Today, My Blog Turns 2, Thanks to YOU! ♥♥♥
It’s been 2 years now since I started SweetNspicyLiving, but it felt like I had been doing this for years. I cannot believe how much time and effort I’ve dedicated to my blog to the point that it’s almost like my second job, a second job that made me work like crazy including weekends and after-office hours. A job although tedious and time-consuming changed my life in ways I could never imagine. All the long hours of research, or the frustrating recipe retakes, or the evenings and mornings of photo shoots were all worth it. It feels great to be able to share something that I am passionate about.
It’s been 2 years now that I had been poking around and tweaking my website. For the first 2 years, I’ve had some good progress in my website and I want to share with you the highlights of my first 2 years of blogging.
For the first 2 years of my blog, my time was mostly dedicated to getting my blog settled and setup. 2 years to get everything setup and “almost” settled seems to be a lot of time, that’s what I thought before. But then I realized two years is not enough, it takes more than that to get your blog noticed and followed by people. It makes more sense to me now that most established bloggers are full-time bloggers, because it really takes a LOT of time to maintain and keep your blog interesting. Blogging, although it may sound simple as just writing something, is really not as simple as it sounds. It takes a huge amount of time and dedication, but it’s very fulfilling and satisfying. Take a look at my post Take a Peek at the Behind The Scenes of Food Blogging to get a sense of what’s going on behind the scenes. Whether you are a full time blogger or doing blogging only for fun, there are plenty of things that you can accomplish in 2 years depending on what your goals are. Take it one step at a time and have fun. In my case, these are some of the things that I accomplished in 2 years time.
The Sweet Stuff
When I was conceptualizing my blog, I knew I wanted to share something that I am passionate about. Something that will speak for me, something that will show people who is the person behind SweetNSpicyLiving. So I’ve named my blog SweetNSpicyLiving to represent my sweet & spicy life adventures. The main focused for the first year was to release sweets post, the likes of pastries, cakes, cookies, bars etc. I wanted to focus on something simple, easy and basic just to get myself out there. My first blog post was Chocolate Fudge Cookie, one of my favorite cookies among the many ones in my website. I was very thrilled with it, it was an exciting moment for me and I don’t know what to expect. I got only very few views that time, but every single view made me happy and excited. Up until now that is still how I feel about every post I release. Like posting for the first time, always excited to see how the post will be received and read.
I was late in the game, there were hundreds and thousands of bloggers already making blogging for a living. I knew I had to be quick and I had to work harder to get myself out there, at least to establish a presence in the market. That meant expanding my topics, releasing more posts, and so at the end of 2016, I started releasing my savory recipes.
Savory to Balance My Sweet Life
November 2016, I released my first savory post just to test the waters. Having a savory items in my blog was already a part of the plan, it was only the timing of when I am going to do it that was unknown. Creating a savory recipe post is a lot different from creating a sweets post. I remember how hesitant I was to start that section because normally savory dishes requires more ingredients which meant longer posts. I was used to cooking savory dishes without having to measure the ingredients because that’s how it is for me for home cooking. The spices are just added gradually and adjusted as I go. For savory posts, I had to measure all the spices up to the 1/8 tsp that I added, plus it was also a challenge for me to take photos while I’m making it because my oven stove top doesn’t have much open space to position the camera. But honestly, after doing quite a few posts of savory items I started liking it. I even asked myself why haven’t I done it sooner. The good thing about making savory dishes is that they have more flexibility to adjust the taste even if the dish is already cooked. It’s also easier to salvage a failed recipe as compared to baking. In baking, it’s not always easy to fix the product once its already baked. There’s only few tricks that you can do, and sometimes even with a heavy heart I had to throw it because it was a total disaster, inedible even for me. Both baking and cooking has its pros and cons, I couldn’t really say which one I liked doing better because I honestly enjoyed doing both.
Savory dishes also gave a balance to my sweet life, it gave additional twist and spice. Just to be realistic, no matter how much I love sweets, I cannot live on sweets alone. Let’s just say it’s possible that a week would pass by without me baking especially during busy days, but I will not be able to get by without cooking. I am really glad I finally had a chance to start that section and I cannot wait to share with you more of my savory and spicy creations. There’s more coming your way, promise!
Travel with Me
The travel posts, although not a priority when I was starting, were always something that I was excited to start. I decided to start them sooner than later and I released my first travel post August of 2017. Basically, anything that has to do with me going places regardless if it is within Canada or outside I considered as travel. I have so many things that I wanted to share especially my adventures outside of Canada but I decided to start with Canada first before sharing my outside trips. To be more specific, I started sharing my adventures within British Columbia (BC) and there’s more coming this year. I’m so excited to expand more on this section and to share with you my good and exciting travel memories. Stay tuned for more posts to come, we’ve only just started
Going All Out on Social Media
End of last year, I went all out on sharing my posts in my favorite social media platforms. WordPress being the first because all my posts were automatically showed in WordPress, then Facebook being the second. I’ve linked up my posts so that they are automatically posted on Facebook whenever I released one. I’ve also touched on Pinterest and built a separate category for all SweetnSpicyLiving recipes and posts. Then I started my Instagram although I’ve had it for long, I’ve never used it for my blog posts. I haven’t tapped that part that much, and I’m hoping to give it more attention this year. I’ve also linked my Twitter account to my post so that all posts are automatically posted on Twitter. Last but not the least, Google+ (has anyone ever heard of it?). I’ve created my account and linked it up to my post for automatic posting but until now I’m still figuring out how Google+ works and how to maximize it to promote my website.
Improving My Food Photography
If you check out my first post in 2016 and compare it to my recent posts, you will notice a drastic improvement in photography and food presentation. This is something that I had been working on as I go and so far, I am happy with how things are progressing. I am not a professional photographer, nor have I taken any photography classes. All my shots and table settings are done all by myself in the comfort of my own home. Photography is one of my passions and doing it for my blog is something that I looked forward to. It is not as easy as putting the food on the table and clicking the camera, it takes time to shoot one recipe but I’m not complaining at all. It’s all worth it and I am happy and thankful for the people who appreciate what I am doing, your comments and feedback means lot to me.
Receiving Feedback and Comments from You
Comments and feedback started coming in and I can never be more happier when I started seeing them 🙂 There’s nothing more rewarding than getting feedback and comments from you, telling me what you think of my posts. Simple and short words from you really makes my day and motivates me to do better everyday. I started getting more and more comments and feedback now as compared to when I just started, and every single feedback I get gave me the sense of accomplishment that what I am doing is somehow benefiting other people. Thank You for taking the time to read my posts and sharing your opinions about them with me. I’m looking forward to hearing more from you. Keep the comments coming, I sure love them from the bottom of my heart ♥♥♥
Investing on Video and Photography Equipment
Last year was a year of investing on photography and lighting equipment, quite pricey if I may say, but it’s all worth it for me. It took awhile and a lot of research to get an idea of what equipment I need to buy if I want to go into video blogging. I’ve decided that 2018 will be the year that I want to start making video recipes and at the end of 2017, I started preparing for it. I researched and read a lot, and then I purchased basic equipment for recording video recipes. I’ll have a separate post about those equipment in case you decided to go on video blogging. Just to give you an idea, tripod is a must, a good artificial lighting for indoor shooting is very handy. A good DSLR camera is of course a must. And accessories like lateral arm extension for overhead shooting are optional but very convenient to get the top view angle. I was really excited when I got them and although it will take a lot of time and polishing to improve my video blogging skills, I think I’ll get there in time, just one post at a time. So bear with me as I go through the process of learning.
My First Official YouTube Video Recipe Post
How to Make Classic Chocolate Ganache, my first official YouTube recipe video was released May 4, 2018. Although I have a few test recipe videos in my channel, the Classic Chocolate Ganache video was the first one that I publicly released and advertised. It was a 1-minute video and although short, it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and drove me crazy and gave me sleepless nights. I never realized that making a video recipe could be so difficult. It took me 3-4 re-takes to get it, and still I have to admit there are still a LOT if areas that I can improve. It’s a work in-progress, and I am hoping that it will get better as I do it over and over again.
Finally a Logo for SweetNSpicyLiving, and I’m in it!
We had been working hard to come up with a logo for my website, and we finally have it now! There’s quite a lot of websites that allow people to create logos for a fee, and I’ve checked a couple of them. Although this was the easy way to do it, and I have to say sometimes even fancier and more professional looking, we decided to do my website logo manually to give it a more personal touch. I wanted something that would represent the website and me, the person behind SweetNSpicyLiving. We’ve come up with a logo of me in the silhouette (Yes, that’s actually me!) holding a plate in my right and left hands. Left representing my baking and on the right side representing cooking and the “Living” representing my life outside of the kitchen. The logo was a collaboration between me and my 2 friends. One took charge of the photography and the other one took charge of the design and You Tube video music intro. I am very grateful for their help, their time and their support and most especially for the patience. ♥♥
SweetNSpicyLiving Channel is now in You Tube
There’s a lot more interesting stuff coming really soon, definitely more recipe videos, more travel videos and some new section in my blog. The main goal for 2018 is to polish my video-making skills so that I can share with you more video recipes. I am hoping that the short video recipes will encourage you to give baking and cooking a chance. Travel will also be a part of my channel as I will share short videos for my trips whenever possible. I have a LOT to learn, making video recipes is 3x, 4x harder than making a regular post. It takes more time, more re-takes, more polishing. It could get frustrating a lot of times, but it’s all worth it. Expect more videos to come.
Thanks To YOU ♥♥♥
First of all let me say Thank You for staying with me and for deciding to subscribe to my website. Knowing that YOU appreciate what I am doing inspires me more to be better everyday. I may not have a chance to meet with you personally or even to catch up with you regularly, but I want you to know that I truly appreciate the time that you spend reading my posts. I am hoping that in the years to come, I will have a chance to get to know you. So please do not hesitate to leave me a comment and let’s connect. Again, Thank You.
It’s been a busy 2 years of blogging and I am looking forward to more years to come. I am hoping that in the coming years, I will be able to reach and inspire more people with my recipes and travel adventures. Please help me grow SweetNSPicyLiving by sharing my recipes and subscribing to my channel. I would really appreciate it if you could do that for me.