butternut squash pasta + exciting blog update

At the very beginning of 2010, I started "blogging."

And by blogging,  I mean signing up for a free account from google and feeling fancy afterward.
(My very first post; ironic that it's about "food," because I was way more into "fashion" at that point. Also, air quotes for days because...because teenager).

I was barely 18, and can remember feeling "behind" in the blogging world even then.

The blogs I followed at the time had already been around for a couple years, and were pretty, and the people running them were older, with more experiences to share, with more ideas, and more...so on and so forth.
This feeling would follow me until just a few months ago, when I realized that every blogger who can call themselves, legitimately, a BLOGGER, started where I did.

They started with a free account because they felt like they had something to say, something to share, or something to make. Among many other possibilities.

They didn't start because they thought they'd be getting paid for it 5 years later. No no no. They didn't start because they predicted gaining thousands of followers, comprised of people they didn't know and most likely never will. They didn't start with the idea that every post had to be perfect—every picture, font, and sidebar flawlessly placed. Not even close.

They started because they loved it.

That, and that only.
Bloggers began blogging because it was a creative space that was entirely THEIRS and no one else's. They could choose whatever they wanted for content, and had the say for when and where and how they would do it.

And even that might be assuming too much. Mostly, they did it because they wanted to and took the time to.

Their voices, their stories, and their consistency is what got them to where they are now; with books, and networks, and readerships, and pay.
In June, I discovered a blogger who's been around since 2009 and is a pretty household name in the blogging world, yet whom I had never heard of: The Sprouted Kitchen. (Sara and her husband, Hugh, both contribute. She's the chef/writer and he's the photographer).

I pored through the archives, reading every post (I've never read EVERY POST of a blogger's before, although I've come close) and as I did, it suddenly hit me: if I wanted to blog, it was going to require hard work and way more commitment than I'd been willing to give.

And most of all, I needed to reassess why I wanted to blog: because I wanted people to read it? Well, yes, of course, but that couldn't be the determining factor; it couldn't be the starting point. What about because I wanted to call it my job one day? Well yes, of course, but that wasn't going to happen magically. Because I loved it?

I needed to STOP thinking my blog should look this way or that way, stop thinking I was behind, stop thinking that in order to write about food AND faith/emotions/general life-processing that I had to choose one or the other, and START thinking that this blog needed to be the truest reflection of ME that I could give, which means totally disregarding everything else. Period.

Sounds like a pretty standard revelation, I know. But seriously, this concept hit me like a ton of bricks and I was really grateful for its metaphorical bruise.
After all these thoughts, I did something else I never do: I actually e-mailed Sara. It wasn't even an option to NOT at that point. I felt like if I didn't tell her how encouraged I was by what she wrote and shared, I would explode. And so I told her, look, I never do this and it feels silly: but what you do has had a profound impact on me and you should know, and please never stop.

I fervently wrote the e-mail at 10 o'clock at night and didn't even bother reading through it again before sending it. Once I did, I felt assured that I said what I needed to, and didn't expect much else after.
A couple weeks later, Sara sent me the nicest, most encouraging e-mail back, and I was unabashedly over the moon. It was the final push I needed to hop on the blogging train and say see ya later to avoidance and insecurity and fear.


All that to say,  I've been working really hard on a new platform for Plain Grain. I made the switch to Squarespace because for people who don't know web stuff or can't afford to pay for help (ME ME ME), it's a dream come true.

I plan on letting you guys see it soon, and I don't plan on having it be perfect, because like this journey, like life, like myself, it's a work in progress and always will be.

Abrupt transition ready go: this pasta! This pasta is from The Sprouted Kitchen (did you expect anything else?), and not only should you make it because it's fall-appropriate (unlike Pasadena, STILL), but you should also visit her site and be inspired by all that I was.

The most surprising part of this recipe was the pistachio pesto: it was creamy and herby but cheesy and had a little tang. I loved it and had no problem licking the leftovers off the spatula.
(The extra pictures down below are Sara's dark chocolate pb cups that turned out deeeeelicious, and a shot of Pasadena's gorgeous City Hall at night. My roomie and I went to an outdoor symphony a couple weekends ago and it was really fun. The one time I was MAYBE glad it wasn't too cold out yet. Maybe).