Shine Interview Series #5: Lily Morello on Staying Balanced While Pursuing Your Career Goals

Photo by Lily Morello.

Photo by Lily Morello.

Welcome back to the very last week of the Shine interview series! As I write this, I am waiting for my train to pull out of the St. Pancras international station in London and get started on its way to Brussels, Belgium. I never thought I’d be writing a blog post en route to another country but #travelblogger goals achieved, huh?

It’s not hard to get yourself to do work on vacation when the work consists of learning from some incredibly cool people and sharing their wisdom with the world. This week I am super excited to introduce you to Lily Morello, a San Francisco-based food photographer, and Nicole Constante, a personal development blogger in Canada.

To make sure that you get every part of each of their interviews, you should...

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Let’s jump right into it!

Photo by Lily Morello.

Photo by Lily Morello.

I’m usually not a fan of Instagram’s algorithm but one day it did introduce me to Lily’s food photography. One of her colorful flatlays popped up on my Instagram explore page and when I saw that she had “bubble tea” in her handle, I obviously had to follow her.

As much as I may love bubble tea and food in general, Lily is someone who is truly passionate about food and it shows through clearly in all of her work. She loves cooking at home and seeking out inspiration for new edible creations in her city and around the world, and she believes that food is the most accessible way for us to begin understanding each other’s cultures.

Every photo of Lily’s is a colorful work of art, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t read her captions as well - she’s a gifted writer and I feel like I’m practically tasting the food she is describing.

I’m honored to be interviewing her today!

How do you manage your calendar?

Poorly! My calendar app on my phone is synced to my Google Calendar, which keeps me on track for all of my appointments; my life is absolutely dependent on this. However, I don’t have any sort of content calendar set up for my Instagram content.

What is your system for task management?

Post-it notes! I know it’s not very high tech, but after a decade of being buried in task management tickets as part of my full-time professional career, as a freelancer there is now something much more satisfying about drawing little checkboxes for my to-do lists and checking things off. 

What is one habit that makes you successful?

Checking and rechecking my work to make sure it’s perfect, or to make sure I’m truly happy with the quality.

Walk us through your morning routine.

Step 1: Hug my dogs.

Step 2: Spend too much time looking at Instagram before getting out of bed.

Step 3: Apply or touch up my eyeliner (because a lot of times I don’t wash it off the night before, sometimes I can just fill in the gaps the next day and I am good to go!)

After that, everything is a toss-up. I don’t really think of myself as having a routine.

Are there certain times of day you find you are most productive?

No, it’s much more about being in the right head-space and often the right physical space. I manage to be very productive at cute cafes.

Do you set goals? How do you keep your goals in sight?

I accomplished all of my career goals before I turned 30 and it’s been tricky to answer this type of question since. Right now my goal is to prioritize my happiness and mental health, so it’s not hard to lose sight of it.


I love that Lily answered that there is no specific time of day she is most productive (in her Instagram interview she said that she is neither a morning person nor a night person!). Even if there are times of day you find you work more easily, I think it’s important to remember this mindset - sometimes it has to do more with how you’re feeling and what your environment is like and so you shouldn’t get down on yourself if you find that you are having trouble focusing in the morning when mornings are normally your key creative time. Take some time to look into what may be causing you to feel unfocused instead of trying to push through it.

If you’ve been reading the other interviews in this series, you may have noticed that I left off one question - “What is one piece of advice you would share for someone trying to find balance and organization?”. I thought Lily’s answer was super insightful and really fit the theme of the newsletter questions, so you can find it there!

You can find Lily on Instagram at @lilybubbletea as well as on her blog. Thank you Lily for being a fantastic guest on this interview series!

Don’t forget to check out the other two parts of her interview on the newsletter and on Instagram, and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday for the very last interview!

Talk to you soon (from Paris!)