J: You are listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 33.
A: Everyone has a dream, everybody has some little dream that maybe they don't want to tell anybody but most women do have a dream, and if you have some kind of dream, just do one thing that starts it. And you may fail, you know, just try something and then let it evolve and be willing to embrace the journey and not the goal. And I think sometimes where women get into a situation that isn't as good as it could be for them is they get too goal-oriented instead of journey, it's the journey of it, like every failed step is a beautiful part of your personal story.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of a vibrant woman living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey there, I am Dr. Jen Riday, and this is Vibrant Happy Women. On our last episode, I talked with April Boyd about moving forward after the loss of a baby. April shared her tragic experience of losing her little girl when she was just one day old and instead of letting that be a tragedy, April chose to turn her daughter's life into a legacy. Be sure to listen to that if you haven't already and share it with those who might need some positivity after a similar experience. Today, I’ll be talking with Angela Roberts, author of The Spinach Tiger blog, a food blog, and Angela shares her story of deciding to follow her dreams of being a food blogger. Now, Angela says all of us has something we've always wanted to do but fear or other reasons might hold us back. She says we just need to jump in and make it all about the journey and not just about the goal. So you're going to love this episode and we'll go ahead and get started.
Hey there, welcome to today's episode of Vibrant Happy Women, I’m Jen Riday and I’ll be talking with Angela Roberts today. She's the publisher and founder of spinachtiger.com, a food blog with over 900 recipes and beautiful photography. Angela has moved from the corporate world to decorative painting to food blogging where she feels she has found her true creative zone. Angela has an MA in clinical psychology and has a great interest in family issues, especially the rule that food and dining plays in the dynamics of family life. So tell us more about that, Angela, but before we go there, let’s jump in with your quote because we do need to start the show with that.
A: Okay, well, it’s not a quote I’ve gotten from anywhere else but I found myself when I was talking to little children, “Do the right thing because it's the right thing,” and I found myself saying that over and over every day, “Do the right thing because it's the right thing.” And so, for me, you know, I really looked at, “Why am I seeing this all the time?” And sometimes people do the right thing for the wrong reasons, they do the right thing to get ahead with kind of maybe the wrong kind of ambition. But what I discovered about myself is something really important to me is integrity; to do the right thing, even if it costs me, even if it means I have to walk away from what looks like a good opportunity. Because I think that having that peace is going to keep my creative juices and keep my life more purposeful.
J: Hmm, “Do the right thing because it's the right thing,” hmm, I love that. So let's go right into your story and your low point in life, we love to hear how other women face struggles, sometimes we think nobody else struggles and how they came out of that place and are they living a vibrant happy life today.
A: Well, you know, we all have some low points in our life with tragedies and deaths in the family and I really didn't want to talk about that because everybody knows when you're going through those things. But I was here in Nashville wanting to get out of something that I had built the decorative painting, it wasn't giving me joy anymore and I felt very alone, I felt very sad, I felt depressed because I need a reason to get up in the morning, I’m that kind of person I like to go, go, go, and I didn't even know why I was doing that anymore. And the one thing though that I kept envisioning that all the other women were happy in their careers, happy with what they were doing, and that was the only one, and then I have come to find out in talking to lots of women, especially if you're an empty nester going through phases, people often sit at home and wonder what their purpose is in life and what should they do next or why is this job giving them joy. And, you know, I really believe, as human beings, God has created us to be on a particular path. When we are on the path that's the right path for our DNA for who we are, that we're anxious to get up in the morning. And when you don't want to get up in the morning that there's something wrong and you need to take a… like get some kind of a map of who you really are and that's where I was; I was really sad. I remember talking to people, not getting a lot of hope and that was until, you know, I found my next new reinvention of myself.
J: Oh, so tell us more about that. How did you figure out what was next and what your path was?
A: Well, here's the funny thing, in a million, zillion years, I would have never believed that I would be a blogger. I remember people when blogging first started back in the early to thousands, “You should blog something,” and I am like, “No, that's a very self-centered. What do I have to say?” That's how I saw blogs as like just diaries of selfies, you know, just kind of like that was my… I didn't know any better at the time, I didn't know how awesome blogs were and what a voice to give to people. But the way that it happened is I am very much food oriented, very much a party oriented, I love to feed people, love to make everybody happy with food, I think it's such a wonderful part of just any culture of all the thousands of years we've been existing as human beings. And I went to a party and I brought 5 dishes because I was worried that people weren't going to bring enough food and it wouldn't be a happy time, and I was right; my 5 dishes kind of made sense, it was great for that night. But I went home and I was sad, “Oh, I just can't connect with any people that… you know, like food people,” it's a language; foodies have their own sort of language in a way. And I stumbled onto a blog that night online and I stayed up all night and I studied like every page. And I said to my husband that very night… I’m getting chills just truthfully talking to you, like right now, I could almost get tears in my eyes because it was such a moment that changed… seriously changed my life. I go, “That is what I’m going to do, I’m going to be a food blogger.” And that was 8 years ago, I have never lost that buzz. And that's how I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.
J: Wow, I love how you say that, I never lost that buzz.
J: Wow! Neat! And I’m getting the chills, you know, another confirmation that you're on the right path, the path where are you… so is it true? Do you want to get up in the morning? Is that easy for you now?
A: I hate going to bed.
A: I hate sleep, I hate… I’m one of the rare people, I’ve never really liked sleep because I just want to be awake, but I can't wait to get up in the morning. I… I get up early, I start working on my blog from 6:30 to 9:30 every morning. I leave at 9:30 to go exercise and come back; that's what I do.
J: Ugh. Well, so… so many… no, I’m so impressed and I said ugh because I wish I were more like that
J: But… so I’ve heard so many of my friends in, you know, the approaching 40s or just after age 40, that seems to be a milestone where we think, “Oh, what's my purpose? What should I be doing?” so what advice would you give to anyone who is asking that question?
A: First of all, have hope and faith. There is something that's so you, it's just you, it's not anybody else. The way I blog food is just me. I do recipes and I do restaurant reviews and now, I do some travel and I never planned a lot of it, it evolved. I would say, just… everyone has a dream, everybody has some little dream that maybe they don't want to tell anybody, but most women do have a dream. And if you have some kind of dream, just do one thing that starts it. And you may fail, you know, just try something and then let it evolve and be willing to embrace the journey and not the goal. And I think sometimes, where women get into a situation that isn't as good as it could be for them is they get too goal-oriented instead of journey; it's the journey of it.
A: Like, every failed step is a beautiful part of you a personal story.
J: Yes, I love that. And that's something I’ve learned this past year as well; failure is beautiful because it's another step. So often, the failure just looms in front of us like this giant wall and we become paralyzed because we don't want to climb that wall, but yeah, is just another step; I love what you said there. So… so what's exciting you and how are you living a vibrant happy life today? Tell us more about being a food blogger.
A: Well, I have a strong spiritual life. I think that is what keeps me grounded, that keeps me sane and probably keeps defeating thoughts because, when you're a blogger, you're a little person in a great big blogging world and there's lots of numbers that you can check every day and you can compare yourself to people all the time, and that is a very defeating. And so I have to go back to, “I can't listen to that and I can't look at that,” I have to remember, “You know what? I could be just one blog post away from a big break.”
A: And so I just have to go in faith, “If I’m doing what I’m happy doing and I’m excited, that's all I need to do.” And I know that there's people that come to it and there's people that watch the videos and there's people that are changing their kitchen life and their family life. I won’t to know all those stories, but I have to live in faith, I’m affecting or helping along the family stories out there and I’m doing something, I’m visiting people in their kitchens in some way somehow and that makes me happy. And then as far as Nashville, it gave me opportunities to like write a bucket list for a Nashville for a magazine (I did that twice) and write a restaurant article for Nashville. So I can give back to Nashville, to my community, I can write about the restaurants and I can help our business along, which I kind of feel like I’m a little part of that. And, you know, you know that's exciting to me. That’s… I’ve got kind of regenerated my technical team for my blog, got some new people, new hosting, new things to… like tomorrow, it's always going to be better, that's what's great about a blog, it grows, it can be, you know, not that great today but tomorrow, you make some changes and the next thing you know, you're opening up more opportunities for yourself. So that's exciting for me.
J: Yeah, I love how you keep looking to the future, “Tomorrow is always better or maybe our one blog post away from that big break,” so you're always future looking. I think that's what a lot of successful entrepreneurs do.
A: Yeah, I’m open to things. Sometimes things come across and I’m… I’m amazed by it at times, offers for a recipe developments, for websites that I would never even think of doing that, and it's like, “That's a very nice offer,” or an offer to go on a travel trip and write about it; well, I didn't set out to do that, that's just come my way.
A: And I’m like, “Okay, that's really awesome.” And I get to meet great people; that's the really awesome part.
J: Yeah. Angela, tell me something that you're struggling with today, we all continue to struggle and what are you learning from that?
A: Well, one of the things that's hard as a blogger is technologies changes all the time, and it's hard for me to keep up. So the biggest struggle that I’ve kind of had is I think it's a personal flaw of mine is I don't like to ask for help; unless it's my husband who I can ask for lots of help. But I hate to admit, “Oh, I don't know how to do this.” And I think because I’m not a millennial, I don't want people… and this is very shallow, I think, on my part, I don't like people to think, “Oh, she's too old to know about technology,” even though I write a blog and, you know, half way smart on most things. But till lately, had been trained to really ask people, “Can you sit down and show me this? Can you help me?” and looking for people that are really smarter than me; iron sharpens iron. Like, “You have an awesome blog,” this person over here, “will you sit down and show me a few things that I don't understand?” So I think that that is… you know, that's one of my kind of weaknesses. And like I remember when I started the food blog 8 years ago, I didn't… I never took a picture, I didn't know how to use a real camera, I just knew how to use automatic point-and-shoot and I just figured that would be good enough. But eventually, you know, I learned how to take pictures, and guess what? I discovered that I have kind of a little gift for it, which I would never in a million years have thought; never, ever. It's why I say, “Try things, try things, try things; you don't know. You don't know who you are. You don't know what talents you have inside of yourself. But I remember in the beginning feeling like, “Oh, no, I don't want to learn the technical part of the camera,” and then I kind of had to push myself into it and realize, “Oh, I’ve got great composition skills, I have a great eye for finish, well, I was a faux finisher, you know, it all goes great together, that creativity.
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
A: But these are things I didn't know about myself. So now, technically, I am getting into a little bit more deeper technical things, learning about my blog so that I can help myself with that too. And it's all interesting because, as you know, even doing something as simple as a podcast can give you some snags.
J: (Laughs). So you really do have beautiful pictures on your website and we should tell our listeners where they can go to see those, so what’s the URL?
A: Go to spinachtiger.com, I am the only one, and I can also be found on social media just about everything is Spinach Tiger, like I have it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. So I’m really easy to find.
J: So speaking about your blog, what's your most popular post that you've shared?
A: The funny thing is, I would never believe… like, the most popular post is a red beet smoothie. I threw a couple smoothies up there because I do have a healthy take on the blog is whole real foods, just approachable real food that tastes good, that will help people be healthy, but still enjoy the art of eating; and that's kind of funny that that one's so hot. Then the other one is my grandmother's tomato sauce; of course, that's number 2, which makes me really happy. And then surprisingly… and again, talk about failure, my fluffy biscuits recipe is gigantic; gigantic success, lots of people write me constantly about how they have finally been able to make a biscuit. Well, I never made about a biscuit in my life until about 2 years into the blog and I decided seriously for my husband, he wants southern biscuits like his brother grandmother in east Tennessee. So I set out, “Okay, I’m going to try to make these biscuits for him,” and oh my gosh, they were horrible, they were rocks. So I studied it, I got a book, I studied every biscuit recipe that I could find, trying to figure out the code that nobody tells you, and I cracked it, and it's real sticky. And I show a video and I have like 17 tips on how you can make a perfect biscuit. And from there, I have about 18 or 19 biscuit recipes at Spinach Tiger.
J: Ooh, that's yummy; that makes me want to try them. We will get links to those recipes on our show notes page at jenriday.com/33. So, yeah, southern fluffy biscuit recipe; mm, that sounds great. Well, let's move into talking about some of your favorite things, Angela.
J: What… what is a habit that contributes to your successful life?
A: You know, this sounds so cliché but for my whole entire life, I have been a consistent person that exercises and I think that it helps your brain. I mean, there is just the scientific studies on that aside from, you know, burning off some of those biscuit calories, that isn't even the reason that I love exercise so much, I just think it helps me feel really good and stay kind of, you know, drug-free, depression free, and it's just one of those things I can know in the day that I can count on. And I might not do everything right in the day or I’m a go play with my friends instead of write on my blog, but I have exercised.
J: Mm. I recently interviewed another gift and she thought that that one hour of exercise almost added more time to the rest of her day because she became more productive, would that be true for you as well?
A: I would say absolutely, and not only does it add more time, it adds more… like defeats brain fog which…
A: … you know, after 40, even after 35, starts getting brain fog and it just defeats it; completely eliminates it, for me.
J: Powerful, we all need that.
A: We all need that. (Laughs)
J: Yeah. What's a favorite easy meal? I’m sure you have a million, but what's your favorite easy meal even if it's not on your blog?
A: No, it is on my blog.
A: It's not even the best picture because I don't… I haven't cracked how to make it to look pretty, but it is so simple. It is, you know, a little olive oil in the pan, some chopped onions, some ground beef, and some frozen peas. And as silly as that might sound, it’s one of my husband's all-time favorite meals, it is salt and pepper; you got to have salt. And then you can add in what you want, you can put it on rice or you can just eat it that way. That is our quick go-to and we just call it hamburger and peas and is very popular on the blog because I call it recession delicious when… remember when we had that little recession…
A: … a couple years back, right? And that's when I did it. And now, I have a version of it with kale because I have lots of kale recipes.
A: So, you know, you can put… throw some kale in there, throw some peppers in there, but simple, it's.. what is that, like 3 ingredients?
A: And it's so good so, you know, it's not fancy, but it's a go-to.
J: No garlic, huh, just… just the onions.
A: No garlic, mm-mm, just the onions.
A: The onion is actually the most Italian important ingredient. People think it's garlic, but it's really only onion; onion drives.
J: (Laughs) I heard somewhere in Europe this past year, they had a shortage of onions and people were freaking out (Laughs); because they put it in everything.
A: Everything, everything.
A: Everything starts with the onions.
J: Mm-hmm. What's your favorite kitchen gadget?
A: I have this silicone spatula from OXO and it's made for eggs or for frittatas and it's a super-big, that's because… and it works just about with everything. And if I… that is the one thing outside of wooden spoons, spatulas, all kinds of things, if I lost that for whatever reason, I would reorder it. Is just love it; and my chef knife, that's just a given though.
J: OXO silicone spatula made for eggs or for frittatas.
A: Yeah, it's the big one.
J: And your favorite book.
A: Well, this is my favorite book to recommend to other woman out there because it's something… you know, there's lots of great recommendations that everybody pretty much knows about. This book is a little heady, there's a lots of information and you can't get through it easily, but it is fantastic because it's all researched. And the since I have that like clinical, you know, psychology background, I like when things have researched about them of, and it's on willpower. And they tried to find me a one woman who doesn't try to use willpower for everything in her day, especially when it comes to food, you know; it's all about the willpower. And then this book tells you why our thinking on willpower does not work and set ourselves up for failure. For example, just real simply, we are built as human beings with our brain, we only have so many ‘no’s in a day. If we have small children that we’re home with all day and, you know what you're saying to small children, you are seeing no and no and no and then maybe to your dog, no. By the time you sit down to dinner, you… you know, 7 helpings of strawberry shortcake because you're all out of ‘no’s.
A: And it's not because you're a bad person or a weak person, you just used your ‘no’s up. And I think this is something that would be awesome for a woman to understand about themselves.
J: And what's the name of the?
A: It's called ‘Willpower’ by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney.
J: Mm, I’ve heard about that that there is limited willpower, it makes perfect sense. Well, so what do they recommend instead of trying to have a willpower?
A: Well, I mean, you need to know where you're spending your ‘no’s and that can kind of… like if you already know, “Oh, I’ve got like 10 good ‘no’s in the day,” then you set yourself up. Like instead of eating 7 strawberry shortcakes for dinner, before you've used all your ‘no’s up, get your dinner planned. You know, like when you… you still have that fortified, you know, don't wait to make big decisions once you've exhausted all of that willpower, you're only going to start with so much during the day. That's why people end up eating all that stuff at night.
J: Because they are out of willpower, wow.
A: They are out of willpower. Yeah.
J: Well, so that means all of the… yeah, all of the… so your exercise, does it happen in the morning or…?
A: Yeah, 10 o'clock because that's when my class is. I do classes with the same group of women for like 8 or 9 years now.
J: Mm-hmm. Well, yeah, but so all those important things we all want to do like planning the dinner or the exercise or what have you, yet, you do it before the ‘no’s are all used up so…
J: … I guess early in the morning
J: And what's the best advice you've ever received?
A: Okay, this is funny because this is way pre-internet. I had a mentor who is much older than me, oh my gosh, I loved this man, he was tough and he used to smoke cigarettes and he was so tough, his ashes like fall on your lap.
A: You know, how… yeah, there’s certain kind of men they’re like bosses you just remember, you love them so much, and he always said to me, “Don't ever put anything in writing you don't want the whole world to see.”
J: Ooh, (Laughs). And now, you're letting it all hang out on a blog (Laughs)
A: But, I mean, think about that in lieu of some politics right now. People need to understand how important that is. (Laughs)
J: Oh, isn't that true? Oh, don't even bring up politics, please. (Laughs)
A: Seriously, I know. Well, texting, have you ever texted about someone to them accidentally? I have.
J: Oh no, oh no!
A: I mean, these things happen so you've got to be very careful, very careful with the writing because everything comes back.
J: And not just the writing nowadays but the pictures. (Laughs)
A: Oh lord, yeah.
J: Well, everyone, you can find the links to what we've been discussing by going to jenriday.com/33, that's our show notes page which has links to everything. And now, let's talk about my favorite thing, the happiness formula. So, Angela, if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions or ideas or beliefs that maximize your happiness, what would that include?
A: That's a heavy big question. I’ll talk first about my husband who he's just seemed to be (when I married him) naturally happy. Naturally happy, wakes up happy every day, he's always happy; the guy is never in a bad mood. And I asked him about it like, “How do you do that?”
A: He said… he said, “I made a decision when I was younger; I just made a decision, I was going to be happy.” And he… it was like, “Is it really?” I mean, that… that was powerful to me. So then I’m like, “Okay!” And always, if I start to fall off, you know, like fall off the bike, I’m falling, I just remember what he said, “It's a decision.” And I know, for me, personally (and I think this is true for everybody because we all wanted to have purpose), I am happiest when I have a purpose and when I act on it, when I work with intention and I live on a schedule. Now, I’m not a type-a and I’m not a type-b, I’m probably somewhere like a b+ maybe.
J: Ah. (Laughs)
A: I am not one of those really crazy people. And I will drop everything to go have fun and leave a messy house; I mean, I will. Most… a lot of people type… type-as probably wouldn't do that, but I would do that; but I live on a schedule. You know, like I said, when I get up in the morning, I know exactly what I’m going to do, I pretty much know some of the means that I’m going to eat, I have really healthy eating habits. I am not perfect, but I, you know, have healthy… I think a very outlook. I stick to my exercise because that is just kind of part of it. And then, I keep people in my life because I think none of that matters if you don't have a support system and the word support system, we should be ashamed of; all of our friends are our support system. That’s, you know, the people you surround yourself. Like, even my food blog or community, we have in Nashville food bloggers, we have lots of events where we see each other, well, that's people I enjoy seeing their face; I’m going to see some faces in about an hour today and that makes me happy. I feel like that's part of my support system and I hope I am part of theirs. Like it's build your immune system, your… you know, when you're around people, when you have good relationships. So I try to have, you know, good relationships and especially invite people over for dinner and lunch or whatever and have food together because I think this is where you have conversation, this is really what my whole goal in life is to get families to cook that is easy enough, fun enough, bring your kids in, sit at the table, talk, laugh, have fun. And I think the keys to happiness are these very simple things; it’s not 10 million dollars’ worth of jewelry, it's people.
J: It's people, I love that. That's a quotable right there; that should be on your blog.
J: “It's not 10 million dollars’ worth of jewelry, it's people.” Well, I appreciate everything you've talked about on the show today, Angela. So I would love for you to leave us with a challenge for our listeners.
A: Okay, this is easy and what we were talking about, I challenge all the wonderful listeners out there today to take one day this week or next week and fail at something. Do something you've always wanted to do. Bake a cake and you… you tell yourself, “Oh, I don't know how to do that, I don't know how to do that,” or bake a pie or make a meatloaf or go try a hike or try some kind of clothes you always wanted thought you would good look in and go buy something like that, you know, buy a hat; something that you really want inside but you think it's not you.
A: Paint something; something. And maybe you fail and that would be awesome because you’ll learn something.
J: “Maybe you will fail and that would be awesome,” that is excellent advice. Everyone, take a day this week or next and fail at something, you have permission. So now you don't have to fear that big wall, Angela gave us permission; I love this. Thank you so much, Angela, for being on the show.
A: Oh, thank you.
J: And again, I’ll… I’ll remind our listeners that they can find links to everything we talked about at jenriday.com/33, and they can find you, tell us again where your blog is and… and we'll say goodbye.
A: Okay. And thank you so much for having me, this has been really a blast. I’ve loved being here chatting with you and your readers… I mean, your listeners. It's spinachtiger.com and that's YouTube, I forgot to mention there's go to YouTube and Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Spinach Tiger.
J: And go over there and get your fluffy biscuit recipe.
J: Mm, mm. Alright, thanks, Angela, take care.
A: Thank you so much.
J: I had a lot of fun talking with Angela for this episode and I loved what she shared about doing the hard things before we've used up all our noise for the day. And be sure to join me next time when I’ll be talking with Lauren Greutman, author of ‘The Recovering Spender’. Lauren often speaks on national TV, sharing her story of getting out of $40,000 of debt and she'll even sure share the 3 rules she lives by to stay out of that. So if you'd like to get a better handle on your friend and since, be sure to join me next time. Also, I want to invite you to join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group where tons of women come together to build positivity and joy in our lives. Also, if you wanted to take it to the next level, you could join me in the Vibrant Happy Living membership at the vibranthappyliving.com. The members get a weekly guided meditation, a weekly message, and we even have a monthly coaching call together. Well, I am so grateful you've joined me for this episode today and I will see you next time. Make it a great week and take care.
Outro: thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.