Have I mentioned I love the Behind the Blog series? Because I totally do. Getting to know the folks behind some of my favorite blogs never gets old, and I am beyond thrilled that we get to cozy up with the darling duo behind A Couple Cooks today. I’ve been a big fan for some time now (constantly wishing they would appear in my kitchen right around dinner time), and it’s safe to say I love them even more after getting to know them better. They are kind of adorable in every way.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?

It sounds a little cliche, but be true to yourself. It’s easy to want to compare to other bloggers or give in to advertisers, but stick to your values and voice: it’s what makes you unique and why readers come back to your site! Every day Alex and I have to make choices about what opportunities and content are the right fit for our blog, and how to stay true to our personal brand.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

Can my kitchen be my favorite item? We did a full kitchen renovation and we now spend most of our time in this room. I love to cook and spend time with people I love, and generally both things happen in this room!

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

The nice thing about our food philosophy is that we’ve removed guilt from our vocabulary, so everything is game (in moderation, of course)! But if you must know, for me: breakfast cereal. I could eat it for every meal.

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

Depends on the situation. If it’s a delicious and relatively easy dinner, we’ve made this Italian White Bean Soup more than any recipe on our blog.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Learning to cook can change your life and our world. For most of my life, I was never interested in cooking. It wasn’t until I jumped in that I realized 1. how delicious healthy, whole foods could be 2. how fun the process could be, especially with people you love. I was horrible at it to start, but it helped to have Alex by my side. Through the process, we got healthier and happier, and learned about how the food choices we make can connect us to our community and affect the sustainability of our world’s resources.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

Say no. A lot. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that are not the right fit; not only will they take up your time, but the will pigeonhole you into work that you aren’t passionate about. Stick with your strengths and stay laser-focused on your goals. Remember that rest and play are important too; you can only do your best work when you’re well-rested enough to be open to inspiration. And, find an advocate that will help you stick up for yourself! Mine is Alex–he is amazing at helping me say no at the right times.

SMP: Three things every home should have?

A kitchen island, lots of windows, and some character / charm.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

Is it cheesy to say my husband? I literally could not exist without him. He is my best friend, my artistic partner, my business advisor, my soulmate. Next on the list: coffee. Dark roast, Chemex or aeropress style. I’m addicted.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

A studio / kitchen space with huge windows and white walls.

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?

Gray? I’m obsessed with anything gray in decor and clothing; I hope that it never goes out of style!

SMP: Your top 5 design tips?

Combining modern + antiques
Neutrals with pops of color
Varied textures (rugs, throws,etc)
Adding shiny metals / mirrors

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

I think about this a lot, actually! Slow down, learn to love the process instead of the end goal. Listen to yourself; make time and space to dream, Give yourself grace to fail and learn. Silence the inner critic who tries to tear you down. Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to state them. Above all, approach all people with love and humility. Know that everyone has a story and deserves grace and respect.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?

Write a book. My other bucket list items are catch a fish (I recently achieved that in Alaska) and retire.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

Italy. We honeymooned in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast and it was to die for. Can I add two more? Spain — I studied abroad there and am in deep smit with the food, people, language, and landscape — and Greece. We travelled to the island of Santorini recently and it was stunning.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?

Margaritas! You can’t be stressed about being stranded with a margarita in your hand.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

Man, I follow so many. I will say Aiala Hernando. She’s an amazing photographer and virtual friend. I’d love to live in her world!

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

I can salsa dance. I also was a music major and used to play the French horn and piano competitively. Most people I see today don’t know about those phases!

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I have to pick just one person? If alive people, Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver, Jose Andres, and Alton Brown. If dead, Julia Child. She’s my biggest inspiration.

Blog: A Couple Cooks