Blue Apron Comes to Tobey Road

1.16.2017

Yesterday our first Blue Apron box was delivered and I am anxiously waiting going home so that I can prepare our first dinner! 

Tonight’s menu is Crispy Salmon with Roasted Broccoli & Meyer Lemon Aioli.  I am somewhat shocked that I am excited to make this meal, because its nothing new.  I have cooked salmon on the stove top dozens of times, roasted broccoli is a family favorite and Lemon Aioli… come on!  Thats my ultimate “go-to”.  So if this has all been done before, why am I excited?! 

Ingredient quality is never easier to evaluate than when you know what to expect.  All meals are only as good as the ingredients that you put into them – and I already know what this one should taste like when using high quality salmon, fresh broccoli, and organic butter, etc.  So I am excited to see how the Blue Apron products stack up to my expectations.  While I am very excited to try a new meal delivery company – I am only going to stick to it if the food is delicious!  

Plus, I just took some time to watch a few videos on technique for chopping garlic and zesting lemons: cant wait to give some new techniques a try!


Do-Over

1.17/2017

Ahhh, the “do-over”.  Is there anything better than getting a second chance to do something right?!

Here is a recap of last nights dinner:  

  • Aioli – Delicious
  • Rice – Perfect (must add salt when serving)
  • Broccoli – oh sooooo good  
  • Salmon – Overcooked, much resembling cat food

UGH!  I hate overcooked protein…. and the thing is, I DO IT ALL THE TIME.  Mastering a well cooked cut of meat is my Achilles heal (kitchen version only).  The thing is, I worry so much about it being undercooked and poising someone, that I always let it go too long.  Or I freak about it being overcooked and it comes off raw.  We call this overcorrection – and I am a black belt in the arts of overcorrection! 

So here I go again (on my own… don’t tell me you didn’t start singing it too).  Round two of Crispy Salmon with Roasted Broccoli & Meyer Lemon Aioli.  The thing about blue apron’s plans is none of them really worked perfectly.  So I chose to have 2 meals for a family of 4 delivered.  Thats 8 dinners.  But I really don’t like serving left overs (particularly not fish – gag) so I cooked 2 of the salmon filets last night and am cooking the other two this evening.  Hence the do over.  Also cooking the broccoli fresh tonight, but have very little concerns that they will not come out delicious!

So here is the game plan for the little salmon filets… and when I say little, I mean it.  They are barely a half an inch thick.  No wonder they were overcooked.  Everything I could find online told me to get 1 inch filets.  This goes down as a strike against the folks over at Blue Apron.  I am sure these little 1/3 inch cuts were easy to come by, but not anyones “dream selection”.  Puling out the “big guns”  AKA the thermapin.  My research has led me to believe that if I pull the salmon off at 120 degrees and let it slack for 5 min – we should end up with some tasty salmon… we will see how it goes.


It didn’t work

1.18.2017

Failures teach perseverance, right?  Slightly less overcooked, but still overdone.  Broccoli was delish as expected.  At this point, I am questioning my ability to cook salmon.  Charles and I decided that we would try again on Friday with some good salmon from Publix.  Basically – I don’t believe the size of these little fishes are helping me out, so if I am going to master it, I need to start with a better cut of meat.


Hello Perfection

1.20.2017

FINALLY!!! Victory lap around the kitchen island!!!  We went to Publix after work tonight and picked up some delicious 1inch cuts of salmon.  I followed the same recipe and NAILED it!!!  This was the best salmon I have EVER made.  Crispy tasty outer layer with a medium center – just the way we order it form our favorite restaurants.  Now that I know that I am not crazy – and that I can actually cook, I just need to learn to deal with some different portion sizes.  

Given the results above, I am not 100% sold on Blue Apron.  But I am excited for next weeks menu and hopefully I wont run into similar challenges with the pork or chicken!  

Next weeks Box:

  • Pork Chops & Garlic Picada with Brown Rice & Spinach
  • Honey-Mustard Chicken with Roasted Winter Vegetables

Welcome Home Walter Mason

The biggest news of the week has to be the newest addition to the Henry clan – Walter Mason Henry was born on January 10th at Northside Hospital at 5:56am and weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 6 oz. Little Mason has proven to be an easy baby is his short life so far, hopefully that trend will continue once they get home today. And perhaps a more interesting question is going to be how Oliver, who has been a champion so far, will react once Mason is actually in Oliver’s space. Kate and Mason get discharged today, so we’ll get to find out pretty quick, but I think how Oliver adjusts will be the single biggest factor in how insane their life is about to become.

Other than new arrivals, one update from last week is that we read the date wrong on our first Blue Apron box. It gets delivered tomorrow, so we won’t get to judge the quality of that service until this coming week. And it’s somewhat a good thing to, our personal trainer wants us to do 48 hours of fish on Monday and Tuesday to “reset our body fat”. Personally I’m somewhat skeptical of the idea, but I’d rather go through with it and have little to no impact than not do it and miss out on results. One of the first meals of Blue Apron is a crispy salmon recipe, so we are already off to a good start (or will be once we get the box delivered). 

The other update is that I completed the first Reddit Photo Class assignment last weekend after writing the post. The general idea was to make 10 images within 10 feet of one spot, and to critique and improve each one until you couldn’t think of anything that would make it better. I used the opportunity to check out the train tracks that are between our neighborhood and the new Whole Foods that will open in an month or two because I wanted to know if there was a way to get across them. The good news is that there is a way, which means we can walk/ride a bike up there entirely through the neighborhood and it’s only a mile. The other option is to take the main road, which is far less peaceful and about twice as long, so I’m excited about that. As for the images, I am proud of some of them, and think others are just meh, but it was a neat challenge that I will probably do on my own again.

 

This weekends assignment is to do something with mirrors, and I also told Ron and Kate that we would do newborn photos once they are back and settled. I’m going to try and combine the two, but the photos of Mason are more important, so if I have to I will just do my own assignment. 

As far as work goes for the two of us, we are both super busy with our respective projects. Unfortunately there is nothing to report publicly though, so we’ll just have to leave you on the edge of your seat until further notice.

Winter Wonderland – 2017 Edition

Winter came early in the Atlanta (and much of the Southeastern US) in 2017 and so we are enjoying a nice shut-in weekend. To be honest, we probably would have done the same thing even if it wasn’t 15 degrees outside, but this way we don’t have to feel guilty about it. Forecasts leading up to the weekend varied wildly from 3-4 inches of overnight snow on Friday, to thick sheets of ice, to nothing but cold, and we ended up with just a little bit of sleet that froze overnight. Saturday morning we woke up to what most experts would call a “dusting” that probably won’t thaw until sometime on Monday. 

So what do we do on weekends when we are deliberately taking it easy? As it turns out, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. We made sure to be well stocked with firewood, so we’ve had a fire going fairly constantly. We watched a couple of movies on Saturday that we almost certainly wouldn’t have watched under normal circumstances. I’ve had some desires to play some board games as a more consistent activity, and the first one got delivered on Friday (perfect timing), so we played that a good deal yesterday. 

Today looks like more of the same, with a bit more structure thrown in. At some point today we will have to brave the elements and go for a 9-mile run to extend the training program for the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge, and I am participating in the 2017 Reddit Photoclass and have a weekend assignment to complete. Other than that, the big news of the day will hopefully be the delivery on our Blue Apron box. We’ve tried multiple “meal prep” delivery services before with mixed results. Hello Fresh was a good price point, but all the meals were very bland. Garnish & Gather had much better food, but it was very expensive and we had to go pick it up. Blue Apron is supposed to be the best option out there, and it fits into our existing grocery budget, so we have high hopes that it will simplify and diversify meal planning every week. 

Tomorrow we get back to work obviously and there is a ton of stuff going on at Wandering WiFi that is keeping us both very busy. None of it is ready for public consumption though, so hopefully by the end of the week we will have some exciting news to report on that front.

Goodbye 2016 – Hello 2017

miamisunset

As I sit on the couch in our Miami home away from home, with the balcony door open and the breeze coming in, looking back on 2016, I can’t help but wonder where the year went. In some ways it was the best year of my life, but it in others I couldn’t even tell you what happened. That’s not to say that anything went wrong, but man was it a whirlwind of activity. I looked back on last year’s post about what we wanted to accomplish in 2016 and we did pretty well on most things. We are in better shape now than we ever have been, albeit it’s not because of boot camp but because we f a personal trainer. We eat better than we ever have, not because we have expanded our cooking skills, but because we have simplified them. We are better photographers, not because of any dedicated learning but because it was something I was constantly playing with. We got all the big house projects done, including the master closet two days before Christmas. The one thing that we didn’t do was slow down. At all. Maybe 2017 will be that year, or maybe it will be the year we finally realize that we don’t actually want to slow down.

Maybe that’s the reason every year seems to get busier than the last? Maybe 2017 will be the year we actually pick up the blog again, instead of just saying we will. Or maybe it won’t. The one thing I do know is that I love being able to look back at the previous year’s goals, so I wanted to put my thoughts for next year down. We seem to do a good job of accomplishing goals, just not in the way we thought we would.

So what does 2017 look like? Well for starters, we always want to be more physically fit at the end of the year than the beginning. The current plan is to stop using the personal trainer in May or June, so our biggest challenge will be motivating ourselves to work out on our own. Frankly, that has always been our biggest challenge, so if we falter early we will just pick back up with the personal trainer, but the goal is to be able to do it on our own.

On a similar train of thought, we have both settled into a diet that is sustainable and healthy. The biggest tenant of that diet is to hit your macros, which means that ratio of carbs, protein, and fat that you intake. Hitting the right ratios allows your body to do everything it needs to do, and keeps you from feeling hungry throughout the day, which helps in staying on diet. We’ve been doing this fairly successfully for 4 or 5 months at this point, but we’d like to get even better at it. Even nights that involve a drink or two need to be accounted for within the macro plan, and if we can hit our macros everyday, along with the workouts, there is no doubt that we will look better than we ever have by the end of 2017.

We want to start teaching Phoenix a vocabulary of toys. Yet another thing we have traditionally not kept up with well, Phoenix has gotten to a point where mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. Without the mental stimulation, even with a walk and a run, she is waking up in the middle of the night. An easy way to keep her mind sharp is to have her go find things by name. Currently we are working on her favorite toy, her raccoon, but we hope to be able to teach her one word per month so by the end of the year she will know 12 toys.

After roughly 18 months of living in the house, we should finally be at a point where there are no more big “projects” to be done. That means that we should finally be able to stay within our budget, which is something that we have gotten away from since the new house became a thing. There will always be unexpected surprises along the way, but we are going to do everything we can to fit those into the budget as well. Looking back on 2017, I would love to hit all of our savings goals, not because we lucked into unexpected income but because we stuck to the plan.

One thing we’ve said before, and I’m not putting a measurable goal on this for a reason, but we want to pick back up with the website. In the last year, we’ve posted 3 times (not including this one), which is a pretty poor cadence. It is always nice to be able to look back on the blog posts when a question comes up about we did, when we did it, etc. Think about all we did in 2016, and we have no blog posts to show for it. 17 days in Europe, a spontaneous trip to Napa, Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, the 1st Annual Kentucky Derby Party, and more, all of the in the moment thoughts and emotions of those things are lost, and I don’t want that to happen again.

Finally, as always, I want to improve my photography skills. The amount of improvement that I can see from the beginning of 2016 to the end of it is amazing. But I didn’t do it with any sort of goal or path in mind. Some of it was self-taught on the internet just because, some of it was because I didn’t know how to do a very specific thing that I sought out to do, but none of the improvement came from any sort of structure. They say perfect practice makes perfect, and if you don’t have a real goal in mind, it’s hard to work towards it. With that in mind, I am going to be challenging myself in a couple of different ways. The biggest way is to not shy away from using my iPhone anymore. I have a camera in my pocket at all times, and while I might not be able to fully control it like I can with my D750, my biggest hurdle right now is vision and not technical skill. Beyond that, I have a few books and classes that I want to go through, with purpose, and I will most likely be putting those endeavors up on my photography website – charlesfolsom.com – so if you are curious to check on my progress, go there periodically.

That’s enough to focus on throughout the year, and I didn’t even bring up Wandering WiFi, which will be a major focus for both of us. If we can look back on 2017 at the same time next year and accomplish everything listed above, while moving Wandering WiFi forward, it will be a great year.

 

 

 

 

 

Arden Gardens – Love your Liver Cleanse

Back when I did my first cleanse, I remember looking for reviews online and not finding a whole lot of information on the “Love your Liver” cleanse by Arden Gardens.  So I thought I would pay it forward for all of the people that did provide me the information I needed to get started 🙂

I am so excited to be doing the Arden Gardens 3 Day “Love your Liver” cleanse!  Not only for the renewed energy a cleanse provides, or the great waistline benefits, but because I finally got Charles to join me 🙂 We stopped by our local Arden Grdens to pick up everything needed for the next three days and chatted up the sales girl about how this was Charles’ first ever cleans.  She promptly wished him luck!  

Now the benefits are the exciting part – the process is a little less exciting: 3 days, no food, juice and distilled water only.  But these are not just ANY juices.  These are some of the best darned fresh, cold pressed juices you have ever come across.  For example, the one I am snacking on right now is called “Green Energy Machine” and it is made up of cucumbers, celery, apples, spinach, kale, and ginger.  This is by far my favorite Arden Gardens juice and I LOVE that it is included in this cleanse.  The energy it provides makes coffee look like a wimpy little punk in comparison.  Anyway – I digress from my explanation of the cleanse. Perhaps I should just break it down for you:

  • Upon Rising: 2tbsp Pure Lemon in 16 oz of water (exactly what it sounds like)
  • Breakfast: Paradise (carrots, apple, beets, cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, ginger, and lemons)
  • Mid Morning: Green Energy Machine (cucumbers, celery, apples, spinach, kale, and ginger)
  • Lunch: Red Apple (apple)
  • Mid-Afternoon: Multi-Max (Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Celery) + 2tbsp Pure Lemon in 16 oz of water
  • Dinner: Beet it Better (Beets, Apple, Ginger)
  • Aperitif: pH solution (cucumbers, celery, distilled water, kale, lemons)
  • Before Bed: 2tbsp Pure Lemon in 16 oz of water

Simple as that!  However, after 3 days of cleansing rather than chewing, reentry to foods is very important!  The first time I did a cleanse, I thought I could just go back to normal foods and had a big breakfast of coffee with cream, eggs and hash.  MISTAKE!  30 min later I was laying on the floor crying and praying for help.

That day I learned that you should always spend a few days “flirting” with foods before you all them all back in.  Stick to fresh fruits and veggies initially.  Then you can work your way up to nuts and dehydrated/processed fruits and veggies.  Remember that you can toss some of your favorite Arden Gardens juice in there.  You will be so in love with the “high” feeling that you will want to keep it going as long as you can!  Finally – add meats, dairy, and grains (if you eat them) back to your routine.  I typically do this on day 3.  

Day ONE Diary

9:30 – Day one is always the worst. And I got started late.  The number one piece of advice I can give for day one is get started on time, and have a plan for when you will drink each meal.  This Pure Lemon in water is not tasty to me – but I never like lemon in my water.  If you are the kind of person that does, then you should be okay with it.  Nothing fancy – tastes like lemonade with out sugar. 

12:40 – Have finished paradise and green energy machine.  I drink both of these when I am not doing a cleanse, but just need a snack or a pick me up.  They are both very delicious. 

I think one of the ways this cleanse differs so much from the “2-Day Detox” is that you actually LIKE the taste of the juice and are looking forward to your next serving.  Where with the “2-Day Detox” most people I know are struggling to choke down the gallon of juice by the end of the day.  While I am a big fan of the tasty flavors in “Love your Liver” – I think its more mentally challenging to be anticipating your next meal.  With the “2-Day /Detox” you get a steady stream of calories every hour, sure you are not excited about them, but in some ways I feel like thats helpful?  

1:33 – Just started Red Apple, and I am loving it.  I was also counting down the min until I could crack this one open.  Getting Pretty Hungry!

7:30 – Already ready for bed.  I don’t know if these things ever get easy – but for me they have not started to yet.  Things really started to fall down hill after lunch.  I got really tired, took a nap, but never really rebounded with energy.  Going to try and make it up until 9.  Will provide more detail on afternoon juices tomorrow.  

If you are looking for results in a purely numerical fashion – I weighed 106.8 before starting “Love your Liver” 

Day TWO Diary

7:00AM – woke up feeling great – lots of energy, no headache.  Day two has always been better for me, so I am hoping that is the case this time!  I just choked down my morning lemon water…. I still don’t like that.  

Numerical Results: I got on the scale this morning, and have lost 1.2 lbs.  Is it what people refer to water weight – yes I am sure some of it is.  But who wants to be carrying around 1.2 lbs of extra bloating anyway?  In most cases, 80% of weight I lose after a cleanse stays off for about 4-6 weeks.  

5:17 – Sorry for the lack of updates – but it has been a really busy day!  I have been moving around, running errands, and having fun all afternoon.  No headaches, lethargy, or hunger pains to report – Gatta LOVE day 2!

8:15 – Just finished my Beet it Better juice.  This one is really tasty, but I would rank it below Paradise, Green Energy Machine, and Red Apple.  If you don’t like the taste of ginger you will hate this juice – and pretty much the entire Love your Liver Cleanse!  

My LEAST favorite juices are the Multi Max and the pH solution.  There is nothing wrong with them – they don’t taste bad.  But they are nothing to look forward to either.  Must stop typing and start drinking – I still have to drink my pH solution and another Pure Lemon before bed!

OH and in case you were wondering:  I am not hungry, I don’t have a headache, and I have plenty of energy and focus!  Still feeling Great on Day 2…. wonder what Day 3 will bring?

Day THREE Diary

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

I am always amazed with how the busier a person is, the more productive you become.  It’s some sort of paradox that the more you have to do the more you are able to take on and accomplish in a day, a week, a month, a year.  Almost as if productivity feeds on its self and rather than the expected exhaustion, it produces more and more energy.  

I worked at AirWatch for 8 years and 9 months to the day.  I saw it grow from an 8 person company (Wandering WiFi), to a 2000 employee market leader (AirWatch), and finally transition to a piece of one of the largest technology companies in the world (Dell).  To think back on the magnitude of the changes our little company made over time, and my role in it and it is very bittersweet.  I was too young to understand the opportunities in front of me, too young to realize what we were doing and my role in it.  

I started a new job this week – and let me just say that I have never been a busier, more motivated, or more excited version of my professional self.  This time around my eyes are wide open to the possibilities, risks, and opportunities.  And they are endless, and that is the the truly wonderful part about this new job of mine.  I am working for some of the most inspiring people I met during my time at AirWatch.  The type of people who have more drive, innovation, and most of all, integrity in their little finger than most others you meet in their position.  I feel so honored to be involved in this new venture, and can not wait to see where we are in 8 years and 9 months.  Something tells me  – that there is no predicting where we will go from here….

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Live From New York – It’s Saturday Morning!

Billy Joel at MSG

We woke up this morning in our amazing little Upper West Side apartment to the faint sounds of the city waking up below us. I don’t think we could have asked for a better location to spend the weekend either – it’s on the 9th floor so it is high enough up to be mostly above the street noise, and it is perfectly centrally located in the Upper West Side. A subway stop is half a block away, Central Park is just past the subway, and we haven’t touched 10% of the eateries within a 4 block radius, but all of them so far have been great. We had always said that if we were to move up to NYC for any reason, we’d want to be on the Upper West Side, but never had a chance to stay here. Well this weekend has confirmed that suspicion in spades.

But enough about where we are, what about what we have been up to? Well as most of you know, the driver for the trip was to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, and he did not disappoint. We saw him in February of 2015 when he was in Atlanta, but there is something about seeing him in New York that just made it that much more special. He’s such a special entertainer, and our seats were fantastic. Not only that, but Jimmy Fallon came out and sang a number of songs with Billy, and I’ve never given Jimmy Fallon enough credit for how much talent he has as a singer. We left the performance incredibly happy and even floating the idea of trying to catch one of the remaining three (as of right now) shows he has left. So if you want to go and want some company…. you might have a couple willing travel buddies.

Other than Billy – the other main attraction of the weekend was seeing the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, staring Wayne Brady, on Friday night. Neither of us had any clue was to expect, we didn’t know the story or the music at all, but thought that if Wayne Brady wants to do it, it had to be worthwhile, and it certainly was. The show is about a struggling men’s shoe manufacturer that in an attempt to save the factory starts making boots for men dressed in drag. The subject matter is definitely a little out there for the more conservative people in the world, but it was so amazingly well done. We both couldn’t stop laughing through the first act, and as the second act got a little more serious, it definitely knew how to pull on the heart strings. We can definitely see why it won 6 Tony’s, including Best Musical, and was our favorite Broadway show to date. 

As for the rest of the weekend, today we are going to try and play around with the cameras some, but it’s a pretty dreary day (cold and cloudy) so I’m not expecting too much from that. I’m much more excited about the fact that we’ve decided to go to the American Museum of Natural History. The previous times we’ve been here I’ve never been too interested in going to a museum, but given the weather, and the subject matter, I am very excited to see what’s in store. I’m especially interested in the Hayden Planetarium, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space in general. What can I say, I’m still a giant nerd at heart. We fly home Sunday and finally get a chance to be home again for a while, but this trip has already been well worth one last weekend of travel.

NYE 2015 Photos – Miami Beach

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The return to normalcy

 

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Throughout the course of 2015, the only thing that we could always count on was that we had no idea what to expect next. Some of that was certainly to be expected after moving into the new house, but it seemed like every time the light at the end of the tunnel started getting close, somebody just made the tunnel longer. If you were to sum up 2015 in one sentence, it would be:

The Only Constant in Life Is Change

It seemed that every month we were having a talk about how “nice it will be for things to finally slow down” that just never materialized. So as 2016 dawns, we are determined to make things actually slow down. When the sun sets on 2017, we can look back on this post and see how successful we actually were with slowing things down.

So what does that mean for 2016?

For starters, we are going to get back into shape. Starting with the training for the 2014 Thanksgiving Half Marathon, our level of physical fitness has slowly been deteriorating. That might seem counterintuitive at first, how can extensive training for longer runs cause you to get less physically fit? Well I think we are living proof that the body needs the muscles to be challenged more than the cardiovascular system. The best shape we’ve ever been in was when we were doing bootcamp every morning, so we will be going back to bootcamp starting on January 11th. We will be going to the Ashford Park version this time in an effort that will hopefully lead to meeting more of our like minded neighbors.

Very closely related to getting back into shape is to eat better. But the goal isn’t just to eat better, it’s to cook with more variety and an eye towards learning more about cooking. In the past we’ve always tried to find new recipes online, which has presented us with a literally limitless supply of recipes. But with a limitless supply also comes the inherit problems with too many choices. In order to help alleviate those issues, will be taking a more Julia and Julia kind of approach and work our way through individual cookbooks. The goal is to take the element of choice out of the equation, within reason to maintain a healthy diet, which will help streamline meal plans while also expand our culinary tastes and talents. And who knows – maybe we will even add some recipes that we will like to the recipes tab at the top.

The list of house projects certainly hasn’t gotten any smaller recently, but hopefully by the end of 2016 we can have the list whittled down to just maintenance projects. The current list of “must do” items includes the backyard, the laundry room, the master closet, and the office upstairs. We won’t be doing all the work for these projects, most notably the backyard, but we do want to have all of these items completed this year. Once we get those items completed, we should have the house in a state that we are very happy with. Of course there are other items on the wish list, but getting those items checked off would truly put us in a position of working on all of the “nice to haves”.

And finally, as always, we want to continue improving our photography. To me, photography is a lot like golf. What I mean by that is photography a hobby that you always feel like you still have room for improvement, no matter how far you have so far. move the goal posts on yourself. I imagine even professional photographers still feel that way. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of what the plan is, there is a list of things that we want to learn and that we are excited to start applying. Even despite the classes we have taken so far, I feel like our journey has mostly been about trial and error. I want 2016 to be a much more deliberate exercise in improvement.

But I think the most important goal of 2016 is to feel like things have returned to normal. Ignoring the somewhat extensive travel plans we’ve already put together, we are most looking forward to enjoying what we have in our day to day lives. Hopefully when we look back at 2016 and ahead to 2017 we can relish in the fact that our lives slowed down enough to really enjoy the day to day, instead of feeling like the entire year flew by in a blur of excitement.

 

 

One More Website Iteration

For those of you that have been following the progression of our website through the years, the one thing you’ve probably noticed is that I get “unhappy” with it roughly every 6 months. Most of the time that stems from the fact that I was never truly happy with the design at the time I created it, but it was “good enough” to stop working on it for a while. What that means is that the site has gone through many different revisions and styles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 8.37.16 AMThe entire time I have had an idea in my head of what the “perfect” website would be. The most important aspect was obviously the aesthetic aspect of the site. I wanted it to be “clean” without succumbing to the trendy “minimalist bootstrap” sites that seem to be all the rage today. I also didn’t want it to feel like a news site, even though that’s mostly what it is used for. The first one I has happy enough with was just a blog role.  Once we got into photography though, it didn’t really give me a good interface to put any of our photographic exploits on the site. The other thing I was struggling with was that we were also still actively working on Mint for Two – but I was toying around with the idea of combing that site with the personal one and just having the one site. The blog role didn’t really let me do that though because it didn’t have a good way to delineate between blog posts and recipe posts.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 8.37.47 AMSo the next iteration had a static format for the homepage that automatically pulled in the latest posts from the blog. This was a step in the right direction, but I’m not afraid to say that it looked somewhat like a 7th grader made it in 1999. The ugly “wooden” background also grated me the wrong way, and it just wasn’t as clean as I wanted it to be. Having said that – our life also got super busy with the house, so we weren’t really adding to the blog that much, so I mostly didn’t have to look at it. When I finally did, I instantly knew that it needed to be changed again, and I actually tried to go for that minimalist idea and it was so bad that I just left the site unfinished for a month or two. I knew that it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I had no idea how to fix it. And that brings us to today.

As you can see – the site has changed one more (and hopefully last) time. The site finally has the “clean” look that I’ve been longing for, but it also has all of the pieces to let us put everything we want on the site. I still need to finish putting all of our pictures on the family galleries page, and we obviously haven’t put any effort into the recipes section yet, but the structure is there for us to add everything we want. Hopefully life has slowed down enough at this point to allow us to add content to the blog on a regular basis, and that will definitely be a goal of 2016. For now though – I hope everyone likes the new design as much as I do.