On Jealousy and Chocolate Cake (some musing after 3 years of blogging)

by Irvin on March 11, 2013 · 136 comments

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Homemade Chocolate Cake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

I am writing to announce that I was NOT nominated for any awards today. In fact, I was not nominated for any awards, nor was I signed for a cookbook deal today. There is no award announcement, no cookbook, no upcoming TV show where I will be featured on, no contests that I won, no publication that is clamoring for me to write for them, no conference that I will be presenting at*, my current google analytics seem to show that I’m getting less traffic than usual, and my photos were rejected yet again by Tastegawker (I’ve decided to combined both Tastespotting and Foodgawker into one word, because I’m so lazy that typing out two words is too much effort for me). So, instead of wallowing in my self-pity, I baked a chocolate cake. A deep, dark, rich, dare I say it because many of my friends hate the word, but I will anyway, ridiculously moist Chocolate Cake. (Jump directly the recipe if you want!)

Homemade Chocolate Cake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

I am not normally a jealous person. At least that is what I tell myself. Not. Jealous. But sometimes, just sometimes, I look at someone else’s success, and I think to myself “why them and not me?” If that isn’t jealously I’m not sure what is. It’s an ugly thought and one that sits rather uncomfortably in my psyche and I often think I should rise above it. I tell myself “Yes, yes, they completely deserve the successful, and my time will come.” and then I realized that I should be honest with myself. I really hope something terrible will happen to that successful person. I secretly hope that the person will slowly by surely gain 20 lbs from all the celebratory festivities they are having for landing that book deal (or more likely from eating all the food that they have made from testing recipes for their soon-to-be best selling cookbook). Or if it’s a male that I am jealous of, I think to myself “I bet you anything he has a really small penis.” Yes, it’s not a pretty thought, and in many ways more shallow that I want to admit but I can’t help myself.

This line of thinking all came about when I was reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. You all are probably familiar with the book, as it’s been around for about twenty years, but even though I’ve known about it forever, I’ve never gotten around to reading it (which is ridiculous, I know, but let’s not go into that). While shopping some time ago with my partner AJ, at one of my favorite used bookstores, surrounded by the creaking of the uneven floor panels and the mild mustiness of used books, I realized it was time for me to buy and read Bird by Bird. So I ran to the shelf, thumbed through the fifteen used copies they had, settled on a hardback edition and purchased it. It then sat on my bookshelf for about six months.

Homemade Chocolate Cake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

But then, recently, I came down with a sinus infection. It knocked me out and put me out of commission, like so many of my sinus infections do. Yes, I know, the Neti Pot does wonders for this sort of thing, but this sinus infection was beyond the Neti Pot. No industrial strength hose of salty water could wash out these clogged pipes and sinus cavities in my head. I was waylaid, trapped in my bed, for days on end and though I often reach for cookbooks to read when I have nothing better to do, my appetite was nonexistent. One more gorgeous, lush, slightly over-exposed Donna Hayes inspired photo of Jerusalem artichoke soup topped with sautéed scallops, truffle oil and microgreens (seriously what is everyone’s obsession with microgreens?) and I was ready to toss all my cookbooks into the landfill recycle bin compost heap. This is San Francisco, cookbooks HAVE to be compostable right? Thankfully I spotted Bird by Bird on my shelf.

Anne Lamott has this way of writing that makes me blush with recognition. She says the things that I am thinking, often more bluntly but always a sense of self-deprecating humor that rings true. Bird by Bird is no exception. Her chapter on jealousy is startling because as I read it I felt exactly as she did, wanting to be happy for those people that are successful, but all the while distraught at not being more successful myself. Success is a drug, one of which that makes you wish for more if you taste a bit of it. Having been nominated once for an award, means you expect to be nominated again. When it doesn’t happen, you feel like a failure, even though it just means that perhaps it is time for someone else to shine. If you’ve never been nominated, then perhaps your time has yet to come. Or not. Not every writer gets published in the New Yorker and not ever actor wins an Academy Award, nor do all writers or actors deserve it. We all struggle and win and lose daily, and sometimes it’s the small daily victories that are much more of a big win than any accolades given to us by an outside person or panel. I try to keep that in mind as I got up to do the dishes that had piled up while I was sick in bed.

Homemade Chocolate Cake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

In the end, I look at some of the people I am jealous of, and I begrudgingly say that most of them deserve it. Not everyone, mind you, as there are those people that I am utterly confused by their success, but most of them really do deserve it. Some got there by way of luck or were early adopters, blogging before everyone else thereby getting a jump start on those that came later, but some – dare I say most – work their butts off to get where they are. Those people, (perhaps more than I am probably willing to admit) deserve their success because they are really incredibly talented. They have more talent in their pinky than I have in my entire body. They fart creativity and it drives me crazy that I struggle along, trying to figure things, pretending to be creative on this blog, when clearly I am a sham, a poorly trained actor on a stage built by WordPress, Photoshop and Illustrator.

But then I realize that you don’t see that. You don’t see my struggle, the dirty dishes, the piles of broken bundt cakes and sticky gooey not-so-delicious rubbery fillings (take note, arrowroot and cornstarch are NOT always equal substitutions – trust me on this one). I so rarely talk about the failures on this blog, because who wants to see those? Those aren’t the photos that people pin on pinterest. We reward the perfect all the while complain that the standards set are so high that no one can really attain them. But if I struggle along with my failures, what makes me so sure that I am alone with it? Those “successful” people out there have their own problems, whether it’s fighting a cold, running late as they pick up their kid from the daycare or trying to test their recipes for the sixth time for the cookbook that is due in a week and the recipe just. won’t. work. And who knows, there might be people out there that are jealous of me too. Me and my clogged sinuses and dirty dishes and lack of awards. Oh to be jealous worthy.

Homemade Chocolate Cake by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

In the end I resign myself to my jealous, knowing it is fleeting. I’m actually NOT a jealous person, and any form of jealously that flairs up is usually a result of external circumstances. A bad hair day, coupled with a failed bid on a photo or design project leads to me putting on a shirt that makes me looks fatter than my usual gay fat and then I get an email telling me that I didn’t win a contest that I forgot I had entered in the first place. It all adds up. But, like most things, the next day is a little bit better. New opportunities arise, my hair seems to be cooperating again, and I decide to donate that shirt to the local goodwill, because really, horizontal stripes never looked good on me anyway, I’m more of an argyle guy. I realize that though I wish I could magically create fabulous stunning dishes in the kitchen all the times, the things that I do successfully achieve in the oven usually aren’t half bad. Maybe some of them are pretty good. And though it’s one of those things that I often times say to people, I really do believe it: when someone else in the food blogging world finds success, it opens doors for other food bloggers as well. It shows the world that there is legitimacy in what food bloggers do. At least that’s what I tell myself. If that doesn’t help me feel better, well, I just serve myself up another large slice of chocolate cake and find a shirt with vertical stripes.

[*Editor’s note: I wrote this post nearly a year ago, but for various reasons, never published it. After presenting at the Roger Smith cookbook conference with Diana Kuan, author of fabulous The Chinese Take Out Cookbook, I was telling her about this unpublished piece and she encouraged me to hit the publish button. Even though some things have changed since I wrote the piece, including the fact that I have talked and will be talking in a number of conferences in 2013 (including the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference, the annual IACP conference and BlogHer Food 2013), I thought it an appropriate piece to publish for my blog 3 year anniversary. I hope you all take it with a grain of (kosher, sea or maldon) salt. Thank you all for indulging in my ramblings for the past three years.]

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{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) March 11, 2013 at 6:49 am

Irvin, THANK YOU for publishing this. For being honest. For writing what many others simply think. You ARE a success (hey, can I say I am jealous of YOU?!) and part of the reason for that is because you are so real. All that perfection can get boring pretty quickly. Happy 3rd – and here’s to many more.
PS: That cake looks pretty pinnable/ gawkable!


The Suzzzz March 11, 2013 at 7:12 am

If you ever want to NOT feel jealous of someone, I can show you photos of all my food fails. The sad part is that I’m an OK home cook, but 90% of the people I know don’t cook at all and think my food is amazing…the other 10% really are good cooks and know I’m complete crap.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar March 11, 2013 at 8:17 am

Mmm what a treat!


Nicole March 11, 2013 at 9:02 am

A small amount of jealousy is a good thing. It keeps us working harder, encourages us to do better. Mine always comes after a small success, and can almost always be attributed to a drop in my statistics. I call it “post viral letdown”.


Jennifer @ Licious Food March 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

Thank you. I am not sure how I found you but I am glad I did. Happy Blogiversary! Since I tend to read romance I have not read this “Bird by Bird”, I will have to check it out.


Brooke @ Food Woolf March 11, 2013 at 10:50 am

I am SO glad you published this post. It really is needed. For so many reasons. I do think so many people only publish that happy, shiny versions of themselves for fear of seeming VULNERABLE!!!! (how dare we!) What you’re writing about–regardless of the successes or near misses–is something we all struggle with. No matter how evolved we think we should be at this point.

The more I realize that I can’t take other people’s successes personally, the less pain I get into. The more time I put into putting positivity in the world, rather than nursing self-pity/fear/you name it, the better I feel.

Amen, Brother! Great writing. And congratulations on all your great successes!


Shanna March 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

damn. I so get this. and I hate that I do. but you wrote it so transparently and well… thank you for hitting publish on it.


Sarah R. March 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

Beautifully written post. I look forward to hearing you present at BlogHer. I’m going right now to put Bird by Bird on my goodreads list!


Ryan March 11, 2013 at 11:24 am

The folks at Tastegawker are clearly insane. Congrats on three years!


Alicia @ Alicia Carlson Photography March 11, 2013 at 11:53 am

Happy 3 years, and thanks for hitting the “Publish” button! It’s certainly a feeling most people have experienced at some point, and hate admitting to.


nikki March 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

Fantastic post… so glad you finally published it. I think it is a common thread among people to experience jealousy and wonder why we are such failures, especially in today’s online world where we tend to only put our best foot forward. Like you said, we don’t see your mistakes, but they exist. I’ve often wondered, when blogging, if I should post my failures; but when it comes down to it, I don’t, primarily out of fear. I’m supposed to be a professional so how will it look if I post my screw-ups. Maybe it’ll look real…


Kristina @ MouthFromTheSouth March 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Irvin – First, I am seriously jealous of your baking skills. Sometimes so much so that I hope you don’t get feet on your macarons. 🙂

Your blog is on my “Blogs I Actually Read” because beyond your gorgeous pictures and delicious baked goods, you seem real. You are someone I feel like I could sit down with and just relax and chat the evening away. There is no pretension, and you don’t take yourself too seriously – that. my friend is a rare gift in the crazy mixed-up world of blogging.

I’m glad you wrote this honest post. I think most bloggers if they’re being honest, feel this at some point. We look at someone else and think “How in the hell did that happen?” And then we remind ourselves that our voices and contributions are still important. And that person probably has a lot of bad hair days. 🙂 And we move on and write the posts we want to write.


Lawyer Loves Lunch March 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Happy Blog’iversary friend! It’s comforting to hear that amidst the many fabulous treats that come out of your kitchen, there are still disasters every now and then (particularly since I’m living in a house littered with old Cheerios and am jealous of anyone that has time to vacuum and obviously bake amazing chocolate cakes). So proud (and jealous in the best possible way) of your success 🙂


Maggie at Eat Boutique March 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Thank you for sharing, Irvin. I feel it and appreciate it. See you in SF soon! Maybe we can have a vulnerability party together. 🙂


Michael Procopio March 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

As someone who almost never publishes chirpy essays or photos of near-perfect food on his blog, I can’t tell you how glad I am to see more people admitting to failure. Especially bloggers whose food always looks to be near-perfect.

And (ahem) weren’t you nominated for a Saveur award? That is something I will never achieve, as you well know.

I wouldn’t know about male bloggers and their tiny penises because I have been spared that sort of show-and-tell, but I can tell you it takes big cojones to admit to failure. Good show.


P.S. You would have gotten major bonus points for photographing and showing one of your more flagrant kitchen mishaps.


Carol Sacks March 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Charming, heart-felt, funny post and that cake is divine. I’m so glad that you included the postscript about how 2013 is full of momentum and good things. All well-deserved!


Cassie | Bake Your Day March 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I love this Irvin and I’m so glad you pushed publish…for the cake and for the truth in the words. It happens to all of us. Looking forward to hearing you speak at BHF!


C.S. Bouton March 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Well done! Thanks for hitting publish this time. I just discovered your blog and really enjoy your photos, recipes, and writing, so I’m really glad you haven’t given up. My blog has been on hiatus due to repetitive stress injuries from too much writing at the computer, and I have been hopeful to start again soon. This gives me more incentive to start up again, so thanks for the morale boost and the fabulous chocolate cake recipe!


Kristen March 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

You know what? First of all, I am so glad you hit publish. This post is so real and raw and we all feel this way from time to time. You know what bugs me? I get jealous of people who have things I don’t even want! What is up with that? Food blogging will do that to you sometimes.

Much love to you and I’m excited to see you again at BlogHer Food!!


Linda | The Urban Mrs March 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I’m so glad I read this today. This posting has encouraged me and I have no words other than THANK YOU! It’s encouraging to learn that I’m not the only one who struggles and tries to catch up with everyone else. Reading this, it made me realize that we all go through the same path and I’m glad that you’ve made it there!


Elizabeth @ SugarHero! March 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This is a great post, and I think it touches on something we all feel once in awhile. (Okay, or all the time…guilty.) It’s so hard to look at other people and wonder, “Why them, and why not me?” It’s an ugly emotion that isn’t productive, but as your blog post and these comments point out, it’s pretty universal! I recently discovered your blog through the FB food bloggers group, and I’m enjoying following along. Nice to “meet” you.


Carla March 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I never would’ve guessed this piece was written a year ago. Such a timeless topic and we as bloggers have to keep reminding ourselves that we are good enough in our own ways. Thank you for writing the words I’ve been feeling lately. To drown our sorrows for the time being, pass me some of that delicious chocolate cake.


Jameson Fink March 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm


I will think of this post the next time I hear someone who didn’t win an award say, “It was an honor to be nominated.”

Like I said in my tweet, really appreciate the honesty and candor. Great post.




Alysa March 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Totally jealous of your mad photography and storytelling skills. Thanks for sharing.


[email protected] March 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I think I also owe a debt of gratitude to Diana Kuan for encouraging you to hit the “publish” button. I’ve always liked Emerson’s take on success – “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;” (or a killer chocolate cake!:-))
Contests, book deals, TV appearances are all wonderful, but I think in the grand scheme of things, who we are as people is the true measure of our success – and by that measure you are amazingly successful!!! Wish I was going to hear you speak this year!!


Tiffany March 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thank you for hitting publish, if even a year ‘late’. Truth is more beautiful than a landscape painted with butterflies all the time. And that chocolate cake? Most beautiful of all.


Kim Beaulieu March 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Irvin this was such a refreshing post. You laid your heart on the line, and spoke beautifully about you feel. There is nothing wrong with being vulnerable, it’s what makes us human. You are brave for putting this out there, showing us that side of yourself. I would think there’s many of us who are reading this and thinking if Irvin Lin feels this way it makes sense we do too. Our flaws are what bind us, and connect us. So thank you for sharing this.

Happy Bloggy Birthday. This cake is stunning. And let me just say, for what it’s worth, that sharing food with you one day is on my bucket list. I swear having a slice of one of your cakes is my goal list. It’s good to dream.


Ilke March 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I rarely comment here, but I do visit often to read what you are up to:)
It is relieving to know that a successful and creative blogger like you has these self-doubts, it makes you more human, that you are not taking everything for granted.
Yes, there will always be more successful people than you are. But also there are people that you inspire. I am struggling to keep up with the blog due to hectic cwork schedule but I try to do my best even though I may have only 700 fans on FB… Who cares? There are 700 people cared apparently, and I can not take them for granted, So I keep my chin up and do my best to serve them. Just like you giving us good content each time 🙂
Thanks for publishing this.


Kate @ Kate from Scratch March 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I love this post and that cake.


Ruthy @ omeletta March 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Irvin, thank you so, so much for this post. It hit closer to home than I’d like to admit- I had a hell of a time fighting the Jealousy Monster this weekend. Blogging can sometimes feel as though I’m shouting into a canyon, and no one even glances up. When I get really down about it, I like to go through old archives on my favorite blogs and see how far they’ve come-it helps me keep things in perspective, and remember I’ll get there, too (hopefully some day, at least). Thank you for your honest vulnerability in this post, and for hitting “publish!.


Wendy Read March 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I love you. I always have, from the first minute I saw you on twitter. I too have read Bird by Bird, I put it down, I pick it up. Now it is behind my seat in the car. My copy is pathetically used. I never feel good enough, just think, you could have decided to make Jam for your next career move……more on that later. XO


bridget {bake at 350} March 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Happy Blogiversary!!!

I’m so happy you published this post! I really loved it…and I’d love to see your kitchen mishaps, too! Maybe we should make a rule that all food bloggers must publish one failed recipe or one picture of a kitchen disaster area per month. I know it would make me feel better.

Also, yay for argyle.


SMITH BITES March 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

tiny penises? for a moment there, i thought you were naming names . . . hah!

i know you didn’t post this to get affirmation that you’re incredibly talented, loved and respected – so i’ll just say that i’m cheering you on from the sidelines Irvin – regardless of whether or not your ‘time comes’ – i’m still here, reading your words (big kudos for using ‘moist’) and drooling over your recipes (i’m not a cake person but damn, i want to make/eat this cake!). my world is brighter, bigger and more joyful because you’re a part of it – sending you loads of love from the Midwest (((hugs)))


carrian March 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Lovely post. Food blogging is such a crazy world sometimes and I feel like standing up and screaming, WE AREN’T EACH OTHER’S COMPETITION!!!!! Wouldn’t we all be more successful and happy if we learned, supported, uplifted and shared with one another? It’s not high school, I was over that while I was still in high school. I’m ready for the love, genuine hearts, and a community. And guess what many out there feel the same. Hooray!


Sabrina Modelle March 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I love this piece. Thank you for being honest, and funny, and snarkish. Sometimes we call feel that. Our comparing minds are killer beasts.
Happy Blog Birthday and Mucho Amor,


Angie @ Big Bear's Wife March 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I loved reading this. There are so many people/bloggers out there that just want to be the next big thing, they want the thousands of followers and the publishes banging on their door with cookbook deals… they forget why they started blogging. I got caught up in it. I compared everything I did with other bloggers, it took away my joy in blogging. If the numbers happen for me i’ll be happy, if I get a cookbook deal I’ll be over the moon, but if not I’m perfectly happy writing my little blog posts on my little blog, sharing my favorite things. 🙂 oo and if you are wanting someone to be jealous of you mI just want you to know that I am 100% jealous of your ability to make a perfect layered/frosted chocolate cake. I can’t make one look that pretty to save my life haha.


Swati Sapna March 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I’m in love with the way you write! Funny, heartfelt, honest… and did i say funny?! I love people who write with a sense of humour. And have you ever noticed how food and wit make for the best of companions? Im almost jealous here… of your amazing food and your style of writing. But its all in good faith, I assure you 😛 My first time here on your blog and I already like you more than the chocolate cake itself!! Hahaha…!


[email protected] Cooks March 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you. You said in one post so many things that are on my mind all the time, and you said them SO beautifully and with chocolate cake on the side! I’m bookmarking this so I can read it and feel inspired, uplifted and part of a big group of people I might not have met yet but I still consider friends. Thank you!


Liren March 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Glad you found the courage to hit the publish button, for sharing so honestly and openly. In the end, we can only measure our successes against our own personal standards, even though that can be very hard to remember in this rapidly evolving space. Happy 3rd Blog Birthday 🙂


Jane Bonacci March 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

This is wonderful Irvin! We all get momentarily waylaid by other people’s successes, but it is passion that keeps us coming back. There is no one more worthy of accolades and success than you!! So happy that you are having so many speaking engagements – the audience is incredibly lucky to learn from you!!


dixya @ food, pleasure, and health March 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

yay for pushing publish first of all and second of all -Happy blogoversary 🙂 There is so much going on with people, blog world, life in general its overwhelming sometimes- then add some social media to that – its sometimes a disaster. But that is normal Irvin to feel jealously and not necessarily in a bad way. It sometimes even helps us get better and work hard and hope that we will also fart creativity and be awesome at everything. Okay- I am jealous of that cake- please pass me a slice. Its great to know that you are feeling good.


Flavia March 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Happy 3rd blog birthday, Irvin! I am so happy to have found your blog; it is one of my very favorites to read.

I can relate to everything you wrote about in your post. I have been blogging for 4 years and there have been times where I’ve just wanted to throw in the towel and shut it all down. I have learned to periodically take a step back when Jealousy rears her ugly head and remind myself of the reasons I started blogging–none of which were for fame, fortune or recognition.

In addition to sharing my favorite recipes, and teaching others about Italian food and culture, I started blogging to also form new friendships with other people who share the same passion for food and cooking, and I could never have imagined how wonderful I would feel from these friendships–it has been nothing short of amazing. I still feel twinges of jealousy at times–especially when, like you, I see bloggers rise to ridiculous heights of fame and recognition just because they have great stats, a huge Twitter following and not much else. It seems grossly unfair and reminds me of high school where the “popular” kids got all the attention {apparently some bloggers aren’t past that phase and they aren’t people I’d want to be friends with anyway}.

For the most part though, I find myself cheering on many bloggers who clearly work hard to deserve the recognition and fame and I am blessed to call some of them friends. Whenever I start to feel jealousy rising again, I simply remind myself that I am doing what I can with what I have and am working hard to hone my skills in cooking, baking, writing and photography and I am *very* proud of that. Don’t ever sell yourself short–you have amazing talent on all fronts and there are many people who read your blog {myself included} who love and admire you and your beautiful space on the Internet. Hope to meet you someday! xo


Katie | The Hill Country Cook March 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Well done! Well done! I’m certain this speaks to all our souls. Now I’m off to find black flake sea salt in small town Texas. 🙂


Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 11, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Delicious treat! And I love your straight-forwardness. I’m sure many of us can relate with the jealousy 😉


Vanessa @frenchfoodiemom March 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Thank you for writing this. It is not only brave but also incredibly helpful to know that we all get jealous, regardless of our level of blog and life success. Your talk about fonts and blog design at blogher food a couple of years ago was a huge inspiration for me, and you’ve been one of the bloggers I most look up to since then. And I love the line about blushing with recognition at Anne Lamott’s truth. She is nothing short of amazing.


Susan Loren-Taylor | Swoon My Spoon March 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

How can I resist such a gorgeous photo of what has to be my all-time favorite dessert! You’ve not only reminded me of what a chocolate cake should look like and described what can only taste like nirvana, you’ve encouraged me to dust off my copy of Bird by Bird and continue to move forward. And for the record, when it comes to awards, you’ve got my vote!


Rachelle King March 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Irvin – I’ve always loved your candor, but you deserve an award my friend for writing this blog post! I was just having this discussion yesterday with a fellow food blogging friend and I love that you taken pen to paper, rather finger to keys and shared what so many of us feel and I’m sure struggle with.

I think what gets lost in the success of it all at times is we are a community and should be supporting each other when at times it can become very clique-y and a bit of mud slinging can be had – there is enough room in this space for us all and it’s about finding your own voice and staying true to that voice, be nice to others along the way and pay it forward as it will always come back to you, maybe not when you want, but I promise when it’s best for you!

Thanks you Irvin again for your honesty, candor & humor…and for a kick ass chocolate cake recipe!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I’m so glad you decided to publish this post! The whole way through I was thinking, wow, I can really relate! I think a lot of people can. So many things are relative and there will always be someone ahead of you (and behind you) but it is really hard to keep that in perspective and not wonder why or how you can be doing just as well as that other person. Love this and thanks for making me laugh at how you hope those “better off” people will suffer:-)

PS there is ALWAYS room for more chocolate cake!


Sara Tetreault March 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Well, I have a cold so I can’t be jealous of you for that!
All I can say is: I hear ya’! It’s hard to want what we have and be genuinely happy for other folks but that’s human nature.
Your cakes are delicious and so is your taste. My sink is full of dirty dishes and you’ve given me a new book to read – as soon as I finish “Photography and editing for total idiots!”
Don’t overlook gingham as a pattern, friend. It’s a classic and would look fabulous on you. Happy 3-year anniversary! See you in Austin! I’m speaking at BlogHer Food, too. 🙂


shelly (cookies and cups) March 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Totally fantastic post. We all feel this way…WHAT ABOUT MEEEEEEE? But you captured it beautifully…and your chocolate cake…I will certainly pin that 🙂


michele bowman March 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

thanks so much for posting this. I am a new food blogger, but not new to the world of photography and trying to gain success in my work. Your words ring so true and it’s refreshing to see someone admit that they feel this way (since most of us do at some point). Your work is fabulous and I love your blog. Keep up the great work.


Michelle March 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I found your site because your beautiful chocolate cake appeared in my Pinterest feed. I am always trying to find a chocolate cake that tastes the way I remember when I was a kid. I clicked on the link to see if the recipe was a “real” chocolate cake or some fancied up version, which I would ignore. I was in love after the first paragraph of your post. After finishing this post, I read some more; pinned the recipe for Ad Hoc Brownies and then subscribed to your blog. Thank you! Your humor, honesty and delicious recipes make this blog different than so many others I read and I can’t wait to explore it further.


Toni | Boulder Locavore March 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Congratulations on your three fabulous years and thank you for giving us a gift every time you publish. I had to laugh thinking of the masses who I’m sure are desperately jealous of you merely because you are who you are! Loved every word of this post.


Maria March 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Thank you for publishing this post. I think most of us can relate. The food blogging community is sometimes discouraging, if you let the little things get to you. BUT it is also an amazing community, thanks to people like you!

Thank you for always sharing your talents and being honest and real. I love coming to your site. You always leave me feeling refreshed, inspired, and motivated to be better. Happy 3 years! Can’t wait to see you this year! And if you have an extra piece of chocolate cake, I would love a fork:)


Gail March 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Good for you, Irvin, for pushing ‘publish’.
I’m not even a ‘blogger’, yet I commiserate with you.

Glad you’re feeling better, and thanks for the chocolate cake fix!!


Nadia March 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Irvin, the very first time I landed on your blog, I was struck by the beauty of your photographs, and also your success! I thought, “Wow, he has created an inspiring food blog and has real talent as a baker. I’m not half as talented as he is, how do I even entertain creating something as enjoyable as his blog?”

I am touched by the honesty and frankness you shared in this post about your perceptions of sucesss and feelings of jealousy. Thank you for posting this.


Lora @cakeduchess March 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm

What a great post, Irvin. Thank goodness you listened to your friend and did hit publish because this is an honest and very cool post. It’s wonderful to read about all the speaking engagements you will be doing this year…congrats and I wish I could hear you at one of them. This cake…oh my, this cake! Luscious and moist and I want it really badly. Wishing you many more blogging successful years to you! xx


Janet March 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Remember… You are the person another blogger is jealous of!

You’ve earned your success – even though it may not be your final destination of what success means for you, (remember, it’s a journey…) and you make me/others happiest when you’re enjoying it!

The only thing to do is to keep going!


kellypea March 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Well if it means anything to you, I saw this in my news feed on FB when I was on my way to the market today and couldn’t wait to get home to read it. Yes. Really. First, I try to live my life by Bird by Bird and have for just about as long as it’s been out. I fail routinely. Loved every bit of this post and appreciate your honesty so very much. I like to think of it this way — people don’t always understand true quality. They head for the drive thru and two for one specials. Count me in for the quality. I’ve always been a fan. Hang in there.


Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories March 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I love, love, love this post. Hey, Google Adsense rejected me. (Oh, and your cake is gorgeous by the way and your photographs are beautiful).


Lisa Huff @ Snappy Gourmet March 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Dang, I should not be looking at this late at night!!!! Looks incredible and now my stomach is grumbling…


Shila March 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm

hi irvin! Happy 3 years! It feels like I just met you 3ish years ago at the sf food bloggers bake sale, and now it’s been 3 years and you are a mega blogger (even if it didn’t feel like it at the time of this post).

Thank you for hitting the publish button. For confessing your sometimes (onetime?) jealousy and feelings of not enoughness and being totally honest. Sometimes food blogs or any blogs or online media does have a sense of creating the illusion of perfectly frosted cakes, and idyllic home lives, and endless creativity, when the truth is that everyone (I think?) struggles sometimes they just do it alone or offline.

Reading your blog and meeting you in person, I know that you are wildy creative, hard-working, generous, and supportive. It is a pleasure reading your baking adventures and thank you for sharing yourself so generously with your readers.


Renée J. (RJ Flamingo) March 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Funny. I’ve always been just a teensy bit jealous of your talent, Irvin. 🙂 Just goes to show that there’s always someone lower in the “food chain.” xox Pinned this, btw – I need this recipe!


Liz W | EmmaEats March 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm

What a fantastic post and beautiful cake, Irvin. There’s so much truth in them words you wrote – and I’m so glad you hit publish. You’ve said what so many out there are feeling/have felt but may not have been able to say it themselves. Happy 3rd blog-versary!


Peabody March 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh I hear this. I sometimes get the gee I have been blogging for almost 8 years now and there are people who are leaps and bounds ahead of me.

But reality is have I been offered a cookbook? Yes, however I didn’t feel it was the deal for me since they wanted to me to write about something I didn’t really know anything about just because it’s popular. And while some have told me I was stupid for that, I don’t feel stupid.
And reality is there are people that spend hours on social media (that I don’t have time for) and that promote themselves hard core…and I don’t. They work hard at it.

But I fully admit there are people’s websites that I go and look at and just think how? why? But at the end of the day I just try and do my own thing.


Jean March 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thank you for hitting the publish button on this post, Irvin. It’s honest and, at some point or another, true for a lot of us. Such a good reminder that we need to take a step back sometimes and reflect. Is this still fun? Why am I doing this? Who am I doing it for? And if we can be happy with our answers we push on. Well done. 🙂


Nicole March 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Just keep doing what you’re doing and I don’t think you’ll have that jealousy problem in the near future, you’re awesome! And now I want chocolate cake. 🙂


Nancy @ gottagetbaked March 11, 2013 at 10:16 pm

First off, the cake is divine. Utterly, completely, fabulously divine. It belongs on a bakery store shelf, to be coveted and then purchased, carefully brought home and then savoured by the lucky consumer. Second, thanks for writing such an eloquent, thoughtful post. Seriously, these thoughts fill my mind all the time! I’ve only been blogging 10 months and with my 60 hour work weeks, blogging’s become a once-a-week affair. Still, I constantly scour the internet, staring at other people’s blogs, posts, recipes, photos, always comparing myself to them, wondering why my stats aren’t as high, why don’t I have hundreds of comments on my posts or “likes” on my facebook page. I started blogging because I wanted a creative outlet for myself. Because I love to bake and I wanted to share recipes that I love. And along the way, it became a popularity contest, even if it’s only in my head sometimes. Judging from this comment thread, a lot of people (myself included) admire you, enjoy your work, and feel the exact same way as you do! Thanks for sharing, Irvin. Now I need to go and bake this cake.


Stephanie March 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm

1. Happy 3rd Blorgthday! I, for one, am incredibly happy that your blog is around, fwiw.

2. Pass me a slice of that cake anytime and we can bitch about jealousy together. There are days when I wonder if all the success in the world is based on luck, and whether hard work is just some crap that we feed to the losers (myself included) to make ourselves feel better about maybe having better luck next time. But, hope is hope, and optimism makes life worth living, so here’s to hoping that our hard work all pays off eventually!

3. It’s been too long. We need to get together ASAP.


Mikey F. March 12, 2013 at 2:13 am

I’ve always been a bit of a jealous person. When meeting successful people I do ask myself quite often why them, and not me. But one must learn that this is something that comes and then goes, and also one must be able to write about it and laugh about it.

Loved your words. And THIS cake!!!

Sometimes, I’d say, it should be good to talk about the failures, about those recipes that did NOT work, and did NOT look good on pictures at all.

Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.


Mikey F.


Nancy A. March 12, 2013 at 4:01 am

The cake looks so delicious, I am jealous of all your talent!! We all love your blog and you do a great job!! Keep up the good work, you are a winner in my book!


Arthur in the Garden! March 12, 2013 at 5:55 am

Wonderful! I might make this Saturday but will have to take a nap after eatting half of it! 🙂


Kitchen Ninja (Julianne) March 12, 2013 at 5:56 am

THANK YOU for publishing this. You were able to capture so elegantly what all we lowly, non-famous bloggers feel from time to time.


Jessica Lee Binder March 12, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hi Irvin,
I remember the first time I “met” you was when we were both on the Nudie Foodies Calendar together. I remember seeing your preview photo and thinking wholy moly! this guy is a genius!

Thanks for posting this. After that calendar (felt like my last hoorah), I left for a super-long maternity leave. Coming back now, I feel completely lost, like everything has changed and the blog world left to go somewhere else without me.
It helps to know that superheros are not superheros all the time.



kelly @ kellybakes March 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

Before going to BSP last summer, I had heard so many rave reviews of the weekend. When I got there and realized you were an attendee, I remember meeting you and thinking, “holy crap, Irvin Lin is super talented AND he’s super friendly!” (I sometimes feel super intimidated by successful bloggers and assume that they have better things to do than talk to lowly ‘little guys’ like me). I had been stalking, er, admiring your gorgeous photos for the longest time, wondering how you got your cakes to be so perfectly level and all of your buttercream swirls to look just so. Admittedly, it’s reassuring to know that you have days where your cake batter curdles, your buttercream melts, your kitchen is covered in flour and your cat decides to knock over a bowl of ingredients. Both because it’s nice not to be alone in having a bad day in the kitchen and because it gives me hope that if I push through all of that, it’ll make me a better baker… one who makes every picture look like it belongs in a cookbook. Yesterday, I had someone tell me that they admired me as a blogger and I nearly spit out my tea. If you’re so busy looking up to other folks, you’ll never take a good look at yourself and you’ll never look down to see who’s looking up to you! Thanks so much for posting this Irvin; I’m bookmarking it for the next time I’m eating my feelings while bitterly browsing TasteGawker after a rejection 🙂


MikeVFMK March 12, 2013 at 8:38 am

Happy 3 glorious years, Irvin! Real and raw makes for wonderful reading. Everything you said resonates with so many because we all have out moments of jealousy and insecurity. Shit, I’m jealous of you. I don’t have half the successes you have. And that’s how it should be.


Hannah March 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

I’m glad you clicked the “publish” button. 🙂 Very refreshing and makes me appreciate who you are even more. Keep it up.


Belinda @zomppa March 12, 2013 at 10:13 am

I’m jealous of you and of all the people who live close to you to bask in your warmth! And food. Seriously I think we d be buds if we we loved closer, not in a creepy stalky way, I swear! I’m jealous of who gets to eat this!!


Family Foodie March 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

You make make me smile and laugh and just reading this post reminded me of how much fun we had in NYC. I still don’t think I could have made it through if you weren’t in the front row smiling and encouraging me the entire time. You are fabulous and so is this post!


Stephanie March 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm

OMG Irvin, I almost didn’t comment because you have so many on this post already. (Cue my own jealousy here! I have the traffic and the book deal, but not the engagement u_u)

I love that book. It sounds silly to say, but I only got halfway through with it because I couldn’t bear for it to end. Is that weird?

And I think you should do a Failure Friday where you shoot and explain your flops. We could make it a meme, like ten of us could commit to doing Failure Fridays. Yay failures!


elizabeyta March 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I understand. But can I say, I like it when bloggers blog about failures. I know that is not your style and that is okay. I always find it is interesting to see what comes out of the failures.

Okay. I am odd. 🙂

blessings and congratulations on 3 years!


Addie March 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I just found your blog, and I am so happy that you’ve finally gotten the recognition you so clearly deserve. This is so well written. Thank you for sharing it!


Diana @ Appetite for China March 12, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Words cannot express how much I love this post. And please write more, because it’s always good to have little reminders that life is not a straight climb to success, nor should it be. Thank you for the shout out, though I’m pretty sure anyone else would have done that same thing!

And I’m jealous of your chocolate cake.


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen March 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

If there is one thing that blogging is responsible for, is letting us all know that whatever we feel is without doubt shared by others. This is a superb post Irvin. And the chocolate cake I have it printed (yes, printed, and in an old recipe binder) since 1999 and never made it. It´s about time. It´s gorgeous.


Nami | Just One Cookbook March 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hi Irvin! I’ve been reading your posts since I discovered your blog at the end of last year, but never actually left a comment till now. First of all, I want to say congratulations on your 3rd blog anniversary! Thank you for sharing today’s post. Even someone like you were thinking like this a year ago? You must have achieved so much this past year! I sometimes wish that I could take better pictures and write a beautiful story like you just did. Since I’m inspired by talented people everyday, it’s easy to compare myself with others. What am I missing? How can I improve… but after all it takes time and have to be patient while working hard at it. Your post inspired me so much today. You have multiple talents in cooking, writing, photography etc and keep up the good work!


Shanna@ pineapple and coconut March 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

The only thing that I am jealous of is that you have this chocolate cake at your house and I don’t have it at mine. lol. I love reading your blog and admire your amazing baking skills and photography. So glad you wrote this post. I started blogging in 2009 and wasn’t very serious about it. I redid my blog last year, gave it a new name and decided to be more serious, which really isn’t much. I see some brand new bloggers write out 2-3 years worth of editorial calendars and talk about the 5 cookbooks they have planned and obsesses over numbers but say they aren’t worried and all I can do is laugh at it all. Life is WAY to short to take that seriously. Side note: my husband and I call TS and FG Tastesdicks and Foodfuckers every time the reject my photos. I am sitting at about 50% of my pics being approved and I am OK with it. Some posts I forget to submit to them and don’t even bother. I have enough gray hair from my 2 year old, I don’t need more from worrying if a food porn site liked my cupcake pics. Keep up what you’re doing – I am a big fan of yours!!


Amber @ Sprinkled With Flour March 13, 2013 at 7:51 am

I’m so glad you did decide to hit that publish button, this read was really great for me today. I think there are many of us who struggle with the same feelings, and it’s nice to find ourselves in like-minded company. This chocolate cake really does sound like a great spin on a classic cake too! 🙂


eM March 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

teff and mesquite flour?
cacao nibs and black cypress flake salt ?
food blogs are very much like the news these days : I simply cannot decipher what is serious and what is parody.
Also – three forks for one piece of cake is a travesty.


David March 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Maybe I am blind, but what exactly do you do with the hot coffee and chocolate after it cools off?


Irvin March 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Oh dang it! Sorry. You add that with the vegetable oil and the buttermilk. I fixed that on my recipe. Sorry about that!


merri March 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

happy 3 yr anniversary!!! even though i’ve never baked anything from your blog, i love reading it! i dont get that jealousy feeling about my own blog, cuz it’s more just from me (although it would be nice if a couple of people read it) but i do get it about my club. i can be very competitive…. but just when that feeling starts, something will come along to validate all we’ve done.


janelle March 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

we all feel this way, most of us just aren’t brave enough to put it out there. i know i get a tinge of “hey look over here at me” at times, and while ashamed of it, i know it’s human of us. beautiful chocolate cake by the way.


kelly March 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Happy 3 year anniversary and just wanted to say what a great post and very courageous of you to share that to the world! Love your blog and really admire the way you write and the fantastic photos you take. we all get bitten by the green monster sometimes in life and just want to say please don’t let that get you down as you are very talented in what you do and just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog 🙂


Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas March 14, 2013 at 5:53 am

Irvin, you’re not alone! This was a great post. I think the funniest part to me is I am 100% sure there are many folks who are jealous of you or something you have. I say this because I have always admired your incredible writing and authenticity, and feel lacking in the writing department. You are very talented, and it’s important to remember that! Everyone in the universe has their own unique combination of talents and personality, so I just try to be happy with myself and support others in cheer. I am bookmarking this post to come back to when I need to remind myself what is important. Thanks Irvin!


Amy March 14, 2013 at 5:57 am

Excellent Irvin! I’ve spent a week in a stupid time change sinus pressure general laziness stupor, which always triggers a jealous feeling sorry for myself I should just quit all of this and go work at a coffee shop cycle. So thank you for hitting publish. I will always remember this post when I start to head in that direction.

And Bird by Bird … good stuff. I think I should go read it again this spring to renew my mindset.


Heather March 14, 2013 at 11:01 am

Great post. I don’t blog because it looks like bloody hard work. Love that recipe too!


Carrie - Worth Pinning March 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I’m so glad you made some dirty dishes and submitted to Tastegawker, so I could see your photo and description and click over and smile the entire time I was reading. Loved it. Today, you win.


Marge @ A Sweet andSavory Life March 14, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I really resent you for this post that says so frankly what I (so many of us) think. I would wish you months of horizontal stripes, but I know you’d end up looking far better in them than I would.


Lizthechef March 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

You. Are. Terrific. aka Thanks, I needed this…best read of the week.


Lori @ RecipeGirl March 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Is it weird to think that I’m one of those people who is not sure they deserve the success they’ve had? I mean… I’ve worked my butt off creating what I have since 2005, pretty much all day every day. But am I a noteworthy writer? Amazing photographer? Fantastic recipe developer? Will my cookbook ever be nominated for any awards? Probably not. That’s okay with me. I do work hard, and I’m happy for the success and opportunities I’ve had (whether I’m one who deserves it or not). It’s people like you that I greatly admire- your writing is among the best of the blogs, your photography is beyond anything I will ever be able to accomplish, and I’ve always appreciated your straightforward honesty. I believe your opportunities are yet to come, and I believe there will be many of them. XO


Sheila March 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Irvin, I love you for pushing publish on this post. These are thoughts that run through all of our minds, and we rassle with what is fair, and why, why, why. It surprises me that you would have these thoughts, I so look up to your work. Jealousy is human nature. It’s how we decide to act upon it that directs our path…does it motivate us and force us to plod on , or does it make us want to dig a hole and bury ourselves?
I’m going to add Bird by Bird to my goodreads list!
Thanks again,


Kris March 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I love this post! You’re speaking a truth that we all feel at times, no matter what. I love how candid you are. It makes me love you and this blog all that much more!! Keep up the amazing, award deserving, cookbook deal needing work! xo


linda @spiceboxtravels March 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Congrats on this gorgeous cake, and let me know if you need another taster!


Cynthia March 17, 2013 at 7:54 am

Love this post! Lots of my same thoughts! Thanks for pressing “publish”!


Renee March 18, 2013 at 5:21 am

I love this post! I’m happy you pressed publish and now I want to read bird by bird! Thanks for the insights, you know every once in a while people like to see the mess of life not just the perfect pretty. That cake looks amazing.


kickpleat March 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

Hooray for hitting the publish button. I love Anne Lamott but haven’t read this book, even though it’s been on my library list forever – maybe it’s time for me to move it from “suspend” to “hold” immediately. And, of course, ou look great in argyle. Thanks for sharing 🙂


Jim True March 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Irvin, thank you for publishing this. It’s your courage to be open and honest about everything going on in that quirky incredibly talented head of yours that first attracted me to your blog and inspired me to write again. Yeah I took a hiccup on the road of life that turned me toward blogging, then to a dessert catering business and then back around full circle into an IT job that I swore I would never do again but doing it self-employed is strangely enough starting to be successful.

Jealousy rears its head everywhere. I look at other people who are doing start-ups and they seem to have it so easy. Investors shower them with money and they have the gorgeous cork floored eco friendly offices with state of the art equipment and oh so stylish eyewear on their faces. Then I look at me running around in my old beat up car, meeting people at coffee houses because I can’t afford an office space and I’m scrimping to pay my bills or even to eat and I seethe with jealousy and go ‘why them and not me?’. And yet, every single time I’m worry about where the money is coming from, I get another lead or another job lands in my lap and the new clients are so excited to start work with me. I still have people asking about my baking because they miss my twist on healthy baking. It lets me know I did make an impact somewhere and didn’t just disappear into obscurity.

If it weren’t for you (and the other) amazingly courageous food bloggers who inspire with your creativity, I would’ve never made a stab at starting my baking business or get try my hand at food photography, or get back into web design & graphic design that I had to do in order to photograph my products, design my logo and labels and market my brand. If I hadn’t made that detour, I wouldn’t have been able to start the business that for the last six months has been paying the bills. It was your informative talk and posts on branding that I still model when I meet with my new clients today. Yeah I may not be baking right now, but I’m working with “foodies” who have that entrepreneurial spirit that all of us share. They’re excited about being a local business and growing their community. I’m excited when I help someone realize their dream and know that someday when I can get the money, I’ll have my bakery down on the corner and it WILL be a success.

It may be the jealousy that it’s easier to get mired in, but the jealousy hopefully leads us to push ourselves harder to succeed in our own pursuits. Thank you for pushing publish, even if it was a year old, it’s an amazing piece and it’s the kind of writing I’ve been missing in the food blogosphere.


Nicole March 22, 2013 at 2:17 am

I’m glad you wrote this. As someone who struggles with these same thoughts (I think we all do at times), I can relate to the raw honesty you present. “We reward the perfect all the while complain that the standards set are so high that no one can really attain them.” I thought this was a really profound insight. Thanks for sharing!


Jun Belen March 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I am jealous of you, Irvin. I am a textbook introvert and there are times when I wish I were an ounce more extrovert like you. And I am jealous about your 100+ comments. Nobody comments in my blog.

Thank you for mentioning Bird by Bird. I have never read it and I am enjoying it right now. Happy birthday to your blog. And like what most bloggers say — that chocolate cake looks delicious!


Christina @ The Hungry Australian April 13, 2013 at 2:51 am

Irvin, thank you for writing this wonderful post. I applaud your candour.
Btw, you are a success, Irvin. Your writing cracks me up and your cooking, photography and styling are nothing but inspiring.
We all have days when the green-eye monster rears its angry head. However, I try to remember that I want to be a first-rate Christina, not a second-rate anyone else, and if I am treading my own path as best I can and living in an authentic and truthful way then I am a success. Regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Having said that, there are times I wonder, “why him/her?” But then I’m sure some people think that of me as well ( if only they knew the truth about my ahem glamorous life – lots of dirty dishes and late nights!)
Just do your thing, Irvin – you do it so well. xx


Good April 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I always love “real life” posts, and think those piles of failed bundt-cake would have made for an interesting post too!!


sandra sim April 15, 2013 at 2:42 am

It’s all so real. Thanks for sharing! I love how you pen humorousness with your honest words. Left me jealous.


morgan May 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm

love this post! i recently came upon your site and immediately thought to myself “i wish i could make a blog like this!” your blog is super inspirational to me, and so reading this post feels even that more meaningful to me. thanks for sharing your talents and thoughts with all of us.


Angela May 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

This is the post that everyone writes and can’t get themselves to click the publish button. Glad you did . . . now this is great writing. And the cake is amazing too.


Michael August 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm

You cake looks wonderful, I printed this out and plan to make it soon. Also printed out a few others too. Thank you for the recipes.


jw September 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hello Irvin, this is my first day reading your blog and I am in love! This is so wonderfully open and heartfelt as well as beautifully written and photographed. I was a pastry chef many years ago and the swiss buttercream brought back wonderful memories.
I look forward to following your thoughts and recipes.
BTW – my own sinus infections were gone after I had several acupuncture treatments for allergies, you might want to try it!


Irvin September 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

I’ve actually acupuncture before, and the results were varied. But luckily this season my sinuses have been relatively decent. Thank you so much for stopping by!


Maggie Unzueta @ Mama Maggie's Kitchen September 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I think a little jealousy is ok. It makes you know what you want. It makes attaining that desire even that much more pleasurable. It’s kind of like those snooty kids who eat at a fancy shmancy restaurant and hate the food. You have to eat at crappy, D-rated diners to truly appreciate that A-rated restaurant and its food.
BTW, your photography skills are excellent!


Joann Woolley September 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Since it has been 6 months since you published this, have you found that the jealousy pushed you to attain whatever it was you were jealous of someone else acheiving? I think we feel thses things on a regular basis and some say it’s not healthy, but it is completely normal. That cake may not be healthy, but it is surely sinfully good. I’m all for embracing those feelings, figuring out if you can use it to better your position, and if not, give yourself a time limit and let it go. Easier said than done, at least for me.


foodievangelist September 26, 2013 at 7:56 am

Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I have struggled with jealousy – my husband and I even joke about our “nemeses” – we each have a particular person who’s attained success in our field whom we feel just isn’t any “better” than us. Well, maybe they had advantages starting out or maybe they had lucky breaks or maybe they really ARE better. In any case, focusing on someone else’s success just means I don’t have time to work on my own.

And Bird by Bird has been sitting on my shelf for [number redacted] years. Thanks for the scoot. I’ll go check out that chapter!


Karen @ The Food Charlatan December 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for hitting publish. Everybody gets in a rut like this sometimes. Compare, compare, compare. But the best part about a rut is that it’s temporary, and when you’re done with it you’re better off. The cake looks amazing!


Caroline December 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I’m so glad Diana persuaded you to publish this piece. I love it. I love your honesty and really…all of those thoughts…they’ve crossed all of our minds. Reading this, at this moment for me, was perfect. Thank you for sharing with us.


[email protected] January 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I feel like I am stalking your blog today! I commented twice, and then I saw this cake on pinterest for “National Chocolate Cake Day”… somehow I missed it when you hit publish last year!

What a great piece, I’m so glad you wrote it. I find myself feeling this way too often these days.


Elle @ Only Taste Masters February 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Well as I was reading this, I have to tell you, I could feel the jealousy filling up my chest. I definitely envy your writing. And all these comments.

Oh, and your photos are gorgeous!

Thank you for saying what we are all feeling.


Genell {Nel's Nook} May 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I just found your blog today and as I was pouring over all of the gorgeous pictures and fantastic writing thinking my little self could never have a blog this amazing. And then I read this and I think you said it best – I was blushing with recognition. Thank you for the dose of humility and making me feel like I’m not alone.


Elodie June 17, 2014 at 10:05 am

your pictures make me hungry.great post!!


lemektoub June 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

this is simply YUmmy.


apprendre la guitare July 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Just by watching the picture i’m already hungry.great work thanks for the tips


Eliminer la cellulite July 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

Irvin, THANK YOU for publishing this. For being honest. For writing what many others simply think. You ARE a success (hey, can I say I am jealous of YOU?!) and part of the reason for that is because you are so real. All that perfection can get boring pretty quickly. Happy 3rd – and here’s to many more.
PS: That cake looks pretty pinnable/ gawkable


nancy baggett October 16, 2014 at 8:35 am

Yes, Irvin, a wonderful post. Yes, I, too have often felt the same–trying to be happy for the success of colleagues, but feeling like I am falling behind, or overlooked, or under-appreciated, or just not in the right place at the right time. One bit of advice: Over time I’ve taught myself to take more private pleasure in my triumphs (large or small); they come hard-earned in this business and being dismissive of successes, as I once was, robs one of the joy that’s needed to press on. I’m not talking bragging here, just secretly savoring by saying, “Self, you did good, you’ve got talent, you achieved something of merit.” BTW, I still haven’t read my copy of Bird by Bird, but you’ve motivated me!


Kanmani November 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

This is so beautiful..love the color and flavors 🙂


Anand December 30, 2014 at 3:02 am

Need to improve my blog.


Ruth Ubiles July 7, 2015 at 6:58 am

Love love love this post and love this recipe as well. Im glad that I found it and thank you!!! Keep doing your thing ☺


Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy October 29, 2015 at 10:30 am

I love how real and honest you are in this post. It’s so relatable and meaningful. Thanks for being brave enough to publish- I know that feeling of hovering over the publish button and feeling naked and having self-doubt. Thanks for digging deep and sharing. Great job.


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