For alumna, it’s peanut butter blogging time

By Stephanie Reyes

Contributing Writer

Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

peanut butter blog

Courtesy Julie Fagan

UCF alumna Julie Fagan’s blog Peanut Butter Fingers, was a fall 2011 SHAPE magazine best blogger award nominee.

UCF graduate Julie Fagan was caught too many times with her hand in the peanut butter jar.

Fagan, 26, graduated from UCF with a degree in advertising and public relations and has gone on to achieve remarkable things. In 2009, she worked full time as a writer for an internet marketing company. Bored with her day job, she began blogging about topics she found more interesting, like food and fitness, and she shared workout and recipe ideas.

"It quickly evolved into being more or less a journal of my life, with a focus on a lighthearted approach to healthy living," Fagan said.

Her now-published and well-known blog, Peanut Butter Fingers, was a fall 2011 SHAPE magazine best blogger award nominee.

"My blog name was actually created by my husband, Ryan. He was always catching me in the kitchen with my finger in the peanut butter jar and said I was the queen of peanut butter fingers," Fagan said. "When he suggested Peanut Butter Fingers as the name of my blog, I thought it was catchy and fun."

The name stuck, and the blog has become extremely successful.

Fagan said that her husband also shares a love for fitness and works out as often as she does.

"He's also my taste-tester and is very good at trying all my healthy concoctions, usually with a big smile on his face," she said.

"I think Julie's blog is a wonderful thing, and more than anything, I'm impressed by her abilities daily," Fagan's husband and UCF alumnus Ryan Fagan said. "Being around Julie, I've learned that blogging is not something that's easy to do. She's challenged to create multiple topics daily that people can relate to and care about."

In Fagan's blog, individuals can follow her life, family, healthy recipes for the various meals of the day as well as snacks and desserts, daily workouts, places she has traveled to, and fashion tips with a small budget.

Throughout the years the blog has received coverage in some major magazines including Women's Health, SHAPE, Oxygen, Fitness and Glamour.

Peanut Butter Fingers has allowed Fagan to connect with numerous magazines and websites, which developed into relationships that allowed her to pitch story ideas to individuals and secure freelance opportunities.

"My most ongoing freelance writing jobs come from SHAPE magazine, and I regularly do recipe development and write content for their website," she said.

Fagan has found that the public relations side of her degree has helped her know how to properly respond to emails from blog readers and inquiries from companies.

"I am basically my own PR manager and understand that whatever I put up on my blog is there for people to scrutinize, and it makes me a more cognizant blogger," Fagan said.

She said an education at UCF prepared her to also know that things don't just fall in your lap. When she began to see potential in her blog's ability to support her financially, she began brainstorming ways to put it out there.

After working full time as a content team manager for the first 18 months of blogging, Fagan eventually was able to leave her job to focus solely on blogging and freelance writing.

Fagan said her advice for undergrads would be to not freak out if you don't know exactly what you want to do when you graduate.

"I thought I would work in the public relations field and found myself enjoying the writing aspect of the jobs I held right out of college, so my career went in that direction," Fagan said.

Fagan mentioned she would have never predicted she would be a blogger and a freelance writer for a living, but shared that she absolutely loves what she does.

"I found my way into this situation by recognizing what I liked and didn't like in different jobs out of college," Fagan said.

Ryan Fagan said his wife's success is based off of pursuing a passion and her dedication is an inspiration.

"Julie started a blog as a hobby she loves, and through her dedication and creativity her blog has blossomed into a potential career in the field of her dreams," Ryan Fagan said. "She motivates me to take on challenges and try new things I would not attempt without her in my life."

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