Happy 2014 to you all!
Thank you for your support and interest in 2013.
May there always be something good
on your table in the new year!
As a new year arrives, I like to take some time to reflect on the year past. Rather than reporting on the most popular posts and whatnot of the past year, I’d like to share with you the highlights of my blogging life in 2013.
Last year (that still sounds odd) I entered into blogging with a greater intensity than ever, and reaped many rewards and much satisfaction. I’ve always hoped that the blog would lead to greater opportunities, and it was immensely fulfilling to see that happening.
It’s a source of wonderment to me that people from all over the world come to visit my little corner of the internet. I thank you all, and hope that Life Through the Kitchen Window will continue to capture your interest in 2014. And now, here’s the highlight reel for 2013, with a few future plans and ideas.
- Learning and Community — In April I gave myself the gift of attending Canada’s first ever food bloggers conference, and am so glad I did. I learned much about blogging, but most important, came away with more inspiration and enthusiasm than ever, not to mention a new sense of Canadian food blogging community.
- Working with Brands — In March I stuck my toe in new waters, writing my first sponsored post, a cookware review. I’ve since worked selectively with other brands, featuring products such as muesli, mushrooms and mustard. I’ve never been paid for any of these posts, although some companies have provided me products. This writing qualified me for some random draws, which brings me to item #3 on my list . . .
- Good luck! I was the winner of random draws for cookware and for a couple of gift cards, through different sponsored posts.
- Giveaways — In the spirit of paying it forward, I ran my first-ever giveaway, with one reader winning a piece of the cookware I had won. I also offered a gift card giveaway for Tim Hortons in November.
- I’m a Gastroposter — This summer, I learned about the Gastropost feature in the National Post (hello, where had I been before then?) and participated in my first mission, “Raise a Red Flag,” about eating something red for Canada Day. It was so exciting to learn they were going to publish my Sassy Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp photo! Since then, I’ve received my own Gastropost sketch, and have had six more photos published, several headlining announcements of upcoming Missions.
- Photo Recognition — I’m proud of how my food photography has improved. (If you want to see some sad looking food, just look at some of my earliest photos.) Food Bloggers of Canada featured two of my photos on their blog in 2013 (how validating). (See them on the Publicity page.)
- Contest Fun – In May, I participated in the Love Your Lentils contest sponsored by Canadian Lentils. Even though I didn’t make the finals, it was fun to develop an original recipe, Beluga and Red Lentil Crostini, and watch the votes add up (okay, there weren’t many; maybe next time).
- Canning — Blogging has inspired me to try new foods and cooking techniques. Surprisingly enough for a farm-raised Certified 4-H Homemaker, I had never done any canning until this summer. I discovered the joys of making jam (in extreme heat and humidity, no less). The Culinary Enthusiast has been motoring through our store of homemade blueberry and raspberry jam; clearly, I need to make much more next year!
- Volunteering — Early in 2013 the London Community Resource Centre contacted me about using some of my posts and I soon became a volunteer. As part of their social media team, I tweet (@LondonCRC), write Facebook posts and the occasional blog post. In October, they gave me the chance to do something exciting . . .
- Teaching My First Cooking Class — It made me feel like I had my own cooking show not just to teach my first class, but in a mirrored demonstration kitchen no less. It was a great experience and I hope to do it again.
- A Newspaper Column — One of my goals has been to be published beyond blogging. In November the editor of LFP Neighbours, a weekly supplement of the London Free Press, approached me about writing for them. I’m now contributing the Recipe of the Week and a monthly food column. (See my first contribution here.) My blogging year certainly ended on a satisfying note.
- Social Media — I put a lot of effort into my Facebook page last year and its ‘likes’ have climbed all the way up to — are you ready? — 97. It’s not exactly a hot spot on the internet, but I’m proud of it nonetheless. I’m also on Pinterest and Twitter (@MusingMar). Do follow along!
I’m not much for new year resolutions, but I do have some plans and ideas for the blog in 2014. Here are a few of them; please let me know if you’d like to see anything different.
- The blog’s original tagline was “Musings on Food and Life,” but the focus to date has been almost exclusively on food. I’m considering adding posts that are personal reflections on life, beyond the stories I share with the recipes. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, or if anyone would want to read them.
- On a practical note, I plan to update and revamp the woefully out-of-date Recipe Index. I fell behind on it last summer and simply haven’t caught up yet.
- I want to continue to grow in both my food photography and writing. There’s always more to learn!