Our yearly post

So once again it looks like it has been a year between posts. Ehh, I am okay with that. Is there such a thing as an annual blog? I'm pretty sure that is called a Christmas card. Seeing how Claire and I failed to do that this year as well you can consider this our Christmas card and update. Here is the photo, just picture it surrounded by red and green.

So you want a recap of our 2010? Well, even if you don't that is what I am here to give you. 2010 was, well, interesting to say the least. It was an emotional roller-coaster as well as a time that Claire and I realized we needed to really figure out what we wanted to do in life. At the beginning of the year we were super pumped with the start of our business, WholeNine Lifestyle Managment. We had a lot of clients and were staying pretty busy between work, church, our dogs, family and friends. March rolled around and we celebrated my birthday, with a few friends, and then as always we took the week off to enjoy SXSW. Jenny B. and Michael T. joined us that week and we had a blast. We met The Rescues, who Claire and Jenny were huge fans of. I guess I was too because they put on a pretty amazing live show.

During the end of March/April we headed to Tyler to spend some time with Claire's family and do some work for Golly. We also spent a week in Dallas working for her Aunt Amy and just hanging out with friends. Fast forward to May and we did our yearly "roommate" trip with all of Claire's college roommates and spouses. This year we went to galveston and rented a big beach house that was awesome. Lots of fun and this is something we look forward to every year, can't wait for our 2011 trip.

During the summer I started homebrewing and really found it sparked some creativity in me. It was an easy extension of my culinary skills and was something that I found enjoyable and relaxing. Plus it made beer. I have a blog about that you can read here. By the end of the summer Claire and Michelle B. had become really good friends and God put us in the position to help her out and she moved in to our spare room in August. It is amazing how God can create such close bonds between people in such short time. Michelle quickly became like a sister to us, and even though she is no longer living in our house, she is still a big part of our lives.

The fall seemed like a blur to me, currently I can't recall much, other than working and hanging out with friends on occasion. We celebrated Claire's birthday, did Thanksgiving here in Austin, and went to Amarillo for Christmas to visit my family. We found out that Russell and Joni, my brother and sister-in-law, were pregnant. Hooray!

The main thing I remember about the fall was our realization that we weren't very good at marketing ourselves and our business. Claire had been working with Room Fu as an apprentice for a while and during the later part of 2010 was given a part time job with them. I had just been distracted and lacking major motivation to market WholeNine and we eventually came to realize there are a lot of things on our services list that we aren't sure we enjoy/are profitable/or that we are capable of. We still own and run WholeNine but it is in the process of being redefined and redone. Hopefully 2011 will bring clarity to our direction with our business and with our general life. In fact in the first 3 months of 2011 a lot has happened, but you may just have to wait till 2012 to hear about it. Maybe you will get lucky and I will write a post before then.

Welcome to 2010

So 2010 finally got here, I came in a flying car. Did you? Ok so maybe we don't have flying cars, but Claire and I do have our own business! So that is a pretty big step right. Rather than talking about our plans for 2010 I wanted to do a recap of 2009.

Our year started off with a wonderful week vacation in Amarillo where Claire and I got to visit with friends and family. In early February we took a tour of the Texas wine country with Howie and Jenny. March came along and I was happy. March is one of my favorite times of the year because of two things: my birthday and SXSW. For my birthday we went and visited friends in College Station. We played some board games, frisbee golf and ate German/Irish food. Then for the next two weeks life was all about SXSW. This is probably one of my favorite things in life. Tons of bands descend on Austin. Claire and I enjoy 3-4 days of free shows from our favorite bands and new bands we hadn't heard of. This year we were joined by Michael and had a wonderful time.

By the time April rolled around we were spending most of our time hanging out and planning things for Emily and Charlie and the arrival of their baby, Laith. We were also making a full blown plan for our trip to San Francisco in June. In early May Laith arrived and he was a precious little baby. He was Claire's first experience with birth and I think she learned a lot and was happy to have shared it with Emily.

In June we got to go on the vacation of our lives. Claire and I spent a week in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. We saw everything from the wine country to Berkeley to the trolleys to Golden Gate to nearly the whole city. Plus we ate some of the best food of our lives (see: Little Star Pizza, Genki Crepes, and Avatars).

By the time we got back we were completely worn out. At this point Claire and I had been working for Red Orbit and Bill Miller, respectively, for the whole year. I was sick and tired of the way Bill Miller was treating myself and the other managers and started the wheels turning in my head of ways I could get out. Of course nothing came of it until later in the fall. During the summer we got to enjoy a weekend with all of Claire's college roomies and spouses (minus Kam and David).

In Early september Claire and I came up with a solution to my work situation. Quit...that's right. When the rest of America is holding on desperately to their jobs I just up and quit. Didn't really have a plan other than this faint idea of a business plan. I think I just had it and said I'm done. I hoped for the best and well...so far so good. Soon after quitting Claire and I launched WholeNine Lifestyle Management. We got ourselves a bunch of goverment documents that said we were a business and went for it. I had always wanted to cook for people on a personal cook to family level and the personal chef side of WholeNine allows me to do that. Claire wants to design, decorate, and organize people's homes and this gave her an outlet for that. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around we had thrown our Launch/Re-Launch party at Obees and were officially under way.

We spent Thanksgiving with the Rajehs and enjoyed a delicious feast and some down time with our wonderful friends. Then it was all business in December. We handled a garage sale for some clients, did some Christmas card photo shoots, and did some small handy man work for another set of clients. By the time Christmas came around we had been on an emotional rollercoaster. Who knew running a business would be so fun but so tiring (I guess everyone knows that).

For Christmas my family came into town. We relaxed exchanged gives and generally did a lot of nothing, which was wonderful. For new years we kept it mellow with the White's and this last weekend we visited Claire's family in Tyler. Now with all that out of the way I wish everyone a wonderful 2010 and we plan on telling you our wonderful stories more often this year. Most likely we will transfer over to our WholeNine blog. We couldn't be more excited for what this year has in store for us. We are going into our 4th year of marriage and our first full year of business. I think it will be a great year!


Sorry for the long absence. I assume we will be back someday but for now you might just have to call or email us to get our attention. Work has been overwhelming for me and Claire is just trying to keep up with work and everything else that demands her attention.

We will update about our summer though, at least I think we will.

Also it's hot in Austin. 2 months of 100+ weather is no good.

golden gates and cable cars

We finally made it in to San Francisco on Monday. Monday was beautiful. First we traveled down into Muir Woods to see the Redwoods and they are big! At first we didn't think they were even going to be as big as the piney woods in east Texas.

We were wrong. They are pretty amazing trees and it's understandable why people make trips out to see them and walk among them. We stopped up on Hawks Hill to look at the Golden Gate Bridge then drove down to Point Bonita and walked over to the light house out on the edge of the continent. This was by far the best view we will get the whole time we are here. It was breathtaking and amazing. Just as we were driving up the hill it started to get foggy. It was simply amazing. We were both in awe that something like this existed and it isn't all that talked about.

The Golden Gate is an amazing structure but the Lighthouse has the real views. You can look back at the bridge, or off into the ocean, or down at the waves crashing on the rocks. It almost feels like you're off in New Zealand. It was a surreal afternoon.

Then we took the scenic drive back, made a stop at Sausalito beach and headed through a tunnel to get back to the bridge. We made one more quick stop at Fort Point for one last look at the bridge. Then we made our way over to our hotel which is awesome and just west of Downtown and Union Square. We are staying at Hotel Vertigo (which was once the York Hotel, which was the building called the Empire Hotel in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo). It has recently been renovated (well halfway, they haven't finished yet). We both think it's got a lot of character. It's definitely a cool place to stay.

That night we made our way down into the mission, which turned out to be quite an experience. Lets just say its a very diversified and not the safest feeling place at night. First we headed over to Bi-Rite to try the famous Ice Cream. It was pretty good, actually really good. But, I have to give Austin credit on this one. We both felt like Amy's Ice Cream was a better experience and was more fun to go to. After that we walked over to Weird Fish were we waited for our table outside on a bench. Well we enjoyed the people watching until we were approached by a really, really drunk hobo who was preaching on love. At least that's what we think he was talking about but being Hispanic and drunk, he was a little hard to understand. Oh well, we got a good laugh out of it before dinner. Weird fish didn't really meet my expectations. It was a cool place but the food wasn't as great as I thought it was going to be. Oh well so far we were striking out in the SF food scene.

The next day we attempted to eat breakfast at Mamas in North Beach only to find a line at 9am on a Tuesday that was about 30 people. Instead we opted for Cafe Greco and had some good coffee/chai and a smoked salmon bagel. We did the normal peir 39/fishermans warf tourist thing and enjoyed the seals for a while.

These guys are loud and boisterous. They just lay around and yell, climb on top of each other, and fight. We could probably have stood there for a couple of hours watching these guys.
We checked out Ghirardelli square and had a cupcake at Kara's Cupcakes (Delicious -watch out Sugar Mama's). Then we headed to the Ferry Building (The last operating World Fair Building) and strolled through the farmers market. Snacked on fresh cherries and fruits. We had lunch there at the Slanted Door (also good, very fresh, but not up to expectations). Maybe our expectations were just too high. After visiting a few shops and riding a bus through Chinatown we ended up strolling around in some cool galleries and checking out Union Square. It was busy and full of tourists. I think it is one of those things you have to do while you are here but I don't really care for the hustle of it. For dinner we headed over to Little Star Pizza, who gets the Best Meal of San Francisco Award so far, and is way up there in our Top Pizza places ever list.

The pizza had this thick, crunchy cornmeal crust that held all the toppings in place. It was deep dish but you could it eat with your hands without it all falling off the crust. Perfect, woo...it was good. We then walked over to Alamo park to check out the Painted Ladies and the "Full House" houses (although it wasn't actually the house they lived in). We took a few fun pictures and enjoyed the scenery. Claire was enthralled with the detail of all the Victorians. This area is a stark contrast to the mission area.

More coming soon!

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