August / Kristina
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
Name: Kristina Rosen
Lives in: Lexington, KY
Alma mater: University of Kentucky
Studied: Rhetoric and Digital Studies & Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles
Takes her coffee: Black
Last book read: Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob
Works at: First Media Lex as an Associate Editor
Responsible for: Conducting interviews, writing articles, and covering local stories on food and drink, urban development, movies, and books for multiple publications
She Is Balanced: So I know you love donuts. Where’s your favorite local place to get them?
Kristina Rosen: North Lime. Last year for my birthday, I did a donut tour of Lexington. I turned 22, so I got 22 donies from various places. North Lime, Spalding's, Magee's, Donut Days, Kroger, Whole Foods. We really hit all the marks. I decided North Lime [was my favorite]. I love how they have unique flavors.
SIB: You write about the food and drink scene at your job. If you had a friend come in from out of town, what three local places would you recommend?
KR: When people ask me for recommendations, I'm like, “Okay, what are you in the mood for?” [If] they're like, “I want American food,” I'm like, “Go to Carson's, go to Epping's.” [If] they’re like, “I want Mexican,” I'm like, “Do you want a little hole in the wall, something authentic? Go to Maria’s [Kitchen]. Do you want something kind of trendy, like tapas? Corto Lima, no doubt.” Or pizza, I'm like, Goodfellas. There's so many things. And then when [people ask me], “What do you want to eat?” I'm like, “Give ME recommendations now!” *laughs*
SIB: What made you decide to transition from a degree in fashion to one in journalism?
KR: My freshman year, I was like, merchandising fashion seems fun. Then [I realized], this is not fulfilling me. I want to do something more. I did an internship with ace weekly as a sophomore, and it was the hardest, but most worthwhile [experience]. My boss would come in, give me things, walk out. I had so much freedom and it was really fun. Then I stuck around working remotely throughout the rest of my college career. When I graduated, it was like, “Hey, if you want a job...”
SIB: Were you hoping that your internship would become a job?
KR: No, I was a sophomore, so I wasn’t even thinking about jobs. I just did a lot of internships throughout college. My grandpa always told me, internships are what set you apart. So I was like, I'm going to do one every semester. I randomly did one with ace. I never thought [I’d be a writer]. It just kind of happened.
SIB: How do you juggle multiple projects going on at the same time?
KR: For me, it's working on everything at once, but in little increments. Right now we're working on deadlines for a bunch of different publications. I will just multitask getting content, writing stories, doing interviews.
SIB: How do you get around writer’s block?
KR: I work on something else. *laughs* Also, if we're on deadline and I have to get it done, I force myself to do it. But I feel like I work well under pressure. It's that adrenaline rush. There've been times where it's been like, “You have to have the story done in two hours. We have to be first and best.” And I'm like, “Okay.” I don't know what it is, but I get it done.
SIB: What writing error really gets on your nerves?
KR: If someone uses the wrong "your." Or “wander” and “wonder,” that one bugs me. “Then” and “than.”
SIB: You mentioned your grandfather inspired you to intern. Are you both really close?
KR: Yeah, he did unpaid internships all his life, and he always talked it up. I spent a summer in Miami, [where he lives], doing an internship, and then we grew really close. He's well known in the sports broadcasting world. He helped women make their way in sports broadcasting, and worked with Muhammad Ali. He's a really cool guy. He's a 90 year old man, but he hasn't missed a beat. We go to sports games together. I couldn’t care less about sports, but just being there with him, we have so much fun. We still are close, and that's why Miami is so special to me.
SIB: With COVID putting your traveling on hold, what do you do when you need a change of scenery?
KR: Road trips. Even going to different parts of Lexington. Just switching up my routine. In July, pretty much every weekend I was out of town, whether it was North Carolina, Cincinnati, Columbus, just doing little things.
KR: We were like, we can turn this into a story of, “Hey, you can't travel - but you can. It might not be that cool Florida vacation that you had planned for a year, [but] it's still something neat and worthwhile.” [The story] hits Lexington, but [also] people in Cincinnati who might not know that they have this little staycation. I feel like that's a big thing, being able to travel without getting on an airplane.
SIB: Your left wrist is your favorite part of your body. Is it because of your tattoo?
KR: Yeah. If I didn't have a tattoo, it would just be my left wrist. *laughs*
SIB: Was getting tattooed there painful?
KR: Not at all. I was actually surprised. When I sat down with the guy he's like, “So, you've had a tattoo before?” And I was like, “Oh no, this is my first.” He's like, “What??” *laughs* We just chatted the entire time. I would do it again. It's my forever daily reminder that I'm enough. It makes me feel good. And it makes me feel like a badass.
SIB: You struggled with an eating disorder for five years. What began your recovery process?
KR: In December, I realized I was at my rock bottom. I decided to see a therapist again. Looking back, I didn't feel like I needed help, but I desperately did. I'm not in denial of it now.
For so long, I thought the less I ate would make me feel better. The more I control my food, I would feel better. And it's like, no, you have to eat to feel good. When I started eating, I felt better about myself. I was less tense, less critical, less snappy at people.
My therapist asked me, “Do you see yourself going back?” There is no way because I couldn't be that unhappy again. I'm more confident in my body and myself than I've ever been.
SIB: You often cover stories on food. How did your personal relationship with food affect your work?
KR: I think I turned to food writing because I was like, the only way I can consume food is through words. People would say, "You must love food." And [I’d think], “Yes, but I don't allow myself to love it.” Now I can be like, "Yes, I love to write about it. I love to eat it. I allow myself to have it."
SIB: How has eating changed some experiences for you?
KR: I can go to like birthday outings and not be like, “Oh my gosh, should I eat the cake?” I went on vacation [in July], and it was the first vacation where I felt like I could honestly enjoy myself. Not worried about food. Not worried about exercise, not worried about how I look in a bathing suit, and I'm like, holy f***. Vacations are fun.
SIB: What healthy coping skills do you use now?
KR: That's a great question because the past couple months have been so stressful. Routines have been all out of whack, [which is] when I get in my head. My biggest thing is talking to people and letting them know, “Hey, I'm struggling right now.” My journal too. I don't journal every day, because I write for a living. Browsing Whole Foods is definitely a self care thing. And little projects, whether it's going for a walk or getting my nails done. Cooking for me has become more therapeutic.
SIB: What’s your favorite dish to cook?
KR: My form of cooking is taking something, spicing it with Trader Joe's seasonings and sticking it in the oven. *laughs* Grain bowls are really fun, cause they’re very versatile. And avocado with every meal, of course!
SIB: You’ve said that eyebrows are really important to you. Why is that?
KR: I feel like eyebrows are the make it or break it point of your face. People compliment me a lot on my eyebrows. I'm not very full of myself, but I think I have killer ones.
SIB: Do you get them professionally done?
KR: Oh, for sure. I get them waxed at iki movement [in Lexington], or I go to Ulta. I will go to the same people over and over again, but every time my anxiety gets so bad and I'm like, “They're going to ruin them somehow!” *laughs* For COVID I went about four months without getting them done. It got to the point where I was like, I can't even look in the mirror! *laughs*
SIB: As a young professional, how do you dress to present yourself as feminine, young, and powerful?
KR: Usually I'll wear a power blazer, like a statement jacket. Definitely heels. And the way I carry myself. I joke a lot of times that I look like I'm 12 years old if I don't wear a lot of makeup. I also have a lanyard that raises me up 10 points. It's like, “She's legit! She has a lanyard!” *laughs*
SIB: Who inspires you and why?
KR: My mom inspires me because she's one of those people that doesn't take no for an answer. And she stands up for what she believes in. I love that about her. She reminds me to never let anybody take my voice. My grandpa inspires me to work hard. My dad inspires me too. And also my brother. We are completely different, but he's my best friend. He teaches me to find my passions and pursue them wholeheartedly.
SIB: You said, “You can't hate yourself into loving yourself.” What made you realize that?
KR: I spent so long thinking that hating myself would make me love myself that I didn't realize that that's not how it works. I was working towards all the wrong ways to make myself love myself, when at the end of the day, you're good enough the way you are.
SIB: You recently interviewed Vitale Buford, author of Addicted to Perfect: A Journey Out of the Grips of Adderall. How did Vitale’s story of healing affect you?
KR: The book is about her twenty-year struggle with Adderall addiction. That story was so much fun to tell because, [although] I didn't struggle with an addiction, she struggled with all the same [emotional] things that I did. During that entire interview, I was like, “This is so relatable.”
I'm realizing that we all have different stories, but [they] can resonate with someone and make [them] feel not alone. That's what I love about writing - I can help people share their stories. Using my voice to give other people a voice.
SIB: What's the last book that you read?
KR: Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob. It's a book that talks about different ways you can write about food. I like to write about food [because] there's always a deeper story. When someone's opening a restaurant, there's a passion. There's a reason why they're doing it. I like getting into the story underlying all of that. People are like, “Oh, you're a food writer.” And yes, I am. But I'm also a storyteller, a food storyteller. So reading that book was like, what are the different ways to do it?
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
KR: Balance means avocados and donies! *laughs* You don't have to [eat] healthy 100% of the time. Balance is about having good mental health as much as physical health. [And] work/life balance. I love to cross things off my list, but at the same time, it's reminding myself, you don't have to do everything right now. Balance is like, “You're 22. You have your whole life to conquer the world. Take it slow. Have fun. Work hard, but don't stress yourself. Eat the avocado...and eat the doughnut.”