Today my guest for Blog Talk/Real Talk is Cindy Ensley, the genius behind one of my most favouritest blogs; Hungry Girl Por Vida. Cindy’s posts always have that X-factor quality.
Whether it’s a spin on a recipe that is so perfect you can’t believe you haven’t thought of it before (see these floats), or a cake that sounds so simple but you just can’t tear your eyes away (observe), Ms Ensley just has the knack. There’s magic in her fingers, I tells ya! Luckily, Cindy was kind enough to chat to me about what she does and how she does it. So settle in with a nice drink, and let’s learn a bit more about this lovely lady, and her magic blog!
Sarah: Cindy, your blog is such an inspiration to me. You are a stylist with the most stylin’ of styles. Thanks for agreeing to do some Blog Talk/Real Talk with me!
Cindy: Yes! Of course! I’m really excited…you can tell from all the exclamations, I bet!
Sarah:How did you get started in blogging, and when?
Cindy: I started blogging out of boredom about a year after I graduated from college. So, 2008ish. I was working the same job I had during college, teaching preschool, and I needed something new. Thus, the blogging. My first post was buttermilk cookies and the photos were horrid. Also, I didn’t know how to bake and figured I could teach myself. Also, I love food.
Sarah: Gurrrrl, me too! I’ve been food obsessed since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. What about in the kitchen – were you always a curious cook?
Cindy: I have always loved food! I was that weirdo kid in grade school who would ask her friends what they had for dinner the night before and what was in their lunchbox. Plus, my mom is always thinking about her next meal even while she’s eating the current one. She even has a happy-food-dance…so it runs in my veins.
Sarah: Your mom sounds awesome. Speaking of awesome things, your photos are freaking amazing, I love everything about them. Can you tell us a bit about what kind of set up you work with?
Cindy: Thank you! For reals. I have a pretty humble set up. I shoot on my desk in front of a glass, slider door in my current kitchen. I had my husband, Sean, add casters to my cheap IKEA desk so I could wheel it around as needed. Basically anywhere with a big window and decent light. Then I just prop with some pre-cut boards I bought from a home improvement store, along with my hoard of dishes, flatware, glassware, and linens.
Sarah: What kind of person do you think would/should read your blog (other than everyone, of course)? Do you write it with anyone in mind?
Cindy: I think people who love food should read my blog! It seems like that’s who stops by the most, I feel lucky to have such nice and responsive readers. I try not to write with anyone in mind, cause that usually makes me get all crazy and over-think things. So, basically, what’s on the page is whatever is coming out of my brain in the moment.
Sarah: What kind of process do you go through when you’re preparing to style a shoot? Any pro-tips for beginners?
Cindy: Sometimes I have a clear vision of what I want to do and do my best to recreate it. I’ll even make little doodles to keep myself on track. Other times, honestly, I just wing it. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or unhappy with something, I usually just walk away and revisit later. Sometimes I’ll seek out inspiration on the Internets or in cookbooks. I think re-approaching things with a fresh eye is often the best thing to do.
Sarah: That’s such great advice – it’s so easy to get stuck in a creative rut. If you didn’t have a food blog, what would your creative outlet be?
Cindy: I’d probably do something crafty with paper…like, when I worked as a preschool teacher we had a charity auction during a harvest festival and I did this whole collage of fall-time/Halloween-ish scenes—a haunted house, an owl, a pumpkin patch, there were 9 panels total but I can’t remember what they all were. Anyway, it was all out of paper cuts I pieced together. Or, I’d draw ridiculous doodles of people. I used to always draw a weird portrait of my friends in their birthday cards, like one of them skiing in the ocean but the skis would be sharks with a little word bubble of some catchphrase or nickname I associate with them. I need to start doing that again.
Sarah: I bet you would have been SUCH an awesome preschool teacher to have. Who inspires you?
Cindy: So many people inspire me and lots of them are bloggers. Of course, my good pal Megan of Take a Megabite…she’s so fun and is always hungry! Izzy of Top with Cinnamon and Molly of My Name is Yeh always seem to kill it…and basically all of the blogs in my feed inspire me on the daily, I can’t even choose! Other than that, I am endlessly inspired by Ottolenghi’s cookbooks…I mean Jerusalem has got to be one of the prettiest cookbooks of all time. I love Donna Hay and wish I could get a subscription to the magazine that didn’t cost so much, though I do have a few issues and a couple of cookbooks. I’m also enchanted by everything Ditte Isager does.
Sarah: Donna Hay!! Go Australia!! (sorry couldn’t help it) What are your three favourite pins of late?
Cindy: This birthday cake with perfect chocolate frosting and gold candles.
This pound cake gif, I’m obsessed with it.
This kitchen window…I have a thing for corner windows.
Sarah: What one recipe should I make from your blog if I want to BLOW THE MINDS of the people I’m feeding?
Cindy: Mind-blowing?! So much pressure! Probably this Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream…it’s hedonistic in the very best way.
Sarah: Oh hellz yes. What song should we listen to while we’re at it?
Cindy: Oh, god…I listen to the same things over and over again. I’m a sucker for Ryan Adams and one of my favourites is “To Be Young…(Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High).” It’s twangy and rock-n-roll-y and makes me think of beer-fueled barn dancing.
Sarah: I love twangy rock music! If you could go anywhere in the world, right now, where would it be?
Cindy: All the places! Basically anywhere with great food. But, I guess I’d go to South Korea…I was born there and haven’t been since I was 10. I’d like to experience it as an adult, share it with my husband, and eat/drink my way through the country with my mom as our tour guide/translator.
Sarah: Best way to spend 5 minutes?
Cindy: If I’m being practical, speed-washing some dishes so I don’t have to later. If I’m being realistic, staring off into space.
Sarah: Best way to spend $5?
Cindy: On coffee or something equivalent with a friend…really just any excuse to have a good chat.
Sarah: Any final words of wisdom?
Cindy: I don’t know how wise this is but I try to live by it: A nap or a solid cry fixes most things.