It’s my 10 year blog anniversary today! So let’s talk about how this crazy journey started.
Occasionally, I sit around with other bloggers and we all share stories of how we got started in blogging. For most people, it was to keep in touch with friends and family or to document the growth of their wee little ones. For others, they were avid blog readers already and wanted to join in the game.
My story is a little different. I got laid off for the second time in a year (by the same boss) and decided I wanted to steer clear of the start-up space and get a real marketing job. Most of the positions I started to apply for required writing samples and all I had to show for my years in the corporate world were really boring corporate PowerPoint presentations.
So I started a little blog at allthingsfadra.blogspot.com. Yep. It’s still there. It stayed there until I attended a one day blog conference (Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore for those of you in the know). I discovered this whole community of blogging, fell in love with it, switched to WordPress, and never looked back.
To celebrate 10 years in my corner of the blogging world, I thought I’d share my favorite posts from each year of the past 10 years. My life has changed and my writing has changed but I still love what I do and I still appreciate anyone that reads and hopefully finds some value in what I write.
2009 – Kids Say the Darnedest Things
“I am not, repeat, NOT a mommy blogger. But I do like to blog and I am a mommy. So here we are.”
This is a mantra I repeated over and over again. But let’s face it. Mommy bloggers were IT back in the day. They were the fashion Instagrammers of 2009.
In the end, I’m glad I embraced a lot of parenting content on my blog because otherwise I wouldn’t have written Kids Say The Darnedest Things which chronicles a few of the adorable things my then-two-year-old said. When I recently re-read this post, I didn’t remember most of those things. I am so glad I captured them here.
2010 – Letter to Amanda Fowler
“I saved this picture of you because, in it, I saw selfless compassion. I saw complete surrender to the human spirit. I saw someone with a face of calm and strength at the same time. I saw someone who didn’t care about race, color, creed, or even socioeconomic status. You embody the spirit of compassion that I wish we could all practice every day.”
This was a photo I had clipped from a National Geographic article about the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The picture had always moved me and when I found in the back of my nightstand drawer, I decided to write an open letter to the girl, Amanda Fowler, pictured in the photo above – Letter to Amanda Fowler.
I guess I was hoping she would find it and read it and know that someone was thinking about her. Curiosity eventually got the best of me and I found her on the internet and shared my post with her. I shared her response to me in Amanda Writes Back. That was when I realized the true impact our words can have on others.
2011 – Breast is Best and Formula is Okay Too
Eventually I loved blogging so much that I started other blogs with other bloggers. If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember a motherhood site called And Nobody Told Me. One of my favorite posts from 2011 was originally published on that site but when it went defunct, I moved it over here.
Everyone talks about breastfeeding. There are entire movements for breastfeeding. And then there are those over us over here who fed our babies formula just quietly hoping no one asks WHY we didn’t breastfeed.
I wanted to let other new mothers know that whatever they choose for nourishing their babies is totally okay which is why I wrote, Breast is Best and Formula is Okay Too.
2012 – I’ve never had a best friend
“Now, I’m a middle-aged woman and sometimes the insecurities that come with the lack of a best friend still creep up on me.”
On a particularly introspective day, I wrote about my ongoing battle with friendship. I had good friends not great friends. And I never had that one true friend. Boy, did that resonate with so many women on the internet. This post was even syndicated on BlogHer – I’ve never had a best friend.
And although I still don’t have that ONE best friend, I have a really nice circle of truly great friends all from the blogging world!
2013 – What the Turbulence Shook Loose
“I’ve gotten so good about walling up my emotions. I did it in my childhood as more of a defense mechanism. I’ve done it in my marriage for some of the same reasons. But the wall gets bigger and stronger and then you forget how to break it down.”
I was on my way home from a major blogging conference where I had given a performance. It had gone well but, as usual, I was still questioning my place in this world. And then the turbulence hit and my emotions finally broke through. So I wrote about it in What the Turbulence Shook Loose.
2014 – 25 Common Sense Rules of Airplane Etiquette
“I’ve learned how to work the system and make the most out of travel day but even the most pleasant-minded of us gets a little irked once we sit down on that airplane.”
I still make myself laugh when I read this one. My husband and I were sitting on a plane mentally checking off all the rules of etiquette everyone was breaking. And we thought we’d have a go at creating our own list.
I make have broken a few of these every once in a while but I still think these are VERY valid rules – 25 Common Sense Rules of Airplane Etiquette.
2015 – Why Ride the Coaster When You Can Just Buy the T-Shirt?
“When you’re a kid growing up in rural Southern Maryland, a trip to an amusement park that also included a chocolate world might as well be the equivalent of Willy Wonka telling you he’s giving you his chocolate factory.”
This post was the start of a long and happy relationship with Hershey Parks and Entertainment. My family and have have visited more times than we can count. But there was a secret desire hidden behind my first visit to the park in decades. It was to ride that one coaster that had evaded me for years.
When you read Why Ride the Coaster When You Can Just Buy the T-Shirt?, you’ll understand the specific significance of heading to Hersheypark and riding that Sooper Dooper Looper!
2016 – Why I Threw My Vote Away on Gary Johnson
“What I do believe in is change. And I believe in using my voice to empower change. I believe that there is a place for moderation in American politics.”
I used to write more about politics but in the mostly liberal space of the internet (at least in my corner of the world), it only prompts disdain when my viewpoint doesn’t agree with theirs. But back in 2016, things were so heated that I felt like I needed to draw a line in the sand and then firmly stand on that line.
I wanted to explain why my vote was so important in an election where most felt we were voting for the lesser of two evils. Read Why I Threw My Vote Away on Gary Johnson.
2017 – Why I Couldn’t Look Away from the Unbelievable Story of ‘The Keepers’
“It wasn’t until my sister recommended I tune in to the true crime Netflix documentary, The Keepers, that I followed through on my need to become immersed in this local story, 50 years after the fact.”
I love documentaries and it’s something I talk about frequently on my Stinger TV and Movie podcast. After I watched the intense and disturbing documentary, The Keepers, I became a little obsessed at tracking down more details in this local story. So I enlisted my sister to visit most of the key locations.
Following in the footsteps of a crime documentary is definitely a way to make you feel more connected to the story – Why I Couldn’t Look Away from the Unbelievable Story of ‘The Keepers’
2018 – Lessons Learned from My Thyroid
“I got up, looked in the mirror, and was shocked when I saw a very visible lump in my neck. That’s when I started imagining the worst case scenario and my tearful goodbye. And then I thought that I might want to see a doctor before I make my final diagnosis.”
I didn’t want to write an I almost had cancer! post, because I didn’t. But going from a normal healthy every day routine to needing a biopsy can scare the bejeebus out of the average person. I know I was scared and had no idea what to expect. And as you probably know, the internet is generally full of worst case scenarios.
After writing about my thyroid biopsy experience, I’m so glad I did. I get so many emails and comments from people getting ready to go through the same thing and feeling just as scared and nervous as I was. I’m so glad that I’m able to help ease a few fears for people with Lessons Learned from My Thyroid.
2019 – A Day in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia
“There are times when you are acutely aware that you are “not in Kansas anymore.” And there are times when you when you feel mentally, physically, spiritually, and achingly, oh-so-far from home. I had both of those moments when I arrived in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia to spent a long but adventurous day.”
I can’t believe I’ve only written once about my amazing, unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime trip to Saudi Arabia. There’s definitely more to come. But there was so much about that trip that it’s often hard to even know where to begin.
So I began with a travel post about a side trip I took while in Saudi Arabia. A location that truly made me feel like I was on the other side of the world. Join me for A Day in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia.
Reflections on my Blog Anniversary
It’s been fun for me to look back at 10 years of writing. I now write less frequently and with more purpose. I focus primarily on cars, travel, and entertainment which leaves less space for the more personal content we once connected with so deeply online.
I can’t say resolutely that I’ll be exactly right here in 10 years but as long as I have the creative itch to scratch, I’ll still be exploring all things Fadra in some way.
Thanks for sharing the journey with me!