Blogging Is 20 Years Old, And Here’s A Vintage Post Of Mine To Celebrate

Did you know that blogging turned 20? It had a birthday. Which is kind of strange to think about. When I was 9, blogging started. And there are people younger than me who don’t even know what it’s like to live in a world without blogging. (Blasphemy!)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that blogging changed my life. I started blogging in grad school, just on the side to build up a portfolio so that I could get freelance jobs and make extra money. And now I work at BuzzFeed, in large part thanks to my blogging jobs.

My first blog was called La Rosa Knows. I don’t know why I named it that, it just seemed appropriate, and it became a bit of an identity for me. People who knew me and my blog would say, LA ROSA KNOWS!, if I said something funny. It made me feel so proud of that blog, which started in 2009. I blogged about stuff I found funny, traveling through Utah to chase polygamists, and cats, of course.

Erin Circa 2010

This is a photo of me that I put on my blog in 2010. I was a big fan of selfies and the photobooth app.

Side of Ginger came about because I felt that I’d moved into a different phase of my life, and wanted to be able to reflect that through my blog. But in honor of blogging’s 20th birthday, I wanted to share an old post of mine from 2010. (I would’ve done one from 2009, but a lot of my old posts were eaten when I switched from blogger to Tumblr, sadly.)

So, without further ado: Here’s a post I wrote in 2010, when I briefly flirted with the idea of taking Spanish classes…

Beginner Level 1

I decided that since I have the summer off, and I “love to learn” that I would take some language classes to brush up on my skillz. First I called my mom to tell her about my idea, and she asked me what language I’d be focusing on. I threw out some ideas, “Well, I was thinking French or Italian because those are really hip…” to which my mother replied “Who do you know that you’ll be able to speak those with? People speak Spanish here. Take Spanish.” Obviously this was not the response I was looking for. I wanted her to say, “French, why, they speak that in France! You should move there for a year and eat baguettes and ride a bike and write novels while drinking wine!”

But the thing is, she had a point. I took Spanish all throughout middle and high school. When we went on a family trip to Barcelona I was the one who ended up ordering tapas at dinner and asking directions from the locals in their native tongue. That trip was three years ago. I now live in Los Angeles and plenty of people speak Spanish here. I’m from Florida, where most of the billboards and store clerks are purely conversing in Spanish at this point. I should know Spanish, and a brush up course would be helpful.

So, I put a call into the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. A nice woman named Eva with a slight accent answered, and once I informed her that I had taken Spanish and was essentially not a beginner she proceeded to ask me some questions.

“How do you say ‘I have a dog’?”

“That would be ‘Yo tengo un perro.’”

“Very good, and how about ‘I left the book on the table.’”

“Oh, huh, well, okay now let’s see… I know the words for book ‘libro’ and table ‘la mesa’ but I cant really…”

“Okay, not a problem! How about we conjugate a bit, how do you say ‘I am.’”

“Yo soy.”

“Good, and now ‘They are.’”

“Eeee, yikes, um… not totally remembering now…”

(Eva laughing slightly) “We’ll move on, let’s try ‘We are.’”

“Yup, not gonna happen.”

(Eva really laughing) “I think let’s start at beginner’s level for now, and if you get bored we’ll move you up. Okay?”

And so it seems my eight plus years of Spanish have completely failed me. If I had any knowledge of how to conjugate verbs, that apparently scrammed out the door immediately after our trip to Spain. I can tell you I have a dog, but ask me to say ‘They have a dog’ and you’ve lost me.

I start my beginner Spanish class when I get back from my vacation in Florida. It will meet once a week and I have to buy a textbook for it. My hopes are that I will be the brightest in the class… We’ll see how that goes.

What It’s Like To Attend A Blogging Boot Camp

I spent the past weekend at an all-day boot camp for bloggers. Yes, that’s right: a boot camp specifically geared toward people who want to step up their blogging game. The two day camp was hosted by Leah Bergman, who runs a really fun lifestyle blog called Freutcake. (Go there for DIY, recipes, and some truly amazing food porn photos.)
Freutcake-Collage

 

The camp was held in Pasadena at a large park called Descanso Gardens. I’d never been out that way and, if I’m being honest, I make it out to Pasadena about once a year. But it was like being in another world very removed from Los Angeles. There were rows and rows of oak trees, strip malls, and dare I say it… fresher air. We ate breakfast and lunch on picnic benches in the woods, then retreated to a small room inside the gardens to get down to business. (Did I mention that the lunches were amazing? Like the one pictured above, which had sushi, fresh veggies, and teriyaki chicken.)

The first day there, we were given really beautiful tote bags filled with goodies. Things like notebooks, pins, Post-It’s, pens, Blue Diamond almonds, a mousepad, and even a funky little apron. I’ve never had an apron, always wanted one, and it felt like Christmas!

Leah led the discussions each day, and topics included Photoshop, how to use social media to improve your audience, and finding your voice. I think some of the most important things I learned included the importance of being true to yourself so people can get to know you. I think the web has a tendency to make us present the best versions of ourselves, (i.e. filters, selfies, and everything in between), when it’s really important to include the honest parts too. Like, for example, my pants are unbuttoned right now, because I’m wearing my skinny jeans and I really am not at a weight where I should be. THERE: HONESTY.
Freutcake BagsI’m not really a camp person. I didn’t do sleep away camps, I was never in the Girl Scouts, and group projects are kind of my nightmare. But going to Freutcamp was really a nice break from my routine, and it helped me to get out of my comfort zone. When you’re a writer, you spend a lot of time in your own head, and that can get very isolating. So being surrounded by smart women who want to improve their online presence was really inspiring and refreshing. I think it just goes to show that when you have the opportunity to be around people who will motivate you to be better, DO IT.

The experience also inspired me to get an Instagram account, and you can follow me here. The above Instagrams came from fellow attendees: @inmyredkitchen, @raina_rain, @fromraintoshine, @joannepio, @jacolynmurphydesigns, and @chelseaandthecity.