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365 Days

ago I quit my “real” job.

I didn’t quit my job to be a full-time blogger, and my decision that day, while being the only thing I had thought about for the last 18 months, was completely spontaneous. And the best decision of my life, obviously. It wasn’t one of those jobs where I was sooooo busy and complained all the time about how much horrrrrible work I had to do. In fact… I had nothing to do. Ever. Okay, maybe there were like five days when I had stuff to do. But no stress. No challenges. Two days in, it became clear that the job was not what it was promised to be and over the next year and a half plus, I had a sickening feeling in my gut at the multiple *questionable* business practices I was now associated with. Even still, I didn’t once regret that I left my career as a personal trainer – I was ready for a change and craving something new, even if this was far from it. I was racked with guilt because I actually had a job when so many others didn’t and were struggling, which is the exact reason I kept it. My husband and I often talked about how others would love my job – sitting on their rear doing absolutely nothing all day in a very small office – but for me, who spent the last 6+ years surrounded by tons of people, working an active job, loving what I did – it was a challenge to say the least. I searched for jobs nearly every single day (um, I had from 8-5 everyday to do so… literally) but never even got an interview. While I have a degree, spending my entire 20s basically running my own business as trainer translated to one thing: I worked in a gym, where no degrees are required and stereotypes are too often the norm.

Many days I wished this was my work stash.

So I started a blog and spent the majority of my day reading other blogs and interacting with the blog community. It helped me from going completely insane. And stopped me from constantly online shopping too.

The day I quit, it was pretty much against everyone’s wishes – my husband’s, my parents – but I did it anyway. Within a week I began working a 30-40 hour per week retail job, which I worked for about 8 1/2 months, until this past May. It was fun and enjoyable – not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life – but it helped pay the bills because I still considered blogging my hobby. All the while, I wanted to fully be able to support myself so that was the ultimate goal.

The most common question I get asked is “how do you do all these recipes?” or something in regards to “what is your normal day like?” I’ll be honest: I spend about 80-100 hours a week on this site, every single week. The weeks before vacations, probably even more. Sometimes I can’t think of anything to make, so I just keep brainstorming until I come up with something. Other weeks are great and I have a boatload of ideas, to which I add to my always running master list of recipes to make (currently at 43 recipes… I think I’m good for awhile). Sometimes it is challenging and sometimes it’s easy. But everyday I love it so much.

I don’t find posting 5 new recipes a week for you guys all that excruciating. Most likely, because I posted 5 new recipes a week while I was working 40-hour per week jobs just like everyone else, albeit my quality was lacking and my pictures were horrific. So this seems like fun compared to that.

By request… here is what a normal work day is like for me. I’m a pretty big dork.

5:15AM: I wake up, throw on my workout clothes, head downstairs and immediately get on the computer. I respond to comments and emails from the night before, proofread my post again (or write it, if I ran out of time last night) and make changes if needed, and post my recipe post close to 7AM. I usually have a snack at this time but it just depends on if I’m hungry or not.

6:45-8AM: This is my most recent workout window. Depending on if I’m doing morning/evening yoga, I may move this a little earlier. I am, by fault of genetics, a serious morning person.

8:15-9:30AM: I eat breakfast then respond to emails and comments and questions, check out some of my favorite blogs, and get started on tomorrow morning’s post. Supporting other bloggers is huge to me. I rarely start experimenting in the kitchen before 9:30AM, because that is when I start to get the light needed for photographs. I try to get the majority of my computer time (i.e. responding to people) in now. I also may run to the store if I need ingredients for a recipe.

9:30-1PM: Often 5 days out of 7, I will to be in the kitchen at this time: developing a new recipe, testing ones I’ve already tried, photographing, not cleaning, and generally making a huge mess. I blast music and dance like an idiot and sing at the top of my lungs to the Jersey Boys soundtrack. Sometimes I blast the Young and the Restless from the living room and pretend I’m Mother Lovett. Shhhh. I didn’t just say that. (In all seriousness, I try to never turn on the TV during the day as I find I get sucked into the couch vortex which does nothing for me… or you.)

1-1:45PM: I’ll eat lunch and respond to more questions/comments/emails. This is really important to me. My favorite part about blogging is the community we have here on my site, and I try so hard to respond to each and every relevant question that comes my way. I know exactly what it feels like to send someone an email and never receive a response, and I don’t want my readers to feel that way. Obviously there are exceptions, obviously some slip through the cracks, and obviously I’m completely aware that once there are children in my life, there is no way this will happen.

I also spend about 10-15 minutes working on a Crumbs post here if I have one that day, and schedule it to publish around 4:30 or so.

1:45-5:15 PM: Back in the kitchen! Same stuff… developing, testing, creating, tasting, not cleaning, taking notes and photographing if needed. If I am not doing recipes or photographing, this is the chunk of time I spend writing and working on freelance and other projects. That happens 2-3 days per week.

5:15-5:45PM: Clean the kitchen that looks like a bomb went off. Blast music and shake the house. Decide what’s for dinner if it isn’t already made and coming from a blog recipe. Not a big deal because my husband doesn’t get home until 8:30-9.

5:45-7PM: Upload selected photos from the day, edit if needed, upload them into my actual blog posts and type the written recipes into the posts so I don’t lose them. If I don’t do this the day of, the photos + recipes just accumulate and I end up needing 6+ hours of computer time, which is awful. I also like to type out the recipe I’ve written throughout the day to make sure it’s free of typos (it never is) and check it out while it’s fresh in my mind.

This is also the time chunk where I might go to yoga in the evening if I didn’t go in the morning, or when my cousin and I (and Natalie – hi Nat!) will go on a big neighborhood walk (about 5 miles) and BS the entire time. It’s a nice break. But if I do that, I usually end up coming home and spending the rest of the evening working.

7PM: I may eat dinner, depending on what time my husband is going to get home, or I might wait for him. I finish responding to any recipe questions/comments (again, they too are a pain if they begin to pile up), prepare dinner if needed, work on my post for the next morning, finish uploading some pictures, work on miscellaneous writing pieces and figure out my game plan for the next day (what recipes I’m making/what I’m writing/what I need from the store). Work, work, work.

9:30-11PM: Try to take some downtime from technology and relax and talk about our days, which doesn’t always happen. But if I am working, at this time I’ll watch trashy shows while doing so. More so than not, one of us has the computer in front of us.

11PM: Head to bed… and sometimes get waaay too involved on my iPhone and end up working from bed for a little while longer.

There you have it.

I can be flexible and occasionally will take a weekday afternoon to visit my friends + their kids or hang out with my mom or in last Wednesday’s case, leave the house around 3 to head to dinner and see Wicked. For example, this week Ashley will be in my area on Tuesday and we are leaving for a short trip on Friday to celebrate our anniversary, so I’m working continuously through the weekend.

I like to keep my weekdays as “workdays” because I really love having an actual weekend, even though I still may work through most of it anyway. I also don’t like to spend Saturday and Sunday developing recipes and cooking all day (I did that for the first 1.5 years of my blog… enough) because it takes away from fun things we could be doing… and when my husband is in the kitchen we want to kill each other. Often on the weekends I still end up making 2-3 recipes (today I did 3) but it’s in a much more relaxed fashion. I sleep in a bit, work out when I want, write when I need to, do recipes when I want and change things according to our plans.

I work best on a structured schedule, and I’ve tried to develop one for myself time and again when it comes to recipe development, such as spending Monday and Tuesday only doing recipes, Wednesday through Friday only writing… but it doesn’t work out. Crazy things come into play – like the fact that it may rain 3 days in a row and I have no light in my house to photograph food.

I don’t view blogging as a long term career, but more so as a creative outlet and launch pad for my job as a recipe developer and writer. I am very grateful that this is part of what I can call my “work,” but it certainly didn’t fall into my lap. I can easily say I’ve never taken one day off from my job… and that’s okay. I’ve been on the other side and am willing to do what it takes to enjoy my life. I don’t believe that anything worth it comes easy. Plus… I’m sort of in love with it.

And a fun fact? My crazy dreamy kinda goal in life is to write fiction novels. I have the most insane imagination.

Alright. Enough with the serious stuff. Any questions? That’s what 2 glasses of wine will do to you.

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239 Responses to “365 Days”

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    Cynthia (It All Changes) — October 1, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    I love that you have a plan for where blogging is at now and where it may take you. Your hard work in each recipe is shown when so many different options and the taste is fantastic even if I alter them for allergies.

    Reply

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    Nyssa Tan — October 1, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    I am proud of you for following your passion! Not too many people in this world have the courage to do that. You deserve to follow your dreams! And your hard work has paid off. Look at how many people you’ve affected with this blog. I wish you success and I know that you will become such a creative recipe writer!

    Reply

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    Ally — October 1, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    Hi there…I’m a uber newbie to your blog, and I must say, both you and your blog ROCK!! I’ve got you listed in my Reader, and when I sign in, and your blog shows up in bold, I smile and get right to your post!! I’m also an uber newbie to blogging myself. Although, I have no idea why I’ve started my own blog. I guess it (possibly) will give me something to do, other than drive myself crazy all the live long day. Anyways, you rock and your blog rocks, so keep on doing what you’re doing!!

    :o)

    Reply

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    Dana B — October 1, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

    This is awesome. So what kind of camera do you use? Your pics are so crisp! Thanks for all of your hard work!!

    Reply

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    Melissa P — October 1, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas and recipes. I get so many of the ideas for my own blog from you and other bloggers; very few ideas from cookbooks. I hope you continue to love what you do and do what you love.

    Reply

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    Lauren — October 1, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

    Love love love this…thanks so much for sharing! It’s cool to get a peek into your daily life :)

    Reply

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    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — October 1, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

    You are amazing. I kind of wish I was you.

    Reply

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    DessertForTwo — October 1, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

    I love posts like this! I love to see the inner lives of my favorite bloggers :)

    Reply

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    Lori @ RecipeGirl — October 2, 2011 @ 12:01 am

    You are the coolest. I mean that. I totally wish we were neighbors so we could do this stuff together, since you just completely described MY life! Wouldn’t it be cool to have food bloggers for neighbors??

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:54 am

      Oh man, I WISH you were my neighbor Lori!!!

      Reply

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    Cupcake Kat — October 2, 2011 @ 12:08 am

    Yes you do an insane imagination. Did you know that you are sort of incredible? You are one of my “blogger idols”! I can’t believe you put so much work into your blog but it shows!

    Reply

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    Mama Pea — October 2, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    Congrats on your first year at the best job ever. Your days sound eerily like mine…only with a couple of little rugrats thrown in there. And a lot less bacon ;)

    Reply

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    Whitney — October 2, 2011 @ 12:16 am

    I love that you said one of your crazy dreams is to write fiction. I LOVE to read and am always telling my Hubby how I would love to write a book! I just think it would be so much fun! It is neat that someone else has that same crazy dream!

    Reply

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    jamie — October 2, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    Feel free to call me ignorant. I just don’t get how you can make a living on the recipes and blogging. I”m not complaining. I love it. I’m very happy to read your recipes and look at your amazing pictures but I just don’t understand how income is generated. Again, I’m hapy to be told I’m ignorant but I just am curious how spending so much time and effort makes income for you and your family. You obviously work hard on it, so, why?

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:53 am

      Not ignorant at all! I get paid from the ad network I use – which is Foodbuzz, you can see the ads on the right side. Like most ad networks, they pay a certain dollar amount per page view, so page views is how the income is generated. There are other networks out there too (like Blogher, who isn’t just for food) and they all pretty much work the same way.

      Reply

    • Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:55 am

      I believe from advertising ( you get paid per click on adds…) and PR… some bloggers do demos and teach classes at conventions and expos. It can lead to publishing deals as well.. allot of the popular bloggers out there get cook book deals or some even commercials or their own TV shows (ex Ree Drummond)

      Reply

      • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:59 am

        Yep, you are right Carrie… blogging can generate income in other ways. As for the actual income that is generated from the blog only, it’s the ad networks.

        • jamie — October 2nd, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

          but what I’m still confused by is how you get any kickback from people like me who just subscribe to readers and never visit your site?

          • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

            We don’t get anything from that – unless the site is actually visited (not read through a reader or email), nothing else counts as a page view. Fortunately I have enough people that do visit the actual site to generate an income.

            • Holly — October 3rd, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

              I’m SO glad that you said that- about actual page counts- I had no idea that it ONLY counts if you go to the actual page. Good to know :)

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    rose — October 2, 2011 @ 12:20 am

    Hi..I really enjoyed this post! Your hard work is inspirational and the risk that you took! Love your blog :) And I do love that you respond to comments and questions, even though I don’t even have a blog myself, so you don’t “know” me that way… if that makes sense haha.
    I am currently about to take a huge pay cut for a part time job while I am going back to school to do something I will love someday.. hopefully! So it really hits home to read about your personal story. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Erin — October 2, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    If you write a fiction novel, I’ll be first in line to buy it. :)

    Reply

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    rose — October 2, 2011 @ 12:30 am

    P.S.
    Also, just curious, if you do yoga every day as well as work out? I keep meaning to work yoga back into my fitness schedule, but never prioritize it. Just wondering, I know you sometimes include your workouts on the blog, and I love those posts! I, too, am a morning work-out person, mostly by default since I despise working out in the evening.. don’t know why.. anyways I always want high energy in the early am, not yoga!

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:48 am

      I also despise working out at night, the only reason I ever do is because my cousin/friends can go at that time and it’s fun. Somedays I do cardio and yoga on the same day, it just depends on my schedule. I never lift weights and do yoga on the same day.

      Reply

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    J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) — October 2, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    When we put our work into writing, it’s very eyeopening how much time and work goes into a blog post that sometimes isn’t long than one or two paragraphs. There is so much more to blogging than meets the eye. Actually, it goes for any type of work you do from home at your computer. My husband is a programmer (as you know) and between the both of us, we spend many, many hours a week in the office, but people still sometimes act like we’re just playing games or chatting on Twitter. They don’t realize how grueling this life can be, especially when you are your own boss, which means you have to stay accountable on your own terms. It takes a lot of dedicated, self-discipline, and patience. Being a successful independent blogger is tough; none of it comes easily unless you are extremely lucky. I’d say to be a full-time blogger you almost have to expect to work twice as hard as a regular 9-5 offline job. And let’s not even get into the photo side of it. That’s a job in itself! Maybe blogging is three times the work, lol.

    I know what you mean about pics surmounting on your camera. Sometimes I end up skipping posts because my memory card is overflowing and so back-logged. Staying current is key, so I agree with you 100% about having to stay on a structured schedule. I’m still working on that myself. :D

    Reply

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    Jen — October 2, 2011 @ 1:47 am

    This post is very inspiring. I’ve been a writer for a hugely popular humour blog for almost two years, and have recently decided to start my own. I just moved across the country when my fiance got a job transfer (another programmer), and I was told to use this time to find my dream and figure out what it is I really love to do. I left my career working in reality television behind and am trying to focus on writing. I’ve become very overwhelmed by the photos on my memory card, writer’s block, lack of page visitors, uninspiring days… reading your post (and the comments) really inspire me to push push push and write, photograph, edit, and publish. Thanks for giving me the kick in the butt I needed this week. I’ve recently become a big fan of your blog and look forward to the sexy food photos and funny commentary everyday. I know this sounds flat and cliche, but thank you. Seriously, thank you.

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:46 am

      Thank YOU!

      Reply

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    Anja — October 2, 2011 @ 3:20 am

    Hey,
    this is a very beautiful post you wrote today. Very honest and private. I loved reading it.
    I am in a very similar position right now where you were when you quit your job. I am still trying to make the best out of it but it is very difficult and makes me unhappy many times. I have not figured out yet what to do but I guess some day I will.
    I just started writing a blog some months ago and I love it. I still need to write more regularly though. I love the fact that I can write stories, take beautiful pictures and bake and cook what I looove so much. I keep asking myself how you can live from blogging. It is a nice idea to me but I do not know how to get there and what is required. Perhaps you could explain the process? Only if that is okay for you.
    Anyways, I love reading your blog and thank you so much for sharing this very important part of your life.

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:46 am

      HI Anja! Regardless of the genre of your blog, there are ad networks out there take take all sorts of blogs (I really only know of a few, Foodbuzz (that I use), Blogher, Glam Media). All you do is apply to be in their network. They pay you a certain dollar amount per page views. Some networks require that you post “x” many times per week and others want you to have your blog for at least 90 days – each one is different, but you should search some out!

      Reply

      • Anja — October 2nd, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

        thank you sooo much for your quick reply and explaining the process! :)

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    Chrissy — October 2, 2011 @ 3:47 am

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! I began reading it everyday starting this summer. I’m in college right now, and my life is pretty crazy, and I often find reading what you have to post the most relaxing part of my day. Not to be a nerd, but I really look forward to it. I made the berry mint mojitos over the summer for my friends and was the popular and cool hostess. I LOVE your cupcake circuit, but love looking at pictures of cupcakes you make even more.

    I think that it is great that you went against everyone else’s wishes to do what you want to do. That is so important in life, and not enough people (including myself!) follow that.

    My question is, how exactly are you able to make this your career and get paid for this? How do you recommend others to get into blogging?

    Thank you and good luck with your fiction novel!

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 9:42 am

      There are multiple ad networks out there (I just happen to use Foodbuzz) and that is how bloggers get paid. You get paid a certain amount per page views. I think anyone can get into blogging – you just have to be 100% passionate about what you are writing about, and 100% passionate about the actual blogging part since it can take a good amount of work.

      Reply

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    Becca — October 2, 2011 @ 4:59 am

    This was so interesting to read, I’ll appreciate this blog even more now that I know how much work it takes! Thanks for all your hard work! :)

    Reply

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    Christy — October 2, 2011 @ 6:44 am

    I agree with Becca,,,,thanks for giving us a glimpse into the wild world of professional blogging! I am soooo happy you decided to carve out this wonderful piece of the world for yourself and for us…your readers that love you so!

    Reply

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    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — October 2, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    Awesome post.

    When we were at the height of our emailing up-and-backs, you were at the height of your job woes and I was at the height of my Phoenix woes. And look at you now…what an amazing 180 and I am soooo happy for you!!

    “albeit my quality was lacking and my pictures were horrific.” <– HARDLY!!! Those early recipes (and photos) are what people grabbed onto. That's why you're where you're at today. You had to start somewhere and your early recipes were just as fabulous as your current ones.

    And nothing in life comes easy or without extreme sacrifice and dedication. I know. I work 20 hrs a day and sleep 4. I have so many things I want to do, and need to do, and it's all hard work. But I wouldn't have it any other way; nor would you, I know.

    Congrats, Jessica. You have earned all the success and more. Truly…you amaze me. Daily.

    Reply

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    Paulette — October 2, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    Great post. In the last two years I have felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down the hole and entering the wonderful world of artists and food bloggers. So many talented people who have shared there gift of writing, photography and wonderful recipes for us to enjoy.

    I am sixty-two and still looking for that place or path in life to take. Never feeling it’s too late to do what you want in life or were your heart’s desire will take you. I think you have made the right decision. I love reading your post, especially when I may have a day that I am down or feeling a little depressed about life just in general. Then I wake up and read how Sweet it is and smile and say to myself, it’s gonna be a good day. I think today I will finish my childrens story I have been working on for two years. Thanks Hugs Paulette

    Reply

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    Katie — October 2, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    Good Morning Jessica! I love this post! You are so funny and sweet! Thank you for sharing your day with us… I often wonder how bloggers get everything done, along with their everyday living. I seem to not be to good with this. What?! does that sentence even make since :) XoXo

    Reply

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    Susan — October 2, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    I love this post Jessica! It makes me smile and feel all proud for you :) I never comment that much, but I’ve been reading every day for probably almost two years now. I know far too well what it’s like to be miserable in a job that everyone thinks you’re crazy for leaving. But there is a difference between going to a job that’s “work” and going to a job that crushes your soul. No job is ever easy, but nothing should make you that unhappy! It’s also obvious how much love and hard work you put into this blog, and I think that’s why it’s always been one of my favourites. (apart from the drool factor and entertaining writing of course).

    I too kind of dream of writing fiction someday. I actually want my first fiction novel to be a murder-mystery!

    Reply

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    Cait's Plate — October 2, 2011 @ 8:27 am

    That’s my crazy dream goal too!!!

    And I want that cupcake. Thank you.

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    megan — October 2, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    w.o.o.o.w! All I can say is THANK YOU! I knew this had to be a lot of work, and I appreciate everything you do…your recipes are ALWAYS great, your photographs are beautiful and the fact that you do your darndest to respond to all our questions is SUCH a gift!!! That is one of the things that sets you far and above most of the other blogs I follow…you’ve responded to me so many times and it really DOES make me feel like a personal friend!

    Love you girl! You’re awesome, dedicated and inspiring!!

    Reply

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    Alison (Fueling for Fitness) — October 2, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Great post! Sounds like you’re exactly where you want to be. Very admirable. Your passion and hard work really shines through in all of your posts. Like many others who have commented above, I *look forward* to your posts every day. It’s definitely one of the first ones I jump to.

    And if I look at that half-eaten cupcake picture one more time, I’m going to pass out. I really want to eat that…. now. Never mind the fact that it’s 8:51am.

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    Lisa @ Life in Green — October 2, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    I read your links to get caught up in the whole back story of where you are today. And it just makes me smile…I totally get it. I completely dislike my job too and feel it’s making me…well, dumber. So I started a blog this summer to be able to work hard on something (when time allows) and get fulfillment out something I do. Already it has let to some potential new opportunities…maybe nothing huge right now but I have total faith everything will work out for me.

    Great job on taking initiative and making your life what you really want it to be!

    Reply

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    strephanie — October 2, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    where do I find those great looking cupcakes?

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    Susan — October 2, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    It was really fascinating reading how you structure and work through your day.
    I have to say, reading blogs is new to me and I really am enjoying your blog, which is the only one I read regularly. If I made/ate most of your recipes, I would not be able to leave my house, as the doors would have shrunk – but I’m that gal who reads cookbooks – and your narrative style and running commentary hit my reading “sweet spot” perfectly. I feel like I know you in person and if I met you I feel like I would really like you!!

    Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading daily!

    Reply

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    Missy Ann — October 2, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    Wow this post was very eye opening as to how much work you really do each week. I am new to blogging and I love being able to keep a little online account of my feelings and thoughts i’m having from day to day. My questions for you: 1. How do you get your blog to the point where you have repeated followers and move traffic coming to your sight as a newbie? 2. What do you do with your recipies that you don’t eat for lunch or dinner? How do you and your hubbie eat ALL the food you prepare each week? Do you give it away? or freeze leftovers? Just curious!

    PS you’re great and I really love getting your recipies each day. I have tried several….today I am doing your crock pot frence onion soup. Yum….perfect day for it in the cold and dreary Erie, PA

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 10:06 am

      Let me know how the soup turns out! As for your first question, I am going to be bratty and copy and paste what I wrote an earlier commenter, but only because I think it’s true: I think there are 3 important things. The first being: write in your conversational voice that is true to yourself. My voice is my voice is my voice – I’ve written the same way since day 1 of this blog and while some hate it and others like it, I never feel bad because it is me. Second, provide new and exciting content daily or at least a few days a week. For me, this is taking a recipe that I may like, and thinking how I can make it different without being weird or gross. An example is my buffalo chicken enchiladas – I wanted a twist on regular enchis, and these worked. They are a pretty popular recipe on my site now because of that. Third… I hate to say it but I truly believe it’s all in the pictures. I saw the biggest surge in traffic on my site last year after I began using my DSLR. People eat with their eyes. It constantly amazes me when a vegan may comment just to tell me my beef pictures look awesome, or when I see a broccoli recipe on another site that makes me actually WANT to eat broccoli. I really believe that having good pictures is key, and this is coming from someone who really dreads photography.

      As for the food, it just depends when I’m making what. We always eat some of it, sometimes all of it, sometimes I make multiple desserts on a weekend when we know we are going to be entertaining or going to parties, it seriously just depends. I rarely, rarely freeze things because I don’t have the room. My family lives all around me so sometimes they get some of it… either way, making food for the site is my first priority. I’m really not concerned what we will do with it because I know it will always end up somewhere.

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    Susan — October 2, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    One question – is there any money in this blogging business? And if so, how does that work?

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    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 10:08 am

      Yes – bloggers get paid by ad networks (I use Foodbuzz, ads are on the right sidebar). There are multiple different ones but they all pretty much work the same way: a certain dollar amount per page view. Hahaha but I wouldn’t exactly say that there “is money” in the blogging business… only if you are really consistent and passionate about it.

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    megabrooke — October 2, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    i love this post! i’ve always wondered how you make it work to develop all of these recipes, still have time with your husband, that adorable puppy, etc. etc. and still have a life. thanks for sharing!

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    Dawn — October 2, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    Gosh, I’m such a newbie to the blogging life. Kudos on the article and it’s writing. And Thanks for sharing your story. I always wondered how this could be done as a full time job and still afford to buy some great shoes at the same time.

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    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 10:14 am

      Ha! Well, if I’m being honest, my shoe addiction has taken quite a hit and been replaced with things like truffle oil. Sad.

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    Leigh — October 2, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    I love that you love blogging so much. It’s obvious you spend a great deal of time and effort on your corner of the internet.

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    HeatherChristo — October 2, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Jessica! This was actually so inspiring to me! My husband is forever telling me I have to schedule myself so I am not so crazy- and this is awesome. (Except for the kink of two little kids!) All of your hard work shows. Also- I can’t believe that you work out every day like that- good for you!! I am so pathetic. I now realize I am using “no-time” as an excuse….

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    Emily @ A Cambridge Story — October 2, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Congratulations on making this an exciting year! It’s really interesting to have a little insight into how you balance blogging and everything else. Your recipes and posts are excellent — keep it up!

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    heather — October 2, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    My sister (Missy Ann, who posted up there) sent me this post this morning and you have no idea how this rings true for me (I sent you an email detailing further). I currently work the most boring job in the world (literally, bored to tears sometimes), and I think that it’s so great that you just quit, as I want to do that more days of the week than not. It makes me remember that I’m not stuck where I’m at! I needed that today as Monday looms right around the corner…

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    Lisa — October 2, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    I admire you so much and so happy I found your blog. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to bake and cook, but baking is my first love and if I could do it all day, I so totally would! The fact that you do it, kind of lets me live vicariously through you! I would love to start a blog, I just have no idea how too! I can’t wait to check my in box every morning, not for my work responses, but rather for your email for the day! Keep up your great work!! xo

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    caroleena — October 2, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    Happy anniversary! Thank you for such a lovely blog & I wish for you much success and happiness in doing it. :)

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    Adele — October 2, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Jessica,
    Thank you so much for this post. I think we can all relate to job frustrations and worries like the ones you have had in the past. I have a B.A., but recently became a yoga teacher (another job you don’t need a degree for), which I LOVE. While I am working to get more classes on my schedule and to really be able to work for myself, I am working a day job that I have no passion for, is not interesting, and I don’t have much to do there and use my potential. I am also searching for other jobs to fill this time until I can teach full time and considering retail, since I have done the desk job thing and find it to be excruciatingly boring. Like you and many others, I have dreams of the day I can quit my day job and do what I love full time and work for myself. This post is so inspiring that you are doing what you love and working hard. It is possible and we can all achieve what we really want in life! Thank you so much.
    <3

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    sarah — October 2, 2011 @ 11:34 am

    Ahhh…I love your honesty. So refreshing! It makes me feel better about my crappy blogs. I’m primarily a SAHM but also have two PT jobs. In other words, there is a reason my blogs are lame! It sounds naive, but I don’t think I fully realized the amount of full-time work that goes into writing/photographing a fantastic blog (like yours) until I read this entry. Now to figure out how some of the other popular bloggers seem to have children + jobs (+ medical residency?!?!??) yet still manage to post beautiful recipes, writing and photos regularly. Do these people never sleep???
    Thanks for this post and keep moving forward! You’re doing a great job!

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

      I agree – no clue how they do it!

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    Kelly — October 2, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    This was an awesome post. And your family and neighbors are so lucky to get all this food all the time!

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    kristen — October 2, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    I think this is my first time commenting on your site (which, shame on me, since I stop by here every day!), but I just wanted to say that you truly do an amazing job. This is by far my favorite food blog, and I really enjoy stopping by here every day – your “voice” is hilarious, and your talent in the kitchen definitely shines!

    Also, it was great to see a “day in the life” post – it’s apparent how hard you work on this site, and honestly all that hard work pays off, because your recipes & pictures are awesome… I definitely find that I “pin” more recipes from here than anywhere else :)

    Anyway, keep up the hard work – I know great things are in store for you!

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    Lauren — October 2, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Happy Anniversary dear. You clearly made the right decision….may the next year be even better for you. As always, your story is clearly inspirational. I hope you know that. :)
    I’m so proud of you!

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    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — October 2, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this, it’s truly inspiring! There is nothing worse than being at a job you hate every single day, and I can’t blame you for leaving it. It’s awesome that you’ve been able to support yourself on income from this site, and I hope you can continue to do so for as long as you want. You are the first blog I click on every day and my absolute favorite!

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — October 2, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    I love this post Jessica. I am intrigued by your day, and kinda wish that was how I spent my days :-)

    I wonder about what you do if a recipe flops? Do your recipes ever flop? Do you ever get frustrated with flops and wasted ingredients?

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

      OMG girl… I have recipe flops every single WEEK! Like, multiple times, especially because I really try to develop all recipes on my own and I have no culinary degree so I don’t truly know what goes with what – I only know from experience. I take pics of them now because I’ll do a compilation at the end of the year (like this: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/12/recipe-disasters-of-2010/)… in fact I just had two yeasted recipes fail on Friday bigtime. It is frustrating, and yes, the ingredients being wasted are frustrating (especially when they are things like vanilla beans… ouch) but it is all part of the job!

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    Kate — October 2, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    I have to say that your blog is my favourite. I love your voice and if you ever decide to write a fiction book, I think it’d be awesome! Your recipes are always so reliable and sound delicious. I have baked chocolate chip cookies for years but when you posted those puffy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, oh my….that was like a dream cookie for me :) and I’ve never wanted to try another cc recipe again!

    Also, I used to have a lot of problems with food and your approach to have everything in moderation has done wonders for me. Really. I no longer binge, starve, and I feel great eating croissants and not so many vegetables all the time. :) I’ve lost weight surprisingly! I just love how you don’t (seem to at least) deprive yourself. So thank you.

    I know this is a really long comment, lol, but your blog makes me so happy. I, too, have made a ‘crazy’ decision to study in Moscow, Russia (i just graduated high school) and it has literally, changed my life. If I stayed in Texas with my parents, I would have been stuck in the same awful routine that would have got me nowhere. My parents didn’t want me to go at all but I am so glad I did. I want to stay here forever. Now I just gotta see if anyone will hire me without a college degree…:)

    Oh and by the way, can you PLEASE come up with a recipe for Entenmann’s raspberry danish twist? I used to eat these as a kid and I dream of them. It was like a danish stuffed with cream cheese, raspberries and delicious stuff :) a Pumpkin danish sounds kind of better though than raspberries right now… Oh and another thing – I really really love how you reply to your readers. To me, it shows that you care/value about what we have to say and that’s probably why I am writing such a long comment, haha.

    have a good night <3

    Reply

    • Jessica — October 2nd, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

      Wow – that is a huge leap and I highly doubt I’d have the courage to move so far away. Props to you and good luck!! :)

      Reply

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