Seven Year Bloggiversary.

Each year, on the anniversary of the date I started this blog (the bloggiversary, if you will), I post a recap about all the cool things that have happened in the past year.  There were years when I did several food segments on the morning news and years where I traveled across the country for the blog, but this past year was sorely lacking in these types of exciting life events.  It was instead a year of stress and challenge, a year that frankly isn’t much fun to reflect on.

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(Check out my 5th-year and 6th year anniversary posts!)

I did go on a press trip to Hocking Hills in January, during the Whole30, at which I was served brownies for breakfast, to which I was forced to politely decline.  OH THE HUMANITY.  Honestly, I focused more on fitness than food this year, which I believe helped me from completely going off the deep end.  Well, that and my new obsession with Trader Joe’s plantain chips.  Soooo crunchy.

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This year I thought about changing the name of this blog, as I have done off and on over the past seven years.  I picked the name “fervent foodie” on a whim, and it’s never seemed to fully capture what I hope for this space.  I guess that’s probably how my parents feel about naming me Mary, when clearly I’m more of a Zoe.  I mean, that’s what that online quiz I took said.

My most popular post over the last 365 days was my Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe (originally posted in 2010, most popular blog post, SEVEN years running).  Come on people.  This is followed closely by my Charlotte Foodie Guide and this HIGHLY informative post on how to make leftover pizza taste like it was just delivered.

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I’m still not eating meat, and sure as heck don’t miss it.  Except sometimes when I see a turkey sandwich with avocado and sprouts or a big fat meatball.  Or smell some North Carolina pulled pork.  Other than that, I totally don’t miss it.  This year I also learned that despite all the exercise and healthy eating I cram into my days, my cholesterol is high.  This makes absolutely no sense.  I’ve temporarily omitted eggs and shrimp from my diet.  The verdict is still out on whether this unscientific experiment will make a difference.

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When I started blogging back in 2010, I posted about 3 times a day.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner every dang day.  This past year?  I posted about once every three months.  That’s grad school for you.  The truth is, blogging takes a lot of freaking time.  More time than most people have, actually.  And I believe that’s why so many people are shifting to micro-blogging platforms (like Instagram, for example).

My lack of blogging this year freed up some time which I ironically used to start the Columbus Food Bloggers group.  With the help of Erin (the Spiffy Cookie), Jordan (Midwest Foodfest), and Stacy (Eat Pretty 614), we’ve connected nearly fifty Columbus foodies and planned more events than I can recall.  Our definition of the word “blogger” includes Instagram-only foodies (those micro-bloggers I talked about earlier), which is wonderful, otherwise I’d be kicked out of my own group for lack of posting.

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Last month, I spent a weekend in Charlotte (the city I moved away from last year), and as I headed south on 77 and the skyline finally creeped into view, I was hit with a sharp wave of sadness.  I guess it’s sort of like when a relationship ends for valid reasons, but you still love and care about that other person.  It’s easy to push it from your mind when you’re keeping busy, but there’s no avoiding that punch-in-the-gut feeling that hits when your paths do happen to cross.

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6 Year Bloggiversary

Dang, guys.  It doesn’t feel like a whole year has passed since I wrote my five-year-bloggiversary post, but here we are.  SIX WHOPPING YEARS of blogging under my belt.  Last year, I reminisced on starting the blog and how over the past five years my blog has become my wing man of sorts.  A support system, really.  A crutch.  Who woulda guessed year six would be one for the record books?

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I had a few cool media spotlights this year, including being listed as one of Charlotte’s 16 food accounts to follow on Instagram on Charlotte Agenda, and a fun introduction on #weloveclt written by my pal Vanessa Smith Have you met Mary Cowx?

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I was also selected as a Design Charlotte Influencer and got to talk all about how cool Charlotte is in this video:

My most popular post over the last 365 days was my Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe (originally posted in 2010, most popular blog post, six years running), dangit… Followed closely by my Charlotte Foodie Guide and this HIGHLY informative post on how to make leftover pizza taste like it was just delivered.

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Say yes to lunch.

When I started this blog,  I was 25 and living in Akron, Ohio, in a house I’d bought because, well, that’s what I’d thought I was supposed to do.  Everyone else was settling down, so I strapped a mortgage on my back, and hunkered down.  I spent my first summer there in the backyard, mulching and weeding like a good homeowner.  I filled the rooms with second-hand furniture, replaced the water heater, and worried endlessly about that weird clicking noise the fridge made.  The house was a fun and infinitely stressful addition to my life, but after a year or so, it lost its luster.  I was bored.  With the house, with my job, and especially with living in NE Ohio.  And that, my friends, is when I decided to start a food blog.

I named the blog Fervent Foodie because I love food, I can be a little intense, and I love alliteration.  *dusts hands off* 

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Since then, the word “foodie” has developed some negative connotation.  Eatocracy referred to it as “the other F-word” and HuffPost Taste listed it (along with “moist” and “nom nom”) as a most-hated food word.  I don’t care.  Definitionally speaking, I’m a foodie.  531798_510904095612767_717723832_n

Fervent Foodie was birthed five years ago, to the day, which is, by all accounts, the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.  That’s what this blog is to me.  A relationship.  A life partner, of sorts.  Like any relationship, there have been ups and downs, times when my blog was my priority, and others when it was a burden.  But through it all, the blog was there.  Every time life got turned on its ass, I poured myself into the blog.  My blog became my wingman, support system, and crutch.  When I wasn’t confident enough to go at it alone, I used the blog as my excuse.  We’ve even traveled together, me and the blog, to Chicago, Nashville, Birmingham, Greenville, and Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference, TWICE (soon to be thrice).

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[with Nichole (Gap Creek Gourmet) in Seattle, IFBC 2014]

Shortly after moving to Charlotte my birthday rolled around.  I didn’t have a friend in the entire city, so I sent an email to a group of random Charlotte food bloggers asking them if they’d like to come to lunch.  Guess what?  THEY CAME.  The food blogging community is incredible.

[Julie (Willow Bird Baking), Vanessa (Life Undeveloped), Katie (Honeystuck), and Jamie (Bibliophiled Away), looking like straight up babies here.]

After that birthday lunch, I implemented a new life mantra:  say yes to lunch.  If someone asks me to lunch (or coffee or dinner or drinks, whatev) I just say YES.  Even if I don’t know the person, or think we have nothing in common, and ESPECIALLY when I really just don’t want to go, I just say yes.  This is how I built a circle of friends and colleagues from scratch in Charlotte.  “Say yes to lunch” was my personal policy, but somehow it seemed everyone else was on board.  I can’t think of a time when I’ve asked someone to lunch and had the invitation turned down.  That’s Charlotte for you.

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[#cltfoodbloggers Holiday Potluck]

Looking back over my posts in those early years is somewhat embarrassing.  My views of healthy living have shifted drastically.  Back then, I was the captain of Team Fat-Free Everything.  The fewer calories, the better.  PB2?  I was all about it. For those who aren’t familiar, PB2 is basically peanut butter that they sucked all the fat out of, turning it to peanut dust, which is then reconstituted with water to a flavorless, peanut butter-colored paste.  Yes, I was ALL about that.

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[#cltfoodbloggers event at the Punch Room; Corri (Black Wednesday Social Co.) & Chrissie (Off the Eaten Path)]

These days I care more about whole foods than about how many calories are on my plate.  Thank god, because I don’t want to live in a world without peanut butter.  My cooking skills have improved drastically over the years, so it’s somewhat embarrassing when a friend mentions she looked up an old recipe post.  The most popular post on this blog to-date is by far the Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe I posted back in 2010.  Part of me considers this a personal failure, but ultimately, I’m just happy to contribute to game-day grubbing festivities across the globe.

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[#cltfoodbloggers group dinner at Red Ginger]

It’s been five whole years of recipes, ramblings, and restaurant reviews.  Through the blog, I’ve written for the official Urbanspoon blog and Our State Magazine’s Food Blog, did a series of recipe videos for Tropical Foods, and appeared on the morning news to talk about sausage, not once but twice.  Yes.  I’ve made friends, found inspiration, and grown immensely.  It’s been a heck of a ride, these past five years.  That’s the thing about anniversaries–they force you to reflect.  What I’ve realized, over the past year or so, as I’ve watched friends pursue their passions and opt to take the roads less traveled, is that I’ve spent a lot of my time working toward things that I’m not necessarily passionate about, just going through the motions, doing what I thought I was supposed to do.  For what?  For who?  For why?

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[#cltfoodbloggers fancy date night at the Fig Tree – LeAndra (Love & Flour), Vanessa (Life Undeveloped), Chrissie (Off the Eaten Path) ]

My new favorite line is, “You’re in charge.”  I say it to myself and to my friends all the time.  Each of us is in charge of ourselves and our lives.  I believe that if you don’t take the time to set your priorities, someone else will do it for you.  Over my four years in Charlotte, I’ve watched from the sidelines as Charlotte’s food scene exploded.  This year, I want to get involved.  Get my hands dirty.  Work with organizations whose missions I’m passionate about.

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[ with Keia (Ink & Fork) and LeAndra (Love & Flour) ]

Because, why not?  Change is coming, and I’m excited.

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Two years of fervency!

Today my blog turns TWO years old!  How crazy and cool is that?  When I first started blogging, I didn’t know where it would take me, or who might read my ramblings, or if anyone would find my life through food the teensiest bit interesting.  Despite all of that, I quickly grew to love my blog—one could say it was love at first click of the “publish” button.  In looking back over the last two years, all 365 posts, I feel proud.  Proud of what I’ve said, what I’ve learned, and how I’ve grown, but mostly proud because this blog is ME, Mary, a forever fervent foodie.

 

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