So this post is basically a reflection on the last 18 months from when I first posted Confessions, Observations and Challenges from a Male Food Blogger and how with perseverance, personal and creative growth, your blog and outlook can change.
What I have found over the past year and a half is that if you don’t participate and put yourself out there, you will find blogging to be a very lonely place.
I needed to find my people, and after trying to break into certain groups, I found that water seeks it’s own level. I have found an amazing group of people, a community of like minded and caring people, who enjoy me, my site, my writing and recipes. Friendships have grown out of this and I am more in love with what I do as a food blogger than ever.
Commenting, being genuine and interacting with other bloggers is essential. You can’t live in a silo and expect the world to find you. After coming across various blogs, commenting, seeing and visiting other commenters’ sites and so on, I have developed a fantastic network of friends and people I can learn from, engage with and just have a kindred spirit on other things other than food blogging, too. Whether it’s on the East Coast like David over at Spiced, or Chris at Shared Appetite, or like Farida way over in Jordan at Nutrizonia.
But of course we all eat with our eyes, so the continued education and development of taking photos again and again and again is an ongoing process for me. I see my own growth, but know I still have so much to learn and surround myself with people I admire and are willing to assist in my progress. I am so grateful for them, their insight, videos and tutorials as well as books.
Practice, practice, practice.
We had an exercise this weekend where Nagi started to explain the settings she wanted us to use for a shot in manual mode and I was terrified. I have had so much to do with a full time job, the site as it is and keeping a personal life that the task of switching to Manual Mode from Automatic was something I was always going to do… next week. Well, with the help of some great people this weekend I found the help and courage to go for it and will be going to manual mode instead of automatic moving forward!
I am so excited… So, let me share some of the FBC crew with you!
This weekend we all got together for the first of hopefully many Food Blogger Central Conferences. Here are some of us on the last day, several others had already left prior to the photo Dave took for us.
From the first evening when Dave and I pulled into the Double Tree hotel in Torrance, California I was so excited to finally be meeting people who have reached out and allowed me to be a part of a unique community we call Food Bloggers Central. We were to meet for cocktails and dinner across the ways at a restaurant called Stacked, and the owner was a gracious and attentive guy who made us all feel welcomed.
I instantly recognized Marissa, of Pinch and Swirl, who introduced me to this group. A sweetie through and through, she and her husband just returned from a month long vacation in Paris. Luckily she made it home a week prior to the ugliness that transpired there this past weekend.
Sitting next to her was none other than Nagi of Recipe Tin Eats, my sensei in food blogging, and one inspiring lady. When I tapped her on her shoulder she literally jumped up from her cushioned seat and climbed over Marissa to give Dave and I warm, welcoming hugs.
I knew this was going to be a fantastic weekend and was so comfortable meeting the people I had only virtually interacted with via our food blogs and essentially Food Bloggers Central.
The evening was exciting and I met some people I admired and follow online like Rachael from Easy Peazy Mealz and Jen from Carlsbad Cravings and new ones, too like Kelly from A Side of Sweet and Matt from Plating Pixels. The next day was to be the start of a 2 day conference of ideas, feedback, interaction and commentary.
The FBC Conference was packed with informative ideas and conversation detailing growth strategies, how some of the FBC team had made it to 1,000,000+, yes that’s one million, visitors per month to their sites, and how they got there. Jen shared her life’s challenges and inspirational story with us all and Dave and I plan on getting together with her and her husband for dinner soon as she lives up the coast from us. Amazing young lady.
Here are some of us after the first day having some drinks and winding down.
Dave came with me and had a great time meeting all of the people I reference quite often. Sabrina from Dinner Then Dessert, who did a wonderful job of helping put this all together and gave us all name tags, even gave Dave (official “Keviniscooking Tester”), a name tag and was a joy to meet.
Here is Nagi going over photography editing tips. She shared fantastic nuggets of information, and I’m happy to say half or more of what she does, I have been doing as well – so that made happy!
I met some favorites of mine who are just really good people. One being the lovely Mila from Girl and the Kitchen. Loved her energy, her love of food and animals and she came with quite the shoe collection!
Some more of the ladies who helped me with manual settings, staying positive and having a fun weekend. Thanks for the camera support Nancy! You can find her over at A Communal Table.
Meggan of Culinary Hill had her daughter Charlotte with her and she was a little cutie. It was great to visit and know that I am on the right path.
I really appreciated the discussions and people’s honesty throughout the event.
Nagi even was able to get a few speakers to come outside of the group, and the very talented and fun Christina Peters from the uber informative Food Photography Blog gave a great presentation and was so engaging. I loved hearing the behind the scenes stories of food photo shoots.
Beeta from the wonderful French cuisine and pastry site, Mon Petit Four told me her father shared with her some of my recipes and “if he found me that’s saying something.” That warmed my soul!
She was so sweet and at one dinner with her, Marissa and Dave, the four of us had some really good conversations and we discussed the book The Four Agreements. The next day before leaving she brought us a wonderful gift of Saffron Spray. So excited to use it, thanks Beeta!
Here’s the gang just before leaving, getting in those last minutes selfies! Thank you all so much for making me feel apart of something so fantastic, and I look forward to our growing friendships. Cheers!