Celestina Blok has restaurant tips and more.
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Topics: Schieffer College of Communication, What I Learned Since Graduation
After TCU, Celestina Phillips Blok ’02 tried the Dallas ad agency route before returning to her hometown to work — eventually landing at the Fort Worth Club, where she’s been since 2007.
Food writer Celestina Blok is the author of Lost Restaurants of Fort Worth (The History Press, 2017). Photo by Ross Hailey
The booming Fort Worth restaurant scene caught Blok’s attention, and she focused on becoming a reviewer. Initially, Blok wrote without pay and bolstered her portfolio. She enrolled in The Culinary School of Fort Worth to boost her credibility with the food industry — attending class around her full-time job and graduating in 2011.
A restaurant column in a local weekly established Blok as an entertainment writer. Her work appears regularly on the lifestyle website CultureMap, and she contributes food and drink news to Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram. In 2016, South Carolina-based Arcadia Publishing tapped Blok — whose family has been in Fort Worth for three generations — to write a book about beloved eateries of the past, Lost Restaurants of Fort Worth (The History Press, 2017).
“My job at the Fort Worth Club helped because I knew a lot of members who were longtime residents of Fort Worth who were instantly so excited to help me with this book,” Blok said.
Eventually Blok wants to write another book, maybe on lost recipes. In the meantime, family and her careers keep her busy.
With an interest in fitness, Blok taught her first class at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Downtown YMCA, and eventually her role at the Fort Worth Club morphed from events to fitness. She’s now marketing manager of the Fort Worth Club Athletic Center and a Pilates instructor. She has learned many lessons about writing, fitness and balancing it all.
Learn to write well even if you’re not a professional writer. Most people hate to write — even writing an email or a letter. Whatever industry you’re pursuing, you’ll be much more valuable if you learn to write and learn to write well. What I mean by “well” is grammatically correct and paying attention to your sentences. Social media has contributed to a lack of professionalism in writing. We are much more casual, and it shows.
Eat well, drink water, work out and set a bedtime.Celestina Blok
Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Eat well, drink water, work out and set a bedtime. So much stress can be alleviated just by making time for self-care, drinking more water throughout the day and moving — even if it’s just getting off the computer and going outside for a walk — and getting enough sleep. As crazy as my schedule is, I still manage to get eight hours of sleep every night. Whatever your life goals are, being active is only going to enhance that.
Eat often, eat well and still enjoy your favorites — just not all the time. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. The best results happen in the kitchen first.
My philosophy in life is ‘one day at a time.’ I really try to take each day that God has given me and maximize that day. I look at each day and see who needs what from me. Whenever somebody requests something from me, it goes on my list and that list is reprioritized daily. And I make sure to communicate with folks [about] where their project is on that list so there is no miscommunication on expectation of when that project will be completed.
When jumping into a new field, say yes to everything you can. If you have time to watch TV, say yes to more opportunities. I said yes to every article in the beginning. Saying yes is going to open so many more doors down the road. From there you can begin to say no to more because you widened your range of opportunities in the beginning. Even if it’s to serve on a committee or to volunteer for an organization, say yes as much as possible.
Celestina Blok is an author, food/travel writer, fitness instructor and Fort Worth Club Athletic Center marketing manager. Photo by Ross Hailey
Schedule time with your friends. Be a friend who checks in on your friends. It’s important to maintain those relationships. When we get older, our friends become even more important. It’s beneficial for balance in your life and growing by hearing other people’s experiences. I’ve seen people get so wrapped up in their jobs and responsibilities at home that months go by without them seeing some of their very best friends, and relationships are lost that way.
I was a little late to the party on becoming a mother. One of the biggest realizations I had is that the more set you are in your routines, the bigger the life shock is when you have a child. Having my first child at 37, I was so used to doing everything whenever I wanted. You’re not going to get everything done that you used to get done. So, streamline your responsibilities as much as possible because that child deserves your attention and time — and is going to demand it whether you are ready or not.
If you are trying to change a sedentary lifestyle, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to get up and move every hour. If you are sitting for more than one hour, that can lead to physical weakness in areas that can cause pain and injury down the road. It’s also bad for your heart.
To truly see the quickest weight-loss results, eat more fruits and vegetables, eat more lean protein, eat less sugar and don’t skip the carbs. If you skip meals, your metabolism will actually decrease — your body is holding onto calories because it doesn’t know when the next meal will come.
Just exploring your city can be a mini-excursion to something you didn’t realize was there.Celestina Blok
Take time to explore areas of the city that are outside your bubble. You can learn so much about the different cultures and the mix of sceneries and landscapes. Don’t be afraid to explore different areas of Fort Worth or wherever you live. Just exploring your city can be a mini-excursion to something you didn’t realize was there.
I’m asked all the time, “Where should we go eat?” So many new restaurants are opening in Fort Worth, so create a list on your phone. When it’s time to pick, most people go blank, but you can [look at] that list. And don’t forget about the restaurants that have been around awhile. They are facing increasing competition, and we don’t want to lose these restaurants that we might take for granted. If you love a restaurant, be sure to keep patronizing it. Take your kids so they also get to see those places.
— As told to Rachel Stowe Master
Edited for clarity and length.
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