What Started as a Food Blog


Having a tea break on the dock in Iraq. Umm Qsar, Iraq. (December 2009)

Having a tea break on the dock in Iraq. Umm Qsar, Iraq. (December 2009)

Four years ago today, I was a few months past officially and legally closing the chapter on one of life’s biggest failures… a failed marriage. The pain, disappointment, feeling of failure and need to blame had subsided and I had moved on to actually being thankful for the experience, relieved we were both getting what we wanted and happy there was no jail time or kids involved.

With the girls from the Italian reality show Donnavventura learning about low country cuisine from Mitch Crosby (far left). Charleston, SC. (September 2009)

With the girls from the Italian reality show Donnavventura learning about low country cuisine from Mitch Crosby (far left) at Crosby Fish and Shrimp Company. Charleston, SC. (September 2009)

I was working on a dredge in the Mobile Bay for three weeks on and three weeks off I was at home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I was living in a nicely manicured golf community a few miles from the beach and everyday I woke up I did what I wanted all day every day, I kept saying to myself “Life is Good”. A lot of my time was spent taking pictures, eating and traveling so I decided to start a food blog and call it “La Buena Vida” that means “The Good Life” for all my non Spanish speaking friends. I wrote my first post on August 10th 2009, intending to do nothing more than combine a couple of my hobbies and soak up some of my free time. Life was certainly good but it was also boring when your friends all have to go to work everyday.

Hoping this falcon doesn't gouge my eyes out. Dubia, U.A.E. (January 2010)

Hoping this falcon doesn’t gouge my eyes out. Dubai, U.A.E. (January 2010)

The first post I wrote was four years ago today and was called “Prosciutto, Basil and Olive Pizza” and it started a process of recording and sharing my life with others on this thing people were calling a blog. Since that time I have shared 281 posts, posted from as far away as Singapore and talked about anything from making killer ribs to how to build the ultimate beer pong table. What started as me babbling about food has morphed into something more personal like sharing thoughts about my first father’s day.

Partying with Ian and some shady strangers at Calle Ocho Celebration in Little Havana. Miami, Florida (March 2010)

Partying with Ian and some shady strangers at Calle Ocho Celebration in Little Havana. Miami, Florida (March 2010)

My grandmother at regular intervals asks me how much money I make on something I spend so much time doing? She gives me a sideways look when time I tell her “not a dime”. I internally justify it a few ways. First I know that some of the most fulfilling things come in life when your motivations are not monetary but based on something you enjoy doing. If you can find a way to monetize it great, if not, its okay because that was never part of the plan from the beginning. I think that is why I have been able to do this consistently for four years, I did not require anything in return but over the years I started to realize exactly what I was getting back. I am not breaking any records or am I anywhere near a top viewed blog on the Internet but it humbles me anyway that the site has been viewed over 100,000 times. Many posts go without comment but its nice when someone I know or a complete stranger chimes in.

The last leg of crossing the Indian Ocean to the Island of Mauritius. (January 2012)

The last leg of crossing the Indian Ocean to the Island of Mauritius. (January 2012)

During this journey, I have shared great meals with strangers and built friendships with extraordinary people who are not only passionate about food but count on it for their livelihood. People who don’t dream about what they want, they wake up and make it happen! They are chefs, food truck operators, farmers, butchers and cook book authors who have carved out their own slice of the “Good Life” from one of life’s most basic and important necessities, food.

Another unintended outcome of this site is that it has become a running journal of my life. I have tried a number of times in the past to start a journal and have failed every single time. Either I have misplaced it, lost interest or didn’t put any real feeling into it because I was afraid someone would find it. A number of times I have found myself clicking through the blog and reliving some moment I had completely forgotten about.

Serena, my Sister and I the last day if my Independence weekend. Jupiter, Florida (February 2010)

Serena, my Sister and I the last day of my Independence weekend. Jupiter, Florida (February 2010)

When I am long gone and fertilizing some cemetery lawn, anyone can come here and read my words and see pictures of me drinking tea with Iraqis, walking the streets of Singapore or enjoying the time I had at Calle Ocho in Miami. My Son will never have to sit through a terrible sitcom to find out “How I Met His Mother”, he can go right to the post Pulled Pork Sliders and My Independence Weekend (and read about it himself). He can see the first pictures we ever took together and he can read my words about where I was in life. Sure he may see a picture of his father standing with a stripper in that very post but he will also read the words I wrote about the weekend I met his mother:

“This weekend was about celebrating my life and living it the way I want to with the people who make me happy. I plan to live this next year the same way I did this one, with love in my heart, good food in my stomach and whiskey in my glass and while next February 20th, I may not feel the need to go all out like I did this year, you can be sure I will at least raise a glass…. or few.” Those are words I can honestly say I have lived by since I wrote them despite not having laid eyes on them in a couple of years.

Sun setting off the coast of Brazil. (August 2013)

Sun setting off the coast of Brazil. (August 2013)

Clicking back through four years of posts I see growth. The obvious growth of dredlocks, to the improvement of my photography or the willingness to open up more when writing. What started as a food blog has become a life blog that has traveled with me from the days as a roving bachelor to finding the love of my life to becoming a married father. Whether its your first time here or if you were around for the first post, I thank you for visiting and hope you stick around to see what else I have in store.

Devin and I taking in some New Orleans soul in Jackson Square. New Orleans, LA (May 2013)

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Categories: A Look Back

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13 Comments on “What Started as a Food Blog”

  1. Anonymous
    August 10, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Awesome post Tori. And a compelling reason for everyone to start a blog.

  2. Bill
    August 10, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Awesome post Tori. And a compelling reason for everyone to start a blog.

    • August 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      Thanks billy, anytime anyone ask I always encourage people to start one. Even if you keep it private so no one can view it. Its nice to have pics and memories all in one place. Hope all is well with you buddy.
      T

  3. JayWall
    August 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    Really great stuff here Tori. It will be priceless for your little man to be able to look back on this…even if it is while he’s getting a lap dance!

  4. Brittney
    August 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Great post!

  5. Pat Schubert
    August 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Tori, you are such an
    amazing person and have become so mature with a lovely wife and family. Not only do you write a mean blog, you are consistently interesting and fun to read!!! Keep up the good work! We enjoy living vicariously through all your travels.
    Craig and family were just here for Joe’s 75th birthday.

    • August 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Thanks Mrs Schu and thanks for following me here over the past four years. Yes, Craig and I have come a long way from causing mischief in the Taurus lolol.

  6. August 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Love it!!! I so greatly appreciate you doing what you do and including me in it! Thank you!!!

  7. Anna-Bain
    January 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Hi Tori,
    I have been meaning to check out your blog again for a long time. I just read your post and had to drop a line…I love the blog and I am so happy you are living your dreams and loving your beautiful family. Thanks for making me smile tonight! Hope to see you soon and meet that precious boy and gorgeous wife. Happy New Year!

    • January 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      Anna-Bain, thanks for checking back in and for your words. We will have to get our little people together the next time I come north

  8. Joann Frederick
    August 31, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    I enjoyed reading this I find u more And learn more about u all the time.

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