Year in Review + Requests for 2014

This will be my last post for 2013. Hence, the title. For the request portion of this post, please see the last paragraph and the bullet points. =)

For the year in review: I started “The Truly Educated Never Graduate” in November 2010. It originally was a way to attack and chronicle my “30 Before 30” list. Soon, however, I discovered my love of cooking. Really for the last good solid year-and-a-half, the blog has been about 90% food articles 10% anything else.

What has been so (happily) surprising is how much the blog exploded this year. The number of subscribers more than doubled. The number of hits more than tripled. I’ve even had people at work conferences admit to reading my blog (I go back and forth thinking, “Well, it’d be better if they knew me for my actual work” and “Well, I’m sure I’ve been known for worse things than food blogging.”).

I really don’t know how or why this great increase happened, but it’s kinda nice. Even though I am not a professional blogger or chef, it’s good to feel that what I write about and what I cook is interesting to others; that the recipes (in theory) are being shared with and improved upon and perfected by total strangers; that the articles can inspire others to experiment with cooking or have more home-cooked meals with families or realize that even on a student budget you don’t always have to eat like a student.

2013 was a very busy year. Work-wise, I got two more preprints ready (though neither has a damn thing to do with my thesis, so we get to count that as yet ANOTHER project). I’ve done a LOT of traveling. This is really good because my university is geographically isolated but it is also really exhausting. My family life has always (thankfully) been fantastic, but both my parents had to be rushed to the ER in a span of two months. I got to be maid of honor in a close friend’s wedding, which thanks to the dress being sleeveless inspired me to get in shape; consequently–if I do say so myself–I’m lookin’ good. I spent early 2013 dealing with the “practical” parts of a major breakup like learning to live and cook alone. I then had a great run with an awesome guy in 2013; that the run is no longer great makes me (depending on the day) sad and frustrated.

2014 is going to be another big year. I will finally graduate from college (I will let everyone know the second they can call me “Doctor”). Currently I’m applying for academic positions which start in the fall. Hopefully, I will get one of those academic positions–despite being competitive as hell, it is my Plan A. But even if I don’t get a job at a college, I think I will be OK. I know many who have left academia and I know that there are plenty of back-ups. Regardless of what happens to me job-wise, I will be moving. The move will probably be out of state, but at the very least I will be UNBELIEVABLY happy to leave the college town I have outgrown.

Back to the food and blogging, though! Food-wise, I had some major breakthroughs/realizations/”aha”-moments this year, including:

What realizations will I have next year? Hrm…I need to continue this blog–it helps me maintain my sanity, and the cooking relaxes me. AND I’D LIKE YOUR INPUT!!! I want ideas for new themes/dishes to try. My current thoughts include:

  • Include drinks/cocktails. (Good idea/bad idea?)
  • Doing “themed” dinners. Instead of Seven Deadly Sins, though, I was thinking of hosting dinner-and-a-movie nights where the dinner is inspired by the movie. (Good idea/bad idea/suggestions-for-movies?)

Any other suggestions for things you think I should try and/or things you’d like to see would be GREATLY appreciated. =)

Looking forward to an exciting 2014! =)

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