While studying Art and Photography at the University of Washington, Esteban Parreno caught sight of the woman who’d become his partner in business and in life. Any doubts on that score were settled over a four-hour date (the longest Esteban has ever spent at Chipotle). Together, Brynn and Esteban work on broadening their food horizons, always searching for the perfect sushi, or in Brynn’s case, oddly enough, the perfect rice!

Brynn says she and Esteban have different philosophies and outlooks, but the couple have a lot in common too. In addition to their foodie-ness, they both have a lot of drive, so much so that they started a business while still in college. They had both been working as freelancers, and their creative skills meant they already had a clientele, one which grew by word of mouth. BXE Creative LLC has grown into a resource for small businesses who need personalized design and marketing help but do not want to go with a large agency. BXE has the flexibility to help clients build the groundwork for their company, including website design, social marketing, branding strategy, and content creation.

Brynn is a significant social media influencer, with tens of thousands of Instagram followers. Her success, like Esteban’s, stems from authenticity: they draw from their strengths and put everything that they are into their work. This is what drew Brynn to Likewise as well; the opportunity to share personalized and authentic recommendations with a network of friends, followers, and local experts. You can check out some of her recommendations here. Esteban’s favorite thing about Likewise is the great restaurant and specialty store recommendations he gets from the community. Check out his list of bagel stores here.

In addition to hard work, hustle, and a passion for what they do, Brynn and Esteban have been especially effective in their use of social media because they put boundaries around social media use. Esteban speaks with authority and wisdom on the subject: “Using social media where we stay in control is crucial to a healthy balance in life. This doesn’t mean spend more time or less time on SM but rather spend that time consciously. For example, I spend hundreds of hours a week on social media, but all that time I am working, networking, checking ads, or growing communities, so it’s done consciously. But like everyone else, I have moments when I get hypnotized by it and then minutes even hours fly by without realizing it. This is the type of ‘time spend on social media’ we should avoid. If you’re spending hours on it growing your portfolio, seeking people to connect, creating content, then by all means do it! But if you’re mindlessly checking to kill time, then you’re just wasting a huge potential. I think in the future people will either realize this and become more introspective on their social media usage or it will go completely the other way and social media will be too integrated in our lives.”

For her part, Brynn loves social media as a creative outlet, but she dislikes the lack of transparency in some social media, as a result of which unrealistic expectations are set and people get fatigued with sneaky messages from brands. She predicts that in future, greater transparency will be rewarded.

For more smart realness, you can follow Brynn on Likewise (@brynn) or Instagram (@br.yy). Esteban can be found on Likewise under the handle @esty; he grams as @estebanparreno.