A thank you letter to my readers to commemorate the 10th anniversary of The Lemon Bowl.
Believe it or not, it’s been ten years since I pressed publish on my very first blog post: Roasted Beet and Wheat Berry Salad. The original title was “Beets and Wheat Berries Make Me Happy” but it turns out no one searches that on Google.
The date was June 11th, 2010. An entire decade ago! At the time, I was 29 years old and looking for a bit of an escape from our long battle with infertility. In fact, I was literally sitting in the hospital waiting room while my husband underwent a minor surgical procedure when I launch a free website from Go Daddy and wrote about the wheat berry salad I brought with me to the hospital.
Why did I decide to start a food blog? I had recently lost a significant amount of weight and whenever someone loses a bunch of weight, everyone wants to know how you did it. Since I love to travel and am a huge foodie, everyone knew I wasn’t sitting at home eating bland, grilled chicken breasts with steamed broccoli, and brown rice. After all, life is too short for boring food. Besides, I knew first hand that the number one SECRET to long term weight loss success is avoiding boredom in the kitchen.
Ultimately, my goal of starting The Lemon Bowl was very simple: I wanted to become a billionaire, quickly. Oh, wait, just kidding. This was ten years ago, friends. No one was earning a living from blogging. Instagram didn’t even exist, and Pinterest was invite-only. I didn’t own a camera and I knew nothing about food styling. I didn’t even know other food bloggers because I don’t cook from recipes myself. (In case you’re curious, it took me three years to earn my first $100. Three years. Can you imagine working for three years unpaid? Needless to say, this “job” of mine has never felt like work and I’m so grateful.
Literally, the only goal of starting The Lemon Bowl was to inspire others to get in the kitchen and create food made from real ingredients that tastes incredible. I wanted to show people, firsthand from my recent experience, how they, too, could reach their healthy living goals. Not in a flashy, expert sort of way but in a real-life, “trust me, if I can lose weight I promise you can, too” kind of way.
As I reflect over the last 10 years of blogging here at The Lemon Bowl, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to all of you, my loyal readers. It is because of you, and nothing else, that I have been able to live the life of my dreams over the last ten years. TEN years! Nothing gives me more pleasure than cooking and feeding those I love. When I enrolled in Boston University’s School of Hospitality back in 1998, the only reason I went in the hotel + sales direction as opposed to food + beverage is that I knew that I wanted to be a mother and be home to raise my kids.
While becoming a restaurant chef has always been a secret fantasy, I was well aware that working nights and weekends on my feet while pregnant or while nursing babies or raising toddlers would not work for me and my family. When I graduated college in 2002 and began working in sales for Marriott, I figured I would get my “fix” by cooking for my husband and hosting friends and family for dinner and parties regularly. It wasn’t until 2013, three years after launching The Lemon Bowl, that I even considered the possibility of being able to cook for a living. In fact, it was just 24 hours after I quit my day job in hospitality to blog full time that I discovered I was pregnant with our second miracle baby.
Fast forward to 2020, those babies are now 6 and 8 and keep me on my toes every single day. I’ve since published close to 1,400 original recipes and The Lemon Bowl has grown to become a multi-six figure business that provides free content to millions of readers every month. As my business has grown, so has The Lemon Bowl team which now includes my husband who handles SEO, IT and Finance, my incredibly talented food photography, Amanda, and many others who assist with social media, event planning, graphic design, podcast production and more.
Thanks to all of YOU, I’ve raised two boys who have never had to step foot in daycare as I was able to work from home since they were born. While this might seem insignificant, having grown up with a stay-at-home mom, I can’t express how grateful I am for the added time with my kids this website has afforded me. The gift of being home with my kids every single day for the last 8 years. It is a privilege and one I don’t take lightly. Aside from being able to raise my kids, The Lemon Bowl has provided me with the unexpected gift of turning my passion into a career. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine getting paid to do what I do best: cook. Thank you.
Thank you to all of my clients who have trusted me to develop recipes and create content on your behalf. I’ve had the honor of working with some of the most well-respected food brands in the world including Sabra, Bob’s Red Mill, Meijer, Stonyfield, Dole, Tillamook and many others.
When I stop and reflect on the fact that national CPG brands hire ME to create, photograph, and share recipes made with their products it truly chokes me up inside. I am so damn grateful. Above is a throwback to what my website (and food photography!) looked like back in 2012. We’ve come a long way, friends.
Whether you’ve been with me since day one or you’re on The Lemon Bowl for the first time, thank you for being here. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to live a fulfilling, meaningful, and incredibly rewarding life full of food, family, and travel. It is because of you that all of my wildest dreams have come true.
From appearing on the TODAY Show to being featured on the cover of Woman’s World Magazine to traveling the world, I vow to never take a second of this charmed life for granted.
Thank you for being here and thank you for coming back to The Lemon Bowl day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Thank you for allowing me to help you feed your family. Thank you for allowing me to help you plan a menu to feed your friends. Thank you for all of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.