In October of 2016, I shelled out $99 for a little spot on the internet. I was bored with my job, and in fairly desperate need of a creative outlet. Plus! To my continual amazement, I was missing the intensive writing of my college days.
So I bought a domain, registered for a WordPress account, and set up camp online.
For the next two years, I occasionally published posts. I cannot overemphasize how casual/not-professional this was. There was no content calendar, I took food pictures on the free iPad I had won in a raffle (which were then set loose - unedited - on the internet), and I told no one about it. I would sometimes refer to this website as my "internet secret."
This was partially because self-promotion doesn't come naturally to me, and partially because I wanted the honest feedback of internet strangers to gage if I was any good at it. I figured if I could get people who didn't know or care about me to take an interest in what I was saying, it must actually be good.
And they did! Slowly but surely, people started reading. My internet secret grew bigger.
Fast forward to October of 2018 and I hit the ground running. We were freshly landed in a rough neighborhood in Virginia with our new baby in tow. Between the dog attacks and shootings, there was a reasonable risk of personal harm that came with venturing outside in our neighborhood, so I stayed inside with Baby J and turned my full attention to the blog.
I churned out post after post. My days involved cooking, diapers, nursing, pictures, testing recipes, writing, more diapers, more nursing, checking out the neighborhood drama from our second floor perch, and cooking some more. Things started to grow quickly. My mom found out, and then before I knew it, everyone knew.
So here we are in October of 2019. This blog is now read by thousands of people around the world, and there just are no words to tell you how thankful I am for this. I'm thankful to live in a time where I can write about things I care about on the internet, I'm thankful that doing so allows me to contribute financially to my household, and I'm thankful for - and SO continually humbled by - the fact that people I've never met have trusted me to give them good recipes.
And because what would an anniversary post be without some statistics thrown in, here were the five most popular recipes on the blog this past year:
- Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies (my first viral post! so exciting!)
- Stovetop Black Beans
- Creamy Brown Sugar Apple Dip
- Spruced Up Boxed Brownies
- Sheet Pan Quesadillas
This was a nail-biting decision without unbiased statistics to make a determination for me, but I have narrowed it down and my five favorite recipes from the past year were:
- Weeknight Cassoulet
- Basil Cream Sauce
- Coconut Curry Mini Meatballs
- Baked Applesauce
- (Super Chocolatey) Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
I'm so excited for this next year. I'm feeling like the past year was a lot of figuring out systems and a fair dose of administrative, backend things (snore). Headed into this year, I feel like I'm in my groove. Upcoming things I'm most excited about:
- A new site design! This is currently in the works and will be rolling out soon. I'm hoping this will improve user experience and look much more streamlined. It is sure to be a vast improvement from the current design! (made by a very non-techy yours truly).
- More food, more DIY's. There are good things on the docket!
- Fine-tuning photography/editing skills. I continue to be SHOCKED by how much I love food photography. Not ever was I even remotely interested in photography of any kind before I started blogging. Pictures have come a long way even in the past year, but I still feel like a novice most of the time. I'm excited to get to work at this more, and hopefully there's even more progress in the next year!
I need to say this one more time, and really I cannot say it enough, THANK YOU for reading. It is so much more fun with you here. I can't believe I get to do this, and am tickled that you like it, too.
Thank you for hanging out with me online, and here's to the next year!