Behind the Blogger Spotlight: That Girl Cooks Healthy. After a month-long hiatus due to holidays, family death and computer crashes we are back to our regularly scheduled Sunday interviews. Here, to start us off is Charlene. This very well spoken young woman has some very interesting things to say about blogging! Reading her answers was like a breath of fresh air on a spring Sunday morning. In fact, we added a new sub category to Ethnic and Regional category – Caribbean Cuisine because we realized that we have several bloggers who specialize in this area and there was a need to showcase it. See? We listen to our bloggers.
I know you will enjoy her pearls of wisdom about blogging as well as getting to know her in general. Let’s get started.
THAT GIRL COOKS HEALTHY FACE BOOK PAGE
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THAT GIRL COOKS HEALTHY ON PINTEREST
THAT GIRL COOKS HEALTHY ON INSTAGRAM
THAT GIRL COOKS HEALTHY ON GOOGLE+
ALL OF THAT GIRL COOKS HEALTHY ON YUM GOGGLE
How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging for almost two years now.
Why do you blog?
The core reason why I blog is because I have an invested passion in health and enjoy cooking. I started blogging as a way to raise awareness about healthy eating and at the same time showcase my existing skills. I would often subscribe to foodie bloggers and have nothing but sheer admiration for their work. I subconsciously wanted to do the same thing but didn’t know where to begin. I remember making a pact with myself that I would set up a WordPress account in February 2014 and from there I never looked back. It’s the best decision I ever made and have no regrets at all.
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
It’s funny you should ask this question because not many people ask about the origin of my website name. I had two website names in mind – That Girl Cooks Healthy or Kick Ass Babe in the Kitchen. I ended up choosing the former name because I’m the girl who likes to create healthy meals (well as healthy as can be). Although the term healthy is subjective. I feel an important aspect of eating habits is to cook meals from scratch where total control over health is ensured.
What do you wish that you had done early on with your blog that you didn’t understand until later?
I wish I had purchased my DSLR as soon as I started blogging as I spent the first 6 months taking pictures that were low quality in a poorly lit environment. As a consequence, this resulted in re-shooting a bulk of recipe pictures. Another thing I wish I had done in the initial stages of blogging was to reach out for help and join more support groups. Blogging is fun but can also be very lonely especially if your family/friends don’t quite comprehend what you’re doing. Making friends online via social groups is a great way to connect with like-minded people that will keep you sane throughout your journey.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
My advice to new bloggers would be start out slowly and choose your niche wisely. Food blogging is saturated at present so it is important to stand out from the crowd. Refining your niche will help to capture the attention of your target audience and met their needs. The competition will be much lower when you specialize in a chosen area.
Another tip, be passionate about food blogging, again food blogging is enjoyable but behind the scenes it can be very draining at times especially during the first year where you’re attempting to establish your brand and gain exposure. This brings me onto my next point, make sure you LOVE what you’re doing, if not you will quickly fold and quit blogging. Another thing, don’t expect to be a foodie celebrity overnight or earn mega bucks, this all takes time and effort on your part and perseverance is key.
Reach out to food bloggers, you can do this in many different ways – support groups for foodies, sending an email directly to food bloggers (don’t be offended if they don’t respond, many are simply inundated with requests). Blogging is hard work but should be fun, the journey won’t be easy but your passion will shine through. Lastly, be patience with building your brand, be realistic with your expectations, have a few people within your circle to bounce ideas to/from and promote your work via social media so people know who you are and the results will slowly manifest.
What is your favorite recipe on your blog and why?
Oh, I love them all…….just kidding…that’s a very tough question……let’s see. I would probably go with my Caribbean rendition of paella. I actually entered a culinary competition where I was the runner up. When I shared this recipe via social media the response was phenomenal. A few people tried the recipe and emailed me saying they loved it. Based on the feedback, photography and ranking in the competition this has to be my favourite recipe to date.
Name a few of your favorite blogs
As a Caribbean food blogger I tend to focus on other Caribbean bloggers as I don’t feel Caribbean food is fully represented. They are:
Healthier Steps, and
Whitty Paleo who does some great paleo recipes.
If you were a fruit or vegetable, which would it be and why?
I would probably be a coconut because there isn’t a day that goes by without me drinking some coconut milk. I usually incorporate some into my smoothies – all homemade and the taste is AH-MAZING!
Favorite band or singer?
I have SO many, I will go with a contemporary artist Kendrick Lamar.
10. Favorite movie?
11. Anything else you would like to share about your blog – please feel free to write as much or as little as you want!
I would like to add a little more information about my blog, so as you already know why blog is called That Girl Cooks Healthy. I specialize in creating recipes that omit both gluten and dairy, also as my heritage is Caribbean it’s certainly not uncommon to find healthy adaptations of island food. I am very passionate about health – I want every single person who I reach to become empowered. My blog is all about teaching you how easy it is to create awesome recipes around dietary restrictions. I care about my readers and want nothing but the best for them. I strive to provide recipes that are wholesome, tasty while embracing my Caribbean roots.
My next project that I am working on is to complete my healthy Caribbean cookbook.