It has been one full year since the first ever O&O Eats post went live. And guys, it has been one helluva ride. I am constantly amazed there is this incredible community of people (I'm talking about you guys, yeah you) who come together over our shared love of food. Making it, eating it, getting into long winded conversations about it. So much has happened in this short time, can we just talk about how wonderful and sometimes terrible the past year has been? I won't say it was easy by any means, this space was originally created to catalogue recipes and be a place where I could productively channel my energies while unemployed, and that's what it was for a while. But when I realized other people who weren't my mom or boyfriend were reading this blog, I slowly started to lose my mind. Rather than being a productive outlet, it became an unhealthy obsession precisely because I had nothing else to focus on. There were more than a few occasions where I surprised even myself with the depths at which my obsession ran, mostly with my photography than anything else. Weeks and weeks of nitpicking over tiny, insignificant details: a rogue scallion in a photo, a piece of bread not toasty enough, shoots, re-shoots, re-shoots of re-shoots, to say nothing of the unimaginable hours spent in photoshop. Food is imperfect, and I couldn't figure out how to use that imperfection to my advantage instead of fighting it. Hours, days, wasted away, only worsening the pressure I put on myself to get x number of posts out per week. And unfortunately, due to my unwillingness to reach out to other bloggers for fear of rejection or whatever other bullshit excuse I could come up with, there was no one to snap me out of my funk, no kindred spirits to commiserate with. Had I known how warm and inviting the community was back then, believe you me, I would have done things differently.
Then, back in October of last year, I went to a food photography workshop hosted by the amazing duo behind First We Eat, Eva and Carey, and finally had my very first conversations with other people doing the same thing. I couldn't believe how nice and friendly everyone was. I left the workshop with some wonderful new friends and the much needed perspective which had been missing from my life for the better part of six months and things only went up from there. I got a job shortly after, which made time for blogging scarce. It became a treasure, a weekend activity where only positive energy was allowed. I learned to let go if a recipe or a photo didn't turn out as planned, to start over instead of obsess, the newly found perspective freed my mind from those miniscule details and allowed me to focus on bigger things like finding a writing and photography style, developing creative recipes, interacting with people, and actually enjoying myself again. This blog has been slowly plugging away since then, and though circumstances surrounding my life have changed, the one thing that remains constant is how much I love this space and everything it has become: a creative outlet, a cooking laboratory, an opportunity for friendships that would have never occurred otherwise. The words I want to write to express my gratitude for all of you elude me, and I don't want to get too sentimental, but suffice it to say, this little corner of the internet would be nothing without you, my dear readers and friends.