Today, Pop.Bop.Shop. turns 10.
Yes, that's one exclamation point for each year. In so many ways, I still feel new at this. I'm constantly learning, trying new things, and pushing myself to make this site as helpful as it possibly can be. In other ways, I feel like I've been doing this my whole adult life. It's hard to remember a time when I didn't keep my digital camera in my bag, sheepishly ask family and friends if they would mind if I snapped pictures at dinner, or raced home after a great movie to jot down all my thoughts. Pop.Bop.Shop. has become such a big part of the way I experience the world.
I still remember writing that very first post on January 4, 2009. I was about eight months into my new career in PR, and I desperately needed a creative outlet. At the time, I was mostly working on a medical device company, and my writing projects didn't leave much room for experimentation. As the clock struck midnight and we headed into 2009, I resolved that I would start a blog and stick to it for one year (ha!).
Here is that very first post. I still laugh every time I look at this. First of all, the post is comically short. Second, it has all kinds of wonky formatting, and third, there are no pictures! Bless all of you who read that and thought, "Yeah, I'll give this girl a shot."
Over the years we've celebrated each milestone together:
- 1st birthday - Wrote 228 posts in year one
- 2nd birthday - This same month, Pop.Bop.Shop. placed 2nd for "Best Local Blog" in the Boston A-List Awards
- 3rd birthday - Passed the 800 post mark
- 4th birthday - Marked the golden birthday (4 on the 4th) with a giveaway of gold jewelry
- 5th birthday - Asked you to share five words that describe the blog, resulting in my favorite comments section ever
- 6th birthday - The candy anniversary
- 7th birthday - Lucky number seven
- 8th birthday - Showcased eight of my favorite local makers
- 9th birthday - Highlighted nine female-owned businesses
Today, I want to celebrate 10 years by sending care packages to 10 lucky readers. I've hand picked items I love, and I'm excited to pack up and ship off 10 boxes to 10 of you.
Here is a sneak preview of a few things coming your way, all three of these items are from my favorite store, Greentail Table in Newton, MA.
The first is a Compendium box. These come in all different themes, but I chose the Dream and Happy Day boxes, both great for starting the new year with strong intentions.
Each box has 30 affirmations. You read one per day, for 30 days. You can read them when you first wake up to set the tone for the day ahead, or right before you go to bed to dream of big things.
You'll also receive a Paddywax soy candle in one of my two favorite scents. The Holly Leaves & Cranberry smells like all the best things about winter. The Salted Grapefruit will transport to a warm beach far, far away.
Since you know I have a mega sweet tooth, I'll also be sending a box of McCrea's caramel candies.
Each piece has a letter M on the wrapper, so you can think of me as you unwrap each and every one.
To enter to win one of the 10 birthday celebration boxes, simply leave a comment below with one thing you'd like to see here on Pop.Bop.Shop in year 10. It can be a city you think I should travel to, a restaurant I have to try, a book I should read, a show I need to binge, gift guide suggestions - whatever you'd like to see here, I'd like to write about it.
Entries will be accepted through 11:59pm ET on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. The winners will be notified on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
Before I sign off to toast to 10, I want to say thank you to a few people:
- My parents - For always believing in this passion project. For telling everyone, at every restaurant we've ever eaten at together, "My daughter is a food blogger!" For sharing my posts with your friends and colleagues. For handing out my cards as if they're your own. For trying so hard not to touch your food before I have a chance to snap it, and for forgiving me when I yell at you when you just can't wait to stick your fork in.
- My friends - One day I was just a normal dinner date, and the next day I was taking pictures of everything we ate. Asking you to move your hands out of the way, asking for your thoughts on a dish while you were mid bite, and walking around the restaurant like a weirdo trying to get wide shots of each space. You were never embarrassed. You were always game, always encouraging. You are the ones who pushed me to keep going when I felt like giving up.
- My co-workers - Even though Pop.Bop.Shop. isn't my "real job," you have always supported me. Whether it was letting me take pictures of our hotel rooms during business trips, indulging my need to try a specific restaurant during our 24 hours in town, or humoring me by describing your meals, you've cheered on this side hustle from day one.
- My fellow Boston bloggers - When I started writing this blog in 2009, I was doing it for myself. I hadn't even considered that I might form friendships with other bloggers, or get to meet them in real life. Over the past 10 years, I've had the pleasure of getting to know so many of you. You inspire me with your drive, ambition, and talent.
- YOU - Yes, you! My readers. In the past decade, the Pop.Bop.Shop. community has become the best, most accurate recommendation engine. You share ideas for things I might like (you're always right), suggestions for ways to improve, fresh ideas for content, and so much more. You've followed along on my New Year's resolution journey over the past four years, embracing my honest and vulnerable updates. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for reading, for actively engaging, and making this such a meaningful project.
Cheers to 10 years!
*Top photo by rawpixel on Unsplash. All other photography by Molly Galler.