Oh Hello There

After a very long break, I'd like to welcome you to the new Broad Appetite! I was fortunate enough to have the beautiful and talented designer, Carrie Walters, create my new logo and help with web design. Carrie is not only a master of her trade, but she has a passion for food - so much so that she published a cookbook, 804ork. It's a gorgeous collection of recipes from some of Richmond's best restaurants. I've actually been helping her with photography and recipe editing for the second edition of the book. 

Speaking of what I've been up to while MIA, here are a few pictures from the past few months. 

I went on my very first Caribbean vacation to Grand Cayman. I've never seen water so clear and beaches so white. I instantly fell in love with the Island and its food. 

I went on my very first Caribbean vacation to Grand Cayman. I've never seen water so clear and beaches so white. I instantly fell in love with the Island and its food. 

One of the world's most interesting creatures in the wild.

One of the world's most interesting creatures in the wild.

Rum Point, Grand Cayman

Rum Point, Grand Cayman

Fresh coconut water

Fresh coconut water

It was so weird to see lizards all over the island instead of squirrels.

It was so weird to see lizards all over the island instead of squirrels.

Ackee and Codfish - A classic Cayman dish & my new favorite breakfast

Ackee and Codfish - A classic Cayman dish & my new favorite breakfast

While we were in Cayman Tommy proposed. We're thinking about going back to get hitched. 

While we were in Cayman Tommy proposed. We're thinking about going back to get hitched. 

Lately, I've been obsessed with the Pok Pok cookbook, and I'm working my way through each recipe. This is recipe #1 - deep fried whole fish with chile sauce (plaa thawt lat phrik)

Lately, I've been obsessed with the Pok Pok cookbook, and I'm working my way through each recipe. This is recipe #1 - deep fried whole fish with chile sauce (plaa thawt lat phrik)

The aftermath

The aftermath

Pok pok recipe #2 - Green curry with fish balls and eggplant (kaeng khiaw waan luuk chin plaa)

Pok pok recipe #2 - Green curry with fish balls and eggplant (kaeng khiaw waan luuk chin plaa)

Pok Pok Recipe #3 - Stir fried chicken with hot basil

Pok Pok Recipe #3 - Stir fried chicken with hot basil

Pok Pok Recipe #4 - Phat Thai

Pok Pok Recipe #4 - Phat Thai

Pok Pok Recipe #5 - Burmese-style pork belly curry (kaeng hung leh)

Pok Pok Recipe #5 - Burmese-style pork belly curry (kaeng hung leh)

Pok Pok Recipe #6 - Fried egg salad (yam khai dao)

Pok Pok Recipe #6 - Fried egg salad (yam khai dao)

Pok Pok Recipe #7 - Ike's Vietnamese Fish-Sauce Wings

Pok Pok Recipe #7 - Ike's Vietnamese Fish-Sauce Wings

Pok Pok Recipe #8 - Northern Thai curry noodle soup with chicken (khao soi kai)

Pok Pok Recipe #8 - Northern Thai curry noodle soup with chicken (khao soi kai)

Pok Pok Recipe #9 - Boat Noodles (kuaytiaw reua)

Pok Pok Recipe #9 - Boat Noodles (kuaytiaw reua)

I visited City Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri. This is one of the coolest places on earth, and I don't understand how it's not talked about more. It's a giant interactve art installation housed inside (and out) of an old shoe factory. You could spend days exploring every crevice of this unbelievable space. I would go back to Saint Louis just to see it again.  

I visited City Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri. This is one of the coolest places on earth, and I don't understand how it's not talked about more. It's a giant interactve art installation housed inside (and out) of an old shoe factory. You could spend days exploring every crevice of this unbelievable space. I would go back to Saint Louis just to see it again.  

My dad moved from Virginia to California this summer. so I helped him pack up his car and we drove across country together. 

My dad moved from Virginia to California this summer. so I helped him pack up his car and we drove across country together. 

Arizona landscape

Arizona landscape

Chili mobile

Chili mobile

As I mentioned before, I helped with photography and recipe editing for the second addition of this cookbook. 

As I mentioned before, I helped with photography and recipe editing for the second addition of this cookbook. 

The 804ork cookbook is a collection of recipes from prominent Richmond chefs, so I was able to spend time in the kitchen with some chefs I really admire. This is Tim Laxton working his biscuit magic at Early Bird Biscuits Co.

The 804ork cookbook is a collection of recipes from prominent Richmond chefs, so I was able to spend time in the kitchen with some chefs I really admire. This is Tim Laxton working his biscuit magic at Early Bird Biscuits Co.

804ork recipe testing

804ork recipe testing

Although it may seem I was keeping pretty busy, the truth is I was in a blogger rut. For the past few months I was completely unable to bring myself to post. 

After reading a slew of self-help books (recommendations below) to get to the root of my paralysis, I’m finally moving forward.

My official line to you guys (and myself) was that I needed time to revamp the website and work on other projects. But when those were done, I still hesitated. Why? To answer that, I had to be really honest with myself.

I found myself feeling anxious and insecure. And the blog started to feel less like fun and more like a chore.

After winning Saveur’s Best New Blog award in 2014, I suddenly felt a new pressure to perform and constantly compared myself to other, better, food bloggers. I was offered promotional products and opportunities, and was obligating myself to things I felt lukewarm about. Also, the more food blogs I followed the more they all started to look the same, and I knew my blog was no different.

I was getting jaded. The blog was going down a certain path at full speed, and I wasn’t sure if it was the direction I wanted. The problem was, I didn’t know which way I wanted it to go.

So I put on the brakes and took a vacation from it all, a much-needed break to relax, think, and course correct. At first, it felt amazing to completely disconnect. It was so nice not to worry about how many page views, likes, or shares I got. I felt liberated from the need to instagram and tweet every morsel I ate. I could just enjoy.

But after a while it started to feel more like I was giving up rather than just taking some time. I felt like I was letting everyone down (including myself), and I’d grimace every time my mom called and asked about my next post.

For the last couple months, I’d wake up determined to start back up. I would have grand plans to test recipes, practice photography, and write – only to end up doing nothing and feeling even worse about myself when I went to bed. I knew I wasn’t lazy, so I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get myself moving.

So I starting reading book after book about personal success and professional effectiveness. I read about procrastination and motivation. I started meditating in the morning, and I really analyzed my feelings. I realized that I got caught up with making the blog a “success.” I worried too much about what everyone else thought. Instead of being motivated by an excitement for food, I was driven by a fear of failure, which is a pretty stupid reason to do something that’s supposed to be fun.

So I decided I had two choices. Either continue working on the blog, knowing there would be ups and downs and a lot of hard work, or quit and feel the pain of regret and unfulfilled potential. I decided on the former, but this time around I would drop the fear. I vowed the blog would be my space on the web where I would share only those things that are a true expression of myself.

I still don’t know exactly what I want from this blog, but that will come in time. What I know for sure is that I’m going to blog for myself first, and if anyone enjoys it - that will be a bonus. I've made a promise to myself that Broad Appetite will always be a creative project that will come from a place of excitement and possibility.


If you're ever in a professional, personal, or even spiritual rut like I was, I highly recommend the following books: