Good morning! How was your weekend? It felt glorious to get out of the city and do something good. As I mentioned last week I volunteered to assist with Farm Aid‘s annual event, a benefit concert that works to support small family farms through funding and really more so educating the public on why we need these farms that grow quality food in a sustainable fashion. These are the farmers taking care of our land through farming, not flooding it with chemicals. If you know me, you know this is something that is near and dear to my heart and why I take shopping at the farmer’s market so seriously. These farmers are facing all sorts of political and economic pressures, and it felt good to do something truly active to support this cause. Plus it didn’t hurt getting to see Dave Matthews perform. Swoon!
Now, the blog. First off, you are awesome. The feedback I received from the survey was incredible. And the cool thing? We are all on the same page! You want food, you want the dets on where to eat and what to do in NYC, you want to know how I started my business (from soup to nuts), and you want more on blogging- how I grew this blog and what I recommend to newbie bloggers. I have covered some of these topics before, especially the latter two (here & here), but I’ll be getting back into them. On the food, I hear you on the recipes! And especially those of you who want more full meals. I’m working to get as many to you as possible. In order to do that, food will likely switch to the middle of the week. Monday was proving to be a bit of a challenge for me, so look out for food posts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the next few weeks.
Beyond that, it’s clear you have some general questions about my life- everything from my daily routine, to how I stay in shape and handle my taxes. It became clear as day that I need an FAQ section! So grab your coffee and cozy up, I’ve answered the most asked questions below,and will also be storing those answers up in the sidebar. I will be diving into most of these further over the next few weeks/months. If you have one you really want to hear about or other general qs- let me know in the comments!
Where should I eat and what should I do in Manhattan and Brooklyn? I created a Williamsburg food guide that shared 10 of my favorite spots to eat in my neighborhood. The second portion of that guide will be coming out at the end of September. In early October I’ll start sharing behind the scenes profiles of my favorite spots in the city (in Brooklyn and beyond). In terms of what to do, look out for posts like this and follow along on instagram! I’m always sharing where I’m eating and what I’m doing in the city there.
How do you stay in shape? While extremely flattered by this question, know that I don’t have one fix all solution and often ask friends or bloggers I follow the same question. For me I’ve found eating a primarily clean diet (i.e. very little to zero processed foods) with a limited amount of meat, and exercising 3-4 times per week with a focus on strength training are what work for me. Some weeks I don’t make it to the gym at all, and some weeks I eat horribly. This often leaves me feeling pretty crappy and motivates me to get back on the wagon. On a daily basis, I try to eat as many vegetables, drink a ton of water, and limit my sugar intake (something I just started doing thanks to the suggestion of a friend and it’s making me feel insanely good).
How did you grow your blog? What are your best tips for new bloggers? Big picture, it’s been a focus on creating truly original content (posts like this), consistently maintaining that level and quality of content (which has lead to some super helpful press), and networking with other bloggers. More tips can be found here and each subsequent post I write about this will be linked to on the FAQ page.
How do you balance work and life? I try to maintain pretty strict hours in front of the computer (8 am to 6:30/7 or so), make time for exercise, enjoy an iPhone free home cooked meal with my boyfriend every night, and take at least one day on the weekend where we get away from our computers and explore a new part of the city.
What do you do outside of blogging and cooking? I love working out and try to make that a priority. I love listening to podcasts or cozying up on the couch for my favorite shows (Breaking Bad, Scandal, Homeland, The Newsroom, Nashville, and Glee), and I usually have a book on my Kindle (currently reading this) and a stack of magazines to get through. Other than that, I love exploring the city and living life like a tourist on the weekends!
How did you start your business and grow it over time? Big picture- network, network, network. This post shares my career history and how I got to where I am today, and this post and this post go into more detail on networking. I’ll be revisiting this topic in the fall of 2013.
How do you handle taxes, health insurance, etc? Look out for a post on this in October 2013!
What’s your daily routine like? I wake up around 7:30 and get to work around 8 am. Some days I’m at home all day, working on client projects until about 6:30/7 pm. Other days I’m running around the city to meetings and sneaking into coffee shops with internet to stay on top of email when I can. I’ll workout in the late mornings or over lunch on the days I’m home all day, and in the evenings on the days I’m out and about. I start dinner around 7:30, eat around 8 pm, do a little more blog work after dinner, and try to relax with TV or a book before bed. By 11 pm, I’m completely beat and crawling into bed!
How do you make ends meet living in an expensive city and working for yourself? There’s sort of no one way to answer this, but for me it was about figuring out how much money I needed to live the kind of life I wanted and then working furiously to achieve that number, being extremely intentional about my purchases (I don’t shop a ton and only buy things I truly need and love, and will use for a long time), and removing excess from my life- which means spending on the things that really matter to me. I’ll shell out $37.00 for a Soul Cycle class because it’s worth it to me, but I rarely eat lunch out and we don’t have cable. It’s all about balance. In addition, before I ventured out on my own I made sure I had enough savings built up to support myself for several months in case I struggled to find work.
How did you learn to photograph food? Can you do more photography posts? Largely trial and error, and some Photoshop tricks. I also highly recommend this book. I’d love to do more posts, but at this time I don’t really feel comfortable speaking at length on the subject since I’ve simply learned by doing. There are other amazing tutorials online- definitely check those out!
Will you share more ethnic food recipes? This blog is meant to be a reflection of what I’m actually making in the kitchen, hence my style of cooking. While I love ethnic food, I prefer to eat it out and don’t make it at home too often. I may venture more into this category in the coming months, but if I do, the recipes will be pretty basic.
That’s about it! Like I said, more details to come on all of the above- and be sure to let me know if you have any more specific questions about my life, work, etc. Would be thrilled to answer them.