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Episode 209: Turn Menu Planning Into Editorial Planning with Marni Katz

In episode 209, we chat with Marni Katz about ways to streamline planning meals for your food blog and personal life to save you time as well as energy.

We cover why you should try planning meals out by the month, using a calendar for work and home as well as why themes can help make it fun and easy.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript


Guest Details

Connect with Simple Gray Tshirt
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio Marni is a former camp director who needed a change. In 2019 she started Simple Gray T-Shirt as a way to share how simple cooking for your family can be. Marni believes that life should be as simple as your favorite gray t-shirt! She is a mama to girls and mid-pandemic they moved from Chicago back to her childhood hometown in Michigan.

Takeaways

  • Creating a menu by the month for your personal life allows you to be more prepared for when the unexpected happens or you just don’t want to have to think about preparing meals as well as for your blog.
  • Meal planning allows you to intentionally use ingredients you buy in a variety of ways, cutting down on waste.
  • You can create themes to make planning a month at a time easy such as Taco Tuesday. There’s a variety of ways to prepare tacos so it won’t be the same boring recipe but alleviate coming up with a new idea.
  • Lunches and dinners can be the same each week if your family likes that.
  • If you find that you’re not in the mood for a meal on the menu, switch it up with something else you’ve planned for another day.
  • Leftovers can be one of your menus as well as planning on eating out.
  • Following a meal plan makes it easier to incorporate feeding your family and publishing or republishing content on your blog without extra planning of a meal.
  • A dinner might be 3 posts worth of content if you have simple meals, sides and drinks.
  • If you find 10 minutes open in the middle of the day, you can prep even parts of your meals early so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen as long, cooking and cleaning up.
  • You tend to be more creative and more energetic earlier in the day, so give yourself 10-15 chunks of time to do something you want to accomplish instead of having to log a few hours or few days to do it.

Resources Mentioned

Keep Learning!

Kat Marris shares how you can learn to unlock time for yourself by meal prepping in episode 006.


Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Hey awesome food bloggers. Do you struggle with knowing exactly what you should be doing to move the needle forward in your business? Do you struggle with knowing what to focus on next? If so, if this sounds like you, I have two solutions for you. Number one is mastermind groups. There is so much power in getting people together and helping to solve each other’s problems. At Eat Blog Talk, we have put together our own mastermind groups and we are hosting these weekly. You can join at any time. You can try it out for a month or you can sign up for a quarter or you can go all in and sign up for an entire year. Come join us. See if it’s a great fit for you, and this will really help you to solve those problems you’re having in your business and give you clarity about what you should be doing next to move your business forward.

The next solution is the Eat Blog Talk membership. I have spent all of 2021 so far putting so much value inside of the membership. It is such a supportive and wonderful place to be for food bloggers. We are learning so much from each other. We are joining together in monthly intensive calls, where we focus on very specific parts of food blogging in order to grow our businesses in massive ways. We also have guest experts come in and join us very regularly to talk about really specific parts of food blogging. We get one-on-one access to these experts such as Matt Molen from email crush, Casey Markee from Media Wyse. So many great people are joining us in these sessions and they are super valuable. There are so many reasons why you should be in the membership. I could not even start touching on all of it. If you’re tired of wandering around aimlessly in your business and not knowing what to focus on, give the membership a try for free for two weeks. Go to eatblogtalk.com. You can sign up for the masterminds there, and you can also start the process of getting into the membership for two weeks, just to check it out. The rest of us can’t wait to see you inside.

Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. I have Marni Katz with me today from simplegraytshirt.com. We’re going to have a chat about turning menu planning into editorial planning. Marni is a former camp director who needed a change. In 2019, she started a Simple Gray T-shirt as a way to share how simple cooking for your family can be. Marni believes that life should be as simple as your favorite gray t-shirt. Marni is a mama to girls and they moved mid pandemic from Chicago back to her childhood hometown in Michigan. Woo, that’s exciting. Mid pandemic. So on top of that, Marni, let’s hear your fun fact before we start talking about menu planning today.

Marni Katz:

Of course. Well, so you’ve mentioned it in my bio. I’m super excited to be here. I was a camp director for 15 years and I think that’s one of the super fun things about me. I really love Camp. I grew up at camps and I actually got to live my dream job for a really long time until it changed.

Megan:

Oh, that’s awesome. So how old were you when you first became a camp director?

Marni:

So I went to grad school actually for Social Work and then left University of Michigan and went out into the world and I thought I was going to be a school social worker. It was able to allow me to be at camp in the summers and I found my dream job in Chicago at a JCC camp there and I went for it. I had the greatest time and greatest experience and took it from there.

Megan:

That is so cool. You have a fun fact about your business too.

Marni:

I do. So my business, Simple Gray T-shirt, is really exciting and I love everything on the site and it’s not just as a face value. Everything on the site is actually kosher. So I keep a kosher kitchen, which is part of my Jewish tradition. While you would never know it, looking at it on the outside, I also like to appeal to those who keep a kosher kitchen and just let them build that. But it’s kind of a hidden fact in there for you.

Megan:

It’s like a little hidden secret sub-niche of yours. Oh, I like that. That’s really cool. So you talk about how menu planning not only makes cooking dinner easier for you, but also how you’ve taken the strength of yours and used it to shape your editorial calendar planning for your blog. Which I think is super smart and interesting. When did you start doing this? When did you start menu planning?

Marni:

Such a funny story. I’ve always been a planner and not type A, but definitely a planner. I love organization. I love lists. So when I started cooking for myself, when I moved out on my own, I started jotting down what I was going to eat for the week. But when my husband and I got together and he moved in, he had a huge appetite. He liked to try new foods. So I wanted to try a whole bunch of new recipes and the only way I could figure out how to do it and not just stick to the same things over and over was to make a plan. So I started menu planning by the month and I would jot down ideas for the month and then I’d started to build a calendar around that.

From there I found that it really made my life easier. Because I didn’t have to think about when we both got home. We were both working full time, what we were going to eat for dinner. So we would just build off the plan. I would say if you find exciting recipes, let me know about them. I’ll weave them in for this month next month. I built it out from there and it’s turned out that having two girlies who keep me super busy, it’s been a godsend over the last 10 years now that I’ve been doing it.

Megan:

How extensive do you get? Because I feel like planning for a week is even difficult for me. I do it, but if I tried to sit down and plan for a month, I feel like I would fail. So how detailed do you get with your plan?

Marni:

So I try not to make myself crazy. So that’s the number one tip is don’t stress yourself out when you do this. I have a really easy system and I’m happy to talk you through that, that I use now to make doing it a month at a time. It’s also one of the email series that you can get on my blog as a subscriber. But basically I sit down and I think about themes for the month. So let’s say Tuesday’s going to be taco night because that’s something we all have in our sense anyways. I’ll think about four or five different tacos that I can make. You can think of them off the top of your head really quickly. You’re going to make a fish taco, something with beef, maybe a chicken one, maybe a vegetarian one.

I’ll plug those into my Tuesdays. From there, I’ll maybe jot down a side dish that I want to make and nothing is set in stone. That’s what you need to remember when planning your menu. You just want something that’s going to be quick, easy that you know your family’s going to love. The way that I start out every month is I think about a theme for each day. From there, I just wrote down some different dinner ideas. From there I factor sides and think about what might I have left over from my Monday dinner that I could repurpose into another dinner and go from there. I don’t get it crazy detailed. I like to think about what I might find at the grocery on the weekend, vegetable wise. I have some go-tos, like the sides that everybody will eat or the vegetables that your kids will only eat right now. There has to be room for that kind of stuff as well.

Megan:

Do you have a leftover day? Do you set a day of the week?

Marni:

I do. I definitely do. The weekends are kind of up in the air. So I would say Saturday, I jot down leftovers or eat out because at some point you have to carry in or eat out depending on what the world is doing. Then on Sundays I typically put in a DIY pizza night or calzone, something again, super simple that everybody can get involved in making. So in the winter it might be soup every Sunday. In the summer we can grill pizzas, that kind of stuff, but I kind of keep that consistent. It’s the stuff during the week that might change itself up a little bit more.

Megan:

So you plan, but you also allow wiggle room for changes and for other things to come up. So it’s not like, wait, I said I was making green beans tonight. What is that asparagus? You are a little bit loose with it.

Marni:

For sure. If on Tuesdays, I don’t feel like making the tacos, I know that I have the stuff in my fridge for any of the meals through the week because I shopped to my list by the week. So it’s really easy to say, okay, nobody’s in the mood for this. Or I ran out of time to do this, that or the other. Let me pull from another day something that we all feel like eating, or just sounds better. Or you skip it because you have leftovers and nobody’s in the mood for another thing. It’s starting to get nice outside when we’re outside a little bit too long because it’s beautiful afterschool. That’s another time I might say it’s just cereal and that’s okay, even though you’ve made this great plan. But overall I like to stick to the plan because it just makes my life easier.

Megan:

Totally. So I’m already thinking about how I can do something like this. This is very inspiring. So how does that planning for your family translate to blog planning?

Marni:

Of course. So I translated this kind of idea of themes? I thought, okay, meatless Mondays, taco Tuesdays, how could I turn that into blog posts that I could plug into an editorial calendar that I could just go with every month so that when I was thinking of new recipes and developing new ideas, I would have at least a framework for doing that. So what I did is I decided that every month I’m going to make a specific set of recipes to go on the blog. So I think about a simple breakfast idea, something that’s grab and go. Something that’s a simple lunch idea, a simple pasta dish, a simple dinner, some simple sides, a simple drink, a simple dessert. Every month I get one of those recipes created and then anywhere else that either I’m stuck or I don’t have an idea, I use that time to republish old posts.

Megan:

Then you just put it on your editorial calendar and that’s what you live by as far as planning your blog content.

Marni:

Exactly. So I put them for the whole year, those in each month, I try and keep them in that order. Sometimes it works again, sometimes it doesn’t. I try to be flexible with myself because nobody else knows what’s coming. I don’t think anybody’s paying that much attention to what order things are coming out on the blog. But it really helps me in terms of planning and getting inspiration and thinking through what I want for the recipe test. How I want to shoot things. It also allows me to typically develop sides. Drinks are a little bit easier than coming up with a new dinner idea. A breakfast muffin is a little bit simpler than let’s say a pasta dish for me. So it allows me some easier weeks and some heavier weeks and when I’m shooting the recipes, the same thing,

Megan:

It’s so funny how bloggers just incorporate their editorial calendar into their lives because I do something similar, but a little bit differently than you. So let’s say we have a friend coming over next week, my husband will actually say to me, do you have anything on the blog that needs to be republished because this friend was coming over. How funny that he’s been trained to think like that? I say yup. Of course I do. I can redo this in a recipe. He’s like, perfect. So then that’s what I put on the menu for that day. But I think in terms of my blog for every meal. We host this LifeGroup through our church. On days when they come over, I look at my blog editorial calendar and say, what can I redo? It’s so weird. What do normal humans do? Do they just probably go to our blogs and find something that way? That’s how exactly. So I’m curious about menu planning during really crazy stretches and how this may save you and how it can save some of my listeners here today. Pandemic, for example. Did this save you during the pandemic?

Marni:

Oh, pandemic. Sure did. I actually went to the next level and I planned lunches as well. I know it’s insane. Nothing crazy though. Just the sandwiches that I was going to be making each day, or if we were going to be eating leftovers, I had two tiny people. We were still living in Chicago at the time. So we were in a two bedroom, one bath apartment, with my husband trying to work in our bedroom, which was right next to the hallway and the kitchen where the kids and I were spending all of our time. So I needed to make sure that the grocery orders I was putting in each week were clear and consistent and knew what I was going to need for the week because we weren’t running to the grocery. So having that plan and again at lunch, Monday through Friday were the same every Monday through Friday.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s something that I talk about actually on the blog a little bit. But when you’re thinking about planning lunches or dinners, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you know your kids love peanut butter and jelly make peanut butter and jelly every Monday for lunch. Whether you’re packing them or you’re home. There’s nothing wrong with that. Change up the sides a little bit, make it carrot sticks or celery sticks or crackers or whatever they will eat and be good with that. So that’s one of the things that I think about when I think about keeping things simple. It doesn’t have to be a brand new meal every single day of the month. So the same for during the pandemic I did that. I really wrote myself up a plan of what we were having for lunch.

I just kind of stuck with the same dinner. Simplified some of it based on what was available at the grocery. Obviously we had to change things when we couldn’t get something. But it really made my life easier. It was one less thing to think about each day. When that crazy witching hour that anybody with kids knows about after four o’clock happens. I wasn’t also thinking what did these people need to eat again?

Megan:

These people. haha.

Marni:

These people who need to be fed all the time. I didn’t think about it.

Megan:

Keeping it simple. I think you used the word uncomplicated and then just having a rotation. I remember this growing up and it’s a little bit different for me, but my parents did this rotation of meals and you just got used to it. You were like, Oh, it’s rice meatball night or whatever those things were. We would do pancake night and beef stroganoff was one of ours. So do you do that same sort of thing, but with your own spin on recipes?

Marni:

I try to mix it up a little bit more than our parents did. My mom did the same thing. She would tell me like Tuesday was Prince spaghetti night. I was like, okay, every Tuesday with Prince spaghetti? That’s where I kind of get to the themes of the idea. I’m good with Tuesdays being taco night because there’s so many variations on tacos that you can do to keep it exciting and not get too bored by it. I change up the themes each month. So sure you’re going to see pasta on my menus just about every week. We’re big pasta lovers and I can make it a million different ways and keep it simple each time. Nothing I’m making is extravagant. I’m not making meals that take two and three hours. That’s not who I am. That’s not how I’ve ever cooked. And that’s what keeps things simple for me. It’s hopefully what’s keeping things simple for my readers. I want them to know that it doesn’t have to be a four-course extravagant meal with the newest ingredient that’s out there. You can feed your family really tasty, delicious food, that’s simple.

Megan:

Wow. Oh my gosh. I’m all about simple things. So here’s something else that’s interesting. Non-Food bloggers hear that I’m a food blogger and they’re like, Oh, you must feed your family really extravagant, amazing meals. I say no, I actually don’t at all. My husband and I eat so simply. Chicken breasts usually with roasted sweet potatoes and a veggie or Brown rice or something. That’s it, that’s what we eat on most nights. Sometimes I’ll put, I don’t know, get fancy and put a sauce on top or something. I feed my children frozen pizzas. I was talking to someone the other day that was shocked by that. She said, you’re a food blogger. I’m like, yeah, I know. I’m a normal, regular person. Costco frozen pizzas are really delicious by the way. So yeah, it does not have to be extravagant. Just because you’re a food blogger, you don’t need to impress your family. You just do what works for you. Keep it simple. The witching hour you refer to, oh my gosh, that is such a real thing. It’s a curse or something. You hit a certain time and it’s like, what is going on? Even with my boys being a little bit older, we still get that. I’m like, ahh!

Marni:

I think even if you don’t have kids, it gets to be five, five 30 and you’re like, I’m hungry. I’m tired. What am I supposed to make? You don’t want to have to think too hard about it. I’m a big believer in that your meals don’t have to have all those courses. It’s okay. I’m trying to think, last night we had veggie burgers and I served veggie burgers with roasted sweet potatoes and some canned green beans. You know what? Everybody was happy. They built their burgers the way they wanted to. I felt good that I was giving them a good dinner. They all ate it. That’s really what it’s about, is feeding your family, feeding the people you love and doing it simply.

Megan:

Preserving energy so that you have time with them, so that your evenings after the witching hour are not tainted by that feeling or that vibe, because sometimes it can be. I can let it get a hold of me and be like, Oh my gosh, this ruined my whole night. But it doesn’t have to, you can just simplify. Sometimes we have the energy to prepare meals on Sundays. We haven’t done that recently because we were sick. But I love that. We can just pull out our meals from the fridge, heat it up, and make something quick for our boys. It’s like cheating, but it feels so good when you can do that.

Marni:

Well for sure. Speaking to the rest of your evening and the rest of your day, it really cuts down on clean up when you like to have already prepped some of the stuff and done some of the work ahead of time. I think about that even now. Like if I know what I’m making for dinner, if I have 10 minutes in my day, I can prepare something in the morning while I’m making breakfast or during my lunch break. That also gives me that step ahead in the evening to be washing one less dish or putting one less thing away.

Megan:

So true. I cannot remember which guests shared this, so I’m not going to say a name cause I would hate to get it wrong. But one of my amazing guests mentioned chopping veggies when you’re feeling good during the day, maybe in the morning or like you said, over lunch or something when you’ve got the energy and you’re not worrying about dinner yet. So that way it’s done. When dinner comes, you have that taken off your list, that’s five to 10 minutes that you don’t have to worry about. So just little hacks like that, that you can just take note of during the week and then tweak your time the following week and make it even more streamlined.

Marni:

Yeah. It goes for the blog the same way. You think about the little tasks that you can get done when you have the energy. Like I’m working on a forever series right now, on my email list and each of those emails only take five or 10 minutes to put together for the forever series. So I’ve been trying to chunk them out one at a time each morning when I’m a little creative and I’m paying attention and it goes quickly. So if you chunk out some of those tiny tasks throughout the day, when you have the energy to do them, much like cooking and prepping meals for the blog also, it really changes the whole workflow.

Megan:

I love that. I love that you mentioned that. So I see in your notes here that you’re working on an ebook. Are you actually putting together 12 months of menus? Explain this because that is mind blowing.

Marni:

So for the first year of the blog and I’ve stopped doing this now, I was sending out a monthly menu to my readers. I would put together based on these themes because I was doing it for myself already. I wanted to be able to share that. So what I’m doing is I’m compiling that into a little bit more cohesive, a couple more of the recipes from my blog, but from other bloggers also, and just things that you don’t almost need a recipe for, like pizza night. Sure you could look up a recipe, but go ahead and buy a store-bought pizza crust, some cheese and sauce and let everybody have at it. So I’m compiling those into an ebook with the tips and tricks that I use for menu planning and then giving you these 12 months of menus done for you, that you can obviously use at face value or go ahead and work on your own with that as inspiration.

Megan:

Oh, that’s very inspiring. When are you going to be done with your ebook?

Marni:

Well, that’s a great question. My goal is in the next few weeks. I would say I’m more than halfway done with it, which is really exciting. It will go out to my email list first and then I will get it up on the site.

Megan:

So in addition to that, do you have any resources on your blog to help people get going with menu planning? If they’re interested in that?

Marni:

I do. There is a menu planning page on the site, as well as I do a menu planning 101 email course as a part of my opt-in. So when you do that, you’ll see there’s a place to subscribe and you’ll see a menu planning 101 and I sent you five days of these tips and tricks to get your menu plan. I sent you a template of what to fill out. I sent you a grocery template so that you are prepared to go to the grocery each week. Then I kind of filter you from there. So people really can take this on themselves. I’ve helped a couple of clients do this and get them up and running where I started out by doing it. Then I taught them how to do it and off you go. It really helps save time and energy and makes life easier, which is what I’m all about.

Megan:

Totally. For food bloggers specifically, you can kind of kill two birds with one stone because you can simplify your life, your family life, but you can also use this to simplify your blog and the way that you approach recipes there. Like we were talking earlier, you can do both things at once and get to check two things off your list, do one thing, check two things off by making one dinner for friends or even just her family and also create blog content.

Marni:

For sure. It goes the same thing as this, as you’re working on your editorial calendar, sliding these things in and testing them out. It could be Tuesday’s testing day. That every Tuesday you’re testing a new recipe for your family. That’s fine too. Right? It gives you the opportunity to really kill two birds with one stone and really work on the things that you need to get accomplished.

Megan:

I always feel so good when I can make a meal for people I love. I’m like, sweet. I squeezed in photos and this recipe worked really well. I always feel like I’m the coolest person ever when I can do that.

Marni:

Yeah. Now that we’re back in Michigan, my parents have been the benefactors because they’re in the bubble. Not so many other people are still. So when I do my big shoot days, it feels really good also to be able to share what you’re making with other people. So it’s not just my kids who have to eat the same batches of muffins over and over again. But really, everybody here enjoys this and my parents get dinner and breakfast and lunch.

Megan:

See, that’s so good when you can do stuff like that. Especially if we’re testing our food and we know it’s a really great recipe, it feels good sharing that.

Marni:

Yeah, exactly. Again, as I plan, I can plan to not make the same thing over and over throughout the month for me, because I really focus on my niche, which is really keeping things simple. I can kind of hit all the different courses of things and I have a lot of flexibility there. So it also helps to not get bored with what you’re doing. Keeps things a little more exciting.

Megan:

My youngest son loves baking. So we’ve been testing out some baking recipes and now that people are getting out a little bit more, we’ve started delivering some baked goods to our neighbors. Because we can’t have it sitting in our house, because I will eat it all and my boys will eat it all. So we’ve got to get rid of this. Let’s take it to a couple of neighbors. They love it. Especially after this past year when nobody’s doing stuff like that. Their faces are like, Oh my gosh, thank you so much. It feels good to get rid of it and to make them happy. So just kind of thinking through things like that too. You’re not just blessing your family with this food. You can go outside of your family.

Marni:

It feels really good. It helps the good of the world right now. We need that kind of community. Doing those kinds of simple little gestures go so far and there’s less food waste and all of the things that we think about when we’re doing this kind of a job. It can really be helped by just taking it to the neighbor or taking it to a friend down the street. It’s great.

Megan:

You’re being a light to the world right now that needs you to be a light and you’re not putting that much effort into it. So it’s kinda your whole theme, Marni, which is do it simply. You don’t have to be extravagant, but you can still make a huge impact.

Marni:

And just cause you’re a food blogger normally make food, food beautifully and pretty, your neighbors are really okay with it. They’re okay with it in Tupperware. It doesn’t have to be like a whole production.

Megan:

That’s true. Even in Tupperware, have you noticed that people are like, Whoa, that looks so good. You’re like, Oh, that’s nothing. Just a hot dish, whatever. So what would be like a takeaway that you have for food bloggers? If they want to incorporate something like this into their business. Start small? Where do they get started with this?

Marni:

Yeah. So I would start with your editorial calendar and really think about who you’re speaking to and what kind of recipes you’re putting out on a monthly basis. To me, it’s the idea of themes in monthly menus. Really start thinking about the content you want to put out and then not have to reinvent the wheel each month. If you’re a dessert blogger, maybe every month you wanna put out a cookie, a cake, a muffin and something else. Clearly I’m not clearly not a baker. But you can pick those things that you want to, or you want to do a fruit based dessert and a chocolate based dessert. You want to do that every month. So think about the content that you’re already working on and that fits into your niche and stream it down to the four or eight, if you’re doing two posts a week or one post a week, whatever it might be, figure that out and get that content streamlined.

It helps you then get inspired. As you get inspired with new recipe ideas, you can easily plug it in and quickly you’ll see that your editorial calendar is built out for quite some time. Quickly, as opposed to struggling, what am I going to make? What am I going to do? It builds things out really quickly. Don’t be afraid to also republish or update content in there. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So many of us have old content that is cringeable and republishing that, as we’ve all learned, is really important to bring up to date. Adding that in there, I would say is another baby step to doing it. Then from that point, once you’ve got that editorial calendar, the other thing that I like to do is the idea of time blocking, which I know you’ve talked about as well.

But I think that goes in with that planning idea. Think about your week and your month of what you’re going to focus on. Maybe it’s not blocking every day. But thinking about the first week of the month is the time that I do keyword research. The second week of the month is the time that I really spend on SEO. The third week is when I do my photo shoots for the whole next month. Whatever that might be for you. Start thinking about time and greater chunks and getting it all done.

Megan:

It can be painful. I mean, it’s not fun to spend a whole day or week on SEO. I remember I used to do a ton of videos one day of the week, every week and shoot all my photography that day. It is not easy to do that, it’s hard work. But there’s so much efficiency involved in that, that if you can actually get through it, you’re like, Oh my gosh, I got so much accomplished. You can spread it out over the week or the month and it just feels amazing

Marni:

I find myself when I’m doing keyword research, if I’m just doing it for an hour here and an hour there, I get out of the group. But if I know that that’s my focus for a day or two days or three days, you can get in a groove. I find myself getting more creative and I can really simplify the whole process. Because like once you’re in the groove, things just get rolling, but it’s hard to get into the groove sometimes.

Megan:

The magic flow, I call it. It’s a real thing. You get into that flow and then you can start tapping into new ideas. If I were to just do keyword research for one hour, I probably wouldn’t have figured this thing out, whatever it is after doing it for three or four hours. So there’s so much power in that. This is a great conversation. Is there anything you feel like we’ve missed before we start saying goodbye?

Marni:

No, I just, I really want people to keep it simple. Don’t make yourself crazy. I really believe in keeping life as simple as your favorite gray T-Shirt. You throw it on, you feel good. So really just try and simplify things. Your family will be fed. People around. You will be happier. You’ll be happier and life is a little bit easier that way.

Megan:

And your blog content will be created or some of it.

Marni:

It will get created. I keep a template that keeps things simple. It was a tip from Casey Markee who actually said, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you write a blog post. Follow the template, things get easier. Same with photos, right? You don’t have to have elaborate setups. My photos are super simple. I use just a couple backdrops. I use a couple of props and it makes things a lot easier. Just streamlining that, like I streamlined menu planning and I streamlined my editorial calendar. I suggest you try it.

Megan:

Streamlining is the best. It is such a great tip, especially for a job like food blogging, where you have so many different things to juggle on any given day. It’s the key to success, I feel like. Well, thank you for being here, Marni. This was a super fun chat. It’s going to be extremely valuable for food bloggers listening. So before you go, do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with us?

Marni:

You would ask me about that and how I say, how am I so inspirational? I’m not sure. But one of my favorite quotes is, no day, but today. From Rent (the show). I’m really thinking about, which is a little counter intuitive based on the fact that I like to plan months at a time, but really combining that with the idea of 1% to infinity, which the folks over at Food Blogger Pro talk about a ton, is just get a little bit better each and every day. So while you’re in the moment of doing what you’re doing, do that well. Then the rest hopefully has already been laid out and you can move on to the next task and do that just a little bit better each day.

Megan:

Oh, I love it. That’s so inspiring. Thank you for sharing that. We will put together a show notes page for you, Marni. So if anyone wants to go peek at that, and then also maybe we’ll link to some of the resources that you mentioned within the episode. You can find that at eatblogtalk.com/simplegraytshirt. I love the name of your blog by the way. That’s so cute. So where can people find you? On your blog? Instagram? What’s the best way to get a hold of you?

Marni:

Well, I wish I could say Instagram. I am on Instagram @simplegraytshirt. I am not as active as perhaps I should be. But I’m there definitely checking in. So feel free to DM me there. I have a Facebook page with Simple Gray T-shirt. I’m on Pinterest. But I would say you can always shoot me an email [email protected] Find me on the blog. I’m available.

Megan:

Sounds good. Well, thanks again for being here, Marni. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Pinterest image for episode 209 turn menu planning into editorial planning.

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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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