Thoughts, ramblings, and #BTS by the L&T Editorial Staff.

Life & Thyme: The 36,000 Foot View.

0S8A8079Sitting on another seven-forty-seven with a lukewarm Starbucks tall blonde balancing on my seatback tray table, I’m fastidiously transcribing my mental notes from the morning into my Moleskine, trying not to lose too many thoughts to the frenetic tide of travel––today’s made particularly hectic thanks to the lingering effects of the holiday season.

I travel a bunch. Some might even use the word constantly. In 2015, my best guess is that I boarded about 50-or-so flights throughout the year––give or take, of course. As L&T’s Senior Editor, I spend most of that travel time observing. I watch people and their interactions, I try to be always cognizant of how and what they consume––be it food or media or some combination of both. I look for patterns and search for stories. And because we all eat, those stories are literally everywhere. Three meals per day. Three potential stories per person. How many people in an airport? How many seats on a plane? That’s far more math than my predominantly right brain is suited to process. But with a quarterly print product and a twice/weekly publishing schedule for our online magazine, I’m constantly looking at these moments and wondering––is there a story here?

Right now, we’re smack in the middle of a production cycle for the print version of Life & Thyme––our fifth issue. We’re finally starting to find a groove, to understand and be able to anticipate some of the challenges we’ll inevitably face in the weeks ahead. Deadline extension requests, design snags, all-night editing benders, overdosing on espressos. But right now, we’re living in what we call the eye of the storm.

At this point, stories have been assigned, contributors are canvassing, conversing with subjects and collecting content, and for the moment we’re simply playing a supporting role. This is a golden opportunity that we’ve recognized in recent cycles. We’re tightening our systems a bit more with each successive issue––meaning we don’t need to scramble quite so much––and we have this precious time to actually think. To breath and look ahead, to get our heads above water and see beyond what’s directly in front of us. It means considering future issues––but it also means considering the future of Life & Thyme.

We’re trying to grow up a bit now that we have a full year of print issues under our shiny new belt. We’re trying to turn over some new stones, ferret out fresh stories––or perhaps bring a new perspective to some more commonly told ones. We’re trying to get creative with how we enlist and collaborate with contributors and stretch modest budgets, we need to keep one hand on the wheel while we determine what destination to punch into our GPS.

At this point in the game, every day is pretty damn exciting. People are starting to know our name, and we’re being approached rather than constantly pitching into the ether and crossing our fingers for a response. But every day brings new challenges, too––many of them self-imposed as we try to push ourselves to be better. Like the chefs that we regularly document, we’re trying to refine our processes, learn from our past and plan for a future in a constantly evolving industry.

With each new story we pursue, we’re aiming to inch the bar just a little bit higher than we had it before, to not become too comfortable and to maintain the mission and standards we’ve set for L&T. We’re finding ourselves wanting and searching for deeper content, encouraging ourselves and our growing pool of contributors to be a part of bigger conversations, to investigate the issues that face the industry and to really get to know the players involved.

We’re frustrated sometimes by limitations, both internal (a small staff here at L&T, fueled entirely by good old-fashioned hustle), and external (like the logistics of how we can physically get to some of these subjects).

We’re often exhausted, we’re regularly running from place to place, meeting to meeting, talking with the chefs and publicists and writers and photographers that comprise the L&T world, trying to capture and tell stories that might be otherwise overlooked.

Hours often evaporate while we huddle among overworked MacBooks and generously piled plates of breakfast-then-lunch-then-sometimes-dinner at restaurants that have become homes cooked by chefs who have become family. And without a dedicated office space, we’ll operate on a steady drip of caffeine (an espresso for Antonio, a macchiato for me), bolstered as much by our neighborhood baristas as we are by one another.

But somehow we manage to keep each other energized, always eagerly bringing new ideas to the table, always inspired by something we read or saw or someone we met. And still at the end of the day, we want more. We want to get to know more incredible people. We want to share more stories from more places. We want to investigate areas that are unrepresented. We want to humanize issues that are so often reduced to statistically reported blurbs and listicles. We want to find and present more diversity than is typically seen in the food world. We want it all.

We want to grow up so fast. We feel big, but we know that we’re really so young. We’re stoked that we’ve made it to the party, but we’re still sitting at the kiddie table for now. It’s all good, though––being that we’re a bunch of Star Wars geeks and Ninja Turtle aficionados. For the moment, my table is the one attached the seat in front of me. But as we push forward at Life & Thyme––a little bit every day––I know that when I disembark, there will always be another big adventure waiting for me.

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