The interviewee of the 3rd episode of my #5QuestionsTo is a no stranger to us: Georgette Jupe!
If you search for travel information about Florence online, most likely you would end up to her blog Girl In Florence, where you find valuable and practical information on traveling/ living in Florence. Besides being the writer to a famous blog, Georgette is also know by many other titles: social media guru, established blogger, freelance writer, and Florence-adapted American.
If you’ve followed her for a while, you may as well know that she is wife of a French gentleman, owner of a beagle dog Ginger, and a fluent Italian speaker after over 10 years living in Italy. I started following her blog before moving to Italy. And her post helped me finding the right track to apply my Permesso di Soggiorno to stay in Italy.
Knowing Georgette in personal life, I am attractive to her sense of humor. She is able to talk me into laugh every time, even when she was being sarcastic. And this gift of her is even better presented over a glass of bubbles.
She has been sharing her travel tips on different channels. So rather than bombing her with the cliche “Top 5 places to eat/ drink in Florence” or “3 advices on traveling Italy in high season”, I search for her thoughts on managing different social media, travel & living in different countries, and her vision of her blog.
Profession: Social Media Consultant, Italy Magazine Content Editor, Coffee drinker Blog: http://girlinflorence.com/
1. Since Instagram launched their “story” function, which is similar to Snapchat, many people had a hard time deciding which one to use. It is like dating two guys at the same time. What is your suggestion? Instagram story vs. Snapchat. We better choose either one? Or use them both for different purposes/ contents?
I love your analogy Sasha, running the risk of sounding a bit pervy, now with Facebook stories (a recent addition) it might be more like a threesome. Or topping that all with Whatsapp doing the same, we might just be on one poly-amorous carpet ride when it comes to technology. My take on this is it depends wholly on your audience. While to me, Snapchat combines a younger crowd more interested in freaky face filters rather than the curated lifestyles like Instagram, both have their pros and cons. One of the major cons being just how time consuming all of this extra social media really is.
Whereas I personally feel that on Snapchat more people actually like watching the feed of others because they are a bit more unfiltered and raw; Instagram stories is more like a continued Instagram feed and almost just as curated as the real thing (which is a bit of a bummer, this is where I’d LOVE to see more playful behind the scenes action). You can always save your photos/videos and upload on both, which I sometimes do, otherwise I would see what makes most sense for your audience, try both and see which ones get more authentic interactions. We as humans need to be realistic about what we can and cannot do and that comes to picking social networks. Unless of course you are the Hindu Goddess Durga, who with eight arms you could probably handle all of that scheduling.
2. How do you manage to stay authentic? If a product pays you to write about them, however you are not happy about their quality, how would you handle it?
Authenticity is very important to me and it always has been the forefront of what I do for work, and well life, if I’m honest. You are only as good as your word, and while I am careful to not play the “expert” card (also just because it makes me uncomfortable) I know people can really feel someone’s authenticity over time. The most important thing is transparency, if you are getting something for free on the blog, you should say so, most people understand that life is expensive and so are the digital hurdles like paying for hosting, managing the behind-the-scenes part and your audience generally doesn’t begrudge you making money as you long as you are transparent and have good taste. I personally wouldn’t accept a product on those terms if I wasn’t 100% sure that I would like it. I’ve said no to many lucrative offers locally because I knew I could never live with myself if I wrote about them, this means I may never be able to live 100% off the blog, but that’s ok, I like my job. I find that these deals tend to work best when organic (as in you are already using the said product), however if it did happen, I would just be honest with the producer. Better to return the money, not talk about the product in question than risk selling out.
3. In the future, if you have to move to another city, will you keep writing on GirlInFlorence?
GirlinFlorence is a name I came out because I didn’t want the blog to be “Georgette in Florence,” as my American-in-Italy story wasn’t at all unique for the time. This has always been a personal blog, not a website or magazine, and thus will remain so. Since I started in 2012, I have written about plenty of places that aren’t in Florence: both in Europe and beyond. For example, I’ve been to Mexico lately and plan on featuring the series on the blog. In the extreme chance that Florence is no longer my hometown (shock horror!) than I would continue writing about Florence but more like a former lover who knows she will be back. I’ve called this city home for 10 years of my life, the most important years of my life when I’ve met my husband and got a dog (she’s 100% Florentine and knows it). The inspiration in Florence never wanes.
4. Is there a country that you’d love to visit again and again, but never want to live there?
Don’t hate me family, but I would add the U.S.A to this list. Not talking about the politics (which at the moment, doesn’t help), I adore going back to America and throwing myself back into comfortable old routines. Getting my huge ice coffee, walking around the historical center of San Antonio, having a few laughs, it’s great, but I tend get bored after two weeks. I’m from Texas so maybe it would be a little different now if I went somewhere else, but even in California and NYC, I get stir crazy to return to Italy’s uncomfortably small sidewalks and cheap dinners (with wine). I adore living among such bewitching history and the proximity to say many cool cities, all very diverse, which are reachable in just an hour by plane.
Another one I would add to that list is Thailand. After our honeymoon, I was instantly hooked on Thai culture, Thai food (my dog is named “Ginger” for a reason) and the beautiful, varied landscape. However, I am also aware of vacation/vs. reality (as what happens to many people in Florence too) so I’d like to keep it as a vacation destination. Plus in Europe longer vacations are appreciated, how could I ever leave that behind?
5. I know you are a foodie, and you also cook at home a lot. What is your comfort food? Can you find it in any restaurant in Florence or you have to DIY at home?
Good question Sasha! It really depends on my mood. The half-Mexican in me always craves Mexican food: chilaquilas, tacos, guacamole, hearty black bean soup. We don’t have any decent Mexican restaurants so I just make it at home, supplemented with ingredients I get from Vivi Market at Sant’Ambrogio/Mercato Centrale, I bought a tortilla press online so that helps too! I also make Thai food at home and the occasional baked Camembert for you know, the French husband.
Thanks to Italy, I actually know how to cook and no longer think that “blue coconut” is an acceptable flavor 😉 (ah Sonic!). I happen to have a lot of amazing friends who write cookbooks like Emiko Davies and Giulia Scarpaleggia (Jul’s Kitchen) so I make their curated Tuscan recipes on the regular.
When it comes to spots around town, you have your pick, really. I love Sergio Gozzi in San Lorenzo for pasta, Semel for panini, Brindellone for fried coccoli, Teatro del Sale for a fun lunch, Trattoria Ruggiero for Tuscan bollito, boiled meats, and pasta), Casa del Vino for a glass of wine and crostini, Irene Bistro’s saffron risotto is legendary; and when it comes to wine, always Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina. Dessert is a slice of carnival cake schiacciata alla fiorentina from Pasticceria Giorgio (ok that’s more like breakfast), chocolate and raspberry tarts from Bottega di Pasticceria (new find!), or gelato at my friend Alberto’s gelateria, My Sugar. We eat a lot if you can’t tell, and I’m always up to following my belly’s rumble for our next fix.