A North Crawford graduate has received a double nod from the Madison Magazine ‘Best of Madison’ awards.
Georgina (Wilkins) Dunks, a 2007 grad and former Seneca resident has been blogging about crafting, food and life for the past five years on her personal blog ‘eat.laugh.craft.’
“I started it as a hobby/creative outlet after graduating from college, while I was job searching,” Dunks said. “It morphed into something bigger than I ever thought it would. I spend a lot of time on it and it’s almost like a second job but I love it!”
The size and amount of traffic for Dunk’s blog has also been an impressive point that likely led to her successful honor.
“It fascinates me the power that the internet has to connect people,” Dunks noted. “I’ve had people from over 100 countries visit my blog. The website traffic trends are really interesting too. ‘Viral’ posts really spike the people coming to your blog and it’s cool to see where they’re coming from. Some days I’ll have as many as 20,000 visitors and another day it could be 500. Even on those low traffic days it’s crazy to sit back and think, so many people have visited my site and looked at my recipes and projects.”
The ‘Best of Madison’ awards are a yearly event hosted by Madison Magazine. Enthusiasts, residents, and others can cast their votes for their favorite aspects of the Capital City, for individuals like Dunks to be able to carry a logo or display the certificate stating their popularity and quality amongst others in their field. Categories include food and drink, nightlife, home and lifestyle, recreation and fitness, and the category in which Wilkins subcategory of ‘Best Blog’ would be located, Arts and Entertainment. Dunks took home the Silver award, between other local food blogs ‘Things I made today’ (Gold) and ‘Bowen Appetit” (Bronze).
The win came as a surprise for Dunks, who linked on her blog to the voting, just on a whim.
“It sort of happened by chance, living in Madison, I had Heard of ‘Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison Awards’ but was never aware of how or when to vote for them,” Dunks explained. “One day, I was looking for something in the past year’s winners list, and saw voting for 2016 was open. I posted something on my site and told a few friends and family to vote for me, if they had time. They must have spread the word because next thing you know, I got an email saying eat.laugh.craft had been voted for and won the silver award (second place) for both ‘Best Local Food Blog’ and ‘Best Local Blog’.”
Wilkins is a 2011 graduate from UW-Oshkosh. Following graduation, she spent time living in the Fox Valley area for a few years before moving to the Madison area, where she currently resides with her husband Jake.
“I do have a ‘day job’ working in Middleton in employee benefits for a large area telecommunications company,” Dunks noted. “I got married this past summer to my awesome recipe taste tester and blog post proofreader, but as far as hobbies go, this blog is my main hobby and I am always crafting, researching, recipe testing and cooking new things to post about.”
Cooking has been a life long passion of Dunks, one she credits her family for starting her inspiration.
“I’ve always enjoyed crafting and cooking, but cooking in particular has always been a huge passion of mine,” Wilkins said. “I grew up with both of my parents being amazing cooks and we always had homemade dinner together as a family, every night.”
Food is not the only focus for Dunks’ blog, crafts such as a tutorial for making a lace infinity scarf are sprinkled throughout the entries.
“I would say my blog is 70 percent food, 20 percent crafts, and 10 percent other. I get inspiration from all over the place,” Dunks explained. “Websites like Pinterest and other blogger sites, stores I go into, restaurants we go to, fresh and beautiful in season ingredients, there’s no one way I get inspired.”
Dunks plans to connect with resources from around her home area for her up coming posts to help keep her inspiration alive.
“This summer I’m teaming up with ‘Small Family Farm’ out of LaFarge to do a Community Supported Agriculture series. Each week we’ll share what we got in our CSA box and then what we did with the ingredients,” said Dunks. “It’s fun to be able to support local businesses and share their products or story with people on a global platform.”
When it comes to sharing the secret to her success, Dunks was not shy about sharing the truth of blogging with others.
“It takes a lot more time and energy than you may think,” Dunks said. “But that all depends, on what you want to get out of it. On a basic level, coming up with things to blog about, actually writing about those things, proofreading your posts, and photography are the day-in-and-day-out items.”
However, the effort does not stop there.
“You have your super important, but less frequent, activities like logo creation, branding, site maintenance and design, social media accounts, collaborations, etc. For me, especially in the beginning there isn’t much consistency with my post timing or formatting. That over all consistent ‘feel’ when you go to the site is something I am trying to work on to this day.”
Dunks continues to produce great recipes to keep her readers entertained along with a sprinkle of crafts and insights to healthy living.
“I think a lot of people appreciate the freedom to change recipes to fit their own tastes. Cooking doesn’t have to be intimidating and I really try to show that,” Dunks said.