FAQ Post #1: Who ARE the (never home)makers?

>> Monday, January 25, 2010

What are you day jobs? And how do you find time to exercise, bake, cook, decorate, and blog?

This one’s a two-parter. First: Stephen is a high school English teacher – focused primarily on 11th and 12th grades and SAT prep. I’m the admin assistant to the director of libraries at our local university – focused primarily on assisting the director with various tasks, as well as public relations and facilities projects. I also worked for several years in marketing/communications.

How we find time to do everything we do. Well, that’s difficult. We’re not perfect at it. And from reading this blog, it may seem that we’re scheduling geniuses. We’re not. Blogs can make lives seem oh-so wonderful.
  • With exercising – I’ll have to say we find time for that because when we don’t run, we go crazy. Stephen more than me on this one, but if I need to, I get up at 5AM to squeeze in a run. When we were training for the marathon, we each followed a specific plan . . . and when I missed a workout, I’d get scared I wasn’t going to be on target to finish the event. So I’d run my scheduled workout whenever I found time. For those long runs, we pretty much modified our lives for a few months. Every Saturday night, we’d be in bed by 9:30PM. Every Sunday we’d rise early to beat the summer heat . . . and then spend between 2 and 3 hours running, eat for an hour, and then spend most of the rest of the day on the couch. Needless to say, we didn’t have a huge social life. But it worked. Now that we’re training for a half, we feel like we have all the time in the world.
  • With baking and cooking – we have to eat, so, we have fun with it. My weekends are the time I do most of my “showcase” cooking and baking for the blog. I can squeeze in something delicious on Friday night (a new dinner, perhaps – like our favorite pizza), then rise Saturday morning and make some type of dessert (like this week’s coconut-purple sticky rice tart). We do go out during the day . . . but when we get home later in the afternoon – again – we have to eat. I mostly find time for all the culinary stuff because for me it’s super fun. I’m always craving something. And I don’t mind being in the kitchen for a few hours. During the week is a different story. We tend to eat simple meals . . . and I’ll get crazy urges to bake usually on Wednesday or Thursday nights (like last week’s bagel recipe). But – most of what you see on this blog happens on the weekends. AND I’m fortunate to be have a rather large library of recipes from my old blog – I’ve been sprinkling those in every now and again.
  • Decorating is another activity mostly relegated to weekends. We don’t do it all the time. But we have a list of projects we’d like to complete (like our big entryway redo), and when the stars (and our bank account) align, we go all in and spend an entire day doing a huge project. Otherwise, I just love to shop, so I’m a frequent Home Goods customer. Little things here and there (like a new mirror, throw, or small decorative item) can make a huge impact on a room.
  • Ah, blogging. This is an activity I do when the sun isn’t up – either really early before or after work. I write most of my posts during these times and then publish on breaks or lunch during work. It’s exhausting at times – but I was a writing major in college, so I feel my capacity for writing TONS of stuff is somewhat higher than it might be for others. All those long research papers and essays. It’s like running a marathon, really. I’ve done all the training, so my endurance is higher.

I'm a sucker for a good "how we met" story, so I'd love to know how you two found each other!

(Above is one of the first photos we have together. Aww. How embarrassing!) Stephen and I met through my friend Rachael when I was a senior and he was a junior in college. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It was the summer before we entered that year. Anyway, Stephen was working as a barista at this café downtown, and I was just getting over this horrible breakup. When I met him (for seriously 10 minutes at most), I thought he was cute, but was so crazy-depressed from my previous relationship; I didn’t give it much thought. That, and he had a girlfriend, and I simply don’t go there.

Fast forward a semester – we’re in January now – and I was working at our college’s writing center. Stephen popped by one day to say hello. We hadn’t really seen each other since the summer, so I didn’t even remember his name. But there he was again. Still cute, and I was over my previous relationship at that point. We started hanging out in a group with, again, my friend Rachel. Went to a couple concerts. That turned into us hanging out solo a few times. But our first “date” was on February 11th 2005. It was supposedly a friend date – we hit up the Salvation Army, then planned to get dinner. But when we stopped by his café first and he got me a heart cookie – I knew what the deal was (as if the fact that our "date" was so closed to Valentine's Day wasn't enough to tip me off). We’re actually thinking about recreating our first date for Valentine’s day this year. We went to my favorite Thai restaurant for appetizers. Then out to our favorite Korean place for dinner. Dessert was the cookie (and sadly, that café is no longer open). And then we went back to my place to play scrabble and drink wine.

And that was that. People are surprised to find out that we got engaged THREE MONTHS after our first date. When I think about it, it blows my mind that we’re still together. But when something's right, it’s right. We did long distance for a year while Stephen finished up his degree and I moved home to get my first job. Then I moved back to Ithaca . . . and we got married in September 2007.

What is your typical day like?

  • 5AM to 5:30AM: Reluctantly greet the day.
  • 5:30AM: Write blog post, format, and publish – all while drinking a HUGE mug of herbal tea.
  • 6:30AM: Run (though sometimes I don’t quite get up at 5:30, so running is after work those days)
  • 7:50: Shower, eat breakfast (usually a powerhouse smoothie), and rush to work
  • 9AM to 5PM: Work. Post on breaks and during lunch.
  • 5:30PM: Run (as mentioned above, if I don’t get it together in the morning) or cook something/take a million photos/and watch Anthony Bourdain on Roku. OR on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we go to yoga until 6:30, get home by 7.
  • 7PM: Check blog stats. (And eat dinner/watch Bourdain if it’s a Tuesday/Thursday)
  • Read at some point (usually research recipes, etc.)
  • 10PM to 10:30PM: Go to BED.

Also what type of camera do you use for all your photos?

I shoot a Nikon D40. For a beginning photographer like me, this DSLR has been GREAT. Eventually, I’d like to get something fancier, but the D40 is affordable, so I don’t mind as much when it’s caked in brownie batter and other foods.

Are coworkers aware/supportive of (never home) maker adventures?

Yes, maybe of my coworkers (at least the ones I routinely talk with) are aware of the blog. (I post updates on our Facebook page regularly, so they can all be in the loop.) I think they’re pretty supportive. They like the recipes, think it’s interesting, and offer help when they can with technical stuff.

So that's our first round of FAQs. Thanks, everyone, for submitted questions to us. Stay tuned for cooking/baking-related answers (we got some great questions!) to come soon-ish. And if you have other stuff you want to know, fire away!

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