On Pursuing Passions

April 15, 2015

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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.


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.


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.


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?

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What do you think?

  1. Neyir says:

    OoohI am just excited about this!!!!

  2. Joseph says:

    Awesome. Can’t wait to see more.

  3. Gillian says:

    I dot know how I missed that cooking wasn’t his job before…his love for cooking and sharing food is so very obvious in the way he writes about cooking. Only greats things can happen from here. I’m not a great cook but do enjoy trying new things and Chris has a way of making it sound like regular old me can do it :)

  4. It is inspiring & motivating to see people chasing their dreams. Thank you for the motivation this morning!! And I’ve followed Andi since you mentioned she’d shot your family photos. What a TEAM you all make! ❤ Congrats!!

  5. Kelly says:

    I really do not follow blogs much and I have never commented, but I feel compelled now to wish both you and Chris well. Best of luck and I look forward to buying the book. Life really is short.

  6. Haley says:

    That’s fantastic! Can’t wait to hear more details.

  7. jen says:

    right on, Chris!

  8. Dara says:

    I am so excited for Chris for never giving up his dream. Its so easy to do in the mundane routine of life. I can’t wait to see his posts!

  9. Maria says:

    This is so awesome!!! I can’t wait to see the finished products! And I would love some posts about the process that went into it, too. :)

  10. Alison G says:

    Wow Chris that is great….good for you for never giving up on your dream. Congrats. I probably won’t be buying them, because I eat a combination of low carb and Paleo of sorts, if I don’t, I get fat…Meat and Veg. mostly.

  11. Val says:

    I don’t comment often (your comment system and my work computer do not get along…), but I read all the time. And I just want to say, I will buy the mess out of this, whatever you are charging. Chris’s “cold oil, hot pan” thing pretty much changed my life. And the dijon gravy, holy crap! I’ve never had a single recipe or tip from you go wrong. So…yeah…let’s do this!

    And Julia, you totally rock for appreciating how difficult/heroic it can be to put your passions on hold in order to provide. And you’re right, the whole “follow your dreams” thing gets way more cred, but providing stability is a noble endeavor, too.

  12. this is fantastic! how very exciting for him!!! I always look up recipies on the fly in the kitchen (i always experience a mental block when cooking) his ebook will be the perfect reference tool. So many of us resonate with his experience – choosing a career to provide first – it’s a bummer to file away your dreams, but figuring out how to make them come to life in tandem is something we should all think about.

  13. Karen F says:

    that is very exciting, and I love that Chris found an outlet to feed his passion! Way to make things happen! I love his food and cooking posts, and am looking forward to the books!

  14. Melissa says:

    Wow! I’m so excited! You can tell he does truly have a gift for it … I mean, cold oil/hot pan changed my life! Ive actually cooked a bunch of his recipes and have been so impressed every time with easy they are to follow and how GOOD they are…I hope the book is just like your blog posts – heavy in the visuals like you said. Congrats! I can’t wait for them!

  15. Jeanna says:

    How wonderful for him!! Can’t wait to see it :)

  16. Trilby C. says:

    Congrats to Chris, congrats to you as a couple, and congrats to your family!! I love Chris’ recipes and food posts on this blog. There are a few of your dishes that are now staples in our home. The best part is that the dishes you’ve chosen to share with us are delicious, easy to make, yet come across on the table as very sophisticated. For me, you’ve hit the recipe trifecta!! Can’t wait to see the ebooks this summer. You guys are one of my favorite blogs, as you meld everything “home” into one place – cooking, decorating, DIY’ing, family, photography. I wish you both all of the success you deserve!!

  17. Kathy says:

    Many congratulations to Chris! I look forward to adding his ebooks to our recipe collection.

    I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up ;-)

  18. Kellie says:

    I am so into following your dreams! If you work full-time, most of your waking hours are spent working, so you might as well do something you love. I work at a marketing company, too, and I love writing but marketing writing is not my true passion. So I started an Etsy shop on the side so I could be creative after-hours. (But I’m like you, I jump around. I do Etsy, I get hardcore into working out, I try to learn how to cook, and I love art.)

    I’m always so happy when I see people pursuing their passions; Chris can make a big difference doing this because he CARES and the world needs more people who care about what they’re doing. Congrats on the new move! Hope it can become a full-time thing in the future.

  19. Evelina says:

    Your sister is amazing! And huge congratulations to Chris for pursuing this! I am so sure it’s going to be amazing :)

  20. Rebecca says:

    Love love love this! Congrats Chris!!!

    I am all about pursing what connects with us at a core level and leaves us feeling fulfilled. I have been a entrepreneur for 10 years and last summer decided that if I launched another product it would be one that connected with my core values. Nine months of work later I just launched the Top·Down Planner – Amazing things happen when we focus on using our greatest gifts and talents!

  21. Adrienne J says:

    YAY! I can’t wait. I would love to have a book with techniques instead of my alternative which is googling videos. Congrats Chris and thanks for the motivation!! I need to start working more late nights to speed up my dream project.

  22. Stefani says:

    Well you have one excited, impatiently waiting customer here! Chris’s recipes are the best and I can’t wait to buy the books! Congrats on following to your dreams!

  23. Way to go Chris!!! Not only am I super excited about these books, and of more Chris recipes on here, but also for you guys finding a way for him to still fulfill his dream. That is so, so admirable and must feel amazing for him :) Can’t wait!!

  24. Katie says:

    WOW! That’s amazing! So excited for Chris(And you, Julia) love hearing stories about people following their dreams! Can’t wait to get my dirty hands on this book! Wish i could be as creative at you both are, in the kitchen and around the house. I’m sure the pictures will turn out beautifully, but hope everything runs smoothly!

  25. So exciting! I love cooking too, so I can’t wait to see these. Also interested in more info about your self-publishing process… we’re looking into doing some e-books as well, and there seem to be a variety of different avenues/methods/formats out there. It would be great if you could share what you’ve learned about this!

  26. How cool to have a passion project, and I’m so excited for you guys!

    I will say that the first time I had to cook a turkey for Tgives was when our walls were crumbling down around us a couple years ago (how we were the hosts was sort of a surprise for us, too!). We had 15 friends coming over, some flying all the way from Portland, not enough rooms/beds/couches for everyone to sleep on and we were without water all morning (long story) and we had an extra dog in the house and… well, it was madness! Anyway, I referred to the recipe Chris posted on roasting the perfect turkey, and I didn’t stray from it once. Honestly – and I’ll say it – it was the best turkey I’ve ever had. Our friends wouldn’t shut up about it!

  27. Tanja says:

    I’m very excited for Chris – following ones passion is amazing. I can’t wait to get my hands of a copy of the books as well. I’m always looking for recipes with lots of pictures, I’m an ok cook but not great so I need all the help I can get.

  28. Jennie says:

    Not sure if you’re planning on using the actual copy on that photo, but if you are I’ll just pipe in my unsolicited two cents that “Andiamo a mangiare” means “Let’s go eat” (as in, let’s leave the house to eat) and “Mangiamo” would be “Let’s eat” (My husband lived the first 27 years of his life in Italy and Italian is our first language at home!)

    • Julia says:

      I should have clarified that particular photo is just an example of our photographer’s work. NOT for this project. But I love that you knew what it meant!!

  29. I’ll admit it. I’m excited for the books, but also details about the servingware. I’m so addicted to pretty plates and bowls and such that I’m borderline obsessed. Love those you have pictured above so far!!

    • Julia says:

      So, you’re feeling the same as me. Hahaha. These pictured are from CB2, but there will be full source lists in the indexes of each book for that reason exactly.

      • LIndsey F says:

        I love the inclusion of sources on the serving wear. I’vee been sitting on a gift card for way too long (CB2) and I’m dying to invest in some ‘adult’ serving wear!

        I’m so happy for you and Chris. I’ve followed his recipes for so long on the blog, cannot wait for the ebooks!

  30. Jennifer says:

    I fully support this, and can’t wait to read these books. My sister and I used a few of his recipes when we cooked Thanksgiving dinner last year, including the homemade rolls, and we were amazed how well everything turned out. Chris has a way of writing that makes you think you can do this, and then surprisingly you really can! Very excited and congrats!

  31. Jennifer says:

    Congrats!! That’s so awesome! So does that mean you’re publishing everything yourself? If so I think that is extra cool! That’s how you pursue your passion in a very smart way. Can’t wait to see where this takes him! I think major rewards are definitely on the horizon. :)
    And as someone who HATES to cook (and is so terrible at it), I’m quite interested to see if he can help me!

    • Julia says:

      Yup, we are self-publishing at this point. Honestly, we’ve already invested so much money of our own money in the project–the royalties we’ve been presented with from different publishers would leave us with pennies at the end. Not to mention, Chris has been able to live out his vision every step of the way. I’m really so, so impressed. We’ll have to do a separate post at some point about the process because we have learned so, so much.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you so much for posting this, I had my husband make this for dinner last night for company. He received many well deserved compliments on it! Also my 3 1/2 year old requested your pot roast this week. I love how you keep my rosemary bush in use and I look forward to buying your books.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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