Archive for the ‘Editorial Thoughts’ Category

What’s in a Title?

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Over the past twelve months I have made many career changes, while at the same time retaining other roles. Thus, when I have introduced myself, I usually described myself as the CEO of an online publishing company. Then, a couple weeks ago, I met a new neighbor and used that description. As I walked away, I had one of those lightbulb moments: should I really describe myself as that now?

The easy answer may be yes. I am writing the Editorially Yours column for the aforementioned online publishing company to share this quandry. However, I know that PeKu is not the company it was even six months ago. And PeKu itself doesn’t take the bulk of my time. Thus, what do I call myself?

An option would be to describe myself as a food blogger, recipe creator, or food authority. However, I wonder what others will think of that. My honest fear is that they’ll think I’m one of the many people who thinks she knows what she’s doing in her kitchen and writing on some community forum, not that I have been building Think Tasty over the past ten years and am currently putting many hours every week into this role.

Another option would be to announce myself as the Dean of Content and Instruction for an entrepreneurial education program. The problem with that title is that most people have no idea what I do. It becomes a longer answer in which I explain my role, how it works, who I educate, and more. And still, people give me a quizzical look, as they nod in agreement.

Part of the problem simply is that I hold two (or three, if you count PeKu) roles that exist primarily in the virtual world. A second part of the problem is that people want simple answers. “I’m a teacher.” “I’m a barista.” Just like we expect to hear “Good” when we ask how someone is doing. Maybe the best answer is to use a description rather than give a title. I work in the startup world in two diverse ways: educating entrepreneurs and blogging about my food creations. It is what I do with the bulk of my days.

Give me a title, if you need: Director of Content and Instruction, Recipe Creator, Founder of PeKu. I’m good with all of them. Just ask me to explain if you’re not sure what I do.

Thinking About Food

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The decision to reduce PeKu to only one active publication was made purely due to business sense. Implementing that decision was difficult. I had to let go of team members who’d been with me for years, minimize my startup that felt like a child of mine, and recognize that PeKu was no longer the sizable publishing company that it used to be.

With only Think Tasty left, I began focusing my energies on making it the best food blog I could. In that process, I have been surprised as to how much I enjoy this new role. It’s not that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy working on Think Tasty, it was that I feared the sadness of reducing PeKu would diminish my joy.

What I didn’t consider was that I spend many hours every day thinking about food. I guess I always have, but now it’s essential not only to my daydreaming but also to my work. I work in my kitchen for numerous hours every week, creating recipes, refining each, and sampling them. I read numerous food articles; I review restaurant menus; I devour interesting recipes all in hopes of finding a glimmer of inspiration.

As much as it pained me to shutter a great portion of PeKu, I also am loving this new role as chief foodie at Think Tasty. I am learning to be the voice of that publication, more than I ever have before. Although I hesitate to call myself a food authority, as I lack formal training, I do know that I work well in a kitchen. I just need to be a little more assured and proclaim it a bit more loudly.

So, I will continue to focus on food: thinking, cooking, writing, and promoting the very best that I can.

Hello, 2017!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Like I have done for the past few years, I arrange my work schedule so that the week between Christmas and New Year has minimal work projects. As the only writer, I assigned no articles that week. I edited ahead of schedule so that I would be free of that duty also. In addition, I turned off my professional social media channels and skipped my weekly review of stats.

Of course, as a one-woman business, I can’t turn everything off, so I checked emails and other items crucial to the running of PeKu. Just having fewer items on my to-do list was quite refreshing. There was time to linger over coffee by the fireplace, availability to go to lunch with my family, and reason to have a tv show marathon on a weekday afternoon.

Last week saw me creeping back into my regular routine. Monday was my ease back into the real world day with time set aside for work projects plus a little set aside for fun. (It was a federal holiday after all!) I also returned to my office for a couple days, as I hadn’t been there for a bit. Aside from the chilly walk to and from the office, it was good to be working outside of my home.

With all of that time away from the regular flow of work, I did spend a good amount of time on fun and frivolous items. I also used that time to think about PeKu and Think Tasty and my goals for each. With only one publication and the corporate site to oversee, I am excited to focus even more deeply on producing the best content possible. This includes not only creating new recipes, but also adding new improvements: better photography, different marketing strategies, and more.

The time off for the holidays was a great way to rejuvenate, both personally and professionally. Now, I’m ready to dive back into PeKu and see where it can go.

Glimmers of Christmas Brightness

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

christmas-1849263_640Two weeks ago I wrote about how I have been struggling to find the joy I usually feel during the holiday season. Thankfully through the anticipation of events, planned activities, and patience, I have found my heart and mind embracing more of my typical holiday spirit.

We moved into our new home in early December. Although this was a bright spot, it is also where the need for patience came into play. It was wonderful to have a place that was our own, but moving into a home and unpacking it are two very different things. My irrational self wanted everything in place and perfect as soon as possible. My rational self realized that with a little calmness everything would fall into place in due time. As I write this, we are 95% done and feeling like this is home.

During the second week of December my kids returned home from college. Four days after moving into our new home we drove to Canada (and back) to bring our daughter home from her first semester at university. Another four days later we picked up our son at Logan after his semester ended. Having the kids (AKA adults) at home definitely adds to the festive air.

Over the last three weeks I’ve been working on the project that I adopted: completing a random act of kindness every day. I have found this project to be very fulfilling. For some of the acts I’ve done, it’s completely anonymous, and I don’t see a reaction. For others I am there, buying a coffee for a stranger, letting an elderly person go ahead of me in line. In a moment such as that, the smile on the person’s face is the only reward I need. Knowing that I made someone’s day better is quite amazing.

There are five days until Christmas, and I am glad that I will be with family and friends. I know that being with those I cherish will be comforting. I also know that a part of me will feel deep sorrow that my brother isn’t here to celebrate. So, I will acknowledge my grief but also remember the joy I have shared and the love that surrounds me. I will continue to seek the brightness in this holiday.

Trying to Make Christmas Bright

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

christmas-stars-ornamentsThe Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love the lights, the decorations, the sparkle in young children’s eyes. It’s the time of year when there seems to be extra cheer and I get to spend even more time cooking for others. For me, all of this excitement begins on the day after Thanksgiving.

This year, however, it’s quite different. It’s my first year as an empty nester, which makes the start of the holiday season feel so different. Although it’s been years since I read a Christmas book to my kids at bedtime, I’m used to the energy and anticipation of children (even teens) in our home. In addition to an empty nest, we also are kind of nest-less. We are finishing up our hotel stay, as we prepare to move into our new home this Wednesday. Our accommodations are nice, and the staff here has done a lovely job of decorating, but I’m still living in a hotel room that isn’t home. And of course, there’s the part of me that’s grieving the loss of my brother this year. There’s a very big part of me that’s filled with sadness during my favorite time of year. To help with this sadness, I’ve used both in-person and online therapy.

As November neared its end, I decided to make a few resolutions. First, I had to accept that this holiday season would simply be different. With an early December move-in date, decorating might be less but I would embrace the excitement of our new home. Second, I decided that different dates would be important. Instead of looking forward to the day after Thanksgiving to decorate, I’m excited for the third week of December when both of my kids come home from college. Third, I realized that although I would be sad, I could do kind things for others and in that find some happiness.

The first two resolutions were simple. Wait for kids to come home when finals are done. Wait for moving day to arrive. Each of these events has a separate countdown. (Currently at 1 day to moving, 5 days until daughter is home, 9 days until son is home.) The third resolution took a bit more work.

I could have left the kind act to randomness, but I work better with organization. So, I created a random acts of kindness calendar for myself. With many online versions available, I looked at tons of them and found inspiration for creating my own. While making the calendar, I decided that some of the things I do will be anonymous, but others will be done in-person. Having completed my first five acts of kindness, I look forward to each day’s act in hope that I make someone else’s day brighter.

Already this holiday season, there have been many moments when there’s a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I have learned to accept that is how this season will be. But knowing that each day I’ll do something kind for someone else helps to ease that sadness just a little bit. Focusing on make another person’s day a little brighter has made mine brighter also.

A final thought: Although this was my choice to perform random acts of kindness this month, I’m wondering if others might be interested in doing this also. I’m not asking for a daily commitment to this but a single, simple act. If you read this article and decide to do something kind for someone else, please share it in the comments. I’d love to see these acts of kindness multiply.

Why Not Make Another Change?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

hotel-roomSeeing that title, readers may wonder what exactly I’m changing at PeKu now. The good news for our loyal readers is that there have been no new changes to PeKu. However, there has been another set of changes in my personal life, which does affect PeKu in some form or fashion.

To review, there have been a number of changes for PeKu and me in the last three months:

  • In August I downsized PeKu and let go of my entire writing team in an attempt to revive its future.
  • In September my husband and I became empty nesters.
  • In October I decided that PeKu should focus solely on Think Tasty, including giving it my own personal voice.

Yeah, there’s been a little bit going on in my life on both personal and professional levels (and that list doesn’t even include my work with Wasabi Ventures Academy). However, I like to be busy and keep my calendar full. So, why not put our house on the market and see if we can find a better sized home- one that works well for two most of the time but still has room for kids who are home for the summer and holidays? So, we did that and closed on the sale of our home last week.

This was an exciting development, with one hitch. The sale happened quickly, and we hadn’t found our next place to live. So, with a contract signed we began a search for our next place and found one quickly. (Phew!) Of course, finding a place quickly doesn’t mean moving there quickly. The exact place we want isn’t available until early December. Let’s do a little math. House closes in early November. New place is ready in early December. Yep, there’s a month without a home.

It’s only the two of us for the bulk of that month, so there was an easy solution- live in a hotel. Now, that may sound like something out of storybooks or tv shows, and it kind of is. It’s nice not having to vacuum the bedroom or clean my breakfast dishes. Plus, it’s a nice setup with a good fitness center, indoor pool, and a welcoming staff. However, as someone who not only loves to work with food, but also builds part of her career around food, it makes things a bit tricky. I have done some hotel room cooking, as you’ll see on Think Tasty in a few weeks, but I miss having my whole array of kitchen tools and appliances.

I’m keeping in mind that this transition period is short and will make me appreciate our new home even more. In the meanwhile I’ll be crafting as many microwave-only meals as I can. And trying not to get used to clean towels that appear magically every day.

Inspire. Inform. Engage.