A year ago I had never tweeted, I didn’t have a clue what the purpose of Google+ was, Instagram was foreign and WordPress was a mystery that I hadn’t uncovered. I was clueless.
I was also a girl with a mission.
I had a picture in my mind of what could happen if I put my thoughts in writing, and if I shared my recipes with you. While I am not an expert at much of anything, I did think I had something to offer.
So Maebells was born.
A blog was started, a camera was purchased, a lot of food was consumed, and massive amounts of Googling was done. And somewhere along the way, you found me. (yes you! sitting right there!) Because you found me, or more specifically, because you found Maebells, you helped me find my way.
Today I am sharing everything I have learned: What I have Learned in 365 Days of Blogging
It’s Harder than it Looks: It might sound crazy to the average reader, but blogging is one of the hardest thing I have ever done. I am a smart, college educated woman, and I can tell you this blog is harder than any class or job I have ever had. Most weeks I have put at least 30 hours of work into this little blog. From recipe developement and testing, to photographing, social media, and networking it has become a full time job. It has pushed me from every single aspect. From becoming a more well rounded person, to having thicker skin, taking compliments and insults in stride, and learning what it feels like to be knocked down, but to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get over it. I would be 100% lying if I told you it wasn’t extremely frustrating at times, but it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever taken on
I am SO proud of what I have done.
Your Support System is Everything: I am from a really small town. For a long time, most of my life actually, I thought the fact I came from a small town was something that I had to overcome. In my mind it was an obstacle I had to hurdle over that other people who grew up in larger places didn’t have to deal with. It wasn’t until my late twenties, through this blog, that I learned that little town is not, and has never been an obstacle. In fact, it is one of my greatest assets.
I have readers and subscribers from every single state and countries overseas. But the one single place that holds my biggest group of readers is that place I call home. Even though Maebells has grown by leaps and bounds my readership is based on a steady foundation of people that watched me grow up, loved me unconditionally and cheered for me every step of the way. They liked, commented, and shared every recipe every day for a year. They hugged me and pointed to the items in their carts that were meant to be for my recipes when I ran into them at the grocery, they jotted my website down on church bulletins and passed them along. It has been a humbling experience.
My heart is full when I tell you that they are my secret weapon.
If I Would Have Known Then, What I Know Now: I’m just going to go ahead and say this so there is no mistaking it, there are negative people out there. Some, unfortunately, are extremely negative. The first time someone wrote something terribly nasty on my blog I cried like a baby. Really! It actually hurt me. I remade the recipe, that very night to see if I had done something wrong and really posted a terrible recipe. Guess what?! I hadn’t. I learned something from that. When someone is nasty and rude the issue isn’t you, it is them. There are a million different ways to express displeasure without being hateful, so if they are it is them, not you. Delete the comment, eat some ice cream and move the heck on girlfriend, life is too short for that mess.
What I Would Tell Another Blogger: You can’t do it alone. I know, this was earth shattering to me too. Blogging is absolutely NOT an individual activity. You need supporters, readers, commenters, taste testers, and mentors to make a blog really work. Get out there, talk to people, tell them what you do. Promote your work and promote it proudly. Other people will get excited if you are excited too, it becomes infectious, and it is how one time readers become loyal readers.
Ask for help. I know about 1% of what there is to know about blogging. Sometimes googling actually leads to way more questions than you had in the first place! Find a blogger you admire, and send an email. Heck, send me an email! Let’s get to know each other, let’s help each other, networking is so important! Remember, everyone started at day 1, everyone started as a beginner, you would be surprised at how unbelievably supportive the blogging community is.
Above all, remember why you wanted to do this in the first place. Be brave, be smart, and make it happen.
If you have made it to the end of this, you are one of those loyal readers I was talking about! haha! Now let’s celebrate with Cheesy Potato Soup! Cheers to one year, and many more!
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 8-9 medium russet or Idaho potatoes, chopped fairly small
- 1 (32 ounce) carton chicken broth
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
- 1 3/4 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup milk (I used skim)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- In a large pan bring the potatoes, broth, onion, garlic, and salt to a boil.
- Let the potatoes boil (not just simmer) for approximately 20 minutes until potatoes are beginning to fall apart.
- Cut the softened cream cheese into chunks and set aside. (it MUST be softened first if you use reduced fat, otherwise it will not have a very smooth texture)
- When potatoes are tender and falling apart add the chunks of cream cheese, shredded cheese, milk and spices. Stir until the cream cheese and shredded cheese have dissolved.
- Using an immersion blender blend the soup to a fairly creamy consistency, leaving some chunks of potatoes.
- Top with crisp bacon, additional cheese, and green onions
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