Her vibrant, fresh photos and range of topics are well spoken and well represented on Instagram and andannabelle.com, her lifestyle blog. Her conversational tone and tips for events are representative of the up-and-coming culture in the Lancaster area.
After following Annabelle Nguyen’s work for several months, and admiring her presence in the Central PA community, I reached out to discover a young woman who’s a self-starter in talking about what she loves, and getting local businesses to notice. Blayne Waterloo: How long have you been blogging on &Annabelle? Annabelle Nguyen: About a year. BW: Wow. But I see you everywhere. How did you start off? AN: It started by going around to places and meeting people, making relationships and giving people my name.
@centralmarketlancaster with my #lancasterjuicecompany smoothie 😋 A photo posted by &annabelle (@andannabelle) on
BW: Was it tough to get those people to take you seriously? Like, just saying, “Hi, I’m a blogger.”
AN: I was nervous at first, but people were really receptive to that. They were really nice and willing to help me, so it’s been great.
BW: That’s good. I feel like, if you’re nice, and you want to help them, it’s a win-win.
AN: Right. They understand it’s free exposure.
BW: Has anyone reached out to you for the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do? AN: I mean, I think everyone gets weird messages from men [laughs], but other than that, everyone’s been great.
BW: On the average week, how many stories are you doing?
AN: I try to post at least four on my Instagram, and then once a month on my blog.
BW: How busy would you say you are on an average day?
AN: It depends on what I’m working on. Like, sometimes photo editing or putting together a post takes longer, and it gets complicated. You have so many ideas and want to do so many different things.
BW: Which are your favorite posts to write?
AN: With it being a lifestyle blog, I don’t like to restrict it to one thing, because I’m a different person, I’m constantly growing. Maybe sometimes I’m here, and I want to share that, or I’m going here and I met someone who has connections with a really great cause or something.
BW: So, you don’t stick to one area? Where’s the furthest you’ve blogged from?
AN: Well, I went to Paris and London two years ago, so I did posts while I was there, but my blog wasn’t up at that point. But that’s the furthest I’ve talked about something.
BW: Do you have any background in photography? Because your photos are beautiful. AN: That’s so nice to hear [laughs]. But no, I don’t have any background in photography. I got my camera for free from someone who wasn’t using it, so it’s like the lowest quality camera. I don’t even think they make that model anymore.
A photo posted by &annabelle (@andannabelle) on
BW: Are you ever out with friends or something and feel like you can’t get away from your blog? Is it hard to separate your personal life from your blog?
AN: No, but it’s really funny, because I’ll go out to eat with my friends, and we’ll get our food, and nobody will touch their meal because they’re like, “OK, you can photograph this.” So we all eat cold food and it’s great – they’re all super understanding. And sometimes they’re like, “Can you photograph this?” And I’m like, “I don’t really want to!”
BW: Do you go to places and people recognize you because they’ve worked with you before?
AN: They recognize me, but not because they’ve worked with me before. They’ve seen me online and I’ve liked their stuff, or something like that.
BW: How do you feel you’ll have to change with social media in getting your product out there? Do you think you’ll have to evolve?
AN: I definitely think that it’s something that’s always evolving for me. If you scroll down through my Instagram, you can see that my style changes. Or, depending on if I’m traveling or not, the color palettes of different cities are different.
BW: How do you get a feel for color palettes?
AN: I just take pictures, and then you go home and you see what’s the most common color that’s repeating in that city. Like, I think Lancaster City has more of an earthy vibe, and I have to really try to keep it earthy and pastel-y.
BW: Where’s the most interesting place this has taken you?
AN: I’m working with a research farm [The Field’s Edge Research Farm] in Lititz, because my degree was in chemistry, so it’s a perfect marriage of what I went to school for and what I love to do. I help them with photo documentation of the crops they’re doing. I think we’re going to start phenotyping and genotyping their crops, so I’m really excited for that.
BW: That’s crazy that you majored in chemistry and now you’re blogging.
AN: I know! I never thought I was a creative person. I thought I couldn’t draw, like, don’t ask me to do anything creative. But I have a really good friend, and she encouraged me. If you want to do something, or you wish you could do something, just go and do it, and then you’ll know. I tried, and all these things happened.
BW: That kind of segues into my next question; what advice do you have for someone who wants to blog, but doesn’t think there’s much of a point with so many other blogs out there?
AN: If it’s something you’re really passionate about – you’re not doing it for other people, you’re doing it for your own enjoyment – people will feel the love through your posts. Don’t do it for anyone else, and if you wish you could do something, life’s too short not to do it.
Follow &Annabelle on Instagram.