I met Irvi like I meet all my favorite people: through the internet. We worked out of the same complex. She worked at a beautiful restaurant that serves one of the best cocktails I've ever had, and I worked (on photography stuff) sometimes from the back bar at the coffee shop my husband works at.
I'd seen her a few times, and after my friend Elier told her to follow me on Instagram and she did we decided we should meet in person. Irvi is a rare gem. She's driven, she's passionate, she makes you feel like your interests matter (because she believes undoubtedly that you matter) and she's a server. Upon meeting her for a cup of coffee & talking about life, I realized that I was getting to know someone who views things differently than most. I am very passionate about the fact that people deserve to be in jobs that they enjoy. Middle school kids who want to be doctors or lawyers or dancers or photographers or baristas or scientists or anything, should be able to pursue that, work hard at it, and make a living doing it. I know it's not that simple and I know that's not the world we live in, but I want it to be.
Sitting down with Irvi led to a conversation about the service industry and why people want to be there. She's super passionate about the restaurant industry, food, happiness, and how they all intertwine. She's also incredibly knowledgable about marketing and one hundred other things. It's not that often that we see the restaurant industry as a chosen profession. Most of the time we think it's a gateway job. You wait tables to pay for college. You bartend for extra cash. That's a general idea about the industry, but that's not how it is. In fact a lot of people choose to be in the service industry because they love food and hospitality and togetherness. This was my first conversation with Irvi, a resounding YES, people should be doing things that they want to do even if it's not the norm. It was a breath of fresh air.
Hopefully soon I can share with you a project she's been working on because when it's live it's going to be amazing. When I learned how great Irvi was, I knew I wanted to photograph her and ask her some rapidfire questions, and share it somewhere.
Favorite TV show? I can and always will find comfort in Gilmore Girls. I always wanted to be Rory and hoped that there was a town as nearly perfect as Star Hollow to visit.
Something on your bucket list? Full blown European trip, where I'm gone for months with a backpack and journal, and the ever growing momentum to learn, change, and write. I want to work odd jobs from an olive oil farm to a winery, in order to learn where food comes from organically and why the people in food do what they do and love it.
Favorite memory from 2012? Geez, 2012 seems like such a long time ago! I had freshly moved to Austin in 2011.. Let's say my favorite memory from 2012 was when I first visited Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls to pick strawberries, eat Opie's BBQ, & admire wildflower season on the drive there.
Favorite body part? My hands! Is that weird? I like working with my hands, from cooking and baking to writing to taking on new hobbies like photography and (soon to be!) pottery!
Best thing about being a woman? The camaraderie between other women. Over the years, I've made more female friends and I feel like we need to support each other more in our endeavors and goals. I'm thankful to have been introduced to a great group of ladies that are so wonderfully talented and open.
Most underrated snack food? Seaweed snacks! The best are from a Trader Joe's.
What did you want your occupation to be when you were a child: Honestly, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I drew sketches of dresses and outfits. I remember carrying around a sketch pad when I was younger filled with countless ideas.
What's a dream you have? A few days in a lovely cabin equipped with a fireplace, Earl Grey tea every morning, in the country side. I dream of a chilly morning sitting outside on on the porch snuggled up in a fleece blanket with a cup of Earl Grey tea warming my hands.
Who inspires you? My mother, my work ethic comes from her and the ability to deeply care for others as well.
What's your favorite name: Margot or Sophia. Luke or Aiden.
Whats do you order at coffee shop? Coffee makes me jittery nowadays so I've been sticking to London Fog lattes made with almond milk. But if I'm feeling daring, a refreshing cup of cold brew can do the trick.
Where do you want to travel to this year? Geez, anywhere and everywhere! I want to go back to New Orleans since it felt like home when I last visited in December. I've made some pretty wonderful friends in the creative community there that are so supportive in my endeavors and have consistently asked me to come back.
What's your favorite internet video? Charlie Bit Me! Haha, I need to watch it now. Second favorite, the sneezing baby panda.
What's your favorite restaurant in Austin? Hands down, Justine's, always. My first week in Austin in 2011, in the midst of SXSW, I landed at Justine's with my boyfriend at the time and his friends. They were busy catching up over wine while I was busy savoring every aspect of their charcuterie plate, the buttery escargot, and the simply divine steak with Roquefort sauce (I didn't even like Bleu cheese at the time!). The ambiance, food, and wine list are exceptional there.
What's the best meal you've ever had? I think I've got a special place in my heart for French food. Ever since culinary school, it's ingrained that French food is the granddaddy of all fine dining. That being said, I had a boyfriend years ago, in Las Vegas, that worked at the now defunct Andre's in downtown, who had an eight course meal with wine pairings just for me. My first time ever trying sweetbreads was that meal and I'll never forget it. The tiger shrimp risotto is something made of dreams, I know because I still dream about it. Before dessert, I had a cheese plate comprised of twelve tiny quenelles of cheese with pairings that I still think about to this day.
Favorite food? Italian! Pasta! Pizza! Give me all the carbs, please. A really simple gnocchi dish or margherita pizza done well can go a long way.