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Welcome!!!

Oh, friends.

This day is finally here and I am beyond excited! Let’s have a few more exclamation points to really drive that home. I’m so excited!!!!!!! <—- too much?

Welcome to your new home – Sustainable Cooks. I hope you love it here as much as I do.

My coding team hard at work. Also, V is for vulture.

Many of you might be wondering, “why the change? Why now”? Well, there are about 100 reasons, and I will list them below in paragraph form. 😉 I kid, I kid. But in all honesty, this post is crazy long, so go and have a pee first. I’ll wait.

You back? Cool. Last summer, I got a bug up my ass about my site. I wanted to improve it! Grow it! Love it as much as I loved what I was sharing with you. The space itself never felt entirely right for me, so I decided a new site would be the best move. But I had another problem. The actual name.

I started Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity in 2010 when our lives were very, very, VERY different. At first, it was all about saving money and getting the best deal on everything. But along the way, the content I was creating was also going through its own evolution. It changed from the original mission of just saving money, to helping people live more simply and sustainably. It became about meeting people where they were and not trying to shove an ideal down their throats. Simply put, I had changed. The site had not.

On top of all of those things, my old name felt so long. SO LONG. Have you ever told a friend or family member “I got this recipe from Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity”? Chances are before you hit the “Cheap” part, they would be asleep. It was a long ass name, my friends. A long ass name. And it got to the point where I didn’t even share my site with people in my real life because the name made me blush and it sounded like I was talking with a mouth full of marbles. I sounded like how Eddie Vedder sings.

You know that feeling after a sunburn when your skin is healing but not quite 100% yet? You may look the same, but things just feel tight and itchy. That is how I felt about this physical place for the last few years.

And then one day I was listening to a podcast and the owner of a blog talked about how she no longer felt comfortable on her site so she rebranded. She just went for it and made the new site exactly what she wanted so she could share the absolute most authentic version of herself. It was a total lightbulb moment for me and I was all in.

I looked around and found a designer that I loved. I signed up for her waiting list to get on the waiting list (<— that is an actual thing) last summer and then I waited. And waited. And waited. I will yell at a microwave to hurry up, but somehow this waiting was ok. It was different. More adult. Worth it.

While I was waiting, I brainstormed new site names and branding ideas. I knew it had to contain our last name. I’ve never shared my actual full identity on my old site, but I figured it was high time. And you see, I am blessed with the (married) last name that any food blogger would kill for. Seriously, they would be fighting in an arena with spatulas to have my legit and legal last name.

Nice to finally meet you, friends. My name is Sarah Cook. Swearies. 🙂

All of my initial new site name ideas were either taken (homecooks, greencooks, seasonalcooks) or were for sale for a stupid amount of money. While I was in a full-on tantrum during a group text about this fact, my dear friend Angela said: “how about Sustainable Cooks”?

I love that woman.

As I have been working on the update, I have slept maybe three to four hours a night. I am exhausted each night, but wake up so excited to get to fully move into this space and make it my own. During this process, I have learned so much about how incorrectly I have been doing some things for the last seven years of blogging. Oy. One of those things resulted in spending 25 hours going through every single recipe I had ever publish and having to identify key ingredients in a function called “tags”. More on that later.

Late last week as I was at a coffee shop working, 20 hours deep into this process. I paused and realized what that work truly looked like. As I viewed the changes on the site, I swear I teared up and almost started crying. It could have been the lack of sleep, but honestly, I think I was just so happy and proud.

And now I want to share it with all of you.

When I signed up to be on the waiting list for the waiting list for my designer, I had to submit a 12-page document about what I wanted, didn’t want, etc. I knew from the beginning that I wanted this site to be for you. Here is the actual text I included on my list of requirements: “I want the site to be super user-friendly. I don’t want them to even have to think about the site; just does it work and can they find what they want. If they happen to think the site is beautiful and fun, then great. But I want the user experience to drive everything”.

Everything we did from that moment on was with that goal and you in mind. Because I love you.

If you were to come over to my house for an event, I would appear to be the worst host ever. I forget to take coats, I rarely offer coffee (I forget to even make it!), and I never serve wine with dinner because I’m a complete dork. Why do all of those things happen? Because my real focus of the night is on the food. I spend my time and mental energy on crafting and making you a delicious meal from scratch. I want to serve you things I think you will love and then I will insist you take leftovers home with you. Food is my love language.

But we’re not at my actual house, and I am going to try to be the best gosh darn online host you’ve ever (not really) met. I seriously don’t have any coffee, but take your shoes off, get comfy, and let me take you on the grand tour.

A quick note on the images below. They show what a desktop user will see when they log in. The site functions exactly the same on mobile, but the views are different. I took these screen captures when the site was still in maintenance mode, and let me tell you that maintenance mode on mobile was whack AF. The live version is pure perfection though.

Homepage!

  1. Reader Sara (great name btw) requested a Start Here page when I asked for feedback. Girlfriend, you got it!
  2. Shop page! So many people will email or comment asking where I got a cooking tool, my clothesline or pair of shoes. This page puts it all in one happy little place. And it saves you time and keeps you from having to search to find which garlic press it is that I love so much.
  3. Speaking of searching around, oh look, it’s an obvious search bar! The number one thing you all requested on my survey, was a search function! I actually had one on my old site but it was so hard to find (search for the search?) that most of you didn’t even realize it was buried right there. In not so plain sight.
  4. Resources! I get emails a lot from people who want to start a blog. I start off by sharing the same info with everyone and then it evolves into a personal discussion. This Resources page puts all of that content into one happy little place. But I still want to have that personal discussion, so contact me if you have any questions.
  5. Easy to find social media follow buttons so that we can be friends away from this space as well. And the fact that they’re in orange (Troy hates orange and I want to bathe in it) makes me incredibly happy. But here is one giant weird quirk that we will all have to get through together for a few weeks. Some of the social media channels make it a freaking Greek tragedy quest to get your former and new social media channels to synch and mesh. I’m working on all of this but couldn’t implement request for changes until the new site was live. And as of this post being written, Facebook decided the day prior to my launch to ban my new account, so we’re working on that. Excellent timing Facebook. So appreciative. For now, you can join my previous page and eventually the two accounts will be merged.
  6. Email opt-in. Yep, I have offered readers the option of getting my posts via email for years. But the sign-up function was so hard to find on my last site. Boom, it’s in yah face now.

Recipes 

This page was the greatest bulk of my work in the last week, and it is the one I am most proud of! I get so turned on just looking at all the features. Don’t make it weird.

The Recipes page in the header will take you to an efficiently organized (c’mon, it’s me people) page where recipes are in easy to find categories. Oh, and just because you all mentioned search so much, there is even an extra search bar at the top of the recipe categories. Ka-pow!

Then you click on a category and get to see all the recipes available. Some have a cast iron skillet icon or a weird old “Pin it” image for the recipe thumbnail. Those posts are super old and I no longer have access to the original photos. I’m working on updating this but it will be a long slog. Check out the various recipes and marvel at what kind of photos I used to take. Yikes.

Oh, and did I happen to mention you can also search by ingredient? You should go check it out and laugh at how high the mentions of garlic, smoked paprika, and eggs are. It’s pretty hilarious.

Are you excited? I’m excited. Is it getting a little hot in here…?

Then, you can open up a recipe and this is where your beautiful head is going to explode! Have you ever looked for a recipe that you have made 10 times before and hate scrolling through the whole “oh I made this soup because my kindergarten teacher read us a story about it and then I made stone soup and it brought my family together…blah, blah, blah” backstory?

Well, now you can say a giant “shut up already Sarah” and click “jump to recipe”. It takes you right down to the details of the recipe. You can also print it right from the top of the post or the body of the recipe as well.

I mean really. I’m going to need a moment here while my heart stops racing. I’m spent.

There are billions of other little improvements with this new site and I can’t wait to hear how you use it. If you come across anything wonky while hunting around keep it to yourself because I am effing exhausted let me know!

This post is long enough already, but I have so many people to thank. First off, to my husband Troy who didn’t even blink one of his beautiful baby blue eyes when I said “I want to build a new website and spend an insane amount of money in the process”. He was like “yep, let’s do this”. Thank you, love.

To my friends who had to put up with me during this process. You have no idea the depths of hell they endured while they had to give me feedback on site names, logos, site designs, photos, colors, and everything. Their support and honest feedback mean the world to me.

To my designer Lindsay, I couldn’t have done any of this without you. No, literally, none of this. I can’t even code our garage door opener. You were patient and understanding with me throughout this whole process and made something more incredible than I could even imagine. You took a photo of a quilt that I made for my son and created a space full of every color that I love and that makes me feel happy. And that Troy won’t let me use in the house for decorating.

To TNT and ION television – thank you for airing Law and Order episodes at ungodly hours. Dearest Amazon, thank you for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It wasn’t like anything I expected it to be, and it kept me company on many late nights. And to Podcasts, I love you. Thank you.

To my friend Kendra – thank you! Oh, Kendra, your expertise was so instrumental to me in this process! Kendra is the badass and brilliant brain behind Fueled Marketing and because she has the misfortune of being my friend, she helped guide me through this process and made everything you see today better than I would have made it if left to my own devices.

To my boys Jack and Bennett, thank you. I know I have been absent-minded and pulled in so many multiple directions lately. I haven’t been the mom you have needed and have missed playing with you. But how about all that Netflix, eh? That was fun!

While I have been less involved lately, I won’t say that I am sorry. You are learning a valuable lesson right now that sometimes people need to step back and focus on a passion for themselves. I’m proud of all the work I have been doing but I am just as proud to show you that people can achieve things through sheer determination and perseverance. Never be scared to work hard in life. And for the love of God, stop spitting.

And lastly, to all of you. Thank you for your patience, feedback, and willingness to go through this process with me. This place is for you and I hope you feel right at home.

Now give me a minute and I’ll try to track down that cup of coffee. I hope you don’t want cream because I didn’t think to buy any.

 

PS, if you can only see my old site when you view this post, you may need to clear your cookies and cache on your browser to see all the changes.

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54 comments on “Welcome!!!”

  1. Jump to Recipe! Every blog should have this for their faithful readers who come back again and again and again…

    Congratulations, Toots! The site looks amazing. Can’t wait to see where you take it!

    • I completely agree!  I spend so much time on my phone trying to scroll through a lovely article trying to find a recipe… and the kids are yelling for pizza or cookies or whatever I am looking for.  

    • I agree! Not having it on my last site was a giant PITA.

      Love you sweets and thanks for all your help during this process.

  2. It’s gorgeous. I’m so insanely proud of you! Thank you for sharing you and your site. Thank you for thinking of your readers.

    You did one thing wrong. YOU DIDN’T THANK ME, SPECIFICALLY.

    Sheesh.

  3. your new site is so beautiful!  I love it!

  4. I will love the “jump to recipe” button. Just this weekend I was complaining to my husband while scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find that recipe I forgot to print. I always read your posts in their entirety, but I don’t need to sift through the back story when wanting to try a recipe (or re-check, or show my husband what is for dinner).  so, THANK YOU FOR THAT!!

    For the record, I liked the old name.  It was fun.   But having said that, I love how you really personalized this one.  That is all kinds of awesome.  🙂

    Now, get off the computer and go play with your boys!  

    (PS: While putting my name etc. in the comment form, I already miss the option to have future replies sent to my inbox.  That is a wee bit easier then checking back – but I’ll get over that)

    • It’s probably my favorite feature of the redesign!

      I emailed my designer last night about the comment thing. Since I don’t comment directly from my own page (I use the dashboard which is only available to the blog author) it isn’t a feature I even thought about. We’ll see if it can be added!

  5. Looks fabulous, congratulations!
    I loved the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel too 😉

    • Thank you Patricia!

      I thought the show was going to be more like Mad Men or something. I had no idea what it was even about, but heard about it on a podcast and gave it a shot. So great.

  6. Oh, it looks so good! So worth all the work. And yes, the “jump to recipe” idea is pure genius.

  7. Great new blog Sarah – great layout, you are right, everything is clear, easy to find and quick to sort.

  8. First off, Congratulations! The new site is beautiful! 
    Secondly; I have been a loooong time reader, like I remember the original posts that you have been updating. I am not your primary target audience….. I dislike digging in the dirt,(though because of you last spring I bought my 1st tomato plant….. abysmal failure) I don’t sew, and my husband is a red seal chef so I rarely do the cooking. When I started subscribing I didn’t have kids and I have never wanted to make my own yogurt. I needed to tell you all of that because I wanted you to know that I LOVE your site. They are the emails I look forward to most every day. I appreciate how hard you have worked to make this such a warm, hilarious and inviting space.  😊 

    • Thank you Angela and thanks so much for being a long-time reader!

      I fail at greens almost every year. All gardeners have failures. Don’t give up too quickly.

  9. The new site is wonderful! And I’m so glad you kept the “Hippie Shit” name and link. I’ve use those options a lot and I always chuckle when I click the name.

  10. Love it!! And yes, the jump to recipe link is amazing!! It was definitely worth the wait! <3

  11. Can I request that the “jump to recipe button” be renamed “shut up already”?
    Ha. Nice new site!

  12. I like, love that it just scrolls. made my own coffee. am that sort of girl that ok here in the UK, with friends.

  13. Love, love, love!!! 
    Nice to meet you, Sarah Cook😉

    Ways my life has been impacted by your blog:
    My cast iron is stellar and used. Every. Single. Day.
    Smoked paprika is the $hit!!
    Can’t get hubby to drink filtered water but we’re recycling those bottles, baby!
    Less plastic, using glass for leftovers.
    Planted my first garden in YEARS (you may remember, I tried the straw bale version).
    Buying more fruits and veggies.
    Making more soups.

    😁 Congratulations on the new site!

  14. Love, love your blog, congratulations on your new site. Always witty, informative posts. Always look forward to reading them. Thank you x

  15. Nice to meet you, Sarah Cooks!

     From what i can tell so far, the visual appeal of this page is matched only by its user friendliness. :). Congratulations!

    My only complaint is the subtle dig at Eddie Vedder.  He doesn’t know it but he was my almost husband, so I can’t support you disparaging him. 😉

    Looking forward to exploring some more!

  16. I made your madelines yesterday  because I found the pan at Goodwill on Sat just like  you promised would happen . And they are the bomb -just like you and your blog have been always and am so excited to keep recommending it to everyone I meet. Easier to say but the same Sarah and sarcasm and keeping it real as always. Effing awesome. So excited to celebrate with you! 

  17. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ congratulations mama! Love all the new changes!

  18. Congratulations on the new site!!! It looks great!!!

  19. Well hello there Sarah Cook! Congrats on the new site, it looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. We do need to have a talk about this whole “no coffee or wine” shit…but other than that I’m fully on board with expressing your love through food! You are exactly the kind of person I need who comes up with new ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of, but then thing “Hmm, that actually sounds delicious.”

    Seriously, keep up the amazing work; I love following your blog and your Facebook page. I appreciate so much that you actually both read and respond to our comments that we post here and on Facebook. I’ve been following your page for years – I found you somewhere along the line when my husband was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC (we are both Oregon born/raised) back in 2012/13/14 (the years of exile, as I like to call them) and your Pacific Northwest site was a godsend for a homesick military wife.

    You rock. Really.

    • Ah, the post-read finding of the typos…I THINK “Hmm, that actually sounds delicious.” Not THING. :-/

    • Ha ha, it is really absentmindedness. I can only drink decaf and have 1 cup a week. We don’t drink for personal reasons but don’t mind if anyone else does. Not drinking wine means I always feel nervous about buying a bottle to share with people. What if it is terrible?

      Thanks so much for being a reader and I really appreciate the support!! Are you back in Oregon now?

  20. Haven’t really had a chance to explore all the options just yet, but just wanted to say I LOVE the new site!

  21. Love the new name and the new look (and that your posts still turn up in my blog reader without me having to do anything). I’ll be trying the marvellous Mrs. Maizel as well xx

    • Thank you Annabel! Can I ask how you read the blog? I haven’t signed up for Blog Lovin yet and just sent out my first email post to my subscribers. I was certain I did it wrong so I would appreciate hearing how you get it.

  22. Congrats Sarah!!! The new site is absolutely lovely, and I’m having fun exploring it! And bad@$$ last name, good work Troy! 😉

  23. Naw, come on, Cook? Really? Cook? ; – )

  24. I’m so excited for you!!! I can’t imagine how proud and happy you are!

    Looks beautiful so far – I’m at work and in between filling prescriptions I’m sneaking peeks at the new site!

  25. I loved the Marvelous Mrs Maisel also. Except it really really REALLY made my swearing increase quite a bit after I binged the show this past weekend! Gotta get that out of my head!

    Two things to tell you – I can’t make new paragraphs here, lol. Last thing is that the “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail” was already checked for me – I realized this after I hit submit. I don’t always need to read the other comments and didn’t know if you wanted this auto turned on for everyone.
    Still loving te new site.

  26. It’s brilliant!

  27. Congratulations!! It looks beautiful and easy to navigate! As long as we still get confessions and 12-year-old-boy humor. 😉 I can’t remember when or how I found FCCN (probably a quilt post), but I feel like you’re my imaginary BFF, and a big part of the reason that I’m trying to be a grownup and cook actual meals for myself now! Definitely the entire reason that I own the magical Instant Pot.
    And that I started making my own reusable gift bags several years ago!

    And why I’m going to binge Mrs. Maisel this weekend. One of the commenters mentioned blog readers – I use Inoreader, and yep, the new site shows up there with no intervention from me – awesome! One weird issue, and most likely user error… I’m using Firefox, and if I hit return, it’s not doing anything… which is why this looks like a giant rambling run-on sentence, when I really wanted it to be more like actual (rambling) paragraphs…… LOVE your blog!! 🙂

    • No content is changing, so everything else is sticking around!

      Your comment comes up with spaces, sentences, and even two paragraphs. So odd.

      Thanks for being a reader and I’m glad you’re enjoying the new space.