Bicoastal+ Everyday Entrepreneurs

IMG_3901

Thrilled to share with you my interview for Bicoastal+.  It’s being featured on the site under their “everyday entrepreneurs” series. I answer all kinds of questions from “When did you decide to turn your love of food into a business?” to “What has been your proudest moment or milestone with your blog?” to ” If you were a food, what would you be and why?”

Below is a taste of my interview. If you’re hungry for more check out the full interview here. While you’re there be sure to check out their full range of articles that’ll keep you in the know, coast to coast.

 

>> Any advice to hopeful bloggers? Food bloggers specifically?<<

1. Be yourself & make it your own. (easier said than done)

2. Don’t get intimidated by the massive amounts of other blogs out there. It’s so easy to get caught up and be comparative, but try to look at it through a lens of inspiration.

3. Go to conferences. There are so many amazing ones available to bloggers of any genre. They are life changing on so many different levels. And they’re usually in really rad cities.

4. Link up on the local level. Reach out to local bloggers in your area. Get together… like, in person. It makes a huge difference & who knows, you might make a life-long friend… like I did. :)

5. Live your life and let your blog be the reflection… not the other way around.

6. Never stop learning or having fun. Seriously. If it stops being fun, it’s time to take a break or switch gears.

7. If it scares you, it’s worth it. Own it and go for it. People appreciate honesty & authenticity way more than someone who only shares the highlight reel of their lives.

8. NETWORK! Lift other bloggers up. The community of bloggers I’ve gotten to know and be apart of is so wonderful in that sense. There’s no competition (well, only a little healthy competition), just virtual high fives and words of affirmation.

Restaurant Review // Le Parc Bistro

leparcbistro
The food culture in this little (or not so little) town is growing by leaps and bounds every year. I’ve worked in the service industry here, North Carolina and abroad on and off for the past 10+ years. And lets face it I’ve been a patron of restaurants of all ends of the spectrum since I was old enough to be wedged in a highchair. So I think it’s fair to say I know a thing or two when it comes to restaurants…in general. Who knows, one of these days I may grow a pair (pardon the image) and actually open my own brainchild restaurant…pipe dreams people.

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of checking out one of the newest spots in town. Le Parc Bistro is a French inspired bistro located in downtown Frederick, MD. Below you can see how it scored on the infamous rubric, but first here’s a couple of nuggets to chew on that I noticed right away & a few photos to wet your appetite.

  • the ambiance instantly feels French, and if you’ve been to France you know exactly what I mean. it’s no frills or fuse; just clean, welcoming, comfortable and filled with mouth-watering aromas.
  • if you’re indecisive you may be in trouble. when perusing the menu it’s hard to decide on what to order, because it all sounds good. this is a good thing.
  • two words : duck poutine. #must
  • the bathroom feels like Julia Child decorated it herself.
  • I kinda wish the wait staff had arrogant French accents. what, a girl can dream.

leparcdiningroom

leparcshrimpbisque

leparcsalad

leparccremebrulee

from top to bottom: main dining area looking in from the bar area, shrimp bisque topped with puff pastry (drool), salade lyonnaise lardons, poached egg, frisée, w/a dijon vinaigrette, classic creme brûlée

 

leparcbistroresturantreview

 

207 West Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21701
2406513199

like them on FB & check it out for yourself.
I deem it totally…deelightful ;)

Thursday Things

oh hi.

it’s been a while since the last time I threw random thoughts at you. lets be honest, it’s been a while since I consistently posted anything. [truth booth time] why? eh ya got me. life’s busy, but that’s the norm. but really why the lack in bloggy engagement on my end? it’s something I’ve really been pondering lately. truth is I feel like lately I’m focused on living more in the present and really being…present. it’s a good feeling and something that takes a conscious effort for an over planner like me. I also feel like while being [namaste] present I’m becoming better at enjoying the moment rather than putting pressure on myself to capture the moment to share later. brutiful authenticity is what I’m after these days. however lately when the opportunity arises to share my things on this little corner of the interwebs, I have to admit I feel a little rusty. like wait. how do I do this again? one step at a time. pinky toe first. eek.

that being said…I do miss this. writing it all out. getting it all out. I always tell my students to just begin and let it flow from their heads/hearts through finger tips whenever they’re feeling stuck or like their word well has run dry. time to practice what I teach. just let it go…I mean flow.

what-ifs. what-ifs are the demon voices that creep and crawl their way into our malleable little brains. ok I know anytime anyone mentions voices, it sounds little funny-farmish. but we all have them. so relax. sometimes the what-ifs are small and stupid and come through in a whisper. “what-if I waste great hair on an insignificant day?” “what-if I hit snooze for the 7th time?” “what-if I add guac to my Chipotle burrito bowl?” but sometimes the what-ifs are bold and boisterous. they shout at you and make your head snap back like you’re experiencing Beyonce whiplash [it’s a thing. I speak from experience].”what-if he does what the others have?” “what-if I’m taken for granted?” “what-if I’m not enough?” “what-if they don’t take me seriously?” “what-if I’m too vulnerable?” “what-if they’re hiding something?” “what-if my gut is right?” “what-if I’m not living up to my potential?”

those what-if voices are usually jerks. rarely are they saying things like, “what-if I win the lottery today?!” or “what-if everyone freaking falls in the love with me?”. if you have those what-if voices, you get two high fives…to the face. because either you’re floating around on some sort of mind-altering happy pills and probably need to sit the eff down or you’re so delusional about your own self perception you deserve a 10 to the face.

not to worry there’s a happy medium. a place where you can see-saw between the whispers and telling the a-hole ‘what-ifs’ to lock it up! because here’s the thing, the what-ifs and the could-haves (what-if’s BFF) will eat your brain. they say not to let your past dictate your future but when you’ve been hurt, battered, bruised, and crushed in the past especially when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s hard not to let those voices pump up the volume. as I get older and experience more heartache, and let downs, and betrayal, and vindictive maneuvers, these voices become more and more noticeable. but I realize not only am I listening less and less but I’m also not letting those what-ifs and could-haves take control [ah ha! the therapy is working]. sure there’s fear and doubt and anxiety about repeat hurtful performances. why do you think those voices are there in the first place? to protect yo-self fool! your brain knows it’s a harsh – sometimes all too real world out there. we subconsciously protect ourselves when it comes to our livelihoods and our emotions in the same instinctual way we protect our bodies and loved ones [aka cell phones] during moments of adrenaline-filled panic. and for that reason these voices should not be completely ignored, because then you’re just flying blind. and thats stupid. however, keeping them in line will allow you peace and the freedom to live a life that is full. full and open to all of the things. the pain and the joy, the lessons, the laughter, the passion and the heartache, the let downs and the totally cliche moments that take your breath away. we’re all on this journey together, but each path is hand carved on our own. hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. we wouldn’t take the leaps of faith that help to shape our lives if we could always see the next step in front of us.

and remember…

2611591045f578fa1b8e41071076ccef
 

so lets live [a lot] and learn [beyond measure].

m4s0n501

Minted.

I have a thing for stationary. Always have, always will. Probably stems from my grandmother’s love of cards and hand-written notes. Nowadays snail mail is such an unexpected treat that it truly makes my day when I get it. With everything happening so instantaneously–all day everyday, the notion that someone would take time to mail me something is just so stop-you-in-your-tracks thoughtful.

I tell you this so it’s no surprise when I say that I’ve been a Minted. fan since their birth in 2007. They’ve always had the most beautiful, customizable cards and stationary. But here’s the thing, they’ve really evolved. Why? Because they had to….

aboutus_mariam
The company held its first “design challenge” in 2008, a save-the-date card design competition that attracted 66 entries. Initially, the company balanced its crowd-sourcing approach by also carrying stationery brands, almost failed, and was panned by the media. Naficy raised $11 million in cash to last through seven years of operation, brought the company to cash-flow break-even with a lean team by 2012, then raised a first large funding round in 2013. 
Tens of thousands of design and art entries later, the company has expanded into the art business and the home décor business and its products have reached 40 million homes. The company is backed by Benchmark Capital, IDG Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners, and has raised $90 million in capital. LinkedIn named Minted as one of 2014’s 10 Most In-Demand Start-Ups among job seekers. Naficy was named one of the 25 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company in 2013. 

So that brings us to the present and me getting to know my beloved Minted. through a whole new lens…art & home decor. Swoon. Once again here’s company building a platform for independent artists. You can always categorize those types of companies under, things I adore. I took a look around on their site recently and I have to [have to!] share with you all some of my favorite finds. Take a look for yourself. Their collections are vast but easy to browse. Take a minute and scroll…I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. How exactly does it work? Whose art gets chosen? Find out more about the entire process here.

MIN-3E3-GNA-007_B_APZ
 

 

This first piece is called “Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge.” Did you say Brooklyn?
Sold.

MIN-7YN-GNA-007_A_APZ

This piece feels like a morning yoga practice.
calm & content

MIN-L96-GNA-007_A_APZ

 Typography is my jam. This rocks.

MIN-AIS-GFA-007_A_APZ

Gold Foiled Goodness

MIN-QYJ-GNA-007_A_APZ

this abstract ‘sunrise and sunset’ piece is just worldly-beautiful.

These pieces are just a sprinkling of gems this site has to offer. The amount of affordable, intriguing, independently created creative art is kind of overwhelming…in a good way. Did I mention you can purchase a custom frame to accompany your print? Yep. You can. And you will, because who doesn’t like making things easier? Ok enough from me. Check out Minted. art marketplace and let me know what you think!

please note: I was compensated for this post …
however all opinions and thoughts  are my own.