While Collin County seems to be scarce on millennials, there is certainly no shortage of places to go and things to see. Sure, some may not think the suburbs are the most happening spots in the metroplex, however, across Plano and Frisco, the restaurant and nightlife scene is on the rise. Millennials are also finding that Collin County is a good place to settle down and start a family.
Guiding millennials through the best of Collin County’s restaurants and activities are husband-and-wife duo Christopher and Doreen Heake, better known as hangingwiththeheakes. Christopher, 32, first met wife Doreen, 29, in 2013, when they were working together at a previous job.
“Immediately when I saw her, I knew,” Christopher says.
Doreen first started the blog as a capstone project for her Masters degree before ultimately making it a passion of hers and turning it into a business. She has seen firsthand the work that goes into building a platform and garnering an organic following.
“Being an influencer isn’t a form of privilege because it can take hours of honest hard work to create content,” Doreen says. “Now, if you come from a wealthy background I do think it’s easier to have the means or access to certain resources. However, this is also rampant among any industry in society. There will always be someone with more money, connections or resources. You just have to focus on you and deliver content that your passionate about. The rest will follow.”
While Doreen and Christopher’s content is largely inspired by their daily adventures, they make note of the fact that no marriage is perfect.
“There’s this nonsensical pressure when you first get married things should be perfect and you should be happy 24/7,” Christopher says. “But that’s just not realistic. We try and share bits of what we are going through, if we think it could help others in the same situation. Our marriage is strong and healthy because we’re able to share and get advice. Not everyone feels that level of comfort and support, so we try and be that for others.”
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“ I think there’s a fine line between being raw and vulnerable and exposing too much,” Doreen adds. “ I never want to share anything that would embarrass my husband, our families or our friends, but I also don’t want to [exhibit] an image that we’re perfect all the time because, shocker, we’re not. We always try and share experiences that we think can help other newlyweds and nothing that either one of us would regret having a stranger know.”
Both Doreen and Christopher admit that having careers that are largely dependent on their social media presence can take a toll on their mental health.
“Surprisingly enough, Doreen runs 100 percent of the social media aspect when it comes to the blog,” Christopher says. “help with photography, support and encouragement. Aside from Facebook, I rarely post on any social platforms.”
“I often remind myself and other bloggers, it’s okay to take a break,” Doreen says, “especially those of us who also have full-time jobs.”
Having eaten their way throughout many of Collin County’s restaurants, The Heakes believe the county’s restaurant scene has a lot to offer. Christopher is quite fond of Ma’s Homemade Meatballs At Taverna Rossa and the Venison Chili at Haywire, while Doreen enjoys the ambiance and food variety at Earl’s Kitchen, calling the Legacy West restaurant a great spot for any occasion.
While The Heakes appear to live a life of adventure, they remark that online influencing is a lot more than just trying restaurants and posting pictures.
“It’s a lot of fun but people can be harsh,” Christopher says. “This is not a business for the thin skinned. Thankfully, we haven’t encountered anything too crazy but let’s just say, as an interracial couple, we aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.”
“Managing an Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, podcast, vlog and blog takes a lot of time and commitment,” Doreen adds. “You have to be consistent, humble and hungry. Success doesn’t happen overnight and you will fail. The important thing to remember is to learn from the lessons and allow yourself to fail. It’s the only way to find out what works for your brand and what doesn’t.”