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April 23, 2021
What we appreciate the most about Smartbite Collective is the sense of community. We are so thankful for the friends we've made on this exciting journey and Lianne Lai from lianne_eats is one of those people for us. Lianne reached out to us one cold winter afternoon through our Smartbite Collab form and it's been an exciting ride ever since. Lianne’s warm, approachable, so sweet and interesting, and it shines through in each and every one of her Instagram posts.
Reading through Lianne’s responses to our questions, we felt instantly inspired and happier, much like we do when we visit her Instagram account. We love what Lianne said about why she instagrams her food creations, what her most perfect day would look like (btw. your perfect day is our perfect day #accidentallytwinning 👯♀️), and her tips on how to grow an Instagram account in a meaningful way (that one is so spot-on). We could go on, but we’ll let you read it for yourself.
If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose? Empathetic, independent and trustworthy
What’s your favourite word? Itadakimasu – it’s a Japanese word that is said before eating.
I couldn’t live without: My kitchen
What is your favourite snack? Anything with almond butter
I think everything tastes better with? Honey
What’s one thing about you that surprises people? I usually can’t sleep in very much. I will wake up around 8 or 9 am, even if I stay up late.
Your go-to song? Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Who was the last person you texted/messaged? My best friend
What’s your most-used emoji? 😂
Favourite cooking hack or tip? Cooking blueberries on the stove with water and sugar to make a quick blueberry sauce. It’s ready in about five minutes and tastes amazing on pancakes and other breakfast foods.
Where is your happy place? Being outdoors and taking walks around the city
What qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time? Caring, reliable and honest
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us Lianne. 🙏🙂 Could you introduce yourself to the Smartbite community? Who are you and what’s your story?
Yes, I am Lianne :) I am a fourth year university student studying accounting (I know it’s very different from what you see on my Instagram). For my hobbies, I really like baking, experimenting on new recipes, watching hockey and exercising. I have been passionate about baking and healthy eating for a very long time. So, my cheat foods are the baked items you see on my Instagram... although, I still like to also post healthier food recipes too.
The cute creations you share on Instagram always put a smile on our face. What was your inspiration behind starting your foodie Instagram account lianne_eats?
I started my account back in 2017 because I wanted to share my food creations to my friends. I didn’t have any intention back then for the public to see my photos and I didn’t know that there was a food community at that time. I made my lunch every day in high school and occasionally my friends would say my food looked good, so that led me to the idea of starting an Instagram account. It was the easiest way to show people the things that I like to make. I started off my Instagram posting my healthy meals, but I have branched off recently towards making more cute baked items.
For foodies, Instagram is a great platform to share their food creations and food adventures. What do you think is important for someone who wants to grow their Instagram account in a meaningful way?
1. Find your niche – Create food that makes your audience know it’s your account. This could be a certain theme or types of foods. For example, I have seen accounts which strictly focus on food restaurant reviews. Personally, I narrowed down my account to cute and colourful food items. 2. High quality photos – It’s important to have good quality photos to make your food stand out. You don’t need a professional camera as I use my phone which works perfectly fine. Editing is also crucial to further enhance your photos such as the texture or colour. I use the Lightroom app on my phone and it’s the best for making detailed changes. 3. Be yourself – Act authentically! Post what you love and not just because it’s what everyone else is doing. People will recognize that you have a passion for what you are posting.
Your Instagram bio says: “Sharing what I like to eat 🍎” What do you like to eat?
I like to eat fruits for most of my snacks – my favourites are mangoes and strawberries. My ultimate go-to favourite food though is sushi. I love dynamite rolls and I could eat those every day if I could. Any Japanese food is also a good option for me!
What’s your favorite quote or mantra you can’t live without?
My favourite superhero is Spider-Man, so I would have to choose: “with great power comes great responsibility."
What is your favorite food memory from childhood?
My favourite memory from my childhood is going to Disney World with my family (I have been there three times!). It really felt like a different world stepping into the theme parks and meeting the Disney characters. It would be interesting to go back to Disney World again and see what has changed. I heard they have a Star Wars ride now, so I would definitely visit that first!
What is your greatest inspiration source?
Friends and family! (And... Pinterest for my food inspiration)
You're moving to a new kitchen in five minutes and can only take one gadget along with you. What do you grab and why?
My waffle maker – It’s one of my favourite things to make for breakfast and it’s really easy to use!
Picture this, you’re living your most perfect day—what does this look like?
I really want to go to Japan for my perfect day and try all of the different foods. I have watched YouTube videos of sushi being served on a conveyor belt at restaurants. The culture and technology is so interesting in Japan. I want to visit a cat island while I am there because cats are my favourite animals. It would also be cool to visit a cat cafe!
Now what’s your actual typical day look like?
I have been busy studying for my school term recently, but when I am not studying, I will do a home workout in the morning or create a new food recipe for my Instagram. I will brainstorm post ideas or ask my friends for some suggestions.
In the afternoon, I will go outside if the weather is nice and explore a new trail with my boyfriend. After dinner, I will watch the Toronto Maple Leafs game if they are playing that day, while eating my evening snack. I’ll also scroll on Instagram for a bit in the evening too.
What’s your typical meal for…
Morning: avocado toast or banana oatmeal with cocoa powder
Lunch: pasta dish with a side salad
Supper: brown rice, salmon and vegetables on the side
Snacks or sweets: apple crumble, crackers or Smartbite rice cakes with hummus, fruits
Favorite beverage: water or steeped tea
What makes you laugh, smile and be joyful?
It makes me happy when people have told me that my food has inspired them to make a certain food dish. I have received a lot of support over the past few months and I’m thankful for all of the people who have reached out to me to tell me that they enjoy what I post. If I want a quick laugh, then I’ll go on TikTok. Some of the videos are hilarious on the app and I downloaded last year during the pandemic similarly to many people.
Saving the big one for last. Where do you see yourself in the next 2-3 years? Any big plans you’d like to share?
In terms of my food account, I hope to meet lots of new people in the food community. I have already connected with so many other foodies and I hope to continue with my Instagram account. I could see myself branching off into other platforms – maybe there will be a new popular social media platform in the next 2-3 years for me to share my food photos. After I am done university, I could also see myself investing more time into my food interest and focusing on creating my own recipes from scratch.
WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions.
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October 01, 2021
What’s handmade, cute, sustainable and keeps your hair out of your face? The answer is Siena Vida scrunchies. Who knew scrunchie can do so much? We caught up with Vanessa who started Siena Vida in the midst of pandemic after she learned to sew from her Nonna (talent clearly runs in Vanessa's family).
So stop what you’re doing, make yourself a cup of whatever hot you fancy, grab a snack and get ready to be inspired. 💭💭💭
July 27, 2021
May 25, 2021
Meet Yoko Segawa, our talented May collaborator who believes that cooking is a basic form of self care and we cannot agree more. We first encountered Yoko on Instagram Reels, where she serenely shares recipe details of her healthy, plant based creations in 30 seconds or less.
Yoko's IG account, @yokos.kitchen an extension of her YouTube channel of the same name, has an immediately recognizable style. The pastel pink hues, fresh flowers, unique food creations and tunes that flit between mellow electronica to delightfully carefree pop tracks will instantly put you at easy.
We recently caught up with Yoko and chatted about everything from what she misses most about Japan to how the macrobiotics made her fall in love with a plant based food.