Warning: It’s a long one…make a drink, get comfy, stay awhile.
It started with this. And now it's my one-year blogiversay. I had to say that “word” once, mostly to annoy Andy. He loves it when I talk blog-speak. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of it either, so from here on out we'll just say that Tasty Trials is one year old today. Woohoo!
I can’t believe a year has already gone by. I can’t believe some of the things that have happened this year. But mostly, I can’t believe how AWFUL my food photos were in the beginning. I mean, just really, really bad. You’ll see (and I apologize in advance for their awfulness).
My first year of blogging – a recap and some observations:
My first comment: I’m not going to lie…when I first started blogging, I was a wreck. Oh, how I wanted readers and comments. I hoped and pleaded with the universe for someone other than a family member to read my blog. I
probably definitely cried once or twice over the “failure” of my space on the internet. I checked my email over and over and over again, obsessively, until one day it came. Chef Dennis, who I’m sure many of you are familiar with, was my first real commenter, and I will never forget how excited I was…a real chef commenting on my pork chop horror story! I was literally jumping up and down. Phone calls were placed to Andy and my mom. This was a BIG moment for me. (Truth be told, I still get pretty darn excited about comments.)
Food photography: It’s hard. And it’s not always fun. Food can be a real pain to photograph, and it’s something that I constantly struggle with. But when I started looking around at other food blogs, I knew I had to up my game. And now, a year later, I still have to take 100 shots for the few decent ones that show up here. Thankfully, I have a tech-loving husband who reads and researches and fiddles with the camera and its settings and then shows me what to do, because without him, you’d still be seeing photos like this, this and this. Yikes. I think I speak for all of us when I say: Thank you Andy.
Content: Much to my chagrin as a non-baker, desserts get all the love. People just adore posts about dessert, and the traffic is proof. Four of my ten most popular posts are desserts, like this one and this one. Thankfully, people also love cocktails and bacon, so at least I have something to fall back on when I’m out of dessert ideas. And I guarantee I’ll never be out of cocktail ideas.
Motivation: When I first started blogging, I was a machine. In my first month, I wrote over twenty posts. That has clearly not continued, as these days I’m lucky to get five posts up in a month. But I’ve talked about it enough now (here and here) and have received such tremendous support from fellow bloggers, that I’m starting to accept that it’s okay to blog less. I’ll blog when I want to. If I don’t feel like blogging for a week or two, I won’t. I will see traffic go down, but is it the end of the world? No. The readers I care about will still come back. And I’m thankful for that.
Opportunities: I never imagined that this blog would afford me such fun opportunities. Meeting Tyler Florence was probably the best. (Probably? Who am I kidding? It was the best.) And also having a press pass. I still freaking love that press pass.
Search terms: People get to my blog by searching some really weird stuff. For instance, can anyone tell me what in the world “St. Herbert Dog Tartana” means? When I google it, this post comes up, but I highly doubt that the dog they were looking for was our miniature dachshund in his Christmas t-shirt. Most often I get stuff like, “my pork stinks,” “will cooking bad smelling pork make it okay?,” “pork smells bad,” “is pork supposed to smell?,” “stinky pork tenderloin”…do you see a trend here? That’s all thanks to this gag-inducing gem of a post. And by the way, NO!!!, cooking rotten pork will not make it okay.
Andy’s ordeal: Going back and rereading what was going on during the time of Andy’s eye ordeal is crazy to me. In a way, now that everything is okay, it seems like it wasn’t that big of a deal. But then I read how I felt when I waited for him to come out of surgery, or how desperately we both wanted his recovery to be over, and I remember just how truly horrible it all was. All told, it was six months of uncertainty, pain, and A LOT of emotion. I was hesitant to write some of those posts…you know, the vulnerability factor. But now I’m glad to have it written down and even more glad that it’s behind us.
Cooking and blogging: After looking back at a year of posts, I have to admit that I’m proud of myself; both for this blog and the dishes I’ve created. Of course, you only see the good stuff, but trust me when I say that there have been plenty of really bad things too. But it’s all been a learning experience, and I feel more confident all the time, not only with cooking, but with photography and writing, too.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year with ups and downs, changes, wonderful memories, and good food. And I can go back and revisit it all right here, any time I want. After all, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Or have a cocktail…
Speaking of, who’s ready to toast the guest of honor? Happy One Year, Tasty Trials!
For 1 cocktail
4 basil leaves, roughly torn
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar, optional*
1/2 ounce limoncello
1 ounce Citron vodka
champagne, to top off
Cut the lemon in half, then cut each half into quarters. Use 2 pieces per cocktail.
Muddle lemon, basil, raspberries in a glass, until raspberries and lemon are well mashed. Fill glass with ice. Add limoncello, vodka and sugar (if using). Stir. Top with champagne.
(*Note: Andy, who likes his drinks on the sweeter side, liked this better with the sugar. I preferred no sugar. I’d try it without and add it afterwards if you think it’s too tart. The superfine sugar will dissolve fairly easily with some stirring.)
I could profess my love for this cocktail ‘til the cows come home. This is one of those dangerous, “oops, I just drank my fourth one inside an hour” kind of cocktails. It goes down like punch. Really, really, really good punch. Don’t wait for a special occasion…just go make one.
(And don't forget to enter to win a quart of Virgin Organic Coconut Oil here...giveaway open through Sunday.)