I’ve written and paused on this letter at least a dozen times since we started the new year. And, certainly, in the last two months since the pandemic has shut most of us in our homes, it’s just never seemed like a good time to write to you.
But perhaps, more than any other time, now is the perfect time to try to string some words together to share where I’ve been, what I’m doing, and a few things that might be helpful right now.
First, I’m okay. I hope that you and your family are okay, too. It seems like a strange thing to say, given that so many of us have been affected by this virus, but I wanted to say it nonetheless: I really do hope you’re okay.
In the year since I last posted, I published a second cookbook and traveled the country to share it with people who love food and who sought to change their relationship with food. And somewhere during this last year, some things changed.
I want to tell you about the process of change. I want to share it with you openly, like a teen recounting her darkest journal posts, all scribbled and doodled up. But change is just change. Some change can feel crummy and also be the best possible thing to ever happen. My change felt like a roller coaster ride.
Imagine you’re riding a roller coaster through all its twist and turns, equally frightened and excited by each upcoming curve. Then imagine that roller coaster stopping suddenly, jolting you back in your seat, causing a deep pain in your chest, though sometimes the tightness creeps up into your throat, causing you to revisit why you even got on the roller coaster in the first place because sudden stops are even scarier than all those twists and turns. Now imagine that happening several times in a row.
I’ve felt those sudden jolts, those sudden stops, plenty of times, the most significant being right after my mother’s death in 2017. But last year was filled with all the sudden jolts all the time. And, be assured, a series of sudden jolts sets you straight. They scare you plenty, of course, but they also come just before a big reset.
Many of you have followed my journey for years. Since I’ve been writing on Eat Boutique since 2007, many of you have followed me for 13 years. That’s a long time. That’s the kind of time that creates deep attachments. I am attached to you. Maybe some of you are attached to me, too.
Because we’re attached to each other, at least until you opt to unsubscribe, I want to share some slightly personal stuff with you.
Though all these years of writing about and working in food, all 13 years, I have felt a deep connection to this work. I have enjoyed crafting recipes and making food content for all of you. I have loved cultivating food retail experiences. And, ultimately, I’ve loved this time to wrestle with my relationship with food.
But all the sudden stops in the last year have encouraged me to go inward, to root deeply in my practices for coping and living and thriving. I have still cooked and I always return to the kitchen during a time of rest and reset. There is little like a recipe in which to repose and renew.
But I’ve also grounded into a daily yoga practice, a walking meditation practice, a study of consciousness, an initial examination of feminism, deep talks with my inner voice, journaling for gratitude and for the processing of feelings, and so many other alignment practices.
I am no angel. Honestly, I started these practices to cope with all the sudden stops. But, without intention, I also got to know myself better. I have reconnected with me, with my knowing, with who I was all along, I have better aligned myself with whatever happens next.
With absolute intention, I am blending my food & wellness experience with my small business & start-up experience and all of my alignment experience to emerge as something entirely new. And I have launched a new studio through which I will share new offerings.
Eat Boutique Studio is, of course, derived from this very site that I started 13 years ago. However, instead of posting recipes on Eat Boutique, I am putting my time, effort, and mind toward supporting the growth of small businesses everywhere, with a keen emphasis on food, service, and retail businesses.
This is most certainly a strange time to announce a new business venture. But if there was ever a time that small business needs support, it is now. It is not next week or in six months. The time is now.
Small businesses have struggled since the beginning of time but now is an exceptionally difficult moment for them, for everyone. Most restaurants, cafes, and bakeries are closed for now (and some for good). Retail is also closed up in real life and those who can are moving entirely online.
And for those serving others, well, it’s difficult to serve your customers during this pandemic unless you are entirely online. And for those without the experience and know-how, well, they’re basically on a permanent pause.
Given all this, I thought it was a good time to tell you that I’m shifting into a more official role as a Business Guide. On Eat Boutique Studio, I’ll design guides and coursework for small business advancement, and explore topics such as redefining happiness, cultivating abundance, making space for creativity, designing bespoke brands, crafting intentional stories, and so much more.
I will also host lively online mentorship sessions where entrepreneurs may explore ways to shape and grow their businesses while embodying the values that define their work and life. My initial product offering will launch later this summer and, as all things, it will evolve from there.
For those of you who are not at all in small business, I want you to know that I’m creating guides for all humans, not just entrepreneurs. Each guide or offering will host a blend of content on alignment, creativity, food & wellness, and, of course, values-based entrepreneurship.
As an example, my first guide was created to help you, all of us, figure out how to stay calm and hopeful during this difficult time. It’s free and you can access it right here: 10 Ways to Stay Calm and Hopeful Right Now – or Anytime!
By downloading that guide, you’ll be on the list to hear about new offerings as the weeks and months go on. You can certainly stay subscribed here too because Eat Boutique will transition in the coming year. While I’m not quite sure of its exact shape just yet, I will stay in touch periodically to keep you in the loop and to stay attached to you because, well, you are very special to me.
Before I go, I think many of you are wondering what happened to that food retail space I had planned to open. It’s a long, long story with many twists and turns and sudden stops. If you want to hear it sometime, please let me know in the comments. Even a simple ?♀️ will tell me that you want to hear all the complicated details sometime.
Lastly, if you want to stay in close contact with me, follow me on Instagram. I post there several times each week and it’s a great place for us to stay attached to each other. In fact, I just posted about chocolate chip cookies. If cookies don’t nurture our attachment, I don’t know what will.
Thank you so very much. Stay calm, stay well, stay aligned!
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now supporting entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses in service, food, & retail through Eat Boutique Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.