a new blog series announcement + random thoughts.

the just one question project.

I have a secret, and 25 of you know it. It’s called The Just One Question Project, and I’ve been working behind the scenes with a few of you for the past month or so to bring it to life. I’m pretty stoked about it, and I hope you will be also. The series will focus primarily on questions we’ve probably all had about running a blog, writing, photography, social media, and more. Frankly, even after two solid years of blogging, I still have loads of questions that I’m sometimes afraid to ask other people, for fear that I’ll look like I don’t know what I’m doing. The truth is, I don’t always know what I’m doing, and there shouldn’t be any shame in that. So we’re going to talk about the things we may be unsure about, and we’re going to learn from each other.

I’ve assembled a group of approximately 25 bloggers I’m exceedingly proud to call my friends over here on my little corner of the interwebs. They’re all bloggers, but they each bring with them a very individual approach to the table in terms of how they run their own blogs. The big thing they have in common? They are, at the end of the day, truly themselves, so they won’t put up a front for you. They’re going to be honest, and they’re going to answer the questions we all secretly want to ask each other, but maybe never get the opportunity to.

When I initially approached these incredibly kind and talented souls, I wasn’t sure what the response would be. Would they want to share? Would they have the time? The answer was a resounding, brings-tears-to-your-eyes yes, from each and every one of them. I was beyond thrilled. Here’s how it works: I ask these bloggers one question per installment, and they answer it for me, and ultimately for you. I’ll answer it too, compile our responses into a post, et voila: you get answers on what it’s like to do this thing we do, all in once place.

I hope you like the series: I’ve read all the responses to the first question I asked, and the answers are stellar. I’m eternally grateful that everyone has been so willing to help me on this project. Stay tuned, because the first installment will be up sometime this week: I’ll explain more about it as we go, and I’ll tell you how you can participate in the project too, if you so desire.

Since you all seem pretty receptive to me rambling on every so often, I thought I’d do it again, and maybe I’ll make it a regular thing, who knows. It feels good to talk about things other than food from time to time, and I like hearing what you all have to say about non-food things as much as I enjoy the food things.

Current Events: We’re finally healed here: The Wee One is back to her normal self, and we both seem to be clicking along at 100% right now. Excellent timing, as we have a busy month packed with meet-ups, meetings, parent-teacher conferences, thanksgiving lunches at school, and the St. Louis International Film Festival, which I’ve made a promise to myself to attend. It’s been a few years since I’ve had the chance to go (little babies don’t lend themselves to movie-going), but I’m looking forward to sneaking in a movie screening or two this year. And then there is, of course, the Big Day – Thanksgiving – and all which that entails. My mom and sister will be here at various times ahead of the event, which means we’ll get all sorts of things accomplished. I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you end up having on your tables this year (I expect rundowns, photos, the works), especially those of you who get the opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah and Thanksgiving together this year. I want to hear all about it.

Foodstuffs: Hipsterfood just put out their winter edition of Chickpea Magazine! I’m no vegan, but I do find myself gravitating more towards vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in recent years, and it’s nice to know how to mix it up. If you’re not familiar with Hipsterfood, go check them out, and take a flip through the magazine: it’s stunning, and you can either view it online or support the site and order a hard copy. And if there’s one thing I know, we all like our touchy-feely paper books and magazines, amiright? Yes.

So much talk about how to comment on blogs recently; have you noticed that? Even in my beloved circle of blogs, there’s been quite a bit of discussion, all of it great, straightforward information. I’m one of those people who – although you may not know it – is terrified to start commenting on blogs, because I never know what to say, or how to say it, or how much of my personality to interject, et cetera. Think back: if you have a blog, and we trade comments regularly, who started that exchange? Answer: it was you, because I’ve always had a hard time breaking that particular seal. These posts helped remind me of how un-scary it should be to comment, and how also to make commenting easier for your own readers. If you haven’t already, check out this post from Lynne at Design the Life You Want to Live and this post from Kasey at Turntable Kitchen, the latter of which is a great example of a blog i love, but have never commented on…until that post. And i felt really good about it.

Blogging: Speaking of honest discussion, I’ve truly enjoyed two recent posts from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: this one about ridiculous requests for recipe substitutions, and this one about the angst we all feel about trying to make our food photos as “Pinterest-worthy” as possible. From outside-the-blog discussions with many of you, I know that almost all of us have felt like idiots trying to take THE MOST PERFECT PHOTO EVER of a slice of cake, or soup, or whatever, and we get angry that it doesn’t meet the impossible standards of food photography (Foodgawker, I am SO looking at you right now), et cetera. I’ve also experienced the frustration and vague helplessness which comes from someone asking you about out-of-bounds recipe substitutions for things I’ve made for the blog. It’s one thing to ask if you can substitute pecans for walnuts, but it’s quite another to ask about making an entire flour-filled cake gluten-free and vegan, you know what I mean? If either of those things have bummed you out before, sit back with your coffee take a few minutes to read those links above: you’ll feel better.

Books: I’ve been thinking about Hanukkah this year, and my quest to learn more about Jewish food. Jewish people: this whole Thanksgiving/Hanukkah double-header that’s coming? I’m leaving that one to you. I can’t even wrap my head around trying to accomplish both this year, so as I mentioned above, I’m requesting full reports on how it goes for those of you who get to do both. You have my support and good wishes, and my promise to tackle all that is Hanukkah food next year, when it’s not lying directly on top of Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime, I’m learning more about the holiday courtesy of Lemony Snicket’s “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming.” It explains – in the way only Lemony Snicket could – the reason for the season, if you will. Truly an entertaining read for both kids and adults.

Musical Notes: In completely unrelated news you don’t much care about, I should mention that the release of Pearl Jam’s new “Lightning Bolt” album has kicked up my 20-plus year crush on Eddie Vedder, and my love for the band itself. I’m really proud that they’re still around today, and with such a great reputation for staying true to themselves and their craft. Sometimes when I’m feeling old-ish, I remember that grunge music hit smack in the middle of my high school career, when music is at its most important (at least, in my opinion). It shapes you, and you tend to listen to bands that entered your life during this era forever, so I lucked out. I’ve always counted them among my favorites, which range from Bad Religion, Radiohead, and The Cure to Juliana Hatfield and Tori Amos (and you should be able to pinpoint exactly how old I am now). I’m all over the place, but Pearl Jam is in my head right now, and I can’t get it out. The masterful Danny Clinch filmed a short documentary with them for the release of the album, and in it, they talk about song sequencing. I was reminded of how different the experience of listening to music is today than when we used to pop cassette tapes into our car stereos and just let it play, start to finish. Today you can flip here and there, make custom playlists, pick and choose which songs to buy off of an album. Is album sequencing important to telling a story with a set of songs? I think so, and so do they. If you don’t, try listening to one of your better albums in order sometime, because chances are you’ll hear how it enhances the individual songs.

Television: So it’s the second round (in America) of TV series beginnings, the first being in September, and the next typically beginning in January. I don’t watch a massive amount of television, because I am picky and prefer well-crafted drama and comedy versus reality TV. You don’t see many ads for this one, but Sundance Channel has a new French series about zombies called The Returned. I know what you’re thinking: subtitles. Yes, there are those, but I don’t mind them, and if you enjoy the restrained horror approach that you tend to see coming out from across the pond, you’d love this. It reminds me very much of the original Swedish version of Let the Right One In, if you’ve seen that.

Did you want to know all of that? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but I feel like we just got to sit down in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate and chat for a few hours. So as always, thank you for letting me hang out with you for a bit. More food posts on the way soon: I’ve got some things in the works – like some really good things, friends – so I’m going to stop talking and start finishing up those recipes for you.

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53 Comments on "a new blog series announcement + random thoughts."

  1. Emma says:

    How did you know that we just had piping hot cups of ho cho? AND I just pulled out my copy of Snowed In, OMG OMG OMG OMG OMGGGGGGGGGGG.

    Funny about how you wait for people to come to you and comment, rather than the other way around. It always bugs me when I leave repeated comments on not-famous-peoples’ blogs, and they can’t be bothered to want to connect. I mean c’mon I LIKE HANSON WHY DONT YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND RANDOM PERSON?!?? jk I can see why.

    • shannon says:

      I guessed, but due to the temps you have going on up there, it was an educated one. wait: snowed in…that’s the Hanson CHRISTMAS ALBUM, right? You are hardcore, my dear.

      is that weird?!?! I always, ALWAYS respond to comments on the blog, and i try to always make a note to look at any new commenters’ blogs also and try to add them to my reader. I usually start just by following their posts and not commenting, or i’ll comment back a few times to maybe establish a connection? But sometimes (as, i suspect, in life) there’s just no chemistry. or maybe i don’t try hard enough? or maybe they don’t like me anymore OMG. :) here, let me overthink blog commenting for you: DONE.

      • Brianne says:

        Snowed In is the only Christmas album I’ve ever owned. And with the single addition of Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” It’s the only Christmas playlist I’ll ever have. AND, Emma can confirm/deny this…but I think I had that album way before she did. Even though she’s a way bigger superfan :)

        Also, and I will never, EVER forget this: YOU were the one who commented on my blog first. And I clicked through, saw your site, and was like OHMAGAHHH, I’m going to love this girl! And that was the beginning of us. I really wanted to comment at Turntable Kitchen this week, but even after reading her post a gajillion times, I couldn’t find the right words to say. I’m glad you were able to reach out!

        • shannon says:

          ha! I’m SO happy i’m not the only one who likes the Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas is You” song: my sister and i have a tradition where one or the other of officially signals the beginning of the holiday season by calling the other one and playing THAT SONG on the phone. Truly, neither of our musical tastes are even close to that normally, but we love it for sentimental reasons (and we can dance to it).

          NO. WAY: was i REALLY the first one to comment on your blog? Seriously, you may be the only one on EARTH who can say that. I must have been so nervous! And we have loved each other ever since: that makes me feel so good, because then the nerves were so worth it. I thought that Turntable Kitchen post was really good: i think i was less intimidated to *sucks in breath* comment because i was one of the first ones? like if there’s mega amounts of comments on a “famous person’s” post, i get way more intimidated. the timing just worked out, i think.

        • Emma says:

          Hell yeah you had it first! I didn’t buy it until last year! I’ve always been so suspicious of Christmas albums, because, well, they are Christmas albums. Nuff said.

          However, I do have a few in my collections… 98°, Alan Jackson, Jessica Simpson, NKOTB….. and they all pretty much suck EXCEPT NKOTB OF COURSE! I’m so passionate about pop music you guys.

    • I know what you mean Emma…I totally feel rejected and start to think I’m an even bigger loser than I am. I usually give people 3 chances to either respond to my comment or come comment on my blog in response, and then i’m done with them and their STUPID STUPID blogs…no hard feelings, really.

      • shannon says:

        now i’m completely insecure about anyone i’ve mistakenly not gone and commented on after they’ve commented here. CRAP. i know it’s happened, but it’s been due to just time getting away from me and not like, malice? eeeeeek.
        so anyone out there who reads this comment and thinks you commented here and that i never got back to you on purpose and now hates me? give me another chance. please. Amy’s fault. :)

        • No no, I’m saying that i get made if they EITHER dont’ respond to my comment OR don’t come comment on my blog. Like some bloggers I notice just don’t reply to any of their comments but they’ll come comment on your blog, which is fine. Or just responding to the comment but not visiting my blog is also fine. You ALWAYS respond do comments. How could anyone hate you, Shannon?! :)

          • Emma says:

            I’m helping you flood this page with our spam. Spam is so delicious.

          • shannon says:

            ha AMY it’s okay! i do always try to respond to comments here, i was just meaning that i do know there have been those who have commented a few times and then fallen off: i never know if that’s them or it’s me. i hope it’s not me. :)
            ooohhhh, people could hate me just fine, i’m sure. :)

      • Emma says:

        Yeah me too, 3 chances seems about what I do too. Usually, those are the people that aren’t interesting anyway, but… not always. No, no hard feelings, of course not:)

  2. Hillarie Graham says:

    I love you and have always loved your ramblings! Thank you (in advance) for the “Blog-ucation”. I’m secretly a blogger wannabe….now maybe after your series I can be ;-)

    • shannon says:

      Thanks Hillarie, i love you too. And please: just from what, almost 15 years of knowing you and our massive email exchanges (not to mention conversations) you could easily blog. You have WAY MORE WORDS than even i do. :)

      • Hillarie Graham says:

        Not possible my friend….Not possible. You have WAY more words….or at least string them together in a much more interesting way. :-)

  3. Amrita says:

    Hi hi,
    love this post! I used to feel like no one actually read my blog because no one ever posted comments. But then I started realizing a lot of people just don’t comment. And I do feel like most blogs, by the time I get around to it, there are so many comments that mine probably won’t be read or make a difference..

    I always think about sharing my opinions and stuff in my blog posts more than just food recipes but I never know how to segue into that in my writing very well. You do a great job of that!

    I did start adding the songs I’m listening to while I’m baking at the top of each recipe :)
    Also, I wanna watch The Returned as well! Don’t know if you noticed but I posted this on Twitter a while back–a review of the show by my favorite critic: http://entertainment.time.com/2013/10/30/tv-tonight-the-returned/

    • shannon says:

      Hi Amrita!

      SO many people don’t comment: i forget where i read this, but some stats out there exist that indicate that an incredibly small percentage of people who read blogs actually comment on them. And we all love comments SO MUCH, but it definitely takes up time, and i guess i can see the pros and cons of it. From a “regular person” standpoint (back before i had a blog of my own), i can say i never commented. i didn’t know if, frankly, anyone cared or wanted my comments. now i know better, but i should comment on more posts i regularly read.

      Thank you for that: i’ve been working myself up to it because i never actually know if people want to just hear about food, or if you’re in it for the whole shebang. :) Because of the encouragement of lots of you, i’ve been able to break out of the food shell a little bit here and there: it’s fun! it’s hard at first, but i think it’s something i could get used to. now to try and keep my posts under like, 8 million words…;)

      did you! obviously i need to catch up on my reading: that’s a great idea! i had an idea this past new year’s (resolution time) to start creating baking and cooking playlists…erm…it never got done. But i’m keeping it on the list, b/c some music works really well for cooking, don’t you think? and for writing, etc…i’m going to keep watch of that on your blog, for sure.

      Oh, Amrita, it’s SO GOOD. i hate twitter sometimes, too, b/c similar to facebook, the people i WANT to see, i never see, so i missed that. I’m going to read that review: i read a few prior to the debut, and had seen the trailer for it, and it just looked so good and euro-creepy. and it SO IS JUST THAT. i think you can stream it and they do replay the episodes, i believe: there’s only been two so far, so let me know if you start watching it; i’d like to know what you think. And ps: that reminds me i need to organize the twitters and get on it more.

  4. Thank you for this informative and highly entertaining post! I read it while at Walmart in what had to have been one of the slowest moving lines in history. Reading this helped me stave off my line rage when every customer needed a price check and the cashier didn’t know what a butternut squash was. You may have kept me out of jail today so thank you! ha ha! Also, I am a loser because even though I’m very excited to participate in your latest project, I did not have time to reply to your first question yet, (we had a yard sale and it sucked almost 10 days of my life away for a measly $600 bucks – don’t even get me started!) But I can’t wait to read everyone else’s responses and get the next question, which I promise to write an annoyingly lengthy and detailed response to! :)

    • shannon says:

      mellissa, if i can save ONE person from the soul-crushing sadness of a huge wal-mart line, then it was all worth it. And don’t you worry your pretty head about my first question: i told you up front it’s completely optional each and every time, because people have lives, and things, and stuff going on. yard sales take WORK: i completely understand. Honestly, i’m surprised i managed to answer my own question this week due to all the gross sickness around here. I’ll catch you on the next round. :)

  5. I’m so excited to read all of the answers to The Just One Question Project. I still have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to certain aspects of technology. I have my small circle of blogger friends that I visit and have gotten to know through their writing, and I feel better about commenting and letting my personality spew from keyboard. Other, not so familiar bloggers, I tend to be a little reserved.

    • shannon says:

      Then you’re a great example of someone who i totally thought knew tons about tech, because you seem to know precisely what you’re doing, Jennie! That’s very similar to what i do with commenting, and probably in life: i’m pretty reserved when i first meet someone too, because you just never know who has what sense of humor, or if you’re going to say something weird, you know? Definitely with me, and it sounds like you too, there’s a little bit of a “dating” phase first before you get cozy. And it’s interesting that it doesn’t happen with everyone automatically, either, again, just like life. :) i’m happy we’re friends.

      • I fake it until I make, Shannon. Not really. I’m lucky to have connected with some very talented people in the field. I’m also in a few really great facebook food blogger groups, and the members are so nice and more than willing to offer advise. Yeah, I like to feel someone out before I dive right in with my witty, often sarcastic, personality. It saves a lot of hurt feelings. I’m so happy we’re buds. It makes the interweb a much more pleasant place.

  6. I love reading thoughtful posts, even when they don’t have recipes. It gives insight into you, the blogger, and gives us all a break from cooking/baking. Yes, we love to be in the kitchen, but not ALL the time. I am trying to find the balance on my own blog between posting recipes that excite me, writing down my thoughts and giving helpful hints. Love the “these are my thoughts” posts. You can write those whenever you want! :)

    And I can’t wait to see what other answers you got from the first One Question post. I know every blogger comes from such a different place, so it will be interesting to see the different approaches and philosophies toward starting a bog.

    Glad you are all well now. That was a doozy of a bug!

    • shannon says:

      seriously, that right there is the entire reason i do this: it’s such a supportive community, and you, my sweet Sarah, are a great example of that. Maybe our coffee outing inspired me to talk about non-food this time, or gave me the courage too. because you’re right: i love thoughtful posts too, even without food, because that’s not really all any of us are interested in. That’s a great reminder, and thank you TONS for the encouragement. it means a bunch.

      i FORCED myself to write my own answer down before i read any of your answers, because i wanted mine to be as off-the cuff as all of yours. I’ve started reading my way through the emails, and they’re really, really great. There’s one funny thread running through every single one of them, and it’s adorable, but i’ll share that in the series post. it’s safe to say we may all bring different things to the table, but there are somethings which are very, almost creepily identical.

  7. Wow Shannon-You’ve covered a lot of ground in this post! After reading all these other blogs now I know I must switch to Word Press and learn how to comment and I’m thoroughly confused just when I thought I had it all figured out. And Then I’m left with remembering it is Thanksgivingkah and my 32nd anniversary. All on the same day. This is too many thoughts for my head. And it is Sunday night. And I need something to blog about for tomorrow! I’d just rather have some hot choco!

    • shannon says:

      Abbe, sneak peek at the answers to Just One Question: lots of people mentioned in their answers how they wished they had started on WordPress (for those who didn’t start on WP straight out). I did, so i don’t know what it’s like to be on another platform, and thats invaluable info for other would-be bloggers.
      So are you saying you have the Thanksgivukkah AND your anniversary on the same day this year? That IS too much to remember. I hope you’re doing something post-T-kkah to relax. :)

  8. Sharon says:

    You may have accidentally answered a burning blogger question already — comments! Thanks for those links, and the prod to take the time to leave a word of encouragement around the network of blogs I read. I do find myself avoiding the “oh that looks delicious!” type of feedback though…and instead responding when thought/story/ideas I see make me laugh, or think, or head for the stove. Looking forward to the series!

    • shannon says:

      Comments are SUCH a thing, Sharon, I agree! If there was one thing which really was difficult for me (and is still difficult for me) to get into the hang of, it’s commenting. i overthink it on all levels, and it’s nice to hear that we all have questions and that everyone sort of is finding their own way there. I think everyone’s had their “that looks delicious!” moments, and for good reason; i never fault anyone for that, because we all have lives going on while we do this, right? Thanks, Sharon; i’m looking forward to it, too.

  9. Deb says:

    Compelling post Shannon! I enjoy leaving thoughtful comments but there are times I am so busy or distracted that it may be only a bit more than “that’s delicious”. And yet I want to stop by, check-in and affirm “Hi there, that really was a great post.” “I noticed all your hard work and how you put a part of your soul out there for all of us to see.” There just aren’t enough hours in the day to celebrate all the fantastic blogs! And yes if a blogger already has a zillion comments I think what’s one more? And usually don’t comment.

    That said I tend to be very shy about sharing my personal life and only occasionally peak out from behind my recipe and photos! LOL

    • shannon says:

      thank you, Deb! You know, and there’s something to be said for precisely that: it’s okay to leave a “that looks delicious!” comment every once in awhile, because we all sometimes get behind. that we take the time to do that is a great way to check in, and certainly you always leave me very thoughtful comments, so we’re allowed a quickie every so often. Certainly it would be easier to just “mark all as read” on the reader and start fresh, you know?
      Agree: no one can comment on all the blogs they love. for the ones i don’t comment on but still really like, i try to take the time to pin things, or share it on FB, Twitter, etc. I’m not great at it, but I feel like it’s my way of making an effort to show appreciation in a small way. It’s hard to feel like you’ll get feedback on the larger blogs. For instance Smitten Kitchen: as much as her personality leads me to believe she would love to talk to each and every commenter, she hasn’t answered regularly in years; just when people have questions, and she’s good at getting back with those. but when your blog gets 200+ comments in the first hour…hard to do. I’ve always wondered what the threshold is when you get “famous” and just can’t physically reply to everything.

  10. I am so excited about your new Questions series, Shannon! Not only am I honored to be a part of it, but I’m really eager to hear everyone’s answers. There’s so much about blogging that most of us have had to figure out on our own, I think it’s a great idea to talk about it and share our experiences!

    Also, I totally care about everything you just said. So glad you and the Wee one are feeling better! Sounds like you have a lot of exciting stuff happening, and I can’t wait to hear more about it all. :)

    (Also, also — I LOVED the links you shared from Gluten-Free Girl and Chef — I so needed to read those!)

    • shannon says:

      You’re so sweet, Willow: thank you for being so encouraging. I think it’ll be fun to have this forum every few weeks or so to learn more about each other and this thing we do.

      and thank you, yes: both she and i are doing much better (although we had a little setback on mon/tues with a fever, but i think that served to kill the last of the germs), and she’s back in school today (hooray!). :)

      I’ll admit i don’t always read GF Girl on the regular, but those caught my eye and i think are really relevant to how i know we’ve all felt at a certain point. I’ve marked those to re-read when i start to feel defeated by photos or trying to make everyone happy.

  11. There’s so much to say here, what with all the news and links! So because I have trouble staying focused (you know it’s true), I will comment on comments. I will say the following: it is really hard to comment on posts that basically say: this is good, here’s the recipe. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. There’s only so many times I can write: that looks delicious.

    That’s also why I’m not a fan of the post-every-day rule that food bloggers are told to stick to. When you’re trying to pump stuff out everyday, you’re less likely (in my opinion) to write an engaging post. Because you also have to live your real life. It’s too much! (And honestly, it’s too much for me to read as well.) I think bloggers should write less frequently, write better, and write engaging. (Like you!) Then I can leave a comment. Why wouldn’t I comment on a story about how your pants got ripped at the grocery store, or how the parchment paper you used to tent your pound cake caught on fire…

    • I totally agree! Plus, when people post new recipes every day, it’s REALLY hard to keep up with the reading/commenting on them. I love when bloggers throw some daily life into their posts along with their recipes! I like to know about the person behind the blog. I bet there are people out there who prefer just recipes tho…who knows!

    • Emma says:

      I think those people are plastic.

      Even two or three times a week seems suspicious to me, but I’m off ripping my pants on a daily basis, so there’s that.

    • shannon says:

      I also will comments on comments, as will Amy and Emma, and sometimes Natalie when she’s feeling like it. I’ve been told by a few people that they think the comments are the best part of my blog, and i couldn’t agree more. I am nothing without the rest of you, so keep doing it. :)

      i agree: there’s nothing that engaging about just a recipe, especially when housed in a phoned-in, canned post. no one likes that, and if they have 198 comments on it, chances are it’s not because people are that interested. you know? you know.

      but who told you about my pants and the parchment fire. do you have cameras in my house?!?!?!

  12. YAY YOU’RE BOTH ALIVE!!!! :) So happy that you’re feeling better!

    I will probably have to re-read this one several times so I can go back to all the things you’re telling us about… although I was sadly informed by my other half that we apparently don’t get sundance… what gives? I’m going to investigate that one further…

    • shannon says:

      it was touch and go for awhile with us: mostly because i have the patience of a quail with being sick and having to alter my routine means an automatic freakout. so, us being better today is a gift from HEAVEN and also to my sanity.

      it’s a post to “savor.” :) in other words, read slowly and in sections, because ALL THE WORDS.

      we didn’t get Sundance until our recent migration from Charter (cable) to Dish Network (HOPPAH!) I made Mr. Table make sure we were getting that and BBCA. They’re like my favorite things. I could watch Sundance all day long.

  13. Ashley says:

    I’m so excited for the new series! I want to see how similar/different my approach is compared to everyone else. And to hear some sweet nerdy factoids :) I know you can do that for us.

    I absolutely agree with you about high school being the time when music is the most formative to your being and-dare I say it?-identity. For whatever reason, I would link a certain band with a boyfriend or crush….and once we were no longer together, I have a hard time listening to that band (at least for awhile. Usually I can get over it and enjoy the band again.) And while I still enjoy and feel an odd connection to the bands I liked most in high school, my preferences have definitely changed. It’s funny, isn’t it? How music can be so important and so much a part of you and your history? Just love it.

    • shannon says:

      Ashley, i have had the BEST time reading through everyone’s thoughts: this is going to be so much fun, i think. and guess what: i’ve decided THERE WILL BE CHARTS AND GRAPHS INVOLVED. :) *yes*

      It really is, as much as i’ve in some ways tried to fight that whole “i listen to the same music as i did in high school” thing. I think it’s just that time in your life (although you don’t realize it then) that you have so much TIME to get into music, and really focus on it? after HS it’s jobs and college, then real jobs, and life, and etc…music’s still there, but unless you make an effort, it can fade more and more into the background. certainly i’ve picked up some new musical loves along the way, but there’s something heart-tugging about the high school music to me.

      it’s also interesting to see how your tastes change: alternatively to what you said about how yours have adjusted, mine have largely not; obviously new bands and people but same general type of music. I’m probably more open to other types now than i used to be, however, which is nice. We’ll have to talk more about that soon. :)

  14. Haha, so much good stuff to comment on here! I love when you take us into your brain ;)
    I’m so so excited to read your first installment of “The Just One Question” project!!! You’ve taken on quite a lot with this, and I can’t wait to see how you put it all together. I have no doubt it’s going to be amazing. I’m also so honored not only that you asked me to participate but that you call me a friend :) (hopefully one I can meet in person one day!)
    So glad you’re healed up…and just in time for a fun and busy month it seems!
    I get so nervous about my first interaction with bloggers too! I think perhaps I commented on your blog first, but it was your thoughtful response that perpetuated it all :) i haven’t seen this talk about commenting on blogs…i’ll have to check out those links.
    Haha, I need to find that Lemony Snicket book! Sounds hysterical :)

    • P.S. sorry for comment-bombing this post ;)

    • shannon says:

      yay! i know you like my life things too, which is always nice and very encouraging; it’s why i like your posts also, and probably why we are friends. the Just One Question project is coming together so nicely: it IS lots of work, but i’m thoroughly enjoying it, which is when i do my own best work. You guys were great to answer in the way that you did, truly. and duh, of COURSE i consider you a friend and am totally hoping we get to meet someday face-to-face. I’m not even kidding that i’m crashing on your sofa if i’m ever lucky enough to have a book or book tour.
      you were the first to comment: i remember it because i think you and Faygie both came along at around the same time (i get “waves” of people, and you both were in one of those waves), and i loved both of you instantly. so thank you for being the brave first commenter of the two of us. Someday when i have loads of time i want to map how it is we all “met.” :)
      the Lemony Snicket book is incredible: i picked it up based on the title (and my knowledge of the author) alone, but once i read it, it’s really informative. Like i had zero idea about all the traditions behind Hanukkah, and i’m sure it doesn’t cover all of them, but it’s a great intro. Funny but also interesting.

  15. The Just One Question Project sounds like a lot of fun! Really looking forward to reading more about it. The question about comments is interesting. I always return the favor when people comment – I’ve discovered some great blogs that way. What I find irritating are those bloggers who never respond to the comments they receive. They don’t have to answer every one, but not even post a blanket “thanks” to all the comments? Why would any one want to continue reading them? Lotta good stuff in this post. I was amused at the link to the post on food photography – we all do think a lot about that, don’t we? The standards of some of the foodie photo sites can be a bit capricious (FoodGawker in particular). Fun post – thanks.

    • shannon says:

      I agree! Responding to comments and checking out the bloggers who left them here probably accounts for at least half of the blogs i follow, which is great. It’s tough when bloggers don’t respond to comments, and i try to account for maybe the number they receive, but yes; a nice blanket “hi, i’m listening, thanks for taking the time” comment would be nice, and wouldn’t take that long. Still others have gone the “closed comments” route, which i find even more off-putting for some reason: to me, it means someone wants to talk about food, but they want it to be a one-sided conversation, which seems odd to me.
      don’t even get me started on food photography sites and how impossibly high their standards are. it’s really astounding some of the “feedback” i get when i submit some of my photos; it’s made me mostly not have time for it. Occasionally i make it a game: submit ten good photos, then sit back and calculate the percentage of how many get approved. usually, 10%. so, one. ;) on a good day.

  16. Ah, there is so much awesomeness in this post! I am STOKED for that zombie show. Scott loves zombies and I love French movies so this is could be the tv-watching experience of a lifetime. A lifetime, I tell you! Speaking of film festivals and whatnot, my mom just went to the Virginia film festival and saw a documentary by the Southern Foodways Alliance called “Pride and Joy,” which I think is about food and storytelling. She said it was awesome. If it’s not at your film festival (which, come to think of it, sounds like an international one) it should be running on PBS at some point. Here’s the link: http://prideandjoythemovie.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/introducing-pride-joy-or-the-film-formerly-known-as-southern-food-the-movie/

    Man, chickpea magazine is gorgeous. I had never heard of it, but I’m now stalking it harder than I stalked a guy named David in 5th grade. (And that’s saying a lot.)

    • shannon says:

      you should watch The Returned! I’m sure with Sundance you could stream the few episodes (3 by now, maybe?) either on their site or elsewhere: it’s so good…i’m officially VERY into it. This past Thursday’s episode was when it started to swirl together; you know how the first episode or two has to sort out who everyone is and what is going on, then you see how the people are all related storyline-wise, and THEN it gets going. This week, it got going, and i have a feeling it’s going to just get weirder from here on out. Exceedingly well-written and beautifully scored.
      I just looked, and unless i missed it, i don’t see it at our film festival, but i do intend to watch it: i pay a good deal of attention to PBS, so i’ll make a note of it. You know how obsessed i am with southern food anyway; should be awesome. i love the trailer.

      Isn’t it beautiful? you were one of the people i thought would really enjoy it; it’s vegan, obviously, but i know both of us enjoy a good veg-based meal more often than not.

  17. elizabeth says:

    Holy comment thread! :)

    I too am excited to see the results from the first One Question assignment (even though I was horribly late in sending it to you). It’s interesting regarding comments–I think initially I had this impression that commenting on your own site was frowned upon (I didn’t say it was the *right* impression), so while I was always happy to get comments (and would try to go to their site to comment back), I didn’t engage much on my own site. So now I’m trying to do that. You can also add me to the list of people who can get commenting anxiety–I’ll leave a window open for hours and keep coming back to it to craft the wittiest, most insightful observation. And if I don’t, I inevitably forget about it.

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better!

    • shannon says:

      I know, right! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT GOES ON HERE SOMETIMES WITH COMMENTS, but i love it just the same. :)
      Never worry about sending it to me late: it’s only “late” if you see the question and corresponding answers published, and dollars to donuts, if you sent it AFTER that, i’d probably still throw it in there. I just like that you are participating, because you’re sitting down and taking the time to be thoughtful.
      You know, i can see thinking that commenting on your own site would be considered “tacky” or something, especially when you’re just starting out? i think i was saved that, because my first few comments were either questions, or worded in such a way as to require or want a response, so i just went with it. I think had i gotten a whole lot of “hey that’s pretty/delicious/looks great” comments and nothing more, i wouldn’t have interacted as much at first either. And you know, while we’re talking about it, YOU were one of my first commenters ever, and thank you, because your comments were always ones that had lots to say, and invited me to respond.
      ha! oh i do the same: gotta make it the right balance of wit and intellect, right? :) i’m an idiot if i’m commenting for the first time on a blog i really like: inevitably i overthink it and end up feeling weird about my comment later. don’t feel bad.

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