My Proudest Work of 2019

I know…this post is about to be a big brag sesh. But I have a lot of work that I feel really proud of—both in my career and this blog—that I wanted to write about it. So if you’re at all interested in what I’ve been working on in the past year, strap in.

spoonful of caramel sauce dripping into pot

2019 was a year of success. This year I officially became an editor for a magazine/brand—a goal of mine that I’ve had since my first journalism class sophomore year of high school. Before landing my job as a Senior Editor at Eat This, Not That! this past June, I worked as a Social Media Editor at Reader’s Digest for those first six months.

Working in social media at Reader’s Digest was incredibly beneficial for my career. Especially because of the opportunities I had to write for RD’s sister magazines, Taste of Home and The Family Handyman. Because of my work at Taste of Home, I finally made the decision to focus my journalistic work on food. For a while, I was writing generic topics within the lifestyle sector, and working as a part-time writer at Bustle helped me expand to different topics and explore what I liked and didn’t like reporting on. However, writing for Taste of Home helped me realize that I truly wanted to be in food journalism. So here we are.

From June until now, I’ve been working at Galvanized Media, which is the company that owns Eat This, Not That! I took a Senior Editor role where I do a mix of assigning stories, editing, writing, assisting with social media, graphic design, photography, recipe development, newsletter planning, and even some time on IGTV. I know it sounds like a lot, but honestly, I’m a gal that loves working on all types of projects. Working in digital media truly is the right career move for me.

I’m excited to share some of my proudest work from the part of the year I spent at Trusted Media Brands and the other half at Galvanized Media. And some personal achievements coming from this blog, of course.

My Articles & Recipes

Eat This, Not That!

There’s a lot I could share from this publication, so let me give you the highlights.

Taste of Home

I’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of different chefs and food personalities through my writing, but this year, I landed an interview with Ree Drummond. If you’re not familiar, Ree Drummond—also famously known as The Pioneer Woman—is a blogger turned Food Network television star who has many cookbooks, restaurants, and even a line of cookware over at Walmart. She released a line of dog treats through Walmart this year, and for 15 minutes, I got to sit down with her and chat about it. When I told her that one of my favorite foods to make was a tuna melt, we ended up swapping our recipes, and she said she couldn’t wait to try mine. Ree, did you like it? Give me feedback!!

While a lot of the pieces I wrote for Taste of Home were about food news and product releases, I did have fun writing some larger concept pieces for them—like “The Real Reason Wendy’s Burgers Are Square.” It’s a small one, but I was so excited about the research on this one that I honestly wouldn’t shut up about it for weeks.

The Family Handyman

During the time I was writing for The Family Handyman, Notre Dame had gone up in flames. I had noticed a huge outpouring of adoration for the monument online, so I pitched writing about it for our site. It didn’t take much for large parts of the building to burn down…but how long did it take to build it? In the article “This Is How Long It Took to Build Notre Dame” I share the history (and the other fire tragedies) of this popular building.

Did you know rainwater is illegal to catch? Well, it actually is in some states, and I was fascinated by it. In my piece “If You’re Collecting Rain Water In These States, Watch Out! It Could Be Illegal” I share the specifics of this law and, quite honestly, how absurd it actually is.

My Photography

homemade donuts with sprinkles on a plate

Studying graphic design as a minor in college was probably the best decision I’ve ever made—besides the decision to marry my husband, of course. While studying to receive my minor, I also took quite a few classes on photography. This initial knowledge has launched me into numerous side gigs, and now in terms of my job, it has turned me into a food photographer.

Sure, I’ve always taken photos of my food for this blog or Instagram, but quite honestly, they weren’t that good. Since I was being assigned more projects involving original photography at work, I figured it would be smart to take Alex Shytsman‘s clas “Food Styling and Photography for Bloggers” over at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. In a mere six hours, I walked away having even more knowledge on how to take better food photos.

While I would love to just dump a bunch of my proudest photos right here, I want to force you to see the photos with the actual written pieces. So here are some links to my favorite food photos this year.

My Meal Prep Newsletter

I think it’s safe to say that every journalist dreams of having their own column one day. Having your own set space to write on your favorite beat (i.e. topic) sounds like an absolute dream to any writer. However, journalism is evolving, and there aren’t as many chances to have your own space in print anymore. But having your own newsletter signed by you? That’s like having a column 2.0.

I get to write a meal prep newsletter every single week over at Eat This, Not That! and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job. Every week (typically Friday’s) I share some kind of tip to help our followers meal prep for the week. So of my favorite projects have sparked based on ideas for this newsletter—like the famous chicken marinades article, or the low carb swaps.

It’s an extension of our daily newsletter, so if you want to get it, sign up for our newsletters right here.

My Ebook

I told myself I’ve always wanted to publish my own book. Someday, I would love to have a cookbook or a novel of my own. I’m just choosing to be patient about it. I want to make sure I have the right idea.

However, when I had a lot of people reaching out to me about having meals with corresponding meal plans, it hit me: Do I really have to wait for my own book to give people what they want? Sure, my audience is small. But I have all of the training and the tools to write and design a book myself. So what’s really stopping me from making one?

After six months of grueling work, and one lost laptop later (with all of my ebook files), I published my first online cookbook. It provides you with 42 original recipes, 20,000+ different lunch ideas, and some no-cook snacks you can make. Plus with a free three-month meal plan, you don’t have to think about what meals to make or prep for an entire three months.

Brag alert: I’m really, really proud of this one. If you would like to have it yourself, you can buy my ebook right here.

My Blog

Lemon vinaigrette dressing being poured onto an arugula salad

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’ve made a lot of changes in terms of blogging over the years. I absolutely love blogging, but I never really settled on one particular topic because I just liked to write about a lot of different things. That was until this year, of course.

I know there are a lot of different recipe blogs out there. I’m aware that I’m trying to hop into an already over-saturated market and I should “just quit now.” But honestly, I love it. I came to the conclusion this year that I should just create what I want to create. This space isn’t one I plan on making a full-time income from, so instead of stressing about making this place perfect, I’m going to create simply because I want to.

Then…I got accepted by Google Ads. I know that’s small, and there are a lot of blogs out there that already have them. But for me, this was a huge deal. It means Google takes me seriously; that my content and website are worthy to have advertisements on them. I haven’t made much—a whopping $3.24 in the past four months—but it’s fun for me to watch. Maybe someday this space will provide enough income to at least pay for all the groceries I buy to make the recipes on this site.

My YouTube

Around this time last year, I had made a promise to myself to attempt making YouTube videos for the first six months of 2019. I tried all sorts of videos where I would share meal prep ideas, give grocery saving tips, even point out some of my favorite snacks and how to make a cheeseboard. While I did have one semi-successful video sharing my favorite frozen meals at Trader Joe’s, when my six-month evaluation hit, I made the decision that YouTube wasn’t for me.

I think there are a lot of successful YouTubers out there who use that platform well, but I’m a girl who loves pen and paper. I am more comfortable taking pictures and typing away at my keyboard than stepping in front of a camera every week. So I called it quits.

While some wouldn’t associate quitting with success, for me, quitting YouTube is a thing I actually feel proud of. I actually said no to a project in order to say yes to something I’m more passionate about, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Especially for someone who just loves creating stuff.

So I hope you enjoyed my six-month stint over on YouTube. Maybe someday my opinion on this will change. But for now, I’m happy to put this little project to bed.

What’s next?

I’ve always been one to reflect and set standards for myself because I’m the kind of gal that loves to make lists and goals. But instead of starting this new decade with a laundry list of new goals, I’ve made just one goal for myself: Make more.

As you can tell from the past 10 years, I love to blog. Making random recipes and getting to write and take pictures of them sure does sound like an odd hobby to have, but I absolutely love it. I don’t want to slow down. I want to ramp up.

So this year, expect more. Get ready to be annoyed by me. I want you to experience the best content and get access to the easiest recipes and meal plans. Because all in all, I like making people’s lives easier—one recipe at a time.

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