Hello all, I wanted to do a 2014 In Review and tell you all how I started blogging, how I think I’m evolving as a blogger and how I hope to up my blogging skills in 2015.
Behind the Scenes (BTS): When I started thinking about blogging it was actually 2013, in 2012 a lot of people from my church asked me to give them baking classes and for some odd reason I procrastinated and never did it; in 2013 I noticed I was getting increasingly close to graduating college and still had no idea what I would do post college; sure I plan on getting my Masters but still most people work a real job while they’re working on their Masters; I knew for sure I didn’t want a normal 9-5 but doing something I would enjoy on my own terms; I’ve been baking since I was 13 and it has been the most constant thing in my life. Yes, I like business but I have no idea what in business and marketing I want to do, but I know I LOVE baking, so I decided that in 2014 I would start blogging and get my name out there so I can do what I love and also have the business skills to make it last and guess what? It was a total disaster. I had no idea how to blog and I really didn’t even know what a blog was, I didn’t understand one ounce of it, I would simply put up a recipe and that was that, after only two months I shut it down and left it alone; I felt a little defeated but I knew I needed to realize what and how I wanted to blog and if it was really for me. I spent the majority of 2014 looking at blogs, finding blogs I loved, and deciding what I wanted mine to be about and towards the end of October I created The Crowded Kitchen.
The Crowded Kitchen (TCK): What I want The Crowded Kitchen to be is a site where people can really learn how to bake, I want to give helpful hints, suggestions and give ideas on how to make a recipe your own. I don’t want a site where you just look at the pictures and think “I like this but I can’t make it.” Or “I don’t like this flavor combination and I don’t know what I would change about it.”
In my culinary comeback to the wide world web, I wanted to do easy recipes and slowly increase into some harder things and that’s what’s happening. I will still do cupcakes and muffins but I can’t wait to show you how to make candy bars, old school candy, tiered cakes, all sorts of things that really aren’t as impossible as it seems. That’s my goal and I hope in 2015 I can reach my goal with even one person.
What I’ve Learned So Far: The main thing I’ve learned is to proof-read. I love writing but I hate proof-reading with a passion, mostly because I will read a post 20 times before posting it and still find errors afterwards. It can get tiresome and I didn’t do it at the beginning and now I make a point of reading it thoroughly myself and having others read it as well, I still find those evil secretly hidden errors, but not as many as before.
Another thing I’ve learned is to put my personality in my blog post. Nobody, including myself, wants to follow a blog that’s stale and uncreative and that’s what my former blog was. It’s not something I’m embarrassed of because I didn’t know any better, but now I do and I make an effort to make each post my own without going off the deep end with rambles.
Photos, Photos, Photos: This is one thing all blogs need to be wary of, but especially food blogs. When you take a photo of food it needs to be beautiful and yet again that’s another thing I lacked before, I’m getting better at it now, but I’ve got a long way to go! I want try different things and learn more about photography.
Last but not least, probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that it takes time and it’s not about the followers. I expected the first time that all of a sudden I would get millions of followers just like that and that’s not the case; patience is key and now I’m alright with that. It’s funny because I sort of like having a smaller community right now. I like knowing the people who constantly like and comment such as Arielle from With All My Affection, or people on my Instagram who follow and like every picture and comment and congratulate like Traci from Vanilla and Bean (which is a blog I love to bits and pieces and to have the respect and mutual admiration from someone you respect is life changing) and Sus Davy of Rough Measures, once again she is a woman that I constantly notice giving me support and these are the things that make my day and make me smile. It’s honestly the best.
2015 & Me: What I hope to achieve in 2015 isn’t a lot, I really just want to get better with my post, my pictures and my creativity. I’ve only been blogging for a few months so I’m giving myself a lot leeway because I still want to take my time to learn the process. I spend countless hours on Pinterest and Instagram looking at pictures and getting inspiration and spend countless days thinking of new recipes to test and hopefully share with you guys too.
I also want to let you all a little bit more into my life, not a play by play because I’m a very private person but I would love to show you all how I cook and bake for my roommate Thanksgiving dinner or our Christmas party and what I do for birthdays, I love arts & crafts so I’d love to show you all the little ins and outs of my geriatric life.
Probably the last thing I want to introduce into the blog is travel; I plan on doing my fair share of traveling in 2015 and would love to show you parts of the world I’m experiencing and parts that you probably haven’t seen either. I think it would be a nice touch, maybe call it The Crowded World. BINGO!
So Far: I wanted to show you all a few of my favorite post and why they are my favorite as well.
1. Chocolate Orange & Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Of course for nostalgic purposes I love this post. The funny thing is that this was never even meant to be a post, I didn’t think it was that all that great for a blog post since it was just a regular cookie, but around the time I started the blog it was almost Halloween and the colors in this cookie were perfect so it seemed fine enough for a first post; little did I know that this post was a great first post. I liked that it was easy and simple while still being somewhat unique.
2. Blueberry & Chocolate Chip Scones
The first time I made these scones for the blog the blueberry bled and the photos were completely subpar, I didn’t know about natural lighting and it just wasn’t that great aesthetically speaking, but the pastry itself was out of this world! Everyone in my apartment loved it and so did my mom, after a while of noticing I was making them multiple times I took new pictures. This scone was the stepping stone to me getting better at blogging and teaching and photo techniques.
3. Banana Foster & Chocolate Chip Cookies
This post is seriously one of my greatest culinary achievements, I put an ice cream dessert in a cookie and it turned out unbelievable. It was a new twist on something and I firmly believe this is probably the first Banana Foster cookie ever, maybe I’m wrong but I never found one. From the little dome to the sprinkle of cinnamon and fine sea salt on the top to the crunchy outside and biting in a soft cookie with a creamy burst of Banana Foster flavors inside, I swear while it’s just a cookie it’s the best cookie I will ever make.
4. Salted Honey Peanut Caramel Corn & Liddabits Review
Everyone I know knows I love Liddabits Sweets, from their cookbooks to their online store. It’s just something about them, so unique and you get so excited when you make things from their cookbooks, trust me I would know. I knew when creating this blog I wanted to show off things I learned from others and show that I’m still learning. The best part is that they read that blog post and actually told me I was amazing on Instagram. It was the best! Blogging can be an emotional roller coaster, especially if your like me and always second guessing yourself, but things like that keep me going.
5. Honey & Earl Grey Chocolate Caramels
This recipe post really showed off my culinary skills apart from muffins, cookies and scones. I wanted to take baby steps in my post and not go into anything crazy and make viewers and followers think that this blog was out of their league. This post was easy in steps and unique in flavor. After this post I felt more comfortable with expanding future post into things that you would find in a candy store and not just the bakery isle.
6. Cranberry & White Chocolate Sponge Cake
This is one of my more recent posts, but I feel like this is my strongest post in terms of aesthetics and photography. Besides the flavors being something new and giving the viewers and followers multiple options when it came to switching things up I love that the pictures were dark, lovely and kind of romantic with the decorated setting. Probably my favorite post so far and I’m sure it will be one of my favorite and proudest posts for a long time.
Well there we go! 2014 is ending very soon and I’m so excited that you guys are going on the journey of 2015 with me. I really hope I don’t fail you all because I’m becoming so proud of this blog and what it can become. In 2015 I plan on introducing more cakes to the blog and ice cream, candy, edible gifts and so on. So thank you for following these past 3 months I really appreciate it and truthfully love you all more than you will ever know.
For an organized list of all my recipe click here.