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Happy Birthday, Blog!

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Birthday Cupcake

No, I didn’t bake that. But it got your attention, didn’t it? And today is a day that deserves attention.

One year ago I started messing around on Blogger, looking for a way to put up some recipe pictures for bragging rights. A few posts went up and my brag linking commenced. It was a fun thing to do and I really didn’t think of it beyond that…until a friend of mine linked the horrendously long URL of my blog (www.cookingjarhappyaccidents.blogspot.com …*facepalm*) to an online forum. Suddenly I felt the pictures and my one or two recipes weren’t good enough, which lead to me continuously updating with new recipes and better photos.

It was still a fun thing to do and gradually people started trying my recipes, which I tell you, is one of the BEST feelings in the world. Somewhere along the way my photography improved. So did my plating techniques and I slowly started amassing an army of props. When I started, I had one white bowl which I recycled over and over again till my eyes bled. Now I have over 30 odd plates, bowls and various chopsticks, linens, charges am place mats. This hobby was getting expensive! It was so worth it though seeing the eye candy I made every time I posted.

Photography Then and Now

Photography: then and now

One year ago I didn’t own a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. I had to create accounts once I learned food blogging wasn’t just about, well…food. Social media goes hand in hand. Oh how I hated social media! I had to google what a retweet and a hashtag was. Now I kinda enjoy Twitter and Instagram. Twitter chats are fun!

One year later, here I am. I don’t have as many readers to boast of as the big name blogs but I feel I’ve gotten somewhere from my humble beginnings. I still can’t afford a camera and still take pics with my iPhone 4s (update: got a camera in July, 2014) but I own a photography book, so that’s a start. I still don’t have as many props as I would like to make things interesting and fresh, but that old bowl I had has never had to see the light of day again (really, it’s stuck in the cupboard).

My One and Only Bowl

My one and only bowl

There It Is Again

Oh look! There it is again! Brand new angle though!

So with this happy one year, I’d like to thank a few people who each played parts on my blogging journey. Firstly, thanks to Matt for posting that link in the first place and getting me fired up. In the same vein, thanks to the folks at Skotos’ Grendels Revenge for supporting me for a year and putting up with my spamming the forums with pictures of food. And thank you to those that actually cooked them and even followed up with supportive comments on my blog. I can’t tell you how happy those first few comments made me.

Thanks to my mom for giving me her recipes and and giving me a base in cooking from which to build on. Thanks to my family-in-law for being supportive. My mother-in-law liked my Facebook posts every single time when all I had was a measly 2 followers. I still have a pitiful amount but it’s better than it was!

Thanks to Rita for clipping that food conference newspaper ad and letting me know about it. That food conference birthed a wind of change that I’m still riding…business cards, conscious photography learning and most importantly, I found my voice.

For one year I had been struggling with the writing part of food blogging. I was so intimidated and flustered by it, I defaulted to being formal. Looking back, hell, even I wouldn’t read my own blog posts. I had such a hard time with it, it was the absolute last thing I did before publishing a post, and it showed. In some posts it’s very clear how much I was forcing things out.

Speechless

Really? That’s all I had to say?

I found my voice at that food conference. It’s a little bit of a long story so I won’t bother you with the details (besides this already super long winded post). And the wind of change (now that Sting song is stuck in my head) also started something I am currently in the midst of: a migration from Blogspot land to the big boys at WordPress. I always heard people say if you’re serious about blogging, WordPress is where you should be. I ignored it for a year and now I’m in the middle of migration, I can see why. It’s just so much better.

So during this migration, I will not be updating the blog besides this birthday/anniversary post until the dust has settled. I will have a new name, a new URL and a new look. The new and improved! I realized Cooking Jar and Happy Accidents was just too long a name and address. Well, I always knew it, I just couldn’t ignore it any longer. Can you guess what the new name and URL will be?

Last but not least, I wanna thank Mr. Cooking Jar for being my editor, picker upper (I was smeared all over the floor with dejection and failure more times than I can count), grocery run buddy, psychiatrist and critic. If it wasn’t for him saying the same words of encouragement over and over again, I would have quit a long time ago.

This was longer than I thought. Is it too late to apologize for being verbose? You can’t fast forward a heartfelt thank you speech, can you?

Okay, let’s try. Thank you thank you thank you! To my readers thank you! To everyone who is reading this thank you! And happy birthday, blog!

Birthday Cupcake Tower

This message was typed on an iPhone at 4:21 am in the morning and edited for auto corrections later.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Smarmy
    May 2, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Farah,
    Congratulations for accomplishing a whole year on your delightful cooking blog. It really IS delightful, since you put so much of yourself into it! Your posts are always something I read eagerly, as much for the recipes, which are ‘primo’, as for your engaging style of writing about each and every recipe. With your infectious enthusiasm, I become eager to try whatever yummy dish you present.

    ***Throws confetti***

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM

      Thanks so much, Smarmy 🙂 Here’s to the years up ahead!

  • Reply
    Shini @ The Introverted Chilli
    May 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    This is really encouraging to hear. I hadn’t realised all your photos were with your iphone, wold never have guessed!
    Congrats on the milestone! x

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 18, 2014 at 7:13 PM

      Thank you, Shini! Don’t get me wrong, I’d love, love, love to get me a DSLR and join the big girls club. Maybe soon! Loving your blog name by the way and your about me page. Food rehab…funny! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shirley
    May 30, 2014 at 12:33 AM

    I cannot believe your pictures were taken with iphone! I guess you probably have good lighting techniques 🙂 Just found your blog, the recipes look delish, going to try it really soon!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 30, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Hi Shirley! I just take the pics near a window and schedule them during the day, but have not messed extensively with reflectors or anything yet. Since I haven’t made photography boards yet, it’s been a challenge taking the food on an immobile surface and trying not to overexpose them when facing the light, but I hope to get setup soon with boards and a movable table.

      I hope you like what you try and let me know if you have any questions about ingredients 🙂

  • Reply
    La Cuisine d'Helene
    May 31, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    This is such an accomplishment. Congratulations! I am so glad I have discovered your blog and thanks for visiting mine 🙂 Was the last picture taken with an iPhone?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 31, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      Heya Helene 🙂 Thank you so much. If you’re talking about the stack of sweet goodies, no that isn’t one of mine. I used a stock image since I can’t bake much and I wanted a sorta birthday cupcake thingy going on there. In hindsight, maybe I should have just bought a single cupcake and stuck a candle it in then taken pics!!!

  • Reply
    Jane Flowers
    October 14, 2019 at 9:39 PM

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations! Great blog thank you for the hard work! Shall i send you flowers and sweets for next birthday?

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