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10 Years of Blogging Q&A + Greatest Hits

File this under things I can’t believe: as of last week, I’ve officially been blogging for 10 years! 

Wow. 

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When I first started my blog, I was in the middle of taking prerequisites and applying to grad schools to become a Registered Dietitian.

I had just moved back to DC after teaching English in Prague for a year and was ready to make a career change (I was previously working in the communications/PR/writing world in DC).

Since starting my blog, I have:

  • Moved from DC to NC (in August 2010) to pursue my Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Nutrition at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Moved back to DC (in May 2012) to complete my summer and fall dietetic internships
  • Gotten married! (October 13, 2012)

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Somewhere in all those years my blog turned into a large part of my career – not something I necessarily planned, but something I’m grateful for. (If you want to read more about blogging as a business, check out this post: How to Make Money as a Blogger.)

I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A/”greatest hits” post in honor of the 10 year blog anniversary, so I asked you guys if you had any questions for me (via the blog + on Instagram stories).

Here’s what you wanted to know!

Enjoy – and if you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments.

What are your all-time most popular blog posts?

I actually have a blog post about this already: My Top 9 Most Popular Recipes + Posts. Check it out!

(I just double checked and that post is still accurate except that my Mix + Match Stir Fry Recipes post has now made it into the top 9 – Pinterest is excited about that post apparently!)

Mix & Match Stir Fry Recipes: Choose your favorite protein, veggies, and sauce for a delicious one-pan 15-minute dinner! The stir fry combinations are endless! #stirfry #healthydinner #onepotmeal #healthyrecipes

I also shared a post last year with my personal recipe faves from over the years: 9 Blog Recipes We Make Again and Again.

How did you overcome fear of getting started?

I thought about starting a healthy living/food blog for about a year before I actually did, and I was totally kicking myself for not doing it sooner! But I was nervous about the time commitment (back then healthy living bloggers posted 7 days a week, some more than once a day – whoa) so I put it off for ages. 

I was also busy with my very first blog, which was a travel blog about my experiences living and teaching in Prague. It was mostly just for family and friends but it was a fun way to dip my toes into the blogging world. 

When I moved back to the US, it took me about 5 months to get up the courage to start this new blog because I felt like I had to have the perfect post to kick things off with – some awesome recipe or deeply insightful musings or something.

But in the end, one day I just woke up and said: “If I don’t do this now, I never will. My first post doesn’t have to be super special, I just have to start.” 

So I did! Here’s my first blog post – kind of random, right? I always feel more inspired and energized by new projects in the fall so it makes sense I started my blog in the fall, too.

For the first few years I had my blog I posted 7 days a week and I can’t even imagine doing that now. I eventually switched to 5 days a week (just weekdays), when I was doing my full time grad school internships, still doing some grad school coursework, AND planning my wedding, and just didn’t have a minute of extra time to breathe. 

When Riese was born, I went down to 4 days a week… and then at the start of this year I decided it made more sense to post 3 days a week, which is my current routine – Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

It feels like a good balance and I’m sticking with it (for now, at least)!

What posts from over the years are you most proud of?

Ah, I love this question. I have a few.

First, this very personal post: A Tale of Middle School Bullying, because it was tough to write but it felt important to share.

I’m also very proud of some of the nutrition-themed posts I’ve written over the years, because I hope they have helped others. Here are a few:

Have you ever considered writing a book? 

I’ve co-authored an e-book (Nutrition for Runners) and an e-program (Joyful Eating, Nourished Life), but I haven’t written a traditional book! 

I’ve been flattered to be approached a few times with pitches (mostly re: cookbooks, but also once for an Intuitive Eating themed book), but at the end of the day it just hasn’t felt like what I wanted to throw myself into.

I spend so much time working alone on the blog that an extra time-consuming side project that had me doing MORE solo work just didn’t feel like a good fit. As an extrovert, I want side projects to help connect me with other people in person. :)

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What have been your favorite brands to work with? 

I’ve had the privilege of working with a ton of great brands over the years, but a few all-time faves of mine are the following because of a combination of awesome products + awesome people at the brands + long term partnerships that meant we really got to know each other. 

  • Cabot Cheese (their sharp cheddar rocks my world, and I’ve done a lot of fun fitness-related partnerships with them, too – I love their commitment to fitness and health! I had the opportunity to attend 3 of their awesome Cabot Fit Team trips where other bloggers and I ran a cool New England race. See also: 2013 Cabot Fit Team Trip to Maine + Cabot Adventures in Maine in 2015 + Middlebury, VT Adventures with Cabot in 2016. Matt and I also got to run the Charleston Half Marathon with Cabot, and I was able to put together a team for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 2016 and 2017 thanks to Cabot, too!)
  • Brooks Running – I was one of their blogger ambassadors for 6 years (!). I had already been wearing and loving their shoes for awhile so I was thrilled to come on board when they invited me back in January 2013. In addition to getting to test out a lot of great apparel, we also had a really fun ambassador trip every year and everyone I met from Brooks was always really cool and genuine. I was happy to promote them! They sadly didn’t renew my contract this year (which is totally fair, because in 2017 and 2018 I wasn’t doing much running due to pregnancy and then postpartum), but I still <3 them. 
  • The Watermelon Board – I’ve worked with them for years and love their team and of course the product! ;) In addition to sharing lots of fun watermelon recipes on the blog, I also ran the Marine Corps Marathon with them in 2016 and have done the Marine Corps 10k with them a few years now too – Matt and I are excited to run it again with them next month!

I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting but those are just a few that immediately came to mind. :)

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What’s the coolest sponsored trip you’ve ever done? 

I’ve been fortunate to get to do a lot of cool trips over the years thanks to the blog! You can see all of them over on my travel page, but a few all-time faves are:

I’ve done a lot of cool food-focused trips as well, but the adventure/outdoorsy or running-focused ones are always my absolute faves. I just love a good adventure and active travel enjoyed in beautiful scenery. :) 

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Where do you think blogs are heading? Will they still be a thing in 5 years?

This is an interesting question and I honestly have no idea! Blogging has changed SO much in the 10 years I’ve been doing it. 

When I started my blog in 2009, Twitter was the main social media channel that bloggers were using – and everyone used it more to chat vs. as a giant link share like it is now. Instagram wouldn’t exist for a few more years, and neither would Pinterest. Facebook was certainly a thing but it was wasn’t business-focused like it is now.

The creation of Pinterest and Instagram in particular, as well as sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker, I think really changed the game in terms of how good everyone’s photos needed to be to get noticed/continue to get traffic. 

In the old days, you could post a less than perfect photo and it didn’t matter – everyone was there for the content, and blog posts were a lot more casual/less polished.

Now, so much more of it is visual, and everyone has shorter attention spans and more competition in terms of so many blogs/influencers to follow, too, so it feels like there is more pressure to make posts polished because those are the posts that will get ongoing traffic from social media later on. 

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I sometimes miss blogging in the early days because it felt a lot more casual and connected – everyone was part of a big community and I was a lot more silly and open on my blog than I think I am now.

That said, I do try to still do a lot of casual/lifestyle content on the blog without great photos/polished everything because I know that you guys still appreciate the less fancy stuff. It’s just that you have to do the fancy stuff too now or else you get no traffic from Google or Pinterest. ;) 

As for whether blogs will still be a thing in 5 years, I definitely think they will, but I think the focus will continue to be on social media to support blog efforts. It will be interesting to see what the new big social channel is in 5 years!

Do you see yourself still blogging in another 10 years?

I have no idea! I just take it day by day. As long as I’m still enjoying it, and as long as it is still bringing in solid revenue, I’ll keep going – but the content may shift as I get older and my interests and what I’m willing to share change. 

Only time will tell. :) 

How is your blog different now than you envisioned it 10 years ago? 

When I first started my blog I think I planned to do mostly food (hence the title), but then it quickly morphed into a lot of running/fitness stuff and life stuff, too. I found I really liked writing about fitness and travel adventures in particular, and I started getting more into running, so naturally my blog started to include a lot more of that content, too, versus just the food/recipes.

I still love mixing it up and switching up the content here on the blog – and I’m glad you guys seem to enjoy that, too, because clearly I can’t be limited to just one topic. ;)

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Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane! 

And now, I will close with a question for you guys:

How and when did you first find my blog? What keeps you coming back?

Thank you so much for reading, sharing comments and advice, and for making this a happy and inspirational place for others to come to. I wouldn’t still be here without all of you!

p.s. Want to start your own blog? Check out my how to start a blog post!

Comments

  1. 1

    Happy blog anniversary! I can’t remember when or how I found you, but it was probably through PB Fingers. My favorite thing about your blog is that I get a ton of food ideas from reading, and from your example I get a nudge to make food choices in a healthier direction.

  2. 3

    Kudos to you for all that you have accomplished with your incredible [dare I say fantastic ;) ] blog!! While I only write mine for fun, I do love how it has allowed me to “meet” amazing bloggers, RD’s and to network. Sometimes the thought of how curated blogs have become vs. when I began reading in 2008 does make me feel less than, as though my content is not good enough. But I truly am drawn to blogs that show real life, real photos, and honest content. So that inspires me to keep sharing. Thank you for all that you have done for your readers!

  3. 5

    My friend told me about your blog in 2015/2016???? I was hooked. I like your approach to food and your fast and easy recipes rock. I make many many many of your recipes. I’m happy to report my “meat & potatoes” husband and other in my family are willing to try the recipes and many have become favorites.

    THANKS!!!!!!!

    I like your wide variety of topics.

  4. 7

    I found your blog about five years ago and loved it mostly for its running content. When I found out I was pregnant, though, I wondered how relevant your posts would feel in my new life as a working Mom. As it turned out, very! My daughter was born just a few months before yours and I have so enjoyed following along your journey into motherhood. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us!

  5. 9
    Roadrunner says

    Wonderful, open, and honest reflections, thanks. And that is what keeps me coming back, as well as to see what you and Matt and the little one and the pets have been doing!

  6. 11
    Melanie Baird says

    I can’t remember exactly when I began following your blog but sometime in 2011 and I can say I faithfully read each post and it is the only blog I read consistently. I like the focus on health overall….I am much older than you (early 60’s) and wish I had adopted a healthy lifestyle much younger but for the past 10 years it has been my focus. I am proud to say I just had my annual exam and while still overweight (working it but it is slow) all of my blood work (cholesterol, lipids, glucose etc.) were perfect and in fact better than they were 15 years ago! My doctor was impressed and said just keep doing what you are doing. I appreciate the effort you put into your blog and just wanted you to know you have made an impact in my life…thank you.

    • 12

      That’s wonderful news about your blood work! I’m thrilled to hear that I’ve had a positive impact on your life health-wise – thank you for taking the time to let me know I’ve made a difference, and thank you so much for reading for all these years!

  7. 13

    I can’t remember when or how I found the blog, but what keeps me coming back is the fact you try to keep it casual and laid back. I appreciate the need for ‘evergreen’ content, but there are some blogs where it just seems to be too much – I can’t look at a post without it seeming very curated, even if it’s supposed to be a random post. Just show me the random phone photos, that’s fine. I also enjoy that the sponsored posts you do always seem very natural.

    Thanks being so engaging and open. I’ll read for as long as you choose to continue to share.

  8. 15

    I’ve been following along since your Czech days! You write really well and make a direct connection with your readers – not easy although you make it look that way. I appreciate the variety on your blog – I love the travel and daily adventures, but also have made many of your recipes. I’m another fan who’ll keep reading as long as you’re writing!

  9. 17

    Congrats on your many accomplishments and for blogging 10 years. I used to read more blogs than I do now, but I always come back to yours. I love your writing skills, the way you draw the reader in, as if we are right there, especially your vacation recaps! You seem like a fun person, and I appreciate your kind and genuine soul, which is a rarity these days. Love your training and race adventures, too! You inspire me to do my best!

  10. 19

    Congratulations, Anne! What a milestone. I found you about five years ago as I moved to the DC area and wanted to train for a half marathon and did the low-imagination Google search of “dc running bloggers.” Award winning search skills here. Came for the running, stayed for the NC connection, levelheaded approach to food and fitness, and of course, your virtual “company” as I check in each week! Here’s to continued success in blogging and wherever your career takes you.

  11. 21

    I can’t remember how I found you either – probably a recommendation from another runner/healthy eater friend. I got hooked once I got pregnant as I loved your pregnancy posts. I was 3 months behind you so it was nice to see what to expect and I would go back and read the posts that lined up with the week of pregnancy I was in. I also used your questions from those posts for my posts about my pregnancy. They are fun to read back on now – seems like a distant memory now that we have a busy 19-month old.

    I like your laid back style and how approachable you are. You come off as very relatable and real. You give us good ideas for healthy meals to make but you are also a real person who eats burgers and fries and drinks prosecco (not all the time, of course, but often enough that it feels like you approach to eating is realistic).

    My favorite recipe of your is the pineapple and shrimp skewer recipe! We make that multiple times in the summer and other friends have made it after seeing me post pictures on IG.

    • 22

      Thank you for being here, Lisa – I appreciate these kind words! We love the pineapple shrimp skewers too… mmm. Glad they were a hit for you guys!

  12. 23

    Very cool to walk down memory lane with you! I remember you announcing you had a blog when we started grad school, and I think you even had a business card! The blogging world was totally new to me, so it was so cool to learn about it through you!

  13. 25
    Melissa Caulfield says

    Congratulations Anne🎉 To be honest, I don’t remember how I found your blog- but I’m sure glad I did❤️💞

  14. 27

    Congrats, Anne! I’ve always loved your blog. I probably found you through Gina’s blog years ago. Yours is one of the few blogs I still keep up with.
    Random compliment after seeing all the pics in the post. You have gorgeous hair! So pretty!

  15. 29

    I’ve been reading your blog since 2011! I found it when I moved to NC with aspirations to become an RD and was doing a bunch of googling :) – I’m now a HAES/IE RD and devote less time to reading blogs but always look forward to yours. Thanks for all you do!

  16. 31

    I can’t remember how I found you but I’ve been reading your blog regularly since the start! It’s amazing how time flies and I feel like we’re friends even though we’ve never met or communicated personally. Thanks for sharing your life and family with us. I will still be reading this in 5 years.

  17. 33

    Anne..I seriously cannot believe it’s already been 10 years. It seems like so long ago but at the same time like it was yesterday. Kinda like motherhood, no? The days are long but the years are short! I know what you mean by missing the old days of blogging. I feel like I’m just scrolling through a lot of times whereas before I really took the time to connect more in a meaningful way. But that was also because of the stage of life I was in. It’s fun growing older and wiser with you ;). Hope we can reunite soon!! Perhaps at FNCE (not this year though).

    • 34

      So true! I would love to reconnect with you soon, too – it has been too long! Sad you won’t be at FNCE this year… hopefully next, or another RD press trip or something :)

  18. 35
    Laurel Pell says

    I just recently found your blog through Gina’s Fitnessista blog! I have loved reading back through your blog and your race recaps! I have a half marathon in Connecticut this coming Saturday so I’ve enjoyed your running posts. Also, I have to tell you those peanut butter stuffed dates are an awesome idea and I have fallen in love with them!

  19. 37

    first of all, CONGRATULATIONS on 10 years girl! goodness, i’m not sure when i found your blog but it was many years ago…possibly right after you started or right after you moved to NC? been a long time reader nonetheless and have LOVED reading along with all your life changes and accomplishments! i feel like we’re friends :) what keeps me reading is your quality content–always so informative but also fun. truly, truly just all around great content on all fronts IMO. keep up the awesome job Anne! if you ever venture to blacksburg let me know!

  20. 39

    I think I found your blog around your wedding, because another blogger was attending. I like the mix of health/lifestyle.

Trackbacks

  1. […] friends! I’m glad many of you enjoyed my 10 year blogging anniversary trip down memory lane/Q&A blog post! I had fun writing that and reminiscing… it’s hard to believe it has been so long but […]

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