A few weeks ago, a friend of mine said, “Shauna, I was reading your blog from this time last year. Do you realize that your site is completely different now?”
Yes. Yes I do.
This time last year, I was still rising at 6 am, dreading the darkness and pushing myself onto a bus. Piles of papers came home with me every afternoon — WWII exams; poems written by 17-year-olds; journalism articles — and, most of the time, they stayed in my bag. Much as I loved teaching, this time last year I knew I needed to leave it. I just didn’t know how. I was finishing up a proposal for a book I sensed might work. The jocular woman at the post office was just about to hold that package in her hands. And this time last year, I was sick, googling Ricola at 3:30 in the morning to see if I could have some cough drops (nope). No one was around to take care of me.
This year, I rise with the light, with the Chef by my side. We meander through the mornings, reading the newspaper and dreaming up meals. My computer bag comes with me as I drive the Chef to the restaurant, and then I sit in coffee shops or libraries, writing all afternoon. I come home with nothing dragging down my shoulders. I never want this life to stop. The book proposal turned into a book deal, which turned into a first draft, which became a final draft. I finished the final draft just less than a year after I had put the proposal in the post office woman’s hands. Another one sits in the back of my brain, waiting to be written. And this year, when I was sick with the flu, the Chef stayed up in the middle of the night, soothing me with his hands far better than any cough drop ever could.
In the first year after I went gluten-free, I stepped into the world of food as a beginner, eager but new. Now, I feel more seasoned, and solid. The Chef has taught me that nothing is beyond my capabilities. Duck confit? Cranberry-orange shiso leaf sorbet? Albacore tuna with Meyer lemons, sunchokes, and Nicoise olives? Bah. I can do that. Let’s try.
When I began this website, I felt on the edge of a new existence. I was a self I had never known before. I needed a year alone to know myself.
Now, I feel this self, familiar. And I no longer live alone. In less than six months (gasp!), I will be a married woman, perhaps the happiest one in the land.
My friend Pete is right — this is no longer the same website.
Time for a redesign.
For the past couple of months, I have had the pleasure of working with Kaytlyn Sanders, who runs Beneficial Design. We met after I put up a little ad on Craigslist, asking for help. There were numbers of offers. When I met her at my local organic coffee house, I knew within two minutes that she was the right one. That’s how the best people seem to enter my life — immediately and deeply. Her open eyes, gentle laughter, and keen design sense made me feel comfortable. This website is my baby. I knew I could hand it over to her without fear that she would drop it.
We have been conferring over emails and cups of coffee, laughing at life and becoming friends, in the process. She’s lovely. She understood that I wanted a clean, clear look, with plenty of white space, and a readable font. (finally!) I had taken this website as far as I could, alone. But now, I know: there’s no need to go it alone anymore.
Kaytlyn designed the new header you see (the photo is by my dear friend, Monica Frisell, who will also be taking the photographs for the big wedding; the pizza is by the Chef). Kaytlyn also helped to make the entire site wider, clearing the way for the Amazon links to the right. So many people have written to me, asking where they can buy teff or sorghum, that I wanted to make it easy. I am also going to be starting a series on some of my favorite cookbooks, and those links should make it easy for people to purchase those too. Besides that, with a wider space within the site, I can have huge horizontal photographs! Ah, release.
There will plenty of changes around here soon. Certainly, more posts, on a regular basis. (Wait until you hear about the meatloaf. Ay god.) Product reviews, restaurant glimpses, recipes from my favorite cookbooks, and a new column, called Ask the Chef. Now that the book is done, I can’t wait to return to this sanctuary.
So, those of you who only read this website on RSS feeds, come on by for a look at the new place. We’re pretty proud of the way we have spiffed it up.
A huge, heartfelt thank you to Kaytlyn. You have made this space feel like my home.