It’s hard to think of things I’ve been doing consistently for 10 years.
Well, besides personal grooming, like brushing my teeth, or cooking meals for my family or doing laundry. Okay, so I guess I’ve been doing lot of things for the past decade, but that’s not important right now.
I’m celebrating my occupation of this particular space of the internet called My Big, Fat, Cuban Family for 10 years now. And because I like to celebrate pretty much anything, (Yay! It’s Thursday!) I am definitely celebrating this milestone. If I haven’t said it enough, you know I’m a big believer in celebrating. With cake, of course.
But how does one celebrate online? (And why?) Walk with me down my cyber-memory-lane and appreciate that I’ve been writing and sharing since before it was cool to do it so publicly.
Warning: Super long and newsy post headed your way. I’m 10 years old now. That’s a lot of nostalgia to be re-living.
My header looked something like this.
Actually, this is the 2nd (or maybe 3rd?) iteration of my blog header. I switched out the photos of my kids because they were becoming real people, but my header remained photos of the people I love and surrounded me in everyday life.
And my kids? Well, they’ve grown up on this blog. I may have them write a post describing what that felt like all these years. (I’ll have to run it by their therapists first. #joking)
I found that the longer I was in the blogosphere, the quicker my kids were growing. My blog back then was all sepia toned and had a nostalgic feeling and I was busy homeschooling my kids and my mom was only (!) 92. Life was definitely in session.
To document and celebrate my first year of blogging, I got a cake and added my (then) header. I thought it was sooo clever. I liked the bloggy life. A lot. Mostly because people began to find me online and appreciate my very Cuban-American point of view. I liked that. I started connecting all over the internets.
Obviously, I’m a big believer of having cake when I celebrate. (No-brainer)
I started this blog in October of 2006. My first post, Life on the Hyphen was filled with questions and angst about what I thought I was doing and why it felt so big and important at the time. I also remember I messed up the hyperlinks because I had no idea what I was doing and what were “hyperlinks” anyway? It was a wonderful, terrible, amazing, and terrifying to “put myself out there.”
When I say, “put myself out there,” it meant that my 5 readers – mostly members of my immediate family and 2 faithful friends – were subject to all my insecurities.
“Did you read my post? What did you think? Was it okay?” *wrings hands impotently*
I wrote something about trying to “find my voice.”
It didn’t take too long before I progressed to making my mantra, “I am fearless,” and I stopped asking what people thought and just wrote. And wrote. And
overshared. With abandon and with gusto.
“Look at me! I’m a blogger! I blog!”
And before I knew it, 2 years had gone by. I became the resident cook over at Babalú Blog and I was making a name for myself in the Food Blogger space. I celebrated by using my (very poor) Photoshop skills to create a faux magazine cover. (Oh! Look at the cleverness of me!)
As quickly as my kids were growing, so was my “following.” Amy got me on Facebook and my little cyber-kingdom began expanding. I reached the 3 year mark in October of 2009. I was now feeling pretty confident in my writing. I stopped asking for feedback and just wrote from my heart. I think this is when I felt I really started connecting with my own heart and writing, writing, writing. Or you could say
oversharing, but that’s not important right now.
“I’m a blogger,” I would say, when people asked what I did. I was surprised to find I still had to explain it. It had become so second-nature to me. I said it without apology. Blogging about my life…was my life.
It was around year four that I started wondering if I shouldn’t be retiring soon. After all, I was not getting any younger. The kids were outgrowing my ability to keep my banner current. I decided not to even address that. Life was good and I had so much to document. “Document the magic,” became my mantra as I took photos every day and hoped I would continue to be inspired.
And with almost five years under my belt, the fun invitations began to pour in. One of the highlights of that time was my visit to the Betty Crocker Kitchens. I GOT TO COOK IN THE BETTY CROCKER KITCHENS, PEOPLE.
Sorry for yelling, but seriously, it was such a highlight.
I started to slow down a little when I celebrated my 5th Blogiversary. I kept wondering if I should retire soon. After all, I had written every single story and told you every single thought I had been having pretty much every day for 5 years. That is World Class
OverSharing right there.
But, of course, I kept entertaining and going places and doing things. And so, I felt it was important to let you in on all the fun and zoom! I was 6 years in before you could say, “Basta ya con el tiki-tiki!”
Also, I was starting to run out of magazine cover inspiration. She cooks! She writes! She
overshares! She’s running out of ideas! What will she do next?
I must have blinked because suddenly, 7 years had passed. My family was older. And, just when I didn’t think it was even possible, I told more stories. (More stories, Marta? No lo creo!) I shared more recipes. I decided it was time to refresh the old, tired sepia-tones and make everything RED. Look at us! All bright and red!
And I made a video. Because I can do stuff like that. And I had a YouTube Channel. You are invited to subscribe and follow along on all my cooking and
oversharing adventures on YouTube right here.
You should totally follow me, especially my Cuban Food! Board.
And I post the things I’m doing and the places I’m going on the daily on Instagram. Now I have, not one, but two accounts. (Shut up. I know.)
Oversharing has never been easier. I was born for these times!
Of course, I have a presence on Facebook as well. You are welcome to follow all the relajo over there.
Did I blink? It was 2014 and eight years had gone by. I let my hair grow back to its natural curly-awesome and hired my daughter, Lucy (who actually knows how to use Photoshop) to make my curls work on the Eight Years of Blogging cover.
Last year, when I reached my 9th Year Milestone, I gave up the faux magazine covers and worked hard and long making my header a reflection of everything that was happening in my life at any given time.
Lucy and I collaborated to create the new and beautiful header you see up above. She also created my new and improved logo and suddenly My Big, Fat, Cuban Family was ….drum roll, please…. a brand.
I started adding my logo to photos and videos and (I DIDN’T THINK IT COULD BE POSSIBLE) started
oversharing with renewed gusto. More stories! More videos! More foods!
You want to make Pastelitos de Guayaba on your own? I got you covered.
And because I am always making stuff, I also make posters. About food, of course. Cuban Food Posters. Which, you totally need in your life. They come in 7 colors and 3 sizes and are available at my Etsy shop, MartaDarbyDesigns. Are we having fun yet?
I thought I would wrap things up and finally retire right around when my 10th Blog anniversary came around. Not a chance. If anything, I feel like I’m just hitting my stride.
The motto of this
ridiculously long newsy post? 1) We should always be celebrating. 2) There should always be cake. Yes, cake is very important.
Thanks for all your wonderful support and love. I’m so glad to count you as part of My big, fat, Cuban family. Here’s to many more Bloggywonderful Years!
Have some cake.
In the last 2 years, I’ve celebrated quite a few more milestones:
- Fidel Castro died.
- I’ve said goodbye to my dear mom, Luza, who was almost 103.
- We’ve welcomed our sweet grandson Sebastian (you may call him Bash) into the fold.
- I added Bacon Guava Cream Cheese Bites to my repertoire of recipes.
- I was featured on a Buzzfeed show: Abuela VS Chef (Spoiler – I won!)
- Eric and I celebrated 25 years(!) of marriage.
- Our daughter, Lucy, got married!
- I met and had some memorable moments with Willy Chirino (be still my heart!)
- I was in the same room as ALL of the Avengers.
- I got to dance in a video with my favorite Abuela, Jenny Lorenzo, and Elvis Crespo (!)
- I met and “selfied” with Gloria Estefan, my new BFF.
- I podcasted with the talented guys from “Pero Let Me Tell You.”