One year ago today, I posted my first post on Keepin' It Kind. I felt both exhilarated and scared of what I may have gotten Chris and myself into.
As I said in that first post, I am always writing, though it's mostly just in my mind. All throughout my day, I'm writing stories in my mind or putting my thoughts down in an invisible journal. After I became vegan, my kitchen creativity was unleashed and as I began creating incredible meals for Chris and I, I noticed that my "inner writing" became more of a dialogue where I would explain why I made certain ingredient choices, why I love the mustard greens my CSA sent us, or how I came up with the idea for the meal altogether. As time went on, it became more and more clear that I was really just building Keepin' It Kind.
One year later, Chris and I consider this blog one of the greatest things we've done together. Chris, who was primarily an architecture and landscape photographer before, has grown into an incredibly talented food photographer. We both shudder when we look at the early photography on this blog
(please, don't look), but I love seeing how far Chris has come. I look forward to our photo shoots, when I set everything up and style the food, then he gets behind the camera and goes to town. I stand-by to re-style food as needed, hold a bounce in just the right spot, point out shots that I'd had in mind (most of the time, he's already gotten them), and mostly just oggle him while he's in his element. It's a process that, without a doubt, has brought us even closer together and the final product that you see here is truly a labor of love.
The amount of writing that I get to do here about things that I love and stories I feel compelled to tell gives me peace. The fact that you all come here to actually read what I write just puts me over the moon! In a drive to show how fun, easy and accessible being vegan and living a compassionate life really is, I am continually pushed to try things in the kitchen that I never would have even considered before. When I hear from readers who tell me about how they got started on their vegan journey or how it's changed their lives, it makes me feel like I'm on the right path. The friendships I've formed and the support I've gotten this last year has truly shined a light on a confidence I did not know I had. Needless to say, it has been a great first year.
All of this reflecting on the work that we've done here has led me to begin pondering which posts were my favorites. I found that they fell into 2 categories: My favorite posts and our favorite recipes.
OUR 5 MOST FAVORITE RECIPES:
These tacos are a staple in our house. Whether I forgot to go to the market or I'm in a "I don't know what I feel like cooking tonight" mood, I always have chickpeas, avocados, and corn tortillas. It comes together fast and we're always more than pleased with our meal.
These are the best waffles to ever come out of my kitchen. Period.
This was one of those recipes where, as Chris is taking pictures of it, I'm thinking "this is either going to be awesome or totally suck." It was neither. It was mind-altering.
Chris and I are both big chocolate lovers and this cookie is a huge winner in our books. We could eat them daily and never tire of them.
This post is Keepin' It Kind's most popular post to date, and with good reason. The buffalo cauliflower wings themselves have become staples in our house, with or without the pizza. Plus, I win big points with Chris every time I make it. 🙂
MY 5 MOST FAVORITE POSTS (THE POSTS I PARTICULARLY LOVED WRITING):
This post had me in a fit of giggles as I wrote it. The fact that someone would even search for "self-image of family living rough and smoking" is funny enough, but the fact that it led them to my site just kills me. And that's just one of the search terms I discussed!
Vegan MoFo was a blast and my theme led to some pretty humorous writing. This one is one of my favorites.
My stint as a nanny was one of the most heart-breaking, loneliest, and soul-shaking times of my life. I've had a hard time discussing this with anyone because just the thought of that time makes my stomach turn. Writing about it and sharing it with you was pretty cathartic and the virtual hugs I received meant the world to me.
The post about how my nannying job came to an end. That was one of the weirdest, most surreal days of my life. At the time, I was traumatized, but I am so thankful for it because it taught me that the choice to be happy is our own. As a side note, this is one of my favorite recipe posts as well. And I think it's some of Chris's finest work.
Discussing my former issues/obsession with my weight is something I've only ever talked to Chris about. There was a lot of hesitancy before hitting the publish button on this one. I am so thankful I did, because also sharing my current views on body-image has seemed to resonate with many of you. Some of the the comments on this post brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with much love.
THE YEAR TO COME
Chris and I are looking forward to this next year, as well as many more years of Keepin' It Kind. I'm currently working on making improvements to the site, such as making all recipes searchable through my Recipage (a long process, indeed. I'm working backwards, chronologically, and I'm now in mid-April, so not too much longer before all recipes are there). I'm also working to reformat every recipe so that they are printable from the post itself. You may be seeing some other minor facelifts around the sight, and hopefully, ultimately, a newly designed, more functional, and prettier Keepin' It Kind. Any feedback you have on the changes you see or if you have had experience in redesigning your blog, please feel free to chime in and share- all thoughts will be much appreciated.
Thank you so much to each and every one of you for being a part of this crazy wonderful journey of ours. Every single comment you leave brightens our day more than you know. Much love to all of you.