Greetings readers. How’s your week been? Mine has been going like this: Rain. Sun. Thunderstorm. Rain. Sun. Cold. Hot. Cool. Humid. Windy. ARGH NEBRASKA…!
Ahem…anyway – I have something more important than the weather I’ve been meaning to get off of my chest.
Here it is:
It’s hard to believe that a year ago, I decided to finally begin blogging all of my favorite recipes and adventures in the kitchen. It all began with a garden, (which is all sorts of therapeutic, as is baking) and was, and is the source for a lot of my cooking endeavors.
But as it stands, here we are 365+ days later with a nice little something that I built all my own. And I’d like to share it with you!
I still can’t believe that I found WordPress, paid for a premium site, established a domain, designed a website, discovered some secrets of baking, and taught myself how to use my DSLR, all the while continuing to become a better and better photographer and food stylist/recipe developer. It’s been such a long, strange trip going from nothing to something with little knowledge of the subject (ok, I lied, I took some web design classes in college). Anyway…
The photos are what I hope catch people’s attention enough to come of my site in the first place, so that is where my priority continues to lie. Second, are valuable, recognizable, worthwhile, and trustworthy recipes. I am sure to test and taste every recipe before I post them. Some, I’ve only made once before, and others I’ve made a million times. I promise you that much.
It’s also hard to think that I graduated from using an iPhone and a point and shoot, to automatic mode on my DSLR and eventually manual mode on the same DSLR! I have since updated my lens and went from the kit lens, to a 50mm to a 100mm. I am using a Sony Alpha 55 camera with a Tamron lens currently. I love them, but eventually, if I outgrow these, I will most likely be looking to move on to some other equipment. I am also working on composition as well as developing my own style. What do you think?!
Can you tell the difference in the photos below how far I’ve come?
As far as photography goes, I’m very proud to say that I’ve had seven photos/recipes accepted to the popular foodie website called foodgawker.com. You can view my gallery here. But I can say that that road isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve easily had three times as many pictures get turned down, so it’s safe to say that the lesson learned here is KEEP TRYING- NOT EVERY PHOTO IS PERFECT-70% ENDS UP ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR (as my old college art prof. would say). So I did! And every time a submission is accepted I dance around my house when no is looking and I save every email and take screen shots as to capture my little “15 minutes of fame” moments in digital hoarder-dom forever. Seriously I do this….
As far as pictures of ME goes, I started with some old photos of me, which I eventually replaced with actual professional headshot (done by my friend Heather of LifeInspired Photography). I had a real logo created as well by my awesome sister-in-law Amy Archbold. You can contact her at email@example.com if you are looking for freelance graphic design.
As far as other artistic endeavors go, I even worked a little photoshop magic to create Pinterest images and upgraded from iPhoto to Lightroom to organize, edit and efficiently export my photos.
It’s amazing what you can teach yourself if you:
a: HAVE the time b: MAKE the time c: Are WILLING to open your mind and actually do it!
I even invested in better baking equipment, quality ingredients, more cookbooks from my favorite bloggers, ordered a few business cards, and purchased some really cute aprons! I have gone from 0 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to now being in the quad-digits!
As we grow older, we discover things about ourselves that we didn’t necessarily realize before. It took me awhile to fully accept that I need to create things and work with my hands on a regular basis. Although I am a musician, you would think I would gain enough satisfaction from that type of recreation, but the process may not be reward enough. The sounds are the product, where as with gardening and cooking, you get to see, feel, share, and consume the product. I think that’s the part that love most of all….eating.
Which brings me to my next point— I am trying to decide what direction I’d like to go with my blog. I could go the same route I’ve been taking, where I share recipes, tweak others, and give general advice and share beautiful photos. On the other hand, I could take it from a nutrition stand point and go into my years-long battle with weight and controlling hunger. I’ve been on and off of Weight Watchers for the better part of a decade, and I may turn this into a “diet/lifestyle” blog. Whatever decision I make, my hope is that it gains momentum, and remains interesting and entertaining to my followers.
My other goals numbers wise include creating 100 blog posts this year. That would mean two posts a week, which at this rate I’m already behind! But this isn’t a corporate madhouse (yet). I’ll set my own goals and increase or decrease as I have time to meet them. Some months I might post 10 times, others only 2. As far as followers go, I blasted passed 1,000 in the first year and the momentum has since slowed. I’d like to double it this year. We’ll see what I can do to pump up the advertising. And likewise I’d like to get paid to host an ad or two on my site. I am so, so, so scared to do that but it sounds like a nice option if you ask me 🙂 Becoming a better baker and photographer are definitely on the list, of course. And becoming a more creative writer. Right now I think I’m needing to step it up a notch 😉
Long term, I would love, love, love to publish a book and maybe do some freelance food photography. So if you know anyone looking… 😉
Oh, and by the way, this happened:
The struggle is real though when determining your audience. I want to know who is actually reading this. Are you one who just needs a recipe? Are you looking to watch your calorie intake? Are you into the food trends such as gluten-free, and Whole30? Are you wanting to improve your baking skills or just add a few good recipes to your cupboard?
Please talk to me. Leave a comment! Share you thoughts of who you are and what you want. What are you looking for when you go to someone’s food blog? I know what I want to see and based on who I continue to follow. So, it’s no surprise that I love a new recipe I’ve never made, beautiful images, funny/quirky writing, and nutrition info is a plus, since I am “TRYING” to log everything that I eat. Ha… Emphasis on TRY.
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing an awesome recipe and then not having any idea what kind of make up it has concerning calories, fat, sugar, carbs, protein, etc. etc. etc. which makes me want to not make it at all if I can’t track it in Weight Watchers. Sigh. Such is life, eh!?
If you have a blog, or are wanting to start one, what do you do with it, or what do you want to do? Are you doing it for yourself or for others? Are you looking to monetize your blog or is it just for fun? I am looking for answers here people!
So, even though I feel like this journey just began yesterday, let’s take a look back at everything I’ve accomplished thus far based on my first post a year ago.
It all started with the pizza garden…
You can find the original post HERE.
Then I shared a few old favorites…
Graduated to some more challenging recipes…
Twisted and tweaked some published ones…
Added a dash of a few personal adventures…
And here we are today! Wow, how I think I’ve grown. Of course I would like to invest in better photography gadgets, lighting, tripods, backdrops, etc., but as of right now this is my hobby which I enjoy and I am not currently making any money from it. So one thing. at. a. time. As hard as it is to be patient- the reward is great, and this blog allows me to journal and follow the progress which is really the icing on the cake! PUN INTENDED.
Seriously though, if you do not see the fruits of your labor, or the seeds that you’ve sewn some to fruition, life can get pretty frustrating and seem aimless and without purpose. This blog has given me purpose. A passion. Something to look forward to. A therapeutic lesson to teach myself every time I post something new. And the best part is that I get to share it with you and not keep it to myself. Seriously that’s the cherry on top! PUN INTENDED AGAIN! HAHAHA.
All in all, I have to say that I really love this journey and my hope is to continue with it. Going forward, I think I want to have a much more deeper relationship with food. Not just to enjoy it after creating it, but to really think about the process of baking and why I love it. The history and the science is really fascinating to me as well. The nutrition is something I’m still learning from. Will you continue on this journey with me?
Thanks for reading,