April 28, 2017
What do you do for a living? I would say I do two things. Right now for my day job, I do marketing for a real estate company. In addition to that, I have a food travel blog called World is my Menu, which has pretty much become my second other full time job. I have always really enjoyed taking pictures, so my blog was a way that I could share with people the best places to eat, drink, and travel in any given location. Right now its very Instagram focused, but I’m working on expanding the blog section by reading other people’s suggestions, getting out and trying new restaurants, visiting new places and sites, and then letting people know my opinion.
What compelled you to start this particular blog? When I was living in San Diego, I worked for three years at the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside as a marketing coordinator, so marketing has always been my specialty. Through my work, I enjoyed using social media and discovering the connections one can make through those channels. At that time, I was trying to figure out what my next step was and what kind of job I wanted and what I wanted to do with my life that I would enjoy doing. I realized that I’d always enjoyed taking pictures. Ever since I was 12 years old, and went to Mexico with my grandparents. I remember I came back with pictures of every single meal we had, and my mom said, ‘All you did was eat!!’ And I like to say that because I’ve been doing this since I was little. Because I loved talking pictures of my food and traveling, I tried to think of something I could do that worked in any location because I didn’t want it to be restrictive to only a San Diego audience. I wanted whatever I created to be able to expand to any audience, in any place. And that’s how I came up with the idea of World Is My Menu.
Because you live in Colorado, is that where your blog is focused on mostly? Yes, and no. Obviously, Colorado is my home base, so I spend a lot of time here. I have been fortunate to create a lot of relationships here, so in terms of being able to share with people new restaurants in the Denver area, or the best places to go, I have a little bit more of an insight here than maybe some other places currently. However, as I move forward, I want to be able to share that same insight in any given location.
What gave you the confidence to actually launch your blog? Around the time I was trying to figure out what my next step in life was going to be, I knew that I was ready for something new. My idea really just started out by creating an Instagram account, making sure that no one else had the name, filling out the trademark stuff, buying the domain, and creating all of the other social media accounts. From there, I posted a picture on July 29, 2015 at the Padres game on National Hot Dog Day and just kept posting pictures as I went to and tried different places.
What is your vision for the blog? My goals have always been very large. I remember when I first created the blog, and even to this day, the goal is to be on Good Morning America. I am very active in attempting to increase my followers on Instagram and reach new people. Through my own personal passion and life plans, I’ve had the incredible ability to post pictures from a lot of different places all across the United States and abroad. The ultimate goal would be for this to become my full time job, and the opportunity to do this for the rest of my life, because it’s what I love to do.
Do you constantly reevaluate your goals? If you think about any business strategy, it’s something that you need to go back to consistently. Sometimes there is not enough time to look at your goals day in and day out, but I definitely think its important to write them down and keep them fresh in your mind. As I have grown through the experience of creating the blog, back to when I was initially just posting pictures on Instagram and trying to engage people, to when I moved to Denver and reached the 10k follower range, my goals shifted considerably. They went from how I could try new food at different restaurants and let people know about my opinions, to more of how I could provide my readers with the inside story. How I might be able to talk to the chef and ask him why he created the dish that he did, or why they decided to open up a storefront in Denver and what their goals are within the community. The next phase of my blog has been about the ability to share the insider story.
What’s the biggest thing that you have learned by creating this blog? Right off the top of my head I would say that you really have to put yourself out there, and I’m definitely still learning how to do that. I would consider myself an extrovert and I have no problem talking to anyone in a crowd, but when you’re the person in a restaurant with a flashlight on your food, a real camera and you’re taking a ton of pictures, it definitely puts you in the spotlight. It’s being able to own that and say yes I have a food blog and this is who I am, or even going a step further and asking to meet and introduce myself to the chef. I’m still learning to put myself out there in that way, but I think it is so important.
A lot of people struggle with putting themselves out there, what tips would you give them? Two things. It can only benefit you. I think to myself, if I don’t introduce myself to the chef now, I’m probably never going to have the opportunity again to hear what they have to say and share it with other people. There truly are only good things that can come from me putting myself out there. The other thing, which I think is very applicable, is a question that has always stuck with me, and that is ‘When is the last time you tried something new?’ I try to implement this everyday, whether it’s by trying a new type of food that I’ve never had before, or if its going to an event by myself. Be okay with trying it at least one and going from there.
How has your life changed in the last year because of this experience? When we started this conversation, I said I really have two full time jobs, a year ago, I definitely didn’t have two full time jobs. Also, just last week I had three events that I went to, an opening of a speakeasy, an Acai place that is expanding nationwide, and a new restaurant opening in Denver. These experiences, and being able to try all the things on the menu, is something that I would never have had the opportunity to do before I started my blog.
Do you feel like you have to make any sacrifices to make your blog work? Not really, the good thing is that I usually get to include a guest when I go out to a new restaurant or place. It’s kinda become my social life. And when I don’t get to include a guest, it usually means that they have invited 30 other media people in the Denver area, who I’ve been lucky enough to get to know over the past two years. It has definitely expanded my social sphere and network. The connections that I have made have been incredible. I recently went to Thailand and had spoken to a communications director at an event I had previously attended who mapped out an entire itinerary and gave me recommendations for places to see and try. I’m so grateful for those connections, because I would never have gotten that a year ago.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? Go to a foreign country. The experience of seeing where other people live, understanding how other people perceive you, and your culture is so important. It makes a significant difference on your outlook on life.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever been? I keep going back to Hong Kong, its one of my favorite places I’ve ever been.
Partners in Health
Also I would recommend the book ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World’ by Tracy Kidder which is a biographical portrait of one of the founders of Partners in Health; Dr. Paul Farmer.
Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside
What is something that you wish you had started doing earlier? World is my Menu, I know that sounds like a really obvious answer, but I only started my blog less than two years ago. I wish I had started it before I traveled to Bali or Hong Kong, or even when I lived in Sonoma county. It’s just become such a big part of my life, that its hard to imagine why I didn’t start it earlier.
Who has been your biggest inspiration? I would say my mom. My mom got her PhD when she was juggling both a superintendent and principal job, she worked full time in college, while taking a full course load. She is someone who is always giving 200% all of the time. From a practical standpoint, I think that she has really motivated and inspired me to do more.
What would you like to learn in the next year? I have been contemplating two things. I would love to learn another language which would be applicable to the next country that I visit, and/or I would love to take sommelier course.
What is your philosophy for life? Everything is on purpose. I find myself saying that phrase a lot, because its true. The good, the bad, everything all falls into place, and although it doesn’t always feel like that, I always go back to that.
May 07, 2017