Amy Storch and I had never met, but I knew all about her.
Her two tattoos, her miniature pinscher and Siamese cat, her obsession with Coach bags. I knew she edited a financial newsletter and lived with her husband in DC's Tenleytown. The sex of the baby she's expecting? I've seen the ultrasound pictures.
That's because I'm addicted to Amy's online diary, Amalah.com. Each day, more than 3,000 readers keep up with the 27-year-old mom-to-be.
Storch, who graduated from the University of Maryland, started blogging in 2003 as a way to stoke her creativity. "I didn't expect anyone to read it," she says. "I used to write for my own entertainment, but I'd fallen out of it. I put my name on it so ex-boyfriends could find me if they Googled me."
Fans come for her droll takes on the minutiae of life, like getting the Burger King jingle stuck in her head. Or scouting daycare centers: "According to the nice glossy brochure, this place had a fixation with trees, and all the heavy-handed metaphors that go along with that. Children: They need strong roots! Children: They grow strong and branch out! . . . The cover . . . featured a photo of a few adorable tykes holding watering cans and crouched around a small garden. Children: They make great migrant labor!"
She doesn't shy away from talking about her pregnancy, marriage (husband Jason has his own blog, DCFoodies.com, where he plays food critic), panic attacks, and cosmetics routine.
Since she announced her pregnancy--her son is due in late September--more of her readers have been pregnant women. At-home moms are another faction of her fan base.
"They're trying to stay in touch with friends and read and cram creativity into the baby's naptime," Storch says. "A blog is perfect for that."
Every Wednesday, readers write to Advice Smackdown, a column where she takes on questions like "Do you think a man can really, truly love a woman who can't become pregnant?" and "Do you know an antiperspirant that works?"
Literary agents approached her last year, and she began a novel about a girl who blogs about her life. Storch seems surprised by the attention.
"If I go a few days without updating," she says, "I'll get e-mails asking if everything's okay."