Every time I tell someone that I’m a “full-time food blogger,” they look at me like I just spoke to them in Chinese. Slightly fascinated- yet they have no idea what I just said.
So you write about things? Yeah.
Sooo you take pictures of food? Yeah.
I’ve been following your Instagram…. you get to travel the world? I wouldn’t say THE WORLD, but yah. I get to travel for work.
“Who do you work for?” Myself.
Followed by moments of silence for them to comprehend what I just said. (BTW. These are real conversations )
Becoming a food blogger has opened up so many doors for me. I never thought I’d be featured on the morning news (FOX 2), work with Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina, create video AD content for brands like Postmates, fly around the world with Virgin Atlantic, and so much more.
When I was 22 years old, I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. After I graduated, I spent a year working with my friend Jed, who started a marketing agency specializing in social media for restaurants. During this time, I was managing Facebook and Instagram accounts for places in LA and San Diego. I was reaching out to traditional media, inviting them to come in for a free meal (I thought: “How cool! I’d love to be on the other end of this”).
Fast forward a year later, I moved back up to San Francisco to be closer to my family. Now at 23 years old, I felt motivated more than ever. I thought I wanted to work for a cool company with catered lunches, paid vacations and awesome benefits. I sent out my resume and went on a TON of job interviews in the city. But nothing stuck out to me. I wasn’t “into” any of the companies I interviewed for and I couldn’t see myself there for more than a year.
I didn’t want to build someone else’s dream for the rest of my life. I wanted to build my own.
I wanted to find something I was passionate about. For me, that was food. I LOVE food. In any shape, way or form…. I could eat at any hour of the day. I thoroughly enjoy going out and experiencing new restaurants. I’d prefer going on adventures in new cities Vs spending money on the latest handbag or shoes. That’s my idea of FUN. I believe food brings people together from all walks of life. Food is a way to learn and experience new cultures through your tastebuds. I’m so into it.
So here I was… with a passion for food and trying out new restaurants. Could I make a job out of it?? I know it sounds… uhh… SILLY?
Most people said “NO”. My family didn’t understand. And people laughed behind my back.
CynEats was created in March of 2014. I wanted a place where I could give honest recommendations to all my friends- that were actually relatable. I wanted to provide down-to-earth reviews that made sense to people who don’t cook. Basically, CynEats is my place on the internet for me to be unapologetically myself and write about stuff I care about (food, photography, travel).
My main goal was to build a brand and a business where I could be creative as hell without someone telling me what I could or couldn’t do. A job where I get to make my own rules.
After a few months of blogging from my iPhone, I knew I needed to step up my photography game (confession: I was a terrible food photographer). I reached out to other creatives on Instagram. I bugged people to grab coffee with me so that I could pick their brains. I read everything I could on photography and eventually purchased my first Fuji camera.
It was my goal to become one of the best food photographers in San Francisco. Turns out, I had a knack for photography and flat lays. I never knew I’d enjoy it so much. In fact, I find it extremely therapeutic.
After spending a whole year building my website and social media presence… brands started to notice me. I’ve had some pretty awesome opportunities come my way, which forced me completely out of my comfort zone. I never said “NO” to anything that came across my inbox for the first 2 years- even if I knew it’d be challenging as hell.
So one day, a HUGE brand came to me and said “We love your photos! We’d like you to shoot some photography content for us. Can you send us your RAW files?”
I said, “Of course, I”ll get it done in a week!”. While in my head, I was like: “WTF is a RAW file?!”
So I did more research. I downloaded editing software, and asked friends of friends- even strangers for help. I didn’t sleep. I had a week to figure it out.
And thats how it all began. I kept saying “YES” to anything that came my way. I figured it out. As months went on, I started working with bigger and bigger brands. I kept improving my skills as a content creator.
I’m a firm believer that there is no growth in comfort zones, which is why I’ll never stay there for too long. Routine gets a little boring for me.
Fast forward to today:
While I started off as a food blogger, I now consider myself much more than that.
I started my own agency. I’m a content creator + I’m a full-time photographer + I’m a food stylist+ I’m a videographer + I’m a social media consultant for companies and PR agencies (okay THAT was a mouthful).
Ultimately, I’m able to use CynEats to connect with bigger brands and work on creative campaigns. Some brands include: Hyatt, MTV, Refinery 29, Postmates, UberEats, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Virgin Atlantic, Manchester Tourism Bureau, My/Mo mochi ice cream, W Hotel, Hong Kong Airlines and more.
Besides all of the above, I also have monthly restaurant clients that I manage 24/7. I go on 7- hour photoshoots, eat cold food, and stay up all night editing photos and videos. In between running these clients, the time I have left for myself is focused on “food blogging” and building out my YouTube channel.
Most people only see the curated and filtered content on Instagram. What they don’t see is the missed happy hours, missed birthdays, gym time, me time. My brain literally doesn’t stop going. There’s no “clocking-out” at 5pm every Monday- Friday.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s all been worth it. Every second, every minute of it.
If you come into anything with a passion, then it’ll never really feel like “work, ” and that’s a pretty awesome feeling. You beat to your own drum. Make your own rules, be YOUR own boss. You create whatever it is YOU want to create. And that’s what makes it all worth it!