Q&A with Esther Kim

Hey friends,

First of all, let me apologize for being a little MIA! The last few weeks have been really crazy for me as I started my master’s program again and was working a ton. Something had to be put on hold in order for me to keep my sanity, and unfortunately that was the blog. I still may be a little slower on updates, but I’m continuing to work toward my goals!

In the meantime, I have an especially fun post for you! I got to interview my friend and blogger Esther, who did Frugal Foodie Friends with me last year. Her blog is only about a year old, but she has done some amazing things with it! She has some insane photography skills and also blogs about getting out of your comfort zone. Once you’re done reading more about Esther here, be sure to check out her blog!


Why did you decide to start blogging?
A little over a year ago, I got involved in a catering business and I started blogging because you gave me the idea! I was taking a lot of pictures of food for the catering business and I had a website set up. There wasn’t much activity or things to update the website with so I was looking for ideas. You encouraged me to blog about the restaurants I go to in LA and I thought it was a great idea since I loved taking photos of not just the food, but also the interior, and writing about my experience.

Your blog has morphed quite a bit since you started it less than a year ago, can you share about that journey?
It initially started out as a food blog where I wrote about my experiences at the many great restaurants I came across in Los Angeles. After some time, I realized I didn’t really enjoy taking pictures of food as much as I enjoyed taking pictures of the space. And I didn’t have much passion to describe the food; for me, food is either whatever, really good, or flippin’ amazing. I started to realize that I didn’t have much to say about the food nor did I enjoy writing about it. I started to incorporate my travels into the blog and found that I enjoyed that more. Now my blog is sort of a travel/lifestyle/food blog where it’s mainly a platform for my photography and where I get to write about fun times with friends.

One theme of your blog is getting out of your comfort zone, what are your tips for doing that?
Getting out of your comfort zone, to me, is to do something you’re not familiar with or not good at, and most likely failing. I would rather stay in my comfort zone of what I know I’m good at and succeed in moderation. To sum it up into three points:

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail. I personally don’t like failing. No one really likes it but some people are more comfortable with it than others. For me, I’d rather not do anything than to try and possibly fail. If you’re like me, I’ve learned at some point, you have to be okay with the possibility of failing. Just because you’ve failed doesn’t make you a failure. It’s okay to fail; you just have to learn from it and try again.
  2. Just do it. I don’t mean to steal from Nike but seriously, sometimes it’s as simple as just doing it. I always think way too much about what to do, what not to do, all possible outcomes, and end up overwhelmed to a point where I’m paralyzed to do nothing.
  3. Surround yourself with the right people. There’s many things I wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t for my friends who saw something in me, encouraged me, and supported me along the way.

What is your favorite part about blogging? What is the hardest part?
My favorite part about blogging is the fact I get to relive the day when I write my post. I always edit my photos first, arrange them chronologically, and then write about my experience. The overall process allows me to relive those moments and reflect on the things I felt, the things I saw, and the things I’m grateful for. The hardest part is probably consistency; I don’t have something to blog about every week or even every month.

Do you have any photography tips for newbies?

  1. Natural light. You can have the nicest DSLR camera with you, but if the lighting sucks, your photo will most likely not turn out the way you want to. Ideally, things are photographed the best in natural light; I know that it’s not always possible but I found that if you be a little more intentional about where and when you take photos instead of rushing it for the sake of needing content, you can produce a lot better content.
  2. Be inspired. Have other photographers you look up and imitate their style until you find your own. I’m still learning and developing my own style but I’m constantly looking for inspiration and expanding my creativity in the process.
  3. Experiment! Don’t feel like it’s stupid to take 30 shots of one thing. Especially if you’re starting out, try different angles and experiment with the composition.

What is your favorite subject for photos?
I had to look at my Instagram feed to answer this question haha. I take photos of spaces, mostly coffee shops or the places I travel. As I’m doing more engagement photo shoots, I’m starting to think I like photographing couples but it’s still a new area I’m exploring.

Where is the best place you have traveled?
It’s difficult to pick one place…it really depends on the scenery, who I’m with, and the food I ate, but if I had to pick one I really liked Seattle. There is so much to see on the waterfront, downtown, the surrounding areas, and there’s a beautiful national park only 45 minutes away. The city isn’t overwhelming like LA but it’s not too small either. It’s got a great feel, definitely a lot slower than LA, but it’s still a thriving city and fun to visit. It’s a nice change from the hot and sunny weather I’m used to, but I can’t say I enjoy cloudy weather seven days in a row.

What keeps you going when you don’t want to blog or get outside of your comfort zone?
I have great friends who are always encouraging. There’s many times I get discouraged and get complacent but I have a lot of awesome friends who believe in me and help me get back on my feet to do the things I might be scared to do.

If you had a life motto, what would it be?
I really like this quote by Abraham Maslow: “In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back in safety.” It always reminds me that I have a choice, I have the option to move forward or stay where I’m at. I often feel I’m bound by my circumstances, but in reality, it’s a choice I make.

Who would you most like to have lunch with?
There’s a lot of people but right now, I would love to have lunch with Lin Manuel Miranda. I’m a huge Hamilton fan and I think he’s a creative genius who would be really fun to talk to.

What is one goal you have this year?
One goal I have this year is to find my passion. If I can’t find my passion, I want to be a least be close to finding it.

Thanks to Esther, who let me interview her for the blog! I miss getting to blog about food with her, but she is doing some bigger and better things now. Check back soon for another Fine Dining at Home update!

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