5 Tips for Blog Branding: How to Create and Build your Blog Brand

Tip Tuesday Blog Post Header for FoodMarriage.com - a Philadelphia area blog about being married, having fun, loving life and loving food.

Branding is such a huge part of the world we live in, and I’m not just talking about commercials you see on TV or products you buy in the store. I mean in everything we do, including the blogs we read and write. When I started The Food Marriage Blog back in 2011, I had my general idea and my tagline, “Being Married, Having Fun, Loving Life, and Loving Food,” but I did not have a clear brand direction.

I was using Blogger at the time and had a generic theme with a pink background. Back then, I didn’t have consistency with my images (And can you believe I didn’t even watermark my blog images?  Not that many of them were worth watermarking…the quality of my images back then were not the finest!)

Top 5 Tips on How to Create a Brand for your Blog - using personal inspiration and design boards| FoodMarriage.com

In 2013, I switched to WordPress and also worked with a designer to help me completely re-vamp the blog and develop a true brand. Since I am the face of my brand, I wanted something that would truly reflect me. At the time, my blog was not monetized, so it was a personal investment to make – but investments in yourself are always the best ones!

I worked with Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling Designs (unfortunately she is no longer taking on new design projects, but if she were I would totally recommend her!) She really took all of my ideas and turned them into a reality.  The inspiration for the Food Marriage Blog Design was my wedding. I wanted to use a similar color scheme and use things like the scrolling pattern on my wedding invitations as inspiration. I shared some of my ideas (and my wedding photos) with Elizabeth and she went to work helping me create my dream brand!

Blog Design and Brand Board Inspiration for FoodMarriage.com Blog - A Blog about Being Married, Having Fun, Loving Life, and Loving Food

Whether you are just starting out or have been blogging for years, I highly suggest you create a brand for yourself. It gives your readers something to remember and look forward to every time they are on your site. If your blog is well laid out and easy to read, they will keep coming back!

Here are my Top 5 Tips for Creating your Blog Brand:

1. Stay True to Yourself – Go with your gut on this one. While you are hoping for page views and loyal readers – don’t choose a design just to impress others. Choose a design that fits you. If you are true to yourself and genuine, the readers will come!

2. Stay Creative – This one can be the hardest part because we all try to emulate the blogs that we love (They say “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”) But for your personal blog, you really want to do something that is unique and a little different if you can. It will make you stand out from the crowd!

3. Stay Simple – Don’t go overboard. You don’t need 10 different colors and 15 different fonts to make an impact. Anywhere from 3 – 5 colors in your palette will do just fine and two fonts will suffice (one block font and one script). Also stay simple in your design – I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped reading a blog because it was difficult to navigate!

4. Stay Up To Date – We all know mobile is the way of the future. While you may have a beautiful desktop design – a huge number of our followers are now viewing our blogs on mobile platforms. Be sure your branding and design extend into the mobile space as well!

5. Stay Consistent – Try to stay as consistent as possible. This goes for all social media outlets as well. Be sure to extend your brand into your social media avenues and keep it similar. Loyal fans and readers will come to know your style. If they happen to see a pin on Pinterest, they may know it’s yours before even going to pin it if it has your logo and consistent design elements!

What inspires you? Do you have any other branding design tips to share?


xoxo, Food Marriage

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots

Recipe Header - Food Marriage Blog

As a mom on the go, I’m always looking for easy breakfast options – and sadly, it usually ends up with me just grabbing a granola bar out of the cabinet. This recently happened to me – I ate my trusty granola bar at 7am and then went on with the rest of my day. Until I started mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw a Buzz Feed Video for Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots! My mouth started watering – I watched the video three times and showed it to my husband and made him watch it. I then ran into the kitchen and exclaimed “I am making this right now!!”

Make these Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots Recipe for breakfast today| FoodMarriage.com

Luckily, I already had the necessary ingredients on hand in the kitchen. I decided to make my own version of this recipe, using the video as inspiration. I made it easy with only two ingredients: bacon and tater tots. I decided to use up a whole pound of bacon, which ended up making 50 bacon wrapped tater tots. It was definitely too much for two people (our daughter is only 8 months old and certainly cannot eat this yet!!) But they were easy to save for another day in an airtight container. You can re-heat in the microwave, but I suggest reheating any leftovers in the oven to keep the bacon crispy.

Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 50 Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots

Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots


  • 1 lb bacon
  • 50 Frozen Tater Tots (I used a 32 oz bag and had extra leftover that you can save for another time)


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove the bacon from the packaging and slice each piece of bacon into three equal-sized smaller pieces (Time saving trick: I kept the bacon stacked and cut through the whole stack at once)
  • Wrap each tater tot tightly in the bacon.
  • Place the bacon wrapped tater tots onto the parchment paper with the seam of the wrap facing down.
  • Bake in 400° for about 20 minutes; then flip each bacon wrapped tater tot to the other side.
  • Continue baking for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven (there will be a lot of grease in the bottom of the pan, so be careful)
  • Get a plate and cover it with a couple of stacked paper towels.
  • Take each tater tot and place on the plate of paper towels to allow some of the grease to drain.
  • Enjoy!

Want to see behind the scenes pictures of the Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots? Follow Food Marriage on Instagram: @FoodMarriage


xoxo, Food Marriage

Food Marriage Hits 500 Pinterest Followers!

FoodMarriage.com Hits over 500 Pinterest Followers

Today was a big week for Food Marriage! We just hit 500 Pinterest Followers! Thank you to all of our followers for helping us to meet this huge milestone! Pinterest has always been one of our biggest drivers of traffic to this site, and so to celebrate, I’ve decided to do a round up of the top all time favorite pins from Food Marriage on Pinterest. How or why certain things go viral, I’m not sure, but I’m so happy they did!

Many of these are from older posts of mine, when Food Marriage had just gotten started – and it makes sense because they have been out there so long and keep getting pinned! Please excuse any amateur photography as I was in the very beginning stages of learning at this point!

All Time Most Re-Pinned Pins from FoodMarriage.com (as of 9/26/15):

  1. Pepperoni Stromboli
  2. Homemade Garlic Bread
  3. Roasted Red Potatoes
  4. Zucchini & Rice in a Stewed Tomato Sauce
  5. Mashed Potato Martini Bar

Curious how I found this information? I used Pinterest Analytics! Personal Pinterest accounts will not have access to this data, however if you have a Pinterest for Business Account, it is readily available to you. If you are a blogger, I highly recommend switching to a business account so you can get access to this great information! (Best part – it doesn’t cost anything!)

I truly love Pinterest not only because it is a platform for me to share my own content and interact with others, but because I can pin and save other great content too! I especially enjoy getting inspiration for new recipes or DIY craft ideas for the holidays! If you’re not already following Food Marriage on Pinterest, click here to find Food Marriage’s Pinterest Page!


xoxo, Food Marriage

5 Closest Hotels to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)

Mom Monday Blog Title Header Food Marriage

I gave birth in the middle of winter, so of course my concern was WHAT IF THERE IS A GIANT SNOW STORM? At that point, I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that I was planning to give birth at a Philadelphia city hospital and we live an hour away in the suburbs on a good day without traffic. In preparation for our baby’s arrival, I developed a 5-page word document for my family (yes, you read that right….5 pages) – slightly overkill you might think? Not to an extremely pregnant woman who needed to prepare for every little detail!

5 Closest Hotels to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) | @FoodMarriage | www.foodmarriage.com

My document outlined the address, where I would be in the hospital,  parking options, and public transportation options (you know in case my family couldn’t GOOGLE the information and figure it out themselves!) Then I decided to put together a list of hotels in the area – in case there was a major weather event and we needed to camp out there before the baby or if my family got stuck in the city and couldn’t get back home.  Yes, slightly irrational thinking – but I’ll tell you – this hotel list ended up saving us!!

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania HUP

Photo Credit: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/pennorl/education/residency/hospitals.html

There was no snow storm. There wasn’t even rain on the day our daughter was born. However, when I started having contractions at 2:00am on a Friday morning, then had a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment IN THE CITY at 9:00am, and then he sent us back home to the SUBURBS – we had already had quite enough back and forth for one day.

My contractions started getting worse and we were facing a new challenge – rush hour on a Friday night. The only image going through my head was being forced to have our baby in a car because of being stuck in Philly gridlock traffic. Luckily – I had my handy dandy prepared list of hotels! It was about 3pm at this point, and we knew we still and time to beat the traffic.  My husband, Pat, suggested we go ahead and book a hotel for the night – that way if we had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night or even early the next morning, at least we would already be closer.

Homewood Suites by Hilton University City Philadelphia Hotel

Photo Credit: http://homewoodsuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/homewood-suites-by-hilton-university-city-philadelphia-pa-PHLUPHW/index.html

We got to the hotel around 4:00pm and thank goodness we did! After having the car parked, checking in, and attempting to make our way to the room – my water broke in the hotel elevator!! We were only in the room for about 10 minutes, before we decided it was time to go to the hospital! Labor still lasted quite a while and we didn’t have our little one until 3:21 am on Saturday, but we are still glad we made the decision to head into the city early!

Here’s my list of hotels (and bed and breakfasts) closest to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), where I gave birth.  The list is organized by distance from the hospital: 

  • The Hilton Inn at Penn – 0.6 miles from hospital
  • Sheraton University City – 0.6 miles from hospital
  • Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast – 0.9 miles from hospital
  • Spruce Hill Manor Bed and Breakfast – 1 mile from hospital
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton University City – 1 mile from hospital

We booked the Homewood Suites by Hilton University City for two nights. While we didn’t get to use the room that night, we offered it up to my in-laws to use after a long night in the hospital.  The second night, my husband used it to get some sleep on a comfy bed (intend of the pull out chairs in the hospital room) – it was nice because he was still close if we needed him to come back for anything!

Hopefully this list will help you too! Whether you are planning to give birth or if you are traveling to visit someone at the The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for other reasons!


xoxo, Food Marriage

To the Sweet Girl who Made me “Mommy”

Mother and Baby celebrating Mother's Day

To the Sweet Girl who Made me “Mommy,”

I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, for forever and a day. I dreamed of you for countless nights, and now finally you are here in my arms.  Today on Mother’s Day, and as you celebrate being 4 moths old today, I am amazed by the miracle of life and by everything you do. How is it possible 121 days have gone by so far since you have been born? I want time to stand still, but at the same time want it to keep moving forward so I can continue watching you grow.

Mother's Day Quotes

I get weepy when I realize that you may not remember all of these moments that we spend together. But I will remember them for you. I will take pictures and tell you lots of stories when you get older- like how Daddy and I were both shocked when you rolled from your tummy to your back at just 2 months old! And how I swore that you said my name “Mom” already – even though nobody else believes me! I’ll tell you how we spent our Sunday mornings doing “family snuggle time” and how Daddy and I would fall back asleep, each one of us holding one of your sweet little hands. I’ll tell you how you NEVER cried once when we put you to bed at night – a miracle in itself! And how you smiled and giggled  when we told you it was time to go to sleep (a girl after my own heart…gotta love sleep!)

Mother's Day Quote

I’ll tell you how much I loved hearing you coo and babble in your crib in the morning. And how when I had to go back to work, just seeing you smile at me as I would walk out the door would make my whole day better. I’ll tell you how much more I fell in love with your Daddy, just seeing the way he takes care of you. And I’ll tell you how much your Daddy made me laugh when he literally wore a mask to change your dirty diapers!

Mother's Day Quote

I’ll tell you how much we loved you from the very beginning (even when you were inside my stomach and we called you “Pedo,” short for “Torpedo” because that’s what my stomach looked like at one point!) I’ll tell you how much we loved you when you first arrived in this world and we found out you were a healthy little girl.  I’ll tell you how much we loved you each and every day after that and how you seemed to grow right before our eyes.

Thank you sweet girl, for making me your Mommy. I look forward to everything that the future holds for us!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Mothers out there…especially those celebrating their first Mother’s Day, like me!  What are you doing to celebrate and remember this special day?


xoxo, Food Marriage