hillary reeves dreamstamp

as told by Hillary Reeves

“I type from my cozy bed in Queens, New York. Next to me, on the floor, my yellow lab and corgi chew on their respective bones and in the other room, my boyfriend of ten years finishes up his nightly chores. I’ve spent the day at my office–I work for a food-tech startup called Chicory. We do cool work with food bloggers and food media companies, making recipes instantly shoppable using online grocery providers. When I came home, leftovers were ready in the fridge for me. Eggplant, my favorite. The glass of merlot didn’t hurt either. I baked a simple genoise cake after dinner and tested out a new rice pudding recipe. Last week, I got to go to Seattle for IFBC, which was such a fun learning experience. And before bed, I spent some time planning my November trip to Belgium. I run a food blog (check it out!), work at a job that I love, have a great little family out here in NYC, and I get to travel pretty frequently. Truly, life is very good.

But in the still moments, when my mind gets to wandering away from the task at hand, I can’t help but return to the same question time and time again–What Would Ina Garten Do? Or, WWIGD.

How many of us adore this woman and wish that we could imitate her life and incredible success? Can I get a show of hands? When I imagine the perfect life for me, it looks a lot like Ina Garten’s. If you’re new to Ina (the Barefoot Contessa… ehem, where have you been?) this article is an excellent starting place. Heck, even if you’re an Ina worshipper it’s a great read. I promise you, once you start learning about this woman, you’ll never look back and you’ll start to think of the ways you can turn your life into a version of hers. Let me count the ways I’d like to be more like Ina:

  • A home in the Hamptons would be nice.
  • A catering business like the one that got her started would be nice too. Making potato salad for wealthy Hamptonites sounds exactly like how I’d like to spend my time.
  • Oh boy, these two are in love. And yet, Jeffrey’s a hubby who knows how to give a gal her space. He arrives home at the end of an episode of Back to Basics, ready to try out the specialty cocktail Ina’s concocted for him, says all lovely things, and never pries too much about her day. They both know that recapping every detail of your day can be a bore. Instead they laugh together in a sunny backyard over spritzers.
  • Her friends! Do you guys remember the episode of Barefoot Contessa when Ina invites her friends, a gay couple, over and they make peanut butter dog treats for their pup? Stinks to say it, but I’m 99% sure that none of my pals would ever think of that as a fun way to spend a Saturday.
  • The cookbooks, the show, the empire that feels aspirational, yet approachable. There’s none of the coldness I feel from Martha Stewart (though I do admire her) nor none of the cloying cuteness you get from some younger TV chefs. Ina is the real deal, but her ideas never feel out of reach.
  • Her cooking style. Remember when I mentioned that I was testing out my new rice pudding? Most recipes I referenced called for water and milk to make a creamy pudding. Ina’s called for half and half. God bless. Girl reminds me to live a little.
  • I also hear she spends a few months of every year in France.

Luckily, I have time to become more like Ina. She was thirty when she bought the Barefoot Contessa shop out on Long Island. Meaning I have 4 years to find a perfectly charming shop in the Hamptons that’s for sale and begin building my own empire. Wish me luck

Until then, I’ll just be chipping away at the perfect rice pudding. And remember–half and half, not milk, if you’re going to do things the Ina way.”

You can find more from Hillary Reeves at her website and at Chicory.