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Conferences, Conventions, and Workshops

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about cutting costs to attend events, I’ve outlined a general description of the conferences, workshops, and seminars I’ve attended in order to help introduce some ways to invest in yourself.

 

CONFERENCES

 

WPPI (Las Vegas – March 2nd-5th)

This is the biggest and most-well-known conference for photographers, and I feel it’s a “right-of-passage”.  Almost all things related to wedding and portrait photography are discussed, and there’s a trade show that features products to help you in all areas of your business.

I personally feel that it’s a bit overwhelming, and it sometimes feels like trying to get a glass of water from a streaming fire hydrant.  There are speakers that come from all sorts of backgrounds – both modern and traditional, and they offer concentrated presentations based on their expertise.  There are also fine art print judging competitions, and panels of speakers discussing certain areas of interest.  The difficult aspect about the conference is that there are multiple presentations going on at the same time, so you have to pick and choose which talks you’re going to hear.  It’s also difficult to compare experiences with other attendees since there’s over 14,000 people registered.

I always go each year (mainly to see friends and a select few presentations), but I’d suggest going at least once in your career.

 

Canada Photo Convention (Vancouver, CA – April 20-23)

 

This convention has been one of the most pivotal experiences I’ve had, as it’s also led me to discover the Fearless Photographers Network.  It’s a 3-day conference featuring well-established and NEW speakers that go over a variety of content.  In 2015, they’ll feature one day on wedding photography, one day on portrait photography, and one day on the business elements of photography.

I love this conference mainly for the following reasons:

-the variety of perspectives: one presentation could be all about SEO marketing, while the very next placing an emphasis on in-person rapport in order to gain more clientele.  Dialogue, discussions, and often times – disagreements can provide great insight into helping someone figure out which approach is best for them.

-the lack of ego: despite having disagreements, everyone understands the idea of  alternative strategies having the possibility for success.  Additionally, the concentration of people (both speakers AND attendees) holds a ton of value.  It seems that each year, the speakers for the following year are attendees within the audience.  And speakers from previous years even come back as attendees!  Everyone there I’ve met comes from a place of experience, and I’ve learned just as much (if not even more) from attendees than I have from the presentations themselves.

-the community: during the first year (it’s on year 4 now), there were about 100 people that attended the conference.  It felt like a family, and the relationships that I built developed into long-lasting friendships.  It’s hard to do that at WPPI with 14,000 attendees and multiple presentations happening at once.

-the on-going value: throughout the year, CPC (Canada Photo Convention) puts out an email blast with helpful articles, contests, and interviews.  Hearing interviews from well-established photographers is really cool as it allows you to get to know them more personally prior to meeting them at the conference.

If there was anything I’d suggest attending to the over-all photography industry, it’d be this one.  Jasser (the founder) curates his list of speakers very particularly and the content they provide is consistently useful, creative, and fresh.  I’m working on becoming more involved with this conference – not sure how, but I love what it stands behind in being something ‘different’.

 

Foundation Conference (Phoenix, Nov 4-5)

 

Foundation conference has a very distinct value to me as a photographer, and it certainly isn’t for everyone.  I feel that those that are TRULY passionate about making great, authentic, and extraordinary images will find significant value in attending this conference.  The kind of crowd that attends this conference generally has an in-depth focus towards the quality of their imagery, so you can rely on the idea that the attendees come from similar mindsets.

While Canada Photo Convention is diverse, and has appeal towards a wide range of photographers – Foundation Conference has a strong presence of photojournalists, and the ‘editorial’ photographers that attend have a very particular style.  Dramatic lighting, complex reflections, and what seem to be ‘impossible’ angles.  For a better sense of the type of photography I’m referring to, check out this gallery.

I’m also working on getting more involved with this conference in a way that lets me get to know more of the attendees.  Really, it is an amazing group.

While I won’t go into too much detail in this brief review (if I find the time, I’ll write an entire post about this conference and how it’s impacted me) – the insights and perspectives of these photographers have made a HUGE impact on the way I view my work, and have helped me articulate how to understand the ‘impact’ of a photo in a way that delves into the feeling it creates.

*Note, it can be very intimidating to compare your own work to a lot of the people in this group.  I can wholeheartedly say that the speakers (as well as the attendees) are some of the most impressive photographers I have ever come across.  A very humbling experience to say the least.

 

Think of it this way – to compare the above…

-WPPI would be like the “photography 101, 102, 110” courses

-Canada Photo Convention would be “Wedding Photography Marketing 201, Boudoir Photography 202, Family Photography 301”

-Foundation Conference would be like “Wedding Photojournalism 295, Creative Wedding Portraits 370, and Technical Photo Composition 401”

Hope that helps.

 

OTHER CONFERENCES OR NOTABLE EVENTS

 

While I haven’t been to these, I’ve wanted to go – and I’ve heard good things about them:

 

Mystic (Portland, OR – January Late-ish)

I’ve heard it phrased as the “Canada Photo Convention” of the US.  It looks like a similar structure to CPC, and a lot of the same types of speakers.  If my schedule is open next year, I’ll attend.

 

Photo Field Trip  (Santa Barbara, CA – March 1st-ish)

I’m kicking myself for missing this one.  At first I really doubted it, and the idea of glamping made me want to projectile vomit – but I’m a big fan of how they’ve really broken the mold with the structure of how content was delivered.  Instead of presentations, they had campfire sessions and small group discussions.  People went on bike rides with innovators of the industry.  What initially caught me off guard was how they included a HUGE variety of photographers, ranging from well-known instagrammers to commercial portraiture photographers.  I had a few friends attend the first annual event this past year, and heard nothing but good things.  I’ll be making it a point to go next year.

 

WORKSHOPS AND MENTOR SESSIONS I’VE DONE (in chronological order)

 

Jasmine Star Creative Live (April 2010)

Jasmine is one of the most caring people I’ve met in the industry.   I can whole-heartedly say that her workshop – and the friends I met during the experience, were responsible for sparking the idea in my head that I can do things *differently* than the rest of the industry, and that I have a right to my own path.  It was ironic that it took attending her workshop to realize I didn’t want to shoot like her, or talk about fashion and small dogs – but her faith in expressing one’s individuality gave me that first boost of confidence I needed to go in my own direction.  Can’t thank her enough.

 

Luna Photo – One on One Mentor Session (Dec 2010)

This served as an all-around learning lesson on how to take my work to the next level.  We went in-depth into pricing, marketing, destination weddings, and several different elements of the business.  It definitely helped bring me to the next level from my introductory years.

 

Tyler Wirken – One on One Mentor Session (Dec 2011)

After Partnercon (Pictage Conference that no longer exists), I luckily came across his work during a presentation.  I scrambled what money I had at the time, and spent 2 hours the very next day talking about technical aspects of photography.  I was at a point in my work that I was frustrated with my composition and the lack of ‘feeling’ in my photos.  Tyler broke the limitation on that plateau for me by bringing me back to earth and critiquing my work.  He also scared the shit out of me with how intense of a photojournalist he is.  I really appreciate that about him. If there’s anything that I look back on and think had the most dramatic effect on my work as a whole, it was this meeting with him.  I finally felt like I could ‘see’ better.

 

The Youngrens Workshop  (April 2012)

The Youngrens have a really strong understanding of marketing to ideal clients, and I learned A TON about how to focus on my target clientele.  While we have very different types of ideal clients, the principles and strategies they teach about relay to all types of photographers.  Jeff and Erin are good friends of mine, and I have a ton of respect for them.  It’s awesome being able to talk about business with friends that target very different types of clients, but share the same passion for marketing principles related to ideal clientele, audience, and cultivating a “tribe”.

 

Brett Butterstein (July 2013)

One on One Mentor Session – As a recommendation from Tyler Wirken, I inquired with Brett about doing a 4 hour session to critique my images and how to better approach my work.  Our conversation about lens choice, light, composition, and ‘feeling’ in photos was really insightful.  I found myself arguing with Brett quite a bit during our session – but all in the purpose of understanding the underlying reasoning for his approach.  A lot of the concepts were difficult for me to adhere to, and I struggled to change certain technical aspects of my work – but against my own judgement I tried his suggestions…and whaddaya know, they actually made a lot of sense to me.  (As an example, one of the big changes was abandoning the practice of taking photos wider than 28mm.)  It was a costly 4 hours, but it only made sense for me to do it sooner rather than later – as I’d rather improve the quality of my work earlier on rather than delay my development.

 

Foundation Workshop (Jan 2014)

I should mention that Brett and Tyler are both instructors at Foundation workshop, and attending this was something I had in the back of my mind ever since Tyler had mentioned it back in 2011.  It’s an intensive 3 day photojournalism assignment which includes extensive critiques of your entire set of images following each day.  It’s a hefty price tag of over $4k, but it was well worth it.  I always think back to the movie The Game (if you haven’t seen this movie, do it), and I feel that each person’s learning experience is unique.  For some, the technical elements of their work such as light and composition are where they feel they grow most – and for others, intangible aspects such as attention of approach, time management of getting different moments, and connection with your subject are where others get most benefit.  Yes, it’s true – people cry and have breakdowns, but those lead into breakthroughs.  While I plan to write an entire post dedicated to an in-depth review of this workshop, I would suggest that anyone considering it first attend Foundation Conference prior to going.  Get a feel for the instructors (many of them present or attend the conference), and hear feedback from others that have taken the workshop (many of the attendees have done it).

 

Casa de Chrisman (May 2014)

I’ll be taking this workshop in about 3 weeks, and I’m pretty pumped for it.  I love Ben and Erin’s creativity, and while their style isn’t exactly what I want for my own, I really appreciate how they ‘think’ outside the box, and I have no doubt I’ll learn some valuable info.

 

WORKSHOPS WORTH MENTIONING

This portion of the post could get really long, so I’ll try to keep it limited to some of the ones I’ve considered attending or reputable ones mentioned from friends.

Two Mann Studios – Balls Out Workshop (Speaking at FConference this year)

Matt and Katie Workshop (Speaking at CPC next year)

Jeff Newsom

Samo Rovan (Speaking at FConference this year)

Ice Society Workshop

If you feel there are some good ones you have done or thought about doing that should be mentioned here, please list them in the comments below!  Would love to hear from you!

PS – as a personal recommendation, if you’re looking to improve your work – but don’t know where to start, I’d highly highly suggest going to a conference and talking to attendees about their experiences with workshops.  Do some research on your speakers, and check out what they have to offer.  If you can’t quite afford their workshop price, inquire with them about a 1-on-1 skype session and get some personally-tailored attention on your business.  These kinds of conversations are some of the most valuable.

Here’s a great photo taken by the talented Caroline Godkin during the Foundation Workshop with instructor David Murray, and Elisha Stewart - a very well respected photographer friend of mine.  The look David is giving Elisha is so telling.

fworkshop caroline godkin

How to attend conferences for less than $100 – TOTAL

First off, I’m not writing this based off tips from other blogs, and I’m not writing this to get SEO juice or eyes directed at my work (which I hardly even show on here anyways), or because I want to look like some expert on the topic.

 

I’m writing this because I want you, the reader – to gain some ideas on how to attend important events that will better your business.  These ideas are comin’ straight from the brain, and hopefully they will work for you – as they have for me in the past.

 

So first off, let’s address how much a conference costs, shall we?

 

Most conferences/workshops/seminars I’ve been to are 2-3 days in length.  If you’re lucky, they’re in your home town – but if not, the cost of airfare and transit can almost DOUBLE the initial amount that you’re paying for your registration.  On top of that, the event takes place in some uber-fancy hotel in a major metropolitan city – racking up the total cost to almost THREE TIMES the cost to attend.

 

So let’s find a way we can cover these costs – I’ll do my best to come up with a few solutions for each obstacle, giving you some options depending on your comfort level.

 

EXPENSE #1 – REGISTRATION 

 

For conferences, the average cost of a ticket is about $4-500.  Here are the ways I’ve approached getting the cost covered when I first started out in my business.

 

  1. Offer to help on the admin side.  The conference coordinators are usually so over-whelmed with planning that they NEED to delegate certain duties.  Last year, I attended a conference where I served as part of the ‘friendship committee’ and was offered a free pass to attend.  While I don’t necessarily need a break on the financial side of things, it’s also a GREAT way to meet attendees as well as all of the speakers that will be presenting.  When I look at this role, it has massive value.  Pays your ticket, and it puts you in a spot to meet almost EVERYONE!  The downside is that you might have to sacrifice hearing certain talks in order to manage your staff duties.  But hey, partial access for free is definitely better than not going at all!
  2. Book 2nd shooting gigs in advance.  Bring up the idea to photographers you currently help assist, and let them know you want to attend a conference to improve your skills.  When phrased that way, it’s not only helping YOU out, but helping them by investing in a portion of their own work.  Odds are you’ll be turning out better photos after attending, so they get to see a reward as well – just as a bonus for paying you in advance for work that you’d already be doing!
  3. Contests and sponsorships.  There are often times that these events will put out a contest on Facebook or Twitter to either discount the cost of a ticket, or even offer an ENTIRELY FREE admission based on participation in some sort of contest.  I’ll fill you in on a little secret – these contests…they DON’T get ‘that much’ participation.  The odds of winning are a hell of a lot better than usual…and if you’re the type of person that feels like you ‘never win anything’ – these contests may very well be your best bet.  I’ve actually received news that I’ll be in a position to offer these kinds of contests/scholarships for 2 conferences in particular, so if you’d like to find out about them in particular – email me at tim@timkingblog.com.  (Tomorrow I’ll actually be posting a comprehensive list of the conferences & workshops that I’m familiar with/been to in the past)
  4. Work for the speakers.  While not all speakers are actively pursuing more conference work, the ones that *are* could definitely use help marketing themselves for future events.  Email speakers prior to a conference and inquire about photographing them or recording video of their talk.  This kind of content is great for them to use in marketing material or to self-critique their stage presence for future gigs.  *Note* – be sure to check in with the conference organizer to make sure that it’s okay for you to do this.  Some speakers are particular about content being released to the general public – particularly video recordings.  I’d suggest making it clear that the video would be used only for personal review by the speakers, and that it won’t present any conflict of interest.  This past week, I had my friend Mark take photos during my presentation, and my friend Vlad provided me with video of my talk.  I also helped my friend Matt with getting him photos of his talk.  While we all did it as favors for each other, I would have no issue paying for this kind of service if it helped someone make it to the conference.

EXPENSE #2 – FLIGHTS AND TRANSPORTATION

 

I’ll do my best here, but these are probably the most difficult to save on out of all the different expenses.

 

  1. Book early, and on a weekday.  I’ve read SO MANY articles about the best time to book airline tickets and a lot of times it’s conflicting advice, but most of them (as well as based off my personal experience) will tell you to book your flight on a weekday, and over 2 months in advance.  For this most recent trip, I paid about $250 for my transportation, while a friend of mine who booked 2 weeks out paid $500.  I should also mention that flights on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays are often cheaper than those on Fridays or Sundays.
  2. Check multiple websites – I suggest hipmunk, Travelocity, and kayak.  Also be sure to check direct airlines like Southwest that don’t provide their rates to 3rd party sites, and look into nearby airports to the destination of your choice.  You never know when you’ll be able to save $200 just by finding an airport that’s another hour or two away from your final destination.  (While it might not be worth it for some, I know I sure as hell would take that discount when I was in my first few years of business).  Also check for trains and busses.
  3. Don’t get a rental car, and if you do – check other locations outside the airport for their rates.  I’ve seen as low as $7/day for a rental car in Colorado.  It can all really depend on the city, too – so sometimes you can just be screwed.  Unless you’re planning on doing a bunch of sight seeing during your trip, I’d save the additional cost by traveling by bus, shuttle, or group taxi to get to your hotel.  Maybe offer to treat someone local (meet someone new) to dinner if they pick you up from the airport – kills 2 stones with 1 bird and makes your ride something more personal.
  4. See if you can find people from your city (or local area) to pitch in on a road trip.  It’ll help them save money, and on top of that – provide a ‘scenic’ route to make some great photos along the way.  I personally feel like those experiences building up to the conference are valuable in their own right!  If you REALLY can’t swing the gas money, offer to drive YOUR car as long as others take care of the cost of fuel.  That way, they don’t have to worry about driving, putting miles on their car & can get work done on laptops, etc.

 

EXPENSE #3 – HOTEL AND ACCOMMODATIONS

 

This is probably my favorite way to split costs, just because there is so much potential for value.

 

  1. Share a hotel room.  I strongly believe in having a room at the same hotel as the conference – it just adds so much when you run into people casually in the hall and strike up conversation.  Less time in transit, and more time spent with the people you want to spend time with.  To bring down costs, split the room with someone.  To bring it down EVEN MORE, find others who are trying to cut down on costs and opt to sleep on the floor if you can pay a discounted rate.  [Hypothetically - let’s say you have 4 people, and the room is $140/night.  To opt for having a bed, it’d be $50/night.  Floor would be $20/night.  Over the course of 3 nights, you each would only spend $150 and $60 respectively.  Wayyyyyy better than forking out $420 on your own to cover the cost of an entire room.]
  2. AirBnB – awesome resource.  This website lets people rent out rooms or entire houses at rates cheaper than hotels, with sometimes even better hospitality.  I prefer doing this for my personal travel – I’ve met some really cool people by doing this, and I now consider them friends.  It gives you a local’s perspective of your destination and something different than a chain hotel.  A lot of times they’ll either be cheaper than a hotel, or closer to the location you’d like to be.  I’m using this in May when I attend the Chrisman’s workshop in Oakland.  The airbnb is located walking distance right down the street, while the nearest hotel was a 10 minute taxi away.
  3. Hostels – whenever I tell anyone about this, they always give me this look like “that’s only for poor Europeans…I’d NEVER do that.”  Granted, the standards are definitely lower than a hotel, you get an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, and you save A LOT of money.  You can often get a private room for $40/night, or a shared room for something like $10/night.  That comes down to a ton of savings.  Hell, if I didn’t value the community feeling of being at the hotel – I’d definitely opt for this route.  I don’t have problems affording a hotel, but I just love meeting new people from different countries.

 

If you decided to take the ‘most’ cost-cutting route above, you could really have just about everything paid for.  Maybe $60-$100 total, including ticket, room, and travel.  How the hell can you not afford that???  It’s an investment if anything.

 

When it comes down to it, all of these discounts…all of these ways of cutting costs…I really think the big issue that’s getting in someone’s way when they say “I can’t afford it” – is that they don’t recognize the value of these experiences.  OR they just don’t make them priorities.

 

It’s really unfortunate, because I feel that these conferences will ultimately provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to make your business very successful – to the point where you don’t need any of these cost-cutting tricks.  The content that you learn will bring you more income in the following year, and will serve to PAY OFF the expense it took to attend.

 

Don’t let your pride get in the way of your successI’m not above any of these ideas mentioned, and I’d have no shame in experiencing it the same exact way as someone making every last penny count.  Those who would judge you deserve a slap in the face, because really – these conferences are the most valuable to the people who can benefit from the tips mentioned in this post.  You SHOULD be there, and it should be expected that someone is making these kinds of sacrifices to get to experience these events.

 

I’ll leave you with the tail-end of one of my favorite Dr. Suess quotes that I think of just about every day in my life:

 

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

PS – if you’re a photographer interested in attending conferences, workshops, or seminars – but don’t know where to start…I’ll be posting a comprehensive review of everything I’ve attended and all the workshops I’ve done ‘tomorrow’ on this blog.  I’ll provide brief descriptions of what each was about and hopefully you’ll find a few you can vibe with.  Email me with any questions – I’m happy to help.

tim@timkingblog.com

PPS – if you have any other tips to share, please do so in the comments below so that others can benefit from them too!

Here’s a photo I took of Matt Ebenezer during his talk at Canada Photo Convention last week.  His talk, as well as our conversations we’ve had outside of conferences have made a tremendous impact on my business.

FIN_8757_Edited

Twyla - Tim, this is great – but you didn’t include bed and breakfasts other than AirBnB! In Canada at least, they are cheaper than hotels, include food and often some lovely conversation, and often you can split them multiple ways. Also, CouchSurfing.org is a fantastic resource that not everyone knows about – that’s a place free accommodation and I’ve hosted and surfed plenty. It’s very safe and a great resource.April 29, 2014 – 1:30 pm

Cory Robbins - Hey Tim, I’ve been really trying to get back into photography for the past couple years now, and I have not spent enough time researching any workshops (or attending any at that matter). Just finding the time between learning the basics (taking phot101), and finding time to get good practice in, its difficult to see myself going on a four day adventure while working a normal 9-5′r and all. But in spite of all that, I know there are some good local workshops here in San Diego you are aware of and I will definitely look into those. Your article was very helpful in the sense that workshops, seminars, etc. are probably often times easily over looked, or underestimated, and it really was helpful… Good read, and inspiring like always! We met years ago at State, and still wish I took you up on that flag football invite… and I almost jumped on that little road trip to Mexico… maybe we will bump into each other at one of these seminars someday. Thanks for sharing!April 28, 2014 – 6:06 am

Steph MacKinnon - Great article Tim! I met you briefly 2 years ago at the 1st Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver. Would love to hear your thoughts on all the conferences you’ve attended as always want to go to the best of the best and interested in your perspective. Keep up the great work. Sincerely, StephApril 27, 2014 – 11:22 am

Lee - Hey Tim, Thanks for this post. Defintely does helpApril 27, 2014 – 10:49 am

Tracey - Great advice Tim! I am looking to network with other photographers and I think attending conferences is the perfect opportunity for that. Looking forward to your next blog on that. Thank you for your willingness to help others succeed! Very much appreciated :)April 27, 2014 – 6:28 am

Halloween Promotion Photo Shoot

Recently the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe got in touch with me through a referral from a past client.  They saw some creative event photography I’d done for a local hotel, and asked if I could do something similar…but different - for them.

They have a few seasonal events that take place at the country club each year, and were looking to spruce up their marketing material to bring something fun, fresh, and engaging to their clientele.

So what I’d be doing – would essentially be walking through and photographing a ‘haunted house’ that they’d prepared for the upcoming month’s festivities.

Well, this definitely WAS different than any kind of shoot I’d done before.

Wait.

Maybe just a little different.

None the less, it was a lot of fun walking through this kind of set up, and even more of a challenge was trying to figure out how I was going to isolate the lighting for each subject while maintaining the dark & eery vibe of the surroundings.

Some of you already know this, but I love using the Lumiquest Big Bounce for my off-camera flash needs.  It creates killer soft light (is that an oxymoron?) and allows me to position my light exactly where I want it to be.  And in this situation, it definitely gave me what I needed in terms of keeping the background dark, but refrained from blowing out the subjects with harsh light.

Hope you dig the photos, and let me know if you found the easter egg content by leaving a comment below.

 

 

These guys are upright against the wall blending in with the rest of the dots and all-of-the-sudden spring out at you!  (Used may flash behind them to separate their robes from the background)

 

 

Obligatory chainsaw photo.

 

 

When I saw this guy…fear didn’t really set in.  Similar to this scene in Men In Black – he was the most unlikely threat.  You see the gun?  He’s not going to kill you…he just wants to play PAINTBALL.

 

 

This next scene was a little difficult to shoot.  Not necessarily because of the lighting, but because of the motion.  All of the dots you see here are moving in a cylindrical motion around the bridge.  As if it’s just one big wheel spinning round & round.  So while I know my exposures like the back of my hand, walking through this made me feel like I took too many drugs, and was on the verge of vomiting.

 

 

Here I made a quick adjustment to my settings to capture the bridge in “warp speed”.

 

 

Would love to see this on Pinterest under “nuclear holocaust themed office decor”.

 

 

Dead giveaway.

 

 

This shot was probably the most difficult to balance.  Had to reduce the noise on it significantly.  But loved the way the eyes give off the glow contrasted with the blue ambient light.

 

 

October kicks off the holiday season for the year, and I love the eery feeling that sets in with the colder weather, the leaves falling to the ground, and all the Halloween movies on TV.

This shoot was a ton of fun, and it made me get excited to go out and get in the holiday spirit myself.  My roommate and I were talking about hosting a halloween party this year, so maybe we’ll borrow some ideas from above!

Phil L - Dig the pics, but I’m still looking for the Easter Egg. Must be a Dead Giveaway.October 20, 2013 – 4:03 pm

Case of the Fridays – Event Marketing Freelancer Billy Gallagher

 

I’ve chosen event marketing manager Billy Gallagher for today’s Case of the Fridays.  While it’s not his particular industry that I’m fascinated with, what I really *do* find intriguing about him is his lifestyle.  He’s been traveling for the past 8 years straight, and it’s led him to have some pretty incredible experiences.

Billy is a great example of someone who has shaped their career to cater to their ideal lifestyle.  Flexible scheduling, extensive travel, and a variety of work consisting of meeting some pretty remarkable people.  I feel like Billy has packed a lifetime of experiences into just the first decade of his adulthood, and I think a lot of people can benefit from hearing about his approach towards life.

Here’s a portrait I took of Billy out at Anza Borrego desert this past August.  That’s the milky way you see below, and I feel this photo is a great representation of his curiosity to explore what the world has to offer.

 

Here’s a photo of us during the conversation that ensued below.  We met up in Pacific Beach to catch up and chat while he was in town for a few days.

 

 

 

What is your name/age?

 

Billy Gallagher – 30

 

What is your occupation?

 

I work in experiential marketing setting up events around the country.  It’s all freelance based, so sometimes it’s working for the actual event production team or sometimes it’s working for a sponsor for the event.  The whole idea to just be interacting with consumers and helping them engage with what’s going on at the event.

 

Where did you grow up?

 

The suburbs of Atlanta, GA

 

What level of schooling have you completed?

 

I graduated from UGA with a degree in Public Relations.

 

How long have you been doing what you currently do?

 

8 years now.

 

And where would you say you’re based out of?

 

My suitcase.  I’ve been traveling for the entire 8 years and haven’t had an apartment or a car the whole time..

 

Did you have a 9-5 job before that?

 

Nope, I graduated on a Friday and on the following Monday I was on a flight to the first event and I was picked up at the airport by some guy with a sign with my name on it.

 

Did you know how much travel was going to be involved when you first started?

 

That’s actually how it all started when I first got involved – some guy asked me if I wanted to drive a BMW around the country and hand out T-Shirts for the summer after I finished college.

And I was like, “Yes.  I *DO* want to do that.”

 

So from then on it was a constant stream of gigs?

 

Not immediately.  I worked as a bartender for a little bit until another marketing tour came along.  After that, it caught good momentum to keep me going.

 

So with these tours, do you work with just one company?  

 

No.  I do several kinds of events across different industries.  A lot of times I’m in control of some assets with pretty big price tags, so it’s important that I have experience with different kinds of events and have good relationships with well more known companies.

 

What kind of scheduling do you have, or what does your calendar look like?

 

Well, right now I’m on a 1 year contract with an agency – so during 2013, I have to fulfill managing 25 different events over the course of these 12 months.  So they give me a schedule about 6 months in advance, which allows me to plan for it.  I have 3 events in Colorado, some on the east coast and some out here on the west coast.  Right now I’m contracted with Gortex which does a lot of work with hunting, climbing, skiing, outdoors type of stuff – so that’s the majority of the kind of scene I’m surrounded by this year.

 

I’d imagine that you get to meet a lot of cool athletes through your work.

 

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome to see these people that power through these mulit-day sporting events.  They’re in such great physical shape it’s motivating for me to be healthier.

A few years back I worked personally with Dean Karnazes while he was doing 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.  We set up an event each day in different cities – and it was funny…his sponsors gave me directions over the phone and told me not to worry about him being able to compete in the races each day…but just make sure he doesn’t attempt to do “2-a-days”.  As in 2 marathons in one day.  That whole experience was awesome to have gone through when I was just 23, so it helped me off to a great start during my early years.

It’s funny – the whole time I would see people lining up to take pictures with Dean in all of the different cities we were in.  At one point, Dean asked if I would mind taking a photo with him for him to have for his own keepsake.  That was pretty special.

 

Some people might think that traveling so much might be a hinderance towards leading a normal life – would you consider it an advantage or a disadvantage?

 

I think of my lifestyle as one of many opportunities, and the way I see it I’m trying to experience as much as I can.  But I definitely make sacrifices – I don’t have my own bed.  I can’t have a girlfriend – tried that a few times and it just doesn’t work.  I have a lot of good friends but we don’t really hang out on a regular basis, so that makes things a little difficult – always having to “catch up” when I see them.  Maybe it prevents me from building really ‘strong’ relationships at times.  But the flip-side is that I have a few friends in about every city I go visit, so my network has just grown to be huge.

 

Out of all of the places that you’ve traveled, have you had any favorites?

 

I love ancient civilizations and ruins, so going to see mayan temples and places like Ankor Wat & Egypt have been awesome.  I recently went to the stonehenge, and that was pretty awesome to see.  I’ve seen the great barrier reef, I’ve slept under the stars in the Sahara, I’ve hiked through the Amazon rainforest – I love seeing those kinds of terrains.  They’re so unique and unlike anything else.

 

You mentioned that you almost died one time while scuba diving – can you talk a little bit about that?

 

Sure.  It was my first ‘night’ dive, and I had faulty equipment.  Basically, even if I was exhaling – my air would just keep pumping in so it was rapidly losing air from the tank.  At first I thought I was just breathing odd because it was my first night dive, but then quickly realized that there was something seriously wrong.  It was really scary.  And at night, you can only see what your flashlight is looking at – and I had stupidly drifted a good distance away from the dive master…but luckily I stayed really calm and swam up to him – showed him the signal that I was out of air, and it went really text book.  He handed me his air supply, and we made our way back to the surface.

Once I was above water, I just started throwing up Caribbean water.  But I didn’t care, because I was alive.  We went to a bar a few minutes later and I bought a round of drinks for the entire bar because I was just so happy to be alive.

 

Do you think that had a big impact on how you take risks while traveling, or will it cause you to be more cautious going forward?

 

You know, I don’t think it will change.  Things happen.  Gear fails.  You can’t let that fear get in the way of experiencing the world and all of it’s experiences it has to offer.

And a lot of people think it’s dangerous going to 3rd world countries.  What they don’t realize is that those countries economies depend on tourism, so it’s in their own interest not to steal or harm people that are visiting.

 

How much longer do you envision yourself working in the field that you’re in?

 

I don’t know…it’s a pretty high energy job and maybe 10 or 20 years down the line, I think I’ll have to change to something else.  A lot of people get burnt out doing what I do, but surprisingly I haven’t felt that way just yet.

 

What kind of work could you envision yourself doing after you transition away from your current career?

 

I don’t know…that’s a really interesting question.

Like I said, this was my first job out of college and I just kind of ran with it.  I’d be really hard pressed to work a 9-5, have a desk looking out a window knowing that I’ve been out there…on the other side.  Kind of like what a wild animal would feel.

 

Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?

 

I definitely have a savings.  Since I’m a freelancer, I don’t have taxes taken out of my paycheck each time, so when April comes around – I have a big lump sum to hand over to uncle Sam.  So I usually save a good amount to handle that expense, then put some away for my regular savings, and then spend anything remaining very freefully.

  

When you’re traveling, do you like to stay in hotels, or stay with friends?

 

I usually stay in hostels – and cheap hostels at that.  I’m pretty frugal when it comes to accommodation.  Because when it comes to the experience, I’m exactly the opposite.  I don’t think that money should hold you back from having an awesome experience.

I’ve never done the couchsurfing.org thing, but I recently went to Europe and ended up staying on friends couches and avoiding paying any costs for accommodation.

 

Yeah, you mentioned you had recently taken a trip to Denmark for a music festival – what was that like?

 


I was in Amsterdam and was trying to decide where my next destination would be.  I know 10 people that live in Denmark, so I put them all in a group-chat on Facebook asking them what was going on for the next week.  8 out of the 10 people responded saying that they were going to this festival called “Roskilde.”

What was cool about that was I had met all of these different people in different countries throughout the world while traveling, and almost all of them happened to just be going to this same music concert.  So that was that, and I booked my ticket.

It became more apparent that it was a camping festival…and I didn’t really have a place to sleep.  So the festival was approaching, and I don’t know why – but I decided to just go out and buy a full-body bunny costume.  I checked out the photos of the concert on the website, and it almost looked like Halloween there were so many people wearing costumes.  A few years prior I decided that the best costume ever was a full-body animal costume, so the idea just came naturally that it was the time to get it.  Everyone knows what you are, it covers you from head to toe, and it’s just a ton of fun.

So I went to the festival by myself with a list of all of my friends phone numbers – under the assumption that people are generally nice and will let you borrow their phone to call your friends, and it worked out just like that.  I met up with one friend that let me keep my bag at their camp, and from then on – I just ran loose and met a ton of people.  There was 120,000 people there at the festival, and I probably hugged about 5,000 of them.  People loved the bunny.

There was actually a photographer from Pitchfork who bought me a bunch of drinks and took me backstage in exchange for taking pictures with people – one of them being Rihanna.  I think I made it on a local TV show too.

 

You mentioned that you were banking on the idea that people would just let you use their phones to call your friends…and I’ve heard you mention a few situations like this – for instance, your plans for an African safari.  Do you feel that your attitude has a lot to do with your amount of luck?

 

Yeah, definitely.  People always cancel out on those things though.  And I’ve found that some of my best experiences have come when nothing is planned and we figure something out right there on the spot.

 

How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?

 

It’ll have to be outside somewhere.  Hopefully a beach – I like to surf.

 

Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?

 

Yeah eventually.  I think if I found the right girl and was in the right situation, I’d probably settle down and have kids.  But I want to see everything, and people always say to get it all out of your system when you’re young.  Do it while you can and there are no other strong obligations or responsibilities weighing you down.

 

If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?

 

Follow your instincts, play to your strengths.  I’m actually afraid of going the other way actually.  I’ve had some appealing offers, but I’m just not really to call it just yet.

 

 

~FUN QUESTIONS~

 

 

What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?

 

A basketball player.

 

If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?

 

Indiana Jones.

  

If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?

 

They can send me a message on Facebook.  That’s the best tool for keeping my network active, so they can find me on there and shoot me a message.

 

 

Case of the Fridays – Food Blogger Whitney Bond

I’ve chosen food blogger Whitney Bond for today’s “Case of the Fridays.”  Whitney started her food blog a few years ago and it has since gained incredible popularity.  Her site gets over 100,000 visits per month, she has her own web series TV show, and is regularly featured on sites like Yahoo and Huffington Post.  I really wanted to interview Whitney because she has demonstrated a true pursuit of her passions in life, and has achieved a lot of success in regards to her goals.  In college, she successfully produced a fashion show, was featured in Maxim magazine, and is now maintaining a highly successful food blog – all big achievements that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Whitney is based out of San Diego but her work is independent of location.  This allows her to travel sometimes up to 6 weeks at a time, and removes any pressure to be in one place in order to run her business.  I’m excited for the years ahead for her, as I’m betting you’ll be seeing her on the food network in her own show.

 

I interviewed Whitney at her home in downtown San Diego, where she does the majority of her cooking, food photography, and blog writing.  Here’s a visual for the conversation that takes place in the interview:

 

 

What is your name/age?

 

Whitney Bond – 28

 

What is your occupation?

 

Food Blogger – soon to be published cook book author.

 

Where did you grow up?

 

Edmond, OK.  It was a good place to grow up – nice people, small town, grew up across the street from my grandparents, great cooking.

 

What level of schooling have you completed?

 

I have an AA in broadcast journalism.

 

How long have you been doing what you currently do?

 

It will be 2 years in August since I started my blog, but it will be about a year of being a full-blown food blog.  I’ve been doing it full time since January, shortly before that I was working as a social media manager for another company.

 

Did you have a 9-5 job before that?

 

I worked one somewhat 9-5 for a few months, selling custom-made suits for men.  That was probably the most normal job I’ve had.

 

How did you become involved in the work that you currently do?

 

I was in LA & started writing a blog about all the stories I had to tell…my brother’s best friend wrote a blog that I really liked, so I decided to make one for myself and follow a similar format.  I liked cooking for my friends (I’ve always loved doing that), so I talked about that a lot when I first started.

 

In college I’d bake cookies and just give them to people in my dorm as a way to introduce myself.   Being from out of town it was a good ice breaker and it was a great way to make new friends!  Haha

 

I started experimenting with more foods, making my photography better, and sharing recipes on the blog – and more and more people started sharing them and commenting on my posts, so it just caught momentum from there!  Eventually Huffington post emailed me asking to feature one of my posts – and that’s when I realized I was a “food blogger”.  It was a *career path* that I was now heading down, and that made a pretty big impact on me!

 

How much longer do you envision yourself working in the field that you’re in?

 

That kind of depends on the food network and when they give me my own show (laughs).  I’ll write my blog for the rest of my life…might be one post per week or maybe other guest writers to continue the food blog but I’ll keep writing going forever to journal my life.  All of these goals and aspirations that I have for my life – I see the blog going along with it.  It’s a part of me, and I can never really see letting it go.

 

So if the food network offered you a show next week, would you move your concentration to video and put the blog on the sideline?

 

I’m used to working a thousand hours a week – so if I’m doing the show and working 120 hours a week, I’ll still go and write a blog even at 2 AM to maintain consistency.

 

What is it that you love about your work?

 

I love being in the kitchen and making something from nothing and then being amazed at what I’ve created – how it tastes after I cooked it.

 

Giving people access to recipes to people that don’t intimidate them.  Having pictures to show people helps take some of the intimidation out of the process, and helps assure people that they’re ‘doing it right’ along the way so they don’t run off course.  You never know what recipes people are really going to latch on to.  It’s an awesome experience to go from conceptualizing a dish to making a dish, to photographing the dish, to tasting the dish, and then putting it in a blog post and hitting “publish” - you have NO IDEA whether a thousand people are going to view that post or a million people will view that post.  It’s so exciting…you never know.  You just have to put yourself out there.

 

Do you feel like that carries over to other areas of life, or other businesses that people may be in?

 

Yeah, you know I really do put myself out there, I’m very social and I’m sometimes loud and crazy, but it’s all in having fun with what you do and putting yourself out there for people to get to know you.   I never know what I’m going to get as a response from people – but at least I’ll know that they’ll either like me for being me or they wont like me for being me.

 

What is your least favorite thing about your work?

 

The business side – the side where I actually have to make money off of it.  It’s such a personal thing – your putting yourself out there and now you have to commercialize it to make a profit.  But you gotta pay bills, you gotta make money.  I’d love to just write and not have advertising.  But I love the products that I endorse, so it helps that I believe in them and actually use them.

 

I don’t like people saying mean things – some of the comments I get are just so mean-spirited.  Sometimes people will make some kind of mean comment about my cheese – “what’s wrong with my cheese?  Why would you say something about my cheese?”

 

Are there any questions that random people ask that you might feel are inappropriate?

 

“How do you make money?”

 

“How much do you charge your clients?”

 

Is there anything you miss about life back home? 

 

Yeah, the simplicity of it.  And of course I miss my family.  That’s the hardest part of everyday – going without seeing them on a regular basis.  I just miss a simpler life – being out on the lake, no cell phones – no computers.  Just you and your family out at the barbeque.   Warm summer nights.  Everything gets more complicated the older you get.  Living in a city is just more fast-paced.   I think people in Oklahoma have good values while Californians lean more towards a self centered culture.

 

What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?

 

I get to eat REALLY delicious food everyday – so I’m very well fed!  Haha.  Great for my soul, bad for my waist-line.

 

I can go home for a week and see my family, and still work from Oklahoma.  I can extend my trips back home, or if the Thunder keep winning like they did last season, I can stay for 6 weeks!  Haha

 

I’m not confined by anyone – I have complete control over my business and my brand.  I understand why when you work in a corporate environment – rules can be so structured to protect what they’ve built.

 

I had a mother of 4 boys emailed me telling me that the first time she cooked for her family was one of the recipes she had found from my website.  You don’t get that kind of feeling when you’re working at a corporate job.

 

Wow!  That’s pretty remarkable.

 

I want some kid to go home and ask his mom to make him a recipe from my site and go, “Mommy, I want that buffalo chicken that Whitney posted on Little Leopard Book”.

 

What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?

 

No salary would be #1.  You’re completely on your own when it comes to money coming in the door.  I know there are other perks – health insurance, benefits…although I maintain a pretty healthy lifestyle so that doesn’t really play in too much.  I guess it’s all that bacon grease that I grew up on in Oklahoma.

 

Mainly the biggest thing that I miss is just having someone deposit a bunch of money into my account every two weeks.  Haha!

 

 

How different is the dating scene for you?  Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?

 

It’s tough.  I feel like I’m never going to meet anyone that works as hard as I do.  I feel lonely a lot.  I feel like not a lot of other people understand or identify with what I’m going through with my business.  My friends are THE BEST – and it’s not that I feel alone – but sometimes I just don’t feel that not everyone can identify with what I’ve got going on during a weekly basis…except my mom.

 

I feel guilty because I don’t want to squish someone’s fun –  they should be able to go out and have fun on nights & weekends or whatever.  I just want to find someone that’s passionate about their work and wants to go until 10 o’clock at night because they love what they’re doing.  They don’t necessarily have to be an entrepreneur, but someone that’s just stoked on what they’re doing for a living.

 

What do you think about work/life balance?  When is it too much?

 

It’s hard because I think a lot of successful entrepreneurs will say the same thing – they’ll set “personal time” off to the side until after they’re done with a project.  But then once the projects done, something else comes along.  And when does that stop?  When all your personal relationships deteriorate?  It’s a difficult thing to balance doing what you love with spending time with the people that you love.

 

Is there enough time for a relationship?

 

I think there is.  I don’t mind giving someone my time as long as they don’t waste my time.  Sometimes relationships can go pretty quick because I realize that a certain person isn’t someone I want to be with for the long run – I’ll recognize red flags early on & just end it before we both waste our time.

 

Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?

 

Haha I definitely don’t spend it on luxurious goods – it all goes back into the business.  There’s no such thing as savings right now.  My number one motto in life is to live everyday.  If you’re saving all your money and not doing the things you want to do right now, I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make during your youth.  I have a friend who always says she wants to go on all these trips but can’t because “she can’t touch her savings”.

 

And to me I’m thinking, “What?!  What do you mean can’t touch your savings?  Are you serious?  If you die on your way to work the next day – that money’s gonna go to someone else.”

 

If you have that entrepreneur mentality where you know that you can find gold at the bottom of the ditch, you wont have any problems if you lose all your money.  Like, say all my clients decided they were going to suddenly stop advertising on my site – I’ll figure something out – I’ll start doing social media consulting, I’ll start doing catering.  It’s not the end of the world.  Financial security should not be your top concern in life – it should be having a good life.

 

I have more business ideas than I do time to carry them out.  So I’m sure that I’ll figure things out should obstacles arrive financially with Little Leopard Book.

 

How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?

 

I don’t think I’ll ever retire – I love working.  When I was a little girl, I played “own my own business”.  I had a bank, a post office, many restaurants…I always had all these businesses – I didn’t play with barbies.  I had my mom bring home deposit slips from the bank so I could pretend and use them for my own pretend bank.  I never dreamed about my wedding, I dreamed about being on the today show.

 

Why sit on the beach when you’re 60 – you’re gonna be all wrinkled and old!  I’d rather sit on the beach now while I’m fit!

 

I don’t ever see myself just trotting around the globe and not working.  Maybe not directly running my businesses like I do in my 20′s and 30′s, but I’ll still have an active interest in how I make a living.

 

Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?

 

You know…it’s not my priority right now.  I’m a very fairytale dreamer where I feel like there’s one person for everyone – if I’m lucky enough to meet him tomorrow, then sure.  I’m not the girl that brings up the conversation about marriage after 6 months.

 

I think those commitments can be made without having to go to a courthouse and signing documents.  I’d love someone to be there to share the highlights and be there for the bad days.  I love kids – probably more than everyone I know, but I never saw myself as having my own.

 

If I do, I’d imagine myself having one kid that would travel with me and come along for the adventure rather than having my life completely changed and oriented around raising children.

 

What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?

 

My business is right now my #1.  Making it to where myself and my family can live a comfortable life for the rest of our lives.   I want to be able to live in the same place as my family, spend time with them and be around them – my mom is my best friend and I love hanging out with her.  She’s come out here because I’ve had meltdowns and she’s come to just be there & go hiking, or go eat In & Out on the beach.  Or we celebrate when my business is doing great.  And then I get to treat her to a nice restaurant or go to Disneyland together.

 

Definitely on the giving back side – as far as my time is concerned, I’d really like to speak to younger girls.  Most families aren’t as encouraging and supportive as mine has been – sometimes even critical and tell their kids that their not going to make it or achieve much.  I’d love to go back to my hometown and share my story with girls who wouldn’t imagine a possibility of moving to California or making their dreams come true.

 

I want to be able to be there in their corner to help them believe in themselves.  To be willing to put in the hard work.

 

The second part – the monetary thing – I’m gonna go back to the restaurants that I worked at when I was young, and leave a $10,000 tip because waitressing is THE WORST job ever.  And it’s the toughest!  Those people really deserve it and it will be one of the best days of their life…it will be awesome to give them that feeling.

 

I have recurring nightmares from my waitressing job when I was younger – people don’t realize how tough that job really is!

 

If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?

 

Don’t settle for the first thing you do.  If I did that, I’d still be working at Sonic.  My first business was a modeling agency.  I used to tell people “not” to eat, now I tell them “to” eat.

 

If you have that feeling of wanting to go in a certain direction, definitely pursue it – but don’t think of it as being your end-all.  There’s so much thing as a failed business.  You learn from everything you experience.

 

At 18, all you’ve been doing is f*ckin’ around in high school.   I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to be the first 5’3’’ supermodel. when I was that age.  That’s what was in my mind at the time.

 

You have to be flexible – you have to figure out what you love and figure out how to make it profitable in life.  It’s a unique path – take a route on something that you’re passionate about.

 

If you have passion for your work and what you do, it carries over into all other areas in your life.

 

You know, you made me realize something about entrepreneurship and a learning lesson that comes along with – by understanding the amount of time it takes to work on something or make a goal happen, you subconsciously realize how valuable your time ‘outside’ of work is as well.  Does that carry over into who you decide to spend time with.

 

Totally.  My group of friends is absolutely f*cking awesome and I definitely want people that make me feel better by being around them, not bringing me down but being supportive of one another.  I would hope that they feel the same way by hanging around with me.  The ones that have been there through everything mean so much to me.

 

If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?

 

Consistency is huge in a lot of aspects.  You have to be consistent with your blog – if you’re not regular, they’ll follow another writer.  You have to be consistent with your brand.  I think branding is huge.  People expect to come and see something they can get value from.  You have to produce similar kinds of content on a regular basis.  You have to be on top of things when big companies like HuffPost email you looking for a certain recipe or a piece on something seasonal, etc.

 

Personality.  A blog is different than a website because you’re subscribing to get a story.  You go to the food network to get a recipe – with my book – you go to get a recipe and a story.

 

Who inspires you?

 

My mom.  She’s just the happiest person I know.  For no real reason – she just has the best attitude and sees the best in everything and everyone.

 

My dad inspires a lot of my cooking.  He’s so creative in the kitchen and is so supportive of everything that I do.

 

My grandma – she was just so happy being at home cooking for the family, living a simple life.

 

What do you think of authority?

 

I’m not good at authority at all.  I think that’s a big reason for me being an entrepreneur so I don’t have someone telling me what to do all the time.

 

Meter maids really get to me – I love it when I pull up to a meter and there’s still 30 minutes of green left.  Feels like I “won” one against them.  I don’t know how someone can be a meter maid.

 

How do you establish a clientele and a following who regularly attend your events?  Was it hard to get the initial momentum going in the first place?

 

My initial following were my mom’s friends and my friends.  Mainly going to other people’s blogs and commenting on their posts and they’d come to mine.  From there, the majority of my major following came with stepping up my ‘picture’ game.  When my photos and my food looked better, it’d get published more around the web.

 

~FUN QUESTIONS~

 

 

What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?

 

A model.

 

What are some of your favorite sounds?

 

I liked trains until I moved here!  Haha.  The sound of the oven beeping, haha.

 

When my grandma passed away, my dad asked if there was anything that I wanted from her house – I told him “the bell”.   When I was a little girl, my grandma would cook dinner for us all and there was a china cabinet that housed this little glass bell.  And it was the dinner bell that I would get to ring when my grandma was finished cooking.   You could ‘only’ get to ring the bell right before dinner, so that made it special.

 

What’s your favorite curse word?

 

Fuck.  I say fuck all the time.  My mom gives me so much shit for having such a potty mouth.

 

What’s your favorite memory from your past? 

 

When I got the acceptance package for SDSU.  I didn’t even pull all the way into the driveway – just ran into the house screaming that I got in.

 

I remember when I found out I was going to be in Maxim (for modeling).  I always wanted to be published in a nationally recognized magazine.  That was like my end goal – I had done everything that I had wanted to do, and at that point, I was like “what do I do now”?

 

It’s a cool feeling, but it’s scary.  I sometimes think that if I were to die, I wouldn’t be really worried like, “what!  I didn’t do this, or I didn’t do that” - I’ve led a pretty good life.  I feel like I’ve really lived.

 

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?

 

A monkey.  I don’t know they seem like they’re having a lot of fun swingin from tree to tree.

 

What are some of your favorite smells?

 

Flowers.  I love having fresh flowers in my house.

 

What did you get into the most trouble for when you were young?

 

Oh!  I got in trouble for a lot!  Just throwing fits & just being a brat.  My mom would tell me to go to my room and think about what I’ve done.  I would scream and kick because she would send me there and I would hate that authority.

 

Most kids would just go through the punishment and just take it.  I’d kick and scream and just throw a defensive up about the whole ordeal.  I think I remember getting in trouble for hitting my brother with a spatula – so I guess cooking just carries over into every area of my life, haha.

 

If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?

 

I’d definitely say Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama because it’s so similar to my story.  Small town->big city, ends up going home and marrying the guy.  Except with me, it’d be moving to the city and starting a business.

 

If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?

 

I would say the 50’s.

 

If there was one celebrity you’d like to punch in the face, who would it be?

 

Oh man there’s so many!  Can I get a double punch of Kanye and Kim.  Chris Brown!

 

What age do people become “old”, what’s the secret to staying young?

 

It get’s older every year that I do!  Haha so when I was 10, it was 20 – when I was 20 – it was 30 – now it’s 75.

 

What’s your favorite quotation?

 

“If you’re not with me during my struggles, don’t expect to be there during my success.”

 

It might sound bitter at first reading, but I kind of take it the other way.  One time I had to move 6 times in one month when I was living in LA – and the same group of friends helped me move each time…I’ll always remember that and I’ll always be there to support them when they need it.

 

If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?

 

If they’re genuinely interested in doing it and willing to put in the time & effort, and sharing their recipes with people – I’d love to help.  They can email me at whitney@littleleopardbook.com

 

Kimi Evans - Loved this! Whitney…can’t wait to see you with your own cooking show someday! You’re a rock star!!! :)September 27, 2013 – 9:54 am

Jenna - Yay for Whitney! I’m so pleased you’re finding so much success doing something you love . . . and it’s inspiring that you aren’t afraid of failure. I wish you the absolute best!!September 11, 2013 – 10:54 am

Cathy Dod - Hi Tim, Loved this post. Whitney is bright, beautiful and so very talented. No wonder she is successful in all her endeavors. She is an inspiration for sure. !!!September 10, 2013 – 1:51 pm

Ryan Greenleaf - So fun! She seems like such a cool person. WHO WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND HER?! :) I think you can relate to her Tim on “living a good life” with all of your travels. Heck that made me want to book a trip somewhere just to live!

Great Post!September 6, 2013 – 10:31 am