2009 in Retrospect, 2010 in Anticipation

It’s been an interesting year for both me and my blog. I’m a different and better person because of my blog, and while I’m just one voice in a stadium full of food bloggers, I wouldn’t trade my efforts for the world. While I technically started this project back in 2007, I didn’t really put the necessary energy into it until early 2009. From my perspective the blog is just about a year old and it’s been a good year. Some of my favorite things about blogging in 2009 were:

  • Connecting with other Austin food bloggers. I’ve made new friends with whom I share so much more than blogging, and my real world has been made richer because of them. I feel truly blessed to have expanded my circle of friends to include this group of fun, smart, and creative foodies. I don’t know how I ever got along without Kristi of Austin Farm to Table, Marshall of Eat this Lens, Jennie of MisoHungry, Rachel and Logan of Boots in the Oven, Jodi of Tasty Touring, Carla from Austin Urban Gardens, Aaron from Austin Epicurean, Lisa from Lisa is Cooking, Stephanie from CosmicCowgirl and so many, many more of my new friends. And of course, none of it would have happened if Addie Broyles from the Statesman hadn’t realized how much better we’d all be online if we knew each other offline. If more newspapers and magazines had staff like Addie who so gracefully balances the print and online worlds, I would worry less about the future of print.
  • Being threatened with legal action by Martha Stewart. I know it may be surprising to find the legal debacle I ran into earlier in the year around the previous name of my blog, Everyday Foodie, at the top of my list. I’ll admit I had always wished for a day that I would have contact with Martha Stewart, but well, this wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. Still, the whole experience was game changing for me. I had to dig deep and consider almost all of the priorities in my life, from my job to my family to my blog. The introspection provided me with a significant growth opportunity, but more importantly, the strength I found in the support of my family, friends, and fellow bloggers was inspirational and uplifting. From the door that closed on Everyday Foodie, a window opened on Fête & Feast, and I’m more than okay with that.
  • Connecting with national bloggers at the inaugural BlogHer Food conference. One night, on a whim, I bought a ticket to this conference and I’m ever so happy that I did. Even though I attend conferences regularly in my professional life, it hadn’t occurred to me to do so in my blogging life. Not only did I have an amazing time in San Francisco, I made even more new friends and learned so much from all of them. I was empowering and inspiring to spend time with others who are so passionate about food and blogging. More and more I’m convinced that the true power of social media will be realized when anonymity falls away and personal bonds that otherwise might never have been formed are made.
  • Auditioning for The Next Food Network Star. My work in the kitchen for my blog, combined with my years of learning at the Central Market Cooking School, gave me the courage to take a big leap and audition for a reality show when the open casting call came to town. And while I didn’t make it past the first round of call backs, the experience was amazing because I shared it with Kristi and Logan, and I had such strong support (again) from my family, friends, and online networks. I can also spatchock a chicken in 30 seconds now. I took a risk and while I won’t be on the show, I’m a better person and blogger for it which is what really matters.
  • Expanding my view of Austin food. One of the benefits of being an Austin food blogger these days is we are regularly invited to restaurant openings, tastings, and other events. The social media professional in me says this is a smart move by PR groups and businesses because as bloggers we do have a wide sphere of influence in the community that impacts business in ways advertising simply can’t. And as much as we are invited to events because we blog, we blog because we are passionate about Austin and food, and in the end it’s that passion which gives us our influence. Beyond treating my pallet to some fantastic tastes, these events have expanded my view of all that is Austin food and wine, and I’ve discovered that it is possible to love this city and its food even more.

As I look back at my list, I find that most of my favorite things are as a result of my blogging instead of specifically about my blogging. The content marketer in me thinks that there’s a post about blogging being about so much more than words on a screen, but I’ll leave that for a Powered blog post some day in 2010.

What’s Coming in 2010

While it’s not really possible to know all of what 2010 will hold for me or my blog, I can say that I have the intention to evolve myself and my blog in a few ways this year:

  • Taking Austin Foodie Bits to the next level. Right around my birthday in 2009 I was looking for a way to be of better service to the Austin community and to make the most of all of the information I receive as an Austin food blogger. Just a couple of days before my birthday, Austin Foodie Bits was born. I was staggered by the response and it turns out many of you find my weekly posts very valuable. In the last five months the weekly post has morphed and changed, as has my approach to it, and in 2010 it will change even more drastically. Sometime between now and the first of March I will be redesigning my blog and creating an Austin-focused section specifically for food lovers. I don’t think I’ll do much restaurant reviewing; there are enough great resources around for that. Instead, I want to highlight experiences, specialty shops, classes, events, and other food-inspired activities that make Austin such a great place for foodies. Foodie Bits will still make its weekly appearance but it will be more of an opportunity to highlight the best or the most unique activities for the week. I’m also going to create a Facebook fan page to make it easier to keep track of updates and new information as it becomes available. Look for the launch of this new section in the coming weeks.
  • Redesigning Fête & Feast. With the more formal separation of the Austin-related content from the cooking and entertaining content on my blog, a full redesign seems to be appropriate. I’m going to be moving my blog to a WordPress.org hosted solution so I’ll be able to take advantage of plug-ins, scripts, and other features to improve the overall content organization and usefulness.
  • Improving my photography. I’m a big believer in not boiling the ocean, so I’ve made finding a voice for my blog my highest priority in its initial phases. However, the words are only one part of the equation. We feast with our eyes as much as we do our pallets or our minds, and my skills for creating tasty photos are questionable at best. This year I’m going to learn to take better photos, one baby step at a time. I hope to be ready to ask for a DSLR camera for my birthday this summer and by end of year my goal is to have taken the photography in this blog to a whole new level.

I’m really excited about 2010 and I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy and learn from my efforts. Happy New Year!

5 Comments

  1. All great things and I’m so glad to have met you too, Natanya. Photography is a big one for me too in 2010. First, I need to decide what camera to get. Any suggestions?

  2. When asking for a DSLR – don’t forget about the lenses! For something as finicky as food photography, the right lens matters a whole lot more than the camera.

  3. Sounds like you have had an incredible blogging year and with your ’10 goals, should be another memorable year =)

    • Natanya Anderson /

      Thanks Melissa. I do hope 2010 will bring more fun and memories.

  4. Congrats on turning Fete and Feast into one of the strongest blogs in Austin! I can’t tell you how delighted I am that so many friendships have formed within the food blogging community in the past year. Who knows what 2010 has in store? A wedding? (I’m looking at you, T and P.)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2010 Resolutions of the Culinary Variety « Fête & Feast - [...] 2010 Resolutions of the Culinary Variety January 7, 2010 On the same day that I ...
  2. 2010 Resolutions of the Culinary Variety : Fête & Feast - [...] the same day that I posted a look back at 2009 and a look forward to 2010 with a ...