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Do you remember the Brady Bunch episode when Jan wanted a change? She wanted to introduce the world to a new Jan Brady because she wanted to stand out. The thing that makes that episode stand out in my mind isn’t the ridiculous black wig, but when Jan’s friends told her that they’d always envied her natural hair color. I’m having that moment.

My first blog post summed it up,

Well, I’ve decided to renovate my life. My life. As an individual. I recently realized that I was a person I did not want to be – a martyr. Always busy doing things that I did not enjoy because I was ‘supposed to’. For as long as I can remember, I incorrectly assumed that doing what made me happy was futile. So, I said yes to the wrong things and no to the right ones, because I wanted to be good.”

Yeah, I’m not doing that anymore. But in figuring out what makes me happy, I’m also learning what I was doing wrong and its not what I originally thought. I thought that everyone else’s expectations were making me unhappy, but it turns out I was making me unhappy. I was responsible for those burdens because I convinced myself that the real Devvon Hinds wasn’t good enough and then I eventually stopped fighting for and believing in myself. I’ve been at this “renovation” for a little over a month now and I’m learning that the things that I was covering with my metaphorical wig are the things that make me me. I’m social, I love helping people realize their ideas, I like meeting new people, I am absolutely enamored with writing, and I also happen to love to cook. I said that this wasn’t a recipe blog because honestly, I don’t like writing recipes and I’m not an expert. (Thanks for pointing that out, even if you were incredibly rude about it Martha) In some ways, I think she was right. I believe that in order for me to write a recipe that will be respected by the IACP, it should be tested several times by several different people in conditions that simulate an average kitchen. Do I know what tastes good and do I generally know what I’m talking about? Yes. But am I confident enough to submit a recipe to Bon Apetít and have it published? Um, no. Why am I saying this? Because I’m constantly defending my lack of interest for writing recipes and that needs to stop. I need to be concentrating on the things I do like and stop apologizing for what I don’t.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me giving myself permission to investigate what works for me and what doesn’t. Right now, I’m in the soaking up information stage and I’m enjoying that. No need to declare my life major quite yet. I am apparently really skilled at getting strangers to talk to me about their careers and figuring out which parts of their stories I identify with. I didn’t know that 2 months ago. Each time I leave a meeting, a new part of my brain starts firing ideas. Today I met with Chef Jeff Parker who is a food stylist, cookbook author and freelance culinary producer. (Yep, its a thing) What brought us together was our mutual love of cuisine but what bonded us were our personalities and desire to help each other. Pardon the pun, but we cooked up a great idea today!

I know this post is a bit of a brain dump, but I’m still learning to appreciate myself without my Jan Brady wig. I’m ignoring my creepy inner Jan voice that makes me doubt myself and am realizing that its ok to play up my strengths. My last post was incredibly personal and incredibly cathartic. That was the first time I thought about my familial relationships in conjunction with my love of food. The unexpected side effects of doing that were a three-way conversation with my mom & aunt where we reminisced about my Grandmother, numerous conversations and declarations of love among my cousins, and the conjuring up of warm and fuzzy memories and moments from my childhood. Good things that make me me. The tag line of this blog isn’t just a slogan but my truth, I am renovating my life by embracing my love for food. That love is forcing me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to experience things that I never would have imagined before and that feels good. Where that love will take me is yet to be determined. Maybe it’ll be in front of a stove, or at someone’s home giving them lessons, but maybe not – maybe I’ll be a culinary agent or a food writer, or even doing something totally unrelated to food.

I didn’t write much about my meeting with Jeff because he and I are now working on something (you’re stuck with me now, Jeff) that will be featured here in about a month or so. That post will include recipes, because Jeff is a pro and there is nothing that I love more than testing someone else’s recipe! If you can’t wait and need recipes now, check out his blog Jeff Parker cooks. And for goodness sakes, take off that wig and let people see the real you! I did and the sky didn’t fall.

Part 2 of The Evolution of a Foodie is coming. I didn’t get 20 “keep goings”, but I’m going to keep at it because I enjoyed it.