30 Questions with Jenny Meassick
Today, we’re interviewing Jenny Meassick. She’s a content creator, community leader, social influencer and photographer. In an exclusive interview, Jenny talks about her career, favourite food and more.
1. Hi Jenny! We’re delighted to have you for the interview today. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks so much for having me! I’m a life and style blogger, full-time career working mom of 2 girls. My family and I live in the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA.
2. What inspired you to become a content creator?
Content Creator is an accidental career. I was on my first maternity leave stuck in a house and while I had plenty to do with a newborn, I was pretty bored creatively. I started to create in the kitchen. New recipes, old favourite baking recipes and I began posting the photos on Instagram. The rest is history!
3. What’s your favourite cuisine and why?
Italian. There is just something so incredible about simple, flavorful ingredients that when put together make masterpieces. The art of making pasta by hand is something I’m working on and really admire of the experts.
4. The top five tips to growing your reach on social media are…
- Be Your Authentic Self
- Show Up Consistently.
- Establish a Community
- Serve Your Community
- Try new things and jump on new features early.
5. What’s one piece of advice you’d want to give to someone who’s just starting out?
Start before you’re ready. Don’t think you have to have everything in place. This business moves fast and as soon as you think you’ve got everything down, it changes. Just create and share your gift.
6. What’s one thing people don’t understand about being a blogger?
A blog is a small business like any other. You have to wear multiple hats, be resourceful and scale as any other business would.
7. How did you get into the field of blogging?
As a writer, I always wanted to write a book. What I didn’t know was that my medium would be online. After sharing for a bit on socials, I decided to learn everything I could about WordPress and began a blog.
8. What’s the best part and worst part of your job?
The best part is still pretty unbelievable to me; getting to work with brands I absolutely love and create content using their product. I can’t say there are any “worst parts” but the creator world is still evolving and I’d say still seeing how many brands don’t pay creators fairly or at all is concerning to me.
9. What’s Philadelphia’s food and culture like?
Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the US and a foodie hub! It truly is the city of Brotherly Love where you can be yourself. Philadelphia is broken up into neighbourhoods and each has its own eclectic vibe. Philadelphia has everything from cheesesteak joints to top James Beard Award-Winning Chefs to a rapid growing vegan restaurant scene.
10. What are the top three dishes everyone must try when they’re in Philadelphia?
A tomato pie from Angelo’s in South Philly, the French Onion Soup and Steak Frites at Parc and the Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos at Bar Bom Bon.
11. What’s your cookbook all about and how did you develop recipes for it?
My current e-cookbook is a collection of favourite family recipes that are easy enough to make for busy people. Each one with a special moment to share with others to help create moments in your life.
12. What are the most important things to keep in mind when creating a cookbook?
The reader is the most important thing to keep in mind. How is your work serving the audience and community you have built?
13. Can food styling be done on a budget?
Yes, and I have a strong belief that less is more. Keep it simple by sticking to stylistic staples. I like to use minimalist colours so it’s the food that pops. Props are also tax deductible so ensure to see it as an investment for your business.
14. What’s one piece of advice you’d like to share with new moms?
Give yourself grace.
Your whole world, mind and body have been turned upside down so be patient with yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
15. What photography hacks do you swear by?
Composition is everything. If you can learn the basic rule of thirds it will help you tremendously. My partner has also shown me how to create my own filters in Lightroom which makes editing hundreds of photos much for efficient, especially for brands.
16. Which country would you travel to for its food and culture?
17. What inspires you to work every day and how do you work?
Part of what inspires me to work every day is the undeniable urge to create something. I want to make everything around me beautiful, especially for my girls. When I have a project or sponsored content, I plan a mood board, shop and photoshoot out carefully. If it involves a recipe, I cook and then style the shoot. My favourite part is the shoot. After the shoot is completed, I edit in lightroom and prepare for brand approval.
18. What were the top three mistakes you made when you started creating content, and what did you learn from them?
Photography evolves over time. Some of my early photos are horrid! (Don’t scroll back that far) but it gets better with each shoot. A second mistake is that I didn’t learn or prioritize SEO. Lastly, it took me a bit to learn contract negotiation with brands.
19. What have been your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
My biggest blogging challenges include having the capacity to do everything I want to grow my blog. I have a full-time career and as a mother, I’m a little busy! There are never enough hours in the day!
20. A productivity tip that you swear by is…
Batch work. Do similar tasks in batches vs spreading them out. For example, do all your photoshoots in 1-2 days for the month. This helps you consolidate tasks and be more efficient.
21. If you only had $2000 dollars to start again, knowing everything you know now, how would you spend it?
I would still use WordPress and build my site from scratch. I would invest in a quality camera, lightroom and an SEO course.
22. What’s one thing people don’t understand about being a working mom?
I think there is more and more understanding as time goes on as the voices of women are getting louder. The expectation of a working mother it’s always realistic and I hope to continue to see social norms change at an increased pace.
23. How can one earn from blogging?
There are many avenues including ad revenue, affiliate income, sponsored posts, digital downloads, and more in which bloggers can earn. The potential diversified income is one of the advantages.
24. Three tips for someone who’s just started as a blogger are…
- Use WordPress
- Invest in learning SEO
- Build and Serve your community.
25. How can working moms deal with burnout?
The phrase “put your air mask on before helping others” immediately comes to mind. When burnout arises, and it inevitably will in the throws of motherhood, it’s back to basics. Start with the commitment to put yourself first so you can be the best mom possible.
26. What’s your secret to maintaining a work-life balance?
You have to be okay when the balls drop. There are so many balls in the air and you have to label the 2-3 priorities for the day and leave the rest.
27. The top three podcasts that you absolutely love are…
Food Blogger Pro, The Blogging Millionaire, The Influencer Podcast.
28. How can one become a social influencer?
Being your authentic self online is the best way to become a social media influencer. It’s not something that can be faked. People follow genuine authentic others because they are curious, entertaining or funny. From there if you treat it like a business with the audience being the ideal client, you’ll always deliver.
29. Which are the best social media platforms for food and lifestyle bloggers and why?
Although Pinterest has dramatically changed, it’s still my top platform of choice for Food and Lifestyle. Instagram will always be an art form and many have had success through TikTok.
30. One recipe you’d like to share with our readers…
Moist Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting
Time required: 1 hour 20 minutes Serves: 6-8 Calories per slice: 922
Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups flour, 2 cups white sugar, 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil, 1 tsp salt, 4 large eggs, 1 lb carrots, peeled and grated, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the frosting:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, 1 tbsp pure Vanilla extract, 8 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line two 9” cake pans. Set the pans aside. Combine together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a food processor, pulse the carrots until finely chopped. Stir in the sugar mixture and mix to combine. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Gently fold into the sugar and carrot mixture. Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The cakes should be firm in the center. Remove from the pan and cool on baking racks for at least ten minutes. Transfer the cakes to parchment paper and replace the pans on top of the cakes. This is the seal in the moisture. Leave the cakes like this for at least 45 minutes.
While the cakes are cooling, mix together the frosting. Mix together cream cheese, softened butter, and confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. When the cakes have cooled, place the first layer onto a cake stand. Coat the first layer with frosting. Place the second layer on top. Coat the top and sides with frosting. Refrigerate and serve cold when ready. Enjoy!
Moist Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients for the cake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 lb carrots washed, peeled and grated
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the frosting
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
- 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
- 1 tbsp pure Vanilla extract
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line two 9” cake pans. Set the pans aside.
- Combine together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a food processor, pulse the carrots until finely chopped. Stir in the sugar mixture and mix to combine.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Gently fold into the sugar and carrot mixture.
- Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. The cakes should be firm in the center.
- Remove from the pan and cool on baking racks for at least ten minutes. Transfer the cakes to parchment paper and replace the pans on top of the cakes. This is the seal in the moisture. Leave the cakes like this for at least 45 minutes.
- While the cakes are cooling, mix together the frosting.
- Mix together cream cheese, softened butter, and confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- When the cakes have cooled, place the first layer onto a cake stand. Coat the first layer with frosting. Place the second layer on top. Coat the top and sides with frosting.
- Refrigerate and serve cold when ready. Enjoy!
For more inspiration, follow Jenny Meassick on Instagram.
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Shristi is an avid reader, recipe developer and wellness enthusiast. She’s probably making a mess in her kitchen right now.