Good Morning, friends! It’s time for Coffee Talk.
As you may have seen on one of my recent posts on Instagram, I asked you guys to send in questions – questions on ANYTHING – that I would answer openly and honestly along with my morning coffee over the weekend. Not only is it a great way for us to get to know each other better, but it gives me the opportunity to see what you’re truly dying to know and gear more content toward that.
Is it details about how to start a blog? What filters I’m using on my photos? What camera equipment I would recommend for those just starting out? Hair and makeup tricks?
Inquiring minds are dying to know, and I’m beyond excited to give you the scoop! Feel free to leave more of your questions in the comments below and if this is something you’d like to see more of, because I know I’m really loving it.
Without further adieu, let’s dig into the questions you sent my way this week (side note: some of you are seriously hilarious)…
What is your favorite cheat meal in Chicago?
Loved this question, and let me tell you, it’s an easy answer! My favorite cheat meal is always and will forever be, Coalfire Pizza. Their whipped ricotta and pepperoni pizza is the thing that late night cravings and food dreams are made of. I’ve written about them previously, here, and recently broke a 21-day vegan cleanse by RUNNING (not walking) to Coalfire’s front door.
How did you decide to start your blog?
Well, it’s no secret that I love eating, cooking, traveling and fashion… but, what may be a secret is that back in the day I was way into Yelp and writing reviews on their crowd-sourced review site. I must have logged almost a thousand reviews there! I really loved having it as a resource I could go back and refer to when I wanted to remember that great Thai restaurant I found… or the best date night spots I had bookmarked. Unfortunately, over time I felt that Yelp wasn’t giving me enough control of the content I wanted to post and my room for growth was a bit limited. What if I wanted to write about fashion or home décor? Well, with the gentle encouragement and – at times – strong persuasion of a few friends, Her Tasty Life was born. I decided to just go for it and create a single-user home for everything I love and wanted to share. I figured if it was interesting, folks might come and want to stick around for awhile.
What are your favorite spots in your new ‘hood? (I recently moved to the West Loop neighborhood in Chicago)
I’ve been doing a TON of exploring since moving into the ‘hood and have found several favorites thus far. The West Loop has no shortage of great restaurants, in fact, it’s known for it and I’m making great use of the tasty landscape. A few favs have been MAD Social for amazing brunch, Monteverde for progressive Italian, Cold Storage for a great seafood lunch, and Cone for cool ice cream flavors in crazy, inventive cones.
What are your must have beauty products?
Awesome! I did do a post on this exact topic a little while back here, but have also found a few new items I love since then as well. I’ve been incorporating this L’Oreal Magic Skin Anti-Redness BB Cream into my daily regimen (thanks, Everything Erica!) prior to my foundation application to create an INSANELY smooth, flawless base. I’ve also been pretty devoted to matte lipsticks lately and a few of my ride-or-die favs are MAC Honey Love, Stila Liquid Lipstick in Bellissima and Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Pure Hollywood.
How do you partner with some of the places and products you feature?
This one is really a mixed bag and depends… sometimes brands will reach out to me directly and ask if I would be open to featuring them, other times I’ll reach out to a brand I have a particular affinity for and see if they’d be open to a partnership with me. There are also sites that team up brands with influencers like Popular Pays and Fohr Card that do a great job of aligning retailers and lifestyle brands with likeminded bloggers — I lean on those partnerships the most, I’d say. I always want to stay as true to my likes and tastes as possible and will generally shy away from partnerships that don’t embody the feel and vibe of Her Tasty Life.
How do you shoot the scenes for your blog?
I always schedule my shoots ahead of time and block out a nice chunk of the day when light is at its optimum (providing it will cooperate). That is typically at sunrise, just before dusk (aka the magic hour) and indoors between 1-3pm filtered through a nice window. Since 99% of the time I’m shooting fashion outdoors and food indoors, I really have to time things just right to get the best light to help my photography look its best. Lighting is really the key to great imagery and I always recommend you shoot using natural light, facing toward it and using natural filters like windows or walls that light bounce off of. Harsh, direct sun is not your friend.
How do you stay thin; it seems you eat a lot of decadent food. I’d love to know your diet and wellness regimen?
I do get this question a lot. From the outside, it does look like all we bloggers do is eat, eat, eat. On occasion, that may be the case, but for the most part I’m only attending food events 2-3x max per week and the rest of my daily meals are balanced, healthy and home-cooked. I’m a big fan of smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch and a protein + veggie combo for dinner when not dining out. Typically those meals don’t make it onto Instagram – LOL – but it’s very important to impart balance and moderation, at least for me. I’m also a pretty serious Flywheel addict and incorporate at least 3 classes per week into my routine.
When making a reservation, what’s the best way to let restaurants know that we have an IG foodie account without coming across like some obnoxious, millennial asshat?
Yes, that was a real question, and yes, I couldn’t wait to answer it. This is a two part answer for me. The first part is… I don’t. I love being able to experience restaurants completely anonymously and without the pressure of being watched or catered to specifically. Sometimes it’s nice to be an average Joe while dining out. However (here comes the second part), the only way I think you can ‘name drop yourself’ with any subtlety is to make a reservation on OpenTable using your blog name or IG related email address. It’s probably a relatively obvious ploy, but the restaurant may appreciate the heads’ up your giving them that you’ll be in the house that night.
That’s it for Coffee Talk, I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to leave any of your burning questions below and I’ll be sure to feature them next round.