Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Thank you to my blogging friend Michele Meier Vosberg from Life Redesign 101 for nominating me for this award!  I am truly honored to be recognized.  I was asked to answer 10 questions, which are listed below.  This is a great opportunity for us to learn more about one another.

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

My main goal is to broaden my food horizons and share my experiences. I used to be such a creature of habit, both eating out and cooking at home.  I went to the same restaurants, and usually ordered the same things.  And with cooking, I basically rotated the same recipes every 10 days or so. Doing this food blog--and discovering Pinterest--has forced me to branch out.  I've discovered so many new restaurants, many that I never would have found without searching specifically for the blog.  "It's for food blog research" has become my mantra.

I would absolutely love for this to become at least a part-time job, maybe even a career at some point. I've seen a few of my blogger friends say that restaurants send them gift cards to try out their places.  I need to become that person!  And how awesome would it be to travel and review restaurants...and get paid to do it?!

2. What is the best part about blogging?
Eating!!  No, I'm just kidding...kind of.  The best part is two-fold: sharing my experiences with my readers, and allowing my personality to shine through my writing.  I've had several friends tell me they like the way I write, because it's how I talk.  Not structured and rigid, like some of the food critics you read. Personally, I prefer my writing style. Part of that is selfish, because obviously it's easier for me to write that way.  But also because it reflects who I am.

3. What have you learned about blogging since you started? 

It takes A LOT of work.  You can't just throw posts out there, because people can tell and then they won't want to read it. And once people get disinterested in your writing, they're not coming back.

You have to be open to criticism.  I welcome constructive criticism, because it helps me improve.  Believe me, I deal with that during football season all the time.  On the other hand, pure bashing doesn't help anyone or anything. Thankfully I haven't gotten any of the bashing, but I've seen it on other blogs.  Anonymity makes it way too easy for people to be very ugly.

Everyone's blog is better than mine!  Well, that's an exaggeration. But I know that I have a long way to go to catch up to many of my online blogger friends.

My photography stunk in the beginning.  Seriously.  In some of those early pictures I'm not sure what I was focusing on, but it wasn't the food.  Lots of very blurry photos.  I joke that I need to go back to those restaurants so I can take new pictures.  It's kind of a joke, but also kind of not.  Especially for the restaurants that I really liked. But I've improved vastly on that, taking lots of pictures and then picking the best ones later. And I need to remember to take pictures of everyone's food, not just mine.  Which of course means I need to taste everyone's food too...for research of course.  

4. Provide a link to your favorite blog post.
Wow, this is really a tough one.  I really don't have one favorite.  So I'll go ahead and do a top 3 so far.

* What Exactly Do You Do At Away/Bowl Games?
* Jerry's Seafood - A Repeat that Doesn't Need a Twist
* How I Ended Up in Stillwater

5. Provide a link to the post you think is the most popular
Going strictly by number of readers, the top 3 posts are:
* Repeats with a Twist - Pusser's, Annapolis MD
* Repeats with a Twist - Potbelly Sandwich Works, College Park, MD 
* #26 - RPM Italian Restaurant, Chicago IL

I have to say, I was a little surprised Potbelly had gotten so many readers!  But you just never know what's going to catch someone's eye. 

6. What was your very first job and what did you learn from that experience?
My first job was a lifeguard at my community pool in Maryland  I think I was 15 when I started.  I learned that people get ugly really quickly when they don't get their way. And I realized how annoying we were as little kids, complaining to the lifeguards when they had to clear the pool for thunder/lightning.  Because once the tables were turned, the kids drove me nuts with that.  

My first big-girl job was working in the football office at the University of Maryland. I learned a lot about dealing with difficult situations and people, which served me really well for my current job.  And I learned that athletics is a very male-dominated place, and sometimes as a female, no matter what you do it's not enough.

7. Does your family read your blog and if so does this affect what you say or how you say it?

A few of my family members do read it.  I also know some of my readers include top donors, University regents, and the First Lady of OSU.  But that doesn't affect what I say or how I say it, because I don't believe I write anything that could be misconstrued or considered offensive.  You never know who's reading your stuff...a potential advertiser? a potential new employer? your grandmother? I know other bloggers who feel the opposite, and that is their prerogative.  And I'm certainly not going to judge them, because it works for them.

8. Have you made virtual friends because of blogging?
I have!  Being part of the Creative Bloggers Network has opened up a big new world of online friends.  I found out The OK Momma and I have a few mutual friends, and The Gastronom graduated from OSU.  I'm sure there are some more personal connections out there, I just haven't found them yet.

9. What is your dream vacation?
Hmmm that's a tough one.  I've always wanted to go on a European vacation, to Italy, London, Ireland, Greece, etc.  Soak in the culture, see all the history, eat lots of great food.  But I would need a vacation after I got back, just to recover!  

I think my dream would be a lot more relaxing.  A tropical island, with white sand and blue water.  And no structured plans.  When we were in Playa a couple years ago, Jack, Betty and Barbara kept wanting to walk up and down the beach every hour.  Me? I was perfectly happy to read my book either on the beach or at the pool, and occasionally take a nap.  

10. What would you do on a perfect day?
That's another tough one.  During football season, a perfect day is Sunday after a home game when I have absolutely no responsibilities.  No alarm clock, Bob makes unhealthy breakfast, re-hash the game (good or bad), meet Joni & Tony for brunch, nap and watch NFL games off and on the rest of the afternoon.  

Outside of football season it's so hard to decide. It depends on what time of year it is and who's around.  No matter what it begins with no alarm clock!  A lot of times a perfect day for me is not leaving the house or even getting dressed, and just binge watching Dateline, Discovery ID, Forensic Files, or Criminal Minds.  Sometimes it's spending the day with my close group of friends here in Stillwater. 

I pass on the nomination to:

April at Uncookiecutter

Kelly at The OK Momma 

Jenn at Mommytime365

Erin at Her Heartland Soul

Here are the questions.   When you have answered,  come back and link up here as well as on your own blog. I look forward to getting to know you better! 
1. How did you choose the name for your blog?
2. What is the best part about blogging? 
3. What have you learned about blogging since you started? 
4. Provide a link to your favorite blog post.
5. Provide a link to the post you think is the most popular.
6. How do you define blogging in YOUR life? A job, a vacation, a hobby?
7. Does your family read your blog and if so does this affect what you say or how you say it?
8. Have you made virtual friends because of blogging?
9. What is your dream vacation? 
10. What would you do on a perfect day?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know more about me!