A Couple Cooks

Or, what it’s like to share a blog, and day job, with your spouse.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be working so closely with my husband now, I’d be elated. Is it ideal? Totally. Is it perfect? I don’t believe in perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. However, it’s also an incredible amount of hard work, patience, perseverance, blood, sweat, and tears. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me start off by stating that it was never our plan to end up working together. Alex was finishing school, and I was working as a writer at a small, private technical documentation and instructional design firm. At the time, my boss knew of my fiance as the guy who was really good at photo-shopping her cats into odd and humorous situations. Eventually, we needed a graphics designer, and that guy’s skills got him the job.

Fast forward to today, and we’re still there. I’m part-owner and senior manager, and Alex is graphics designer, office manager, resident tech geek, and jack of all trades. And along the way, we fell in love with food and healthy eating and started a food blog on the side, which lead to both our passions and professional lives being wrapped up into one. (That’s a story for another day.)

If you’re curious, here’s a little bit about what it’s like to work together with a husband-wife team.

Our Work Life

Yes, I’m officially his boss. (Insert prerequisite laughter.) But honestly, it’s not that weird. We’re usually incredibly busy during the day and work on a lot of projects separate from each other, so it’s actually rare when we do get to work one-on-one. But it is nice to be able to drop in on each other throughout the day for a quick chat. And he makes me coffee (heart).

And no, I do not perform his annual review (we get that question a lot)!

Our Blog Life

Blogging has become an organic part of our life. One of the great things about food blogging is that you always have to eat, so it economizes on time we’d already spend making food. As you might expect, our professional life keeps us intensely busy (as many of you in the small business may appreciate). So, we have become very efficient about the way we work.

Since we shoot our photographs with natural light, we can only shoot the weekend when we are home during the day. Generally we try to test recipes during the week and then shoot on the weekend, though many times we end up both testing and shooting on the weekends. It’s difficult to balance with social activities and when we’re out of town, but it’s something we’ve learned to fit into our lifestyle. We also invite friends over to cook with us frequently, which makes it a social activity we can all do together.

Our Roles for the Blog

Over time Alex and my roles for the blog have evolved, demonstrating one of our top principles: work your strengths. In the beginning, we each tried to have our hand in every aspect together, but gradually realized that to be successful, we had to each take responsibilities within our strengths. Here’s a little breakdown:

Sonja: Writer, Recipe Developer, Art Director, Food Stylist, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook

Alex: Photographer, Recipe Developer, Web Design, Technology Expert, Twitter, Google Plus

Both Alex and I started out writing posts, but since I’m trained in journalism and work professionally in technical writing, over time it made sense for me to take over the majority of the writing aspect. Similarly, we both started out shooting together, but Alex emerged as the clear pro in the technical shooting arena, whereas I’ve love styling and directing the overall vibe of a shoot.

A Couple Cooks

What’s Hard

The hard thing about working together is that we are not the same person. Sounds simple, but it’s actually somewhat frustrating when your other half has completely different artistic ideas about the end goal. It’s taken years of working together to hone our collective vision. We’re getting closer, but it’s only after lots of struggle; not necessarily with each other, but learning to work our strengths and understand where we’re going. We don’t argue much anymore (after intentionally making this a priority in our marriage), but even disagreeing can be difficult; luckily, we’ve learned how to work through that constructively.

What’s Fun

Working with your best friend every day is serious fun. Again, it’s serious work, but it’s incredibly rewarding to look at something we’ve done together and know all the work and love and intention that’s behind it. For example, below is our very first food photo, contrasted with one from this past weekend. It’s rewarding to think about the journey we’ve been on to get there.

Our first online food photo, 2008 

{This is like looking at myself with braces and 90’s waterfall bangs, so please be kind :) }

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta | A Couple Cooks

Our latest online food photo, 2014

Don’t ask us how many hours of practice it’s taken to get here

Any Questions? 

Do you have any questions I haven’t covered? Fire them over and we’ll get on them. And thanks again for reading!

PS Thanks to Lindsay at Pinch of Yum who inspired this post in part — she wrote a great post about blogging as a couple a few weeks ago. And thanks to Sarah Kieffer snapping a few photos of us last fall!

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I had such fun reading this – to peek behind the scenes (both relationally and business-ly!) of such a fantastic blog is so interesting. Thanks for sharing so openly!
    And, as a still-fairly-new food blogger, it’s encouraging to see the progress you’ve made – at times, I feel like I’m staring my “braces and waterfall bangs” in the face, but I know that killing my pride and throwing my all into this initial learning phase is so necessary to truly improve. :)

  2. what a great synopsis of what it’s like working with your husband! it seems like you to really know what each other is capable of and respect one another’s role in your work relationship! my husband and i do not work together, however, on some occasions we have collaborated on posts for my blog (as he’s a super-duper photographer), and i totally love it! thanks for sharing guys! xo

  3. I loved having this insight, thank you for sharing this fused personal and public part of your life with us! Even though the context in which you talk about working together is cooking and blogging, the lessons you’ve shared apply to relationships in general and are so applicable to all of us in relationships. You set a great example as a couple. :)

  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I feel like my husband and I compliment each other well, and he helps me a lot with the blog, but I’ve always wondered what it would be like if we both did this full time. I liked hearing your perspective and seeing your journey. It’s encouraging to know other people shudder when they look at their first photos too. :)

  5. HAHAHAHA about Alex photoshopping cats – his photoshop skills cannot be beat!! I remember some of his creations of years past :) You guys make an awesome team!!

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