We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Manning and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emma, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Learning how to balance work and personal life is something I have to constantly put in check. When you work primarily from your phone it can be hard to turn off from work mode and just be a regular person. My husband and I are both very good about telling the other when it’s time to put the phone down and just be together. On date nights phones are not allowed during dinner and during a movie you put your phone turned over on the coffee table or in another room. It’s very easy to get caught up in social media and therefore we sometimes miss out on simply being together. I’m currently an expecting mom and I’m sure work/life balance will be tested again as I learn to navigate motherhood and being a business woman. Previously, my blog The LA Blonde was focused on my culinary education and love for travel and photography, but now that we are becoming parents I want to share how that lifestyle will transfer over with our son Jag. Sharing that experience however will definitely test my ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance and I hope that it’s something I can figure out and easily navigate. I am constantly thinking, “how do I share my lifestyle while remaining present and in the moment?” I think one of the best ways will be not sharing every little detail in real time. I plan on enjoying the moments as they happen and then scheduling myself a time to work and share.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always lived a life of creativity and adventure. I started off in the working world at the age of 11 as a professional dancer where I had an over decade long year career dancing for recording artists, working on tv shows, and assisting top choreographers in the industry. After a car accident that left me unable to continue to dance professionally, I was faced with the challenge of deciding what was next. In 2018, I attended the Institute of Culinary Education where I received a double diploma with highest honors in Culinary Arts and Culinary/Restaurant Management. While in school I began working in a restaurant as a pasta maker where again, my physical abilities were limited. Standing in one place for long hours just wasn’t in the cards for me. So what does one do? After a lot of soul searching, along with trial and error, I took my passions for taking care of people, food, culture, and photography to narrow my focus into my current business, Emma Manning Photography. I now spend my days photographing newly engaged couples, weddings, and families. I also continue to share my love and knowledge of food, travel, and family life with my blog, The LA Blonde. I believe what sets me apart from a lot of other business owners or other individuals is my ability to adapt and my willingness to try something new. The challenges I’ve faced have brought me to find what I truly cared about in life which is ultimately to surround myself with happy people and share in the crazy adventures of life.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I live in a pretty small town so after having lunch at my favorite local hot spot Moody Rooster, I’d tell them we are going on a mini road trip for a couple of days to Paso Robles for a food and wine excursion. Then we’d hit the road north up the 101 to Paso Robles where there is over 200 wineries to choose from and I hope to one day explore them all. My top 5 places in Paso Robles would have to be: 1. Halter Ranch Vineyard. This winery has one of the most amazing tasting rooms with floor to ceiling windows so you can stare out across the vineyard. And their wine is absolutely delicious. “The Ancestor” is a must try and be sure to ask about how it got its name. 2. Le Cuvier Winery One of the best food and wine pairings in Paso. You’ll taste bites of happiness while sipping on amazing wine from winemaker Clay Selkirk. If you’re lucky, he may even be the one to walk you through your tasting experience. 3. Pasolivo Olive Oil Soak up a little booze dipping bread in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, flavored salts, and more. 4. Negranti Creamery Located in the new and vibrant Tin City, Negranti serves fresh waffle cones and really fun ice cream combinations. Need I say more? 5. Downtown Paso – Fish Gaucho & Spearhead Coffee Fish Gaucho – JUST GO. Start with the trio of chips and salsa, order a margarita, and pick anything off the menu. You won’t be disappointed. Spearhead Coffee – for the coffee lovers. They roast their beans right there in the back of the shop so it’s about as fresh as it gets.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my amazing husband Kyle. He’s my sounding board for all of my ideas and supports me with whatever I choose to do in life.

Website: www.thelablonde.com & www.emmamanningphotography.com
Instagram: @the_lablonde & @emmamanningphoto

Image Credits
Gunning Media Emma Manning Photography

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