It’s been a solid year.
When I compare it to 2015, it’s been one foodie adventure, commuting between two continents, dancing with the weather to shoot a solid photo, and killing my electricity and gas bills. Have I been completely satisfied with everything? Not really. There’s been some ups, but there has also been some downs.
In terms of the blog…
It was certainly an exciting year, albeit a very stressful one. The highlight for me was without a doubt securing a cookbook deal. Even to this day, after handing in my third round of submissions (and hair pulling), I still need to take a step back and appreciate this.
I’ll need to dedicate an entire post on it, but the cookbook process (which still is very much IN process!) has taught me so much about myself, my capabilities and really appreciated others who have also undertaken such a project. As someone who has always been one to balance the work/life balance well, the cookbook dictated otherwise.
I also changed my mindset with blogging- forming and nurturing ‘true’ relationships, and being satisfied with not being 100% on top of everything. I like to correlate it to the days I worked within Corporate Australia. When I worked in an office, if I had a Computer/IT issue, I would contact the appropriate department without a second thought. If I had an issue with the corporate chat application, I’d contact the team specifically designed for overlooking that area. When there was a social channel we needed to promote on, we’d target that particular team- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
Keyword? The TEAM. The team in charge of that ONE platform.
With blogging, it’s a whole different ballpark.
YOU are the boss of all of these facets and trying to do it all would ultimately lead to a burnout. What was important for me to do was focus on certain areas, and become lax in others. I was okay with not doing it all, not posting as often as I wanted, and taking time off for extended periods of time.
Content wise, the cookbook made it difficult to share more personal posts, especially travel and life recaps- Two things I truly enjoy doing. I’m fortunate to have had a fair few archived recipes shot way back in Colombus, which I could use throughout this year.
Towards the end of 2015, it was clear you guys wanted more easy, healthy recipes, so I tried my best to keep that in line throughout 2016.
I’m not going to dedicate a full post on top 10 or 20 reader recipes for 2016, so we’ll cover the highlights here-
These flourless protein brownies continue to be a reader favorite, especially within the fitness community. It’s been shared hundreds of times on Instagram (search #thebigmansworld or follow along here) and I love how many gyms/fitness groups are enjoying them over and over again!
And yes, I know. THEY ARE NOT BETTY CROCKER BROWNIES, OKAY?
Betty Crocker Brownies will taste 10000000% more delicious.
The original 3 Ingredient Flourless Brownies which saw many seasonal variations this year.
I almost felt embarrassed to post this recipe, but seeing as it had been my alternative to a protein shake during my gym days, I shared it anyway.
The infamous flatbread which always receives mixed reviews.
Off the blog…
Have you ever heard of reverse culture shock? In simple terms, it’s when you return back to your ‘culture’ or home life, and you aren’t prepared for what comes at you.
I never thought going from one English speaking country back to another English speaking country would hit me as hard as it did. I still remember standing in LAX back in April. I was heading home for an extended ‘working vacation’ to focus on the cookbook, but also to see my home, my friends, my old life.
Home had changed.
People had changed.
I had changed.
The vibe was off from the get-go, and even though I’ve been back and forth between continents since then, it just hasn’t been the same. I felt like a stranger everywhere I went and conversations with old friends became stagnant and bland.
I think some of it stems from the unrelatable aspect- Something I DO miss from Corporate Australia. When you work for yourself, it’s easy to fall into the black hole of having limited human contact. Granted, I made an effort to see friends and family pretty consistently, but even then, it just wasn’t the same. When you work in an office, you have no choice- You see people, you talk to people, you develop relationships with people. Yes, it’s possible to do it online/with other bloggers in your home city, but at the end of the day, unless you have a shared website of some sort, every blogger is different.
I was talking to one of my very oldest friends, Ingrid, about how I thought I was stuck in Peter Pan syndrome. I wanted to leave Australia, but whenever I returned, Australia needed to be exactly as I left it.
It wasn’t…and it can’t be.
That’s not reality.
Where to in 2017?
To be completely honest, there’s going to some changes.
I’m not ready to express them coherently just yet, but one thing is certain- Australia definitely isn’t home anymore. Every trip back home during 2016 (the joys of traveling between New York and Melbourne regularly), has become more and more convincing, that there is no dancing around this reality.
Content wise, there will be some big news later in the year, which is both nerve-wracking but exciting- I hate being one of those bloggers who state something vague, but I need the time to write it out and explain it all properly.
I am beyond grateful to be doing something I love full-time. I want to personally thank each and every reader/blogger/friend for your support from the get go, and for continuing on with my crazy journey. Whether it be our conversations on Facebook, through email, when you share your re-creations on Instagram or when you tell me my captions are stupid, Thank you.
Photography by the amazing Christine Skari Photography.
Oh, and to that lovely reader who leaves weekly comments proclaiming that this blog and myself are trash…
You are absolutely correct.
2016 you’ve been a-ok.
2017? Don’t be tardy for the party.
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