Hello, world! Boy does it feel good to be back after a long vacation. Rene and I spent the past three weeks traveling in Europe – first visiting his family in Poland, then frolicking around Paris and Marseille.
Did you know that Polish people celebrate Christmas for a whopping three days? Yeah, me neither… Each day is dedicated to a huge meal with courses upon courses of hearty dishes (fried pierogi are a must) around a long table crowded with family. I think it’s safe to say that a few pounds were gained during this festive time. Thankfully, we were determined to brave the cold in Paris to stroll its many miles of breathtaking boulevards, so the aforementioned pounds have been effectively lost. When we weren’t walking, we were holed up in cafes drinking chocolat chaud and carafes of red wine to warm up. We were also very fortunate to have enjoyed a handful of amazing meals, like at Champeaux, Chef Alain Ducasse’s new brasserie, Buvette (happy to report the NYC location is way cooler), Ellsworth (where we ran into QUEEN INA FREAKIN’ GARTEN herself), and Chez Denise, the most memorable of them all (check back later this week to read all about it).
Now we’re back to our regular lives in New York except that, well… I have a whole new life. Remember when I said I had some big news to share? As you may have already guessed, I quit my day job. Yes, the one at my beloved Natural Gourmet Institute. When I first got the job two and a half years ago, I was elated – it was exactly what I needed at that time in my life and I was so proud to become a part of this landmark institution. I got to work with an incredible group of people, learn about cooking and “food as medicine”, and grow personally and professionally.
But as time went on, I noticed myself thinking more and more about my “side hustle” (aka this blog). I would get these bursts of inspiration throughout the day, and sometimes even at night, of recipes, images and projects I wanted to create for my site. However, most of these ideas never came to fruition simply because I did not have the time. I would look at all my favorite blogs and start to think, “If they were able to make a career out of it, why can’t I?” Eventually, the desire to pursue my dream became too overwhelming. Even though I’d made so much headway with my blog over the years, I understood that what got me here, won’t get me there, and I won’t be able to progress if I don’t do something drastic. And so, after thinking long and hard, I decided to resign.
In the days following my announcement, I was equal parts ecstatic and shocked. I couldn’t believe I was finally pursuing something I’d dreamt about for years, but it was terrifying to realize I wouldn’t have a full-time job and its accompanying comfy paycheck anymore. And yet, the words I quit my job were the most powerful I’ve ever said.
So what am I actually going to be doing now? Luckily, I’ll continue to be involved with NGI part-time thanks to a very special project – its very first cookbook! This is a project I’ve been advocating for for over a year and now that the contract is officially signed, I am beyond honored to see it through to the end. I’ll be playing the role of co-author along with my friend and Salt + Sage Collective partner Rebecca Ffrench. The other half of my time will be [finally!] dedicated to growing this blog, as well as other projects like cooking demos, classes, and food photography gigs. I am so excited to embark on this new journey, to finally have the time to be creative, and look forward to sharing my trials and tribulations with you right here in my online home!
For the record, I have no idea what’s going to happen a year from now, what opportunities will actually be presented. Am I still terrified? Yes. But I also know that never giving my dream a chance would be the scariest thing of all.
Here’s to new beginnings!