one simple step that’s changing my life

eat write retreat

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. – Tony Robbins

When Monica Bhide spoke yesterday at the Eat, Write, Retreat conference, the room was listening. She had a powerful message for all of us: “Why are you doing what you are doing? Who are you and what do you represent?”

Tough questions. I blog because I love food. I blog because it’s my way of sharing recipes that I love. But Monica wanted us to get down to the nitty-gritty, real answers. To search our souls for why we’re all sitting at these tables, plugging away at a career that takes up so much of our energy and time with what can sometimes seem like little reward. It was a powerful exercise that had us all challenged to look at our careers – and ourselves – in new ways so that we could stretch ourselves and, hopefully, become better for it.

That exercise was just part of an emotional afternoon for me yesterday. It’s been an emotional couple of weeks, actually. I’d told myself I wasn’t going to share this publicly, not because it’s anything so crazy that it can’t be shared, but the past two weeks have been so personal to me that I’ve wanted to hold it to my chest, to protect it and keep it as mine. And I had no idea how I could possibly write it so it would come across in the right way.

When I was in my late teens, I was in a car accident. I wasn’t physically hurt but the car was totalled and I had to walk the 2 miles to the restaurant where I worked at the time to get help. My boss, Jeff, drove me home. It was that car ride home when he spoke these words to me that I’ve never forgotten:

“You live under a gray cloud, Kristy. You live under a gray cloud.”

I knew what he meant. I was, essentially, a complete train wreck of a person. I was unhappy, I didn’t like myself and had no ambitions in my life other than when the next party was. Every single thought and choice I made was to escape the pain of my life. 

That was over 20 years ago and my life hasn’t looked like that in a long, long time. I still have to fight my way through self-doubt at times; I still have to remind myself of my worth. I’ve had to learn, slowly over all these years, that my life is filled with value and purpose and that I am the truly the only thing standing in my way. I still fight my way through occasional depression and I still have those voices in my head who try to tell me that I’m not worth anything. I’ve fought hard to make my life what it is today, yet I’ve never completely been able to rid myself of that teenage girl who tried to destroy everything in her path, and almost always succeeded.

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching “Piers Morgan” on television. Tony Robbins was the guest and he was talking about his difficult upbringing and the things he did to change his life. I was impressed by his words and intrigued by his actions. I’m not one for reading self-help books, etc. but I liked what he said enough that for the next few days I continued to visit his website, poking around for answers to questions I hadn’t realized I was asking. I finally decided to purchase a few of his CD’s, knowing that there was a money-back guarantee that I would most likely be using. But, what the heck?, I thought, maybe it’ll do me some good.

I’ve listened to the CD’s every single day – sometimes 2 0r 3 times a day – since they’ve arrived and I just love, love, love them. They’re amazing and powerful and inspirational and lovely and joyous. Everything is anchored by this one, simple message: that everything in our lives should begin with being grateful for what we have. When we’re grateful we can’t be fearful or angry or impatient or stressed or filled with self-doubt. One of the CD’s is something to listen to while you walk and exercise, and all you’re supposed to do is spend time being grateful, visualize your life the way you want it to be and essentially celebrate yourself, who you are and the gifts that life has brought you.

My life has changed in amazing ways the past few weeks. I’ve been waking up looking forward to my day. My house has been cleaner, my energy has improved and I’ve found more time to spend with my kids. I signed up for a 5k – and I barely walk, let alone run! But running a 5k is the one thing that I never in a million years thought that I could do, which is exactly the reason why I’m going to do it.

My life is not perfect. All the same unpleasant irritations still exist: kids fighting and whining, feeling tired at times or other usual suspects that seem to plague all of us. The difference for me has simply been that by adding a ritual of Daily Gratefulness to my life, I no longer have room in my brain or my body for that girl who likes to creep in when I’m least expecting it and fill me with self-doubt. She no longer has a seat at my table. And if she decides to pay me a visit – we all know she won’t go quietly – I’ll be ready for her.

So there I was, being all grateful to be at this Eat, Write, Retreat conference (that I won!) and looking forward to soaking up all the amazing writing advice that the inspirational Monica Bhide was about to share with us. And the most amazing, unexpected thing happened.

She named my blog in her speech. She specifically called me out and actually stated – using words in the English language that everyone could hear and understand which is how I know it actually did happen – that she loves and is impressed with The Wicked Noodle food blog.

And she did this not once, but twice, during this session.


You have to understand that this is a woman that I deeply admire. She is a model for what women can do and be and accomplish and that we can all help one another to be great and wonderful and amazing and change the world. Even if the only world that we change is our own, it’s a step to making the world that we all live in and share to be a better place.

When the session ended, I stepped into the hallway to call Alan. I couldn’t speak because the tears were streaming. I was so proud and humbled and grateful that I couldn’t form words. The past few weeks of all these good things had suddenly washed over me and I was overcome with gratitude. In that moment, I was that teenage girl who thought she was capable only of surviving life but would never, ever thrive – and yet I’d somehow made it to this hallway in this gorgeous hotel in downtown DC where I was a strong, capable, happy woman with so many things to be grateful for it’s impossible to even know where to begin.

It was in those moments that I answered the question that Monica had asked of us. I blog for hope. I blog for meaning and joy and friendship and love. The recipes? The recipes are just a bonus. I blog because I’m grateful for my life and I’m grateful for you, my readers who make my day brighter with every interaction. I blog so that I can share these personal thoughts and doubts and experiences and achievements with you on the off chance that maybe you’ve been there, too. You, the one reading my words right now, who may be one of my dearest friends or you may be someone I’ve yet to meet. Either way, I’m grateful for you and for this life that we’re all figuring out together.

The photo in this post was taken minutes after my hallway experience above. I was telling Daphne Domingo how grateful I was feeling and she starting shooting. She then sent me the photo yesterday along with these lovely words: “I’m doing an initial pass on my photos from the weekend and I just couldn’t wait to send this one to you. May this offering be a touchstone to give you some strength when you need it, some extra happiness when you want it, and some inspiration always.” Thank you, Daphne. I’m a better person for having met you.


  1. says

    I’m and American currently living in Saudi Arabia with my family…it’s not easy being here and I have to remind myself how lucky in life I really am. I’m so happy that you have found ways to live your life to the fullest and I thank you for sharing your story. It reminds me to keep my head up each day and enjoy what life gives me…great or small. Wonderful post…

  2. says

    Beautiful post, Kristy, about an incredible moment. I was at the conference, and when Monica talked about Wicked Noodle and Kristy, I could almost feel your heart skip a beat. It was a wonderful session – Monica’s own story, her advice, and her inspiration are magnificent. But truly, but the best part of that session was realizing that she had captured and showed us, in her “shout out” to you, what we all have to do. If you were inspired, you turned right around and returned the gift ten-fold, inspiring all of us. Many, many thanks.

  3. says

    Wow! Can I copy-paste this without plagiarism? You just spoke my mind – we all have our moments of self-doubt which is natural but how quickly and strongly you overcome it is the pride and strength! Thank you – “loved it” is a major understatement for sure.

  4. says

    *sob* Oh, Kristy. I have struggled so much over the past few years with Paul’s up and down unemployment, and stay-at-home motherhood…my mood swings are less than desirable. Why is it so hard for us to be grateful for what we have, instead of ungrateful for what we don’t? One of life’s struggles. I tuned into to listen to Tony Robbins also (we were watching at the same time!), but I was reluctant because I always thought he was a religious leader. And I am not at all religious. I’m so glad I gave him a chance. And now I’m thinking about buying one of his books. We’ll change our attitude together! (((hugs)))

    • says

      Oh, my sweet Amy. How I love you even though we’ve never met in person. And how crazy that you saw the same program! I hope you do buy one of his books; he’s worth every penny. HUGS!! xoxo

  5. says

    First of all, you just gave me an all teary-eyed, lump in my throat kinda feeling. But what a wonderful, beautiful post! You summed it up so well. Monica is so precious, isn’t she? She mentioned you because she wanted to share the beauty of your blog with the rest of us. It was great meeting you at “Eat Write Retreat 2012”. Wish there had been more time to get to chat and share stories. But that’s ok, it gives me a reason to come visit your blog more often. Thanks again for this post. It was an eye-opener. Take care!

    • says

      Monica is SO precious, I agree! I have to tell you that I thought it was so sweet of you to come over and introduce yourself. I loved meeting you and I’m looking forward to following your blog and getting to know you better! HUGS!!

  6. says

    I can see the happiness and joy in your face! Love the pic AND the post. Thanks for sharing your heart with me today. I’m going to start being more grateful. :)

    • says

      It was so awesome to meet you, Liz! I’m glad we had the chance to chat on the walk back from dinner. And that Green Jalapeno Margarita needs to happen!! Was it you that I was telling how much I love spicy cocktails? YUM!!

  7. says

    Fantastic post! Thanks for your honesty. I know many of us can relate. On the outside you radiate joy and cheer–and make each of us more cheerful as a result. Speaking of gratitude… I’m grateful for the joy you put into this world! :)

  8. CJ at Food Stories says

    I found your site on and thought I would stop by to check it out. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

    • says

      Thanks so much, CJ! I’ll happily subscribe to yours in return. Hope I don’t disappoint with the next post – it will likely be nothing more than what I’ve had for dinner :-) Cheers!

  9. Doreen says

    Hey Kristy…I knew you back in what I just found out were your grey cloud days, but I had no idea. I was the silly freshman and to me you were the cool, funny, one that I had the pleasure of working with. You were nice to me when some weren’t and I always loved busing your tables!
    I needed to read this post today. I lost my step dad a few months ago and I’ve been feeling really blue this week, but your post has got me up from my wallowing. I am going to go for a walk now and think about all the things I am grateful for, including knowing you.

    • says

      Doreen…I’ve been sitting here trying to think of what to write but the tears have returned and I’m having trouble seeing my computer screen. Thank you for the wonderful comment. It’s lovely to hear what you thought of me and I always felt the same. You were great to work with and I loved you busing my tables, too :-) I remember a lot of laughs!
      I’m sorry to hear about your step dad. I haven’t been through anything like that yet and I’m dreading those days that none of us can avoid as our loved ones get older. I am so grateful that I know you, too. I was thisclose to not posting this but I’m now so glad I did. Thank you!!

  10. Joan Nova says

    I’m jumping to my feet to applaud you and this post. I am so moved by your honesty and the profundity of your words. And, yes, we all relate somewhere in one way or another.

  11. says

    We don’t know each other but I am very proud of you for writing this beautiful post. You were definitely meant to win the trip and meant to hear Monica’s words! ps I too have struggled terribly with self doubt and spend a lot of time standing in my own way…it’s really inspirational to hear how you are leaving that all behind with your commitment to gratitude :)

    • says

      Winnie, we may not have met but I can tell that I like you already :-) I think you’re right that all of these things were supposed to happen. I also think that it’s those small choices we make every day that shape the way we look at things; if I hadn’t already been on the Tony Robbins gratitude train I’m not certain I would have had the same reaction at the conference. At any rate, I’m grateful that it happened and I’m grateful I’ve now crossed paths with you!!

  12. says

    What a lovely, inspiring and uplifting post! I had to dive back into work as soon as I got back from EWR and haven’t had time to process Monica’s presentation and everything else. I felt so inspired from her especially. Her vision and one-word challenge have not been far from my mind since Saturday. I remember hearing her mention the Wicked Noodle (twice!) and thinking about you and how excited you must feel.

    I love this idea of concentrating on being grateful for what we have – we are all so blessed and it’s so easy to take everything for granted. Thank you for the reminder. I’m so glad we met and connected at EWR!

    • says

      Steph!! I am so happy that we met and had the chance to hang out so much at EWR! I think that Monica’s presentation pretty much made the entire conference worth it. She is one amazing lady. I especially loved the one-word challenge! I still have my chalkboard paper and I’m going to write my word down tomorrow and hang it where I can see it every day.


  13. says

    Like Monica tweeted, your words brought tears to my eyes. I think you expressed what so many of us feel and struggle with, and it’s refreshing to know that we’re not alone.
    Like you, I was extremely grateful to be at Eat, Write, Retreat listening to Monica’s inspiring words. It gave me new focus and purpose. And to think I almost didn’t come b/c I was worried (and scared) that I wasn’t worthy enough – being out of my league surrounded by real chefs and real bloggers.
    And then, when Monica mentioned you and your post, I thought “Wow, I’m so lucky to be at her table!” So imagine how excited I was when you complimented me on my energy?! :)
    While you find inspiration in Monica, I (and others) find inspiration in you. Thank you for your honesty and for being so real!
    I truly hope we can link up soon. (Even if just to share 5K training stories – I’m registered to do one in June and haven’t even broken out my training shoes yet, yikes!)
    Talk to you soon. Hugs!

    • says

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I just want you to know that I was sitting here on my couch, not feeling well today (allergies are so bad this year!) and tired after a rough night’s sleep. I was going to skip my new routine of a long walk this morning and relax instead with a cup of coffee and kick my feet up. But now you’ve gone and inspired me with YOUR words and I’ll be off to exercise as soon as I hit “send” on this comment.
      I think we all get so caught up with who has more this or that and we forget that we all have the ability to change someone’s day no matter who we are. I knew I liked you the very moment you sat at our table. You have a warmth about you and such a lovely smile that’s contagious! Those are gifts that you can’t learn; you’re born with them. You’re already a “real blogger” and you’re doing it well! Just keep plugging away and lean on those of us who have been around a bit longer when you need us. This is a great community and you’ll find a lot of help and inspiration if you keep looking.
      I’m very thankful you sat at our table! Looking forward to getting to know you even better!

  14. says

    It was a powerful exercise, and I felt the energy in the room leap – both times when Monica mentioned your blog – what a terrific thing, to be called out like that. It reminds me to never underestimate the power of telling someone that you like their work. Thanks for the story and the reminder – grateful!

  15. Pam says

    Kristy- what a beautiful post. It brings tears to my eyes. You are a beautiful and powerful woman and don’t ever let the voices tell you otherwise. When you are in your daily ritual of gratefulness, be sure to remember to be grateful for YOU. You are where you are because you are strong and talented. I applaud your courage to speak your truth. It truly is beautiful. Keep living with intention. And know that so many people are out there that love you and are cheering you on.

    • says

      I’ve been sitting here for over an hour trying to think of what I could possibly say to you that would ever be enough. You were tough on me, you made me accountable to you and yet you always stood by me, no matter what. And there were a lot of “whats” back then. Knowing that I’ve made you proud means everything to me. I love you so much.

  16. Amy says

    Loved your post Kristy! It brought tears to my eyes and I’m so proud of you! But you were a great person and friend in those days just as younger today. Sometimes it takes us a while to pull it all together! You inspire me to be more grateful for what I have. This was the perfect thng for me to read after a not so great day. Love and miss you!

    • says

      Amy!! See, when I think of you and those days back at the Wheel House, all I see is laughter. You were such a bright spot for me. Cheese Shaker Dance! Myroni, Myroni… I love that man!! Oh man, I could go on and on with so many great memories of us together. The fact that you’re still in my life and still bring me so much happiness and laughter is amazing. I will always be grateful for you!! Love and miss you, too!!

  17. says

    What a great question for Monica to have asked, and congratulations–of course she loves and is impressed by your blog! And, congratulations on leaving self-doubt behind and being prepared for it if ever tries to return. Good luck running the 5K!

  18. says

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I only met you briefly at EWR right after, I’m sure, your hallway incident, but your words have inspired us ten-fold, like Laura said. Monica’s presentation was awesome and I know her words of “what is your vision?”, “what makes you happy” will be ringing in my head for weeks and months to come. I too grapple with many demons, and often ask myself, “what have I accomplished in life?” rarely can I answer this question. But your post on being grateful has really made me think. There are many things in my life I can be grateful for. I just have to keep remembering them, every day.

    • says

      Hi Diane,
      I remember that – you were right next to Daphne as she was shooting photos! I wish we’d been able to chat a bit more, but the weekend was over before we all had a chance to get to know one another. I’m so honored that my post touched you in some way. It’s not always easy to answer those questions, I know. I do feel like I’m on a good path and I’m excited to see where it leads. Thank you so much for your comment and I hope we keep in touch. I just visited your website and I know that I’ll be back!

  19. says

    What a touching moment and an inspiring post. Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones with those nagging doubts in our heads and it prevents us from achieving what we truly want. Thank you for voicing what many of us I’m sure have felt over the years.

  20. says

    Hi Kristy, I’m new to your blog and this is the first post of yours I’ve ever read – how inspiring! I love the Tony Robbins quote you opened with. Can’t wait to peek around the site more!

    • says

      Thanks, Laura, I’m so glad you found your way here! I normally don’t write about things like this; it’s usually food, food, and more food! But who doesn’t love food, right? :-) Thanks for the comment and I’m now off to check out your blog!

  21. says

    I am SO happy for you! Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment with us. I am so touched to hear your progress, Tony Robbins has helped so many people. The photo is stunning! Your happiness is vibrant, congrats! I am so blessed to have met you!!

  22. Jill Kubik says

    Kristy – thanks for sharing. It’s so true – I also went through all of that – in high school and through college. Now I have a 15 year old daughter who I see going through these same struggles – to find herself, to be confident and self-assured. Our society just makes it so hard for women to truly love ourselves and be grateful.
    I truly love the Wicked Noodle and I enjoy your writing so very much. I would so love to pop out to DC someday and visit you. maybe… someday. Keep up the wonderful work – you are truly a gift!

    • says

      Jill! Thank you so much. I’m so happy we’ve been able to reconnect after so long. I’m not looking forward to my girls going through that stage, either. My older daughter in particular already has some of those struggles and she’s only seven!! I really appreciate you visiting my site and being so supportive. I still remember a really nice comment (I think it was on FB?) that you left just after I started it and it’s stuck with me. I would love for you to visit anytime; you and your family are always welcome! Hopefully I’ll see you in June at the reunion, too!

  23. Vicki F says

    Thank you for opening your heart in this incredibly touching post. I’m grateful to have found you. Blessings.

  24. says

    So beautiful. I’m saving this so I can re-read again and again. At Christmas time, I was given a gratitude journal by a good friend and I started it in January. But over the last 6 months, my sister and my dad died and it’s been near impossible for me to find gratitude, so I literally tucked it away where I didn’t have to see it collecting dust. I now know I need to pull it out and focus on it. Suddenly over the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling better so I know the time is right…and your posts confirmed for me what I need. I have so much to be grateful for and it’s time to focus on that.

    • says

      Thank you, Brandie! A gratitude journal is such a neat idea. I’m sorry you haven’t been able to pull yours out in awhile; I can’t imagine how difficult it is losing both a sister and a parent. I’m so touched that you would save my post to re-read. I hope it brings you some comfort when you need it! HUGS!

  25. says

    that everything in our lives should begin with being grateful for what we have……… that sums it all up.
    Reminds me of a great coloumnist (I wonder if you have heard of Busybee) He was a parsee and he used to go to the fire temple daily while his wife waited outside. One day hsi wife asked him “what is it that you pray for daily?” He said “Pray? I never pray, I just thank Him daily for all that he has given me”

  26. Ruth says

    Wow Kristy. I hadn’t read this post yet. I think you just expressed in words what a lot of us feel, but are afraid to say out loud.
    So thank you, so much for sharing your story. You should be so very proud of yourself. Not only for your accomplishments, but for the caring, kind and generous person you are. You truly are an inspiration. Thank you again, for everything.

    • says

      Oh Ruth, thanks so much for your sweet comment. I enjoyed talking with you and your sister so much this morning. You both seem like wonderful people and I really wish the best for you both. Lots of love to you! xoxo

  27. Daniela Larson says

    Thank you for your beautiful post! It inspired me to write a post about it :) You can read it here:


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