A new journey begins.

Sunday, June 24, 2018




When I decided to start a food blog, I’d never picked up a real camera or written a formal recipe before. At the time, I was working fifty to sixty hour weeks as a construction accountant and living check to check as a single mom. My resources were pretty limited. I blogged from a two-bedroom apartment in South Florida with nothing more than my cell phone and company-issued laptop. The only food I could afford to use for content was our actual groceries. When I wanted to learn something new, I relied on Google. When I needed to invest in better equipment, I gave up the things in my budget that weren’t as important to me. When it seemed like there were never enough hours in the day, I made the time in the middle of the night. I was on a mission to become a better home cook, and those sacrifices were worth the renewed sense of fulfillment. The hustle was just as addictive as the creative process. Since 2012, I’ve self-published four digital cookbooks, developed partnerships with national brands, worked as a personal chef, hosted ticketed dinner events, published hundreds of original recipes and connected with thousands of new people. During that time, I also had a baby, moved back home to Virginia, and left my accounting career to embrace this freelance life full time. It’s been a crazy six years!

Making the leap from an accounting career to freelancing was pretty damn terrifying. It’s been a challenge to figure out how to build consistent income streams while balancing my time for recipe development, writing, creating online content, and managing daily social media engagement! Just when one thing seems to work, something else falls behind, and that juggling act makes for a pretty unstable life. While I've been really successful in establishing myself as a respected brand, I’m definitely not where I want to be financially. Part of my soul searching process over the last few months has involved thinking about what’s working, what’s not, and what will ultimately make me happy...and be consistently profitable. My work as a personal chef stuck out like a sore thumb from my digital brand as The Kitchenista Diaries. It’s been the most difficult part of my business to get off the ground, and a lot of that is because I wasn’t putting in the time to properly market my services, streamline the pricing process, or sort out realistic catering menus. The types of jobs I was able to take on without renting commercial kitchen space were pretty limited, and working by myself in private homes started to feel like a safety risk I wasn’t willing to take with new clients. I’m not closing the door on catering opportunities forever, but treating that part of my business like a side gig was not putting me in position for success. If I extract what I did enjoy about the work, it is planning dinner party menus, tablescapes and fun experiences. So I’m going to take that piece with me, make space for entertaining in my personal life with friends and family, and see what kind of ideas for online content comes out of it. It’ll give me a necessary creative outlet without the added pressure of trying to make it a viable income stream right now. 

Catered dinner party, 2018
I accomplished what I set out to do when I created The Kitchenista Diaries. I’m a better cook today than I was six years ago. I’ve learned how to photograph, write, and share the dishes that I love in a way that has inspired and motivated other people to cook more at home. It’s an awesome feeling, and I’m really proud to have persevered when the journey got rough. I’ll always be looking out for the next dish to master, ways to improve my camera skills, and keep working on polishing my writing. But now it’s time for me to dream bigger and set some new goals for my brand, business, and personal life. Landing a publishing deal is at the top of that list, along with launching an online store, getting my health under control, and moving back into my own place. Will any of those things be easy? Nope. Has that ever stopped me before? Nope! I know that the same hustle, drive and intuition will carry me forward like it did when I learned how to cook, but the difference is in needing a more disciplined approach, and realizing that I don’t have to do it all on my own anymore.

Oh how things have changed!
Over the next few months, you’ll be seeing some changes here on the site and on my social media channels. The first big change is a website redesign! I’ve been publishing on Blogger’s platform since day one, but quickly outgrew it. If you’ve ever had to invest in a professional website, you probably know the kind of sticker shock that involves. I’m happy to say that I earned enough this year from ebook sales to finally put some money aside, so thank you to everybody who continues to support those projects! The new site will give me the ability to better manage online sales, so you’ll be able to purchase digital cookbooks here instead of on a separate site. Along with that, some official Kitchenista Diaries gear is on its way, and custom designed products like aprons and recipe journals. I can’t give away all the other surprises now, but I will say that moving in a new direction will open up so many more possibilities for my brand and make it a sustainable business. That’s really important to me, because The Kitchenista Diaries isn’t just a blog to me - it’s my career in real life, and I have to treat it that way. As far as the site itself goes, I’ll be opening up my platform to share the stories of other home cooks who are embarking on journeys of their own. This means there will be lots of opportunities coming soon for other food bloggers interested in guest posting, cross-posting, and freelance food writing submissions. I’m also actively looking for illustrators who are taking on commissioned work. When the new site is up, there will be a place for you to check for all of those opportunities as they become available.

Catered dinner party, 2018
I’ve faced a lot of curveballs and obstacles along my journey as The Kitchenista, but my passion for home cooked food remained the constant. I’m sure my new adventure will be just as life-changing, and probably even more treacherous, but I'll deal with those hurdles as they come. I’m moving forward into this new chapter the only way I know how: One recipe at a time.

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11 comments

  1. Tiffany Dotson- The Seasoned PanJune 24, 2018 at 10:27 PM

    I can not tell you how absolutely well done this post was and even more inspiring than you know. As a stay at mom of two (1.5 & 5) in school full time at FIU getting my BA in Hospitality Management, living with my mother in law (her oven has no window and the stove coils don't heat completely..lol thats all I will say about that) this post spoke to my heart.
    All I think about is food, hosting events, feeding others, and writing recipes. You are such a role model for women and I thank you for your transparency! Reading this just reminded me that I can do this! God bless you and this new season may you walk in high favor, strength and glory! I can and will accomplish all my hearts desires!
    **PS- Have you ever read the book "The Circle Maker?" if not, it would be my pleasure to buy you a copy and mail it to you. Happy Cooking! Many Blessings- Tiffany Dotson

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! That would be great, please shoot me an email. Would also like to talk about a guest post if interested!

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  2. Angela, I am so proud of you and all of the hard work you’ve accomplished this far! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve and where this journey is taking you. You truly inspire me to work harder in the kitchen and let my creativity shine! Keep it up, mama. <3

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    1. Love you!! You have always inspired me and it’s so dope to share this journey with someone who gets it LOL! Will keep you posted about guest posting!

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  3. Glad to read that you're figuring out what you enjoy most and what you want to focus on - that's what is most important at the end of the day, anyway! Love your site and your internet presence. Wishing you all the best!

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  4. I haven't followed you from the very start but even your growth and development over the last 2 years has been so inspiring. I'm so excited to see where you go next!

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  5. You have always been such an inspiration. Keep soldiering on!

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  6. Your story is so inspiring to me. Maybe one day I'll get the courage to create something on my own as well. Good luck to you Angela.

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  7. This is exactly what I needed to read at this point in my life at this exact moment! I’ve been cooking since a very young age and it’s always been my passion. But, after becoming a stay at home mom of theee I’ve tried to venture into different careers and I always circle back to the kitchen. Your journey is beautiful and I follow your social media and own your ebooks. Just know you’re an inspiration and I wish you nothing but success, blessings and love in your future.

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  8. So I just found your twitter last night and I am officially obsessed! I am new to this blogging thing and am still sorting everything out. This post is motivating and inspirational and ALL of your food looks AMAZING! I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors though you don't need it because you are seriously talented!

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