Gimme Some Oven

My Blogging Goals For 2015 + “Ask Ali”

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My Blogging Goals for 2015 + Ask Ali |

Happy 2015, friends!

Yes, I’m totally still riding the wave of all things new-years-ish, and feeling All The Feelings and reflecting on All The Things that bubble to the surface at the beginning of each January. Because, what can I say? I love a new year.

I love being in conversations with friends and reading blog posts and feeling the general buzz in the air this week that all seem to zing full of hope. I love the dreams creatively being dreamed, the resolutions thoughtfully being considered, the first steps courageously being taken. I love that new beginnings and change feel so possible right now. I love being reminded that, as one of my favorite authors said in a fantastic blog post yesterday, every good thing in this world was actually created to change. And that that’s a healthy and difficult and beautiful thing.

When I think back on the year that was 2014, it was actually (as I mentioned in this post) a year full of remarkably few major life changes for me personally. Which I have to say was actually a gift, because after a few years chocked full of transitions, I was ready for a little rest and stability. I feel like Gimme Some Oven also had a relatively calm year. But upon further reflection, I realize that some big things actually happened, and it actually turned out to be a heck of the year for the blog.

First off, we completely redesigned and reorganized the site in 2014, which included a new recipe index and made the site mobile-responsive, amongst other cool and beautiful features. I shared 170+ new recipes on the blog, wrote a bit more on the Life page, and launched a section for Photography Resources. I also worked my tail off on another big project behind the scenes that ended up having a surprising ending, which I will tell you about sometime soon. And we watched readership basically triple on the site over the past year — which blows my mind and is simply proof of what a wild roller coaster the internet can be. And it’s also a testament to how unbelievably amazing you all are with faithfully checking in on the site, and sharing it with your friends. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for each of you readers, and how humbled I feel by your support and encouragement and general awesomeness.

So yeah, in a nutshell, I find myself starting the new year loving this blog more than ever. And feeling more grateful than ever. And loving what I do.

Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d kind of love to just hit the “freeze” button on the Internet and bottle this all up and keep things going just as they are right now, just creating new recipes and doing this same ol’ same ol’ that I’ve grown to love. Forever and ever. Amen. But of course, even as I type this, the internet and technology and the blogosphere are evolving and changing by the minute. And any blogger will tell you that you have to stay light on your feet and keep pace with the changes in our industry. And that the same ol’ same ol’ may not hold up for too much longer. And I know that a little risk in life often leads to some surprisingly cool new opportunities.

So, that said, I have been giving some thought to what changes may lay ahead for this blog in 2015, and I whittled them down into three basic goals. So I thought I’d share them with anyone who’s interested today. Although don’t get too excited. By contrast to what Chris Harrison promised last night on The Bachelor (judge away), this will probably not be The Most Dramatic Year In Gimme Some Oven HISTORY. I mostly want to stay the course with where the blog is headed right now. But here are a few new ideas I would like to pursue…

My Blogging Goals For 2015

1. In addition to offering resources for what to cook (recipes!), I want to spend more time this year also teaching people how to cook (tutorials!) and talking about entertaining (the fun and meaningful and stress-free way).

Don’t worry, I’m not planning to cut back on sharing new recipes. They will always be the bread and butter of this site, and I have oodles of delicious ideas already in the works for 2015.


I think it would be fun to spend some more time this year talking about the techniques of how to cook. I love tutorials, especially when they’re clear and easy, and would love to develop some more of those to help teach some of the basics (and more advanced) techniques of cooking. If you have specific requests of things you’d like to learn, holler!!

Also, I received lots and lots of emails from people this past year with questions about entertaining. (Many of you, especially, asked about how I helped launch a community-wide Neighbor Nights for people living in downtown Kansas City.)  And while I realize that I often reference parties and dinners and random friend happy hours that I host at my place, I have never devoted entire posts on this blog to talking about them. Or entertaining in general. So I’d love to share with you more about why having people over and cooking for them is so important to me, things I’ve learned (and changed) about entertaining over the years, and tips on making time around the table extra meaningful, fun, and non-stressful. Frankly, my love for entertaining and sharing food with people was the main reason I began this blog in the first place, so it seems crazy that I’ve never made that a focus of the site! But hey, 2015 sounds like the perfect year to make it happen.

2. I want to blog more about stuff besides food.

Confession time.

As much as I adore food and creating recipes galore to share with you (and fully intend to keep doing so), I have to admit that my favorite part of this blog lately is the Life section.

It’s the part of the blog that makes my heart beat fast, especially when I think about sharing things that matter the most to me. It is the part of the blog that I lay awake at night dreaming about. It is the part of the blog that feels exciting, creative and extra-meaningful to me. It’s the part of the blog that feels most challenging and vulnerable and more than a little intimidating to me.

And…it’s the part of the blog that I have totally neglected. (Womp womp.)

Yes, for the two or so years that we’ve had the Life section, I have relegated it to the “oh-I’ll-work-on-it-when-I-have-extra-time” category. And of course, when in life does anyone ever have “extra” time?

So yeah, this year I want to make the Life section of this blog more of a priority and make time for it. Content is never the issue; I always have ideas galore for this part of the blog. So instead of just letting them accumulate on Post-It notes, I want to take advice from one of my favorite bloggers and just start writing again and see where things go. I’m not quantifying this goal at all — this might only mean that I write one or two posts a month. And I’m definitely not going to be evaluating by any sort of quantifiable means (i.e. how many people read those posts). I just want to write more about life. So I’m going to write.

3. I want to serve as a better resource for other bloggers.

This goal is also hugely important to me.

Because quite simply, just about anything that I have learned about blogging I have learned from other bloggers. It’s how this industry goes, and I am enormously grateful for the ways that other bloggers have been so open and generous with me in sharing what they know over the years. And I want to do whatever I can to pass on the favor and give back.

I’m no expert, but I have spent a lot of time over the years emailing and talking with and mentoring other bloggers, and I think just about anyone will tell you that I’m an open book with what I know about blogging and business. So this year I’d love to focus my efforts on doing a better job at actually getting down in writing (or video) anything I know and posting it on the blog as a resource to others…for free.

I have more resource tabs (up at the top of the page) that are getting close to being opened with new resources for bloggers and food bloggers, as well as home cooks. So I’m hoping to get those ready soon. And again — if any of you bloggers have any specific questions you’d love for me to tackle, please let me know!! No guarantees that I’ll have the right answer, but I’m always happy to share what I know.

Ask Ali

Also, this may be a totally silly idea, but since we’re on the topic of sending in questions…I’ve been toying with the idea of opening up an “Ask Ali” series on the blog!

Ok, I’ve actually wanted to try this for years, but was always afraid that it sounded too narcissistic or arrogant. Or I felt all iffy and insecure that my answers might be less than awesome. But I will admit that I’m one of those people who’s a total fan of advice columns and I immediately flip to them in magazines and newspapers and on websites, no matter how deep or frivolous the answers may be. So if there were ever an opportunity in my life to give hosting an advice column a try, I figure this blog might be it. ;)

I don’t know, I’m still a little on the fence about it. But I thought I’d at least put out a feeler with you all.

So the question is — do you have any questions that you’d want to ask me?

If so — and it can be anything from cooking to entertaining to all things Kansas City, finding real friendships, conquering that DSLR camera, the “gah” moments of dating (or being single), dealing with comparison in the blogosphere, the art of neighboring, advice from (yours truly) as a former piano teacher, book clubbing, small business accounting, why I go to church, what makes the perfectly satisfying batch of chips and salsa, you name it — I’d love to hear from you.

Just submit your question (anonymously) below, or by using this link. And thanks in advance. If I nix the column, I may use any suggestions for future content in general. :)

Most importantly…

I just wanted to say thanks again to you. Yes, you. If you are reading this blog post right now, you are one of the people literally making this site possible, and making my dream of spending my days working on it possible as well. And that means more to me than you know. So thank you.

If I could reach through the screen and give you a big hug, I would. Or if you’re not a hugger, a pleasant (space-respecting) smile. ;)

You all really are the best, and I can’t wait to dive into another new year together. I hope that good and meaningful and awesome things are ahead for us all.


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40 comments on “My Blogging Goals For 2015 + “Ask Ali””

  1. Wow, I am looking forward to this year! I am thrilled that you are going to focus a bit more on your Life section–those posts are my favourites!

  2. I love all of this…especially Ask Ali. I hope you will talk more again about being single. Your thoughts are always so refreshing.

  3. Ali, I read all of your resources posts on photography the other day. Well done, and thank you! I’m looking forward to what you’ve got planned for the blog this year, especially your life posts and the tutorials (and of course, any blogging know-how you will be sharing). Congrats on your success! It is well deserved.

  4. I love everything about this post.  You captured my feelings about the New Year exactly.  I don’t get people who poo-poo resolutions or talk down the new year stuff.  I adore the fresh start feeling January gives me.  You also made me laugh out loud when you said it would be the most dramatic year EVER on Gimme Some Oven. :)  I’m a new reader this year, but I’ll be sticking around.  Love your blog and your vision.  

  5. I love seeing where you’re taking your blog. Echoing the other commenters (<is that a real word?!), the Life section is my favorite and I'm excited to see where you decide to take it.

  6. This all sounds great. I know I’d like to see tutorials and entertaining segments, and it’s always nice to feel like you’re connecting with the blog writers when they share their personal stories and experiences. I think that’s the unique thing about blogs over magazines, the personality. Looking forward to all you have to share in 2015.

  7. I love this post so much! It’s inspiring to read through everything you have gone through and how successful you’ve become, especially to a blogger who has big dreams. To see you make your site such a huge success and that you still have goals to improve is amazing. I LOVE the Ask Ali idea too! I would love to learn from you!

  8. I absolutely LOVE how honest you are! Although definitely not quite the seasoned blogger you are (I so look up to you!), I too want to start opening my blog into more of my life and have been toying with that decision…maybe one day! Congrats on all of your 2014 success…I look forward to following 2015! 

  9. Ali, I love reading your blog! I’m so excited to see what you’re doing this year. Your resource posts on blogging and photography are so helpful and yet fun to read. In fact, I was reading your post on food porn sites and I saw that the picture of foodgawker’s front page has one of my recipes on it. I couldn’t believe that one of my recipes was on your blog because I’ve always looked up to you as a major food blogger peer. Thanks for all that you do to help other food bloggers!

  10. Your site draws me in with your fabulous photos but it keeps me here with your writing and, of course, your recipes. You are so right, food bloggers learn from other food bloggers and your willingness to share your successes and ideas is so appreciated. Sharing of ideas and information was the whole reason for the internet when it was in its infancy. Thanks for all you do for the rest of us!

  11. I love all of your goals for 2015!!! Your “pay it forward” attitude with regards to helping other bloggers (for free!) is inspiring and such a good example to set for the next generation of bloggers. I’m so grateful to know you and can’t wait to see where 2015 takes you!! PS: I LOVE the Ask Ali idea!!!!! 

  12. I can’t wait to see where you take the site in the new year! People like you are such an inspiration to me…I have always known I wanted to do something with writing and food, but I hated the idea of jumping on the blogging bandwagon (since everyone else was doing it, it made me nervous to throw myself into all the noise). But I finally pulled the trigger and started my blog in October of last year, and I love creating content.

    Maybe someday making food and writing about it can be my real job too, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride. I love your photography resources, so I’d love to read anything you have to say on blogging, too. Thanks, Ali!!

  13. How exciting! I am looking to follow more lifestyle blogs this year and since I already love your blog, this is perfect! I will be visiting your life section often! 

  14. I’m a relatively new reader, but this may be my very first comment. Wahoo!!

    I love everything about this post because it completely inspires me to continue in the food blogging world. Not that I wouldn’t have, I mean I’ve been doing it for 3 years for a reason, but those moments that I feel too busy for words, or too stagnant to be happy with the blog, I know there’s always more to do on the horizon and that fellow food bloggers are there to support me in it.

    Happy 2015!

  15. I look forward to 2015 with you!! I am loving the buzz and riding the New Year High too! Cheers!

  16. Love this! I can already tell 2015 is going to be your best year yet – can’t wait to see what you do here! And hopefully we can manage to make a real-life hug happen in 2015! xo

  17. Hi Ali, you are so right, there is so much to learn about blogging! Your successful and beautiful blog shows that you are an expert and new bloggers like me would love to learn from you. Thank you for being so generous and kind with your knowledge. I love the idea of an Ask Ali segment and think you should totally go for it! :)

  18. Ali, you’re a blogging ROCK STAR. Thank you for being so incredibly inspiring and generous. So looking forward to your year of DARE and all that is to come from it =)

  19. Marvelous plans for 2015, Ali! I adore your blog and enjoy reading it, so I am looking forward to reading your Life section. Thanks for sharing with us. Wishing you all the very best in the New Year! xo

  20. I with you.  I just love the positive and hopeful vibes I’m feeling in the blogosphere this new year.  I love your “Ask Ali” idea for your blog.  As a new blogger I have questions, but wouldn’t want to bother anyone by asking for advice.  Good luck with everything!

  21. I love these ideas! I really enjoy your recipes, but I really really love reading your posts on life, neighbor nights (i’m so jealous!), and whatever else you post! Congrats on amazing year and cheers to 2015!

  22. I recently started a blog to document major changes going on in my life.  I am excited to use your blogger resources to help improve my blog.

  23. Love what you’re doing. Can’t wait to read more!

  24. Ali,
    What a great post! I’m so looking forward to you sharing more of what you learned on your amazing journey blogging. I’m so grateful for successful bloggers like you who take the time to impart wisdom on newbies like me! I love your idea for an “Ask Ali” section. You have a lot of knowledge, and it’s super kind of you to be willing to let us ask the questions!

  25. It’s my first time commenting!! I really love your blog and have been following over a year. I live in KC too and love your KC pride including Boulevard beer mentions, etc. I also totally saw you at You Say Tomato a couple of months ago, but didn’t want to interrupt your lunch, though I would have loved to chat local food, plus see what you ordered ;). Keep up the great work!

  26. Great ideas Ali! Can’t wait for the new additions. :)

  27. Hi Ali, I found your site via jennaskitchen on Instagram when she mentioned your enchilada sauce which I now have pinned and ready to make for dinner tonight. I’ve added you on feedly to keep up with your posts and will be back to explore some of your recipes and resources. 

  28. I don’t have any questions for Ask Ali at this time, but I really like the idea of having that section.  There is another blog I used to follow that had that as a fairly regular feature and I always liked it because it was quite informative.  It’s a great way to learn about things we don’t know that we don’t know…

    I’m sure that whatever you do on the blog will be great, based on my experience so far.  I envy you having a head full of ideas as you do.  It’s great to see others be creative.  

  29. Just wanted to let you know that I follow a lot of blogs (you don’t even want to know how many emails I get) BUT there are only a few that I click on for the content and recipe and you are one of them! I don’t say that to flatter, I say that to tell you I really enjoy every aspect of all of your posts – the food, the photography, the writing, the life, the movies – so whatever direction(s) the blog goes, I’m still following and encouraging you! Thanks for giving us food recipes to make that taste so good and sharing friend’s life lessons and noteworthy tidbits. Your hard work is appreciated!

  30. I’m right in step with you friend! Huge congrats on the hard work you’ve put into all of your endeavors, obviously they’re connecting with your readers and fans with the growth you’ve seen! I love the idea of more lifestyle to complement the cooking, celebrating friendships and telling about it. You have such a gift for sharing. I want to be inspired by what inspires YOU, it’s what makes us all different and unique and amazing in our own ways. My goal for 2015 is to get more readers and commenters like your Simone. Can I borrow her please? XO to 2015!

  31. I think an Ask Ali column is a fantastic idea! As some one is just getting started and trying to learn all she can (especially about that dang DSLR camera that confuses me so!), having a seasoned blogger willing to help is amazing! I actually have had your photography tutorial pinned for some time and plan to take the plunge soon!

  32. I’m really looking forward to your advice on entertaining. Especially do-ahead recipes that free up the hostess to actually enjoy the party!

  33. Congratulations on a great year! It’s fun to think of a new year as a blank slate and imagine all the possibilities, isn’t it? If I were to suggest one thing for your blogger resources page, (this is totally random), it would be a tutorial on how you get such great casserole shots! I have a really hard time with them, and yours always look amazing (I’m thinking of that alfredo ziti with all that gooey cheese!)

  34. I just love your blog. You are breath of fresh air. We are working on Life section on our blog also. Adding vlogs to the blog, I think its time. 

  35. Great goals! As a fairly new (1 yr) blogger, I find myself checking out this blog all the time for inspiration and resources. Thrilled to see that you are incorporating even more into this upcoming year’s posts! Keep at it. We certainly all enjoy it!

  36. Love this!  I’m especially excited about #1.  I share your philosophy that coming together around food is just THE BEST, but still, even after 15 years of having people over, I get anxious about what to make, how much, will they like it, is it adaptable for different palates, etc.
    Can’t wait to see what you share!

    As always, thank you for doing what you do!!

  37. As someone who is not a blogger, I always find these kinds of posts super-interesting. I feel like they give me an “inside” look at blogging. It’s easy to think, “Oh she gets to cook all day!” and not see all of the other blood, sweat, and tears that go into a blog. Thanks for the honesty!

  38. Happy New Year Ali, I just came across you via my FB feed and came straight over to check out your blog. I don’t know why I haven’t been here sooner! I love your NY’s resolutions and look forward to some wonderful inspiration from you – especially to make my photography better :)

  39. LOVE all of the changes! Can’t wait to dig in!

  40. Cheers to the New Year!  I am like you, I like to hang on to that New Year passion and excitement for as long as possible.  The New Year always seems like such a great time to reconsider goals, ideas, and passions.  The sometimes hard part is keeping up with them once the novelty wears off.  I love your blog and can’t wait to hear some of your blogging tips for someone just getting started on the blogging journey.  

    much love,