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.

share:    Pin It    

239 Responses to “365 Days”

  1. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 2, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    5am to 11pm or later oy vey… I don’t know how you have the energy for that! It sure sounds like you’re more than just a morning person. I’m neither ;) Loved hearing about your journey to where you are now and your typical day.


  2. #
    Meghan — October 2, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    That was actually incredibly inspiring. Thanks for sharing and sending some motivation this way. I’ve always been so impressed by the quality and quantity of your posts each week. Keep it up lady!


  3. #
    Evan Thomas — October 2, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    It’s always clear from your quality and content that you’re one of the hardest working bloggers, and definitely on your way up in the world. I can’t believe you worked a retail job for 8 months after you quit your other job. Your posts always seemed so well prepared that I couldn’t imagine having to work on anything else and still be just as good.


  4. #
    Chrissy — October 2, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    I had no idea you started working again after quitting your job. I assumed you spent all your time on this blog. I have no idea how you can do it. With 40 hours of work, I consider it a great accomplishment if I can even make dinner. Forget fun treats!


  5. #
    Erin — October 2, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

    Thanks for doing what you do. And for what it’s worth, I’d read your book.


  6. #
    Erin P. — October 2, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    I read the whole post and then saw the cupcake. I made those and LOVED them. Meant to comment sooner, but forgot. They tasted like sugar cookie cupcakes. AND, this may sound crazy coming from a sugar-junkie….but I don’t think they need any frosting. They are fun and delicious. They are not typical cake though. Very different texture. More pound cake if anything. But a big hit with the three boys that got to try them (and with me)! Thanks for all postings! I enjoy your blog very much!


  7. #
    Jessica Lee — October 2, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    Awesome post. It’s amazing when ppl quit their “day job” because they are not happy. I think too few ppl do it!! just did and I could not be more happy. I’m going into another job that is not my passion or anything but it’s waaaaaaaaaay better than being at a job I HATED. One days, I will find my passion and career, until then, a “job” will do for now.

    You’re right, I would love your job, interacting, working out, being at a gym but it’s not for everyone. Im happy for you if you are doing what makes you happy right now!!


  8. #
    Donna — October 2, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

    That is a crazy work schedule. Along with being a Morning Person you are one of those people that has to be Doing Something! Love your recipes and you just cured me of wanting to be a full-time blogger!


  9. #
    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries — October 2, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    This was a fun post to read – I enjoy hearing what other bloggers’ days are like. I love your blog…you do a wonderful job and always give me a laugh or two. :)


  10. #
    Miranda — October 2, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Whoa, what a schedule! I have trouble keeping to mine, but that may have something to do with the little tyke at home :) I would love to have the creativity to create recipes – what is your process like? Do you create from scratch, start with one ingredient for inspiration, or start with a recipe and dismantle it? Your grocery budget must be large!


  11. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — October 2, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

    I LOVE this post. Seriously… you are such an inspiration. It’s clear how much time you put in your blog, and it’s clear you love it. And so many people love reading it so you’re obviously doing something right! I don’t have anything profound to say, but just wanted to say hi, I’m still reading, and you are awesome. :)


  12. #
    Katie @ Rainboots to Wellies — October 2, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Wow, what an inspiring story!! Keep up the amazing work – it is paying off!


  13. #
    Susan — October 2, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    Oh, I would love to be able to blog for my living! I love what I do for my paycheck, but it would be so great if by the time summer rolled around I was making a little money from my blog. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated :-)
    and btw: if you ever do write a novel, I will totally read it.



  14. #
    Sarah — October 2, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    I remember reading your blog post about quitting your job, and didn’t realize you had started doing another job among keeping up with your blog. You do such an amazing job on your blog, and the time you dedicate to it is crazy (but so worth it!). You’re personality and sense of humor come out in sooooo many of your posts. Among the beautiful pictures of food and the delicious recipes your blog cracks me up nearly everyday!


  15. #
    Mimi — October 2, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

    Thank you Jess for all you bring to your readers! I think I speak for the majority of us when I say we love your take on food, your daily adventures and, of course, how big Bella is getting. Your joy and passion for what you do shows in your blog posts and you have us eagerly awaiting your next installment!


  16. #
    Amanda N — October 2, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    I can’t believe you start your day at 5am and end it after 11pm……and in that time work out….and cook….and maintain the blog….and used to work 30-40 hours a week. You are amazing!!!! I wish I had the determination and motivation to get up that early, I often think about doing so but it never happens. You dedicate so much time and hard work towards your blog and we, the readers, truly appreciate it. It was nice to glimpse into your life for a day. Thank you!


  17. #
    Danica @ It's Progression Not Perfection — October 2, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    I love this post…your hard work definitely shines through in every part of your blog!


  18. #
    Vinutha — October 2, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

    Thank you for blogging. . .I read every day and never comment, but I just wanted to say your hard work shines through. Thanks for being a place that I come every day to laugh and be inspired. I have made many of your recipes to great success!


  19. #
    Lindsey @ Morningstar Project — October 2, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us! It’s funny, out of all the blogs I read I’m most curious about what your every life looks like (sorry if that sounds stalkerish!). I guess because you’re so consistent with posting, always have high quality pictures, and hand down best recipes. I kept thinking, god how does this girl do everything?? Now I see, you work your butt off on this blog. Which is why you have so many loyal readers :)


  20. #
    april — October 2, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

    How embarrassing is it to get caught singing “sherry” at the tops of your lungs with a spoon/knife in one hand & the other doing some crazy thing that goes along with the leg jives your in the process of perfecting..? I’m glad I’m not the only one who listens to jersey boys while cooking. Some other good ones are, hairspray, mama mia & Pandora likes to throw in some Disney sound tracks…which is also great for karaoke during cook time :)


  21. #
    The Healthy Hostess — October 2, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    I love your blog and I loved the recap of your day! I read it daily but don’t know if I have ever commented! You are so talented and amazing! Keep up your amazing work!
    :) Are you going to Foodbuzz?


  22. #
    Ann — October 2, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    Amazing – thank you for the look into your day/week! I probably spend about as much time on my blog – but I make dinner and post what I eat….I spend time working on the post, the looks of the blog and networking with other bloggers. The biggest difference between you and me is I’m a night owl and tend to work the most on-line between 8am and 1am!

    My husband and I are retired and to find balance – I found that staying off-line during the day light hours works best for us….so we can spend time together!

    Your hard work shines thru – and I would LOVE to be able to make a living with this….either way – it’s SO much fun! So it’s all gravy for me!


  23. #
    Ashley — October 2, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    Absolutely loved reading this post and cannot wait to make you waste a weekday!! muahaha :) You are amazing. xo!


  24. #
    Stephanie — October 2, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    Wow! 80-100 hours a week!! Good thing you enjoy it, right?

    My mom was in town this weekend and we tried out the french onion soup from the other day. It was freaking awesome!


  25. #
    Joanna @ things after the rings — October 2, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    I love this post and the previous posts you linked back to. I started reading in May and didn’t know the back story of your work life. I really admire that you followed your heart, continue to do so, and were willing to share your story with all of us. Thanks for putting in the time to write this post, I was always curious what your days are like and it’s super interesting to see just how much time you spend on How Sweet It Is. I shouldn’t be surprised at how much time you spend working because your blog is so well done, but damn, it’s impressive.

    Do you have any tips for a blogger that’s just starting out?


  26. #
    Jennifer (Delicieux) — October 2, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

    What an inspiring post!!! When I read this I found so many similarities to myself and what I’ve gone through this year. In fact, reading your post gave me a bit of hope :)

    It was so interesting reading about your day too, you obviously work so hard on your blog, but I’m sure like many food bloggers because it’s such a passion it doesn’t feel quite so much like hard work. Your hard work, passion and dedication definitely shines through and I am sure that’s why you have been so successful. Congratulations :D


  27. #
    Tamar — October 2, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    So interesting for a non-blogger! I think your blog is amazing and it is literally the first one I go to if I need a no-testing, no-fail recipe to bring somewhere. I would definitely read your fiction books!


  28. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — October 3, 2011 @ 1:01 am

    It’s great to hear how you spend you day!
    Way more organized than mine :) I get side tracked so easily.
    I’d love to stop working my other job and devote more time to my blog, think about it daily.
    I love reading you blog! You are so creative and full of wonderful recipes.


  29. #
    Koko @ KokoLikes — October 3, 2011 @ 2:39 am

    I love this post, really fascinating to see how much time you spend in the kitchen and working on the blog, you are one of my favorite bloggers and your recipes are always foul-proof. Congrats, the hard work has seriously paid off!


  30. #
    Sharon — October 3, 2011 @ 4:29 am

    Thank God you posted this…here I was thinking bloggers were naturally supposed to be able make something yummy every day, take fabulous photos and then write entertaining and witty prose about it. Now I know it takes time, hard work and a soundtrack. And a husband who works late. Note to self!


  31. #
    Martine — October 3, 2011 @ 5:22 am

    Respect. Seriously, the passion and determination that you put into your blog is intimidating, humbling and inspiring. And it shows, your blog is fantastic: funny, versitile and professional.


  32. #
    Vera — October 3, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    Very very interesting! Thank you so much for sharing. You inspired me today :)


  33. #
    Kim in MD — October 3, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    Wow…I love this post! I remember the day you quit your job…was it really one year ago? Time really does fly, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve know since the first day I stumbled upon your blog that you put a lot (I mean A LOT) of time into your blog. Your passion for writing and creating amazing recipes is evident, Jessica. You are very talented, and can do whatever you put your mind to. If you haven’t done it already, write a book-seriously! Let me know when I can purchase a copy! :-)


  34. #
    Rachel — October 3, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    Just wanted 2 say that I really love ur blog, not sure how I stumbbled upon it but I’m really glad I did!
    Keep working hard!! I find it kinda weird that someone who used to be a personal trainer claims to have such a dislike for veggies and such a love for butter and bacon and white bread! lol
    Ur blog is a must read for me on the daily! Keep at it!!! :-)


  35. #
    Larisa — October 3, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    I’m so glad you quit! We all get to benefit from it! :) You are one of my favorite blogs……keep it up!!! :)


  36. #
    Mila @ loftyappetite — October 3, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Thank you for sharing your story!! I have always wondered this and we have chatted about this a bit on twitter before too :) This story is inspiring, no one should be stuck doing a job they don’t enjoy and wasting their true talents! I hope writing a book gets added to your daily list… Fiction or food, I would enjoy it thoroughly!


  37. #
    Melissa — October 3, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    I remember the post last year when you quit your job. I have absolutely no doubt that you did the right thing. You are so amazingly talented, Jess, and this is the right thing for you. Your voice, your inspiration, your writing, all of it comes together here. I admire you in so many ways, and I’m so glad you took that leap and got out of that miserable job. This is clearly what you should be doing with your life. I love you and I love your blog–I will read for as long as you write! And I’d LOVE to read a novel from you. Do it.


  38. #
    Alecia — October 3, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    Loved this post. I remember when you quit your job…I remember that post. Has a year passed already…good grief. You have a profound ability to make me laugh when you write. I cheer you on daily with the blog posts, but I also hope you become a novelist. You have a knack!


  39. #
    brandi@BranAppetit — October 3, 2011 @ 11:26 am

    congrats on the incredible 1 year it’s been! i, for one, can’t wait for your first fiction novel :)


  40. #
    Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles — October 3, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    What a great post! I only recently found the Crumbs section of your blog. I don’t know how I could be so blind all year long. Sheesh. I am so proud of you for making the decision to leave your job and pursue something you enjoy. Your blog is such a treat to read everyday, it really is. I wish you all the best.


  41. #
    Kacy — October 3, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    I’m so happy for you that you’re doing something you love so much! I hope I can someday find something I can be that invested in for work.


  42. #
    Meghan — October 3, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    this was a great post! i am so often puzzled by how all the foodie blogs i follow do what they do. i really love your blog and love your writing style! keep up the good work :)


  43. #
    Jessica M. — October 3, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

    I loved reading this post. Your blog puts a smile on my face every day…so thank you! I try almost all of your recipes, too. I have never had a “fail”, which means your writing and testing is flawless :-)


  44. #
    Emilie — October 3, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    Hi Jess-I have always wanted to start a blog myself and can relate to your story (just as many others here can!). I spend so much time at work just reading blogs and I’ve found comfort knowing that there is a whole community of people out there who have the same interests and passions that I do. Your blog is one of my favorites, mostly because your style of writing reflects my style of speaking and thinking, so its easily relatable :) Anyway, congratulations and you should feel inspired by how many others out there take joy and comfort in what you spend your life doing.


  45. #
    Dayna — October 3, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    Hi, I am new to the blogging world, but absolutely adore it! I’ve been seriously contemplating starting a new blog, but between working full-time and just finishing up my graduate degree, I haven’t given myself any time to brainstorm on what the direction would be. This is my obvious ignorance, but how do you make money off of blogging? How did you get your name out for people to start following you? I already have my domain purchased, but did you find any particular book or other resource helpful in beginning this venture, or did you kind of already know what to do? I love your blog, and am a loyal follower, thank you for your creativity and spunk, and I hope I am not overwhelming you with “uh-duh” questions. Talk to you soon!


  46. #
    Lisa — October 3, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    Thank you for all the time and inspiration you put into your blog every day! This blog is my daily guilty pleasure and even though I see it in my mailbox every morning when I open my email, I make myself wait until my lunch break to read it so I can really take time to enjoy it. I really enjoy your writing, and I REALLY enjoy your recipes! Keep them coming!


  47. #
    Mary — October 3, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    Thank you so much for you blog. I find it witty, smart and inspiring. I don’t always recreate the recipes, but I so enjoy your writing about them….the way I used to enjoy Gourmet Magazine…only a lot funnier. I pin them to Pinterest, I save them in my files, I linger over them with my morning coffee. I am addicted.


  48. #
    Michaela — October 3, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    I really enjoyed this post!!
    Thanks for sharing what a working day looks like for you.
    I would have never thought it would be an actual job a couple of years ago, before I was into blogs, but I totally see the huge amount of work that goes into it!


  49. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — October 3, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

    Wow. That is impressive. I am envious that you had the guts to quit your day job and go for it. Thanks for the continued inspiration!


  50. #
    Foodiebia — October 3, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    Great post! Thanks so much for sharing! It’s great to see what goes into developing such a beautiful site with great content. Now I know why your blog is so much better than mine…seriously!



Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *