A Very Overdue Post

fried chicken + cornbread

My last post was over six months ago. I promised you guys big, grand news back in January, and then I gave you half a year of silence. I honestly cannot believe that much time has gone by. It’s a gap that, when quantified, scared me a little. I asked myself questions like, “Can I even pick back up where I left off?” and “Do I truly want to?” I’ve spent the better half of a month mulling over these thoughts, wondering if this space could have run its course. But amidst all those doubts, one thought continually pushed its way through: “I miss my blog friends.” My little corner of the online food community has come to be an important part of my life over the years, and letting that fade away would be a damn shame. So, I’m back! With “hi!”s, “sorry!”s, and “I missed you!”s. And a not so short explanation of what I’ve been up to these past six months.

Maple Cream

So…let’s start with that big, grand news. I was writing a cookbook. Was = operative word. Way back in November of 2013, I received a very nice email from a publisher asking me if I had any cookbook projects in the works, or if I’d given any thought to writing one. Needless to say, I was flattered. To the point where the question “have you ever thought of writing a cookbook?” didn’t elicit my usual response of “HELL NO.” (Which, up to then, was a stance I’d firmly taken thanks to many years in the book publishing industry, looking at books on computer screens and talking about books on the phone and discussing books in emails. Books books books all day forever. Please don’t make me write one. Thankyouverymuch.) But that email landed in my inbox at a very optimistic time in my life. Fall air. A new relationship. A new year on the horizon. So, could this new, optimistic me really quit her of job almost 10 years, set out on her own to do all the freelance-y things she’d been dreaming of for way too long, and write a freakin’ cookbook? Idealistic answer: Yes. Why the heck not?!

Tassajara Spice Muffins

Real answer: Not quite. But let’s back up for a second and talk about the book deal. My answer of “yes” came after a bit of back and forth between the project manager and myself, and was not without hesitation. And when that official contract landed in my inbox, I felt all sorts of clueless and overwhelmed. (Real talk: Negotiating a book deal without an agent is scary as hell. I would strongly advise against it unless you know [or a reliable source can tell you] what should be expected in all aspects of a book deal, from the advance/royalties to the rights to the timeline to the consequences of the deal falling through. And if the contract doesn’t meet those expectations in any way, you need to be prepared to negotiate. Firmly.) I wound up getting in touch with a lawyer who was familiar with cookbook publishing and sending my contract out to him for review. He replied that, across the board, the percentages were a bit lower than he would like to see, but that unfortunately tends to be the case with image-heavy color books due to printing costs. I could go into great detail about everything that was questionable about this contract, but I will instead direct you to Alanna’s post on the matter. She and I went through very similar rollercoaster-esque experiences, and she has summed it all up perfectly.

Tassajara Spice Muffins

Still, despite it being far from the deal of the century, I decided to go ahead with the project. That might seem crazy, but this cookbook had begun to represent things for me that I saw an enormous amount of value in. (Certainly not profit. I knew at best I’d be breaking even after all was said and done.) This book was a reason to quit my job. The job that kept me tethered to my computer 40–50 hours a week. The job that taught me that no matter how many times you might explain something to certain members of sales and upper management, they probably won’t listen to you. To be rid of all that stress/frustration was motivation enough. I also saw an opportunity to push myself. I, master of fleeting ideas and half-finished projects, was going to force myself to do something epic. And for those reasons, I said yes to the deal.

Hot Chocolate with Balsam Fir Marshmallows

Fast forward about a month after signing the contract, and I’m already feeling frazzled. The timeline I was given for the book was crazy short. I had six months to submit a finalized manuscript, and another month and a half to submit all of the photos. This worked out to developing 4–5 recipes per week, which made my head spin. On top of all that, other work was rolling in like crazy. My favorite big client from my previous job transferred all their work to new freelance me, and it was piling up fast. Then EatingWell magazine booked me for a three-day block of propping and styling for an upcoming issue, and I began to feel very overwhelmed. I decided to sit down and write out a very detailed calendar for the next month, which usually calms me down when I’m in work overload. Instead, it felt like I was trying to put together a puzzle that had about fifty extra pieces. I called my mom to stress-vent, the line was busy, and I just burst into tears.

Roasted Veggie & Sriracha-Lime Quinoa & Amaranth Tacos

After a solid five minutes of therapeutic sobbing, I calmed down and did some level-headed assessing of what pieces could not fit into my current puzzle. I had been daydreaming about quitting my job for the past several years. When I talked about it, I would invariably say that I wanted to do two things: (1) Continue to work with my favorite client(s) on my own terms. (2) Branch out into professional photography and/or food styling. Done and done. Had I ever said I wanted to write a cookbook up until a couple months ago? No. No I had not. It was pretty clear what had to give.

Sriracha Cheddar Cornbread Waffles

Needless to say, my project manager was NOT pleased. I was roped back in briefly when he offered to extend the schedule and pare down the focus, but it quickly became obvious that my heart wasn’t in it, and we parted way after a terse break-up phone call. I spent at least a month feeling like kind of a failure for giving up on the project, but it’s clear to me now that it was so totally the right thing to do. I have learned to accept and embrace the fact that there are just some things that aren’t for me. After I’d officially backed out of the deal, I spoke with my mom about it for a while on the phone. She then handed the phone off to my dad, who I’ve joked about inheriting most of my brain genes from over the years. Our conversation was brief, but the first thing he said to me was, “you know, Carey, this is exactly why I avoid things that involve deadlines.” Thanks, Dad. My brain simply isn’t hardwired to handle epic projects with firm deadlines, and I’m ok with that.

Homemade Milano Cookies

It is interesting to think that back in January, I declared 2014 to be all about saying “yes”, when it was, at first, very much about saying “no”. No, I cannot write this book. No, this relationship is not working for me. “Yes” is scary, but “no” can be even more frightening. And there were so many “no”s in my life for the first few months of the year. It felt negative, stagnant, and frustrating, but it made room for “yes” to start creeping in. And I can honestly say that my life feels pretty great these days. Freelance life is fantastic. I’ve had the opportunity to work with EatingWell on the past several issues, which is super exciting for me. Both the food and creative teams there are awesome, and I’m having a blast working with everyone there. There’s also a new boy in my life. (I know things like this seem to be nothing but shiny when they’re new, but I don’t know…this one is like seriously super shiny, you guys. Omg, I’m so dumb. I hope he never ever reads this!) So in short: great great great, yes yes yes. Yay!

fried chicken + cornbread

Also, despite being absent from here, I haven’t been completely silent. If you’re curious what I’ve been up to the past few months, you can check out the tasty things I’ve been making over at Food52…

Tassajara Spice Muffins

Maple Cream

Sriracha Cheddar Cornbread Waffles, plus a bunch of other tasty Sriracha meals

Homemade Milano Cookies

Homemade Mallomars

I also have a recipe for Balsam Fir extract and marshmallows in the winter issue of t.e.l.l. New England.

And you can pick up the July/August issue of EatingWell and see some of my prop styling in there!

In closing, let me apologize again for being gone so long. I did, admittedly, experience serious food burnout from the cookbook recipe development, and am happy to say that seems to finally be wearing off. I am still not entirely sure what the future holds for this space as I continue to adjust to my new freelance life. But I do know that it feels really good to be back here, saying “hi” to all of you. ♥



Homemade Milano Cookies


  1. says

    Saying ‘no’ is so much harder than saying yes. Good for you for knowing yourself, and what you want. And! I’m so glad to see a post from you. :) xx

  2. says

    CAREY!!!! I was just thinking of you today — I could not be happier and gladder to see this post! I’m so happy that you’re doing what’s best for you, so thrilled for all of these amazing opportunities (the right opportunities), plus, yay for BOY! <3 Yayayay and hihihi back!!! So much love for you!

    • says

      Awww thank you Cynthia!! It’s so very nice to be back. (I woke up to SO many sweet comments, including this one; it made me crazy happy!) :D

  3. says

    You are so brave!! It takes courage to listen to your heart and say no. REAL courage. Let that settle in for awhile. Also, I saw you around the internets. I knew you were out doing cool things. I was just waiting for your little head to pop up over here again and I’m so glad it did! Super happy for you, girl. :)

    • says

      Hehe! Thanks so much, Kris! Thank goodness for Food52 keeping my food dreams alive, otherwise I would have felt so out of touch with everyone and everything. But it really nice to be back in my own space here, where I can write enormous accounts of my life as of late. ;)

  4. Molly Yeh says

    I am so so so so sooo happy that you’re back, woman! I can’t imagine how difficult that book fiasco was, but I’m so glad you’ve made it out with your head up and a shiny new boy!! I’ve been loving your food52 stuff so very very much. I cannot wait to see what you’ll be posting back here again. Hugs to you!!!!

    • says

      Thanks, Molly! Ugh, that book was the source of such drama in my life, and it feels so long ago now that it’s kind of funny. And omg, I’ve been so absent from the blog world in general but congrats on your engagement!!!!! Eeeee!

  5. says

    So happy to see you’re back to blogging, Carey! I really love this post, and even though navigating through that less-than-stellar book deal must have been miserable and testing, I’m glad you’re finding excitement and joy in your current projects and path. Cheers to creatives paving their own custom-built paths in this world!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Emily! That book deal was quite a headache, but it was also such a valuable learning experience at the same time. It’s nice to be reminded of who you are and what you truly want. :)

  6. says

    Welcome back! I have checked back here several times in the last 6 months wondering if I had dropped off your email list to find the same post about some exciting news… I wondered if it was a book and would have loved to cook from your book However, having written a book and contemplating another I can understand completely why you decided to focus on your work of the present and leave the high stress MASSIVE deadline. I think that is why I love blogging so much because you can post as you wish and ans often or little as you wish. I like to think of it as an online cookbook that keeps growing and evolving as we grow and evolve. Lovely to see your stunning images again and look forward to more xx

    • says

      Thank you, Nicola! I marvel at anyone that can write a cookbook, especially since my perfectionist tendencies make me a neurotic updater and revisionist. Creating something as set-in-stone as a book terrifies that part of me a little. :) But this whole experience did also open my eyes to the general possibility of writing a cookbook one day in the future, when it’s a topic I’m truly passionate about and things are more on my own terms (or at least more reasonable as far as schedule is concerned). It’s kind of nice to keep the possibility in the back of my mind, because, hey, you never know!

  7. says

    YAY, YOU’RE BACK!!! I’ve been wondering what you’re up to and when you would start blogging again. But little did I know what a confusing and hard path of life you’ve had to walk in the past months. So sorry for you.

    BUT I’m soooo happy you found happiness again in your life; that you realized what you really want in life. That’s major. Cheers to all this goodness and your decision to continue to inspire us!

    • says

      Hi Sini!! I’m so happy to be back! This has definitely felt like a pretty major year for me. Filled with ups and downs and tough decisions…but those decisions seem to have worked out well in the end. :)

  8. says

    Glad to have you back! My sister is in publishing, and she’d have some things to say about a cookbook slated to be written in 6 months. People in the biz have a name for for that sort of thing… can’t remember it, but I believe it involves curse words. Whenever I tell her about a blogger who is slated to have a book out in that sort of time frame she snorts out loud, mutters stuff and then snorts again. (That’s nothing against the publisher involved in your angst, of course. Business is business!) I’m sure you made the right decision for everyone involved, and I’m thrilled to hear that there are lots of other shiny new things happening in your world…

    • says

      It’s so true! I will be the first to admit that I’m semi-terrible with time management, but a six-month deadline for a cookbook seems rushed for even the most competent of folks. I certainly see why smaller publishers reach out to food bloggers for low-cost, quick turnaround deals with the hopes of maybe producing a great selling cookbook. For a lot of bloggers writing a cookbook is a dream, and I think we sometimes forget just how much we’re worth as authors. We’re doing all the writing, photography, recipe development and testing, AND promoting the book through our blogging network and other social media avenues. That’s a lot, and I’d say definitely worth more than some folks are being offered. But that’s the biz, unfortunately.

  9. says

    Glad to have you back! When I got to know your blog, you seemed to have been disappeared already for a while and I thought you’d not return, but here you are! :D Looking forward to further recipes! :3

    Greetings from Vienna (Austria)

  10. says

    Carey, it is SO great to have you back, and huge kudos for being brave enough to back out.

    Also, man am I pleased to see some sriracha recipes – I bought it yesterday for the first time and have NO idea what to do with it.

  11. says

    So good to see your post show up again my feed! We’ve all missed your stories and photos. Sorry you had a tough time the last few months but glad to hear that a weight’s been lifted off your shoulders. In the end, if it doesn’t feel right or if it doesn’t make you feel good, it’s just not worth the stress right? Anyway here’s to new beginnings and nothing but good things from here-on out! x

    • says

      So very true! It felt like I left one stressful job just to throw myself into another crazy stressful situation. Being free of that book was such a weight off my shoulders, for sure. Hurray for free time to do all the fun, good things I want to do! :)

  12. says

    I was thinking about you only this weekend and so I was totally thrilled to wake up to a post from you in my reader even if it’s one that must have been so hard for you to write. Welcome back friend. It sounds like you’ve had to make a lot of hard decisions in the last couple of months; I hope the rest of 2014 is a bit kinder to you xo

    • says

      Aww, it totally amazes me and warms my heart to know that I cross the minds of my food friends even when I’ve been MIA for a shameful amount of time! Thanks, Kathryn—so happy to be back! :)

  13. says

    So awesome to have you back here love! Reading over your feeling about writing a cookbook took me right back to that moment. That crazy moment. (I also had no agent, something I regret now!) I fully understand why you let it go. It’s a crazy, actually insane, amount of work to do for so very little money. If your hearts not in it there really is no reason to put yourself through the pain!

    I’m so happy to hear lifes been treating you well though (other than the book stuff!). Wishing you all the best

    Much love xx

    • says

      Thanks, Emma! Serious, serious props to you for navigating your book sans agent and sticking it out to create something beautiful! I will hold onto hope that one day I’ll be inspired enough to take on a cookbook project that I’m truly passionate about. There’s time, for sure. :)

  14. says


    So excited to see a post from you again and congratulations on all the food work! Sometimes you have to trust your gut and it’s okay to move on from things that aren’t right for you. Great post! Thanks for the Tell New England shout out! We absolutely love your work and appreciate your time and effort toward that part of our issue.

    I hope we can have you do some recipes again sometime, and if you ever need a food stylist or photo assistant, let me know! I’d love to work for you/with you – I admire your work greatly! :)


    • says

      Thanks so much, Jenn! I’ll love to contribute to Tell New England again, and maybe having a chance to team up with you on a project in the future would be lots of fun. I’ll shoot you an email soon! :)

  15. says

    I missed your blog so much in the past few months, and it was wonderful seeing it pop up in my reader again. Mainly, I just wanted to say that I really appreciated the honesty in this post, and the emotions that you generously shared with us. Wishing you the best in all of your endeavors. xo

    • says

      Hi Shelly!!! Omg, I was just thinking about how I owe you an email this past weekend. (My life, so disorganized. At least I managed to get the blog post out.) So good to be back! :)

  16. says

    I understand you quite well as I’ve also been sticked to an office chair from 9 to 5 and dreamed of quiting my boring job. When I did that and turned to private business with my husband the best time in my life has started. Now after two years of foodblogging we are opening our first coffee shop that’ll be full of homemade bakery. Life IS wonderful!

    Good luck to you and so happy that you are back!

    • says

      Oh wow congrats to you guys, Aleksandra!! That’s so exciting. I wish you lots of happiness and success with the shop! It’s absolutely 1000x better than being stuck in an office. :)

  17. says

    It is SO good to hear from you again. I’m so glad that you took the time you needed to figure out how all these big changes will shape your life. You rule :)

    • says

      Thanks, Brianne! It’s really nice to be back and writing again. (Also I am behind on writing an email to you, and I owe you a happy birthday, girl!!!)

  18. says

    YAAAAYYY!!! I’m so glad you’re back, Carey – I’ve über missed you and this space, despite my stalking you on Food52 and EatingWell. It wasn’t quite the same. :) I popped over to steal your goat cheese ice cream recipe for a project I’m supposed to be working on, but had to stop everything when I saw your new post. Thanks for the link love to my book rant – I appreciate it! And of course congrats on the new freelance work, shiny new beau, and saying no to that book deal. High five! <3

    • says

      Yay!!! Thank you for literally summing up EVERYTHING I wanted to say about my book deal frustrations in that post. If you hadn’t, this post would have been three times longer, and probably would have taken me another month to write. And yummmm goat cheese ice cream — I can’t wait to see what happens with that!

  19. Lana says

    But in the end you said ‘Yes’ to yourself and your real dreams and didn’t let a wrong idea kill them! Hopefully we’ll see some recipes around here soon again, but don’t stress about it! All the best :)

  20. says

    Yay you’re back! I am all about making my own schedule so I am not sure what I would do if offered a cookbook deal like that either. I like deadlines, don’t get me wrong, but I know when I am pushed beyond my limits too. Either way, clearly you were not feeling it in your gut and it’s your life so you have to live it the way you want. You are way more accomplished in this food writing/blogging scene than I will ever be that’s for sure!

    • says

      Being offered the opportunity to write a cookbook is so nuts. There was never any motivation in my mind to write one, then it fell in my lap and it seemed so exciting and crazy that it was hard to resist. But whoa that excitement turned to dismay really fast. Definitely a live and learn situation, for sure. :)

  21. says

    Carey, I’ve missed your words and your work! It so great to have you back and it looks like you have a lot of wonderful changes going on in your life. I am glad you are doing things that make you happy, I hear a lot of nightmare stories about cookbooks and bloggers, so I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for you. Your posts at Food52 have been so delicious! Congrats on the shiny new boy :)

    • says

      Thanks, Nik! Navigating that cookbook situation was quite stressful indeed, and I’m relieved it’s over. So many changes this year, but I’m glad most of them have been of the good variety lately. :)

  22. says

    So glad to see you back! I very often checked back this space and missed your posts! Kudos on making those tough choices. Writing/maintaining a blog in itself looks over whelming to me at times, so I could only imagine how stressful writing a cookbook in such a short amount of time is! So, whether there is a cookbook or not in the recent future, this creative space of yours has me hooked! Love your recipes featured on Food52 and elsewhere.

    • says

      Thank you, Archana! It’s true—blogging requires enough dedication in and of itself. Trying to figure out how I was going to continue to do that AND write a cookbook made my head spin. I’d much rather stick with the blog for now, and maybe there will be a cookbook in my future! :)

  23. Micaela says

    Oh man, I was so excited to see a post from you! What a year so far. I’m glad you’ve followed your heart and made some tough, albeit ultimately satisfying, choices. I have loved seeing your recipes pop up on Food52 and also look forward to catching up with your goings on in this space again! xx

  24. says

    I am glad you are back because that is how I just discovered your blog. And I am so glad I did, it is lovely! I will look forward to new posts, but as a new reader I also get to go back and read all the old posts to fill the time. Yay!

  25. says

    It’s really wonderful to have you back! And thank you for tackling the seedy underbelly of the seemingly wonderful world of cookbooks. (I’m a huge fan of the Bonjon Gourmet’s take, too.) So often, blogs are about projecting the image of a perfect life, one with spotless kitchens, an endless supply of seasonal berries, and great cookbook deals galore. Three cheers for letting the cracks show, saying no, and being all about real life. *This* is what matters.

    • says

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I’m really glad that Alanna and I could share the experiences we had, because it feels important to shed some light on the real, less dreamy side of cookbook deals. I’m sure it isn’t the case all of the time, but I think it happens far more often than people talk about.

  26. says

    Welcome back! What an OUTstanding post. I so so so appreciate your honesty. Congrats on saying “no” and doing what you knew was right. Gosh, that can be incredibly difficult to do, especially once you’ve started something. You have such strength! Also, congrats on all of the freelance work. So amazing! Can’t wait to see more from you. xo

    • says

      Thanks, Ashley! It’s true, backing out of the deal after I’d said yes and begun the work was SO tough. (I kept wishing I’d just said “no” from the get-go.) But it all worked out in the end, and I know I made the right decision. :)

  27. says

    Congratulations on the book and everything! Yes, the publishing industry is sort of a mess – and I’m so glad that you said that – but to have your words and images in print is still very awesome. And congrats on embarking on a new career :)

    • says

      Thanks, Joyti! It’s true, the publishing industry can be a bit unsavory in ways, though I do understand the plight of the smaller press that needs to put out the best quality material within their budget. (Which is why food bloggers are such a great package deal.) But yes, words and images in print would be a lovely thing indeed. :)

  28. says

    Oh my YAY. I had JUST started following you before you stopped posting and can’t tell you how many times I checked back to see if your big news had surfaced yet!! Glad to hear that everything worked out in the end–as it always does :) You and Alanna are both so talented–I would be shocked if book deals don’t start flying in your future. Though I’m perfectly content reading your lovely writing here as well :) Welcome back!!

  29. says

    I’m so thrilled that all those painful no’s turned into great big YES’s!! Couldn’t be more delighted to see you back in this space!

  30. Ockert says

    I am really glad you are back. Your readers from the other continent missed it.

    Exceptional compositions.

  31. annie says

    Yay I am so glad you’re back. I love your blog and have checked back often to see if you started up again! Keep it up :) So nice to read such an honest account of a project that you had to give up because it just wasn’t right for you. sometimes a lot of guilt/feelings of failure go along with that but knowing what is right for you is the greatest gift :)

    • says

      Thanks so much, Annie! There were definitely a lot of guilty feelings that came with abandoning the project (regarding both my own ambitions and the headaches my decision caused for my project editor). But it was amazing how quickly they evaporated once it became clear that I’d made the right decision for me. :)

  32. says

    I cannot tell you have troublesome it’s been (seriously!!) with you AWOL these past 6 months. I’m running out of stuff to pin! At times I’ve even resulted to reloading your cardamom coconut cuba libre, over and over…..and over. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Only a little.

    Annnnnnyywho…Yay!! Welcome back Carey!! I’m SO happy that you’re so happy. You deserve nothing but the best, in every way. Much love from the West Coast.

    • says

      Hehe! Thanks so much, Todd! I was looking back through old posts the other day for inspiration and it brought back fond memories of last summer, which was basically all ice cream and mixed drinks. I need more of that in my life this summer! :)

  33. says

    So glad you’re back! Thanks for this honest post and all the details of what you’ve been going through. The desk job part tugged at my heartstrings a little – amazing to hear you’ve made a change and are happy and fulfilled! Can’t wait to see what you’ll continue to do – any many congratulations on EatingWell!

  34. says

    I read each like with bated breath. This story was so well told! It is sad to realize cookbook deals are not all they’re cracked up to be, but I’m so impressed with you (and Alanna) for being able to see that before it was too late. Welcome back!

    • says

      Thank you, Shanna! Navigating that book deal was stressful but eye-opening, and one of the better learning experiences I’ve had. Glad to be back! :)

  35. says

    it’s funny how the internet takes us to places and people we didn’t know existed only to reveal something at the perfect moment that we didn’t know we needed.

    I’ve never visited your site before today (was directed here through Molly Yeh) and reading this is EXACTLY what I needed because it feels like I am reading my own diary or something. For one thing, I have had my own blog for the past 6 years that i have terribly neglected in the past 4 or 5 months and on top of that, I recently (as in two days ago) turned down an offer for what I thought was my dream job at the company I’ve been interning at because I’ve learned in the last couple of months of extreme stress and anxiety that I guess it wasn’t my dream job after all. I’m a total yes person/ people pleaser and this may have been the first time I’ve ever said no to anything that I “should” do or is the “right” choice in my entire life. Terrifying! I’m at a total crossroads with no real plan or direction at the moment (did I mention terrifying?) but for some reason, I’ve never felt better.

    Stumbling upon your blog and reading your story has been more of an encouragement to me than you could possibly know. Thank you so much and I can’t wait to keep reading in the future. :)

    • says

      Awwww, thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt comment, Julia! It’s wonderful to hear that my story resonated with you. Saying “no” to something you thought you wanted is so scary. I was totally freaked out after I let go of that deal and wondered what exactly I was going to do, especially if I wasn’t able to support myself as a freelancer. But things have managed to slowly fall into place, and I’m sure they will for you too! :)

  36. says

    YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! Words cannot express how happy I am to have you back to blogging. I missed your corner of the internet very, very dearly. So excited for all the awesome things going on with you, the boy, t.e.l.l., Eating Well, Food 52, everything! You deserve every last bit of awesomeness :) Love you and soooooo happy to have you back in your blog space my dear friend!!!

  37. says

    Wow, what an epic journey the past six months have been! I gotta say, I was seriously feeling all of the feels when I read the part about your book deal and how overwhelming it all became. I can absolutely understand the stress of sitting down to plan out your time and just not being able to fit it all in, and I think it’s really brave of you to be able to recognize that as quickly as you did — I’m always a fool who thinks I can do more than I can, and I push myself to say “yes”, when sometimes I should really be saying “no”, and then when I do realize I should’ve said “no”, I convince myself I’ve let things go on too long to back out of whatever it is I’ve gotten myself into. Bravo on having the courage to say no when you needed to!

    Also, congratulations on all of the other projects you have managed to take on! I feel like I see your work popping up everywhere (I didn’t even know about the stuff you’ve been doing for EatingWell), which is awesome! You’re so talented, it’s really great to see your work out there. And at the same time, I have to say I was super excited to see a new post from you show up in my feed… glad to know you haven’t abandoned this space. I missed you! :)

    • carey says

      Awww thanks so much, Willow!! I am usually the same way with feeling like I can’t back out of things after I’ve said yes to them, and I always wind up being a tornado of stress. I’m so glad I was able to look at this situation realistically and understand that I needed to say no, even if I felt like a chump doing so. I’m glad it all worked out in the end. :)

  38. says

    I have missed you Carey. As I read through this post, I went “No! She did not!”. But you know what, you are one of the bravest persons I have come across online/real life in recent times because you stood up for yourself and did not get carried away with what was expected of you. I wrote/photographed/cooked/styled/designed a cookbook in 40 days. It damn near killed me (I haven’t talked about it, but maybe I will on the blog someday). I had a nervous breakdown and was a shell for almost 4 months after that. When I look back at it and what it cost me and my family, I am not so sure I would do it again. It takes gumption to say no and kudos to you for doing just that! Wishing you heaps of success in everything your heart desires :-)

    • carey says

      Thank you so so much for this, Sneh. True story: When I was picturing what my life would be like while writing the book, I thought a lot about your behind the scenes #writingacookbook photos on instagram. I can only imagine what you went through with your book, and I’m sure I would have wound up in a very similar state if I had continued on with it (though I think my breakdown would have come before I’d finished). Kudos to you for pushing through all of that, including the aftermath, and creating a beautiful book. I’m so excited to see it in print! :)

  39. Sara says

    This. Is. Great. So glad I asked you for the link to your blog. Saying “no” can be way more important and meaningful than “yes” sometimes! I’ve definitely learned that lesson myself over the last year. Happy for your new adventures. :-)

  40. says

    I found this post via Cook Republic; this week I formally cancelled my contract with a publisher and it was such an enormous relief. I felt like a book deal was a right of passage for food bloggers — that it was something I had to do to be taken seriously. But as soon as I began working on it, I just had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it wasn’t right. I fought against it, told myself I’d just push through and things would be fine, but in the end, I had to walk away from my book deal. I know of a few other bloggers who’ve made the same decision, and many others who moved forward with their cookbooks and wished that they hadn’t.

    I also really believe in the power of no. I think people fetishize the word yes, like it’s some magical thing, but sometimes a well-timed no can be just as liberating and magical. :)

  41. says

    Saying no is one of the hardest lessons to know, and it comes easier only once we get to know ourselves, our needs, goals and priorities. If you felt this book project wasn’t making you happy or feeling good, then no is a brave yet good choice! Kudos to you for having the guts to stay true to yourself. I am sure more occasions will come for you to create the cookbook you have dreamed of. In the meantime, I join the chorus of cheers for having you back.

  42. says

    Carey, I’ve been a fan of your blog for a long time. For months, I was constantly checking and keeping my eyes peeled for a new post. I’m not sure how I missed this on my reader but I’m honestly so glad I did because I needed your words TODAY. In regards to my own life dilemmas, your post truly helped me. Thank you! So happy to see you’re back!!

    • carey says

      This comment makes me so happy, Melissa. I know that life dilemma stress well, and knowing that my words could help someone with theirs is pretty wonderful. Thank you so much, and I wish you all the luck with your dilemmas! :) xo

  43. says

    Carey, I have been so micro-focused on my own employment woes for the past 11 months (unemployment and serious job search) that I had no idea the cook book deal had been nixed. All web site access was relegated to trying my best to be gainfully employed once again. Your revelation makes perfect sense to me. Keep up the good work – you are one of the most accomplished and focused people I know!

    • carey says

      Aww thanks, Michael! And I can only imagine what a stressful and disheartening 11 months that must have been. I’m so glad that’s over and you’re back in the ranks, and alongside Eleanor again too!! :)


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