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One year ago today easybaked was born.   I don’t have a recipe to share with you today, but I wanted to sum up the year and thank those of you who have encouraged me and taught me SO much about blogging.

One year ago, I decided to try this and I was LOST- what is a widget?  What is HTML?  Why would I want to link something? How do I add a picture?  I had a few recipes and pictures ready, so I chose a header from these and this is how it looked:

My 1st post was for my chocolate chip cookies- a recipe I was anxious to get online so I could stop fielding requests for it!  I honestly thought that the only people that would read this blog would be friends and family.  I figured it would be a perfect place to keep a recipe book of sorts that I could send friends to when they asked for a recipe.

My mentor at the beginning was a friend from the Real Women of Philadelphia site (kind of like a facebook for people who love food and cream cheese).  Her name is Rebecka Evans (and if you click on her name it will take you to her blog).  She taught me the basics (like what is the difference between blogger and wordpress?)  She, along with a whole group of bloggers from RWOP introduced me to “link parties”.  I linked up many of my 1st recipes and met some of my 1st friends in the blogging world.

One day, I came across a link in the sidebar of a friends blog that said “Foodgawker” and when I clicked on it I was taken to the most amazing site filled with beautiful food photography.  I decided to submit my best photos and was soundly rejected for a variety of reasons (lighting, composition, exposure etc….) I was really ticked off that my photography was not good enough for this site, so I set out to get at least one photo accepted on Foodgawker.  I’m a very competitive person and I had over 60 rejections before I finally had one picture accepted:

Nutter Butter Flip Flop cookies.  I was visiting friends and used their camera to take this picture.  I realized a couple of things….I needed a better camera and I needed to read up on light and exposure.

I borrowed a great camera from my sister-in-law and started reading books and asking questions.  My friend Brie is a photographer so she answered lots of things for me.  I took almost every picture that followed this one outside.  It was summer and I would obsess about getting that perfect light– the sunny yet hazy feel that would provide enough light without giving a glare.  My neighbors were entertained by my running around the backyard with cupcakes and a camera trying to find that perfect light. (They already thought I was crazy…this just confirmed it).  My photos were about 30% right—and about 70% waaaay wrong with this method.

I realized that I needed to figure out a way to standardize my lighting.  My dad (bless him!) got me some halogen lamps from Big Lots (you know – the kind you use in the garage) and I made a DIY light box with a huge cardboard box and vellum paper.  My 1st photos in the light box were of my grandmas gingerbread cookies.  She had just passed away and making the cookies was my way of remembering her.  The box and lights worked beautifully, and the rest is history.

I’ve still so much to learn about photography.  I’ve had 100 photos rejected and 29 accepted on Foodgawker….not a very good percentage, but it makes me smile because I’ve come so far.

Along the way I began training in graphic design and my friend and mentor Sarah helped me design a new header and logo and the old (embarrassingly fuzzy and underexposed cookies) header was history!

Another friend and mentor came along in October.  Her name is Kit Bennett and she has a site called Kids Parties 123.  She is also the editor in charge of the parents site on the Webkinz website, and she asked if I would contribute recipes periodically for that site.  In return she has answered SO many questions for me about the blogging world and given me so many pointers about getting my recipes out there on the search engines for people to find.

Many thanks to each of you who have encouraged  and taught me along the way this year.  I am just astonished by how many of you are following this little blog and how many of you visit each day.  When I get messages from you about how much you loved a recipe or how it made your birthday/ anniversary/ party so much happier- well, it just makes my whole day.  That’s why I continue to share recipes here.

So a few stats.

My 1st month had 126 visits.  This month I’ve had 117, 500 so far.

We have 691 of you following  (what?!?- I don’t even know 691 people!)

My busiest day was Feb. 23 when I had 23, 879 views.  That was CRAZY.  I had friends over and we just sat around my stats page hitting refresh to see how many hundreds I’d get in a minute.  I know that sounds really lame to those of you with huge blogs– but for us it was AMAZING.  I felt like I’d better go back and proofread all of my recipes so I wouldn’t have 23,000 people mad at me for a typo. lol!

My most viewed recipe:  Strawberry Lemonade layer cake— 103,754 views (insane!)

My favorite recipe posted this year (people always ask me what my favorite is—hard question!)  I have to go with Raspberry Truffle Tart.  Its so rich and creamy…and I love raspberry with chocolate.

So, with all of that said, many thanks to each of you who are following this blog and adding these recipes to your lives.  Thank you for your comments and kind words of encouragement.  Here’s to another year of creating recipes together (and then taking a picture of what we’ve created)!!!!

Enjoy!  -r

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