A few words about Cari
Back in 2010 the online world was relatively quiet. Facebook had been around for a few years, but it was nothing like the juggernaut it is today. Instagram would roll out at the end of the year. “Influencers” as we know them today, didn’t exist. Metrics and Engagement and Clickbait - if they existed - were on no one’s radar in Miami. It was a time of sincerity of intent. The four people that I can remember, who blogged between 2008 and 2011 did it from a place of passion. And the only woman doing it, was Cari Garcia.
What began as part therapeutic exercise, part simple desire to highlight locally owned and operated restaurants has turned into a blog full of resources, humor and some amazing photos. In addition to her online blog, she’s the queen of Miami OG Instagram @fatgirlhedonist and some of the funniest shit you’ll ever see @fatgirlhedonistlife. Of late, she’s been doing some amazing giveaways as well, so if you’re one of the 12 people in the state of Florida who don’t follow her, add her now.
I appreciate Cari for the purity of her motivation, her completely down-to-earth approach to life and her relentless production of content that features locals. Nine years of doing that much for the home team deserves a huge amount of respect!
3 Questions for Cari
What Are You Doing?
- The short answer is, I have no fucking idea.
The long answer is, I’m sharing information on local events, I’m trying to highlight locally owned and operated restaurants and sharing recipes. After so many years, things over at FGH have evolved; I occasionally write a food blog and manage the blog’s social media outlets. I am trying to write down my family’s recipes so I can one day pass them down to my son. I’m trying to find little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and food artisans to share with the people that read my blog. I’m trying to lighten up people’s day a little by sharing relatable memes, because sometimes life is too serious and you just need to laugh a little. I’m trying to use my blog to give away opportunities to enjoy events or restaurants that readers might not be able to afford or attend. I’m witnessing a food community emerge in South Florida that although I don’t always agree with is awe-inspiring none the less. I’ve made friendships that border on family thanks to this blog. I’m trying to do all of this all while I raise a 3 year old and maintain a full time job at a local hospital.
Who Are You Doing It For?
- So I’m guessing this is where I’m expected to say, “I do it for all the people wanting to find a new place to eat in South Florida!” And while yes, that is *technically* true… it’s not the complete truth.
The reality is, I do this mostly for ME. The blog started out as my hobby, as my “passion project." I was burning out as a social worker working in an inpatient adult psychiatric unit and I needed an outlet. The blog started out almost as a personal journal to keep track of the local restaurants I enjoyed and the ones I hated. It started out thanks to my friends encouraging me to do it because as they put it, “You’re always dragging us to these weird restaurants no one's ever heard of instead of just letting us go to Chili’s for our 2-for-1’s.”
When things in my life have gotten hard or when my heart has been broken; food has always been there for me and for the last several years, FGH has been there. When I’m stressed out, I bake and I cook. When my son was born and I found myself in the midst of postpartum depression hell, sharing pictures of food and frivolous memes quite literally saved my life (along with my therapist and doctor). This blog has been a much needed distraction when my life has been falling apart all around me. So the reality is, people finding new restaurants to check out, memes to share with their friends or recipes to try out at home is just a byproduct of me working through all my BS and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity.
What Drives You To Do It?
- I compare where my blog was 8 years ago to where it is now. Sure, my blog is collecting dust because my personal life has taken over. I do try to post on social media regularly and connect with readers. I compare what my food photography looked like 8 years ago vs. what it looks like now; it drives me to always work toward being a better version of myself.
When I get messages from people saying, “I checked out xxx restaurant thanks to you, and it’s amazing!” Or “You’ve inspired me to start my own food blog!” Or “Your memes brighten my day!” When a chef who’s restaurant I visited, I paid for my food then I shared about it on social media, messages me to thank me for not being “just another influencer looking for a free meal.” It validates the feeling that I’m doing something right. I may not know what the heck I’m doing, but I think I’m headed in the right direction.
Find Cari @FatGirlHedonist on Instagram and at her blog here: http://www.fatgirlhedonist.com/