Extreme Makeover, Blog Edition

turkey sandwich
Can you hear the music? It’s some slow, sad loop, specifically unidentifiable, but generally tear-jerking.

An image fades in. There she is, tiny, tired, hunched over her laptop in a greasy heap, unshowered for three days, in the same clothes she wore to bed last night, wore all day yesterday in fact, no makeup, her head heavy under the weight of an enormous knot of hair held together by a seventy-five cent claw clip that’s beginning to show rust on the spring hinge. She is typing slowly, as if it were painful, weary, bleary-eyed, blinking because the prescription on her Coke-bottle glasses is three years not strong enough anymore.

The voice over isn’t hers. It’s that universal voice that sounds a lot like Kasey Kasem, only lower, and more somber:

Told by the company to which she gave 110% of her energy that months of tireless, dedicated work was all for naught and that her position was eliminated, Sarah was left with nothing but a recycled cardboard printer paper box half-full of personal belongings from her illegally cramped cubicle about which she never once complained, an insincere “thank you for all your hard work,” and a final check that amounted to the equivalent of what she could buy in gas to drive back home, unemployed. Never having faced such a massive roadblock on the highwat to career success, not to mention a crushing blow to her ego, she was devastated. Now, almost a year later, Sarah is thankful for that moment that she realizes was a blessing in disguise. She has devoted her energy to blogging – a thankless job that she does, even though the only reward at the end of the day is a grocery store turkey sandwich and a list of comments from devoted readers. It isn’t easy, but she’d have it no other way.

But Sarah’s Delicious Life took another challenging turn early this summer: Instead of waking up to glorious morning filled with blogging about omelettes overflowing with market fresh vegetables, Sarah opened a notice that her unemployment had run out. Job prospects were few to none, and there were rumours that her favorite Farmers Market in Westwood would be shut down. Suddenly a single blogger and her food blogging life were left…with no reservations.

How would she survive? One of the very few things in her life that bring her complete and total joy had become boring, stale, and it was taking every last teaspoon of effort for Sarah to get excited about meals that were suffering in flavor from major financial cutbacks.

The sad music and voice-over stop. The heartbreaking image of a forlorn blogger fades to black. Suddenly, Ty Pennington, in all his Mystic-tanned, eye-popping, 20-years-too-young haircut, over-caffeinated, Sears-pushing glory explodes onto the screen. It’s Extreme Makeover, Blog Edition! Music that sounds like a techno remix of the Overture of 1812 blasts in the background but not loud enough to drown out Ty’s unusually-high-for-a-guy-pitched shouts! A Design Team of professionals have commandeered a Big Blue Bus and are here to help! And now that the steam from instant ramen has cleared, Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition will answer a desperate call and head to Los Angeles to help this poor blogger breathe new life into her Delicious Life.

Yes!

No.

Ty Pennington never rolled into my neigh-blog-hood (but if he did, do you think I’d be awake out of my dream to blog about it?), and it’s not quite as extreme a makeover as I hoped for, but hey, sometimes there is very little improvement on perfection, right? Right. ;)

There were no drastic cuts nor vacuum suction. Just a nip here, a tuck there, a little micro dermabrasion to make everything a little smoother, and *blush* there was an augmentation. When I finally screamed “Move! That! Bus!” at my laptop, I held my breath, hand over mouth, and there it was – a third column on my blog’s template! And the column has…ads.

I didn’t want to do it, but yes, yes I did. I sold out. I threw my integrity out the second story window of the two-column “Before” so that I could place google ads on my “After” site. But hey, at least it’s not a 30 second spot for Kenmore appliances.

Perhaps the ad revenue will amount to nothing more than…laundry money, but it’s good thing I don’t do that very often! Anyway, more improvements will make their way into my blog on a slow, but steady schedule. Is it ugly? Hard to read or navigate? Are the ads just…horrible? Please do let me know what you think.

(As a side note: I absolutely refused to watch Extreme Makeover, Home Edition for a very long time, even though my sisters raved about it every Monday morning. “I hardly watch any television at all! What makes you think I’d spend a Sunday evening watching some hopped up handyman build a house?! That sounds about as fun as…watching paint dry!” But one night, I found myself at my sister’s place for Sunday dinner, and ended up watching an episode. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat with a death-grip on a throw pillow, wiping my eyes through the whole hour. By the end of the show, I was a blubbering mess of tears. I think I watched every episode after that for the rest of the season. I hate myself.

Oh, and how horrible is this?)

** a year ago today, orris and violet were a westside small plates extravaganza **

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  • Phil

    Hi Sarah,
    Your blog looks great. Very professional. Mine should look so good. Do not worry, so much, your dreams will come true. Well, I don’t know about some of them…
    Phil

  • Neil

    Sarah — I wouldn’t worry about putting ads on your blog. You are a great writer and it isn’t selling out. You are being smart.

    That said, I was so glad you came over to my new cafe last night, Neil’s Diner, and enjoyed my delicious cooking. If I can quote what you said afterwards, “This is the best restaurant in Los Angles, period.” I know your readers will be glad to come on down. And of course, anyone who mentions “The Delicious Life” gets a free “creamcheese eggroll” as an appetizer.

    You’re the best, Sarah!

  • sarah

    phil: if you only knew about some fo my dreams…oh wait. yeah, maybe you don’t want to know ;)

    neil: yeah, and thanks for “dessert.” are you offering that to Delicious Life readers, too?!?!

    lac: if you actually ever saw a picture of me, you’d be eating your words.

  • Annix

    Hey Sarah,
    Your blog looks fine. It’s just the disappearing/wandering posts thing that kinda puzzles me, but we all have our idiosyncrasies, I know ;-). And about the ads, I make sure to click on them every other day, hope it’ll amount to something. Even laundry money.

  • Julie

    Hi Sarah,
    The ads are no trouble at all! You’re not a sellout:) I haven’t succumbed to Extreme Makeover, but mostly I think it’s because I rarely have time to watch anything at all. Blogging seriously cuts into my TV time! To be honest, I think if I did watch Ty Pennington for an hour, he might just eat my soul…the man can’t be human.

  • Sam

    i clicked on one of your adds so you’ll hopefully be able to afford to buy an egg next month;)

    good luck sarah.

  • sarah

    annix: yeah, those posts…i am still working on catching up ;)

    julie: i doubt i will watch it this season (if it’s even on, that is). i BARELY have time to watch tony bourdain, and i have chosen florence over pennington for my tyler. ;)

    sam: aw…thank you! (and of course, YOUR makeover truly IS extreme, and looks sooooo good!)

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