Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a Celebration: 1-Year Anniversary!

Around this time last year, what were you doing? Thinking about? Hoping for?

President Obama signed the widely discussed health care bill.

Mo’Nique won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the film “Precious.”

And I was toying with the idea of launching a blog about where to eat, drink and be merry in Los Angeles.

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since Wilson’s “Where To” Guide first emerged. I remember seriously contemplating whether or not I wanted to step down as the Saturday Night Magazine nightlife editor – a fun little side-gig with wonderful perks – to enter the realm of blogging where countless other of writers had something to say about every topic under the sun. I thought I had a grasp on what it was all about: sign up on Blogger, write weekly posts, spread the word and that’s it, right? But I didn't realize I was getting myself into a weekly commitment of posts even when I was dead tired, the never-ending quest for awesome destinations, and most importantly, building an engaging, trustworthy resource from the ground up.

Yet through it all, I have made it to the one-year mark and now, I can’t even imagine life without my blog. As a celebration of Wilson’s “Where To” Guide’s 1st official birthday, I wanted to take the time to give you behind-the-scenes look, so read on.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog as much as I have enjoyed putting it together, week after week.

Happy Birthday, Wilson’s Guide!

What’s this blog about?
In a nutshell, Wilson's "Where To" Guide is a resource on where to find stellar social activities: bars, lounges, restaurants, nightclubs and other recreational endeavors. Five-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall dive bars have made the cut, as well as chic Beverly Hills lounges and fast food joints in South Los Angeles.

They may differ in location and price range because really, the only real criteria to make it in this guide is the following: they always make you feel right at home, comfortably invited and pleasantly entertained.

Now I will admit – as an African-American woman, I do go out of my way to highlight exceptional places that are minority-owned (i.e. CiCi’s CafĂ©), located within historically African-American communities (i.e. Randy’s Donuts, pictured to the right) and/or undeniably diverse and multi-cultural (i.e. The Do-Over). However, if you’re good to me, you’re great, and you’re making it on the list. And obviously, you don't have to be just African-American or a woman to find somewhere great in this guide. :)

So how did Wilson’s Guide get created?

Wilson's "Where To" Guide came to fruition from three separate concepts:

First, after 2.5 lovely years as nightlife editor for a local publication, I was ready for a bigger challenge, and naturally, blogging seemed the next logical step. To try and find a voice amongst thousands of other bloggers and to maintain longevity, those were my new lofty aspirations, and still are to this day.

Secondly, I kept running into scores of recent transplants who would exasperatedly proclaim: "Where are all of the great, non-shallow, non-Hollywood spots in LA?" I’d passionately rattle off ten noteworthy hangout destinations, leaving most inspired. I couldn’t always feature these places in Saturday Night Magazine, but I could highlight them in my very own blog.

Lastly, for those like myself who get down with the “urban” scene, I realized that while it's easy to find a classy party one given night or a networking mixer ever so often, there just didn't seem to be one resource that provided insight into a range of different activities that catered to the diverse urban interests. My goal, which has also been realized through my Twitter account (@WilsonsGuide), is to help fill that void.

Milestones?
Honestly, anytime anyone ever mentions they read a post and especially when they mention that they went somewhere I wrote about and actually liked the place, I do a little dance in my head. I just want to provide options for good times and to know that I’m doing that – it’s the best feeling in the world.

With all of that said, I also feel so blessed for the following:
- To have interviewed three Grammy-nominated artists and other celebs (like Quddus, pictured above to the left).
- To have partnered with awesome entrepreneurial spirits like Made Woman Magazine, Yoo-N-La Magazine, The Commercial Mix, Chrystal King and many others.
- To have launched a first ever @WilsonsGuide Twitter contest in partnership with The Brown Betties.
- And seriously, to have consistently posted on a weekly basis while shuffling full-time work and whatever life may bring. The hardest thing as a writer is to keep on writing!

Well what does the future hold for Wilson’s Guide?

Great question! Of course, there will be more recommendations, more interviews, more fun contests. I’m continuing to redesign the blog, thanks to the creative mastermind of Room050 founder Alf, and, I’m hoping to throw in a bi-monthly e-newsletter to the mix.

Closing Thoughts?

Keep on reading – you haven’t seen anything yet! And to think, it all started with one post on one of my favorite places – Simply Wholesome (pictured to the left) – and deciding to never look back.

Cheers,
Miss Wilson

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