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36 Intriguing Delawareans • Antoinette Blake

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Blogging means several important things to Antoinette Blake, a Middletown resident who in 2013 was voted best upstate blogger by Delaware Today readers.

It started to “fill a void” following the death of her grandmother, Nina Midget, who raised her.

It became a lucrative second job, as a blogger and blogging teacher. And maybe a second career.

It fulfills her, and she wants the same for you. “It’s good for the mind and body and soul,” she says.

Blake, 56, was born in Cincinnati, grew up in a New York housing project and came to Delaware as a teen when her uncle asked his extended family to join him at Dover Air Force Base.

She earned a degree at Delaware State University and taught in elementary school for a year before getting a job at IBM. Her three-decade career there, as an employee and contractor, began as a secretary, moved to procurement and now is in real estate and facilities.

In her spare time, she loved scoring fashions while shopping at thrift stores with Midget. “But most of my family and friends didn’t care about my finds,” the thriftanista says, calling her husband Gregory and sons Tayair and Malik “a houseful of testosterone who couldn’t care less.”

After Midget died, she started to blog in 2012, first on Facebook, then dedivahdeals.com (“fashion and fun after fifty”) and now this year on delblogger.com. She’s produced more than 1,600 posts so far, plus podcasts.

Her most popular posts have been reviews, of Grub Burger Bar in Concord Mall, an HP notebook and the Mitsubishi Outlander. “The one that I love the most and repeat each year is in memory of my sister and grandmother. It’s a Mother’s Day post that makes me cry every time I read it.” Her mother died when she was 7; her sister was killed in a 1992 car accident. Some of that bittersweet advice: “Never forget where you came from. … Believe and achieve. … Don’t eat too much candy.”

Her blog led to an invitation to volunteer as a blogger for the Delaware Money School, which in turn led to becoming a volunteer teacher on social media there. This led this year to getting paid to teach blogging at Delaware Technical Community College.

It also has led her to earn income “testing a car or a can of Coke,” she says. “People tend to trust everyday people over companies” for product reviews. She’s also been paid to grade other social media work (remember that training as a teacher?), leading her to contemplate a post-IBM life, after Malik gets out of college in a year. “I’m an encore entrepreneur, ready to start my own business,” she says.

Blogging takes “a lot” of time, she acknowledges, because she always being creative and has the passion, persistence and patience.

She encourages others to blog and journal “to release stressors and connect with others.”

Noting that her husband Gregory has been treated for cancer, she says that “God didn’t put us on Earth to work hard and die.” Instead, it’s to “share and care.