The time has arrived for what I like to call my big blog post. Each year I reflect on what I wrote over the past 12 months and then I pick out my favorites (view the 2014 and the 2015 lists). After reviewing the over 240 blog posts I wrote in 2016, I once again chose my top ten.
It is never an easy task to do this. However, I always have some help. A crucial component of the criteria for posts that make this list center on how you, my readers, react to it. So, in a way, all of you played a part in compiling the entries featured in this special post.
Because of your help with this list and because of your loyalty to Don’t Blink, I gladly dedicate My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 to my readers.
10. A Proper Transition for the Pastime Cafe (April 5) – In the middle of the year, I heard some news that warmed my heart and brought back nostalgia. Our family Italian restaurant that had closed 10 years ago was coming back to life. Although “back to life” in this instance meant with a slightly different name and new owners, the development brought me great joy. As our family owned the Pastime Cafe for over 80 years, it was tough to see it vacant for close to a decade. Although definitely not the restaurant I grew up in, the Passatempo Taverna reflects modern Walla Walla while also honoring the original Pastime. I was pleased to write this post to give the new owners a big vote of confidence.
The Passatempo Taverna opened up in September of 2016. (photo courtesy of the Passatempo Taverna Facebook page).
9. The Battle of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Creams (May 15) – It seems like each year I buy a lot of stuff, make a mess, pig out, and legitimize it by saying I did it in the name of my blog. In 2016, I used this formula for my cookie dough post. I went out and bought five different chocolate chip cookie dough ice creams ranging from premium to generic and brought them home. I then summoned Sidney to taste each one blind. Do you remember which one she identified as her favorite? The effort I put into this entry, the fact that it dealt with one of my favorite subjects of all time (ice cream), and the surprising result all contributed to this post making the countdown.
Believe it or not, the Walmart Great Value brand ended up winning the blind taste test.
8. The #SidAndBrent Wedding Timeline (June 5) – From when we got engaged in June of 2015 to when we tied the knot in June of 2016, I wrote updates on our wedding progress in Don’t Blink. Right before our special date, I compiled all of the updates I wrote into one blog post. It is my feeling that this post is a great guide for any groom. Brides have their magazines and websites that contain timelines but I felt males needed something a little more dedicated to us. But the fact that this post is helpful and fills a void isn’t the only reason why I like it. For me, having something that chronicles the journey that Sid and I took from engagement to vows is very special.
Everything we did to prepare for our wedding, including going to the courthouse to pick up our marriage license, is included in this post.
7. Happy At 30 (October 8) – In 2016 I officially became old. However, I didn’t let my age bring me down. Instead, I allowed the birthday to bring me more joy than anything. In this post I reflected on what it meant to me to turn the big 3-0 and how I couldn’t be happier. It will be something I look back on when I turn 40.
6. My Motivation in 2016 (January 5) – This post is meaningful to me because it caused me to make some positive changes. When the new year came around, it was obvious that I needed to lose some weight for my upcoming wedding. Through Don’t Blink, I called myself out in front of my readers saying I would do just that. Thus, using this post as motivation to keep me honest, I met my goal. When my wedding date rolled around, I had lost 30 pounds. I almost used the post I wrote about the wacky method I used to lose that weight, but this initial one is more important to me because I wrote it when I was vulnerable and before I had even lost a pound.
This contrast shows how fat I really was! By using this blog to call myself out, I was able to lose weight.
5. Shock of the Century (November 9) – Most of us can admit that 2016 in the United States will forever be defined by the presidential election. Throughout the year, I wrote frequently about the race for the presidency. Despite the candidate you wanted to see win, I think we can all admit that what happened on the evening of November 8 was a shock. The next day I wrote this blog post giving credit to President-Elect Trump while at the same time calling out a couple groups. This will go down as one of my more historical Don’t Blink blog posts.
4. The Truth About a Bar Rescue Episode – This post earns a high spot on the countdown for two reasons. First, it was my most read blog post of 2016. A couple major social media pages shared it and every Sunday when the “Bar Rescue” marathons would run, traffic would shoot up like crazy. Second, and most important, it was a topic I had wanted to write about for a long time. However, I never had a subject that was willing to give me information. I reached out to a few different people who appeared on the show but was always rejected. Then one lucky day, a lady named Maria Bedient who had been unfairly portrayed on the show contacted me to offer up her story and the rest is history.
3. The Happiest Weekend of Our Lives (June) – A wedding is so much more than just an hour in a church. In fact, it is so much more than just a single day. Taking this reality to heart, I made sure to chronicle each specific wedding-related event individually through this blog. From the rehearsal dinner to the actual wedding to the reception to the honeymoon, I wrote about it all. Earning the #3 spot on the 2016 countdown is the blog post that wrapped up my writings about that unforgettable week in mid-June. Within the main blog post, you will find links to each individual post devoted to the #SidAndBrent wedding.
I wrote in depth about our honeymoon as well.
2. We Are Expecting! (October 2) – Although short and sweet, the post I wrote in October announcing that we are expecting is a definite highlight from 2016. Describing how we announced our big news on social media while also addressing how we had started to prepare for our new addition, this entry will always be special to me.
We posted this image to announce that we are expecting. All creative credit goes to my wife!!
1. My Top Ten Photos From Our Wedding Day (July 17) – It is really tough to put into words the joy you feel on your wedding day. Although I tried to do so with several different blog posts, I don’t know if it ever did our special day justice. Thank goodness for pictures. In July, I wrote this post highlighting my absolute favorite images from June 11, 2016. Each picture says so much and helps to tell the story of that day in beautiful fashion. The happiness I just now felt from looking at this post confirmed to me even more why this is my favorite of 2016. As a blogger, some might think that naming an entry that didn’t rely on my writing that much might be a disappointment. Nope. Drafting up a blog post that uses the heart more than words is always more rewarding.
This was one of the photos that made my top ten list of best #SidAndBrent wedding images.
There you have it. It is my hope that something I wrote in 2016 for Don’t Blink made you feel a certain way. If my words (or pictures) had an impact on you, I will consider it a successful year. Thanks for sticking with me, I hope you return in 2017. Don’t Blink.