Happy Monday everyone! How cute are my parents?! They sent me this picture last week, of them holding a copy of my cookbook after receiving a big FedEx shipment of 1900 books to their house! The books arrived on a huge FedEx truck (see the picture below) and they had to get all 5000 pounds of boxes into their garage. They are total troopers. I’m on a plane heading to Nashville right now, to spend the week shipping out those books to all of YOU, and to host a series of book events. (If you live in Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin and want to pick up your book in person, I would LOVE for you to come to our Open House Thursday night! Send me an email and I’ll send you an invite!) For those of you who ordered books via Kickstarter or on my blog, thank you for your patience. I’m hoping to get all orders shipped out this week, and you should have your books in time for Thanksgiving.

You know that Macklemore song “10,000 Hours”? (Whether you like Macklemore or not, you have to admit that the song is catchy!) In it, he talks about pursuing his dream of becoming a recording artist, and all of the hours of hours and hours of work that were poured into the process. It’s been an inspiration to me over the past year as I’ve created my cookbook. I love the part where he talks about painters like Escher, Keith Haring, and Basquiat, and he says, “The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint, The greats were great cause they paint a lot.” Based on Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success, which says that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, the song essentially reminds me that becoming really good at something takes time. And a lot of work. It’s not just something we’re born with. No matter what it is that you’re pursuing, if you want to succeed, you have to want it badly enough to put in the effort.


Though I totally agree with Macklemore and Malcom, I feel like I’m writing my own version of the song called “10,000 Stairs.” That pretty much describes the past year of my life: flight after flight of stairs, lugging endless bags of groceries, props, suitcases, and now, boxes of books. Each time I huff and puff up those five flights of stairs to my apartment, carrying far more than I think is possible, I try to focus on staying thankful. For the chance to exercise (free cardio!), for the chance to live in NYC in a neighborhood and an apartment that I love (which we’d never be able to afford if the building had an elevator), for incredible friends and family who have climbed these stairs with me many a time, helping me carry bags and boxes along the way, and for the incredible opportunity I’ve had to write my own cookbook. The stairs help keep me grounded. They remind me not to take anything for granted, to stay humble, and to keep working hard. They keep me from getting lazy or throwing in the towel. The pursuit of a dream is an incredible process, but it’s certainly not easy (and rarely glamorous). My stairs remind me that you have to really want it to keep going.

But on the flip side, climbing 10,000 stairs can get really exhausting, And, at times, discouraging. This week, particularly, wore me out. We received 300 copies of the cookbook on Monday (that’s 750 pounds of books!) and had to carry them all up to the apartment, box by box. Thank goodness for Brandon and my sweet friend Jenn, who helped me lug the books up each and every flight. Later we received two big boxes containing 150 aprons, and another big box full of 250 paper bags (which Jenn later hand-stamped with the Yellow Table logo). We hosted the first book launch party Monday night, and with help from my amazing girlfriends, we made appetizers for 100. All of the food I made needed to be carried down the stairs (along with the bags, flowers, and other party supplies) and over to The Copenhagen. (Despite all the work, the party was fantastic – pictures and stories to follow in the next post!)


Post-party, we had to haul more boxes of books back up the stairs, along with food, wine, and other party leftovers. The rest of the week included a video shoot, a photo shoot, media deliveries (which involved me hand-carrying bags of books and mason jars of granola to editors around the city), and setting up a book booth at a big entrepreneur’s expo across town. All of these activities involved making food and lugging books and bags of props up and down my stairs. By Saturday night, every muscle in my body ached and all I could think about was taking a long, hot bath. Though I’ve never done CrossFit, I cannot imagine that it’s a better workout than my day-to-day life!

Sometimes I dream of what it would be like to live in a house. With an entrance on the ground floor. (!!) I think about going to the grocery store in a car, and driving home with the bags snugly tucked away in the trunk. I think about how easy life would be, walking my bags from the car through the garage and into the kitchen. Easy, breezy. But, who knows, if I lived in that house with the car and the garage, if I would have ever even started the cookbook in the first place? As much as I love comfort, I’ve always been slightly afraid of it. That it would numb me, and keep me from challenging myself. I’ll never know the answer to these what ifs, but what I do know is this: if life gives you stairs, you climb them. I’m hoping that after climbing 10,000 of them I’ll have a little wisdom to show for it. And if nothing else, some really toned calves!

What about you?! What stairs are you climbing in your life right now? And what are they teaching you?! Would love to hear from you all.

Xo, Anna

Nashville – I’m coming for ya! Can’t wait to see you soon!