A New Year, A New Word…Never Mind that it’s Mid-February


Photographing Truffle Country

Yes, I’ve been quiet for awhile.

How to explain it?

Every year around October 15th, I feel as though someone tosses me in the washer on the spin cycle and leaves me there, spinning faster and faster, until about January 5th. Abruptly, the washer stops, the door opens, and I’m tossed onto the floor.

When I was young, I would pop right up and say, “Whee!! That was so fun. Let’s do it again!” {clap, clap, clap}

A few decades into life, I’d stand up more slowly, feel a bit woozy, but gain my equilibrium fairly quick.

Now, I simply lay there on the floor thinking, “I can’t get up.”

The Truffle Countryside

This year, in particular, I felt more weighted down. I could not get up. One of the reasons for that heaviness was that I have been saying YES.

And I want to say YES. As a matter of fact, YES is my word for 2013.


The Road to the Truffle Forest

But, whenever I say YES to something new, I have to make time for it in my life. Something has to fall off the bottom of the list, to make room for the new opportunity at the top.

Often, I have trouble letting go of the things at the bottom. Those items I insist on putting on the list even though they weigh me down and I know I’ll never get to them. But, choices must be made. So it takes awhile for my time to stabilize between what I want to accomplish, and what I can realistically get done. The fine balancing act of life.

The Truffle Hunter

A few days into the New Year, I read an essay Tina Fey wrote about saying “Yes!” She attributes most of her success to saying yes to opportunities even when she was terrified to take on what she had just agreed to do.

“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.”

Then, a post by Seth Godin popped into my email box entitled, On behalf of Yes.

“Yes, you’re capable of making a difference. Yes, your bravery is worth it.

Yes, you can do even better.”

Of course, there are limits of reason to saying yes. I’m not talking about saying yes to every tiny, nitpicking detail that comes into your life.

Or, as my teenage daughter pointed out, “Maybe not appropriate for sex, drugs, and booze.”

Or, maybe it is. Maybe you need to say, “Yes!” to a little more booty with your sweetie.

I’m talking about saying, “Yes!” to the opportunities in your life that take you closer to your passions, your goals, your hopes for making a difference in you and in this world.

So, I’ve been embracing my inner Tina Fey.

The Deep Dark Truffle Forest

When an opportunity came across my desk to represent 1859 Oregon’s Magazine wearing my Home Grown Chef hat at the Oregon Truffle Festival, I said yes. I would be one of three featured “chefs” at the Truffle Marketplace preparing a dish that featured the fragrant and earthy black and white Oregon truffles. ($100-$1000 per pound mushrooms sniffed out by dogs and pigs.)

So, I said, yes, I can do this, when the only form of truffle I’d ever had was chocolate.

Aha! A Truffle!

I said, yes, I can do this, when I asked if they could send me some truffles to work with beforehand but was instead told, “No, you won’t have them until you make your dish at the festival.”

I said, yes, I can do this, when I trusted my cooking knowledge and came up with my own recipe instead of the one they were recommending even though I wouldn’t be able to taste the final product until right before I served it to 300 people.

I said, yes I can do this, when I walked into the cavernous Hilton kitchen and took ownership of an empty workspace despite the sous chefs, dishwashers, and culinary students milling around and the Executive Chef pacing back and forth.

I said, yes I can do this, when I showed up without my “knife roll” or my own measuring cups and spoons wearing my brown apron with the pink polka dots.

I said, yes I can do this, when I heated my cream using a saucepan that weighed almost as much as me, no “spoon rest” in sight, and the chef next to me simply lifting and flipping his sauce with the flick of a wrist.

I said, yes, I can do this, when I turned my back on the cream for 10 seconds, and the whole thing puffed up like Jiffy Pop Popcorn and streamed down and around the entire range.

And I said, yes, I did it, when the Executive Chef as well as the 300 tasters took a bite and said, “Wow! That’s delicious.” One sweet gal even asked, “Where’s your restaurant?”

And no, this isn’t the same scenario as Tina Fey saying yes to, “We’re offering you a job at Saturday Night Live…can you move here in a week?”

But, it’s saying yes to something that moves me forward in my life.

Diggin’ for Truffles

And I am saying yes to many things in my life that I’ve put off which I will be sharing with you in the upcoming weeks.

My favorite post from 2012 was when you opened your heart, gathered up some courage, and said, “Yes, I’m going to choose a word to guide me through this year, and I’m going to publicly share it with Carrie.”

I’d love to know what your word of the year is, or if you haven’t chosen a word, “Get on it!” It is mid-February after all. Leave your word in the comments below. Your courage to share your word and your thoughts may inspire someone else and isn’t that really why we’re all here? To inspire and support one another.

I promise I won’t be absent for so long again. As always, thank you for reading and sharing.

With love this Valentine’s Day,

PS: A special shout out to my dear friend Polly who said yes when I asked if she would spend a weekend away from her sweet family and help me out at the Truffle Festival. I couldn’t have done it without her. “Thank you, Polly!!” And thank you to 1859 Oregon’s Magazine for the opportunity. I loved every minute of the weekend. (Ok, maybe not when the cream was boiling over, but every other minute.) And thank you to my main squeeze for tending to the chickens and the coop while I was gone. xo


  1. Carrie! Love your post and love your photos. Well said, as always. Cute boots and I want to hug that adorable truffle hunter. Sweetest face.

    • I know…isn’t that truffle hunter adorable? Her name is Chloe and she was so excited to sniff out the truffles.

  2. Melinda Cotten says:

    Loved this post Carrie! However, another word comes to mind and that is brave! Your pictures are just beautiful..

  3. Yes! I am so glad you are no longer quiet; I had missed you. What a great, inspiring post!! 🙂 My word for the year: hone. Defined as “to sharpen or smooth”. Although I am also thinking “lucky”.

    • Love the word hone, Carrie (and great name by the way. Love how you spell it.) And I say it’s always good to have a back-up word.

  4. “Kick-ass!” That’s my word! And that is what you have done by saying, “YES!” You continue to inspire and amaze me!

  5. Kathleen F. says:

    “Me” – 2013 has been dedicated to “The Year of Me”… for 52 years, I have put others first and so my New Year’s resolution this year was to give myself as much love and attention as I so freely give to others.

    • Kathleen, we must be on a similar wavelength because I’m feeling the same way. Good for you for putting “ME” out there and making it a priority to take care of yourself first. I whole-heartedly agree with that!!

  6. Laurie Walker says:

    Loved seeing this in my inbox this morning! I’ll pick a phrase for the year: Let it go. My mind can spin with the best of them. Learning to let it go is an art form I’d like to master this year. Thanks for the inspiration, Carrie!

  7. What a wonderful post, Carrie! Thank you for sharing. My word for the year is “Stretch” (as in stretching myself in order to reach new personal/professional/creative goals)….

    • Thank you for sharing, Janelle. I love stretch not only because it’s a great word but it’s so visual. Go reach for those goals!!

  8. Beautiful photos, Carrie! Wow! Did your dog actually sniff out some truffles?? I like the idea of a word for 2013. I’m thinking…. okay, it’s going to be a rip-off of a very well-known corporate slogan but it is very fitting: Just do it! I’ve been putting off some writing projects for a long time, and this is the year to get started. In fact, I’m going start one of them today. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Terri, I’m so thrilled you felt inspired to start your writing project. Go, Terri, go!! And hey, why reinvent the wheel…I say if “Just do it” speaks to you, than it’s yours.

  9. Carrie, great post. Thanks for letting all of us watch over your shoulder, as it were, as all this stuff unfolds.
    My word for 2013 is EASY. I realized late last year that I’ve been praying for strength for a gazillion years, and that by golly I’ve had several million opportunities to show just how strong I am. Hmm…So now I am praying for the awareness to notice just how easy things are. I like this better.

    • Meg, I love this word for you. You definitely deserve some “easy.” I hope 2013 is full of many easy, stress-free moments for you, my friend.

  10. Joanne Galant says:

    Always inspiring Carrie, my word of the year is self-confidence.

  11. Phyllis Schmitz says:

    Enjoyed your words and photos.
    My words for each day of 2013 are “Carry on”.

    • Phyllis, your words for the year remind me of my favorite new coffee mug my sister gave me for Christmas which says on the side, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Carry on makes it feel manageable somehow. Love it.

  12. That’s why I love you! Too many people say No no no no! Stand tall, strong, and say yes! Love this post. My word for 2013 is focus. : ) So very excited to see what 2013 will bring you my dear!

  13. That picture of the trees gives me CHILLS! So, so pretty. Congrats on the truffle cooking!

  14. Betty Cook says:

    Hi Carrie — I so loved your post and the pictures are magnificent. My word for 2013 is COURAGE, as in courage to face challenges and overcome them. XOXO

  15. Carrie, I read regularly, but don’t often comment. I love this post. Yes is such a great word to commit to. Like Joanne, my word for the year is also self-confidence. I am a perfectionist, and hard on myself, and I want to be more confident in myself & my abilities. I’m working on it every day!

    • Oh, Anna, I’m right there with you in the perfectionist camp. We perfectionists are just way too hard on ourselves. Maybe we need to form a group, “Perfectionists Anonymous.” I think your word sounds perfect for you.

  16. Great story! Thank you for confirming my commitment to saying Yes first, just do it attitude. Life is full of learning, sharing and laughing together.

    • Jenna, you and I are on the same wave-length this year. Who knows what opportunities will come forward by us saying, “Yes”!