Deep thoughts & a Lion tattoo

It’s odd how quickly things can change. I mean this in terms of how you’re feeling, how you see the world, the people around you. All the elements of your day to day that you’ve just started getting used to can so easily snap into something different.

 

 

From an outside-looking-in perspective, these bits may all look the same from one week to the next, but your own mind may see and create an entirely different story. Lately for me these changes can come minute to minute.

At 10:02am I’m feeling hyper-focused, enjoying my coffee as I’m typing away at my desk. Then 10:03 rolls around and I’m off, in an internal monologue as my mind spirals.

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Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe I didn’t sleep enough, maybe I’m just homesick (for Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee) #SFlove.

Homesick or overcaffeinated

Anyways, one second I’m thinking about my family back in the states and feeling guilty for putting them in this long distance relationship.

The next second I’m worrying if I’ll ever settle on the right guy like I’m Ted Mosby waiting for his wife. I worry if I’ll ever find a group of friends as strong as the ones I made in college, if I’ll ever be as happy as I was last year or if I’ll ever find what I’m always searching for or even know what that something is.

 

 

In some sense, this is the beauty of life–the power of the mind and its ability to see what it will. There is a power in being able to make decisions that will shape the rest of your life.

The realities of living abroad

I often wonder how other people’s minds work. I truly mean that. I think about this all the time. I’m going to be honest that my mind and spirits fluctuate so often and rapidly since moving abroad a year ago.

In a way that’s a part of growth. The highs are fun, lows–not so much. It’s all part of the process though towards easing worries–the chasing of happiness until you don’t have to chase it anymore because it’s following you around.

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Living abroad you’ll surely be asked, “How are you? Enjoying it?”
And you’ll respond, “Oh it’s great. I’m really loving it.”

And the funny part is that I’d say that exactly and I wouldn’t be lying one bit. Because as hard AF as it is to be miles and miles away from your family and the friends you used to see every single day and fall back on to get you out of your funks that will certainly happen, as hard as it is, it’s true.

Living in Brussels and being in Europe in general, is incredible.

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That’s why I’m still here folks. I’m not ready to flip that switch and leave it all behind because the sadness of that outweighs the fact that there are days that are just hard.

I think this difficulty is a mix of overwhelming the mind with so much newness that it craves the comfort of familiarity in terms of culture, food, even the friendly smile or hug of someone who knows you, or if you’re talking about the states, someone who doesn’t even know you but just thinks you could use a smile.

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It’s a mix of that and a mix of uncertainty, wondering if you’re doing the right thing.

Family matters

The experience of living abroad is once in a lifetime but I often wonder about the expense. I’ve become more of a worrier than I have ever been since moving here in terms of how my absence is affecting my relationships with those back home.

If they’re meant to last they will. Family of course is stuck with you, but again it’s the guilt of missing out or as the kids say, fomo. Will my sister forgive me for not being there for her high school graduation…How am I making my mom feel by not being with her and the rest of the fam as they celebrate mother’s day…

Calling them yesterday and talking for a bit through a very lagging, staticy phone connection is just not the same as waking her up with making chocolate chip pancakes and bacon with my sister and going out for dinner in Chicago and bowling and apparently buying a $20 basket worth of skittles that my brother is eating in an elevator.

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Which speaking of, the dude has a full lumberjack beard now and I missed it’s growth. Lol. We also both like Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone a lot now and could have gone to a concert together.

My dad is the half Irish half Hungarian one and I’m meeting all of his distant cousins and relatives over here, many he’s never met, but I want him here too.

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All the coulds and woulds and I wishes, gives me those moments of wondering what am I doing all the way over here.

Self-growth

I’ll tell you. This above bit IS SO BAD. Location is just one factor in happiness and read a bit futher and my tattoo will clear up this sadness a bit. As much as it sucks to be so far from people you love and have had around your whole life, the only person you can count on for the rest of your life is you.

Maybe it’s the Novo Amor I’m listening to as I write this, but I’m honestly tearing up as I write that last bit because it’s so melancholically true. And also beautiful?

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This, this my friends is why it’s so important at the very shaping years (20s) to focus on ourselves. This is where we’ll learn the most about ourselves because as we face life’s challenges we’re making ourselves into the people we need to be.

Girl with the lion tattoo

I write this and think of my tattoo, the first and so far (though not for long) the only. Underneath the huge a** lion that I have on my hip, it reads in French: L’union fait la force.

Unity makes strength.

I got the tattoo done in Brussels while studying abroad here last year and at the time I had fallen in love with Belgium, so getting the phrase of the Belgian coat of arms seemed already fitting. Although, I’ve since learned this line was the motto for the atrocious Belgian imperialism in the Congo so fek.

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Yet too late, but don’t worry; my own resonance with that phrase is what made up my mind about getting it permanently written on my skin.

My U N I T Y MAKES S T R E N G T H tat shows my realization that distance in love knows no boundaries. Yes it strains it and it’s not always easy, but if you’re loved and you love them, it’s all alright.

 

 

I may thrive in my independence and divergence from normal, but I know I can’t go it alone. As I noted in another blog post of mine, humans thrive on connection. Meghan thrives on connection. I need people around. Strangers, friends, they’re all good.

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I studied communication and fell in love with journalism because it was based on connecting with people, talking to people, interviewing them and helping them feel understood, which always inevitably helps you understand yourself. It’s a mind expanding process talking to people and those are what I crave.

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So to family and all my amaze pals back home, I may be far physically but I don’t feel so. I’m strong in knowing that no matter the distance we are united.

Unity makes strength.

When I’m in doubt and forgetting this, I look down at my tattoo. The strength of a lion (#Leo), and the strength of feeling united with people who love me and I love no matter where we are.

Some day we ourselves will be all we have, so we better make ourselves pretty strong. We got this.

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Yes I took this. This happened.

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Why I love Amsterdam

You know those memories that are so vivid, you remember nearly every detail? I find that this is often the case while traveling to new places, but especially for cities that you truly vibe with.

I can only say this was so for a few places and Amsterdam is certainly one, if not the one.

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It’s a bizarre feeling to be in love with two at the same time. Cities, people, it’s all the same. Just kidding.

To explain, I love Brussels and among friends and fam, this is quite known. Not a popular opinion, but those not in love with Brussels, don’t know it well enough.

Anyways, love is not finite, so Amsterdam and Brussels I love you both. There I said it; conscience be free.

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My first trip to Amsterdam was a milestone for me in many ways, but mostly because it was my first trip alone. While this was not originally the intent, a friend’s plans fell through and I thought #yolo let’s go.

This was a wise choice.

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Solo trips warrant a mirror selfie to document it all happened.

Anyways, the entire first day of the trip I was in awe, seeing a city so unique and exceeding expectations so much so that a large part of the day was spent frantically describing Amsterdam’s greatness to my family back home.

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I felt like I was in the board game Masterpiece or inside a Vermerr painting. It was beautiful.

The people were so kind, reminding me of home in the states but at the same time certainly not.

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The city is bustling with bikes all around, making me question what the rest of the world is doing driving cars and not doing this.

Regardless, a few things are certain, I’ll never get tired of roaming the gorgeous Amsterdam canals for hours, lost but not admitting it, or just not caring.

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I’ll never tire of the weekend market in Jordaan, bee-lining my way to the bakery in the back that makes the best breads on spot, which inspires my inner bread baker after each bite of its dark, seedy interior.

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Noordermarkt – Boerenmarkt

I’ll never tire of the melty, fresh as f*, homemade-in-front-of-you stroopwafels from the Albert Cuypmarkt even as the inner caramely syrup layer spills all over your face.

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How about the fact that you can buy 50 cent avocados, 1 euro scarves or the most delicious olives at the same place as above??

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OK.

I’ll also always praise the fact that in Holland, peanut butter is a staple and not just on bread. Peanut sauce is meant and does come served atop grilled chicken, fries and yes mayo does belong here too.

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It’s patatje oorlog everyone, prepare.

And how about the pancakes? My love for pancakes runs deep and the same can be said in this great city.

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It warms my heart, knowing that my favorite bakery in the world and inspiration for my future bakery is housed smack dab in the center of Amsterdam and no trip is complete without a visit.

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De laatste Kruimel

Also, you can find brunch in this city simliar to home, thank heavens.

All this is not even mentioning the city’s passion for electronic music and the knowledge that Amsterdam and the Netherlands is the birthplace to some of house music and techno’s greatest djs.

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I clubbed in an old school.

Though we were on the guest list and had tickets, I waited in line for an hour to get into another club far outta the center. I knew upon entry that the wait was nothing compared to how great the music and night was.

I’ll never tire of my two days of AMF at Amsterdam Arena, happily letting Steve Aoki throw a cake in my face as the beat drops.

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I’ll never tire of ADE and how an entire week is devoted to this music and thousands of djs flock to do what they do best with people who genuinely love it.

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pc: Dockyard Daytime Festival ADE 2017

I’ll never tire of that moment of happiness at the Awakenings stage at Dockyard, zoning out as techno blares and speaks to your soul in an old factory outside of town.

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I’ll never forget the CLASS house music djs of Strafwerk and dancing all day in the sand on Amsterdam’s beach at Blijburg.

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Overall, I’ll never tire of the energy of Amsterdam. In my mind, before visiting, I pictured something so entirely different. More chaos, beeping cars and obnoxious stoned people.

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If you’ve been, you know that here quite the opposite is true. Unless it’s King’s Day or you’re in some section of Red Light with tourists who want to live out the above description.

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Spend some time wandering Vondelpark and soak up the green beauty. Pass through or stay in De Pijp and feel one with a more local side to the city.

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I’ll never tire of the eclectic-ness.

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There is a restaurant entirely focused on avocados, a cafe that does everything coconut, and one of the city’s most exclusive clubs is a secret and in the back of a burger joint that looks about as classy up front as Five Guys. We were out of place, but loving life as we sipped our 20 euro gin tonics and knew we were surrounded by either a) celebrities or b) millionaires.

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I can still picture my first time in Amsterdam and sitting on the side of a canal, facetiming my mom, telling her how I was going to write a book about this place. Well, one year or so later a blog article is what we have, but it’s a start.

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I suppose I found my time better suited visiting the city repeatedly, every few weeks since moving to Brussels a year ago.

And that is the best part. Each and every return trip, I experience something new.

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There are so many walks of life, people of different interests and backgrounds, not to mention the expats and hundreds of thousands of tourists that pass through and fall in love with the place themselves.

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I thrive hearing from friends that they haven’t been to Amsterdam yet and then I frantically book a trip there with them.

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I feel like a mom who can’t leave her kid in fear of missing it say ‘gah gah’ for the first time. I want to see that first reaction to this gorgeous place.

I know I’ll live in this city some day. I look forward to writing my love again and in a new way, post-move. For now, I’m packing for my trip there tomorrow. Actually though.

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X,

Meghan

 

Wednesday: afternoon thoughts

Growing up neither of my parents were into cooking.

Sure, my dad liked to grill and mum would kindly whip meals together, but family dinner night for us most often meant dining out at a rotation of our frequented restaurants.

That is, aside from the nights like these where the sibs and I got all dressed up, mum made a classy meal of typically steak and baked potatoes, and we drank water from wine glasses, lit some fancy candles and hid behind the couch until my dad walked through the door home from work, at which point we’d scream and run out to hug him.

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Oh to be 7 again.

But back to family dinners, they mostly happened at restaurants.

Mid afternoon, sometimes mid morning, someone was bound to hit up the family group chat asking what’s for dinner.

The conversation went something like,

Chinese?
No.
Pizza?
Had that for lunch.
Thai?
YES.
Ok. In the car at 6!

I sound less than enthused here, but in a sense, I enjoyed dining out and am grateful for these chances to expand my palate and make my own cooking better.

Clearly the case, as I’m holding together a falling apart chocolate cake in this picture below circa 2013.

At least it tasted great.

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But I genuinely think these dinners out shaped who I am today in more of a personality sense. It’s social to get out of your own home and see more of life, in terms of cuisine and the interaction with the outside world.

Overblown? Nah.

For an 8 year old, the world is small.

Anyways, I think the important element to this routine was just that, it was a routine. Going out to restaurants as a family was a constant in my life and something that I knew, regardless of how the day went, was going to be there.

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Also, in the same way that everyone says you’re better off spending some time in a service job to appreciate the industry, I felt ‘one with the waiters’ at our weekly dinners growing up.

I built an empathy for people that I find (or hope) continues in me today.

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You rarely consider the impact that little aspects of how you were raised or your childhood influence the person you become.

This is something you hear parents fret over, as moms’ bellies extend like watermelons, they’ve got a book on parenthood in hand.

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This makes sense. Everyone wants to know what they’re getting themselves into, what to expect, so they can be best prepared.

That’s just it. Everyone wants to be the ‘best’.

Perfect. #1. Gold medal.

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Yet, is this really what we should be aiming for?

Where does this get most of us besides disappointed at the finish line when we find out we’re in 4th place not 1st; at the cooking competition when we see our cookies awarded #5, not #1; after an interview where you were not the best candidate for the job, not a perfect fit.

Life and we should be imperfect, flawed, messy. We all already are and life is.

Why not embrace that and instead be grateful. Grateful for the uniqueness within each person, each relationship and each way we’ve been raised.

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This is perspective. Imperfect can turn into unique, messy to relaxed, flawed to human.

This, this I like.

Why I live in Brussels

I’m often asked: why Brussels?

Each time I hear it, I laugh because for me the answer seems obvious. If you know Brussels, how could you not be in love?

From its bizarre yet majestic architecture, cobblestone streets, use of the French (and Dutch) language, raging nightlife and more diversity than you’d find most other places, Brussels is unique.

And even the word unique doesn’t quite capture the ambiance of sitting on the Mont des Arts steps with a bottle of wine, having deep talks as you watch the sun set over the city.

Unique doesn’t exactly sum up the underground techno and deep house parties that carry on into the next morning.

Weekends are meant to be spent dancing with friends and finally taking an Uber home at 8am the following day.

And give it a week of living here and you’ll become friends with at least one person who djs.

It doesn’t describe the fact that you can find a frites shop, waffle stand or chocolatier on every corner and you may even start smelling them from blocks away.

After living in Brussels for long enough, your nose will start to know.

You’ll quickly discover your favorite mayo and will never stray from ordering it every time you get fries or a kebab. For me, it’s Brazil sauce.

And if you’ve been to Europe, you know the beauty that is the kebab and in Belgium, the durum.

In all honesty, there are never too many kebab shops and they’re never closed when you need them, even if that need is at 5am as you’re heading home from the bars.

We’ve all had a drunk 5am kebab, which feels so right the night of but the next day feels like ‘shit why did I do that, I should go for a run’, before preceding to lie in bed all day.

Unique doesn’t explain the sacredness of Belgian beer and the culture surrounding it.

It’s not just delicious, it’s social and perfectly acceptable to go for a drink with a friend and end up getting a 9% beer, still without the intention of getting completely lit (though sometimes that happens too).

I’ve also had dinners consisting of just beer. Why get off work late and deal with the hassle of eating when you can skip right to the fun stuff? Plus, they’re so calorie-dense that it works.

Again, unique doesn’t capture the nights spent sitting in the center of the Grand Place with strangers, just enjoying, drinking Jupiler and listening to the one random guy who always happens to have a guitar.

Unique doesn’t convey the vibe of the people in this city and how you won’t meet one person with the same or even a similar life story and what brought them to Brussels.

On the other hand, it’s just as likely that you’ll be saying ‘what a small world’ on a weekly basis. Don’t be surprised if you bump into someone who’s been or is from your hometown, even if that happens to be 4,000 miles away.

Unique doesn’t describe the ease of reaching London

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or Paris by train,

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Amsterdam by FlixBus,

or Berlin with a 10euro flight.

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It doesn’t describe how, even after living in the city for years, you can go for a walk or hop off a tram and still find a street or neighborhood you’ve yet to discover and that looks so unique from the rest.

Its infrastructure is quirky.

Unique won’t show you the students at weeknight happy hours in cimdix, the classy weekend brunches in Chatelain, hipster food markets and bio shops in Saint-Gilles, the glitzy chocolate shops of Sablon or the brilliance of Parc Cinquantenaire and of course the shock of Grand Place, looking even more impressive each time you walk through it.

It won’t explain that, as the heart of Europe, people come and go, perhaps living here for a few months for an internship or to study and building close bonds with the people around them, as they’re all new to this place.

Complain that it’s dirty, drunk, constantly raining, bureaucratically slow, falling apart, overcrowded, full of crazy drivers and insane traffic, high in taxes, expensive at restaurants…and I will agree.

However, for me, I can forget it all because this is Brussels

and I love it.

xx,
Meghan

Parlor Coffee

Food options each day range from vegan sweets and bagel sandwiches (very common to Brussels cafes), to waffles, bacon and even French toast on weekends.

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I’m always most intrigued by their bakery items as each time I drop by, they are offering something new. From gluten free banana breads to vegan cheesecakes, though I’m neither gluten free or vegan, I am always intrigued to try as the aspiring baker that I am.

In terms of offerings I’ve tried, the star of the show is matcha. Their matcha “brownie” is studded with chia and others seeds and their matcha latte is one of the most successful I’ve had.

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I also like their gorgeous juices, even if you do have to pay more than you may like. Though, I guess it’s standard as far as juices go. I remember paying $8 for a small green juice in San Francisco; it was lukewarm and tasted like my front lawn, but all the celebrities love the place on instagram. Classic. These juices actually taste great, so try it out.

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The café is spacious with its upstairs seating as well so that weekday and weekend you are likely to find a cozy spot. The space is brightly lit thanks to large windows that peek out to the quaint Chatelain neighborhood of Brussels. The outlets are also plenty, making Parlor a prime place to get some work done and eat and drink your way through the menu.

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Jat’ Café

Trusty, trusty Jat’. The café is spacious enough to never feel too uncomfortably packed. Its location is prime, just off Mont des Arts, one of the most beautiful overlooks Brussels has to offer.

I love stopping in for a nice weekend brunch, chatting with friends reliving our weekends over warm coffees and fresh made juices. Most of the seats are couches, making for a comfy set up for these lazy Sundays or for a weekday space to get some work done.

The drinks are tasty and always served with a flavorful, almondy-tasting coconut macaroon. Most times when I have more of an appetite, I’ll go for a bagel. There’s a rather tasty chicken truffle option that always tempts, served with a green juice on the side, you can convince yourself the meal is semi-healthy.

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Taking foods and drinks to go is another easy option at Jat’. With a fridge just inside the door full of ready to grab salads, sandwiches, yogurts, fruit, etc., Jat’ is a quick fix for getting a quick lunch to bring back to the office. The options here are also often healthy, which is even more of a motivator.

Jat’ offers a rotating menu of new drinks and lattes as well, making each trip an opportunity for a new drink discovery. Some drinks are more over the top, covered with a few layers worth of whipped cream. The indulgence is nice. More often I opt for a cappuccino.

As a warning, while you order, you’ll be tempted by dozens of bakery items—croissants, pain au chocolat, muffins, cookies, all the good stuff.

Plenty to enjoy and plenty of options, which guarantees you can take multiple trips to Jat’ without getting bored.

I love telling stories

There is power in being able to tell great stories that is not as recognized as it should be.

My first bold impression of how storytelling should be done was from my high school history teachers. I fell in love with history on account of my teachers’ ability to recount incredible stories. They transformed droning information from textbooks into a Hollywood action film that I didn’t want to stop watching. They were passionate about history and it shone through thanks to their understanding of how to tell great stories.

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Normandy Beaches, Normandy, France

How is it that they captivated me and my peers so wonderfully? Granted most of these teachers were Irish, the masters of storytelling. In fact, my family background is rather heavily Irish as my grandma hopped the pond and left County Mayo when she was around my age.

So it’s safe to say I’ve been around great, hilarious storytellers my whole life when you to take my grandma, all her siblings, plus my uncles and my dad into account. I grew to be amazed by great stories and great storytellers.

The next step then, is for me to become one myself. Though my storytelling abilities may not quite be at the level of my Irish relatives or my history professors, I can tell a good story where it counts. Depending on the subject, I do become quite passionate, which is again an element necessary for captivating an audience.

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Dublin, Ireland

A post from Social Media Examiner cites how showing an audience your trade is a wonderful way of connecting with them, “Ed Sbragia, an international recognized winemaker, tells the story of a wine set in the barrel room. The video is short and inexpensively made, but this is the kind of content that engages viewers”.

Yes, the time has come then to apply a visual storytelling component to my online persona. Videos would especially be beneficial for the type of content that I would like to produce, which is more recipe videos, photos and tag-alongs to food and travel adventures I embark on.

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Journalists have caught on to the significance of visually conveying stories, though a recent blog post notes that previously “many stories rely on the journalist speaking about something which does not have a visual element”. 

Lately, however, many journalists have begun Facebook live videos and even Snapchat for a more personal touch and a more captivating source of information as opposed to a long article or blog post. I mean who does that.

The Muck Rack Profile gave an example of this type of journalism in action with Adam Rapoport, former editor and chief of Bon Appetit, “Rapoport typically shares his food and travel adventures and also shares a glimpse into the production of Bon Appetit’s magazine and online content.”

In honesty, I will keep future blog posts short and instead opt for videos. I enjoy watching videos more than I do reading long material so of course many others must feel the same.

One cappuccino…or four

The word food evokes a largely universal sentiment of happiness. Whether it’s the scent of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven or an Instagram picture of a bowl of olive oil soaked pasta, food warms hearts. As such, cooking videos like those from Tasty find almost instant success in terms of virality on social networks. From comments to tags to shares, food videos appeal to most every demographic, especially me.

Once you’ve watched one video, you are automatically taken to the next and the next. Before you know it, 30 minutes have passed and you are thoroughly hungry.

Such is the case with online shopping and more specifically, Amazon recommendations. After you make a purchase, Amazon provides suggestions based on what they predict you would also like. It’s easy to then spend the next few minutes browsing and online shopping even more than you intended. When items are hand picked and personalized to your taste, it’s hard to not stay online.

This happened to me the other day, no shame. As I just returned from studying in Europe for four months, my coffee preferences have completely transformed. All I now crave is frothy cappuccinos and cafés au lait.  After difficulty in satisfying this request at coffee shops in Chicago and Wisconsin, I finally purchased a cappuccino frother. It is great, thanks for asking. Regardless, after making this purchase I consequently spent hours browsing through excessive kitchen gadgets and all the coffee machines on the market. Amazon recommendations work and apparently I’m not the only one.

An article by Wired describes the instance where a New York Times bestseller was ousted from shelves on account of a similar book rising in popularity after it was recommended on Amazon to purchasers of the bestseller counterpart. Amazon inadvertently allowed an under the radar book to rise to the top on account of its presence on their site as a suggestion to purchasers of a similar yet more known book.

“It created the Touching the Void phenomenon by combining infinite shelf space with real-time information about buying trends and public opinion. The result: rising demand for an obscure book.”

What then defines a successful marketing strategy? It’s often hard to predict which book, food video or product will experience the most success. Virality is dependent on the real time sentiments of the consumer.

According to a New York Times article, marketing depends much more on an understanding of communication strategies than one would think. As a result, those who thrive in the field of marketing are those most trained in communication both in terms of daily interactions and social media, aka journalists. Me!

“Conventional marketing wisdom holds that predicting success in cultural markets is mostly a matter of anticipating the preferences of the millions of individual people who participate in them.”

Content marketing and social media source Dreamgrow cites that Facebook is the current frontrunner in terms of social networking sites, with 1.79 billion visitors each month. In second place is Youtube, with 1 billion visitors, indicating a preference for visual and interactive networks. Facebook allows users to feel connected to their friends, Youtube allows for a similar feeling of connectedness on account of how visual and personal videos can be. You feel that you are there as the food is being prepared, you feel as if you are on the receiving end of the conversation in the case of vlogs, etc.

After reading these stats and reflecting on which social networks grab my attention the most, I plan to integrate videos into my online presence via vlog-type posts and possibly a Tasty-esque channel, which ties my love for food with the power of video. I’ve already begun via cappuccino demos on my personal snapchat, but the next step is too move this to Youtube.

Stay tuned!

Let’s get engaged

Humans crave connection, but more than that they crave deep connection. Connection where both sides are fully engaged. This is the most fulfilling.

Life is more rewarding when there is connection and this fact applies both to day to day, face to face interactions, as well as online interactions. Both forms of interaction are processes of connecting that see most benefits when everyone feels ENGAGED.

I’ve noted a yearning for this feeling of engagement personally and I also read a post by Media Shift on the matter, which more so tied this engagement mentality to social networks.

Reflecting on my own relationships, the ones that have continued for many years have a commonality – I am most myself with these people. I am genuine. They are genuine. When able to connect with the deepest most visceral version of the person, it is natural to feel more deeply connected to it. You are both equally engaged in the friendship.

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With this in mind, I thought about the synonyms and words associated with “engagement”. A Forbes article also brought me to the word genuine, which I find key to understanding what adds value to life in terms of connection.

My favorite paragraph from the article reads,

“The worst kind of dinner guest is the person who does not care what anyone else is saying and will stop at nothing to get his or her point across. No one likes those guests. Just like no one likes those brands”.

In much the same way as lasting relationships and friendships are built on authenticity, so too is authenticity important in the world of social media and with respect to brands.

Therefore as I move forward in developing my social media presence and in future work I do for marketing brands, I will first seek engagement.

The hunger continues

I’ve dabbled with various blogs over the years, constantly posting and then hitting a lull before I would eventually erase the site and start on a new one. In an era of personal growth throughout college, I thrive on fresh starts. From a new year, to a new semester, to a new job, beginning from scratch and reinventing is integral in finding the best version of myself.

How can you buy a new bed without testing out various types? (My current bed is atrociously firm to the point where it’s all I can think of as I sit on it and write this post, hence the odd comparison). The same goes for personality and blogs are a means of channeling and finding that ultimate and most authentic persona, which is especially important in a time where one’s social media profile can carry such weight.

As I begin my latest blog journey, I enter with a more enlightened view of the impact of my social media presence. Today, the way I present myself online is an element of my character and implicates my future.

Following tips from veteran journalist and University of Alabama professor George Daniels, blogger Mindy McAdams wrote a post on best practices for blogging that I found useful. It included a statement from Daniels, which read:

“The only way I got somewhat comfortable in this space is to spend a LOT of time (personal time) here writing. Doing the minimum requirement for a class is not enough.”

With this in mind, I’m hoping to blog much more consistently. In addition to getting inspiration from industry leaders in my field of interest, I hope to network with them. Developing my persona through social networks is a chief means of connecting with key influencers and people in my desired field whose footsteps I intend to follow.

As an aspiring food journalist and aspiring bakery owner, I am in awe of most every individual in the world of food. From Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown to Bobby Flay and René Redzeppi, I have countless food heroes. I hope that this passion for food comes through in my latest blog “The Hungry Hungarian” as since the age of 8 or so, I have been enthralled by food in every sense of the word.

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The Hungarian element is pulled from my grandpa’s Hungarian origins and my love for Budapest and the family that still resides there, as well as a love for European travel in general following my study abroad experience in Brussels. Truly, the importance of my family to me and to my personal growth and development made the inclusion of Hungarian in my blog title quite apt.

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My interest in food began with a penchant for baking, which developed into a love for reviewing restaurants, a stint with food science as my college major, then food photography and now a delicious combination of all of the above. I truly live to eat and know that this passion can be applied to many fields and in many places worldwide, which excites me for what lies ahead.

In order to achieve my aspirations, I realize the significance of a strong online presence and I can’t wait to begin the process even more arduously than I had before.

Meghan