Today, January 4, 2021, Pop.Bop.Shop. turns 12. She's a tween!
I still remember so clearly making the decision to start this blog. In a shock to no one, it was a New Year's resolution.
At the time, I was working for a PR agency based in Waltham, MA. Every day I drove to a big, bland office park (major Dunder Mifflin vibes) and focused my energy on my biggest client, a medical device company. I was doing a lot of technical writing and pitching of very niche trade publications. Needless to say, there wasn't really room for much creativity.
So, on January 4, 2009, I published my very first post. Each year on the anniversary, I go back and read that post. I love it for two reasons: (1) I really have stuck to my original intentions for what the site would cover, and (2) the formatting is hilarious. There's bolded words, asterisks instead of bullet points, and zero pictures! Bless every single one of you who read that debut post and decided to stick with me to see what would come next.
A lot of the content I had planned for 2020 came to a screeching halt with the pandemic. Due to social distancing, it wasn't possible to host viewing parties for the major awards shows, and I've really missed sharing those decor ideas with all of you.
While I was able to take two incredible, international trips in January and February and write about all of those new discoveries, the rest of my travel plans for the year were canceled, squashing my ability to continue to share those sorts of finds.
Lastly, and probably the most painful of all the restrictions, is that I wasn't able to dine indoors at restaurants. Going out to eat is such a big part of my life and an activity that brings me true joy. It was challenging to cook for myself (a skill I do not have and do not wish to have), but even more than that, it's been heartbreaking to watch so many of my favorite places have to close, layoff staff, or hibernate for the winter.
Which brings me to my focus for 2021. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the best use of this platform this year and I've decided that I am going to increase my focus on small businesses. I've always advocated for shopping small, but I'm going to deepen that commitment.
So what will that look like? I plan to start a new series where I highlight 5-10 small businesses you can support each month. Those lists will include everything from bookstores to boutiques to places offering creative takeout and delivery specials.
As I have been for the past year, I'll also use my Instagram account, @mollygaller, to share the places I am visiting day-to-day, in case you want to support any of those same spots.
There will be other, less noticeable changes, but ones I believe are important. For example, in the past, whenever I shared a book review, I linked to that book on Amazon for easy purchasing. If you read my 2020 resolutions recap, then you know I've decided to only buy books from independent bookstores going forward, so from now on, when I link to a book, you'll be directed to an independent bookstore offering to ship that title.
If you have specific questions about how to change up your habits to better support your community, please reach out to me. I want to share tips that are as helpful as possible!
I'm hopeful that with the vaccine, the spread of COVID will slow and we'll begin to see some of the activities we used to enjoy become available again (anyone else miss going to the movies?). If that can happen, I look forward to going on more adventures and recounting those here with you.
Thank you for reading over the past 12 years. Thank you for leaving thoughtful comments, suggesting things I might like, and DM-ing me with brilliant ideas. What I never could have known all those years ago as I booted up my laptop to draft that first post was how special this community would become. I'm eternally grateful.
I am wishing every single one of you a happy and healthy 2021. Let's rebuild together.
*Image courtesy of Sheelah Brennan for Unsplash.