Featured Friday

Julie Chiou from Table for Two
table-for-two

People ask

me this same question all the time…. “How do you keep viewers coming back to your blog”. Well, I think that there are numerous things that make a blog really work and succeed…. and one of those things is the PRESENTATION. Healthy, successful blogs almost always have a cohesive, professional look to them! That stuff is so important! I mean think about it, even if my pictures were pretty and my posts were interesting, do you really think you would enjoy reading them if my blog presentation was plain and unprofessional? I doubt it.

So when Julie emailed me about her wedding and then later shared that she had a food blog, I thought “Oh that’s cool”….. because lets be honest, EVERYONE has a blog. However, I was SHOCKED when I started to take a look at Table For Two.  So impressed!!! Not only was I impressed at the amazing dishes, but I was also taken back at how well she presented her work and her posts! Her blog is well branded, professional and clean. I just loved the look of it! …. And THEN I noticed her images. I thought, “How does she find pictures of ALL of her recipes?”…. and then I realized, “Wait, she’s TAKING these images herself?!” WOW!  Do you know how HARD it is to take pictures of FOOD and make it look appetizing? It’s tough. Julie just amazes  me in so many ways and I’m so happy that she’s not just a fellow blogger, she’s one of my 2013 BRIDES!!! You can view her engagement shoot HERE!  She’s a sweetheart and I’m counting down the days until her wedding!!

Julie has made QUITE a name for herself and her blog in the blogging community and as I was thinking of someone to feature who would be inspiring to other bloggers, she’s the first person that came to mind! Her work is being featured all over and I’m just so proud of all that she’s accomplishing! I’m also in awe of her because you all KNOW I’m not a chef!! Not even close. Her cooking skills just put me to shame but that’s ok because when I read her blog, I feel like I could ACTUALLY cook up something decent! So enjoy this little interview with Julie and have fun getting to know her blog!  Warning: You will leave Table For Two feeling rather hungry! Happy Friday everyone!!

Ps. Be sure to leave Julie some love and stay up to date with her amazing recipes and posts through Facebook! 

 

1. When did you first decide to start blogging about your love for the kitchen? 

 I first decided to start blogging about my passion for food and the kitchen in 2011. I’ve always had a blog but it was more of a journal, I wanted a blog where I could share my recipes because ever since I was little, I’ve always loved to cook and I’d always get the constant questions, “where can I get this recipe?” so I figured why not start a blog where everything can be online and shared with everyone?

 

2. Your blog is fabulous and you have such a great following! What are three pieces of advice you have for other bloggers out there to gain more traffic and consistent followers?

Three pieces of advice that I’ve learned throughout blogging:

1. Be consistent. You need to set up a schedule that fits into YOUR life and stick to it. Readers don’t like sporadic posts every now and then, they like a routine schedule aka consistency! I blog MWF. I used to do it every day when I first started, but it got to be too much for me because I also have a full time job so I tailored it back to MWF and I have found that my readers really enjoy 3 times a week.

2. Be yourself. Have your own voice. BE YOU! People don’t want to read about what you want to be, they want to read about whom you are and your personality will shine through the voice on your blog and your stories. Be honest and that’s how you gain trust from your audience.

3. Involve yourself in social media. I found that this has been my biggest advantage for gaining readership and traffic. Get out there and get yourself known! You aren’t selling yourself, you’re moreso getting involved in the community (for me, it’d be the food blogging community). Sign up for a Twitter account, get a Facebook page, sign up for Pinterest, INSTAGRAM! All those will help you because you’re INTERACTING with readers and friends. I have met some of my very best friends through blogging via Twitter. We talk ALL the time. It’s also very helpful because readers see your interaction and they love it. Engage your readers with your status updates on Facebook. I love keeping my readers/fans up to date as to what I’m doing & they often write back or interact back!

 

3. How did you come up with the name and branding of your blog?! 

This actually took a while. I knew it had to be a name I would have to keep FOREVER because I plan on blogging for a long time. I wanted a name that would describe Jason and I. He’s a part of my life and therefore a part of my blog. I first came up with “Noodles and Rice” haha to describe the Italian side of him and the Asian side of me – didn’t sound as nice. I then came up with “Julie Cooks,” but I thought EVERYONE had something like that, so then I thought “Julie’s Kitchen Adventures” but even that I didn’t like. I finally came up with “Table for Two” because it describes Jason and I. We’re a table for two! I struggled with this at first because a lot of people thought it meant that I cooked for only 2 servings – which is NOT true and readers eventually found that out cause my readership grew and they saw that I clearly made family-sized portions too. :)

The branding of my blog was thanks to Tiffany Kelley of Tiffany Kelley Designs. I wanted it to look like a recipe box (hence the tabs for navigation at the top that looks like filing folders) and I also wanted PURPLE incorporated throughout the blog since purple is my most favorite color. The actual logo is just my blog name & a knife and fork – which it’s simple, clean and easy to read!

 
 

4. Your pictures are AMAZING! It’s so hard to take GREAT pictures of food! Can you share a little about that process?!  

Thanks Katelyn! I could definitely say the same about your wedding and engagement photos!!

First, I take all my pictures in natural light. I don’t like to shoot any other way. When I first started blogging, we were still living in an apartment where the lighting was horrendous so my pictures came out really bad. The more I started practicing and blogging, I noticed a vast improvement in my photography and it was mainly due to natural light.

Second, with natural light comes where and time of day. I shoot in front of a big glass sliding door off the deck in our dining room. It’s where I found to be the best spot in the house. I also typically like to get my shoots done by 3-4pm otherwise the lighting gets too warm. I don’t like shooting early in the morning around 9-noon because I noticed the lighting is too cold and blueish.

Third, I use props when I shoot food. You should take a look at the hutch in our living room dedicated to all my food props ;) When food bloggers say “props” we just mean bowls/plates/spoons/napkins/decorative stuff/twine/etc dedicated to our food photography. We never eat out of them :) which is why we never a have a full set and it’s usually only one-offs.

Lastly, shoot, shoot, shoot. You won’t ever get the right shot if you don’t take it. Even if they all look the same, I guarantee you, out of the 500 you shoot in those 15 minutes, you’ll only get maybe 3-5 that you like. So it’s definitely always best to shoot more than you need! Once you eat the food, you don’t have it anymore to photograph!

 
 

5. What are some of the awards/recognition you’ve received from your blog?!  Go ahead, brag a little!!! :) 

I’m so honored whenever I get any kind of recognition for my blog. I’ve put in a lot of time and effort and it makes me so happy that there are people out there actually READING me and using my recipes!!

I think my proudest moment was when Huffington Post named me their “Top 10 Favorite Food Blogger.” When I received that I email, I was in Seattle visiting a friend and I think I literally scared her from my giddyness.

My next “freak out” recognition moment was when I got contacted by the associate producer of Anderson Live (Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show) and they wanted me to come be on the show as their “blogger of the day.” Can you say “WHAT?!” unfortunately, they gave me an 18 hour notice and there was no way I could take off work and head up there in time. At least I can say I was THISCLOSE to meeting the Silver Fox and being on his show!!

I actually have a whole list dedicated to my “press mentions” on my Press page.

 

6. What are some of your BIG dreams and goals for this awesome part of your life?! 

1. My biggest dream and goal is to write a cookbook. Not because I want to earn money from it. I want to do it as a bucket list item.

2. Another big dream and goal of mine is to make food blogging my full-time job. It’s such a huge passion and love of mine that I want to do it full time. I want to be a full-on recipe developer and blogger.

3. This is probably a far fetched dream but I’d love to have my own cooking show one day :) I want to show everyone how to cook and how easy it can be. I want to share my passion and love for food and cooking everywhere!

 

3 favorite recipe posts:

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta w/Goat Cheese

Comments (16)

Comments

  1. Emily emshwiller: ( )

    K- I absolutely love this post. Julie is one of my best friends and you couldn’t have picked a better person for this interview. She’s a rockstar + this is the sweetest blog post about her! I love how encouraging you are to not only your brides but fellow bloggers :) x

  2. Sabrina: ( )

    She’s adorable! And I love her blog already. My husband is the cook in our house but maybe I’ll surprise him one day with one of Julie’s recipes :-)

  3. Kristin: ( )

    This is so fun! Always great to hear tips from another blogger!

  4. Christa: ( )

    Love this post! The food, the Branding, everything :)

  5. Rebekah Hoyt: ( )

    YAY Julie!! I love following Table for Two – I’ve made a few of her recipes now and they are all SO GOOD!

  6. Christy Tyler: ( )

    LOVE this! Looks like I have a new blog to read now! I also looooove cooking & occasionally post recipes on my photo blog – but wow – Julie puts me to shame! ;) Can’t wait to see where she goes with this!

  7. Sarah Syhakhoun: ( )

    Katelyn this is an awesome idea to feature another blogger (not even a wedding photographer) and see how she gained her success. Julie, I love your blog! I’m so glad I found it! You have accomplished a lot in the blogging world in only a short amount of time. I can’t wait for the day that my business and website are more well-known!

  8. ashley link: ( )

    i LOVE how her site looks like recipe cards! so cool!

  9. Meredith Sledge: ( )

    Oh I loved this!!! Can’t wait to check out her blog!!! I love that you featured a different kind of blogger today :)

  10. Ashlyn: ( )

    she’s so pretty and I loved the engagement shoot!
    yum. those cookies are making me hungry!
    I’m going to definitely have to check her site out!

  11. Stephanie Stewart: ( )

    Wow, love her blog! I’ve been trying to cook more now that my little one is 4 months…i will have to try that bacon soup – yum! Congrats, Julie!!!

  12. Rachael: ( )

    Julie’s blog is awesome!!! I’m a huge fan. :)

  13. caroline: ( )

    This is fabulous :)

  14. jamie: ( )

    love this feature so much! will definetly be checking her blog- often!

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