Food and the City | a millennials guide to food, fashion, and life.

May 18, 2016

The #PERIODSHOP with U by Kotex

Nowadays, it seems that it's only once in a blue moon that a great idea presents itself. One of those great ideas that I recently had the honor to experience was The Period Shop hosted by U by Kotex.

It all started with Sarah M., who was frustrated to learn that there has never been a store dedicated to women and their periods. There are specialty stores that sells 55 different organic cheeses, and shops that cater to men and their grooming needs, but periods? Nope. Nada. Nothing. After Sarah put out a message for someone to make this happen, U by Kotex stepped to the plate and teamed up with her to make it a reality. 
I had the pleasure of visiting the store twice last week, and experience this groundbreaking way to look at our periods first hand. After all, why the heck are we so shy about this?? It's probably the most natural thing that our kick-ass female bodies can do. Well, besides have the strength to squeeze tiny human beings out of ourselves...but we need our periods to be able to do so! Just remember that the next time some dude gets squeamish when you start talking about Aunt Flow. Kindly say "you're welcome." and carry on with your bad self.

The entire store streamed female empowerment. From a marker-friendly wall that allowed women write what their period was to them, to neon says that said "go with your flow" and "treat yoself." By the time my visit as the period shop was up, the wall you see above was fillllled with hysterical ways that people were describing their periods. My personal fav was "my red headed BFF". Now that's embracing your flow. I'm pretty sure I added "raging bitch" on one of the lines, but I won’t fully confirm or deny that.

May 16, 2016

10 Cauliflower Recipes That Are Better Than Sex

I've been on an insane cauliflower kick lately. It all started a few weeks back when I found pre-packaged riced cauliflower at Trader Joe's, and my life was forever changed. I used to be (actually, I still am) one of those people that was terrified to ever rice a cauliflower in the hopes to replace one of my favorite carbs. I would stare my grater in the eye every time, and every time the grater won. I would slowly back away from the cabinet after putting it away. It intimidated me, and I'm not sure why.

Now that I've found this pre-riced cauliflower, I can't. stop. using it. I've stalked some of my favorite blogs to put together some bomb-ass recipes that I've either already tried, or have on my list to attempt. Let's eat a lot of cauliflower together, okay?

Check out 10 Things To Make With Cauliflower
by Mel Rose at Mode

*photo cred 

May 10, 2016

Things Aren't Always Black & White

I can find inspiration from pretty much anything. Today, I was sitting at my computer, suffering through one of life's most miserable pleasures *writers block*, when I noticed that 80% of the items within close proximately to me were in shades of black and white. My bedroom, if you couldn't guess, is mainly made up of black, white, and gold decor. There is something about this trio of color (or lack thereof) that makes me feel like I'm sitting in an luxurious oasis. I picture penthouses overlooking Central Park being decorated this way. I don't have car, but when I was a kid, I always wanted a white BMW, black interior, with gold trim around my steering wheel. Even back then I knew what I liked, and 20 years later, I'm still obsessed. Not sure what made me choose BMW, though.

It's funny how certain things stay with you as you get older. I also wanted to be a teacher, and as you can tell, that went over real well. I barely finished school, and when I was old enough to understand how long it took in schooling to become an academic professional, I gracefully bowed out of that dream. Some might call that giving up or throwing in the towel on myself. I call that the universe putting me back on the path that I was supposed to go. And apparently, that path is a writer who is obsessed with all thing black, white, and gold.

May 09, 2016

How To Make Money Blogging

I've been in the world of blogging for over 5 (!!!) years now. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since I started this little writing hub. I had no idea what I was doing, and would take my pictures on a tiny point-and-shoot camera that served my content little to no justice. I was familiar with video, seeing as I had already been on YouTube for 2 years at the time, but when it came to typing out my thoughts instead of you actually seeing my face, I was lost.  

How was I supposed to transform my actions and emotions into words? How would I ever get my accurate expressions across without sentences falling flat and my intentions being taken out of context? How exactly was I going to turn this blog into another source of income and have one of my passions generate revenue? The truth is, when I first started, I had NO IDEA that you can make money blogging. It was a pretty new concept in the internet world, and for a while, bloggers weren't taken seriously in any way, shape, or form. These days, you can create a full blown empire.

If you're wanting to start a blog, build-up your blog, or even if you're just curious to know, today I want to share some ways that you can create said empire. I still have a loooong way to go, but I've made a career for myself on this thang (as well as YouTube), so I feel I have some credibility in sharing some tips. 

~ Find your niche: This might seem like the easiest step, but really think about what you want the topic of your blog to be. Do you like traveling? Write about your travels and recommendations for staying/eating in the area. Love to cook? Start a food blog! That's how Food and the City started. If you're not into cooking, write about your favorite restaurants. If you're following along accordingly, you'll know that restaurant roundups/reviews has become a big part of this blog. Maybe you're #dopeAF with DIY. Show me how to add a gold trim to my IKEA dresser. I'd like to read about that.

It's important to write about your passion and not just something that you think will generate numbers. When you're passionate about something, the authenticity in your content will show. When the authenticity in your content shows, your audience will form, and when your audience forms, the dollars will follow.

~ Find a network: So you've decided on your niche, created an awesome URL, styled up a blog and bam! You're doing it. When your readership starts to grow, I recommend applying to some ad networks to get you started with earning some revenue. While Adsense is probably the most popular, Food and the City is proudly signed with Mode Media. I've been with them since 2012, and I can honestly say that they have played a huge part in the growth of this site. Having an ad network under your belt helps you connect with brands, put up ads, earn revenue, and work closely with a team that's there to answer any questions you may have. I've had the opportunity to work with some AMAZING brands because of Mode Media, so I highly recommend them as an option for hosting your ads. You can sign up here.

~ NETWORK THE F#CK OUT OF YOURSELF: No, seriously. Network and talk with as many people within the same niche as you as you can. Social media is your best friend, and it's vital to comment, like, and share other creators content. This is how you build connections, and with connections comes possible collaborations. If you can, go to as many events that you get invited to. 9/10 times I end up exchanging business cards with a brand representative which results in a sponsorship of some sort. Be authentic, be cool, and be yourself. You are a walking, talking billboard for your blog.

~ Create great content: Over the years, blogging has become a visual wonderland. Having sharp, bright, and exciting photos within your post is crucial. Remember earlier when I said I used to use a little point & shoot camera to create my content? Yea... those posts were hideous. I cringe looking back at anything I created before 2013, when I invested in my first DSRL. While what type of camera you're using isn't always the most important factor, how you use whatever camera you decide on is what will make or break your photos. Play with angles, backdrops, editing tools - and you'll have even your iPhone photos creating some beautiful content. In fact, every restaurant roundup on Food and the City is shot on my iPhone. 

~ Sponsorships: So you're creating great content and a brand has approached you to promote their product or service. In my opinion, or at least for Food and the City, sponsorships will be one of your highest forms of income. Assuming you don't already have a best-selling ebook that you're marketing, or have 5,000,000 unique visitors per month, sponsorships will definitely contribute to a large portion of your monthly earnings. There's a big misconception when it comes to sponsorships, though. Some people see them as taboo for their content in fear that their readers will accuse them of being fake or a sell-out. That being said, after years of doing this, I've noticed one thing: people don't really care if a post is sponsored as long as it's still authentic. Stay true to your content and your trust will still be in good standing with your readers. 

A couple of things I like to ask myself when I get approached by a brand:

May 05, 2016

Summer 2016 Bucket List

We are just shy of about 3 weeks until Memorial Day Weekend, which, unless you're 4 years old, you know is the unofficial-official start to summer. People travel, the beaches open, you pull out your bathing suit for the first time, cry a little because you can't fit in it, continue on to drink kale milkshakes for the next 3 days, you know the drill.

Every year, I swear I'm going to jot down a summer bucket list, and every year - I fail to do so. My birthday always falls somewhere during Memorial Day Weekend, so I tend to focus on that ~*glorious*~ day the most, and forget I still have an entire summer ahead of me. Basically what I'm trying to say is that my birthday if everyones official welcoming wagon of the season, and it should be celebrated tremendously. I kid I kid, but only a little.

I'll be 25 this year, and for my first quarter of life on this earth, I'm finally going to make a summer bucket list. I guess this is what maturing is like? Probably not.

This beautiful sunset is one from Miami, which stumbled into my summer plans last year because of work. I had a pretty dope time out there, and wrote down a few spots you needed to check out. You can view that here. I hope a spontaneous trip like that falls into my lap again this year.

Okay, lez talk summer plans..

* Fire Island ~ me and my *gUrLs* are heading out to Fire Island for Memorial Day Weekend. If you're unfamiliar, Fire Island is a secluded island off the coast of Long Island. You can only access it by ferry, so there are no cars anywhere to be found. In my opinion, it truly is the perfect stay-cation for anyone that lives in New York. I went last year for Labor Day and had a sick time, however, I went with my ex-boyfriend and his friends, so this time around is definitely going to be much different. Nonetheless, last year showed me the ropes and the places I want to hit up again this year. If I'm sober enough that is...

side note: if anyone knows where I can buy Drake related birthday things.. please let me know. Asking for a friend. (me)

May 04, 2016

15 Very Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you forgot about Mother's Day if you opened up this article. Or maybe, like most of us, it feels like it creeped up on you out of nowhere. It's not that you forgot Mother's Day, you just sort of maybe forget exactly when it was, and before you knew it, it was here.

You know who didn't forget Mother's Day, though? You know you didn't forget to wake you up for school every morning, or what time to pick you up from practice? You know who didn't forget that your friend Sean is allergic to peanuts and would always make sure to have an alternative for him at all of your birthday parties? Your mom. Your mom didn't forget any of these things, and now it's time to show her how much it is that you #xo love her.

Even though our millennial minds have 4,000,000 things running through them at all times, you still have a few days to pick up something special for the special lady in your life. Here a few great options under any price range that you can still get your hands on right now!

Thanks for all of those planned sleepovers and pancakes in the morning, moms of the world.