Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Best of the Best This Year

Saturday was my birthday -- big day. And today I'm celebrating another milestone: Down the Shore with Jen is one year old.

I started the blog not with a bang, but with a bowl. July 23, 2007 was a very gloomy day (not unlike the weather outside my window). It reminded me of similar days down the shore when I was a kid when my mom would take me and my siblings to the Showboat in Atlantic City to go bowling. It was a great thing to do on a blah day (and, unfortunately, the bowling alley there is no longer in operation), so I wanted to share with others that suggestion. Here's that post.

I didn't know what would happen with the blog when I started, and I picked "Down the Shore with Jen" on a lark. I knew it could be a good way to get the word out about my book, but I really started it as a way to share my experiences about writing a book, and about the shore. I was processing so much information in such a short period of time that I needed an outlet for sharing those things. I never expected the blog to take off like it did, or for people to come up to me at events saying "You're Down the Shore with Jen!" -- and to have all you fine folks following along with my adventures.

So here's an extra treat for you. I've gone back through a year of posts, laughing, smirking, and and at least one point, throwing my hands over my eyes and go "the horror!" It's been a fun morning -- reading back through posts about book process was quite a flashback.

Here's my favorites from the last year:

10. Doo Dah, Doo Dah (April 28, 2008): How could you not love dogs in costume? This was my post about Ocean City's Doo Dah Parade. Very silly. Very fun.

9. Built to Last (August 5, 2007): I wrote about...sweatshirts. Yup, sweatshirts, but for good reason. A lot of people buy a shore-themed sweatshirt as a souvenir. I've had my share, and wanted to tell people where they could go for items that would last more than one winter. It also spawned a long running joke with Jack Wright, publisher of Exit Zero, because he says the sweatshirt in the picture is ugly. I disagree. I think it's neat.

8. Down the Shore with Jen and Em (November 19, 2007): This was the first time I made a trip to the shore and kept the blog in mind, hence the pictures. This trip also inspired a piece I wrote in Cool Cape May, one of the best things I've written in the last year.

7. I Feel Pretty (February 19, 2008): One of the most popular posts on the blog! I wanted a knock out dress for my book launch party, so I asked you, the readers, to help. I didn't buy any of these dresses (here's pictures from the party so you can see what I wore), but it was fun hearing what you had to say.

6. The Boardwalk, a Race, and one Stuffed Blue Pig (March 31, 2008): This was my post about the weekend surrounding the Ocean Drive 10 Miler, which is the longest race I've ever run. It's also about a shore waking up from its winter slumber. I was so happy about finishing that race, and so proud that I didn't require immediate medical attention when it was over, and I think this post shows that.

5. Blast from the Shore Past (March 4, 2008): My mom cleaned out her attic and came across a lot of stuff from my shore childhood. It was a lot of fun to write about, and remember things I had forgotten (or tired to forget -- take your pick).

4. How to Have an Upcake Party (February 11, 2008): I love Upcakes -- obvious if you've read the blog. But this post really cemented it for me that they're a great product, and that the people who make them are wonderful. I coordinated the party with the folks from Dixie Picnic, and it worked so well that I had Upcakes for my birthday on Saturday. I was thrilled to be able to take Upcakes with me on the NBC 10! show. I'm not an egomaniac in that I think I can make or break a product, but I do know I gave this small restaurant in Ocean City at least some sort of boost, and this post was the start of that.

3. January at the Jersey Shore (January 18, 2008): I love the shore in the off season (post-Labor Day, here I come!), so when I took a trip down in January, I photographed my journey and created one of my favorite posts. The shore doesn't lose its gloss just because it's too cold to go in the water. In some ways, it shines brighter.

2. Today's Floods Down the Shore (May 12, 2008): When I headed down the shore on May 12, I didn't know that I was driving into a late season Nor'Easter. I had to do an interview and get food for my book launch party. I did neither and ended up reporting on a wicked May storm. I had just signed up for twitter, too, and found a lot of readers by twittering about the storm. The experience was exhausting, but I'll admit: it was a rush. I debated about which post to put for number two -- the pictures from the storm or the aftermath. The storm pictures are more powerful, I think.

1. The Aftermath (September 4, 2007): The post I wrote the day I sent my manuscript to the publisher. I kept a tally of how my behaviors changed in the last month, and was shocked about what I learned (Listened to Guster on Ice: Live from Portland by Guster: 25 times that month versus 5 times a month normally). I was so relieved to have the book done, and the post shows that.

I've written about so much on this blog -- a wedding, my dog, my grief. And I thank you so much for following along.

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John and Lisa Howard-Fusco said...

Congrats to you on your one-year anniversary. I check your blog out every day because I enjoy your writing and the info you provide. It's great stuff and a very useful resource. Keep on doin' what you're doin'!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you and the blog!

MichaelStreko said...

Happy Birthday to this blog! Thank you Jen for finding my blog & also giving me some great conversation during the day!

-You Rule!-

Greg said...

Wow, this stuff stays crunchy, even in milk. Not a lotta blogs can handle the retrospective. Just shows how good you are.

Keep blogging come what may -- or come Cape May for that matter -- and I'll keep reading and passing off your witticisms as my own.

Leah Ingram said...

Hey, Jen:

Happy birthday and happy anniversary.

Did your super-talented baker of a sister (it's your sister, right?) make that cool cake like at your book party?



Jen A. Miller said...

Thanks all!

Leah -- yes, that is the cake from my party! Though we quickly learned that salt water taffy on cake isn't always a good idea. It lasted for the picture though!