More Than Java Cafe

Supporting Black-owned businesses is important, especially now. They’re disproportionately affected by COVID and need our support past June 2020 and post-COVID. Continuing in that vein, here’s a new to me favorite: More Than Java Cafe.

More Than Java Cafe is located in Laurel, MD (Prince George’s County side). It feels like *the* neighborhood coffee shop where you can relax or have great chats. I ordered takeout. They don’t seem to have the dine-in option available right now.

What I Ordered

I had been thinking about breakfast sandwiches all week, so I chose the Breakfast BLT. I love that you have the option of a few bagels (such as blueberry), white bread, wheat bread, croissant, or coco bread for the sandwich. I ordered mine with white bread.

More Than Java Cafe’s Breakfast BLT

This sandwich was heavenly. I loved that all of the ingredients were fresh. It was some of the best white bread I’ve ever had. I just wish I ordered an extra to save for later! I can’t wait try more from their menu.

Conclusion

I loved More Than Java Cafe so much. Everyone was helpful and so nice. You could truly feel the love in that shop. Their shop is as warm as they say it is on their website.

I can’t wait to go back! If you’re ever near Laurel, MD, check it out! They have non-breakfast food as well, and they have quality food, coffee, and tea.

Until next time.

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6 Things I’ve Learned from Blogging

I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for almost eight years! It has been an interesting journey that has taught me a lot about myself and places I’ve lived and experienced.

Naturally, I reflect on what the past year has been like to find ways that I can improve or things I can do differently. This year, I chose to share a handful of the things I’ve learned from the past seven years. I hope they inspire you to think about your blogging journey or to start a blog.

Try new things.

I’ve always been a selective eater. It hasn’t completely changed, but I’m more likely to try new things now than I was when I started my blog. Trying more things when it comes to food has helped make me more open to doing it in general. It’s a great way to open your eyes. If I hadn’t become more open to trying new food, I don’t think I would’ve ever tried a peanut butter bacon burger.

Also, COVID’s impact on the food and beverage industry forced me to try new content topics in the blogging space. I like sharing things I’ve learned with other people. If I can teach one person based on my experience or research, that truly feels amazing.

Don’t be super attached to your plans.

Things can change at a moment’s notice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a restaurant during a busy time and needed to find another place to eat because I’m super hungry. Or when a friend has to cancel last minute. You can only do but so much to prepare for unforeseen situations. To prepare myself as much as possible, I create a list of multiple restaurants in the area so I can go to a different restaurant if needed.

Food is a connector.

My closest friends are people who love food just as much–or more–than I do. It’s often incorporated somehow when we meet up. Experiencing new restaurants has helped me connect with people on a different level.

Keep learning.

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to keep learning even when things are uncertain. I’ve learned more since COVID-related changes were put in place than I did last year. YouTube videos, blog articles, food news…I read and viewed whatever I could to become a better blogger and content creator.

It’s okay to go solo.

When I started college, I wasn’t very comfortable going places by myself because I was in a new city. Luckily, by the time I started my blog, I knew the city a lot better and still and so much to see and learn. You can’t wait for people to do anything. It’s okay to enjoy your own company. I personally liked working that way a lot better. I loved hanging out with my big group of friends, but I loved being able to do whatever I wanted on a whim while I was by myself.

My favorite restaurant to frequent by myself was S’MAC. I remember when my suitemate was shocked that I was going to Manhattan by myself on a Tuesday evening. Here’s a post from that night.

Adapt.

You truly never know when things might change. Whether it’s a life shift or the Instagram algorithm, you have to be able to adapt to changes and try not to dwell on what things used to be. (I’m talking to myself, but raise your hand if you can relate.)

Change isn’t always easy to handle, so make sure you give yourself the space and grace to shift.

What is one thing you’ve learned in the past year? Share in the comments below.

Until next time.

Shopping Guide: What to Gift a Blogger

It’s never too late to start a blog. Whether you want to use it as a space to express yourself or want to share your expertise, it’s a great way to share information. If you’re a blogger or know someone just getting started, here’s a basic list of things that I wish I had when I first started.

Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Camera

Bloggers don’t need to have a camera if they have a smartphone. But if a blogger is interested in getting a point-and-shoot or DSLR, this is a great gift. This could depend on which niche the blogger has chosen. If you blog about the stock market, you may not have a need for a camera. This tool is great for those starting a food, travel, lifestyle, or fashion blog. This will help them capture their blog’s vision.

If you’re looking at DSLRs, Nikon and Canon are great brands. However, Nikon is my absolute favorite. I’ve used this brand for 11 years, and it has never steered me wrong. You can buy them brand new at the namesake website or many retailers like Best Buy. If you’re looking for some great used options, Adorama is a great place to get it. They even grade the used items so you know whether it’s like new or has a few scratches.

Note: If you’re buying a DSLR, make sure you buy the camera body that comes with a lens. Sometimes, the camera body doesn’t come with other accessories.

A flat lay image of the camera (Nikon D90) I use often and some cold brew coffee.

Tripod

Sometimes, you won’t have someone available to take photos of you or you want to take steady shots yourself/scenes for your blog. A tripod helps make this a lot easier. It’ll pair well with your DSLR camera. There are also some that are compatible with your smartphones solely for smartphones.

Memory card for camera

if you’re using a digital camera, you’ll need this accessory. The internal memory of digital cameras usually isn’t large enough to take a lot of photos. 32 or 64 GB memory card is a great place to start. SanDisk is one of my favorite brands. Here’s a link to a 64 GB SanDisk memory card: https://www.target.com/p/sandisk-extreme-plus-64gb-sd-uhs-i-memory-card/-/A-52908869

Note: These do come in different sizes, so please make sure the memory card fits the camera your blogger has or the one you’re about to buy for them. 😏

Camera bag

This will be the best way to safely carry or travel with your camera.

Camera cleaning kit

Everyone with a DSLR camera can benefit from having a cleaning kit. Unfortunately, dust and dirt find their way into camera equipment. Having a cleaning kit will help a lot.

Visa gift card/money

A great gift that gives a blogger options. It’s great for buying coffee, good, supplies, or anything else a blogger needs.

Office supplies

Notebooks, pens, pencils, sticky notes… Everyone’s list may be different. Having at least one notebook where you can jot down notes or write blog post drafts has helped me a lot. Sticky notes have helped me a lot with planning and brainstorming.

Planner/calendar

Whether the planner is specifically for blogging or to write down everything happening in their lives, this is a lifesaver. There’s nothing like forgetting to follow up with someone or forgetting a meeting.

Coffee mug/water bottle

Everyone gets thirsty. Why not gift your blogger a cute mug or water bottle? This would be a thoughtful gift, especially for the coffee or tea drinking blogger in your life.

Here’s a link to one of my recent favorite mugs: https://muggedtweets.com/products/i-will-dog-walk-you-iamcardib

I hope this blogger gift guide was helpful. There’s nothing like being gifted something that will help you on your blogging journey. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment box or email me at foodishways(at)gmail.com.

Happy holidays!

Until next time.

PJ’s Coffee: Who Doesn’t Love a Smooth Drink?

Tea has quickly become one of my favorite drinks, and I’ve increased how often I make coffee since the COVID shift began. I love making my own coffee, but I love grabbing some from a local coffee shop.

One of my friend’s told me about one of the newest coffee shops in Bowie, Maryland: PJ’s Coffee. It’s based in Louisiana, and they recently opened a location here. When I was told that this location was owned by Black Prince George’s County natives, I wanted to visit even more.

What I Ordered

Chai Velvet Ice

If you love chai tea, I think you’ll love the Chai Velvet Ice at PJ’s Coffee. This smooth drink was the perfect way to start a Saturday morning. The spices were not lost in the blended ice version of the classic drink. I usually end up with almost flavorless ice at the end of a blended drink, and fortunately, this didn’t happen with the Chai Velvet. I’ll definitely for be back this one. Starbucks, WHO?

Chai Velvet Ice from PJ’s Coffee

Vienna Creme & Beignets

I waited to try the beignets with my Vienna Creme until I got home. I’ve recently fallen in love with cold brew, so I was excited to try a different shop’s cold brew. This warm drink was made with PJ’s Viennese blend and sweetened, frothy milk. It was well worth the wait!

This was my first time having beignets at a shop or restaurant. I loved how soft they were, and the amount of powdered sugar was perfect. The coffee complemented the beignets so well, and I can’t wait to order this exact combo again.

Conclusion

I highly recommend PJ’s Coffee. The staff was so nice, and they made everything pretty fast for a busy Saturday morning. I loved that the busyness didn’t effect the quality of the service, drinks, or food. If you’re ever in Bowie, MD or Louisiana, check it out! I’m sure you’ll love it.

Until next time.

Feeling Like a Boss with Boss Blend Coffee Co.

How do you prefer your coffee? Have you tried cold brew? It’s become a very popular coffee type that I think is here to stay. As someone who typically brews coffee with grounds or instant coffee, it’s become one of my favorites. Boss Blend Coffee Co. popped up on my Instagram feed at the perfect time. A Black-owned coffee brand? Here. for. it. Let’s get into it.

What I Ordered

Keeping my vow to buy black-owned more, especially things I already love, I bought some cold brew from Boss Blend Coffee Co., which is an Afro latina-owned company based in Brooklyn. You all (probably) know I have a soft spot for New York City, so it felt good to support from a location standpoint as well. Boss Blend Coffee Co.’s Cold brew coffee is a blend of this and this. It comes in a case of six 8-ounce bottles for $20.

Boss Blend Coffee Co.’s cold brew coffee.
Boss Blend Coffee Co.’s cold brew coffee.

This was my first time trying cold brew and because of this, it won’t be my last. This was the best coffee I’ve ever had! It’s steeped for 24 hours and is rich in flavor. Per the website, the origins are Colombia and Portugal, and the notes are brown sugar, delicate, and smooth. Every note is experienced while drink this cold brew coffee. I loved that I didn’t need add to much creamer. I often end up adding more creamer depending on the bitterness of the coffee. I recently learned that the bitterness is left behind when coffee is coldly brewed. The flavor of Boss Blend Coffee Co.’s is so rich and great quality. You can taste the love, hardwork, and craft in every bottle.

Conclusion

If you’re a coffee lover who loves Coffee that has amazing quality, Boss Blend Coffee Co. is the way to go. They ship in the U.S. nationwide. They’re selling limited cold brew batches during the holiday season, so be on the look out!

Until next time.

Little Miner Taco

Has eating out been weird for you? One of the cool things that has come out of the COVID shift is the increase in options fire the food industry. An increase in pick-up options, more curbside, online cooking/mixology events… sometimes good things can come out of odd or tough moments.

Little Miner Taco is a restaurant in Savor Food Hall in Brentwood, Maryland, which is a former food desert. COVID-19 impacted this and many other restaurants. Their food truck started after the food hall temporarily closed earlier this year. Little Miner Taco also recently opened another location in Montgomery County.

Little Miner Taco's food truck
Little Miner Taco’s food truck

Little Miner Taco started posting locations with dates for food truck pick up, and it usually sells out fast. I was so excited when I saw that they’d be in my area that I set an alarm to make sure I didn’t miss the opportunity to order at noon. After you order, they’ll text you with your pick-up time and location. One can’t help but be amazed by Little Miner’s Birria de Res Tacos with the consome on the side for dipping.

What I Ordered

Birria de Res

Three words about the Birria de Res… Worth. the. hype. Each taco has braised beef topped with Monterrey Jack cheese. The braised beef was perfectly tender. Somehow, each bite got better and better. The Beef Consommé dipping sauce truly makes these quesadillas a game changer. These quesadillas taste amazing by themselves, but dipping them in the consommé takes it to another level.

Three quesadillas from Little Miner Taco
Little Miner Taco’s Birria de Res

Carne Asada Fries with Shrimp

This was the first time in four years that I’d had carne asada anything. I’ve been hesitant to try any outside of San Diego. With Little Miner Taco’s carne asada fries, you have the options of adding shrimp or lobster to it for extra money. I was blown away by how incredible they tasted. The cut of the potato was unique, and the thickness helps add more mph to the dish. The shrimp was perfectly cooked. The steak (carne asada) was fantastic. All of the toppings worked together well, but my absolute favorite was the sriracha aioli. The aioli was a great touch and complimented the dish very well. This dish started off great and tasted better with every bite. These fries cost $20 because of the shrimp add-on. It was a great price considering they don’t skimp on how much they give you.

Little Miner Taco’s Carne asada fries with shrimp, chives, and salsa verde
Little Miner Taco’s Carne Asada Fries with shrimp topped with cheese, green onion, chives, sour cream, and sriracha aioli

I loved how easy the pick up process was. It wasn’t a busy pickup spot, so there were very few people I had to be around. This was comforting since social distancing is what’s best right now. The staff was so pleasant, and my food was ready so fast. The food was incredible, and I can’t wait to order again. Little Miner Taco’s locations (Brentwood and Pike & Rose) are both open for pick-up and delivery. To find out about where their food truck will be, check out their Instagram. Kids eat free for life at all of their locations as well! If you’re ever in the area looking for some amazing fries or quesadillas, check out Little Miner Taco!

Until next time.

4 Photo Editing Apps You Should Try

What would content creation be like without our phones? Or tablets? These devices gives you access to so many things whether it’s already on the phone or apps you can download to enhance your experience.

When you think about photo editing apps, what comes to mind? If you ask a handful of people, I’m sure you’d get different answers. People have so many options to choose from, so why not help narrow them down? Below are five of my favorite photo apps.

Lightroom

Whether you’re an editing newbie or have used Adobe Lightroom before, the mobile app is a great option. You don’t have to have much experience with this Adobe app to be able to play around and tinker with the various settings to your liking. It has many of the same simple effects as other apps, like exposure, contrast, and highlights. Lightroom also comes with presets and gives you the option to save your edits to create your own. If you sync your work to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, it can make moving from Adobe app to Adobe app for editing a lot easier.

Edited using Adobe Lightroom

A Color Story

If you like cool filters, this app is the one for you. There are so many free filters that you can use. One thing that’s really cool about this app is that you can change the strength of the filters to create your own or buy filters in the app. A Color Story also has basic editing tools that you can use to create your own filters to use later.

Photoshop

If you need to do simpler Photoshop work, Adobe Photoshop app is pretty good. You do not have to be very familiar with the desktop version to understand the mobile version. All of the desktop features are not available on this app, but it definitely gets the job done. There are frames, ____, and ____ available to use in addition to filters/presets.

Photoshop Fix

Have you ever noticed one little speck or something you just don’t want in your photo? Photoshop Fix is great for this. I can’t tell you how many times this app has helped me when there was a drop of sauce or a few crumbs that I needed out of my photo. This app has features that the mobile version of Photoshop doesn’t have. It’s user-friendly and pretty simple to use, especially if you’re familiar with Photoshop.

What are your favorite photo apps to use? Leave a comment below.

Until next time.

Crabby Fries at the Hideaway

If you don’t know anything else about Maryland, you probably know that we don’t play about our seafood. It’s a big part of the local culture, and it’s a rite of passage when you’re growing up to be able to crack open your own crabs. Whenever you visit, you might find a lot of restaurants with a seafood twist.

What I Ordered

I’ve had my eyes on The Hideaway for a bit now. It’s true to its name, nestled in an Odenton, Maryland neighborhood. This was my first time in while leaving the house to get food, although I just went along for the ride. After spending some time perusing the menu, we all decided to order the same thing–crabby fries. We were so eager to try them. One thing that I can tell you about my family is that we don’t play when it comes to our seafood.

Fries with crab meat and melted cheese on top from the Hideaway, a restaurant in Maryland.
Crabby fries from the Hideaway in Odenton, MD

I was shocked that we got so much! The serving was amazing especially since seafood was involved. These beer-battered fries were made with truffle oil and topped with crab meat, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and sprinkled with Old Bay. They didn’t skimp on the cheese, which is always a plus. I think there was a good amount of crab meat for the price ($13). All of the toppings complemented the fries so well. I loved that the fries weren’t crispy and on the softer side. So if that’s your thing, these fries are for you.

If you’re interested in eating at the Hideaway, they have outdoor seating available. I didn’t experience it, but I do know that they’re pretty serious about masks. I love that so many restaurants are continuing to take the use of masks seriously.

How are you doing with dining during the pandemic? Are you sticking with takeout/delivery, or are you comfortable with outdoor/patio seating? Let me know in the comments below.

Conclusion

If you’re ever in Anne Arundel County, MD area, I highly recommend The Hideaway. They have so many menu options that I have my eyes on, so I’m definitely going back.

Want to see more food content? Follow me on Instagram: @foodishways.

Until next time.

10 Mobile Apps to Use As a Blogger

Are you always on the go and want your blogging life to be easier? Have you ever needed to promote a post or check in with your audience while you’re out and about? Having mobile apps to help you with your blog on the go is lifesaver. Heck, maybe you just prefer to do things on your phone. No matter what reason, mobile apps have completely changed blogging.

I’ve been thinking for weeks about ways to create and share valuable content. After some time, I thought looking closer at my process and second nature things could be a great way for me to do just that. The first thing I thought of was sharing the apps I use most often during my blogging process. It’s helped immensely to have access to various tools on the go as a blogger. Here are ten of my favorite mobile apps to use.

Note: None of these are ads. I genuinely enjoy using these mobile apps and do not have a relationship with any of these brands. Below are some of the apps that have helped me:

WordPress

I have a WordPress blog, so it helps a lot to have this app. You can write/draft blog posts, edit postsm add photos, and publish/schedule posts on it. You can’t do everything that you can do on a desktop, but it’s great for the simple things. If the platform that you use has a mobile app, I suggest looking at the features to see if it’d be helpful for you to download it.

A notes app

This one is a lifesaver. From Instagram captions to blog post notes, this kind of app is great for storing info. I started using this more when I had an Instagram bug where my caption would disappear after publishing a post. It was so frustrating to try to remember everything that I had typed. It’s great to have a place where there’s a backup of important information like this.

Instagram

Instagram is great for sharing info or images pertaining to your blog post. It’s also a way to connect with with your audience through a super visual platform. I love using it to research trends in my industry and connecting with people in my niche, which can be done for any niche. I must add that it’s easier for some industries than others when it comes to the visuals department. It definitely pushes you to creatively communicate your message.

iPhone - Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Bitly

This app is great for shortening links. When you want to create one, you copy and paste the link you want shortened. It’s really helpful when sharing links on Twitter, where there’s a character limit. Bitly also has (simple) analytics for clicks.

Buffer

You may not always be able to publish and engage with your schedule. Buffer helps lighten the load. With the free version, you can schedule about ten Twitter/Facebook posts in the queue at a time and publish on the go. Note: it’s a different feel than the desktop version.

Facebook Pages

If you have a Facebook page, this app is great for drafting, scheduling, and publishing posts on the go. I love that it’s easy to use and that I don’t have to have use the Facebook app. This is much simpler and helps me stay focused on what I’m doing. I do wish they’d make editing a draft and scheduling easier on mobile.

Plann

This app is great for saving hashtag lists/groups. You can create different lists AND see the number of posts in each hashtag. Each number within a certain range has a different color to show you how saturated they are.

Adobe Lightroom

This is my favorite photo editing app. They have some great editing tutorials, which have been helpful. As a photographer, I felt like their videos were a great review and learned some new things. Adobe Lightroom is pretty simple to use. If you’re familiar with some other photo apps (including Instagram), navigating this app shouldn’t be difficult. In my experience talking to people about editing, some have been unsure about their ability to use anything “Adobe” just by seeing the name. You can also create your own presets!

Pinterest

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest is a search engine. It’s a great place to find inspiration and get ideas for so many things: home improvement/decor, fashion, food, etc. You create boards to pin items on the site or content from websites. Ex.) You’ve been planning to dive into the baking world and don’t know what you want to start with. Chocolate chip cookies immediately come to your mind, so you search for that. BOOM. Multiple pins about “chocolate chip cookies” populate the page. Many of these pins–and any other ideas you seach–are connected to sitelinks.

I recently started giving my blog posts more love by sharing my content on Pinterest more. Some content creators have said that it shouldn’t be slept on, and I’m starting to see why. My blog is slowly getting more traffic by way of this platform. I love that I can easily share my content on the app or get some ideas for blog posts on the go.

Twitter

This is a great app to connect with your audience and share your blog content. Plus, you can learn a lot of new things on this platform by following people who share useful info or looking through relevant hashtags.

If you found that this article was helpful, please share it with your network.

I love talking about blogging and social media, so feel free to tweet me (at)KelciReedy or connect with me on Instagram (at)foodishways.

What mobile app has helped you as a blogger? Comment below.

Food Blogging During a Pandemic

It’s been weeks since I last posted. I hope you’ve been well and staying at home during this pandemic. I also hope that you’ve been getting your news from credible sources since misinformation spreads so fast.

I couldn’t just leave you hangin and not be transparent on my blog. If you follow me on Instagram (foodishways), I’ve shared bits of how I’m feeling. I’ve gone through waves of positivity and emptiness over the past month. Things shifted so drastically, and I couldn’t focus. I had content planned, which ultimately isn’t as important as everyone being safe and taking care of themselves. I had planned to continue to publish content regardless of what’s happening just so you, my audience, could have some regularity during this difficult time. I was more concerned with you all than I was with myself.

It’s been so difficult to change things. I have a hard time dealing with forced change. I never thought to plan for a time like this, in many aspects. Even if I did come up with a plan for a time like this, I don’t think I would’ve been as prepared as I’d like. People are concerned. People are scared. People feel stuck at home. Small businesses are suffering, especially restaurants. I know how it feels, and it’s affected the one regular thing I loved to do: blogging about restaurants and events to share with you.

Kelci Reedy - Foodish Ways

A throwback photo of me at Union Market in D.C. last year.

One of my favorite things to do in the D.C. Area is to see the cherry blossoms at peak bloom. I couldn’t share that post with you this year because I have a responsibility with this platform I have. I didn’t realize how important it was for me to use until recently. I just do it because I love it. But in recent months, I’ve realized how much people actually pay attention to the things I share. It’s wild. As a result, I couldn’t be tone deaf and share a cherry blossom season post. It would weigh too heavy on my heart to share that, even if I had disclaimers.

I urge you to stay home. I encourage you to use this time for you. If that means rest, do that. If that means learning something new, do that. If that means reconnecting with yourself or working on that thing you’ve been pushing back, do it. Don’t let LLC Twitter or Rise and Grind Twitter push you into thinking that you have to use this time to do something that you’re not ready for or want to do.

This time has made me look at communication, connection, and blogging differently. At this time, I’m not sure what that means for this blog. It may be months until we can go outside again. I want to think of valuable content to share during this time. If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment or email me at foodishways(at)gmail.com. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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Stay safe.

Be back soon.