When Bailey was a baby about 6 months old, I quit my job and moved across the country. I moved to be a stay at home mom. At the time, I thought it was the best decision for my daughter. While that decision may have only lasted a mere 3 months before I was on a plane back to the East Coast, it was in that space that the idea for my blog was born.
My blog is an accidental hobby on steroids lovingly derived out of boredom, life changes and a growing need for a creative outlet. At 25, I had a quarter life crisis. On my list of goals to accomplish (that later got thrown out the window), was to have written a book. I always knew writing was a part of me, but I didn’t know then how the world would change and that my “book” would actually become my blog. A blog that enables me a powerful connection to the world around me and to meet and connect with others I never would have otherwise met.
As a stay at home mom one of the things on my daily to-do list was grocery shopping and cooking. I learned basic baking growing up and taught myself to cook through the cookbooks of Food Network stars such as Giada and Rachel Ray when I got my first apartment in Boston after college. This was before Pinterest and before having access to cooking videos on YouTube. So, in my ‘stay at home mom’ days, I raised Bailey and I cooked from a book. I took photos on my crappy iPhone 4 and posted them on my bleak Instagram account.
Those photos, some still there if you scrolled back, make me cringe. Bad “styling”, bad filters, bad lighting, just ugly. Yet somehow in those early days of Instagram, people started to like what I was putting up. So, I kept showing up. With new recipes right in the captions with more crappy photos of food that tasted good and must have looked decent for food photos in 2013. Nothing like the elaborate and stunning food photography that you see today on some of my favorite food accounts that inspire me greatly like @lauraponts and @chocolateforbasil . I kept showing up. People kept hitting the like button.
Then life threw me another curve ball so I flew home. Just Bailey and I. I needed to start over. It was good to be back. I was job interviewing day in and day out in New England. I would take care of Bailey during the day and then when she was asleep I would research how to create a website. The first website I created was terrible. It wasn’t even my blog name that it is today. I taught myself the basics of WordPress. My photography got better but without editing my photos were still pretty bad. But I kept showing up.
I did what any first-year millennial (born in 83’!) would do – I went to the store and bought a book. The book was something along the lines of “Wordpress for Dummies”. In 2014, I painstakingly created my WordPress site. Every night I would put Bailey to bed and I would go back to reading and implementing what I learned onto my website. That laptop wasn’t the quick MacBook Air I have now, it was probably a Dell with a very slow processor. Between my dinosaur of a computer and a huge learning curve, progress was slow and steady. Even only 4 years ago there were not the amount of resources available today on the internet.
If you search ‘blogging for beginners’ on Pinterest hundreds of thousands of pins to tools and resources come up. There were no resources, no great audience talking about it. Now if I have a question, I have several groups of peers that will help me out in the blink of as long as it takes to send a DM (direct message). The amount of time it took me to learn to create my website was probably quadruple the hours it would have taken a professional. If I had known what I know now about the workload to create and maintain a website I wouldn’t have moved forward. I had no idea and in many ways my blank slate and ignorance of the internet worked to catapult me further. There is a magic to learning something yourself and building it from the ground up.
After working in the corporate world and in the field, being a stay at home mom was challenging to me. My God, a stay at home mother is the hardest job that exists, that I am sure of. While I am grateful for the time I had with Bailey as a baby, I couldn’t just sit still. I had to create something. I had to do more. I had to cultivate. Gosh darn it I taught myself how to code! Whaaaaaat?!
After many hours of novice man power, I launched Chocolate & Lace, A Weekend Blog. A friend’s kind husband created my logo for me. I changed my Instagram handle and I blogged about recipes and ‘weekend things’. Yet my first very popular post, was about being a working mom. I heard women say “me too”. I could see their heads nod in cyber space through the feedback. My blog still isn’t perfect, any web designer could easily elevate it. But it’s mine and through being a bit more real I had found my space. Each time a woman DMs me or emails me that something I wrote helped or resonated with her, even if it’s just ONE woman, it makes it all worth it.
In early 2015, I met Joey. He was finishing his last year of Medical School and one of our common hobbies was photography. He was one of the first people I shared my blog with, even though we were just in the ‘getting to know you’ stage. Photography was his creative outlet from his medical career and my blog became my outlet once I went back into the corporate world. Joey and I are the definition of a couple that has each met their match. But where we really shine and work well together is through creating content. There are sometimes he thinks my posts are crap, but he has also been my best friend through the journey of my blog.
The creative process is hard. One day you think you’re shit, you hit blocks and just know what you’re putting out is terrible. The next day something really cool happens and you’re pumped to go out there and make more beautiful things.
I’ve been really lucky to have a partner in crime through the journey of this little blog, a sound board and someone to celebrate the rewards of it with. Joey is now a doctor and I still keep a ‘9-5’ that is very important to me in my career. Many ask or assume but I do not blog full-time and will be talking more about my goals for this blog in the next post. For now it’s the fun of the side hustle.
So, this is my ‘why’ and how Chocolate & Lace was born. In the next few posts I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned as a blogger, some of the decisions I’ve made and the techniques I’ve used to meet the goals of my blog. Before I did that, I wanted to share with you the how’s and why’s of how this little blog came to life. Thank you for supporting me and my little family. Thank you for showing up with me.
I would love to hear your top questions on blogging! Please get connected and use the comment box or send me a DM.
For more on being a social influencer check out my post on Unofficial Rules of Social Influencing Every Brand and Influencer Needs to Know