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Meet Danelle: Mom and Food Genius behind Let’s Dish

Danelle graciously shared this amazing no bake cheesecake recipe that is perfect for Valentine’s Day or a Galentine’s party! She shares so many wise words below and I know you’ll learn from her just like I have.

Tell us a little about yourself and your career

I’m a mom to three boys, ages 13, 17 and 20, who will attest to the fact that every recipe you see at Let’s Dish was something I fed them for dinner. I’ve been married to a proud Canadian for 23 years. We spent our first five years of married life in Victoria, British Columbia, where our oldest son was born. We’ve been in Colorado since 1998, when my husband came to get a Masters degree at Colorado State University. I graduated from BYU in 1994 with a degree in Communications. Besides cooking (and eating), and photography, I love reading biographies and historical fiction. My favorite cuisine is Indian or Thai, or a good burger and fries, but I just can’t do sushi or cottage cheese.

I started Let’s Dish in 2009, when my youngest went off to kindergarten. I love trying new foods, and all I really wanted was a place with unlimited storage to file away my favorite recipes, and the Internet seemed like the answer. I was shocked the first time a stranger left a comment to realize people were actually looking at my blog. After I started getting a little bit of traffic, it was my dad who told me I could put ads on my blog. I had no idea that was even a thing. I was even more surprised when I got my first email from a brand (Pillsbury) asking me to develop recipes for them. I didn’t know that was a thing either! So pursue your interests for nothing more than the joy and satisfaction it brings you, because you never know where it will lead.

How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?

As a blogger, and food blogger in particular, I have a huge network of women I can turn to. From sharing each other’s work on social media to answering questions or giving advice, there is never a shortage of fellow bloggers to lend a hand. Many of them are unbelievably generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise. But I also have to give shout out to the non-blogging women in my life who probably think blogging is weird, but have been making and sharing my recipes for years. I have so many great friends who, like me, are just looking for something easy and delicious to make for dinner. So many of them get on Facebook and let everyone know when they loved one of my recipes. That kind of support really means a lot to me.

What have you learned about yourself from your work on Let’s Dish? 

For the first 3-4 years I blogged, I wasn’t really making enough money to justify hiring people to do things for me. I had to figure it all out myself, with the help of Google and YouTube videos. Including super technical (at least to me) stuff like coding. But I did it! The funny thing is, my boys are all computer and science whizzes, but most of the time when something goes wrong with the computer or printer at our house, I’m the one who figures out what’s wrong and how to fix it. So I’ve learned that even though it may not be something I’m naturally talented at, I can figure it out.

I’ve also gained a deeper appreciation for figuring out what my talents are, and sharing them. I think whatever your gifts are, they are meant to be shared–someone out there is going to benefit from what you have to offer. Some of my favorite comments have been from young kids who are just learning to cook, telling me that they made my cake and won first place at the church bake-off. Or that they made one of my recipes and their family said they should open a bakery! All I did was put a recipe on the Internet, but it gave someone a boost of confidence and brought them a little bit of joy!

What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations? 

Don’t be afraid of getting older. Besides the fact that you can pull a muscle blow-drying your hair, it’s so liberating. I literally don’t have the energy now to worry about some of the things I used to, so the unimportant stuff just naturally falls away. Which means you’ll get better at saying no and not feeling guilty about it. On the flip side, you’ll also get better about saying yes and not feeling guilty about it. Getting older just naturally helps you sort out what’s really important, and what’s going to matter 10 years from now. Also, however you think things are going to turn out–in your career, and life in general–is probably not how they’re going to turn out. Things usually turn out better than you imagined.

What is your career-related mantra? 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I didn’t actually come up with that. I think it’s attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. But it’s especially true in the blogging world. The minute you start looking around to see what everyone else is doing, you start to become miserable. That’s true about life in general, but with food blogging, everyone’s best work is out there for the world to see, and so it’s really easy to get caught up in what other bloggers are doing, or how much better their photography is, or how many more social media followers they have. I try and remind myself that it isn’t a pie, where if someone else gets a big piece, there won’t be enough left for me. There is plenty of success and happiness to go around!

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