One Year Blog Birthday & A Sweet Giveaway!

Oh, dear! I missed my blog's 1-Year Birthday on October 4th! Good thing it's not sentient.

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear bloggy,
Happy birthday to you!

I am so happy I have successfully maintained this blog for a year, instead of letting it fall to the wayside like so many other projects I've taken on. Silly as it might sound to non-food bloggers, I find food blogging to be a really fulfilling hobby. It allows me to get in my creative kicks through photography and writing, I learn new things all the time, and it serves the practical purpose of filling my belly.

Just over a year ago, I made my first post about Crusty Rye Bread. It was a superbly tasty loaf of bread....but, my food photography skills were...*ahem*... lacking.

Exhibit A: ....Enough said.

I had no food blog friends. My only reader was my trusty fiance, and occasionally, my mom. To get a greater online foodie community, I joined The Daring Cooks. The participants in The Daring Cooks are such a friendly, supportive, creative and uber-talented bunch. Joining this group strengthened my resolve to keep chipping away at my own efforts.

As of January 1st, I resolved (in addition to the monthly Daring Cooks challenges) to do my own challenge: 50 Countries, 1 Year. On the 4-hour car ride back from Madison on the 1st, Greg and I wrote down as many countries as we could think of that I might cook foods from--just to ensure that it was possible. Boy, was it ever.

Exhibit B: Look mom! I made my own paneer!
Then, in early June, The Most Awesome Brother in the Whole World (otherwise known as TMABWW or just "Michael") gave me his old camera. To this point, I had been using a tiny, crapass point-and-shoot Kodak whose batteries were running out after 5 photos or less--and I'm not exaggerating. Yes, I was amazing that I was turning out photos of the quality above with such a camera and not much in the way of editing software.

This new camera opened up a whole new world for me. A world where beautiful macro photos were a possibility.

Exhibit C: Eggshells can be artsy. Who knew?

I won $250 and an opportunity to be showcased for a month for a 24x24 meal from Foodbuzz. I bought some paper backgrounds and a "portable light studio". I was chosen for the Foodbuzz Top 9 for the below photo (and just another time recently). Things were looking up, and I was straight up addicted to food blogging.

Exhibit D: If you pay attention to both lighting AND colors, you get a nice photo.

Then I was blessed with a little gift I like to call Photoshop. I learn more about Photoshop every time I sit down with a new set of photos. I love it all to pieces. Then there is the fact that I am buying more props (Tip: Thrift stores are a god send! Cheap props!!) and paying more attention to setting up my shots. It's a process. And I am a titch obsessed with it.

Exhibit E: I am a food blogging addict. And I love Photoshop.
So, happy birthday to us, blog! I heart you.

In celebration of my blog's birthday, I would like to do my very first giveaway! While I very much wish that I had some sort of corporately sponsored swag to hand out, I don't--I have not yet attracted corporate eyes. Maybe that will be Exhibit F someday. :) Anyway, this is coming out of my own pocket--so it's meager. But delicious.

I would like to give you the chance to win two bars of Dagoba Chocolate! Dagoba chocolate is organic and comes from fair trade, sustainable sources. Dagoba makes incredibly delicious dark chocolate bars, but has many non-dark bars (with tasty goodies mixed in!) that are also fabulous. Hubby and I absolutely love Dagoba, and treat ourselves to it on a semi-regular basis. Because we are dark chocolate nuts, our favorite is the 87% Cacao Eclipse Bar.

To enter, please visit the Dagoba Products page and leave me a comment telling me which chocolate bars you'd like to try. While I will buy them locally and cannot guarantee you will get what you selected if you win, I will definitely try! Please be sure to leave a link to your blog, an email address, or similar, so that if you do win, I can contact you to get a shipping address. Due to shipping concerns, only U.S. Residents may win.

The contest closes at 11:59pm on Saturday, October 16th. A winner will be selected randomly with a number generator. Only one comment per person, please. :) Good luck!


Trina's Adventures said...

Happy Birthday Heather's Blog!!

The New Moon Bar sounds especially delicious.

Hit me up on my facebook if I win!

Ashley said...

I like the milk bars and the mint bars.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

mamipdx said...

chocolate is ALWAYS a good prize! i'd like to try the new moon and the mint.
divertida at fastmail dot fm

Debbie B. said...

Congrats on one year!! I find food blogging incredibly filling too and have just started my blog! :)

Reeni said...

Happy Blogiversary! I hope you have another great year! I would love to try the chai bar and the milk bar.

April @ Crazy Fabulous Life said...

Hmmm..I like the chai bar and the hazelnut one :)

Congrats on your blog's birthday! Mine is only a few months old :)

The Cilantropist said...

Happy Blog Birthday!! :) Heres to another great year!

And for the chocolate, I would love to try the concado bar, or maybe the New Moon bar. Did they name the New Moon and Eclipse bars after the Twilight series? ;)

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

What a fun post! Loved reading about your journey. I have a similar story about how I feel in love with food blogging and got interested in photography :)

I think I'd want to try the chai bar. Or the plain dark one. Or the milk chocolate one. But chai would be my first choice :)

Lisa said...

I'd love to try the xocoatl and chai bars. rhisomers(at)gmail(dot)com

Jen Cruz said...

Happy Birthday Pretty Peas!! I have never followed a blog before but now I am hooked! Dagoba has some interesting flavors of bars but the Chai Bar sounds right up my alley! You know where to find me but just in

d.n.williamson said...

"Happy Birthday". Congrats. And what a coincindence....I'm doing a giveaway too for my 100th post. The blogging world has been fun. Thanks for being a part of it!

noachoc said...

Chai and Hazlenut. I would put in something more interesting instead of Hazlenut, but it is my very favorite thing and I'd like to try their version.

You know where I am.

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Congrats on one year of cooking and eating and telling the world about it! I can't believe you made your own paneer! I would LOVE to try the milk chocolate and mint bars :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooohhhh... Roseberry or Mint both sound amazing.
I can't believe you've been doing such an awesome job and getting yourself famous in the online cooking world for a whole year already! I'm proud of you. You know how to contact me :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather. I want the Beaucoup Berries bar. This is Joe :)

Spicoli! said...

Whoa... it's been a year since you've started this blog? Way to hang! Much credit for sticking with it and keeping the fun going so consistently.

I rarely comment on your delicious explorations, but I always check in to see what mouth-watering morsels you have on display.

As for the chocolate, I'm thinking I'd like to try the New Moon... I thought of the Eclipse, but it's just too blade runner for me to go for it. Wait, actually screw that! You're always trying new, interesting, bold, questionable stuff on this blog. So, maybe I should try to match that boldness.

So, if I win, sign me up for THE ECLIPSE! Caution be damned, Devil-May-Care, Full Speed ahead! See... You inspired me girl :)

Anonymous said...

Darn Beaucoup Berries bar for me...but congratulations to Amanda, whoever she is.

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