Blog Your Heart Out

This past month, I feel like I have been going a million different directions. Service dog “boot camp,” finalizing my high school career, organizing my summer plans and getting ready for college have all been vying for my attention alongside the constant flow of reviews and posts I have pending to publish. With today being the official end of my high school career, I finally feel a great weight lifted from my shoulders. Excited by my newly freed mind, I knew I was finally ready to write this post which I’ve been meaning to write for the over a week now. 

I was recently nominated by my fellow gluten-free blogger Allie, from Adventures of a Gluten Free Bennie, to join in on the Blog Your Heart Out chain letter that lets bloggers introduce themselves beyond the boundaries of their blog subject. Side note- thanks Allie! In this post, I’ll give a glimpse at the “girl behind the blog” and introduce myself beyond simply gluten and dairy intolerant. I fell in love with this idea after reading other’s entries and thank Allie for tagging me into this internet version of “telephone.”

1. Who/what encouraged you to start blogging?

My blogging adventure began in March of 2012 with my first blog- Small Steps. Inspired by Julie Flygare, a blogger who has narcolepsy with cataplexy, I decided to start my own blog detailing my own adventures with the same disease. As time would tell, that one diagnosis turned into a dizzying journey through the medical mystery that has overtaken my body and left me unable to walk and with severely decreased stamina. My little blog became my lifeboat as I detailed my hopes, dreams, and frustrations as my physical state declined and rebounded like a rollercoaster. All along the way, I was touched by the kindness of strangers and friends alike who commented in support or understanding of my condition. Finding this little online community got me hooked into blogging and I haven’t looked back since.

2. How did you choose what to blog about?

Drawing close to the end of my senior of high school, I wanted to break out of my personal blog style and devote my energy to a new project and thus came Eating Out Without. Born from my frustration about the lack of information out there about gluten and dairy free restaurants and my phone overflowing with photos of previous meals I’ve had, setting up a blog for gluten and dairy free restaurant and product reviews seemed like a no brain-er. Now into its fourth month in operation, Eating Out Without has become such a fun outlet to rediscover the Central Florida area and channel my passion for food. It has given me purpose and made me genuinely happy which is what I needed as a release from the stressors of day-to-day life.

3. What is something most people do not know about you?

Hmmmm… for this question I’ve really dug out a blast from the past! Before my world was completely changed by chronic illness and disability, I must admit that I was a total ballet “bunhead.”  Dancing for a total of nine years, I grew to love ballet exclusively and even went as far in my training to tackle Nutcracker appearances and pointe shoes. Though I knew a career in the corps was never my destiny, I loved ballet for its rigid structure and unique way of making me feel beautiful inside and out. 

4. What are three words that describe your style/blog.

Pink-Coloring my blog in it’s current pink hue was no accident because the playful color reminds me to stay positive and have fun. When I’m proof-reading posts and checking formatting while editing, I always love the fun splash of pink that greets me.

Storytelling- With each review or post I publish, I strive to tell a story through my writing. Weather it’s the story of my lunch at a restaurant or memories associated with restaurants or food, I hope my blogs are a little more than just reviews stating what I ate.

Adaptable- One neat aspect of this blog is that is flexible enough to grow and change as time goes by. Although I am Central Florida based, I love posting my reports from out of town (called “side trips”) and will especially love making my home away from home in Baltimore next fall for my next great adventure: college. It’ll be fun to incorporate aspects of collegiate life into Eating Out Without as I learn a whole new part of the country.

5. What do you love to do when you are not blogging?

Quite a lot! When not blogging, I love to volunteer at a local children’s hospital and out in the community on behalf of Canine Companions for Independence (the organization that trained my service dog). Speaking of which, I love to hang out, nap, and play with my incredibly smart (and handsome) yellow lab Locke who is the love of my life and my near-constant companion. Otherwise, I love to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, travel to (gluten-free friendly) places, and simply get out and explore the world around me all while making it a little more accessible. 

Phew! Now that you know a little more about me, here’s the fun part. The chain letter now gets to be passed on for five more bloggers who respond to the five questions I did. Listed below are the bloggers I nominated. I hope they have as much fun as I did in reflecting on each question. Enjoy! 

Sarah from Gluten Free and Dairy Free Walt Disney World
Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando
Jennifer from Celiac in Orlando
Taylor from GlutenAway
Anna from Gluten-Free Jet Set

4 thoughts on “Blog Your Heart Out

  1. Be Bold. Be Brave. BeYOU

    I loved reading your post and getting to learn more about you!! Best of luck at college this fall! I am excited to keep reading about your food adventures, especially at college! 🙂

  2. Unknown

    Loved reading about what got you started! The gluten-free blogging community is simply amazing, and I'm so happy we were able to connect in Orlando. Best of luck with the post-high school transition. I can't wait to hear about what you have planned!

  3. Amanda

    Thanks! I really had fun going through all the questions. I can't wait to see how life changes this fall. 🙂

  4. Amanda

    Thank you so much for your support! I love how welcoming and supportive our small, but strong community is. It was great to meet you in Orlando, too. I can't wait to share my gluten-free adventures in college soon!


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