Next week will be the first year anniversary of my blog. It’s hard to believe in many ways. But it has been an amazing journey. Yesterday I actually had to renew my domain name. Where does the time go?
One of the best things to have happened this year was being featured on Claire Kane’s blog ClaireByReverie in a Spotlight Interview. She is a well known Irish blogger and she knows her stuff about the digital realm. In fact she has a recent post called “The 8 Things Bloggers Don’t Tell You“. My fav is number 3: Starting a blog is actually easy, running a blog is hard. In my case however it was also hard to start a blog due to my tech challenges. While much can be said of the need for improvement in my blogging abilities, one thing I am proud of is that I have been consistent in posting. Most importantly I have been sharing the LOVE!
Today I am going to share the interview Claire did with me as there might be some who haven’t read it. It might give you insight into my world, the blogging world, and indeed Claire’s world. She is a renaissance woman with so many interests, and she always tells it like it is! And when she told me I loved Ireland more than anyone she knows, nothing could have been more sweet to hear. Hence it goes down as one of my all time highlights this past year. Thanks Claire! Being part of this blogging community has truly enriched my life!
Irish Blogger Spotlight: Yankee Doodle Paddy
The Irish Blogger Spotlight is rounding off with a very special participant!
Everyone on Snapchat LOVES this week’s blogger, she is officially Irish (yay!) and also officially one of the kindest, genuine people I have ever come across so it is an absolute honour to be able to feature her on Clairebyreverie.com. I hope you enjoy Karen’s answers as much as I do!
1.Tell us your name: Karen Geraghty
2.What’s your blog: www.yankeedoodlepaddy.com
3. How long has it been up and running? I started the blog at the end of August 2015. In saying that I did have a blog for three months when I did the 12 week Ballymaloe Cookery course back in Jan/Feb/Mar 2007 however that was early days in the blogging world. Now everyone and their dog have a blog. But a dog’s blog should be called a Dlog! Anyway it was more like a travel diary. But it is still up in cyber space and I go to it now and again and relive those amazing memories (it is called: www.karenincork.blogspot.com )
4. Do you blog full time, if not what do you do alongside blogging?: Well, not sure what “full time means” in that some professional bloggers (ones that are sponsored and paid) may only write once per week. I’m not professional. And I don’t call myself a writer but a “sharer”. Just because I lived in Ireland for seven years doesn’t mean I soaked up the Irish talent for writing. I post as often as possible. For the first 33 days I posted every single day, then 6 days a week, then 5 days a week, etc. It was like a horse being let out of the starting blocks. Then I realized that it’s a marathon not a sprint in this journey so I post now about 3-4 times per week. I share about life, travel and of course food. I have am a professional chef and cookery teacher. Before I moved to Ireland, I lived in Los Angeles and was in the entertainment business. People always love my posts about the Hollywood days!
5. What has been the best thing to come out of blogging for you so far?: The cathartic aspect of sharing my story has been one of the best things to come from blogging. Not just for me but people reading. I have experienced many challenges and traumas in my life, along with some amazing joys and blessings too. Different ones have resonated with people who have longed to have someone put a voice to their suffering. But because food is not only my passion, it is also my therapy, I usually include a recipe within each story. It adds a bit of comfort to say, “okay that happened lets get in the kitchen and make something of it!” Also the connections I’ve made with other souls (who are inhabiting their “meat suits” as I call them) on this earth have been amazing. I am grateful that through blogging I have met people like you who have inspired me, taught me, and supported me along the way!
6. What’s your one rule for blogging?: Well, for me it is all about the LOVE. My purpose in life is to spread love. I happen to be a chef so I do it through my food, but also through my words on the computer screen. It isn’t a rule as such, but my hope is that with each post whomever reads it actually feels my love coming through their computer or mobile screen. And I always end my posts with some form of a loving sign off. Where as some bloggers have the same sign off each time, mine is dictated by the theme of the story. And LOVE features prominently in my Snapchat stories as well.
7. How do you think people perceive bloggers, and is it the reality? Since I haven’t been in the blogging world for very long I’m not privy to how people might perceive “us” but I can say one thing. I just attended my 1st blogging event (the IBA conference and awards in Dublin this past weekend) and it was one of the most invigorating experiences for me. The people I met and the information I gleaned will stay with me forever. I think we all have a story to tell, this one is mine. And I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing community.
8. What’s your favourite aspect of blogging? My favorite aspect about blogging is the nuts and bolts of it really. From beginning to end. To start, I like to take time to reflect on my different stories or themes and let them marinate a bit. I create a list of things I might want to share and have a fluid editorial calendar. By fluid I mean I am not tied to it 100 % I allow fate to shift posts depending on what is going on. While I am normally very social, when I am in blogging mode I am more introspective. But that time is very important. So when I actually turn on the computer and start typing, the words come pouring out. As you know from watching my Snapchat stories or reading my blog, my faith is a central part of my life. Therefore I trust that the truth will prevail and everything happens when it happens for a reason.
9. How much time do you dedicate to blogging every week? Just based on my last response there, it is hard to gauge since I often spend hours in thought about a post while I am out walking my pretty pit Stella (the dog who hates the bad singing and dancing I do for the Woman Crush Wednesday cooking tutorials, but loves the yummy treats at the end). The actual “writing” as you would call it doesn’t take that long, but because of my “tech-disabilities”, incorporating photos etc. takes me forever! Let’s say that I am often sleep deprived because of it! But it is so worth it that I don’t mind!
10. What’s your favourite post you’ve written so far? Wow, that is so hard to say, like saying which of my children I love the best, cuz of course I love both my kids equally and completely. But there are two that seem to resonate with readers the most. The one called “The Dog Ate the Pot Brownies” is about my mom being a drug dealer and our family dog eating her marijuana. I know it sounds unbelievable, but all of my stories are true experiences in my own life. However, there is actually a fab recipe in there for some healthy brownies, but the magic ingredient is actually sweet potatoes not pot! And the other popular post is called “Soul Dog” and it is a gut wrenching but poignant love letter to our dear dog who is in heaven now. I guess lots of folks out there have gone through similar experiences with their dogs passing away, so they can relate. P.S. those two stories I just told you about, both have dogs in them, but they aren’t the same dog!
11. Who are your biggest blogging influences? My two biggest blogging influences are my daughter and my daughter in law. My daughter no longer blogs as she is a mommy of two little girls and a full time student getting her masters in social work. But her blog is still up in cyberspace (https://inherchucks.wordpress.com) and is still an influence on me. It is a mommy and food blog and in fact I have used some of her recipes on my blog. Heather is an awesome photographer too. I hope one day she gets back into it if she can. Also my daughter in law (www.kokolikes.com) inspires me as well. She is great with design and blogger networking. She is the reason I joined the Great Blogger Cookie Swap at Christmas time. It was so fun to bake and exchange cookies with bloggers from all over! Koko is a fashion and food blogger. But her experience as the wife of someone in the military (my son) makes her blog unique and popular. I love them both so much!
12. What’s your favourite Social Media Platform? HELLLOOOOO I mean do you even need to ask me that my friend? LOL! Snapcrack, like it’s totally addictive and totally fun (hence I call it Snapcraic). But that is why I do the Sunday Spotlight Snap Sista series. There have been 27 honorees so far and it is fun to spread the love through our Snapland Family, just like what you are doing on your spotlight. Social Media CAN and should be supportive and kind!
13. The main focus of your blog is obviously food, do you have any favourite foodie places to go in Dublin and London? I do! Yes I have actually posted a list of top places to stay, eat and things to do in both Dublin and London. But specifically, in Dublin my “happy place” on the entire planet is Avoca so defo have to have something good to eat there (plus some awesome shopping) and for London I am a walking/talking advert for anything Ottolenghi. I did a Foodie Fieldtrip Friday to a couple of their restaurants. Amazingly crafted sweet and savoury dishes with fresh ingredients, it is to die for, literally! If any of you are coming to London I will offer my services as your tour guide free of charge!
14. You run a Woman Crush Wednesday every week where you feature a recipe from a famous female chef; have you got a favourite so far? Though I have done 40 #WCW and I absolutely adore each and every one of them, I have to say that Darina Allen was my favourite because she was my teacher at Ballymaloe and continues to be my mentor. What she has done for the Irish food scene is phenomenal. And it took me weeks of Wednesdays to get around to honoring her because I knew it would be quite emotional for me. I knew I would cry because I’m a sentimental sap like that. And my cooking tutorials are meant to be fun and festive. By the time I did do her crush I held it together! But she means so much to me I really love her! And I admire and respect her food ethos and her culinary passion.
15. You are queen of snapchat, that is a fact! Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to get the most out of snapchat? What? Queen? That is hilarious! What until my Hubby hears that! Well I am really useless with technology, and as a chef I can do wonders with pots and pans but computers and smart phones, yikes! As well at 51 years old, I’m so late to the social media game. I am still not on Facebook! But Snapchat, though tricky to navigate for me, just works. I love the interaction and that is really how you get the most out of it. Simply by being social. Even for people who don’t want to post much themselves, if you are watching others’ stories, comment every now and again. Interact, if you feel safe with someone you follow. You might be surprised that you can strike up a friendship, or simply find common ground on a subject. I spoke of this and other aspects of snapchat manners on my Snapchetiquette story (and subsequent blog post). It was very well received because having manners is important in life, even on social media.
16. Two words: Marty Whelan. A national treasure, of course, but can you tell us why you love him so much? Great question you know me well! Okay here goes: Two words: Mancrush Monday! Not to be funny with my response but honestly, I have only done and will only ever do one Mancrush Monday and it was for Marty Whelan. I love him. And my hubby doesn’t even mind my saying that. I am happily married to my best friend and don’t even notice other men. But Marty attracts me like he does anyone who admires him. Marty is similar to a fragrance and it is called JOY. It permeates the air when you listen to him and stays with you long after his 7-10 am Monday to Friday slot on RTE Lyric Radio ends. I know it isn’t Thursday (cuz you know I like my #tellthetruththursday on Snapchat) but, here is a truth for you. Top of my bucket list is to meet Marty Whelan one day!
17. Finally, you are officially an Irish Citizen and you love Ireland more than anyone I know; what do you love most about our little island? Okay, Claire, I am actually crying reading this question because I miss Ireland so very much. Nothing against London, it is a lovely place. And nothing against America where I was born, I love the USA. But Ireland is my soul home. I love everything about it, the people, the environmental landscape, the history, the food and agriculture, the intellect and humor…how long can I go on here with this Q&A is there a max number of words? Cuz I could talk for Ireland about Ireland. But I will sum this all up with a short little story. My first trip back to Dublin after our move to London I was in my happy place (Avoca) having a bite to eat with a friend. But I wasn’t eating; I was looking around at all the patrons/customers/diners. I was staring at them and my friend said, “Are you okay?” I said, “Look, do you see all these people, they are so familiar to me” She said, “Oh do you recognize them because they were customers of yours or your cookery students?” I said, “No, it’s just this is where I belong, this is my soul home and I know them, I love them, they are familiar to me because they are my family.”
I love you Ireland, and I belong to you! Always and forever! No matter where I lay my head at night, I dream in green!
If you aren’t following Karen, eh, WHY?! See below for details on where you can find her:
Instagram: @blissbakery (food/family/travel etc)
Instagram: @yankeedoodlepaddy (ONLY food)
Facebook: None, but I have a blog post explaining why I’m not. It is called Recipe: Blame it on Napolean Dynamite.
And also Youtube: Yankee Doodle Paddy (at the moment there are only five cooking tutorials, but hoping more to come soon).