Chocolate Caramel Apple Bars + Why I Love Blogging

Do you like chocolate, caramel and apple?

Who doesn't?

Today I'm writing all about these gooey bars on Keep it Sweet! Ooey gooey apple and caramel scattered atop a layer of semisweet chocolate, then sandwiched between crumbly oat goodness and topped with even more sticky caramel sauce is what these bars are all about. Be sure to head over to Keep it Sweet to get the recipe! And if you aren't reading Lauren's blog, you really need to get on that because her dessert recipes are absolutely mouth watering and she is just the sweetest (no pun intended :))

So today is Wednesday and you know what that means...it's What About Me Wednesday! Every week I do a more personal write up about myself, my life or just random tidbits. If you have a question or an idea for a topic, please send it my way! Today, I want to talk about something super important to me...my love of blogging.

I started blogging in 2009 at Between JC and Manhattan. After a year, I totally revamped my blog, my direction and my look with The Avid Appetite. It's become a part of who I am, how people know me, and I never knew what it would lead to when I started.

Why I Love Blogging

It fulfills a passion.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Be it in a personal journal, {terrible} short stories as a tween, or editor of my high school newspaper, I always knew that I wanted to do something where I could write. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be writing a cooking and food blog, I probably would have fallen out of my chair with laughter. Me...cooking? HA! Little did I know that my blog would fulfill 2 passions...writing and my love for cooking and sharing food.

It gives me motivation to be better at everything I do.

I'm always trying to improve my blog, my writing, my cooking, my social media and more. Knowing that people will be reading or interacting with my blog in some way makes me want it to be the best it can possibly be...and I find this motivating me to give everything my all.

Because of You! - Making blogger friends.

This is a huge part of my love for blogging, and I'd say the least expected part. When I started blogging, I had no idea of this amazing community that exists where people are just so nice. I started my blog as a way to write and to possibly help me find a new job, not because I had been reading other blogs and wanted my own. Through blogging, I've not only found amazing blogs that I'm addicted to reading each and every day, but real, friendly people who organize meet ups, send each other foodie gifts, dedicatingly comment on each other's blogs, give amazing feedback and even more motivation to put out great content. Blogger friends, I heart you!!

Because of You! - Making reader friends.

I've connected with, and reconnected with, the wonderful people who read my blog. I'm being 100% sincere when I say that anyone who tells me they read my blog makes me blush (let alone if they say they like it). Comments, e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets, or even in-person mentions are just about the best thing I could ever ask for. To know that people read my blog...and might even be disappointed if I stopped writing it...is a wonderful feeling. I adore connecting with readers who also love to cook, love to eat, have recently developed a love of cooking, or who don't do any of the above, but enjoy reading about it.  I love having the outlet to share recipes, restaurants and ideas. It's definitely at the top of my list of favorite blog things that I never knew existed B.B. (Before Blogging). So thank you :)

I can do whatever I want - this blog is mine, all mine! Muahahaha!

I love having my own outlet to be creative and make this blog whatever I want it to be. Of course, I want it to be what you want it to be too! It's fun to have this just for me...it's not related to my day job or to any obligations in my life. If I want to write about the best thing I've ever made, I can. If I want to write about the fact that I shot an entire can of tomato sauce all over my kitchen while Shaun was away on business, I can (true story). If I want to write about sitting around in my pajamas, I can. I hope it doesn't come to that last one, but you get what I mean :)

So those are just a few reasons in a long list of why I love blogging. Perhaps this is just part 1 of a series!

Questions of the Day:

If you are a blogger, what do you love about blogging?

If you aren't a blogger, what do you love about reading blogs?

What About Me Wednesday: What I Do

I have to say, I think I'm more jet lagged after returning from New Mexico than after I returned from Spain in May. I just cannot seem to get enough sleep or simply get it together! Saturday morning, I hope you arrive soon! :) Meanwhile, I'm downing lots of this...

A few days ago, I received a question from reader Sherri, asking me what I do for a living. I thought this was a great question for What About Me Wednesday!

I like to say that my career has been accidental in that I never knew about the industry I work in, until I got a temp job almost 6 years ago. I landed in brand licensing. You are probably thinking...what does that mean? I was too.

Let me start from the beginning.

I graduated from NYU with a degree in Communications. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted to work in some sort of television or media. At that time, I still had a passion somewhere inside me for writing, but I had no idea how to acknowledge it.

throwback of Dad & me at a pre-graduation event

As graduation approached, my parents really pushed me to explore going to grad school full-time. I decided to continue at NYU and I worked toward a degree in Media Ecology. I did toy with the idea of continuing on for a PhD, but realized that it simply wasn't for me. I wanted to be a business woman! ...err...or something like that.

When I had only a few classes left, I realized that I could start working full time. Scary!

So a-job hunting I went. It was still hard to find a job then for a recent grad, even though I guess the economy was in a much better place. I applied for everything and anything I could find that was semi-applicable. Then one day, I got a call from Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street) in response to my application for a temp job. The job was as an assistant in global toys. Though I didn't want a temp job (at all), I couldn't help being intrigued by global toys at Sesame Street.

The temp job was actually an open position and I was hired quickly after. My career in brand licensing was born! After a year, I moved to another position in toys, where I got to work on product development. For those of you who don't understand brand licensing (as I didn't), a brand like Sesame Street does not manufacture its own products that consumers buy for their children. They instead license the brand to a top tier toy company (or any other of the 700 companies they work with) who manufactures products. The team works hand in hand to ensure that the products are all on-brand, aligning with Sesame's mission and doing many, many checks to ensure that Cookie Monster's pupils are properly googly. (I'm seriously simplifying it here, but you get the idea). It was a great place to work.

After 4 years, I moved on from Sesame and got a job at a small brand licensing agency in lower Manhattan. I've been a brand manager here for over 2 years now. It's essentially the same concept as what I did at Sesame, but we represent many brands and work with them to create a full licensing program...products beyond their core business. I do many other things beyond product development at my current job, including a lot of writing. I love working for a small company because I get to work on lots of projects and everyday is different!

So that's how I 'fell' into my career thus far. I like to think that my blog is my other job since I spend so much time working on it, writing articles, planning recipes and telling anyone within earshot about it (and the fact that I love it so much :) ). Someday down the road, my dream is to own a business or be self-employed somehow!

So there you have it. A not-so-quick description of how I pay the bills these days. I hope I didn't put you to sleep :)

Questions of the Day:

What do you do for a living?

What is your dream job?

What About Me Wednesday: My Go-To Snacks

We're at the hump! I for one cannot wait for this weekend to hurry up and get here. I am super sleepy and sore from last night's zumba and pilates classes, but luckily, Shaun made a fantastic dinner of whole wheat pizza dough, tangy sauce and fresh mozzarella, which will also be my lunch today.

He's a keeper, that one.

So for today's What About Me Wednesday, I thought I'd address something very important that affects me everyday. My favorite snacks. It's the only way I get from meal to meal and so I'm always trying to change it up. But I must admit...a lot of times, I end up with the same go-to, old faithful eats. And of course, these outline the snacks I reach for when there are not full batches of cupcakes on my countertop. Just sayin'.

Chobani. This is a new one for me and I can't even say that I'm crazy about yogurt. But Chobani has great flavors and is just filling enough to get me over the bridge between lunch and dinner. My favorite flavor? Pineapple!

 

Babybel cheese. I usually enjoy this for a mid-morning snack, or when I first arrive at the office. Though not super filling, who can turn down a wedge of cheese? Not this girl.

 source

Fruit. I always have a full bowl of fruit at home. My go-tos are bananas, apples and pears, which are currently in season. I also love clementines, berries, cherries and grapes if you can get 'em on the cheap. Typically, I try to eat a minimum of 2 pieces of fruit each day. And when I don't, I feel it.

 

Peanut butter. On a spoon. Pretty self-explanatory and gets the job done, every time.

Sliced apple with peanut butter. It doesn't get better than a 3rd grade favorite. This is for when I really need something in my tum and a mere apple just isn't cutting it.

Granola bars. I like the homemade variety.

Nuts. I love a handful of nuts, be it almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts. The key for me is salt though, however unhealthy it may be. Give me plain almonds and I will NOT be a happy camper.

Laughing Cow on a Sandwich Thin. Toast up an Arnold's sandwich thin. Spread with Laughing Cow Blue Cheese. Drizzle with honey. Tell me you hate it.

source

Crackers & hummus and/or cheese. I have severe problems with this because I could eat it all.the.time. No joke. Sometimes, if Shaun isn't home for dinner, I will simply have this as my dinner. My go-to crackers is Keebler Club Multi-Grain. These are the best crackers I've found to date and I've been known to go overboard on them.

I think that just about covers it all. While most of these snacks are pretty healthy, please don't judge me for my cracker obsession :) It's my little splurge! What are your go-to snacks? From the unhealthy to the healthy?