Weekend in San Francisco (+ vlog!)

August 30, 2019

Last Friday (the day after I finished my second-to-last class ever at SCAD), my mom and I took a 5-day staycation in San Francisco. It was longer than a weekend, but shorter than a week, so I’m just calling it a weekend even though it wasn’t really, but I digress.

There are a few reasons why I love a staycation: You don’t have to travel far, if you forget something, it’s not too hard to go home to get it, and it gives you the opportunity to go to all those places and try all those restaurants you always said you’ll go to, but the whole the-closer-you-are-to-something-the-less-likely-you-are-to-go complex takes over and you end up never going.

Weekend in San Francisco

I’m an only child and up until 4 years ago, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, so naturally we’re very close. We have a business together, my mom takes all of my outfit pictures, and she puts up with all of my anxious Type A control freak antics—believe me, there are a lot of them. She’s the Yin to my Yang, we’re best friends, and all that sappy business.

I moved to the Bay Area from Connecticut now 13 years ago. When we had just moved to California, one of my parent’s friends told me that the place you spend your formative teenage years is the place you will grow most attached to. Coming the suburbs of New York City, I couldn’t believe there could be a city as incredible as New York, but lo and behold, San Francisco stole my heart. It was the first big city I explored on my own without my parents and the city that made me discover I was truly a city person.

Weekend in San Francisco
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Yes, I changed my brand name for the 5th time.

August 20, 2019

Yes, I changed my brand name for the 5th time.

Two weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d be writing this blog post. Not. At. All. Just in January, I rebranded my blog/YouTube/Facebook to Fruit Salad and carefully crafted an entire brand around the tagline “Keep it sweet and make your own salad.” This is the 5th time I’ve rebranded myself. With Fruit Salad, I invested in an awesome graphic designer to create all the deliverables and I didn’t even last a full year with the name before I rebranded it. Awesome.

Why the name change? After I rebranded to Fruit Salad and started my YouTube channel, I became increasingly aware of how terrible the name Fruit Salad was for SEO. Try Googling “Fruit Salad” and you’ll see what I mean. In my Fruit Salad Quarter 1 Audience Survey, some of the feedback I received was that my YouTube channel was difficult to find. The easiest way to find me was to search “Micaela Hoo” or “Fruit Salad Micaela Hoo.” I toyed around with the idea of renaming my brand to “Fruit Salad by Micaela Hoo” the same way celebrities sometimes have the “by _____” following their brand name.

The main reason I didn’t want to change my brand name to my actual name was because I thought it was kind of weird in an egomaniacal way to have your blog name be your actual name. When I started blogging in 2008, the majority had these creative blog names. A lot of people—including some of my favorite bloggers—still do. Same with YouTube and any other social media platform. However, I’ve noticed it’s becoming more common to keep things simple and just go by your first and last name.

Almost exactly one week ago, I had an acupuncture appointment. I consider my acupuncturist a built-in therapist and we always chat about my work, life, gut health, stress levels, and anything else on my mind. She’s not on social media a lot, but I know she’s seen my Instagram and watched some of my YouTube videos. She casually asked me how Fruit Salad was going. I told her I loved everything about the name and the meaning it holds EXCEPT that the SEO is bad. She agreed that searching “Fruit Salad” will serve you up a million recipes before you stumble upon little old me. She asked me why don’t I use my actual name? She said it was catchy. I told her that tons of creators go under pseudonyms and she asked me how many people I know have both a product-based business AND a personal brand and their personal brand name is another pseudonym? Ummm hiiiiiii LIGHTBULB MOMENT. Everyone I could think of who had a product-based business and a personal brand went by their real name for the personal brand. It’s so much more authentic that way. It’s enough to have to remember a product name and then throw another brand name in there and it’s confusing. I love it when owners of companies have their own personal brands that are their actual names—you get to know them better and feel a deeper connection. Why was I so blind to this when it came to naming my own brand?

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The Stomach Diaries Part IX: Seeing Stanford and my first colonic

August 1, 2019

The Stomach Diaries Part IX: Seeing Stanford and my first colonic

What getting the skin prick test looks like.

After my short stint with my Ayurvedic doctors, I went back to my nutritionist in Berkeley to see what in the world she thought I should do next. She said that my not being able to re-introduce new foods is so atypical, she suspects I have a gene mutation that prevents me from digesting food properly. She said she could send me to UCSF Medical Center or Stanford Health Care for further testing since they have access to more cutting edge technology. I chose to go to Stanford because it was more famous. There, I said it. I made my first appointment with a GI at Stanford in December.

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