On Pursuing Passions

Do you ever think about what you really love to do? What you’re passionate about? I, myself, feel like I jump around a lot. I love designing rooms and watching that evolution take place. I love art–painting, looking at, being around and in an artistic environment. When I am deep into my fitness goals–there’s no where else I’d rather be than working out…clearly I am not “deep” into that just yet. Oy! But Chris, Chris has always remained constant–his passion lies with cooking and food. He loves to develop recipes and experiment with new ingredients and feed people. We have guests over for dinner multiple times a week because my man can’t stop cooking and he really does love making people feel welcome in our home. And he, of course, loves teaching others how to cook as well.

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Awhile ago, at his marketing day job, they were having a meeting about “unique abilities” vs. “excellent abilities.” Essentially, unique abilities are the things you’re really great at and you have a passion for them. Excellent abilities are things you’re really great at, and may even be known for, but they just don’t drive you the same way. At the end of the day, Chris came home and told me how much that opened his eyes. That although he is good at his job, and actually enjoys it most of the time, he isn’t passionate about it. He’s passionate about food, food writing, and teaching others how to cook and not just follow a recipe. I actually remember when he was just about to graduate from college, we were laying in bed and he was applying for every food writer/food editor job he could find. He ended up taking a marketing job for a software company and filed his dream away. I’ve always admired that about him. I know there is a lot of clout for people that “follow their dreams” but I respect Chris so much for always making sure we were taken care of financially, first. Maybe he isn’t currently in his dream job that he is so passionate about, but he is working and providing for us and we’re so grateful for the opportunities that have come our way as a result.

But, (but!!!) after years of pushing his passion aside, only teased by the occasional food post on this blog, Chris has been working on several ebooks! We’re shooting to have the first three out in June! Each will be 60-80 pages of in-depth technique, tools, and Chris’s own recipes all written in his fun-to-read, anyone-can-cook voice. I’m so excited for him and for all of you to have them. He has been working endlessly on writing these after work and late into the night for months.

The layouts are all done and designed and all that’s left is the photography, which we’ll be doing over the next few weeks. We wanted the books to be very heavy on visuals, and for the pictures to be as good as the content. That means my beginner skills wouldn’t cut it. We decided to fly my incredibly talented sister who works as a photographer and creative director in Monterrey, Mexico, up to do all the photography.

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You can check out some more of her work here! We’ll be shooting everything over a period of 2 and a half weeks and the styling props and servingware has been trickling in this week. Chris picked out every piece and has made his hands-on vision very clear. These are his babies and we can’t wait to share them all with you in just a couple months.

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Until then, Chris has promised to step up the food posts here, as well, and we’ll be giving some sneak peeks as the release date for these books gets closer.  You can check out all of his previous food posts here to, you know, whet your palate. What are you truly passionate about–are you pursuing it?

Laundry Room Progress: Paint and Cabinets!

So much has happened in the laundry room the last few weeks, I’m excited to give you an overdue update. Last time I shared the renovation progress with you on the blog (Sidenote: I have started sharing quick project updates on instagram when I don’t have too much time to blog–which has been frequently, lately. Do follow me there @chrislovesjulia!), we had just removed the walls to our former 4th bathroom and moved the washer hookups over here, vented the dryer out the roof and patched the floors.

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Since then, we have drywalled and patched everything (although the center ceiling line where the wall used to be still needs some work), added recessed lighting, painted the walls, trim and door, and installed 3 of 4 cabinets!

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Let’s break it down a little bit, starting with paint. Once we had the drywall up and the walls patched–which was a doozy!–I went to town picking a paint color. This room, along with the master bath and Greta’s bathroom, are the only rooms in the house without a giant window flooding the space with light–it doesn’t help that I took these photos at night–but I really wanted to choose a light color for that purpose. Initially, we thought to just paint the laundry room the same color as the adjoining great room–Ben Moore’s Hazy SkiesBut, a test spot proved it was much too dark. It’s the darkest green-y looking color in the photo below–not at all what it looks like in the great room–but, still a great lesson in showing that paint colors appear different in every space. It was clear Hazy Skies was not for the laundry room.

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I also tested out Clark+Kensington’s Richland  (the lighter green-y swatch) but I just felt meh about it. I started picturing the room as a whole and realized, there would be very little wall space showing. Plus, we have a stainless washer and dryer coming, beautiful wood countertops, a punchy rug in place–a warm white paint seemed like the way to go so some of the bigger elements could shine.  I actually chose the same white I color-matched to Ikea’s Bodbyn cabinets–Valspar’s Soft Wool in an eggshell finish for the walls and semi-gloss for the trim.

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While I painted the walls, Chris painted the yellowed door with our paint sprayer (our one true love!) leading to the garage Ben Moore’s Onyx in a satin finish–you may have caught that mesmerizing video on Instagram. What a difference that made! It looks like a brand new door and added a little drama to the room. I kind of think every room needs a little, or a lot, of black. We replaced the old doorknob with a simple black one to finish off the look.

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As for the cabinets, we are using Ikea’s new Sektion line and are so far, very impressed! We put the upper three cabinets together in 30 minutes–and hung them in another 20. We have one 15″ wide base cabinet to install once our washer and dryer get here.

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The only bummer is we misplaced (or didn’t receive??) a set of cabinet door hinges–gah!! So, use your imagination for a minute on the right side. ;)

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We opted for 40″ tall cabinets with 30″ cabinet doors so there’s an open shelf along the bottom for quick grab things like dog treats and dryer sheets. Once we add the crown molding and trim out the sides, it will be seamless to the walls and ceiling.

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There’s always someone who asks if we can really reach up there. Yes. ;)

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Since we are due to get the center lights for the ceiling today (!!), I’ll hold off chatting about the recessed lights until we have those installed–I’ll be back with that update later this week. Can you believe this same angle used to look like this?

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I might just end every laundry room update with that picture–it’s just the most exciting thing to see this vision come to fruition.

One!

Today, Faye is 1! A whole year with our sweet baby Faye and it flew by in an instant. We waited and tried for over three years to get her here and she has been worth it ten times over. She loves us all so freely and gently and so differently. Faye rarely makes a sound and usually walks around (yes! she’s walking!) with her lips smacked together. So, we were all very surprised when just a couple weeks ago, she said her very first word so clearly.

“Ba-by!” Oh Faye-Faye, I’m so happy you’re my baby and you came to our family. Faye is sweeter than you could possibly imagine. She is so sweet! Impossibly sweet! And tender. And kind. And bashful.

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At one, she likes to mimic blowing raspberries. And only wants to eat what we’re eating. She loves books, especially ones with flaps she can open. There are so many times, where I’ll find her in her room completely surrounded by all of her books she pulled off of her bottom book ledge–flipping through them one by one and pointing to the pictures with her entire hand coming to a point. It’s so cute, I could die.

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Besides reading, she spends her days following Charly. These two are such an odd sight to see with such a huge difference in size, but Faye hands over her meal scraps and Charly (mostly) provides a soft pillow for Faye to lounge on.

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^^A perfect example of Faye’s always-smacked-together lips! Maybe what is most heart-warming about this entire year has been the connection between Greta and Faye. We worried that the 4 year, 2 month gap would be too big for a bond. Every month it took us to get pregnant, we worried that our dream of Greta having a sibling to love and a live-in playmate to be close with were diminishing–but they have proved us wrong.

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We were so happily wrong. They are perfect for each other and with each other. No one can make Faye smile like Greta can.

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A lot of people have been asking us lately if another baby is in the works–ha! In the future, we’d love to try for one more, but right now we’re just enjoying what we have been blessed with–two healthy beautiful girls (that sleep through the night ;). Happy Birthday, Faye-Faye! Wouldn’t want to live life without you in it.

Ps. When Faye was born and Faye’s nursery!