A Blogger for One Year

A YEAR AGO TODAY, on the parlor floor of a Brooklyn brownstone, I started this blog. Sitting next to me was web designer Ken Smith, whom I’d hired to show me the ropes. I had a vague notion I ought to start a blog as a way to use the photos of apartments and gardens I’d scouted for magazines, and the notes for stories that never came to be. I didn’t want all that effort to go to waste.

Also, I had just published an article in the New York Times Escapes section about my weekend pastime, looking at old houses for sale. I wanted to keep writing about old-house real estate, and other things, without the hassle of pitching and selling the stories to an editor.

Ken steered me to WordPress.com, then to the Tarski ‘theme’ (design template), and then he opened a blank window called New Post and said, “Type something.” I could have written dfghjklytriuytrdcvbnm,lkjhgfrtyuiopl. Instead, without thinking too much about it, I typed what was top of mind at the time, “ISO The Perfect Beach House,” and casaCARA was on its way.

I invited readers to come along on my beach-house quest. Many have. Down the left-hand column of this page, there’s a number approaching 200,000. That’s cumulative hits, or clicks, over the course of the year, not individuals — but it’s still a lot of people, and I’m grateful to all of you for your readership and support (whoever you are).

My house search ended in May with the purchase of the East Hampton cottage where I now reside in happy exile, but my blog kept going. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, about blogging and about myself. I don’t need to live in New York City, for one thing. I’ve met a lot of creative, interesting, thoughtful people “out here,” and anyway, I like the quiet life. At 3:30PM today, determined to wrest all I could out of the fading afternoon, I spent an hour filling up a giant trash bag with twigs and rotting lengths of wisteria vine. I had so much fun, I vowed to do it every day, weather permitting, from now until springtime.

I realize that pleasures that simple do not a very exciting blog make. Not to worry. I’m going to Spain in January (it was 63 degrees in Seville today), blogging all the way. I pledge to start a Hamptons Voyeur series ASAP, snooping inside people’s homes to see how they’re decorated — continuing what began back in Brooklyn as Brownstone Voyeur. And I’m still forever looking at old houses on the market, because I can’t stop.

I’ve learned not to obsess over stats. My biggest day was back in March, when Brownstoner linked to casaCARA for the first time and I got 1,700 hits. Now I average 600-800/day. Granted, a lot of them are people looking for something on raccoons (my all-time top post is “Midnight Intruder,” about a raccoon break-in.)

Midnight Intruder 7,114 More stats
BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: Classic Modern in Cob 4,830 More stats
BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: ‘Updated French Farmh 3,481 More stats
lee-krasner 2,846 More stats
2006_10_05_raccoon 2,693 More stats
BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: In Prospect-Lefferts, 2,193 More stats
BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: Relaxing an Ornate To 1,645 More stats
BROWNSTONE VOYEUR: Good Design Endures i 1,640 More stats
GARDEN VOYEUR: Foolproof Plants for Broo 1,309 More stats
The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn

Frequently, my motivation flags. At least once a day, I wonder, “Why am I doing this? There’s no money in it.” Then I tell myself, “Just keep going; it’s not yours to wonder why.” Some people enjoy my blog, and that makes me feel good. But it’s not as if I have voices in my head screaming to be heard. It’s more that having a blog keeps me on my toes (literally, trying to peek over gates and fences). It keeps my eyes open, gives me a reason to carry a camera. It’s a platform, structure, communication, fun.

I recommend it.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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10 Responses to A Blogger for One Year

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed my vicarious journey through your eyes. Thank you for your insights (and photos!).

    I too am learning that I don’t need to live in NYC, and I’ve become the better for it.

    Have a wonderful time in Spain!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Astor C. says:

    Can I be the first: Congratulations. And don’t flag. We’d all miss that wonderful, familiar voice in the AM, reminding us of chores not done, enthusiasims to follow, good stuff just around the corner at the next tag sale, and taste, taste, taste.

  3. Terry says:

    Thanks for your year of posts. I’ll be here for your 2nd anniversary.

  4. MazeDancer says:


    Blogs make a superlative container for arranging anything one pleases into a delight to share with others. And one gets to choose newness and creativity every day. And people out in the world benefit. How can this be other than a great thing to do? And you do it so well. Thanks for the fun!

  5. Quinn says:

    I’m pretty new to your blog, but it’s one of my first go-to’s when I’m online. And admitting I get a little grumpy if there’s no new post!

  6. Mary-Liz says:

    Congratulations!!!! Your blog is part of my morning ritual & adds to the enjoyment of my day!! Getting inside your head is always inspirational! Looking forward to more in 2010!!!!!

  7. Eileen says:

    Congrats Cara. I’m addicted to your blog, so please keep posting.
    Happy New Year & have a great time in Spain.

  8. brooklynGreene says:

    Yes! Congrats! Digging out from under this big snowstorm…NYC sees a White Christmas…I can’t remember the last time it snowed before Christmas…at least not like this!
    Happy Solstice!
    From the Village of Fort Greene

  9. I first stumbled upon your blog shortly after {or just before} we closed on our row home. I devoured every single Brownstone Voyeur post and have kept reading everyday. Thanks for doing it! Congrats on hitting 1 year!!

  10. cara says:

    Thanks for all your good wishes on my 1st bloggiversary [nod to Eray]!

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