{a day in the life} Cooking with Books

Today’s “a day in the life” will be featuring Marnely from Cooking with Books.

Her friends call her Nelly, and she has a lot of friends. It is hard not to love this girl, with her infectious passion for life, baking, and friendship. Plus she has crazy skills in the kitchen. She makes things that I could never even dream up! She is so creative.

Marnely is a newlywed living on Martha’s Vineyard. The schedule she outlines below reflects the “off-season” on Martha’s Vineyard, so before you go envying her seemingly leisurely life, rest assured that she works her butt off most of the year. Right, Nelly? :)


Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.

I’ve been interested in food writing after attending CIA and writing for the culinary newspaper and working in the publishing department, but before that I had kept a personal blog for about 5 years (I probably had 500 page views in 5 years!) Never did I think of starting a food blog, even if my life really just consisted about eating and cooking and baking. What eventually made me create Cooking with Books? A trip to Vegas. We had so much great food and I felt the need to share it all!

Take me through your day.

  • 7am: Alarm goes off and I snooze it.
  • 8am: Second alarm goes off and I snooze it.
  • 8:20am: Finally! I wake up and still half asleep I brew my coffee while opening the laptop, turning on Pandora, and drinking a glass of water. (I keep a large pitcher of water on my desk). This is also when I write out my daily to-do list.
  • 8:20-10am: Google Reader, catch up on blogs and say hello to Twitter and Facebook. Read emails and respond to most of them, and search some online writing job sites.
  • 10am: turn on TV and start writing the first blog post. Have some butter toast and second cup of coffee. Write, Write.
  • 11:30am: What’s for lunch? Normally a quick pasta, sandwich, or reheating leftovers.
  • 12 noon: Lunch and after lunch coffee.
  • 12-3pm: Run errands in town, pick up mail, random grocery store, and back home. If I stay home during this time, I either photograph a future blog post or bake something for the blog.
  • 3-5pm: Write, Write, Write!
  • 5-7pm: Cooking dinner with Husband, having dinner, watching TV, clean up kitchen, run dishwasher, and have something sweet (chocolate, cake, anything!)
  • 8-9pm: Twitter and catching up on emails that have straggled throughout the day.
  • Bedtime is normally around 10:30pm or 11pm. Sweet Dreams!

What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?

Fine Mesh Strainer: it creates a silky texture in soups and sauces, as well as great for sifting flours and dry ingredients while baking.

What is the most important part of your day? Why?

Early morning while having coffee, reading new posts, and list making. I feel inspired, creative, and ready to tackle the day!

What is your favorite part of your day? Why?

After dinner when I spend time with husband cooking and eating, and then relaxing while eating something sweet.

What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?

Doing dishes, so I try to make sure to cook dinner, and then push the dishes on to Murray!

What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

Mondays: new posts are up, news is always interesting, and new job postings are up as well! I love Mondays for their freshness and opportunistic sparkle!

If you had to choose one place to travel to every year over and over, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?

Italy, because of the many different food inspired regions! I have not been be hopefully someday soon!

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?

Australia, and would stay for a month. The culinary scene in Australia is developing in an outstanding pace and the food coming out of restaurants has been reviewed with glowing stars!

What is your favorite quote or verse?

“La peor diligencia es la que no se hace” –Spanish quote that means “the worse kind of errand is the one that you never make”, which is loosely translated to just do it, no matter what.

What is your favorite cookbook?

Current Favorite: Domenica Marchetti’s Rustic Italian. Fantastic recipes that make simple ingredients shine!

What recipe on your blog are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all my recipes, but one of my favorites are the Cranberry Cardamom Muffins. It’s amazing how just one spice, Cardamom, makes a regular muffin fantastic!

What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?

Summer Cucumbers and Hibiscus, I think we all miss summer!

What have you learned since you began blogging?

Engage your readers. Tweet and share things you love, just because you love them and not because you feel you “need” to. Stay true to yourself: if you love bacon, say it. If your favorite grilled cheese is with Kraft Singles, make it. People will love you and people will hate you, no matter what. So just be happy with yourself, your food, and your life and it will somehow all work out.

What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?

Getting through writer’s block and I’ve kind of solved this by writing as much as I can when I am inspired. Always have some posts in drafts, ready to go. Because honestly, sometimes you just don’t feel like writing. These drafts written in your best moment of creativity will be life savers.

Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?

This will go against the above answer, but it’s the best way to start writing: write every day. Make it a goal to write 500, 1000, 3000 words a day. Whatever works for you, even if it’s 1 paragraph a day. Get into the habit of writing and it will come naturally.

Read! Read everything you can get your hands on: books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, comics. You’ll be amazed at what eventually inspired you.



Find more of Marnely on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: Cookbook link is an affiliate link.

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!


  1. Of course you know that I love Nelly, she’s so fun and she’s always making me hungry!

  2. oh how nice to feature Marnely! She’s a doll. I had no idea she drank so much coffee! Ha. Just like me. No wonder we always kick it off so well.

  3. Wonderful interview and very inspiring! Those Cranberry Cardamom Muffins look amazing! I would love to travel to Australia too! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Love this inside look at Nelly’s day in the life. I must confess I am totes jealous of her all day writing regimen. That and snoozing til 8! But great advice to keep writing every day. Thanks Rachel!

  5. It’s always so fun to learn about our food blogging friends! Great interview and feature, Rachel and Marnely!

  6. Great interview with a fabulous blogger. Her muffins are making me want to run in the kitchen and whip some asap.

  7. I want to join you on MV. So peaceful!

  8. Another great interview Rachel!

  9. Great interview! I don’t think I have visited her site before, thanks for the introduction. I can’t wait to go snoop around. And her favorite quote is hitting home right now :) I should be going to get my oil changed, but instead I am on the computer!

  10. Australia is at the top of my list, too. Those cranberry muffins look great!

  11. Martha’s Vineyard, food, boat shoes and coffee. The. Life!! I heart me some Nelly!!

  12. I am so glad that I have read this post, you are such an interesting person and you have some great advice!

  13. Lovely interview. :) I’ve gotta give you credit, Marnely–it takes a special person to say her favorite day is Monday!!

  14. Love it! So Jealous of her Vineyard life! We only have visited there a couple times for family vacations. I think we will have to make the trip this summer!

  15. Another great post, I’m so enjoying finding out more about some of my favourite bloggers! And a great tip about the fine mesh strainer!

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