August 2021 Check-in: Food Blog Update, Books and Travel

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Dundurn castle in Hamilton, ON

Hello and welcome to our first food blog check-in. These monthly posts bring you along on my day-to-day life outside of recipes (AKA: Behind the Bakes). I enjoy the human-side of food blogs; knowing there is a person behind these words help me connect with the recipes. As a result, I enjoy the food blog a lot more and become a frequent visitor.

Feel free to comment on my blog or connect with me on Instagram. Let’s get started! I love collecting mugs and today I am drinking TAZO Chai Tea out of a Chapters mug:

Chapters mug with the words "this girl can".
I live by these words! THIS GIRL CAN!

Skip to the Good Parts

Food Blog Updates + Google Analytics
What Did I Read in August?
My Favourite Skincare
Mini Roadtrip to Hamilton, ON
Resources – My Fave Food Blogs
Looking Ahead

Food Blog Updates

This domain was purchased on June 30th 2021 and exactly 1 month later it went live! Learning about food blogging opened a new world for me. I’ve been learning about food photography and photo editing, SEO (search engine optimization), using WordPress and so much more. Personally, baking is the easy part – it’s the technology side that’s been difficult. But I am continuing on!

My personal victory is getting over 100 page views (122 to be exact) on my blog for the month of August. Meaning, in the first month of being live, I received >100 views! That may be small to some, but I am happily surprised! My goal for September is 200 page views, let’s make it happen!

food blog google analytics august 2021 ashleycbakes
From Google Analytics

Recipes Posted This Month:

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
S’mores Cookie Bar
Light and Crispy Oat Flour Waffles

The screenshot below is from Google Analytics, and my top pages are the same posts that I posted in August. This makes sense as I was actively promoting these recipes on my Instagram. One post not mentioned above is Best Places to Eat in Vancouver, BC. It was also posted in August and promoted on my Instagram. However, I attribute the high page views due to the popularity of people travelling to Vancouver during this time.

food blog google analytics august 2021 ashleycbakes
From Google Analytics

Books

Both of the August books are related to baking: How Baking Works (3rd edition) by Paula Figoni. This is about the science of baking, and I have found it useful to understand why a certain ingredient is part of a recipe. Knowing the science helps me with my recipe development.

Next is Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman. This is a reference book that I use when starting a recipe. Most recipes have a certain ratio of fat, flour, liquid that will create each dessert. For example, cookies have a 1:2:3 ratio which means 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat and 3 parts flour. The Rainbow Chip Cookies is a great example of this ratio. This book has a lot of ratios and I am looking forward to put them to work!

food blog resources books

Skincare

Now let’s talk about something not related to baking! I have a love/hate relationship with skincare, meaning I love to try new products but my sensitive and eczemic skin does not! For this reason, I stick to brands that work well with my sensitive skin. Below is a list of all my current skincare favourites:

skincare

Cleanser 1: I start off my skincare routine with a double cleanse. The first step is Farmacy – Green Clean Cleansing Balm.

Cleanser 2: The next cleansing step is First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser.

Vitamin C: I’ve been loving the Summer Fridays CC ME Serum for my Vitamin C, and I have seen improvements in my skin since using it.

Exfoliate/toner: Although the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads can be used daily, I prefer to use it three (3) times a week.

Spot treatment: Sometimes those acne spots are too stubborn, so I like to spot treat with First Aid Beauty BHA Acne Spot Treatment. It takes multiple applications but I have noticed a difference! (not pictured).

Sunscreen: Using sunscreen EVERYDAY is a must for me, even if the weather is cloudy or I’m staying indoors. It’s been part of my daily morning routine for months, so it has become muscle memory to apply it. The sunscreen I have been using this summer is Aveeno Daily Moisturizer SPF 30.

Moisturizer 1: At night, I use the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. I have been using this for 10+ years!

Moisturizer 2: Whenever I have dry patches or eczema flare-ups, I use the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration. It absorbs quickly into the skin and provides amazing hydration!

Mini Travel – Hamilton, ON

My friend and I have been exploring Ontario this summer! We recently went to Uxbridge – read about the 5 Places to Eat in Uxbridge for more. We visited Hamilton and ate at Mulberry Coffeehouse. This coffee shop is so cute, food was amazing and tasty – I’ve been thinking about the Cubano Sandwich ever since.

We stumbled upon Chocolat on James, and who can’t resist chocolate? I certainly cannot. At Chocolat on James, I bought Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins and Salted Caramel Marshmallow. Both were SO GOOD, and I am drooling just writing and thinking about these chocolates!

Resources – My Fave Food Blogs

Pinch of Yum: This couple has been food blogging since 2009 and have expanded their company to WordPress plugins and podcasts. I listen to the Food Blogger Pro Podcast often and it has been extremely helpful with the start of my food blog.

A Sassy Spoon: Lots of yummy recipes are located here, Jamie (owner of A Sassy Spoon) also posts income reports which I am inspired by in my food blogging journey.

Jehan Can Cook: My family and I are frequent visitors for Guyanese and Caribbean recipes. I am realizing how important it is to write down family recipes, and I plan to introduce Indo-Caribbean recipes into my own food blog.

Looking Ahead

September is the beginning of a new season – my favourite season – FALL. I love the sweater-weather, hot drinks and snuggly blankets. I have Fall recipes planned (there is a Pumpkin Spiced Latte in there!) and I am thinking about Halloween and December Holiday recipes.

This month I want to continue growing my blog and learning about SEO, keyword research and improving my photography.

Thank you for reading and we will catch up next month!

Cheers,
Ashley

4 responses to “August 2021 Check-in: Food Blog Update, Books and Travel”

  1. Grace

    I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to your next one.

    1. Thank you for your support! Check back every Sunday for recipes and the first Wednesday of each month for “lifestyle” posts 🙂

  2. Rosemarie malden

    This is wonderful Ashley . I must confess however , that I can’t wait to try one of your beauty secrets/the hydration cream and speaking about baking , lately I’ve been craving a delicious slice of pound cake . Hope you can explore this one soon . Until then , keep baking !

    1. Thank you for reading! I have some ideas for pound cakes! Can’t wait to share them 🙂

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