kind of major life update.

so, i kind of have a secret that i’ve been keeping from you.misc-5

to say i’ve been DYING to tell you is a complete & total understatement. 

are you ready for it?


ok…here it goes: 

last week, i put in my 2 weeks notice at my corporate job.misc-7

holy shit.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yup.  june 30th is my corporate retirement date. (!!!!!!!!)

starting july 1st, i’ll be pursuing my passion with food & beverage recipe development, content creation, & photography.  i have been chasing this entrepreneurial dream of mine full-force & am so excited/grateful/terrified/excited to be taking a huge leap of faith to be my own boss & see where these dreams can lead me. 

ummmm…will somebody please pinch me, because i still can’t believe it’s true.  i’m honestly still having a hard time processing this all…so let’s back up for a hot second.

wait, “so what was your job?”, you ask?Jesse Reilly-1

i’ve been in corporate retail for my entire career.  (say hi to corporate jesse! doesn’t she look like she has her ish together?!)

when we lived in milwaukee, i worked in the buying offices for kohls.com, where i had my hands in buying & planning the .com business at kohl’s – anything from women’s swimwear, to levi’s, to plus sized apparel, to christmas decorations & trees, & even furniture.  i even got to design some chairs!  

when chris & i made the decision to move up to minneapolis 2 years ago to settle down somewhere that was closer to both of our families, we did so with the assumption that i’d eventually wind up working at target.  & i did!  for the last 2 years, i’ve been a senior site merchandiser on the target.com team. 

as a site merchandiser, my job is to basically build the customer-facing side of the website.  i’ve developed & executed countless digital content strategies, supported brand launches (launching harry’s and tone it up were basically the biggest fangirl moments of my life), & have helped sell a literal shit-ton of electric toothbrushes every holiday season. 

the work i’ve made a career out of is tremendously fun.  it’s fast-paced & has a real impact on people’s lives, which i find very fulfilling & cool.  & not to brag on myself, but i’ve gotten pretty damn good at what i do.  my path to success in this world is clearly defined & very attainable. 

well then, why change things up?misc-6

 simply put, at this point in my life, my passions lie elsewhere. 

i freakin’ love food.  & food photography.  & my food blog. 

like, i really freakin’ love it. 

nothing makes me happier than getting a note from a reader about how their family loved my bolognese, or how my guacamole was the star of the party they went to over the weekend.  uploading a batch of photos from a challenging photo shoot to discover that my vision came across is alllllmost better than christmas morning.  working with clients to showcase their food & product to their customers in the prettiest, swoon-worthiest way is seriously, ridiculously fun. 

but for me, it’s all been really hard to balance.  i’m a type a person…to a t.  & it never occurred to me that being type a would hold me back from being able to multitask like a boss until last fall when i went to see ina garten on her cooking for jeffery book tour.15099566_323080671399520_493193572795809792_n(1)

queen ina was explaining that she had to take a leap of faith to leave her catering business 100% behind in order to pursue her food network deal because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t give the new opportunity the attention it deserved.  not because she didn’t want to or couldn’t see the opportunity – but because she puts everything she can into everything she does. 

“i’m type a, & it’s against my type a nature to half ass anything.”

when you have too much to do, but it’s in your nature to care immensely about everything on your plate, the quality of your work suffers.  plain & simple.  

& this simple observation from my idol in life, to me, felt incredibly profound.  i very vividly remember violently nodding my head as tears welled up in my eyes in that dark auditorium because on that cold minnesota evening in the middle of november, i felt as though she was speaking to my soul. 

for the last year, i have been in a full-out sprint.  i wake up with the sun to work on the blog for a few hours, & then i go to work where i try my damnedest to kick ass all day long.  when i get home, i’m exhausted, but power through a few more hours of blog work before i pass out & do it all over again.  weekends aren’t usually very relaxing in our house – they’re for photoshoots & writing.  then the week starts & over & over & over again we go. 

i don’t tell you this to complain or to seek out pity.  i realize that everything i’ve been doing is a personal choice.  & i do it because i love it.  but i’ve also been very tired.  & lately, i’ve reached a point that has me feeling like i cannot continue to grow & challenge myself in the ways i want to with ALL OF THE THINGS on my plate. 

so, i’m making a change.  i’m taking a gigantic leap of faith to give myself the time to focus on what i love & continuing to develop the skills that will ultimately help me get there. 

& at the end of the day, i think taking a bit of a risk to chase my dream is totally worth it. 

ok, so what’s the plan now?zoodles tossed into a garlic-infused olive oil with lemon & loads of summer vegetables. topped off with shrimp, grated cheese, and a good sprinkle of crushed red chili, these aglio olio zoodles are going to be your new favorite this summer! | gluten free, healthy recipe, summer food, summer party, vegetables, farmers market recipe, easy recipe |

well…you’re looking at it!  i’ll be spending more time at home to write, photograph, & develop recipes for plays well with butter.  i’ll continue to bring you awesome recipes, but on a more regular basis.  i’m also excited to be partnering with some local restaurants & food & beverage businesses to provide freelance photography of their product & help them build their social media presence.  

but…um…

there’s another secret i’ve been keeping from you. 

like a really effing huge secret. 

are you ready for it?!

yes?!?!

so…back in march, i was given the incredible, life-changing opportunity to join forces with jessica & maria as the creative content manager for a new meal planning program that will be launching soon this summer. 

!!!!!!!!!!!misc-7

i swear to you, i nearly pass out every time i say it/type it/think it. 

jessica & maria are 2 of my blogging idols.  back in 2011 when i was a broke waitress out of college, working hours opposite of all of my friends with day jobs, i spent countless hours on my iPad sitting in my teeny tiny studio apartment all by my lonesome scrolling through pinterest & reading blogs. 

their blogs, along with a small handful of others, completely grew on me.  the writing, the photography, the recipes – it all sucked me in & planted a little seed in my brain that someday i’d be start my own blog. 

& embarrassingly enough, jessica & maria are like celebrities in my house.  like, when i met them via skype for my interview i was so excited to see their actual faces on my computer in real time & i fangirled so hard that i waved to them with both of my hands.  a two-handed wave!!!  during an interview!!!!  i seriously cannot…i’m so embarrassing.

anywho…with them, i’ve been planning out the most badass meal planning service out there – everything from creating menus to helping build a website that will launch very, very soon!  

(& really…i pretty much pass out every single time i think about it.)  

how are you feeling about this all?misc-10

funny you ask, i actually wrote a note in my phone when all of these plans were starting to take shape. i was sitting on the bus commuting home & just started typing away to prevent myself from breaking down into a puddle of emotions…

“omg i never need to wear a real bra or real pants again. omg i did it. shut up shut up shut up. omg no more retail holiday seasons. omg no more retail discount =( gah we need to stock up on laundry detergent asap. omg. omg omg omg. no more 70 hour weeks! omg what am i going to do with all this free time? i can start working out again! i need a hobby. & maybe a list of books to read. maybe i will finally make homemade puff pastry. we can finally paint the walls so they’re not ugly brown! maybe i’ll clean the basement!….”

yes, my first thought was honestly about never wearing a real bra or pants ever again.

all jokes aside (but i’m actually not joking about that…), i’m super excited & feel tremendously humbled. the opportunity to take a risk, chase my dream, run my own business here at plays well with butter, AND work with 2 of my all-time idols to bring their vision to life…it’s huge. it’s hugely huge.

i’m also absolutely craving a better sense of balance in my life. for the last year, everything has been go go go, work work work. & while i know that the hustle isn’t going anywhere in this new entrepreneurial chapter of my life, i’m also looking forward to enjoying the normal moments of life without a nagging feeling of guilt that there’s something else i can be doing to be more productive. nighttime walks with chris & pbr. taking our kayaks out for a cruise on the lakes. happy hour with my girlfriends. working out. cooking dinner. painting some walls & maybe organizing our basement. the totally boring, dumb stuff everyday stuff that also makes life pretty great.pup-2

if i’m being honest with you, though, i’m also slightly terrified. word vomit also included in my bus meltdown note:

“what if i fail? what if i fly? i guess i have no choice but to fly. but what if i don’t like myself enough to work by myself all day every single day? lolz nvm jk. i’ll be fine. i think. what if we run out of money & lose the house?! omg shut up that’s not going to happen. breathe.”

this. is. scary. af.

all my life i’ve been on what i consider to be a very clear trajectory. success is clearly defined & i know what i need to do to get from point a to point b. i’m type a, remember? a clear cut understanding of what’s to come is very comforting.

so this new, unchartered, entrepreneurial life is all very different & quite scary.

but above all, beyond the excitement & the fear, i’m feeling tremendously grateful.flowers-2

i’m grateful for all of you for following along every day & coming back week after week to read my rambles & obsess over amazing food together. you guys are the best.

i’m grateful to jessica & maria for taking a chance & choosing little ol’ me to help them bring their vision to life. it’s seriously amazing – i can’t wait for you all to see it soon!

& above all, i’m tremendously, to-the-moon-&-back grateful to chris, my unbelievably supportive husband.misc-2

he’s the one who always encourages me when i’m feeling scared, or frustrated, or overwhelmed. he’s the one who has had to sacrifice the most in helping me chase my dreams. there have been countless nights in which he has had to fend for himself for dinner, or weekends when he heads out to outings with our friends & family alone because i’ve been busy working. he’s the one who always wholeheartedly believes in me & patiently reminds me of it when i forget to believe in myself. he’s just the one.C&J-1

so what’s next?

i’m fast & furiously wrapping up some things at target & i’m planning out my july & august content for plays well with butter – & let me tell you, there is a TON of delicousness in store!

i’ll also be sharing more details about my project with jessica & maria VERY soon – so stay tuned.

again, thank you so much from the very bottom of my heart for your support. as always, please comment or shoot me a note if you have any questions or requests – i’m here to serve you! you mean the world to me!!!

xoxo,

jess

About jess

i help modern gals turn everyday moments into celebrations with recipes that are just as easy as they are elegant.

16 Comments

  1. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. Omg I literally just screamed/squealed when I read your announcement about the meal planning project with Jessica & Maria (crazy fan girl over here). I’m SOOO excited for you.. you have definitely earned all of these opportunities that have come your way and I can’t wait to watch PWWB continue to grow! xoxo
    Kara @ Byte Sized Nutrition recently posted…Mini Nice Cream Snickers Bars (Vegan & Dairy-Free)My Profile

  2. I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! You’re going to kill it. I’ve loved watching you grow and develop and I can’t wait to see all that is to come. Congratulations on taking the leap, my friend!

  3. Wow, this is so exciting!!! Congrats, Jess!! I’ll be honest, I relate so much to you that I’m almost getting emotional, because I too am having a crazy hard time balancing everything. I wake up super early and go to bed super late because EVERY moment I’m not at work is spent working on projects/blog stuff, to the point where I neglect my personal life almost completely. I hope to someday be able to quit my job and work at it full-time, so you’re super inspiring! I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you’re going to do!

  4. OMG I am so happy for you. This post just made me feel all the feels. I am usually not a sentimental person but it made me (almost) tear up haha….I am so excited for you. I know you are so passionate about PWWB and it’s hard when you can’t put all the effort you want into it. So cool you get to help with Jessica and Maria too. You are rocking it girl and I’m so happy I get to follow along with you chasing your dreams!

  5. I am so FREAKING excited for you! And so so proud. You 100% deserve this and you are gonna fly! I cannot wait to see you grow and pursue your dreams and if you ever meet Jessica in person, can I please come with?! xoxoxoxoxoxox YOU ARE AMAZING
    Ellie | Hungry by Nature recently posted…Strawberry Rhubarb French 75 // Ne Me Quitte PasMy Profile

  6. this seriously made me tear up! I mean I know I am in an emotional state and all right now but I adore this kind of passion!! also your kind words, thank you!!! 😘😘😘 You are the best and I’m so excited to be working with you!!

  7. So happy for you and your new adventures! You are a DREAM to work with and we are so honored to have you on our team! I am SO excited for our launch!! And we will have to do a company retreat sometime soon so we can meet in person!! I know GREAT things are coming your way!!! Congrats! xo

  8. THRILLED for you, Jess! You are going to fly through this new adventure. Cannot wait for more and more recipes and to watch PWWB grow as you do! Congratulations again, rooting for you!

  9. So so so so proud to know you in REAL LIFE and call you MY FRIEND. I am just over hear tearing up reading your blog and then laughing at all your adorable photos. Love you so much and so excited for all the amazing things you have ahead of you!

  10. Since second grade, you’ve been making goals and chasing your dreams. So proud and happy for you. As always, your #1 fan!

  11. Sobbing, crying SOOO HAPPYYY! YOU DID IT!!!!! Heheheeheh #nopantsclub

  12. Congratulations Jess! Wishing you great happiness in the new ventures and success. We believe in you! Love Todd and Mary Alice

  13. Omg congratulations!!!! Soooooo exciting!!!! Congrats girl!!!!

  14. OMG!!!!!! Jess!!!! I am so so super excited for you! You are amazing and will crush being an entrepreneur!
    Rachael @ Rachael’s Foodie Life recently posted…pink pitaya, lime & pineapple infused waterMy Profile

  15. Omg I was out of town and just caught up! SO AWESOME! Congrats! This is going to be such an amazing ride for you! And P.S. I too am a huge Jessica fan girl so we can ‘fangirl’ together hahaha

  16. OMG!! Jess, this is all so crazy!! I’m a first-time commenter (fairly new reader), but just needed to let you know how excited I am for you!! (Haha…is it cool to be this excited for someone I hardly know?? I am.) Wishing you ALL the best vibes as you transition into this new phase of life!!

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