I’m half tempted to half jokingly call this one “stick a fork in me, I’m done.” Except, like, I’m not anywhere done with creating a book—- I’m just busy, worried, hormonal, anxious, nervous, and excited all in one.

I know everyone and their mom is a food stylist on instagram these days—  let’s be real here, your food doesn’t even have to taste good, it just has to look good!— I’ve found this is true for people’s personalities too— ha ha, okay, half kidding, snark aside—- styling can be fun, right? And I do believe it to be absolutely true that when you take the time to make a beautiful meal, you enjoy it more. But while I love ‘styling’ things, I don’t do it as well as I’d like like this, when it’s required in such large amounts and a quickly approaching deadline. 

Our everyday meals do look nice and I know where my strong points are— they are in flavors and seasoning— in cooking, I’m good at that. And if I can just transcribe my recipes to paper and have someone taste my meals, I can show that. I build layers of flavor and it tastes good. Our plates stay simple— real to our house. But/and I stress, in creating pinterest-esque meals that are re-pinned over and over? I don’t know. I get it, those photos looks perfectly placed and very beautiful— but thats that style. And my own— well, it’s different. And I am good at what I do, the way I do things—-  but it’s just hard to let it flow and come out when I put so much pressure on myself! With the exception of Hannah coming to help with a day or two of family shots, it’s just me here. No camera team. No styling team. No assistant— it’s just me pouring love, time, and sometimes unfortunately, actual tears into this thing. A labor of love. 
I do love what I’m doing, what I’m making. The idea of it, and even though it’s much harder on myself than I would have imagined, I do enjoy most of the reality of it as well. The days that have been the most enjoyable are the days when I only have a few items to make— of recipes that I know, love and make often. I make the dish and have fun with photos. But the days of making, re-making, slip ups and failing— and especially on the days that I just can’t seem to figure out my camera, those days are hard. And when I have to drop what I’m doing to run to a toddlers needs and whatever else, even little mishaps happen. Food gets overcooked, something gets forgotten, or even a decimal gets skipped when writing it all down and I’m back at square one. In my everyday, I just make and create, photograph, enjoy, and share. With this, it’s real life, with all it’s delicious faults and glories, except that everything has to be transcribed perfectly, in faultless order.
When I was 6 or 7 years old or so, I remember painting a portrait of a couple for my mom. This image of a couple dancing in a big open field— a romantic portrait, something very beautiful—  not a replica of anything else, but a new image created from many details I had loved from other art I had once seen and stories I had read. That image in my head and the painting I created, share no resemblance. I still, to this very day, struggle with this idea— the fact that I can dream up these beautiful visualizations in my head, and no matter how hard I try, I can not translate these musings into tangible images in front of me. At months away from 30 years old, I still do this now. I feel for the child I was who struggled with learning this reality. And I feel for myself now, who still yearns for this to some how, impossibly, change. I want the love that I feel for my food and home to show and the confidence in my meals to come through—- and I’m working hard to push through whatever I can to overcome my own fear, self doubt, and learning to bring this work to life while still being part of life. I put all my love and effort into that painting and I’m putting every last bit of love, time, and effort to create this now, in a real life kitchen. 


  1. I'm impressed you're doing it all yourself! A lot of people don't actually do all the work, you know this, of course. I really enjoy your blog photos-food and all. I totally beth internal struggle too though, like YOU need to like what you're doing, be happy about it, and full of pride. Can't wait to see it all come together. Sending good vibes your way!

  2. I'm a fairly new fan`follower of OhDearDrea (about six months maybe) and I personally think all of your styling is worthy of all types of print media, electronic or otherwise. You are uniquely you and your photography (and styling) reflect that. It is was draws people to follow your work. It will be what sells your book. I'm a 51 year old mother of three/crafter/amateur photographer/decorator/school head/lifelong learner/ passionate about a lot of things……and I'm inspired by the fact that you are doing what your heart (and your strengths) tells you to do. Keep up the GREAT work (especially being an amazing mother).

  3. Just remember The Experiment picked YOU! They loved what they saw, stay true to you and always remember the publishing team and your fans are cheering you on. I worked on a photography project with the Experiment with an aggressive timeline and at times felt like how in the world am I going to do this and do it perfect/well and other times I felt like I just flat out sucked and nothing would go/look right- keep up the awesome work and remember they selected you for a reason 🙂

  4. I struggle with self doubt when it comes to teaching. I tend to let my anxiety get the best of me and I beat myself up about it. Sometimes I have a difficult time not comparing myself to my peer teachers or my lessons to all of the amazing lesson plans I find on pinterest. And when I make mistakes, I have to remind myself that mistakes are necessary for growth to happen. You do the best you can with what you have and be yourself. I think your love for food and your home is already so obvious! There are so many people who love your images and style. all of the pressure, worry, sacrifice, etc will be worth it in the end if you are pursuing your passion. I look forward to your cookbook!

  5. Most artists hate their creations at first because they don't align with the "vision." But take a few steps back, and you'll see that what you made was amazing. From an outsider's perspective, I appreciate your unique viewpoint and that your photos do not look like everyone else's. Stay true to yourself.

  6. Sorry if I post twice…it looks like my comment didn't go through. Anyways, I feel the same way!! I get annoyed because I think I'm much more creative than people who make more beautiful things than I do. I learned that there's a difference between craftiness and creativity. Something "styled" is a craft that's probably based on a template. Things that are creative are unique and don't look like the idealized imagery that we often see and long for. The cool thing is, we each have our own style, but we can't see it. Trust me that other people will see what you create as uniquely YOU – and that's awesome!

  7. I feel the same way! I think I'm a lot more creative than a lot of other people who make more beautiful things than I can. I think it's BECAUSE you're creative that it doesn't look like "everyone else's!" I learned that there is a difference between craftiness and creativity. Most "styled" things are crafty – they are modeled after a template, not created out of the newness of your imagination. The cool thing is you have your own style and it will translate out as such in your pictures and your book. You can't see your own style though, and that's where it gets frustrating. Trust me that outsiders will be able to tell that what YOU create is uniquely YOU and is awesome because of that! I hope these ramblings made sense 🙂

  8. I'm learning the same thing… nothing is ever perfect, and that's okay. I too have trouble with what I think up in my head and putting it on canvas. I tend to be my own worst critic when it comes to my art, and I am now realizing that I am good at it… took a handful of people to tell me I am talented to actually believe it. Now I just have to over come my issues with never finishing any piece of art I finish. But keep doing what you are doing! You are great at it 🙂

  9. Won't actual tear change the saltiness of the dish?

    Hope it cheered you up a bit. You do wonderful things. Don't doubt it for a second. You will get through and we are all so excited to see the result.

  10. I think that's the driving force of all creativity though, the thing that keeps an artist driven enough to keep going and stressed enough to actually create – "I must do justice to the vision in my mind"

    • I've never looked at it that way. Thank you for this. Keeping this in mind.

  11. Your writing is REAL, your home looks REAL, and we keep coming back. By real, I certainly don't mean cluttered or messy. You could show a picture of a burnt meal, and tell us to trust you that it is delicious, and we would. Your book will be SO GOOD! I am so excited there will be images of your family cooking! Hope this upcoming week is nothing short of calm and beautiful for you all.

    • real life is typically very clean and very neat— with a big pile of laundry waiting 😉 Thank you so much. I wake up today excited to cook again, after taking a break yesterday. Hoping for a good week too and hoping you have one as well <3

  12. Passion and process comes first, everything else can come second. We learn the most from the process. You will do great, your book will be vibrant full of great images and yummi things. Your photos of food and family are vibrant and beautiful, it's one of the reasons why I keep coming back. I love happy places, your's is a happy place:)