Adventures of Adulting - HelloFresh VS. Blue Apron

Back in February, my divorce was finalized and two days later I officially moved back into my old place - SOLO. Believe it or not, that's not something I've done... EVER. I got married when I was twenty and before that, I lived with my parents, so this is officially the first time I've not shared a home with ANYONE ELSE.

Guys. I LOVE IT. IT'S AWESOME. 5 stars, would absolutely recommend.

Of course, now that I'm living that solo single life, I'm determined to reach the max levels in adulting. Might as well, right? One of those areas that seriously needed some training? Cooking. And grocery shopping. And meal planning. And meal prepping. And all the things that are associated with that whole "eat" scenario.

But we live in a world in which there are companies that deliver food. To your door. With INSTRUCTIONS.

WHAT A GLORIOUS TIME TO BE ALIVE.

So with some budgeting and planning and asking around for friends with free one-week trials, I signed up for HelloFresh & Blue Apron. Each company is a little different and has different recipes, so I want to try as many as possible. I LOVE that each company lets you skip weeks if necessary, so I didn't feel any particular risk in trying them all out.

As of right now, I've gotten two boxes from hellofresh (I paid for the second) and one from Blue Apron. Here's the scoop.

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The Ribbons & Bows: Packaging

I'm not going to go into too much detail about how they're delivered (unless you want me to - then comment below). They're both delivered in a way where you don't have to worry about coolness or cross-contamination and are delivered nicely.

But HelloFresh wins all the awards when it comes to organization. Each meal comes in their own recyclable bag. When it's time to cook, its as easy as grabbing a bag, opening it up, and removing what I need.

Blue Apron, on the other hand, puts everything in one big bag that definitely keeps everything cool, BUT only the smaller items are packaged by meal. I had to look at the recipe cards to know which meal uses the bok choy and which meal uses the kale.

To be fair, this is TOTALLY A FIRST WORLD PROBLEM, but the ease of grabbing one bag and knowing everything is already there is just way nicer. Basically, depending on your own personal level of OCD and/or laziness, you might prefer one company over the other. For me, it's HelloFresh.

The Process: Cooking

I LOVE how they send these cute, high-quality cards for us to look at while we cook! Of the two companies, though, I liked HelloFresh's better. Their cards are so happy and easy to read. I actually felt mildly intimidated by Blue Apron's cards - they just seemed way more serious. As an added bonus, HelloFresh has a "cooking mode" in their app that's pretty nice, even though I prefer the cards.

Again, HelloFresh just fits my life right now.

The Yummy Levels: Meal Taste & Selection

Both companies really have some fantastic meals. I've already cooked a couple new things in the brief time I've tried them (who knew salmon was so easy to cook??? well, a lot of people apparently, but NOT ME.) Still, HelloFresh had more choices that I wanted to try than Blue Apron did. It was actually hard to narrow it down to three. They all looked light but filling, as well as mostly healthy alternatives.

I had the opposite problem with Blue Apron. I couldn't pick which two I was willing to try that also fit my current lifestyle health choices - they all seemed just a little carb-heavy and not quite as fresh and light. I do believe you can adjust your meal choice options, but I didn't even have to do that with HelloFresh.

So HelloFresh, again, wins for me.


I think it's fairly obvious, but I realllllllllly like HelloFresh. For a single person, it's plenty of food and it makes me look super legit when I have guests over. I think their packaging and organization and branding is just more appealing, and a better fit, for me and my current health goals.

Next company I want to try is MarleySpoon, but I'm waiting til I get that hookup for the free first week. HINT HINT 😄 I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy Monday - enjoy the rest of your week!


Hello 2018.

Well, I’m over one month into 2018 and we are off to a beautiful start! Which is saying something, because 2017 took a nasty emotional dive right towards the end there, and I was a little nervous about what would come next.

Let me tell ya, I had only ONE goal for 2017. Survive.  I know this because I literally posted it on Facebook and then it reminded me one year later (good ‘ol Facebook)!

How did I do on the whole survival thing? Well, I tried new things, met new people, and laughed quite a bit more than I cried (good gracious that was cheesy, am I a motivational poster??) I got a new day job and found a new career path that has me surprisingly passionate and excited. So on a personal note... I totally nailed it!

Business wise, I place Silver Feather Studios firmly into an undefined, ongoing period of transition. I have spent the past year observing, listening, and figuring out where my heart wants to go. Can I let you guys in on a secret? Several times in the past year.... I actually considered giving up my photography business. Want to know what changed my mind? The same thing the always changes my mind and makes me LOVE my job.... amazing clients!! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a look back on the shoots that reminded me again and again why i picked up a camera in the first place.

Now the big question. What’s next? What’s the big plan for 2018??? Well I’m taking on only five more weddings for this year (so pop on over here so we can meet darling!) I’ll also be available for branding and headshot photography and consulting if you’ve got a business that needs a little sprucing up, or are still using your high school graduation picture as your LinkedIn profile pic (you know who you are).

My one business goal for this year? Bring the ME back to my social media. I admit, I’ve been less than personal on Instagram for over a year now (for reasons explained in this post) and every attempt I’ve made to get back has been harder than I expected.  But it’s never too late to try and I look forward to sharing with you guys again!

In the meantime, enjoy a recap of this past year and I’ll catch you on the flippety flop!


 winter wedding at childress vineyards | greensboro wedding photography by silver feather studios

United Way lifestyle brand photography session

 the ladies of alamance county united way | north carolina branding photography by silver feather studios
 Coker Arboretum Engagement session | NC Wedding Photography by Silver Feather Studios

Alex Reagon's head shot and brand lifestyle session

 graham nc head shot photography of alex reagon at sustain social | silver feather studios
 Product Photography for Hair Stylists and Hair Salons | Greensboro NC
 Wedding Photography at Elon University by Burlington Wedding Photographer
 Durham Wedding Photography at the Cotton Room by Ariana Watts
 Pavilions at Angus Barn bridal session by Raleigh wedding photographer, Ariana Watts

Head shot photography for the Director of Co|Operative, Jensen Roll

 graham head shot photography of director at CoOperative Coworking 
 graham head shot photography by silver feather studios

Gorgeous spring Wedding at the Pavilions at Angus Barn

Pavilion at Angus Barn wedding by Raleigh Wedding Photogr

head shot photography with Director of Community Development at Co|Operative 

 head shot photography for small businesses in Graham, nc
 head shot photography for small businesses in Graham, nc

Product photography for Press Coffee & Crepes, a creperie in downtown Graham

Product photography at Press Coffee & Crepes by Ariana Watts

Head Shot session with Pam Jordan of Pivot Business Group

 head shot photography session in burlington of Pam Jordan, blogger and writer with Celiac disease. www.imaceliac.com/
 head shot photography session in burlington of Pam Jordan, owner and fractional CFO of Pivot Business Group. http://pivotbusinessgroup.com/

DJ Monte's branding shoot in downtown Durham

 DJ Monte's head shot session in downtown Durham. Photography by Ariana Watts.

styled product photography for Eric's Cheesecake

erics-cheesecake-pops-0817-041.jpg
product photography for eric's cheesecake | silver feather studios | burlington brand photography

Kim & Wally's home lifestyle session in Holly Springs

 Lifestyle home maternity session in Holly Springs | Lifestyle photographer, Ariana Watts

Styled product photography for Fitz & Faulkner, a southern cocktail haunt

 Styled product photography by Silver Feather Studios in Graham, NC
 Styled product photography by Silver Feather Studios in Graham, NC
 Fall wedding at the Cotton Room by Durham wedding photographer, Ariana Watts

Alex & Mark's backyard engagement session in Apex

 Alex & Mark's backyard engagement session in Apex | Apex wedding photograher

Leah & Jerome's chic and romantic wedding at High Point Country Club

 High Point Country Club wedding photography by Silver Feather Studios
 Jessica & Corey's enchanted engagement session in Durham, NC | Durham engagement photographer

Savannah & Dylan's Winter wedding at the W on Elm

 Winter Wedding at The W on Elm by Greensboro wedding photographer, Silver Feather Studios

Kathryn and Matt's beautiful winter wedding at Merrimon Wynne

 Winter wedding at Merrimon Wynne by Raleigh wedding photograher

Here's hoping 2018 is just as great as 2017 was, if not better!! 


The Other Side of Authenticity

Hi lovelies! I know it's been awhile, which I shouldn't actually point out, because the internet says that you shouldn't tell people that you've been gone when they might not have even noticed. But whatever, unspoken rules are meant to be broken. And I can't hop back onto my blog without saying anything about my mini-hiatus.

 Image by Rodney Brown (www.rdnybrwn.com)

Image by Rodney Brown (www.rdnybrwn.com)

I've been trying to get back into blogging for a little while now. I've never been a "just post my sessions" type photographer. I mean, come on, I'm a talker.

That hasn't been quite as simple lately. 

Honestly, it's fairly easy to write and be yourself when things are good. When life is overall... positive. Even when there are temporary slumps, you can still share the good, be honest, and give an authentic glimpse into the bad. 

But what about when things are REALLY bad? Like... life changing bad? When a family member dies, or if you get a serious illness, or say, you go through a separation? 

I separated from my husband about 6 months ago.

It's the deeper reason for some of the harder posts I've shared in the past year (like this one and this one). I've definitely been through my own life changing event, and I'd love to say that it hasn't affected my business, but I'd be lying. It's permeated through every aspect of work, and while my clients have remained fairly happy for the most part, I've pulled back on the parts of the business that require heart and passion. The blogging, the social media, the networking...it's been on hiatus because I haven't really been... present. 

I hate it. I love sharing with my readers, and connecting with my clients, but it's not so easy when you're sad. Or distracted. Or whatever. So this is the other side of authenticity. The not so pretty side. The ugly truth. 

I'd like to believe that writing this blog post is the beginning of turning all of that around. Revealing that this actually happened AND that it has definitely affected my business is a HUGE STEP for me; I know that I've got friends and clients who know me as part of a husband and wife photo/video duo and will very much care. But I think it was a necessary one. I think it's hard to be authentic when you feel like you're holding back or hiding something. But I still love everything about my work, and I still have the most wonderful clients, and my biggest hope is to continue doing this sort of work for as long as possible.

I don't know how it's already May, but with the year almost half over, I'm taking strides to get back to, well, ME! I have so many things I want to share with you all, so many shoots I haven't posted, tips and advice I still believe in. All of which I'm tired of holding back! 

So buckle up. Because I'm back. And I've got such pretty, pretty things coming on the blog this week, that I'm quite sure you REALLY don't want to miss.

If you read all of this... thank you!! You're a trooper and I heart you! 

 

Of course, I understand if you didn't, so here's your TL;DR:

  • being authentic is simpler when life is good, not so much when it's bad
  • Brian and I separated but it's okay because it's a new leaf for us both and we both want only the best for each other
  • i love my clients, and my work and i'm so ready to get back to focusing on it!
  • there are pretty things coming on the blog this week so COME BACK TOMORROW!

Hope your Monday is filled with happiness and copious amounts of coffee!

xo,

ariana

 Image by Rodney Brown (www.rdnybrwn.com)

Image by Rodney Brown (www.rdnybrwn.com)