Time to Get Cookin' Again


After spending the month of January mainly combing through my photos and recipes (and also distracting myself with organizing my apartment the Marie-Kondo way), I made a list of outstanding recipes that I need to finally attempt to make or redo. This month of February has been nonstop cooking and recipe tweaking.

I’ve decided that I needed to kick my own ass into high gear. Maybe I’m being hard on myself but I really feel like I slacked off in January. In the past, I’ve worked hard (late hours, skipped meals, no breaks) for other companies when I was accountable to someone else. Why can’t I work just as hard, if not harder, for myself and hold myself accountable? It’s easy to make up excuses for yourself. This month, I decided I have no excuses. I’ve taken time off of working, walking away from a full-time salary in the fashion industry to pursue this passion project of creating a cookbook based on my mom’s Cambodian recipes. I can’t just allow myself to dilly dally while being unemployed. This is not a vacation.

So I have set up some rules for myself this month. No TV during the day. If I need to stop working to eat, then I need to be on my phone, working on expanding my Love in My Belly Instagram following and/or creating new content to share. If I need to take a break, then I have the option of doing squats, crunches, or I can go for a walk. If I need to mix things up, I can write a blog post (like right now) or work on writing some stories for the cookbook. I need to work nights and weekends even if I have social plans (which I really have not had a lot of lately). No feeling sorry for myself for not being social. Work instead, and be proud of what I have accomplished that day for my passion project.

As a result of these new rules for myself, I’ve worked every day for the last 3 weeks. I have also been juggling some fashion consulting Excel projects on the side. I’m exhausted. I have been having back spasms too. I think it may be from running around, sitting at my dining table all day, and probably stress. I think I’ve gotten a little loopy as well. I’ve done some strange things like leave my keys in my door knob, left the oven on all night, and put a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in the oven without the frozen pizza. Maybe taking a day off would be helpful. I went from one extreme to the next. I don’t want to lose my momentum. I’m committed to working every day for the month of February and I’m going to stick to it. However, maybe I can still honor my commitment while also being kinder to my body and allow myself some longer breaks. This afternoon I have an appointment for a body massage, which I’m pretty excited about. I normally don’t indulge in those types of treats very often but these back spasms have been quite uncomfortable.

It has definitely been a productive month so far—running around to 5 different grocery stores sometimes in 1 day, making a mess in my tiny kitchen, lots of dishes, calls with my mom (sometimes 3-5 times a day to walk through recipes), taking photos on my balcony (and sometimes fighting with a squirrel that sometimes creeps up on me during my photo shoots), editing photos, editing recipes, writing new recipes, searching for new props, working on consulting projects, growing my Instagram, learning how to create my first media kit, etc etc. And you know what? I worked hard and I actually feel like I worked hard and that I am deserving of saying that about myself. I didn’t feel that way about myself in January at all. I am proud of the new recipes I tried this month. Some of them were really difficult and I need to redo them still but the fact is, I did them. I didn’t resist. I didn’t make up excuses. I just made them. I ignored feelings of doubt and discouragement that would sometimes creep into my thoughts, and just did it, even if I was feeling lazy or tired. Some of the dishes didn’t come out exactly right, which can be frustrating. That’s okay though because each trial and error is one step closer to the final product. I will get there.