If you know me at all, you know I love everything about Ina Garten. I’ve been the biggest fan of hers since I was like 12 years old. I can remember watching The Barefoot Contessa with my grandma and being enamored with Ina’s kitchen and her recipes and just, Ina. A few weeks ago she came to St. Louis to do a Q&A and you know I bought tickets like the day they came out. It also happened to be the night after my birthday which I took as a sign that Ina and I are meant to be.
As a little Motivation Monday I want to share a little of Ina’s wisdom with you. Ina started her career working in the White House as a nuclear budget analyst. After working there for several years she saw an ad in a newspaper for a specialty food store for sale in East Hampton, NY, The Barefoot Contessa. She talked about her decision to switch careers completely and said she loved the work she was doing in D.C., but that it was boring and “just wasn’t me.” Sometimes we do something for so long, it doesn’t register that you don’t actually have to do it for the rest of your life. If you’re feeling bored or not challenged with what you’re doing, it’s probably time to think about what’s next. What Ina said that her old job “just wasn’t me” really stuck with me. It was a great reminder that you should always stay true to yourself and trust your gut that you’re doing what’s right for you.
Ina also talked a little about being Type A and how it affects her ability to create. She said when you’re trying to come up with something, for her it’s new shows or her next cookbook, you can easily come up with hundreds of reasons why it won’t work. You can overthink every outcome of your decision or every possibility, but you don’t really know how it will work so you just have to jump in the pond. She also said that once she’s in, that’s how she learns and gets inspiration for new ideas or projects. As a Type A person, I struggle a lot with not overthinking every decision ever. Anyone else in the same boat? Ina’s advice is so universal too, not just for work or your next project but life in general. You really don’t know what the outcome is going to be, so you just have to jump in and figure it out. I’ve always tried to remind myself it’s OK to not know where you’re going as long as you’re moving forward.
Another story of Ina’s I just love is how she and Jeffrey spent 4 months before moving to D.C. camping in Europe. She said they budgeted to live in Europe on $5 a day every day which is how she learned so much about French cooking, using fresh ingredients, and shopping at markets. Being more adventurous is something I’ve been trying to be better at over the past year. I don’t think I’ll be camping in Europe on $5 a day with my own Jeffrey anytime soon (that’s what hotel points are for). Maybe I’ll try to learn French cooking in France though. Or maybe I’ll just start with cooking more at home first. But trying something new and getting outside your comfort zone often is so important to growing and learning.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, always use good vanilla.
Does anyone else feel as inspired by Ina?
xo – Tracy