A brave day needs a brave beginning. A bold life starts with a bold choice. Here’s an intimate look into a day in the life of a food blogger.
This post is a little unusual and the first of its kind on this blog. Today, I’m going to give you an intimate look into what a day in the life of me – a mid-level full-time food blogger – looks like.
But why now, you might ask? I was always a South Indian filter coffee girl, but since becoming a Vegan, I’ve had to look beyond my usual cup to find coffee blends and extraction methods that work best with non-dairy milk. Long story short, I now have 6 different apparatuses (and counting!) to make coffee with and I’m always looking for new blends of coffee to brew in them. Meandering the aisles of Target, my search for the next new coffee brought me to Folgers’ newest, premium coffee brand: The 1850 Brand Coffee. At first it was the packaging that drew me in, but soon, my eyes found the words ‘fire roasted’ on the label. I am a firm believer in that-which-is-touched-by-fire-tastes-infinitely-better. How would fire affect coffee? I had to find out. I picked three of the four roast+ground blends they make from the shelves:
Lantern Glow – Light
Pioneer Blend – Medium
Trail Blazer – Medium Dark
Black Gold – Dark
Note: K-Cup coffee drinkers, they got you covered too and they will also be available in 3 Ready to Drink flavors.
I left the dark roast behind, because having only recently discovered the excitement in medium roast, I’m trying to venture below the dark spectrum of coffee and understand the lighter roasts better.
Savoring the first smooth, bold taste of this unique blend of 1850 Brand Coffee and its intoxicating aroma (enriched a zillion times by fire no doubt), I couldn’t help but reminisce about my life, the path that took me from being a data analyst who blogged 6 times a year as a hobby to a full-time food blogger. Hence this post.
Let’s face it: it’s not like there’s a course one can major in to become a food blogger. Every one of us that are, were all employed in different industries, but somewhere along the way, made a conscious choice to take a creative detour.
At the start of every bold life, is a bold choice that sparked it all. Almost every successful food blogger today, can trace their journey back to that singular day when they resolved to step away from their routine life and venture somewhere new, somewhere bold and unknown. Not unlike J.A. Folger himself, who began making innovating coffee to help prospectors as they headed off in search of fortunes beyond their wildest dreams.
Doing something you love for no money (at the beginning), powering on with only hopes and dreams is tough business. And that is the cornerstone of the world of food blogging. What you build on it, what you make of it, is left entirely upto you.
Here’s what an average shoot day (mine) looks like:
8:00 a.m. I’m not a morning person (never was, never will be), so even though I usually find myself awake before the alarm goes of, I stay in bed, eyes shut, mentally mapping out the rest of the day, recalling my work schedule best I can from memory. When the alarm inevitably goes off, I spend a few minutes going through the notifications on my phone, scanning my calendar to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I amble out of bed to brush and wash up while some Netflix show I’m re-watching for the millionth time plays absentmindedly in the background.
8:30 a.m. This is my favorite part of the day, so much so that it’s almost a sacred ritual. I enter the kitchen to brew my first cup of coffee. I call it my ‘zen time’, because this is the only time of the day when the voices in my head quiet down. I begin by putting the kettle to boil. While the water comes to a boil, I unload the dishwasher. Soon, there is nothing in the world but the sound of hot water, slowly pouring from the kettle into the percolator. The aroma of fresh coffee fills the air and warms the room already warmed from the morning sun.
I grab my cup and find my way to the adjoining sun room with bay windows from which to watch the backyard, birds, trees and flowers in blissful silence. My mind is at peace, there’s just coffee and me – it’s the calm before the storm.
9:00 a.m. It’s show time. I walk into my home office and turn on the computer to reply to emails, send out project proposals and any digital deliverables, issue invoices, track down payments, schedule possible collaborations, etc. As a self-employed one-person business, it falls to me to be every department you’d expect an average company to have. Imagine Bugs Bunny playing all the bases. That’s me all day every day.
On a non-shoot day, this part of the job will usually extend to the rest of the day, but on days when I have a shoot planned, I restrict this to one hour, pause and return to it post-shoot.
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cook, style, shoot the recipe. At the end of this part of my day, my kitchen (and general areas of the home where I even just passed through) looks like it was hit by a hurricane. Where it normally takes one pan to make something, or one plate/bowl to serve it, on shoot days, it takes an average of 3 more. Translate: mountains of dishes. As soon as the last picture is shot, I head over to the computer to edit the pictures, just to make sure everything turned out the way I conceptualized it. Otherwise, I’ll want to reshoot before scrapping down the set, to keep things as seamless as possible in the final photos.
Somewhere in the middle of this mayhem, I might have eaten a quick lunch at my desk (if I remembered to).
4:00 p.m. Before having to clean up the set and undo the hurricane that was me, I hit pause for a caffeine reload. But there is no zen to be had T this time, rather a checkpoint, to make sure I’ve not missed any items on the agenda. Some photo shoots dictate the story for the written content, so if that is the case, then I let the story write itself in my head now.
4:15 – 5:30 p.m. Time to reset the house to sanity, a.k.a. cleanup. Dishes loaded into the dishwasher. Props and backgrounds put away. Any linens used either folded away or thrown into the wash before stains have time to set. Floors swept. Spills wiped. Gear tucked away and batteries charged. The ‘studio’ returns to being a dining room.
5:30 p.m. I am a very clumsy person, so chances are, I’m covered in food stains by now. If you swabbed my camera for organic matter, you’d probably find traces of every food I’ve ever shot. I’m a neat freak in my personal life, but professionally, such a slob. I blame creative license. It’s time for a quick shower.
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. I take a break from work to hustle up dinner. Any meal prep for the following day happens now. My husband and I watch an episode or two of something on Netflix while eating dinner. We clean up the kitchen one last time for the day- I call it ‘kitchen shut down’, leaving it as clean as it possibly could be. I detest waking up to dishes in the sink or a grimy counter. Ruins ‘zen’ time.
8:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Second shift begins. Drafting the post. Updates to graphic design templates, newsletter article, any writing assignments, conceptualizing future shoots, prepping for the next day, filling in schedules, replying to emails, review of analytics, social media posts typed out, etc. All the 9:00 a.m. stuff I didn’t have time to get to is unpaused and resumed. Except now, I have a partner to bounce ideas off and discuss goals and direction. And maybe a (rare) third cup of coffee at 10 p.m. to help me power through.
When it’s time to finally log off ‘work’, I fall asleep browsing Pinterest for visual inspiration.
This is just one variant of what my day looks like – on post publishing dates, the day looks a lot different, with social media posts coming into play. On days when I need to shoot outdoors, there’s a whole new meaning to the word ‘mayhem’ as the confines of my studio are opened out to nature, who can be a fickle friend. Prop sourcing days are different. Background painting days are different. Garden days. Grocery days. Human days. All different, yet weirdly the same.
The majority of the world assumes that food bloggers and other creatives live a life as beautiful as the things they create. They think I cook for 30 minutes, take pictures for 10 minutes and sit back drinking and eating what I cooked in blissful leisure.
The reality isn’t all candy and roses but when you love what you do, the struggles become an integral part of the journey. Whenever the road gets a little rough, it’s natural to look back and see if you can fall back into the familiar comforts of your old life. All you need is a reminder of that brave spark that set you on an uncharted course. And that reminder, to me, comes in many forms: some days it’s the love of family and friends. Some days, it’s the support of peers. Some days, it’s the boldest, strongest cup of coffee in the morning that jolts me into a brand new day.
In 1850 Brand Coffee, I think I found my strongest, most boldest zen-time companion to inspire me to better things. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s possibly the best coffee I’ve ever had!
Everyone needs a jolt of boldness in their lives: Visit Target from 5/20 – 6/30 and take 20% off any 1850 Brand Coffee Product with the Target Cartwheel Coupon (while supplies last).
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and The J.M. Smucker Company, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #1850Coffee #1850CoffeeatTarget http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
As a coffee aficionado who doesn’t do dairy, I would love to see a post on your best finds for coffee prep methods that don’t let you miss milk/creamer.
Tina Dawson says
That is an excellent idea, Mavis. I’m still working my way through non-dairy milks, and I’m taking copious notes on whether or not it fares as a good substitute for dairy. Once I’m done, I’ll publish my findings. So far, almond milk seems to be working best for me ( Califia Farms Almond Milk, unsweetened).
Sandhya Hariharan says
I am in love with this post!! You have elaborated what a typical Food Blogger/ photographer’s day looks like! My schedule is kind of ditto, except I have got a school runs in the morning till 9am and then again in the afternoon between 2.30-5!
Second innings of the day is my standard time 🙂
Tina Dawson says
Moms who are bloggers are basically super sheroes without capes, Sandhya!!!
Rebecca | Let's Eat Cake says
Gorgeous photos! And it’s amazing how much work goes into a post, isn’t it? 🙂
Tina Dawson says
We should all educate people who think all we do is cook something for 15 minutes and snap pictures in 5!
Bharathi Ranganathan says
Awesome post Tina 🙂 Loved reading it especially the cook, style and shoot part! True about the number os dishes, vessels used and the hurricane too 🙂
Tina Dawson says
Thanks Bharathi!!!! The hurricane hits us all, doesn’t it?? 😀
Priya @currynation says
From insta to the blog 🙂 i LOVE your blog.. i enjoy reading your posts.. how are your doing today??/
have a great day ahead!
Tina Dawson says
Priyaaa!!!! So happy you’re here!!!! I am doing great, and I hope you’re having an awesome day as well!
Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife says
As a fellow food blogger, I love this post! I always tell people about the mountain of dishes and how long it really takes to craft one post from start to finish – and the massive promo work after 🙂 Your photos are stunning, and I love the branding on this coffee. I’m in Target all the time and have never seen it. Must scope it out later today – thanks!
Tina Dawson says
OMG this coffee is the best of my Target finds and that is saying something! The coffee is so spot-on bold and rich and absolutely perfect! Grab like every bag in the asiles!
Sarah Newman says
Wow–what interesting insight into the day of a food blogger! Thanks for sharing your process and giving a behind the scenes look into all your hard work. You’re awesome!
Tina Dawson says
Oh Sarah, thank you so much for your kind words!
Jenni LeBaron says
I love the new design on their bags! This sounds like a great way to keep you fueled throughout the day!
Tina Dawson says
I don’t think they’ve re-labelled, rather introduced a new line/brand of coffee. DO check it out!