Personal - Blog - Whole Living - and - Business Frequently Asked Questions

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Do you take the pictures on your website/what camera do you use?

I take all of the pictures on Thrift Core. I use a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with kit lens. I love my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens, it makes a huge difference in my photography and I highly recommend it (affordable, too!) In the past I've used photos from Morgue Files, a free stock images site and istockphoto.

Your blog and product photos are awesome! Any pointers?

I have product photography tips here and basic photography tips here. Enjoy!

What does "Van" stand for?

It's short for my first name, Vanessa. The nick-name and my love of video games, robots, and comic books gets me mistaken for a male in the online world. I'm even on this list of Man Blogs! Haha! (Read more about me here.)

Can you create a website banner/etsy banner/blog banner/design a website/do marketing consulting/take product photos for me?

Absolutely! I'd love to collaborate with you on that. Check out my whole list of services here!

How do you monetize this blog?

Advertising, my Etsy shop, and the many services I provide.

Can you provide me with blogging and writing tips as a beginner?

I have written thousands of words to help you with your creative business and blogging, so read away and be inspired! Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.

Will you write me a guest post/Can I write a guest post for you?

I'm open to writing and accepting guest posts, please contact me with the details.

Can I interview you for my blog/publication?

Absolutely, just contact me with the details and I'll get back with you.

Can I feature your photos/one of your posts on my blog?

Yes. Please e-mail me to let me know, and make sure you provide proper credit with a link back to Thrift Core.

Can I link you and/or pin your blog posts?

Yes, but please e-mail me and let me know so I can link you back and check out your feed on pinterest!


1) So you only eat uncooked fruits and veggies? Really?

I incorporate as much raw as I can, but I'm not a 100% fully raw vegan.

2) Can you recommend a meal plan for me?

I haven't found anything that works perfectly for me yet, we're all individuals and have to find what's right for us. I liked Ani Phyo's plan, not the easiest to follow but I felt more balanced and healthy. This anti-inflammatory diet completely cleared a stubborn break-out, I highly recommend it as an easier kick-starter for a healthy lifestyle.

3) What differences do you see and feel on your vegan diet?

More energy, clear skin, gradual healthy weight loss, 100% painless gas-free digestion and elimination, complete removal of headaches and pains, and when I really stick to it and try to balance nutrition well I notice my sleep pattern is improved and I fall asleep and wake up t the appropriate times!

4) Did you gradually change your diet?

Yep. It started with bringing healthy whole treats like yogurt, oranges, and steamed vegetables for my breakfast/snacks/dinner at work. (I worked so many hours, was there from breakfast to dinner! Dayum!) When I started to work for myself I could make lentil and veggie soups, salads, and fish. Weight simply fell off, I was stuffing myself without ever feeling deprived, and my skin cleared up. From there it was a gradual switch from high nut raw veganism to high carb raw veganism. I'm always trying to improve and streamline.

5) Do you ever miss cooked food? And only vegan? How can you do it, ew, gross!

Cooked/bad food cravings can definitely increase if you're not eating enough which is easy to do on a vegan diet when you're busy. You really need to stuff yourself! I promise it's never boring, I eat amazing chocolates, pies, chilis, shakes that taste like milkshakes, the possibilities are truly endless. It's creative too as you challenge yourself to make healthy vegan meals taste like cooked favorites you remember. I keep sharing the photo above but damn, that's all raw uncooked food right there!

Update: I am not 100% fully raw, but I make sure to have raw meals in my day, every day. I do feel and look my best when I'm 100% raw or close to it, but now that I'm more physically active I haven't found a way to make that happen. Yet!

6) What are some challenges you encountered losing weight? How did you overcome them?

You're going to have cravings, you're going to plateau; when you're body sticks to a certain number on the scale and refuses to budge, an evolutionary marvel to keep us from getting too slim when food was scarce. There will be tears on your journey to better health  or your soul is made of adamantium.

What helped me and helps most people stick with a healthy food lifestyle change is NOT making it about weight loss. I'd seriously given up on weight loss when I made my changes, I just wanted to be healthier and stuff myself with delicious plant-based food. I made it about HEALTH and I was ready to make the changes permanent. Weight fell off from there.

Personal FAQS

1) What's your Nationality?

American. I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and have lived in the USA all of my life save for four years spent in Naples, Italy.

2) I meant what is your ethnic background?

My mom is Mexican and my dad is Puerto Rican. Too many people mix the two words up!

3) Where are you from?

I've live here in Jacksonville, Florida for, woah, almost twenty years now!? I'm originally from the west side. I lived in Mandarin for a while before settling down in the gorgeous Riverside/Downtown area and I'm never moving anywhere else in town so long as I live in the city! I love it here!

I've also lived in Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia. I was a toddler in Virginia though, so I don't remember anything other than my favorite glitter fuchsia jellies, a family friend's cat and the pantry my mom converted into a playroom for me.

4) What tips can you give me as a reseller?

Finish your business plan ASAP, get organized (spreadsheet, document all merch, expenditure, etc.), and promote your ass off on Craigslist, blogs, and social media! Pick with a discerning eye and put out high-quality work!

5) What tips can you give me as a blogger?

Always put out your best work, write high quality content. Think of your readers. Genuinely interact in the community and cross-promote when and where you can. Your audience will grow authentically when you're honest, passionate, hard-working, and putting out quality posts.

6) What tips can you give me as a business owner?

Again, you finish every inch of that business plan ASAP before you do ANYTHING! It will outline everything you need to know to be successful. Work hard, be passionate, and again...quality, quality, quality! The SBA has a good business plan template here. Of course, e-mail me if you have any specific questions.

7) How do you get readers and followers?

It takes time and consistency. Have a schedule for posting on your blog and/or social media and stick to it. Reach out and interact with other bloggers you like. Join forums, Facebook groups, and participate in link-parties associated with your niche. Reach out to do guest posts.

8) Do you recommend me to start a blog for my business?

Hell yes! And for yourself, too. Writing daily will help you improve. It's a journey to self-discovery and keeps your mind fresh. I have more on the topic here: The Top 5 Reasons to Keep Blogging. And it Ain't For the Money

9) Can you give me specific information about an item I have and whether or not it's valuable/an antique/collectible/etc?

Nope! I sold vintage from the 1960s-1970s but I had to research every item, I'm not an expert in the field at all.

10) Is "insert item in your home" available for sale?

I'm going to do vintage and handmade pop-up shops from time-to-time again, but if it's not currently listed anywhere, the item is not for sale.

11) Where can I find your soap / body care products?

Check them out on Etsy (shop overhaul is in the works, just waiting on my new camera so I can shoot the new items and new style), meet up with me if you're local, message me about an array of custom orders (I'm trained to make everything) or go to Southern Roots cafe/filling station to buy a selection of products locally.

I do local markets and will have the schedule on the side bar when I'm back out.

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