There are currently 600 million blogs on the Internet and more than 30 million bloggers in the U.S. Without too much trouble, you can discover and enjoy the work of bloggers (whose ages run the gamut!) located in our hometowns writing about everything from their passion for pizza to parenting dilemmas. The common denominator for success? Prose composed in their own authentic voices.
In this edition, we start with two young bloggers, one a college aged student (a Greeley grad and regular Inside Press contributor) and a second, an Armonk-based fourth-grade student!
Megan Klein, Chappaqua
Megan Klein, a junior at Boston University, started her blog freshman year of college as a way to help her process the transition to college life. She ultimately transferred after her freshman year to Boston University. The process made her want to destigmatize transferring, and other unpredicted college road bumps in her posts, which she says many people still view as taboo.
“Everyone tells you that your four years in college are the best years of your life. But that’s not true for everyone, so I started writing about that,” said Klein. Originally the blog was a distracting outlet for her, doubling as a way to build her writing portfolio as a journalism student. While she initially didn’t tell many about the blog, that eventually changed. A year later she asked people for submissions of times where college was hard and got immediate positive feedback from long lost friends and other followers on Instagram telling her how relatable she was.
The first section she developed was titled “No Lifeguard on Duty”. “I called it that because this really is the first time that you are own without your parents,” notes Klein. Then College Confessions stemmed from the submissions, ranging in aspects of college life from Greek life to friends to transitions. She also added a Freshman Survival Guide section.
Klein is always looking for ways to make her blog more interactive and expand her readership by uploading photos, adding links and buttons. She also created stress balls and stickers for purchase with her blog’s tagline “Smile. It’s good for you.” This year she also started a podcast called Happiness Talks, where she interviews “positivity professionals” on various topics such as cognitive behavioral therapy and even therapy dogs.
Klein hopes to one day compile her experiences into a self-help book similar to the You are A Badass series but for the college set. “I’d love it if it was a book that parents gave to their kids when they entered college,” she notes but for now she is happy about the blog’s growth from 1,600 visitors when she started in 2019 to 4,000 visitors this past year from more than 33 different countries. Acknowledging that those numbers aren’t astronomical, she still is proud of what it’s accomplished. “It’s all baby steps,” she says, but no doubt a part of her journey on her pathway to adulthood, albeit online.
Keira O’Sullivan, Armonk
This fourth grader at Wampus Elementary School is a pizza aficionado. After trying the perfect trifecta of bread, tomato sauce and cheese at the tender age of three, pizza quickly became her favorite food. O’Sullivan decided to start her own pizza blog after reading an article on the best local pizzerias in Westchester Magazine in 2018. She loves trying out different pizzerias in the county often accompanied by her father, Kevin. To date, she has visited more than 40 pizzerias and tried their classic slices along with an occasional side order of garlic knots. She’s even stopped at pizzerias on vacations in Pennsylvania, the Jersey Shore and Upstate NY. She likes the fact that writing her blog has helped her become more computer literate and brush up on her photography skills.
One of the more unusual qualities that O’Sullivan likes to write about is the pizza’s “floppiness” which she says happens when the crust flops over and you can fold the pizza in half. “I like a little bit of flop and sweet sauce but no air bubbles in the crust.” She rates the pizza on a scale of 1-10 and is a tough critic claiming that she will never give out a 10 because no pizza is perfect.
COVID hasn’t stopped her as pizza is the ultimate casual food and perfect for curbside pick-up. She’s still updating the blog and while she has no plans of becoming a restaurant critic she hopes her blog points people in the right direction to good pizza. “There is some good pizza and there is some bad and I just wanted people to know what’s good,” she explains. Thanks for the advice Keira!
Excerpts from both blogs follow!
From Megan Klein’s ‘Operation Happiness’
You know when a book changes your life? Not to sound dramatic, which we all know I am, but after years of hearing people say that, I finally found the one.
It’s called 14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It’s literally a book filled with an ongoing list of 14,000 things that have made her happy throughout the years: squooshing ice-cream sandwiches, TV football on mute, a good Monday and the movie We Bought a Zoo are just four of thousands.
I’ve always been one to keep a journal. My first one was a gift from my sister for Christmas one year. It was blue and had a big M on it and was from Justice. It was a gold mine of middle school gossip. I wrote down a list of my fifth grade crushes. I wrote down a list of the most annoying people in my class, girls and boys. Too bad I haven’t been able to find that sucker in years – Mom, I give you permission to tear apart my room to find it.
I eventually graduated to leather bound books, where I tried to keep a daily record of what happened and how I was feeling.
And honestly, I now realize that the way I was journaling was counterproductive. Yes, I was writing down my thoughts and my feelings. But, I found that if those thoughts or feelings were negative, I was just re-hashing them on paper instead of letting them go.
Then I found this book.
Every night I write five things down that made me happy that day, whether it be something I ate, something I did, a song I like, or if nothing comes to mind, I think back on happy memories and write those down. I call it Take 5 Write 5 journaling.
Here are a few things I have written down in my book: a hot shower after a cold rainy soccer game, ABC Family Harry Potter weekend marathons at home, sourdough bread and falling asleep to the Dear John piano soundtrack.
Now it’s your turn.
For more blog posts from Megan, visit www.operationhappinessblog.com
Reviews from Keira O’Sullivan’s Pizza Ratings
Hartsdale House of Pizza
Rating = 8.9
We got a plain slice, tomato slice, and some kind of pepper cheese slice, which my Dad ate. The tomato slice was really good and the plain slice was good. The garlic knots were HUGE. I couldn’t really eat the garlic knots because I had a wiggly tooth. My mom wanted to try this place for a while. I recommend this place. It was good.
Villagio Pizzeria – Tuckahoe, NY
Rating = 7.4
I was going to review Roma Pizza because Westchester Magazine said it’s the best pizza in Tuckahoe. But they were closed so my mom went to this place instead because she thought it looked good for me. I got a plain cheese slice and a focaccia slice that just had tomato sauce on it. The plain slice was pretty good. It was not floppy. I liked the amount of cheese even though I sometimes take it off after 5 bites. The sauce was good too.
The focaccia slice only had one chunky tomato on it which I was not very happy about. Overall I would go there again and recommend it.
Sal’s Pizzeria, Mamaroneck, NY
Rating = 9.2
This pizza was really good. We got a plain cheese and a Sicilian. It was really good. It had the right amount of flop. Bread was really good. Just really good pizza in general. I liked everything about it. I would highly recommend this pizza. It was so good. My mom and dad have been telling me about this place for a while.
For more blog posts from Keira, visit, www.keiraspizzarating.home.blog