Partner Spotlight: Tanya Schroeder of Lemons for Lulu
Here at Ahalogy, it’s no secret that our content creators are at the core of everything we do. From their gorgeous imagery to their unique creative vision, we would be lost without our Ahalogy Partners—a network of over 5,500+ content creators across the Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Lifestyle, and Parenting categories. Just as no two blogs look the same, each of our content creators have a different story to share. Check out the following Partner Spotlight interview to learn more about what it takes to become an Ahalogy Partner.
For creative recipes that taste even better than they look, Tanya Schroeder of Lemons for Lulu is one of our go-to gals. Ranging from sweet treats to weeknight dinner dishes and everywhere in between, you can be sure that every one of Tanya’s creations promises maximum flavor for minimal effort. We love how she’s able to make gourmet cooking seem easy and achievable without sacrificing quality. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay up to date on her tastiest kitchen creations.
To start off with, can you tell me a little bit about how you got your start in influencer marketing?
I think it just naturally happened as the blog progressed and grew and aged. I started with an organization where you applied for different positions—kind of like Ahalogy. It was small and then over time, I found that brands just approached me. So it evolved and grew from there. It was kind of by accident and kind of not.
What are some of the key things that you’ve learned in your years as a content creator? Would you say that your style or blog have changed at all?
Yes, definitely. You start out with trying to work with brands; you’re kind of excited by it so you take any opportunity because it’s like, “Oh this is great! I want to talk about face lotion or whatever.” But then you realize, wait a minute, I need to be true to myself, I need to be true to my readers. If I’m talking about something like that and I’m a food blog, it might not be very authentic—even though it might be a face lotion that I use, it’s not the right platform.
I’ve learned to really, really only use brands that I genuinely believe in, truly use, truly love, and then my natural voice and authenticity just come right through. I’ve really been very selective, I think. That’s what I’ve learned.
Can you tell me a little bit more about what it’s like to work with brands on sponsored posts? What kinds of things do you consider when you’re applying for sponsored content opportunities?
One, if it is a good fit for my blog and my style. Again, is it something that I use or believe in or maybe it’s something that I don’t use but I’m willing to discover because I think it fits with my style. It could be a new product that I haven’t discovered yet. So it doesn’t have to be something that I use right now, but maybe it is something that I think, “Oh, I could see myself using that.” So definitely, that is important to me—just to stay true to me and to my kitchen.
Then from there, I just look to see if this is something that I could come up with an easy recipe for because I don’t want anything too complicated on my blog. It has to be simple and accessible. Is it a product that people are going to find everywhere or is it exclusive to a certain market? So those are the kinds of things that I really pay attention to when I look at a new brand.
Where do you find the inspiration for your recipes?
Sometimes a magazine, sometimes a restaurant that I frequent, sometimes I just try to think of how I can change something that I already have on the blog. I mean, after six years, there’s probably so much that I could tweak and change or just use as a base and adapt from there.
Do you have any favorite recipes that you’ve created over the years?
Oh gosh. I mean, I like my cocktails! There’s a couple Greek recipes that I’ve made that are based off of my mom’s recipes. My mom was born and raised in Greece so her recipes are not recipes; they’re in her head. They’re labor intensive and long so I kind of thought, “How can I take that and make it super short?” There’s a Spanakopita recipe that I have and a Stove Top Pastitsio that I’m very proud of because they are very short but they’re very tasty.
Beyond that, I just recently did a Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake that I made for my birthday. I think that’s probably the best cake that I’ve ever made so that was very exciting for me.
Do you find that your mom’s Greek cooking influences the kinds of recipes that you create today?
It does to an extent. Like I said, my mom did not have recipes. It was all from her head. But my mom’s dishes were always pretty simple; they’re pretty economical, too. And they were always very, very flavorful. She never made a bland meal. So I try to carry that with me. Although I don’t make a lot of Greek recipes because I love all sorts of foods, I try really hard to make sure there’s lots of flavor in my dishes—whether it’s sweet or savory.
So back in 2012, you published your own cookbook—Sandwiched: Grill 'Em, Toast 'Em, Stuff 'Em, Eat 'Em. What was that process like? How is creating recipes for a cookbook different from creating recipes for your blog?
Well, it’s kind of hard. Sandwiches were a little easy because you definitely have a smaller number of servings, but trying to come up with different sandwiches was hard. I mean, I wanted to do different courses. So it was challenging to try to come up with different types of sandwiches like desserts, appetizers, and main meal kinds of sandwiches. And I was doing it in such a quick time. I think I had maybe 6 to 8 weeks to perfect them and photograph them. So the time constraint was a challenge. Then it was just thinking outside of the box with sandwiches.
A lot of your food photography focuses on capturing these really close-up, beautiful details. How do you go about capturing that perfect shot?
There was a period where I thought I had to have this elaborate set up and I had to set the mood. If it was a dinner, there would be drinks and all kinds of accessories. Then I thought, no. If I just simplify it and I just focus on the food, that should speak for itself. There really doesn’t need to be any extras.
I try very hard to think of the color of the dishes and the surrounding things but keep it very, very simple. I keep a very neutral background so that the food pops and I always use natural light. That’s really it; I don’t do a lot of extras.
Now that you’ve heard from Tanya about her experience working as the creative vision and voice behind Lemons for Lulu, we hope you have a deeper appreciation for what it means to be an Ahalogy Partner. Each of our content creators bring a unique twist to every single Brandables campaign that they work on. To learn more about how you can apply for sponsored content opportunities and work with our diverse network of brands, click here.