Best of Veggie Mama 2014: Food, craft, and weary indignance

It’s usually around this time of year I have a look at what have been my most popular posts, and I’m usually always surprised. Posts I wrote years ago are still the top picks, although I have forgotten them over the years. It seems you guys haven’t! A couple of my all-time favourites made it, too.

FOOD

The top three food posts this year were also the top posts overall. All of them written pre-2014!

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The Secret to Making Fluffy Banana Pikelets

Homemade Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

 

CRAFT

craft 2014

Tutorial: Knit a Simple Cushion Cover

Free Crochet Pattern: Little Handbags for Kids

Free Crochet Pattern: Baby Girl Hat

 

Bad Shit that Happened so I Complained About it On the Internet

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This actually isn’t a category I set out to fill, but it seems my top posts of 2014 written in 2014, were actually these. They appeared to have hit a frustrated nerve with you!

How to Recover a Document Saved to Office 2011 Autorecovery.

That one time the computer lost my article, and I had to Google for half a day to get it back. Surprisingly popular with very, very grateful strangers.

Check Yo Self, Internet

That one time I got sick and bloody tired of my friend copping so much crap from an entitled and nasty audience. Seems lots of people felt the same way.

The One Blog Post the Whole Internet Needs to Read

Put down those smug avocados. And if you’re feeling a bit judged, be reminded of this. (Also wins for best reader comments of the year, there are some real corkers in this one!)

 

Food of 2014

PicMonkey Collage

Kid Food: Mini Yogurt Pancakes 

Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies

Caramelised Apple and Cinnamon Scrolls

 

Do you have a favourite? I like Check Yo Self, that one I wrote about learning big life lessons and sorting out your priorities, and that one I wrote about burning all my food and wanting to punch half the world.

The Planning Frenzy and The Important Question

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A little while ago, we did a survey here on VM, and we asked you a million and one questions. The ones I was mostly interested in were the ones about content – what do you come here for?

One day I will show you the results (I had 200 respondents, blew my mind!) because I find them utterly fascinating. It seems most of you come for the recipes (70%), and just over half of you come because it feels like a chat with a friend, and/or for a giggle (53.5), and half of you come to hear about someone else’s life (50.5%), just like why I read blogs! I was pretty interested (and slightly confused) to see 19.5% of you coming for parenting advice, because I’m not sure I’m qualified to hand that shit out! I’m such a rookie, but we seem to be doing ok. And last but not least, 15% come for home advice (usually me telling you to put things in washing baskets and forget about them), and 3.5% come for beauty tips (get microdermabrasion and use Cosima skin care but hey, you’re gonna get old anyway).

So in the interests of actually being useful, I wanted to run this by you:

What would you like to see here?

What can I help you with?

What sorts of recipes do you like?

And finally, can you do my laundry?

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I love you long time, and am always grateful every single goddamn day that you choose to spend some of your time with me xx

 

That time I wrote a confession a day for 31 days

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This time last year, I was well underway with a writing challenge. Myquillyn of Nesting Place had a thing where you wrote every day for 31 Days in October , about one topic. I mixed that up with 50 writing prompts from Fat Mum Slim and came up with a confession a day.

Y’all, I will never write every single day for 31 days ever again.

But it is hilarious to look back on it. Enjoy and do please laugh at my expense. It’s what I’m here for, after all.

1. That thing that happened in high school that pretty much changed my life forever.

Where I discuss being a high school dropout.

2. The day I left home.

Where I get confused.

3. That lie I told that I got away with (or didn’t!).

I’M FINE. I wasn’t fine.

4. The hardest thing I’ve ever been through.

Breakup = life lessons

5. 9 things I just can’t handle.

Where I explain what I hate and it gets reprinted by news.com.au and I get abused.

6. My most excruciatingly embarrassing moment.

It’s every goddamn day.

7. The story of my first kiss (not skipping all the awkward details!)

The guy with the ferret!

8. The day I started blogging – what was I thinking?

Can this thing make money?

9. The most difficult decision I have ever made.

A stranger in the street gave me permission.

10. 7 things I learned from being a kid.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

11. The last thing that made me cry.

Fuck you, Ricky Gervais.

12. My earliest childhood memory.

I swear it was a blue dress.

13. That thing that really gets my goat.

The arrogant ignorants.

14. The worst Christmas I’ve ever had.

Oh it’s so pathetic it’s funny! My poor cat.

15. What I am addicted to and why.

Old shit.

16. My obituary.

I still LOL at this.

17. A DIY on something I know nothing about.

How to Be an Astronaut. It’s riveting. (No really, it actually is).

18. What I’ve learned about life so far.

Thank you Dr Phil and Oprah.

19. Brain dump: what’s on my mind right now.

I think it was the X-Files, from memory. Painting shit white / decluttering / other Veggie Mamas / loud cats.

20. Something I lost.

I actually still want it back.

21. My worst habit.

I’m sitting on the couch as we speak.

22. Thank you to a thing that I love.

It’s about to get upgraded!

23. What I want to be when I grow up.

I fell asleep reading this.

24. Something I found.

Fwends.

25. A review on something I’ve used, watched, eaten, or read lately.

The Green Kitchen cookbook. It’s a good one.

26. An update on my most popular post – where are we now?

Thinking of doing an update on the update!

27. Set a goal and a plan on how to get there.

To my surprise, I’m doing even more than that now.

28. Top 5 blogs I’m loving right now.

Top 5 of all time. Nearly all the same as how I feel now!

29. I ask advice on something that is troubling me.

The P-Word!

30. A menu for my last meal ever.

Truffles, truffles everywhere.

31. I share a secret I’ve never told anyone until now.

Hi Shaun! *waves*

 

Could you write every day for 31 days?

 

I had Lunch with Seth Godin and This is What he Taught Me

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and marketing guru. He encourages people to think outside the box. To eschew the restraints of society and authority, and be creative in your endeavours.

As we all know, I’m not particularly creative. I also rarely think outside the box. Not because I don’t want to, but because it doesn’t come naturally to me.

So when I had lunch with 500 other people in Seth’s presence last week, I was intrigued about what Mr Godin could bring that I already didn’t know I should be doing.

Seth is a great speaker. If you haven’t seen him, you should. He really is pretty motivating, but not in a cheesy way. In a way that validates the choices you’re making, the dreams you want to get off the ground.

While he was speaking, we each had a little bingo card to cross off words as he said them. The first to get a row could yell bingo and get a free book. Being the competitive little brat that I am meant I paid more attention than I probably normally would have as I usually have a short attention span and my brain wanders off a lot. Sandwiches. But a couple of things stood out to me.

The first was to stay on my current path. While Seth speaks marketing, and in terms of selling goods or ideas, I have to revert that back to blogging. Because, like it or not, that has somehow become my actual job now. So in a sense, what I’m “selling” is me. And I’m a complete wanker. But some people get a kick out of it, and as I evolve, so does my blog. That definitely means that people unfollow or unlike or whatever as they realise I’m not a hippie preaching about natural living (I think the name Veggie Mama confuses people), or my sailor mouth offends some, or they don’t have small children any more and can’t relate, or they are upset I don’t post as many recipes as I used to now that I only do one a week.

I don’t mind the unfollows, I’m a rabid unfollower. We all go through different phases in life and fall in and out of love with things. I’m more than happy for people to fall out of love with me, or cull their input so they can go out and live their actual lives. As Seth said, you don’t want to be for everyone. The makers of Harley Davidson motorbikes don’t create bikes for all people, they create bikes for certain kinds of people. Don’t like Harley Davidson motorbikes? That’s ok. They’re not for you.

I’m not for you.

Ok maybe not you, because you’re here reading (hi!) but I’m not for everyone. I don’t want to be. And Seth says that’s OK (thanks, Seth!).

The other thing he mentioned that stood out to me is something I’ve long believed but of course, he could put it into a snappy phrase and I spend half a day trying to explain what I mean. He was talking about the levels of photography skill, and said that lots of people can produce beautiful photos. Some can produce photos that others don’t think are attractive (but that’s ok, it’s not for them). But everyone has access to the same camera.

If you don’t take that literally (please don’t, I can’t bear explaining this to you once you tell me some people can’t afford cameras), everyone has access to their ability to make their own agenda. As a result of the choices you make, of the jobs you take, of the people you meet, of your personal motivation. Everyone has the ability to do different things with that. I like to make my life the way I want it wherever possible. And yes, that sometimes means doing stuff I don’t like (remind me to tell you about that one time I worked cleaning colonoscopes to earn a living) to get to stuff I do like (travelling). Some people stop at doing stuff they don’t like and refuse to do it. But that usually means they never get to the stuff they really want to do. That’s not for me.

Mr Godin gave me permission that day to continue the way I was going. To go slowly because I’m not for everyone, and there’s no doubt that’s the long way round. But to do it how I want to because though everyone might have access to a blogging platform, what comes out on the other side is what you make it.

Seth Godin No Free Lunch

When I rocked up to get my book signed, I told him I almost won the bingo, but was pipped at the post. He asked my name and turned around. He walked over to the book table and signed the same poster prize the winner had received, so he also taught me trying but not winning is sometimes good enough. People like that you care enough to try hard. And when I asked him if we could take a picture he almost wasn’t going to, even though he liked my gumption enough to give me a poster. There was a lot of people still waiting, and his time was running out. At that point, if I was him, I would have said yes because I have remnants of the People Pleasing disease and I still find it hard to say no. He found it easy. I need to work on that.

But I got my photo anyway. And I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy.

Seth Godin SelfieWhat ‘wrong’ thing are you going to choose to do today? What will people say you’re ‘wasting time’ on? What will you be ‘blamed’ for? Go and do it!

 

Your First Blog Post

I am seeing a lot of anguish on the interwebs lately from people who are hemming and hawing over their first blog post – they want to get it just right. They want to get it so perfect that they’re not even starting. I’ve heard of people writing and re-writing… I even talked to a gal at PBEVENT who has held off for a whole year because she’s just so scared.

Darren spoke over the weekend about just getting started, and then building up something you love. Taking that first step.

I never worried about what my first post on Veggie Mama would be – I already had a blog and I knew there were only two people besides myself who ever saw my first post. Lots of blogs go out into the internet without fanfare and glitter. They just sit there.

This is mine.

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It has been on the internet for almost five years, and it has had 52 views. 50 of them was probably me refreshing every time I added a new widget to my sidebar.

It doesn’t look like that any more, because I’ve had plenty of site designs over the years. But it’s still there, in it’s crazy web-archived glory.

I’m quite fond of it, looking back. It’s quite nostalgia-inducing! I was having a lot of fun, and this looks so like Blogspot in early 2010, because it was Blogspot early 2010.

Get started. Who cares what it looks like? What it sounds like? You’ve got all the time in the world to tinker with it.

And for all y’all who have a blog – link up your first post ever. Get nostalgic with me! You can even use the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and show us all what it looked like way back when.

 

Highlights from the ProBlogger Training Event Conference

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1. Actually being part of the conference team

It was so much fun. I met so many more people this year as I worked at the registration desk and around various other things. I apparently also talked so much I lost my voice. The other good thing about being part of the team was watching everyone learn how to use Facebook stickers in our Team Facebook chat. Darren was fond of using Power Rangers ones, in case you’re wondering.

2. Having enough voice to get through my presentation

It was probably worse than nails on a chalkboard, but my voice held up ok. I was worried there for a while – so worried I was eating honey straight from those little containers you get at the buffet breakfast. A kindly gentleman made me honey and lemon tea to sip through my presentation, and Brooke scoured the halls for ginger. I was also stoked that Sonia Styling and Kate from Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily BOTH got my “my name is Rupert, this is my cat” Ricky Gervais reference. Full marks girls (And Sonia, I still owe you five bucks).

“Loads of websites just clogging up the internet by people just doing websites about themselves. ‘My name is Rupert. This is my cat. Here are my favourite Cure songs in order.’ Who gives a fuck?”Ricky Gervais

I also prepared a downloadable PDF cheat sheet for those who couldn’t make it or were a bit overwhelmed with taking notes. You can download it here, or take a peep at Pip’s excellent effort!

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3. Watching Chantelle get the love and devotion she deserves

I am Fat Mum Slim‘s Number-One fan, Official Bee’s Ankles, and now celebrity paparazzo. This girl is the real deal, and SO sneakily funny and sarcastic. I knew how terrified she was of public speaking (no kidding, I had to talk her out of quitting for nine whole months) and I was so proud of how well she did in her session about using social media to grow your blog. And then watched the love in the room pour out for a crazy kid with crazy dreams she makes come true on the internet.

She got hated on again two days later, so I’ve reverted to wanting to punch the whole internet again.

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4. Katie 180 ensuring I had enough snacks

In case I got “hangry”. Which, let’s face it, was entirely possible.

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5. The food at the QT Gold Coast.

I warned ya!

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6. The Speakers and Team dinner

At Yamagen. I ate until I nearly cried, I was so full. Agedashi tofu, you complete me.

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7. Eden performing her slam poetry.

Hanging with Nikki, Beth and Mrs Woog required a funny little ritual (that included me donning a soft pant and taking all my makeup off) which was already exactly what I needed. Then Eden snuck up off the couch, put a “do not disturb” sign on the door, announced she was going to perform for us, then had us spellbound for exactly two minutes.

I’ve never seen anything like it. I am wary of poetry that doesn’t rhyme. The thought of sitting through a pretentious performance of somebody’s purple prose sounded like something I’d rather eat a bag of nails than watch. Of course, she was nothing like that and it was incredible. I hate her so much, she’s so good.

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8. Walking past the place where a stripper once tried to push me down the stairs

I hate the term “stomping ground”, but Surfer’s Paradise was mine. If you were around circa 2001, you’d have seen me in my tartan pants drink bourbon and own the dance floor at The Party on Orchid Ave. Occasionally you could lure me out to other places, but not often. I had to smile as I walked under the Crazy Horse strip club sign, and remembered how I was just that little bit too fast for the angry stripper. pbevent9

9. Finally getting my Theo’s kebab

Given I left the Ahoy party early due to my rapidly diminishing voice, I never had the opportunity to stagger over to Cavill Mall and get my midnight kebab. Lunchtime the next day, though – I rolled up to the counter and ordered a salad kebab. Me, felafel, tomato, lettuce, cheese, onion, and six kilos of the best garlic sauce in Queensland sat on the sand and laughed at two Asian tourists run screaming down the beach to get away from a seagull. Well I laughed, my kebab didn’t appear as amused.

10. Meeting all of you

Finally putting IRL faces to blog names is always fun. It was rad to see everyone having a good time, learning new things, meeting new people, and hugging old friends. See you next year?

What was your #PBEVENT highlight?

 

Headed to The ProBlogger Event? Here’s a Heads-Up…

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.57.58 pm While this is only my second ProBlogger event, I learned so much last year that I thought it pertinent to share this time around. I’m heading there today (see you at the Registration Desk from 3.30!) and will try and remember all this myself… Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 4.07.00 pm

1. DON’T BE SHY!

For real. You will regret it. Just say hi. I’ve only ever had one blogger be rude to me and that was at totally different conference. There’s no excuse for not talking to the people you really want to talk to! Everyone’s happy to chat, everyone’s there to mingle… have some dutch courage at the networking event if you must, but don’t leave kicking yourself that you couldn’t just go up and introduce yourself to someone.

It’s also awesome catching up with old friends, but remember you might accidentally talk all the way through a presentation and you won’t have learned anything. In my defence, I hadn’t moved to Melbourne yet, so was super-excited to hang with Pip cos I didn’t get to see her often ;-)

2. Find Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids

Which shouldn’t be too hard to do, as she’s a Happiness Creator and will be wearing a #PBEVENT T-shirt. She is there to ensure you have a good time. But more to the point, she hands out lollies with her business card. Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.58.35 pm

3. Get your free old-fashioned lemonade

There’s plenty of lemonade stands in the lobby, but you can also call the QT room service to bring up the fixin’s for you to make in your room, free of charge. Quite the way to rehydrate!

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4. Do not miss the breakfast

Beth’s post explains it all, but basically Bazaar at the QT has the best breakfast buffet, EVER. Ensure you get plenty of the mushrooms, which were the topic of conversation for days last time. Washed down with a hot jam donut.Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 4.07.20 pm

5. Do not miss the food in general

If you can, eat all you can. The food is outstanding (and presented pretty spectacularly sometimes with their fancy smoke and whatnot). Something very important to note – if you are in the special catering room (for gluten-free, vegetarian, etc) sometimes the good desserts are out in the main food area. I almost missed CAAAKE.

6. Take a jacket

It gets cold in the conference rooms.

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7. Enjoy the party

See Number One: Don’t be shy! Talk to people, talk to your friends, or take a drink and sit somewhere you can watch it all unfold. Don’t be so worried about making a good impression you forget to have fun.

8. Get on Twitter.

That’s where the real action is at! Follow the #PBEvent hashtag and be ONE OF US

9. You might feel super-deflated during or after the conference.

Apparently everyone there is bigger, better, and more successful than you, or so it seems. And sometimes everyone feels that way! Don’t feel bad if you contract a case of the doldrums, the shot of motivation soon follows.

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 3.18.31 pm10. The best post-party kebabs are located at Theo’s Kebabs on Orchid Avenue.

Here, not the ones next door to them. If you’re going straight from the Helm Bar, it’s located just under Chevron Renaissance on the map.

You’ll thank me later.

Are you going? Come and say hi! I’ll be the one in a #PBEvent T-shirt by the food table…

 

Tell Me Everything // Win a $150 Booktopia Voucher

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Veggie Mama the blog has been in existence for four and a half years. Older than both those brats up there. And it’s time for me to stop yabbering about my damn self for a second, and find out more about you. I have a wee survey (wee = little, not wee = wee) that I’d love for you to fill out if you have five minutes to spare. There’s a $150 Booktopia voucher for one lucky person, because books are rad.

This is my ear. It is waiting to hear your answers.

pickle bitch

That is a pickle. They are available in a bag at Disneyland. That was basically the best day of my life. Until the next day, when I went to Vegas and ate a deep-fried pickle (and the day after that, when I found out I was pregnant). In Sin City, of all places!

Katrina and Nigella (her name is Lorraine, but I never call her that) did a cute thing where they shared some bits about themselves and I thought I would do it too. Enlightening, no? Then I promise I’ll be quiet and listen to you.

What is your favourite colour?

Pink, although I rarely buy/use/wear anything pink.

What is your favourite fruit?

Pass.

What is your favourite TV show?

Roseanne. We did recently just try to enter the land of the living, and watched True Detective. It was amazing. We are also halfway through watching Twin Peaks again.

What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?

Lunch is hard. Soup, mostly. I’ve been eating this Thai one a lot.

What is your favourite snack?

Chips. Salt and Vinegar chips, to be precise.

What is your favourite book?

How much time do you have? I’m going to pick two (this is harder than the lunch question). Little Women, and American Psycho.

What is your favourite drink?

Tea.

What is your favourite song?

In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth III, by Coheed and Cambria. A long song, but it never gets boring because every part of it is so different. Could say that about the whole album. Could say that about all of Coheed’s music full stop.

What is your favourite recent purchase?

Cheap Monday black skinny jeans from Alterior Motif, and this and this from my cousin’s new jewellery venture, Alex + Ernest. Gorgeous!

So! talk to me. You can take the survey here, and I will be eternally grateful to you all. Let me know what you like/don’t like/want to see more of on VM xx

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