discovering blog land.

by Janetha on August 24, 2011

in Featured,questions answered,random rambles

did you guys catch julie’s post today talking about how she first stumbled upon “healthy living blogs” <—i don’t like to use that term, because they are all just blogs to me—healthy or otherwise. i call my blog a “living blog”.

anyway, julie mentioned that she first discovered blogs through a health.com article by tina, which led her to carrots’n’cake and the rest is history.

this got me reminiscing on my own experience with discovering this fun-filled, close-knit community i have the pleasure to be a part of.. which i often refer to as “blog land”. i thought i’d share the oh-so-random story with you guys today!

first, let me tell you my history with blogs in general.

once upon a time, my sisters had their own personal blogs that documented fun filled events in their lives.  i loved reading their blogs because it was a great way to see what was going on with them without picking up the phone. disconnected much?  that’s aside the point, though. i read their blogs along with a few other blogs of people that i knew in person.

i didn’t read blogs of strangers.. only real lifers (as i call them). i did have a few online communities where i interacted with “strangers”—most note-worthy was the body for life tracker website.

i loved reading blogs so much, i decided to start one of my own.

enter: blog #1.

i hated the actual word “blog”—which is short for “web log”—so i called my personal blog, “i don’t love the word blog”.  i started this blog at the very beginning of 2008 and my post was titled, “sure, ok”, which really says a lot about my attitude when deciding to blog. sure.. ok.. whatevs!

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my first blog post on that blog contained information that is still true to this day:

  • i don’t capitalize when i type
  • i type the way i talk
  • i use a lot of “…” instead of creating new sentences
  • i have pet peeves with bad spellers and i am a grammar nazi
  • i have a slight obsession with dogs

my first post was a lot of fun! i received comments from my mom and each of my three sisters—it was great to hear their feedback.  some of my friends started reading my blog, too, and started blogs of their own. it was great!  i ended up blogging about life on this blog through 2008 and most of 2009.  i posted about five times a month—give or take—and had a wonderful outlet to post photos and random rambles. i ultimately stopped blogging at this personal blog near the end of 2009 (because i wanted to devote 100% of my time to meals & moves.)

about blog #2.

at the beginning of 2009, my mom and i decided to do another 12 week body for life challenge after having an awesome success with the first one.  some people we knew were also wanting to try body for life, so we decided to start a motivational blog to stay accountable, track my meals and workouts and also to share thoughts with our friends.

still, i had NO IDEA food blogs, exercise blogs or “healthy living” blogs even existed.

there is a quote by ralph marston that says DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!—so that is what we called our blog. also, the URL was http://bflparty.blogspot.com, this makes me laugh.. because it really was a BFL party! yaaaay body for life! party!

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things started out strong! i posted so many accountability posts in january and the ball was really rolling on this blog.  february came and i was hit with the plague. i don’t remember what happened, but i got SUPER sick. this was the winter that i got sick over and over and over and eventually had to have my tonsils removed that may.

i tried to make a comeback in march, but did not post as often. i loved blogging, but i really didn’t have the time or energy to keep documenting my eats and exercise all day every day. i posted sporadically, but it wasn’t worth reading.  additionally, i was still trying to keep up with my personal blog at the same time!

april came, the 12 week BFL challenge had ended (with bad results, mind you, i was sick AND vacationed in mexico.. what do you do?) and so i stepped down from the BFL party blog in this post on april 9, 2009. (by the way, if you go back and read those blog posts, please don’t laugh too hard.)

sometime between april 9 and april 20, when i started meals & moves, i discovered food blogs.  this is how it happened…

i purchased an awesome mini omelet pan from bed, bath and beyond. i wanted to show a photo of the pan to my mom and also post a photo of it on my personal blog. i thought it was the cutest little pan. you all know my LOVE for mini things!  anyway, i googled “eggy mini omelet pan” and clicked on google images…

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i found the image of the pan and clicked over to the site where it was hosted.

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it was on a blog called moving out.  i thought it was an interesting blog even though i had never read the blog of someone i didn’t know in person.  i ended up getting really into the posts from this total stranger and read several entries of her blog.

that sure was a time suck.

i noticed that she had a blog roll of fitness, motivation and… wait for it… food blogs.

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i had no idea what i was in for.

you probably see a few blogs on that list that you read, right?!  i actually remember that the few blogs i clicked on and started reading immediately were:

and, aside from MFTGITLBD, i still read those blogs today! i also took another look at her blog roll and noticed i currently read a LOT of those blogs today.

i got super click happy. like suuuuper click happy. i couldn’t believe this wonderful world of food blogs that i was missing out on! why didn’t anyone TELL ME!??!

kristie’s blog, lighter portions, is actually the one i got ultra hooked on. i was so into the idea of actually photographing my food and posting it rather than just posting the words as i had done on my BFL blog.  sure, i had posted photos of food when a recipe was involved, but never my day to day meals.

i was actively participating in the body for life forums and was on a virtual support team. we regularly posted our accountability on weekly posts that were called “meals & moves”—yes, that’s right, i didn’t come up with my blog name on my own.  i decided that i wanted to start a food blog, and when i was dreaming up names, i originally thought of “vanilla bean and everything in between” since i am obsessed with vanilla bean ice cream. however, i didn’t feel this captured the realm of what i wanted to blog about. that’s when i decided to steal the “meals & moves” alliteration from my body for life forum team and tacked on the “and everything in between”.

on april 20, 2009, meals and moves was born. yep, only about a week after finding out food blogs existed, i started one. i had NO idea that there was a big, supportive community of bloggers, but i wanted to post my food! it looked fun! i never thought people i didn’t know would actually read it OR that i would make friends with other bloggers.

i know lots of people read blogs for months, even years before deciding to start a blog. i just went in head first without knowing about the community that existed and honestly just accidentally wound up immersed in blog land! it was a strange experience, to tell you the truth. it was all so new to me! i loved it. lots.

i became fast friends with people like susan, danica and brittany (some of my first commenters!)–all of whom i have met in real life.

i wish i had a screen shot of what my original layout looked like.. but sadly, i don’t.  i do have a jpg of the original (janky) header that i made in paint shop, though.

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that pretty much summed it up, right? ha. i had that header for a REAL long time, before designing another one, it paint shop again, that looked like this:

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that probably looks familiar to you. i used this header until i switched to self hosting earlier this year. my new look was designed by zesty blog consulting.

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and that, my friends, brings us current!

i am so glad that i googled an image for an omelet pan back in april of 2009. had i not discovered this community, my life would not be the same today. i feel like i have become SUCH a better person through blogging. i have bettered my quality of life. i have achieved many goals. i have become very service-oriented. i have discovered my passions. and, most importantly, i have made lifelong friends who i never would have known about had i not started meals & moves.

i am grateful for each and every one of you reading this. i am so glad we have the chance to interact on a daily basis, share our thoughts and opinions, realize our similarities and learn from our differences. the blogger bond is one like no other.

hope you enjoyed reading how i stumbled upon this community. i would LOVE to hear your story.

Q~

1. how did you discover food/fitness/healthy blogs? how long have you been reading food/fitness/healthy blogs?

2. if you have a blog, what made you start one? if you don’t, have you ever had the desire to start one?

xo. janetha g.

******************************

i promise i am not a moron. i keep forgetting to announce the izze giveaway winners! here they are:

#23: Denise

#100: Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

#124: mary @ what’s cookin with mary

i have emailed all of the winners. congrats!

 

 

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaunna August 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

I am bored at work= i magically found blogs…thank goodness and read the crap out of them.

I always say…..I want to be a blogger when I grow up….but not sure how to get started. :) Advice?

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Janetha August 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Haha my advice is open your laptop and ramble! Seems to work when you type from the heart :)

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries August 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

I love your story! It’s pretty similar to mine. I started out with a blog just about random happenings and stories about my life to keep family and friends up to date. I had considered starting a “healthy living blog” for a little while back in the day, but thought that no one read it and that it’d be silly. Little did I know, there was an ENTIRE community of healthy living bloggers. I found Julie’s blog (PBFingers) from a friend, and was instantly connected to tons of other healthy living bloggers. That was when I knew for sure I wanted to start my own. :)

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Sylvia @ LifeIsGoodWithFood August 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

Ahhhh, I had that same exact omelet pan! Unfortunately, my suitemate turned it from a nonstick pan to a stick-stick pan -__-;; So I had to let it go. But I basically started blogging the same way that you did. I didn’t really read food blogs – didn’t even know that they existed! Then I googled almond butter after seeing it in the stores one day – just to see what it was. It led me to Heather Eats Almond Butter and I was hooked on her blog so I went back to the beginning to read everything. Then I read a couple more blogs here and there and after about a month and a half, I decided to start my own! I love blogging, and it definitely helps me put that Creative Writing degree to good use ;)

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) August 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

In 2008 I was determined to lose 50 (more) pounds and a good friend of mine was telling me about this blog (fitnessista) that she read everyday to inspire her. She told me there were recipes, workout tips etc. I read her blog for months before I realized there were comments… and not just comments, but the commenters would identify themselves not just with their name, but (with what I didn’t know then) was their blog name. So, eventually I started reading the comments daily and recognized names/ blog names and started clicking away. Pretty sure I spent way too much time reading random blogs, but I was interested in what this blogging thing was all about. The rest… history.

I started my own blog bc my friends and family kept telling me I should! I always loved cooking and I began to realize I loved to see other people recipes with pictures they took to document… and I wanted to join the fun ! I’m so happy I did. It makes my day when someone writes me to say that they tried a recipe and it turned out well. It makes all those hours and hours and hours of work… trips from the kitchen to my patio (where the best lighting is) in the hot summer heat to snap a picture… multiple trips per week to the market… hours of brainstorming and recipe testing/ creation worth while. Kinda like… YES (!) someone out there loves that recipe as much as I do! :)

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Sara August 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

This is such a fun post! I kept a Livejournal from 2001-2010 when I started my blog, and so that was my first foray into blogging. I also mainly only read the blogs of people I knew, although I have a couple of friends on there that I met through Livejournal, which spilled into being friends all over the internet. I found “healthy living” blogs because in late 2009 I was changing up my diet to be more clean, and I started googling for clean recipes. A couple of blogs popped up and the rest is history! :)

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katecooks August 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm

i loved reading this post and all the comments! my friend stephanie doesn’t have a blog, but she introduced me to kerf and the rest was history. i remember how often i’d scan blog rolls to find new sites to follow. once i discovered google reader though, i just added those subscriptions and now blogging provides me with the best lunch break entertainment :)

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Kristin @ STUFT Mama August 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I know, who the heck knew all this was out there. I started mine thinking it was such a great idea and little did I know there were SOOOOO many great ones out there. A whole world!!!!!!!!!!! So crazy. I’m still a newbie. Only 4 months in, but LOVING it! Thanks for the inspiration!

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Kayla @ SproutyBuns August 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm

the first blog I started reading was Julie’s Peanut Butter Fingers, I have no idea how I discovered it but am so glad I did!

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Lisa August 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Good questions!
1. how did you discover food/fitness/healthy blogs? how long have you been reading food/fitness/healthy blogs?
–>The first blog I ever discovered was RunEatRepeat. I was searching for tips and stories for beginner runners. I was a newbie, running 5k’s and I signed up for the Hood to Coast Relay race. I needed training tips and got sucked into the universe immediately!

2. if you have a blog, what made you start one? if you don’t, have you ever had the desire to start one?
–> I started my own blog because my story is a bit unique. I lost over 100 pounds on my own and I knew that I had my own stories/tips/experiences I could share with people trying to lose weight. In the end I kept writing my blog because it reawakened my love of writing. I’d taken a hiatus from writing for several years and once the juices started flowing I couldn’t stop.

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Kristie August 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Awww I love you! I remember really well when you first started up your blog and first started commenting on mine but I didn’t realize that mine was what really got you going on the whole blog thang. Don’t I feel so darn special right now! ;) This also seriously makes me wish I kept up regular blogging a lot better than I have been for the past… well long while now. Maybe someday soon I’ll scooch up more towards the front of the bandwagon again. In the meantime though, I’ll just keep reading yours instead.

As for my food blog reading start, I started with the Self mag Eat Like Me blog. From there I discovered Kath’s and the rest is history. Kind of the same story that a lot of people seem to have. Before that though I read a heck of a lot of food and weight forums and weight loss sites. I’ve been pouring over internet food stuff for WAY too long now, yeesh. You gotta love it though. What would we all do without all these darn lovely foodies? :)

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Katie August 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

What a fun (and long!) journey to Meals and Moves. I’m so glad that you are writing the blog that I love reading, now. :-)

I had a friend send me a link to a food blog, and then started clicking on every food blog I could find on blogrolls, and then, like you said, the rest is history!

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Laura August 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I stumbled onto healthy living blogs through running blogs. I’m so glad I did!

I started my own blog because I’m working on my writing skills and because I think the blogging community is amazing and I want to be a part of it.

I, too, am obsessed with dogs and a fan of the “…”

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chandra August 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I (like many others) found food blogs through Self’s EatLikeMe, which lead me to KERF and Eat, Live, Run – and it just went on from there! I started my blog to document getting healthier and losing weight, and now I just keep it going with whatever I can! :)

I’m so glad you googled for an omelete pan back then, because I love your blog! :)

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Christin August 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

Dude, I totally agree, ‘blog’ is a terrible word! That being said, pretty awesome history, and gives me hope that my blog will get better and better ;)

I started off reading eat like me on self.com, and then from there discovered katheats…after that, I started clicking on commenter’s names that had blog links to find other blogs I liked, most recently run eat repeat, lindsay’s list, and meals and moves! ;)

I think bloggers are such a neat and vibrant crowd…full of life and stories, and (mostly) caring comments, suggestions, and personal reflections and findings…

I started my own blog christinjoyful.blogspot.com awhile back but was inconsistent and lacked purpose…I have now recently started blogging more regularly, and have also started sharing the link with other bloggers…it sucks when I compare it to other blogs I read that seem so much cleaner and more organized, but I am a work in progress and I will improve over time…it’s nice to be part of such an awesome community! :)

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Susan August 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I started reading a lot of Pittsburgh sports blogs my senior year of high school. This lead me to reading lots of Pittsburgh blogs, many of which happen to be food blogs. By my sophomore year I’d started reading recipe blogs, and I think the first “healthy living” blog I read was Eat, Live, Run? Or it was one of the first.

I’m amazed that you remember all of the details. Clearly I don’t!

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Lee August 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

I used to be very active on a fitness forum (it was shape.com) and someone posted something about kath eats once and that’s how I found it all.

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Carey August 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I know it’s been awhile, but I just had to comment on this post because YOURS is the first health/fitness blog I ever started reading regularly! I think I was on the BFL forums and clicked on your profile because we were the same age and voila… more than two years later I’m still cyber-stalking you and we still haven’t met in person! :)

In all seriousness though, I’ve fallen in and out of love with a lot of blogs over the past couple of years, but Meals and Moves remains #1 on my reader.

Much love from myself and Penelope Sue.

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Janetha August 30, 2011 at 1:40 pm

<3 <3 <3

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Kait March 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

This just made me so happy. Not quite sure why but I legit can’t stop smiling! :D

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Kat @ Balancing Kat April 4, 2012 at 2:03 am

Such a great read!

I discovered fitness blogs through my former trainer. She is an IFBB Pro Bikini Athlete who blogs for Muscle & Fitness Hers. I started training with her last April when I wanted to lose the last 20 lbs. I gained from my 3rd pregnancy.

She taught me so much about food and fitness that I wanted to share what I learned with everyone! She unlocked this passion for food and fitness that I never knew I had. I got enough courage to start my own blog a few weeks ago, janky header and all! :)

I’m in love with blogging and happy to have found blog land and you!

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Janetha April 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

That is so awesome to hear how you started up! Thanks for reading, Kat!

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glidingcalm September 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

haha SHOUT OUT! dope! THANKS MAMA!!!! I have always loved your blog!!

YEAH, I also remember when ‘healthy living blogging’ was a TINY part of blogosphere…well, blogs in general, and BOOM….this area of interest just exploded. It’s neat how so many people have been able to connect!

Love you!

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MLS Utah April 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

I love it when folks come together and share views. Great blog, stick with it!

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