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

Hi Zahida, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Experimenting, continuously learning, and patience. Experimenting is one of the things that I habitually do, I often test different techniques, such as trying to change photography styles, posting at a certain time of day or even tweaking certain days that I post. Regarding learning, this involves researching about a business I am featuring, and observing what I might be doing right or wrong based on more or less of a response to a post. I also pay attention to what audience I am targeting, seeing which posts attract what demographics, or trying to see if the people share similar interests. Finally, patience – this requires me to know where I am at in my career and knowing it may take time for me to accomplish my goals, but that if I am constantly trying new things and learning, I will continue to grow.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Living in San Diego, there is no shortage of great food. Before becoming a food blogger, I was always sharing local spots with family and friends, such as where I enjoyed a nice meal, and especially where I had dessert! I also happened to really enjoy taking photos to capture experiences I wanted to remember. So I decided to showcase my love of food and photography by creating a  “Foodstagram”! It has become such a great outlet for me, and I now have a single place I can point others towards for recommendations. While I enjoy it, it definitely takes some time and effort. I also want to make sure I stick to genuine posts and share food I truly enjoy. In doing so, I want to provide quality posts that help spread the word of these local spots which might help boost their business as well.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being a San Diego native, I have explored a lot of in this county. The first stop on my list would of course be to visit the beach! While there are so many options, my personal favorites are in La Jolla, Carlsbad, and Del Mar. After spending some time enjoying the water, then I’d consider walking around at Seaport Village, checking out Liberty Station, biking around Coronado, or visiting the museums in Balboa Park. And don’t forget a night out in Gaslamp! For food, I don’t even know where to begin! San Diego has some amazing brunch spots, such as Fig Tree Café where you can enjoy fig jam and ricotta cheese French toast. I would also head down to Little Italy for Italian food, Kearny Mesa for authentic Asian meals, and anywhere around San Diego for good Mexican food! There’s also really no shortage of local breweries all around San Diego. And don’t even get me started on desserts (kidding, please do)! There are some great gelato and ice cream places all over the city, as well as tasty donuts, pastries, and more from places like Bobboi, Pappalecco, Le Parfait Paris, Cake de Partie, Up2You Cafe… the list could go on and on!!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband – he is always willing to go with me to try new things and meet new people. He helps me with a lot of what I post, gives me ideas and opinions on what I could change or do better. And of course he loves to eat so that makes it all worth it!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sweetlifeofz

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.