“Boxed Cooking Experience”

We’ve been using Blue Apron throughout the past year or so, and most recently, we made their Swedish-style turkey meatballs. I told the kids that we were having meatballs for dinner like the ones we get at IKEA, and I got cheers in response. “YAAAAYY!” Then Brandon was like, “um, you better tell them that they aren’t exactly the same meatballs.” (You know how kids can be sometimes with food and expectations and such.) I did, and they were still on board! Cooking time.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Chopping Kale

Cooking on the Antique Stove

The dinner turned out perfectly. Do you use ground turkey very often? Whenever we make meatballs, we’ve always used ground beef, but I couldn’t tell the difference. I suppose this is healthier, right? Right. (All of their meals are chef-designed and between 500-700 calories per serving.) The kids loved ’em too.

Swedish-Style Turkey Meatballs

My Goof

You can skip deliveries any time you’d like, but I wasn’t thinking properly about my schedule last week. We get the Family Plan that comes with two meals, each for four people. We made the Swedish meatballs dinner right away, but then I went out of town the next night! It was the first trip I’d gone on since having Calvin. Brandon’s great at holding down the fort and taking care of the kids, but having all three (and dealing with a baby that’s not fond of taking a bottle) was going to be rough, so he gave our other meal (pan-seared steaks and salsa verde) to his mom. I’ve talked about Blue Apron with my mother-in-law before because she knew that we had been using it, but I don’t think she realized how good the food is until she tried it herself. I got this photo from her while I was away.

"WOW!"

Subject line: “Boxed cooking experience.” (LOL.) Email text: “WOW!” (Also, how fun is she? I love that she thought to take a picture.)

Blue Apron adds new recipes every week and we’ve always been impressed by how tasty they are. I wish I was better at planning meals and searching out new things to make, but the truth is, I’m just not. It isn’t one of my strengths, so I love that they make getting a good dinner on the table easier. I want to try making their chilaquiles some time too; I love it but have never made it myself! Same with Thai food, like their spicy thai chicken noodle soup. I would love to know how to make it at home instead of relying on take-out.

Blue Apron is available nationwide with free shipping to over 80% of the country. If you want to try the service out, they’re offering the first 50 readers two meals off of their first Blue Apron order for free! I think it’s such a smart solution for people like us who want to cook, but aren’t great at sitting down to plan everything out and come up with new ideas every week. They’ve made our dinners so much better.

Oops. I Meant to Do That.

I just got back from a weekend away in San Francisco with an inspiring group of fellow bloggers. While at dinner, a few of us were talking frankly about living with so much of our lives online. “Is it difficult to know where to draw the line?” someone asked us. “To know what’s suitable for sharing?”

The other women (whom I know and admire, and whose blogs I love reading) both answered immediately. Yes. It’s hard. There has to be a balance of being aspirational and approachable. They talked about consciously adding in a few ‘oops’ moments to some of their posts, to counter the possible air of perfection. And they get it — I get it. Nobody wants to read the blog that makes someone feel bad about themselves, and nobody wants to be the person causing those feelings.

“I probably include too many ‘oops’ moments,” I joked. “Maybe I’m not aspirational enough!” I mean, that rug? I don’t know about it. I’m having second thoughts, which is probably annoying to you guys. It’s annoying to myself. But I do something, I get excited, and I share. The layout of the library? It’s tricky. Incorporating all of our home’s oak and fir? I’m doing my best to do it justice. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m going with the design of this house and sometimes I’m figuring it out along the way, and perhaps I share it too soon before I’ve got it all sorted. But that’s what’s fun about having this space. That’s what I love writing about, and that’s what keeps me happy day after day and excited about blogging here.

For a long time, I thought I was doing it wrong. I watched people grow their businesses by taking on contributors and assistants, by posting more frequently, by analyzing results. More. Bigger. Better. I thought I needed to follow suit, and I learned that it wasn’t for me. There are so many rules and tricks to blogging with the intent to grow, often as quickly as possible (it is literally my job to teach them). Remain relatable. Include photos of yourself X% of the time. Work Pinterest with tutorials and the right image formats. And you know, the formulas work! But they also lead to burnout (and I do include that caveat in class as well, lest I lead my twenty-year-olds astray). Other bloggers do what’s right for them and I love to watch and learn, but ultimately I need to do what works for me even if it isn’t ‘the right way’ to do things. This blog is dear to me and incredibly important to our family as it’s our income, but I want it to succeed in a way that feels true.

I think about spaces. I think about our home, and the fictional fifteen other homes I would decorate if time and money and locations were unlimited. I think about style and the easy reinvention of a wardrobe that comes with a great new pair of shoes or a killer dress. I think about turning out amazing meals and mixing the perfect drink and having children that will eat quinoa as easily as they will Coco Wheats. I have an idea of where I’m going but I make mistakes and I share as I go because that’s life, not a business strategy. I’m so appreciative of having people alongside me, even as I waffle, rethink, redo, and correct. That’s life, and that’s part of the fun.

Plants by Lila B. Design at Stable Café, San Francisco
Photo taken over the weekend at the beautiful Stable Café in San Francisco. Note the burned out light bulb. ‘Oops.’

Baby, You're a Firework

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