Hey friends! How was your weekend? Fairly quiet around here. I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I spent most of the weekend recharging by spending time in my coziest sweats + Patagonia pullover, cuddling with my cat, and watching lots of Netflix. (And got a weeee bit of work done, but it’s hard to work when you’re not feeling well! I take that as a cue from my body that it’s time to shut the laptop and just chill for a while.)
My little sister, Kylee was in Austin from Dallas, so she stopped by my house on Saturday and we spent a few hours together, chatting about our lives, eating Thai food, and watching Gilmore Girls. Typical sister stuff. 😉
On this Monday Chat I’m going to share 5 FAQs that I get from y’all via DMs on instagram, email, or in person!
Monday Chat: 5 FAQs + Answers
1. Are you a full-time blogger?
Nope! It’s pretty clear to tell that if you’re over here reading the blog, but if you’re looking at my instagram account you might not be able to tell.
I have two degrees in violin performance and I play with the Austin Symphony and run my own teaching studio from home.
I put a lot of love and energy into my blog, and as it has evolved over the years, and I now consider it a “side hustle” instead of a hobby. But I’m far from being a full-time blogger.
2. How do you eat so much and not gain weight? (<- I feel weird writing that here, but it’s honestly one of the most-asked questions. I think it’s intended to be asked as a compliment, but it’s also a bit unnerving how much we all assume we have complete freedom to approach anyone about her body image. Just think twice before you send that message to someone, even if you intend it as a compliment; weight loss isn’t healthy in every situation.)
I wrote a whole blog post about this! Click here to read my thoughts all about food blogging + weight gain. My short answer is that I’m pretty tall and have a fast metabolism (thanks for that, dad!) so I can eat a good amount, I rarely finish any restaurant meal (yay leftovers), and I mostly just listen to my intuition when it comes to food. #foodfreedom.
3. Were you born in Austin?
I was born and raised in Dallas, moved to Chicago for about 5 years, and ended up in Austin for grad school at UT (hook ’em!). I HATE the snobbery that native Austinites have when they say, “don’t move to Austin!” Even if it is in jest, it gives off a vibe that everyone who has moved here isn’t of worth, which is completely false.
The crowds of people who are moving to Austin mean lots of traffic and expensive real estate, yes…but they also bring new ideas, restaurants, culture, and beauty. Austin is evolving, and that’s good because it has to evolve to stay alive.
4. I’m visiting Austin next week….where should I eat?!
OMG…so vague, and I get this message ALL the time! Haha! I wish I could create a custom eating plan for every individual who messaged me on instagram, but that could turn into my full-time job! I made this blog post for first-time visitors, and it includes my top choices in 11 different categories.
Also, head to my Austin Index! You can use my custom search engine to search my blog posts by the part of town you’ll be staying in, the type of food you want, and lots of other categories.
5. I’m interested in starting a food blog. What are you best pieces of advice?
Congrats! It’s a blast (really truly) and I’m so glad I’ve decided to dedicate this portion of my life to it. Here are a couple things that would have been helpful for me to hear in my first few months of blogging:
Be prepared to work like it’s a part-time job, and expect to receive no pay for at least the first year. Make sure it’s something you love doing SO much that you’re willing to put 15 hours a week into it for zero dollars. After 12 months, a few checks might roll in, but it’s still a labor of love. (The blogger stories of people who make $1 million/year? They are they .000001%. It’s like saying you want to be a songwriter because you know Taylor Swift is rich, but most songwriters struggle to pay rent.) Do it for LOOOVE!
Photos are everything. Experiment, play, invest, learn to shoot in manual, and figure out how to edit your photos. Blogging and instagram are visual forms of media, and you must have beautiful photos!
Be curious about everything. Read chef memoirs, watch Netflix food documentaries, listen to blogging podcasts, study the styles of bloggers you admire, dive into different food cultures and learn to cook the food, ask questions of your bartender, tour breweries, taste wine, take cocktail classes. Don’t just slap a photo of a burger on Instagram and say “this is a burger, and it was delicious” without knowing anything about it. Talk to the chef who made it, ask her where the beef came from, find out how she prepared it, and question how it compares to that other burger you tried last week. Every minute of your day is a chance to become more of an expert in your field.
If you want your blog to succeed, it can’t really be about you. Everything you write and photograph has to be done for your reader. How are you trying to help them? (And if that sounds boring, you can absolutely create a blog that’s all about recapping the events in your life! Just know that it probably won’t gain as much traction as a blog that’s intended to help others.)
Click here to see all of the “Monday chat” blog posts
That’s all for today! Hope this was at least mildly informative for you. Anything you’d especially like to see on a Monday Chat blog post? Leave a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a message on instagram! Happy Monday to you.