Have you been listening along and wondering who we are and how we got here? We’re celebrating 10 episodes in the can by sharing a bit of our backstory – the jobs we had before doing what we’re doing now, the life events that led to doing so many DIY projects, and why Jami decided to start a blog. Brian describes how he once got a metal desk up on waterskis behind a boat for a photo shoot and Jami shares some funny memories of being a preschool teacher. And since we’re talking history, Jami highlights her recipes that have stood the test of time. Plus our cool things this week: a favorite app for sleeping better and a really good quality bluetooth speaker.
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Our Backstory & Time-Tested Recipes
We managed to dig up a picture of the desk on skis that was Brian’s brainchild marketing idea for an office furniture company (that’s a cut-out of a person on the desk). It’s small and grainy, but you take what you can get, right? Weird and funny stuff is Brian’s favorite to think up and write, though he’s been known to write sewing machine copy under the name “Jeanie Nance,” too. Whatever is needed, he’s your guy.
Sadly, I couldn’t dig up a teaching photo, I think they are all packed away. Just picture me surrounded by 12-14 cute kiddos and you’ve got the idea.
We met in college (University of Oregon) and got married in Eugene after dating for 2 years (you can read here where I wrote a bit about our wedding). Brian got a degree in Telecommunications and Film, which didn’t prepare him for writing in advertising and marketing at all, though the English minor did. My undergraduate degree was in History and International Studies with a graduate degree in Early Childhood Special Education (can you tell I didn’t really know what I wanted to do?).
We moved to Portland where we got jobs with an ad agency and school district, bought a 1940’s bungalow, and had two kids. We cut our DIY teeth on that little bungalow, refinishing floors, remodeling a kitchen, adding bedrooms and a bath to the basement – and so much more. That was all pre-blog, but you can see a bit of the remodeled kitchen in these show notes where we talked about wood countertops.
After 15 years in Portland we were able to move back near Eugene when Brian started working remotely and I taught at regular (not special ed) preschools. We found an 80s-era ranch to turn into a cottage and these DIY’s (both inside and out), plus my tried-and-true recipes, became the core of the blog, An Oregon Cottage, in February of 2009.
We met our rescue dog, Samson, Thanksgiving 2005 and you know him to be the source of many of our best stories. He’s also starred in an AOC video about dog food and he’s the poster child for the miracle of turmeric. We tell everyone about how much it has helped him – if you have an older dog with issues that could be caused by inflammation (trouble getting up, favoring a leg, etc.) read this article on turmeric for dogs and watch this video that updates it 2 years later.
After blogging for 3-4 years as a hobby, I got serious and turned it into a business in 2013 which has enabled us to have the freedom to travel combined with Brian’s remote writing work. I couldn’t ever have thought of this job, but it has turned into something of a dream job!
These are the cookies that won the heart of my future father-in-law. Yep, they are that good. Brian’s dad was an amazing man and I wrote a little of what he meant to everyone who knew him here (it’s a good read if you’re in the mood for being inspired by a life well lived).
Our other family favorite, time-tested recipes mentioned:
- Macchiato lattes (every.single.morning. #yesssss)
- Individual pizzas made with this amazingly easy (and cheap!) crust.
- Cauliflower Cheese Soup (the one where you hide the veggies…)
- French Beef Stew (the ONLY stew recipe you will need)
This is Really Cool!
Jami’s cool thing for this week: the UE Boom (“Ultimate Ears”) Bluetooth Speaker. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive either, and it’s worth saving up for! It has great sound, easily connects to all our devices and moves everywhere with us, including the car to listen to audiobooks, which was our cool thing in this episode.
Here is a newer version of the one I purchased on Amazon, and you can also buy a the model I have refurbished here to save $50.
Brian’s: is the Sleep Fan Ap (iOS – Android is here) (well, it’s both of ours really, ha!). This replicates the sound of your own fan, so winter nights can sound just like summertime. And drown out the sound of the neighbor’s dog barking at 3 am…
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