As 2011 draws to a close I wanted to write a piece to reflect on what an incredible year I had on this blog. Also from working extremely hard in college, this year proved to be the most fruitful for both. I started the year changing my branding into a food niche, and not just a recipe blog either. My intention was to share my journey in my classes to become a chef. Most remarkably the best feedback I got was on the posts where I made readers feel like they were right in the kitchen with me, sweating, learning, and oozing straight passion. As I start 2012 it will be the last calendar year I am actually in college because as long as I pass my math, I will be graduating in the fall. I still have SO much to learn but there is only so much you can get at a community college with a program that got the axe thanks to college politics. It is what it is, as chef says.
This year on my blog I set goals but knew it would be hard going from a mommy/review blog to a food blog. Still it was my goal to work with the dream companies and they were Calphalon and KitchenAid. And as luck would have it I began working with them both in the same week actually! I have worked with some other food and cookware companies but do so much hope for more in 2012. I want to be invited go to restaurant shows and home shows to visit the brands in person.
Other things that happened to me this year:
May: Finished the semester with a 3.5 making the Dean’s list, best GPA yet.
June: Took the train to Chicago with the culinary club from college to visit the Taste of Chicago festival, it was amazing.
July : Chosen to be a Whirlpool Mom for Mom Central and received Duet washer and dryer worth over $3k.
The very next day I was chosen to be a Verizon Midwest Mom Blogger, which was a 6 month program in which we were to test the Verizon network in 4G on 2 android devices and blog about it.
The very next week I was invited by Green Giant to fly to Minneapolis and vist LaSeuer Minnesota to see the Valley and learn more about the brand.
We were flown to Chicago the last week of June for Verizon and had dinner at the Signature Room at the 95th, where I asked to meet the chef and see the kitchen and they let me. I went to my first blogger conference the next day, the Bloggers and Brands Summit. I met up with my good friend Tanya and Jenna, it was a great time.
In early August I took the trip to Minnesota and it was great! Night two held a great dinner at Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis which is home to the James Beard award winning chef Issac Becker. food was delish and yep, got to meet Issac!
Myself and Kimberly from Peas On Moss, another culinary student, acted like giddy girls and everyone else laughed and enjoyed every second.
In late August I was invited to go to Benton Harbor (MI) to stay at the Real Whirled House by Whirlpool. The stay included tours of the facilities and we could ask tons of questions. I could only spend one night since I had to leave and be ready for my first day of the semester but I enjoyed my time there and we had an entire day of cooking and you know I was in my element. It was amazing.
It was the best summer blog wise, I earned the most amount of money ever, took trips, and just had a really great summer. I also had a good start to fall and college. Despite my cooking class not being good at all because we lost the chef as a teacher before we got even halfway through. There is a long story that I will spare you but we didn’t learn more than one or two things and they were on the days chef was there. Its sad, and I hope and pray that this last semester of that kitchen being open isn’t near as bad as last. I still earned a 3.88 GPA, it would have been 4 and it still might be as I am thinking about disputing the cooking class 3.5 because they legally can’t base our grades on attendance only and I missed one class the whole 16 weeks so its unfair. It doesn’t mean that much a 3.8 is very high GPA but still. But despite one waste of time and money class the rest of the semester went great.
Friends also came to me in 2012 thanks to blogging and the chef actually. I have a kid around the same age as his and I set up playdates with him and his mom and we have become friends. Its been a very busy December for everyone and I miss her and her little man terribly! i miss chef too. Both are my friends but on two very different levels. Fascinating people they are.
Being with her made me want to get rid of negative people in my life and I adopted a policy to not be around negative people and people who have issues in their past. I had a pretty decent life compared to some and was never a victim to anyone. I just don’t have it in me anymore to live my life negatively or get sucked into other people’s depression. Carpe Diem. I’m all about sucking out every ounce of energy i can every single day for the rest of my life.
If something happened and I couldn’t blog at this pace and get paid the same or work with products etc. etc. I wouldn’t care that much because you know what, this was the BEST BLOG YEAR. I cannot express how much my blog affected me positively this year. I grew as a person, student, and mom even. I learned in college, at home, and traveling. I provided an income for my family to help out. It may not be 4 or 5 thousand dollars a month but its not too shabby. I would be thrilled if I made a few hundred a month!
I want to thank you readers for sticking with me this year. For not being scared away by my sarcasm and laughing at my humor. For complimenting my photography, and for begging for more and more recipes to get me going and practicing my craft. I’ll be having my birthday, starting classes, and having my 16th anniversary all within 2 weeks from today so its going to be crazy. You know I will be reporting about class. I regret not doing that all semester long this past semester but there wasn’t much to share really we didn’t cook anything new at all or even make pretty stuff. I have a class coming that should hopefully redeem, keep your fingers crossed!
To the PR and companies that are rooting for me, I thank you! I appreciate your Twitter and Facebook mentions of me and love that you come back after we’ve worked together to look at my food and photos and tell your coworkers about them. It does make my ego grow just a little but I love it and it does make me want to continue to work hard for you!
To my husband, thank you for surviving this semester working at home, I know it wasn’t easy, but spending the fun times with the kids made it worth it. I am looking forward to working on us and making time again to show our babies what two crazy lovebirds really look like.