We had the good fortune of connecting with Eden Westbrook and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eden, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
I became financially literate. I’ve found most people my age and from my parents’ generation and beyond aren’t financially literate and therefore cannot teach their children how to. Learning how to save, invest, and spend my money wisely so it’s also working for me, while also knowing how to maneuver around things like debt, credit cards, and the like, is a skillset my husband and I are able to pass on to our son and future children so they are prepared to thrive in their future. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Before I started food blogging, I did a lot of research. I remember this one article said that about 90% of bloggers who start a blog quit within 3 months. And of all the bloggers who keep going, about 3% succeed at replacing their full-time income. Was getting to full-time blogging easy? Absolutely not. It’s still not easy, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes of running an online blog. You are running an entire business, and I did not go to college for marketing, software, photography, business, etc. so it’s a constant learning experience. This is even more difficult when you don’t have the resources (money, network, tech, knowledge, whatever) so learning by trial and error and accidentally finding information was how I grew until I gained a full-time income to afford courses and coaches. It does take a lot to do this full time, and sometimes you need a team. I’ve only recently started outsourcing with an assistant to help with the workload. Sweet Tea + Thyme is something that I never knew I needed to do as a kid. I always loved food but I never wanted a restaurant or to work in one (I already have, it’s hard work, long hours, little pay). Creating this space, this archive of family recipes, recipes from the different cultures and friends I’ve always been surrounded by, recipes that I know my readers and their families will love, and being able to make money and thrive and give my son a life he deserves…it feels good. It’s like that Japanese Ikigai venn diagram: I love it, I’m good at it, the world needs food, and I’m getting paid for it! Being a food blogger takes loving food to another level. Everything I do for it is calculated, everything is ahead of time, researched thoroughly, tested many times by different people. It’s a labor of love because I like to think of Sweet Tea +Thyme as an online food magazine full of recipes that people will love and keep and enjoy with their loved ones and this brings me so much joy.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friends are literally all blogging moms, so we need places to take the kids, places to get pampered, places for seriously great Instagram photos, and places to get great food. 1. We love taking our son to the Frost Museum! It’s hard to get to right now because there are insane detours on the highway, but once there the place is great for the 2 to 10-year-old kid crowd. The planetarium is his favorite but the aquarium level is a close second. This is a great place to take kids who really love science, space, animals, dinosaurs, etc. 2. I love the Mandarin Oriental Spa, the Valmont Spa at the Setai, and the St. Regis Bal Harbour. When we pamper, we go big, comfy, and preferably on a beach with a cocktail. It’s time to enjoy the fruit of our labors, ladies! 3. Go to Wynwood! Lots of shopping, food, art, all the things bloggers and online people love, right? 4. We’ll probably go around eating really great food for an entire day. I really enjoy quality food and experiences and that doesn’t always mean it’s expensive! I order from Fat Boyz BBQ a lot (that Who’z ya Daddy sandwich is awe-inspiring), and there’s a little hole in the wall called Bo Legg’s BBQ who’s ribs are just SO good! Barton G has a great atmosphere and fun desserts and I love Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina. We’re all food bloggers so when we go out to eat I need it to be decadent, worth spending money on, and definitely not something I’m making in my kitchen for work. I mean, if they’re coming to Miami, they might as well end the evening with herb butter-basted porterhouse and wagyu and then a giant cotton candy hair rendition of Marie Antoinette!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shout out the Black Food Bloggers Club. Without this amazing community who cares so much for each other, helps, and supports each other, food blogging while black would be lonely, confusing, and certainly not paying the bills! I’d like to shout out my husband, he’s been my #1 supporter since before I even officially launched my business. I want to shout to the friends I’ve made through food blogging! Tamara, Marta, Quin, Reina, Adrianna, Lilly, Sam, Eric + Shanna, Jaime, Jessica, Erica, Jazz, Jasmine, Christine, Jocelyn, Mike, Katie, Britney, and so, so, SO many people I’ve met and befriended over the years. This work would not be the same, it wouldn’t be fun, it wouldn’t be fulfilling without you, your support, your mentorship, your friendship! Last, I want to shout out the blood relatives who never believed in me. You put me down and ridiculed me, told me I should go back to my minimum-wage retail job, told me I should struggle, told me you wanted me to struggle, never once invested in Sweet Tea + Thyme, didn’t show any interest until you saw I was becoming successful. I hope all of you are doing well.

Website: https://www.sweetteaandthyme.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sweet_tea_thyme/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sweetteaandthyme

Image Credits
Eden Westbrook

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