after I get some fresh Cilantro from the Farmer’s Market.

Did you make your own coconut vinegar, or do you buy it from elsewhere?

I love that light box – I wish I still had things to take photos of to justify buying one for myself. It certainly beats the pants off of the box I built out of printer paper and tape when I was in college…though that did still work really well :)

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Carrie March 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Hi Paul! I buy the coconut vinegar through Vitacost, the brand is called Coconut Secret. If you’ve never purchased anything through Vitacost, there is a link on my Resources page that will get you $10 off your first order. :)

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Paul @ Padorec March 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Fantastic! I am very familiar with VitaCost – I absolutely love that site!

Thanks for the quick reply!!!

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Patty March 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

Hi Carrie,

I’m new to your blog. I wanted to tell you that I think it’s great, and you are so wonderful and inspirational! I absolutely love your Wednesday food photo journal (and, yes, the new light box works so nicely on your food photos….great job!). I heard of you first via your video interview on Our Hen House, when Jasmin and Mariann came to visit you and Alan, and you made them that amazing looking smoothie. I have to say that your smoothies are works of art!! You inspire me to be more creative and experimental with my own dishes. I, too, am a whole food vegan. My motivation is absolutley animal rights, and that is my passion. But, I also believe so much in the health and environmental benefits, and I’ve personally experienced so many health benefits and improvements since becoming vegan 3 years ago. I am loving your app, Vegan Delish! I just recently made one of your recipes with one of the creamy sauces (the one where you used Saffron, which I didn’t have on hand, so I substituted tumeric) and it was SO good. Keep up the great work. I think you are wonderful, and I love visiting your blog. You do a great job! I really would like more info on what all is in your smoothie, super food, cabinet, if/when you have time. Also, what’s the deal with Vitacost? I just discovered it via your posts…..where are they so less expensive?! I’m not complaining, just curious if you know any scoop. Is it just the volume they deal in? Thank you, and take care! You look beautiful and so happy. Patty H. (Nevada)

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Carrie March 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Hi Patty! Thanks for the awesome message, it really means a lot to me. I’m not sure how Vitacost has such great pricing, but I love that site and do most of my beauty and random food product shopping there. It’s awesome! Jasmin has also asked me to talk more about my smoothie cabinet, so I will make a note to do this. Thanks for the reminder! :)

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Patty March 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thanks, Carrie! I’ll do my first Vitacost order through your resources link soon. I’m having hip surgery soon (labral tear and femoral head impingement), so I have to do a lot to get everything ready at home. I’ll look back at some of your previous posts to see what you did to get your home and food, etc., ready prior to your surgery. Have a great weekend! It’s nice “meeting” you!

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Kara March 6, 2013 at 10:57 am

Love the new pictures!! The old picture makes the beans look almost like grapes!! I am part of the facebook site, but my email account is swamped with posts. Think that I will unjoin the group, and use this as my inspiration! Thank you for the wonderful ideas for food again!!

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Kara March 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

Maybe I won’t unjoin the group. Just read something very inspirational!!! xoxo

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Carrie March 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Glad you decided to stay in the group, Kara! :)

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Michelle R March 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm

(Pun intended!!) Carrie, the light box is illuminating!! What a major difference. Congrats to YOU. Day 10 and I’m doing well too. Some detoxing, and re-arranging of my pantry & refrig. I am travelling on Friday thur Thursday and am anticipating some challenges, did some research and am actually packing canned beans in my suitcase. Thanks for your inspiration!!

Learning & Living ETL, michelle

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Carrie March 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Wow, beans in the suitcase, that’s awesome, Michelle! :) Thanks for the sweet message and safe travels to you.

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Erica March 6, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I just bought a light box, can’t wait for it to arrive. I have heard marvelous things about how much better they can make your photos! :)

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Katherine @ Green Thickies March 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Your photo looks a million times better with the light box. I have a light box on my wish list. It’s so dark here all the day for 6 months of the year and the quality of my photos has really dropped over winter. I thought about building one too but I think it’s much easier just to buy one!

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Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) March 8, 2013 at 4:42 am

The light box looks awesome!! And gives such great results. I purchased a set of photo umbrellas this past year and love them as well. They’re a bit bulky and take SOME time to put together before a photo shoot, but they make the pictures look as if I snapped them in daylight. Love them!

I’ll be checking out this photo box as well! :D

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