It’s the last Friday of August, and the fifth edition of Friday Feature — time flies when you’re having fun! Today’s feature is extra sweet because we’re chatting with the blogger (and entrepreneur) behind Sweet Caroline.
Caroline’s sweet, humble personality shines through each post she creates. Her posts are simple and “clean”; there is something about her beautiful place on the web (she does website design, too!) that brings me a sense of calm whenever I read it. During the past year, as she progressed through photography school, I would often visit her site just to “ooh and aww” at the beauty she captured with her camera lens. Caroline is an inspiration on many fronts, from organization and goal-setting, to balancing the busy life of your early twenties.
Without further ado…
Q & A with Caroline Winn | Sweet Caroline
1. You’ve recently completed a yoga teacher certification. What did you enjoy most about that experience? How did you get into yoga?
I took my first yoga class at my college’s gym my junior year and instantly fell in love with it. I’m always going at a million miles an hour, juggling several things at once, but yoga forced me to slow down and really listen to my body. Getting my yoga teacher certification was something I always knew I wanted to do, so when I moved back home last fall to go to photography school, it seemed like the right time to do it. I loved learning to teach (though it was much harder than I anticipated!), but what I enjoyed most about the experience was deepening my own practice. We learned a lot about the anatomy of the body and the reasoning behind each pose, which I found really interesting!
2. You’re an accomplished marathon runner. What are your tips for someone training for their first 26.2-mile journey?
I successfully ran my first marathon (Chicago) in 2011, and while there were a lot of things I did right, there are also a few things I wish I had done differently. My biggest advice for someone looking to complete their first marathon is to set yourself up for success. By this I mean, make sure you have a solid foundation of running under your belt and you’re injury free. Also, don’t sign up for a marathon during your work’s busy season or when you have a lot of travel plans scheduled. Training takes up a huge amount of free time — not only do you have to log 30-40+ miles every week, you also need to set aside time for cross-training, foam rolling, prepping healthy meals, and lots of naps! When you’re running so much, it’s easy to shrug off strength/cross training as something extra you don’t really need, but strength training (especially abs) is so important for preventing injury.
3. You also recently graduated from photography school. What are your favorite things to photograph? What is the most rewarding thing about your photography business, and what is the toughest part?
I love photographing people. Photography to me has always been a way to capture a moment of time in someone’s life. I think photographing people, especially during their wedding day, adds a layer of unpredictability that’s a fun challenge. I like how the moments happen so fast and are fleeting, so you have to get your timing just right. So far, starting my own photography business has been a lot of hard work, but so much fun. The most rewarding part is when I deliver images to a client that they love. I know that they’ll treasure them for years to come! The toughest part (but also one of the reasons I love what I do) is wearing all the hats. I’m not just a photographer. On any given day, I’m also an accountant, marketer, blogger, sales person, IT guru, designer, customer servicer… the list goes on!
4. You’ve been eating a gluten-free “diet” for about 3 months now. What does a typical day of eats look like for you?
As a bread lover, I never thought I’d be someone who went gluten-free. But after many unexplained abnormal blood tests and chronic fatigue, I decided to explore the idea. Just one week after going gluten-free, I felt the difference in my body and now I honestly don’t think I could go back. I start most mornings off with a green juice or smoothie and snack on fruit mid-morning. Lunch usually involves quinoa, chicken and veggies, or some variation of this lemony chickpea kale salad. My go-to dinner is always salmon, my favorite being a salmon salad with parsley and red pepper. It never gets old! My new favorite gluten free treat is almond butter pancakes. Yum :)
5. As a nomadic East Coaster, what do you love most about living on the East Coast?
I grew up just outside of Boston and have pretty much lived here all my life besides a brief two-year stint in southern Connecticut and New York City. While I loved living in the big city, I’m happiest when close to my family. I could never be away from them for too long! My favorite part about New England is the distinct seasons. In March, I could be snowboarding down a mountain looking out over a frozen lake, and then four months later I can be wakeboarding in that very lake. Just when you start to get bored of one season, another is right around the corner. Right now I can’t wait for fall!
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