Tomorrow is a special day. Tomorrow marks my one year anniversary of blogging. I have published 177 posts, drafted an additional 144 that I may or may not publish, taken approximately 8,000 photographs and have had about 36,000 visitors view my site. I am humbled by the support my blog has received from friends, family and complete strangers-turned-followers. I am grateful to all the many people out there who actually take the time to read my posts, and for those who make my recipes. Blogging, I’ve learned, is very similar to cooking: it is a labor of love and I never thought I would enjoy it this much. Below are some of the things I learned about blogging the past year.
Blogging makes me happy.
I love food, recipe development, styling and sharing. Food blogging is not like working as a chef, but it is an interesting and creative way to stay connected to the food industry and to continue doing something I love from home.
The technical aspect of blogging can be really s*****.
I do everything on my blog myself. And I mean everything. Some things take forever to do and other than my husband, whom I bother often, I have no IT department to call when something goes wrong. Things go wrong often. As I have told some friends, when I first began blogging it took me hours to do something simple yet important. At times, when you search for my blog what pops up in the browser bar or sometimes next to my address is a little sauce pot icon. Although it is not there all the time, that little icon is important to me. That little guy took me 6 hours to place. My boys went to school and while they were gone, that was the only thing I worked on all day. I’m totally serious, it was a big accomplishment in the beginning!
Being true to myself is all that matters.
The web is saturated with food blogs. I don’t compare myself to other food bloggers, in all honestly, I don’t follow many myself. My inspiration comes from around me, and my master plan is still a work-in-progress.
Instagram is my nemesis.
Before I started blogging I had an Instagram account only so I could monitor my older son. After launching my blog, I created a profile on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumbler, Bloglovin’, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Yummly, and LinkedIn. For me, Instagram is the most important, but it is frustrating. You need to be extremely present, have impeccable timing, tag like a crazy person, hashtag to the limit…and have a thick skin. People will follow and unfollow you faster than you can complete a game a checkers. You post a steak recipe and every beef lover is your new best friend; but follow that with a vegan recipe, and they drop you like you’re toxic. I wish Instagram was a bit more of a supportive social media community and not such a competitive one, but that is an inherent part of social media: lots of critics. You need to be stronger, and now I am.
Photos are almost as important as the recipes.
Many people don’t realize that when I post a recipe with photos I like, I also submit the photos to food photo sharing sites. Foodgawker and Tastespotting are just a couple. These sites drive traffic to your site. Before I began blogging, I had no idea how important these sites were. Nor how finicky they can be. When a photo gets accepted, it feels like winning a jackpot. It shouldn’t, but it is a tiny virtual pat on the back for a job well done. Although it may seem like a trivial accomplishment, in the blogosphere I am competing with professional food photographers, food stylists and even some fake food items. I am an amateur photographer, often up against real ones who may or may not be shooting real food. Despite the steep learning curve, I enjoy the photography and remain incredibly thankful for each and every photo “like” I receive.
Growth is slow, patience is a virtue, and I’m impatient.
I use to consider myself a patient person, I am not any longer. Some people who aren’t bloggers think that if you launch a blog, people will follow. That is not what happens. You have to spend hours just to make sure that each post is searchable and that people can find you. This is part of the non-glamourous side of posting that I can say I don’t enjoy.
Blogging is not free.
I don’t have sponsors and I’m not running ads on my site yet (maybe I’ll get there eventually…). There are ways to make blogs profitable, but this in not something that happens right away. And our food costs at home are now a wee bit higher than before!
My boys respect.
One of the most valued things I have gained in the past year is respect from my boys who have had the chance to see me in a different role other than mommy. They have become my biggest fans, who unconditionally support me and lift me up when I’m down. That right there has made this whole crazy ride well worth it.
In honor of my 1st bloggerversary tomorrow, March 20th, I made celebratory Champagne gummy bears, because I love Champagne and I secretively love gummy bears. I used one basic recipe here and modified it a few ways to change the flavor and colors.
The recipe was written using Champagne and strawberry (or raspberry Jello), which ended up being my favorite flavor combo. I also made a Champagne-orange juice, Rose Champagne, and straight Champagne varieties as pictured above. They were all tasty and fun and a great way to celebrate this blogging milestone.
Champagne Gummy Bears
- Special Equipment-2 BPA-free silicon gummy bear molds
- 1/2 cup Champagne
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry flavored Jello
- 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
- Step 1 Place the gummy bear molds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Have an off-set spatula or butter knife nearby.
- Step 2 In a small saucepan add the Champagne, sugar, flavored Jello and gelatin and place over low heat. Using a whisk, stir until all solids are dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Step 3 Pour the warm mixture slowly into the prepared mold, being careful to fill each section completely.
- Step 4 Once the molds are filled, use the off-set spatula to even out the molds, removing any excess on top.
- Step 5 Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Step 6 Unmold gummy bears by gently pushing them out of the molds and place on parchment paper.
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