I started the Inspiration Interview Series because I wanted to know more about the people who share their work with the world and inspire me to practice courage, be creative, and dream big. Ree is one of those people. I bet most of y'all know Ree from her incredible website, The Pioneer Woman, but hopefully you'll get to learn a few new things about her in this interview!
Ree is a best-selling author, photographer, blogger, homeschooling mom, and host of her own Food Network program. She's also become a good friend to me as I continue to learn how to navigate the online world. She never fails to offer up honest-to-goodness, soulful advice when I'm struggling.
I love this picture of Ree - it kinda says it all!
Ellen and I are also a big fans of her cookbooks! Just this past weekend we spent two hours catching up on Ree's new Food Network show, The Pioneer Woman. In case you didn't know, you can watch it on On Demand!
We're both pretty sure that we can now do 46 new things with butter and we can rope a cow if necessary! It was so fun to watch and Ellen was even inspired to make the chocolate sheet cake that Paige made in the Surprise Party episode. Yum.
Ree's new cookbook was released in March and is currently the NYT #1 bestselling cookbook. We're having so much fun working our way through the recipes. To celebrate the new book, we're giving away three copies! To make it fun, leave your name in the comment section along with your favorite dessert. We'll pick winners on Monday! If you're reading this in an email - jump over to the blog and leave your name in the comments, please!
I loved reading Ree's take on the topics I study. Enjoy the interview!
On Vulnerability, Authenticity and Courage
Creativity, innovation, and truth-telling can be very vulnerable in our culture which is why we often feel deeply inspired when we see it. We’d love to know more about how you find the courage to share your authentic self and your work with the world.
1. Vulnerability is _____________________. Scary, but it makes us human.
2. What role does vulnerability play in your work? Sharing oneself publicly (whether it's acting, singing, writing, speaking) is an inherently vulnerable thing. I blog, write books, speak in front of people, and appear on TV, so I'm vulnerable a great deal of the time. And while vulnerability often means being open to criticism and judgment, it also means being open to new friendships, new points of view, new experiences, and new perspectives. And those are very good things.
3. What does authenticity mean to you and how do you practice it in your work? Authenticity, to me, does not mean sharing every single corner and inch of you. It does mean being the same basic person at home that you are everywhere you go. In that sense, I do believe I practice authenticity.
The lines get a little blurry on my cooking show, when my hair and makeup are always done---and I'm wearing clean, ironed clothes. In my authentic daily life, I'm more inclined to be wearing yoga pants and my hair in a messy ponytail on top of my head. And no makeup. And no shower. And the sink is filled with dirty dishes. I'll stop now.
4. Is perfectionism an issue for you? If so, what’s one of your strategies for managing it? I am most certainly NOT a perfectionist in most areas of my life---my home, my yard, my closet, my hair, my figure. If I strove for perfection in those areas, I would be unhappy because it is unattainable: I have four children at home all the time. Cows poop in my yard. I have a cowlick. I like to eat. I would be reaching for the unreachable.
Striving for perfection would also take time, energy and focus away from the things I love doing, and would zap my creativity.
5. What inspires you?
Silence. I crave it.
Old hymns. "How Great Thou Art?" Fugghetabout it. (I smiled when I read Ree's answer. I listen to Loretta Lynn sing this everyday as my morning prayer).
Mowing the yard. I've had my very best ideas on the lawnmower. It's actually a form of silence, as the sound of the mower drowns out everything else.
6. What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity and how do you move through it?
Perfectionism! See above.
Another thing that gets in the way of my creativity is exhaustion, being overextended, and traveling too much. The more I'm away from home, the more my well runs dry. I shrivel.
7. Describe a snapshot of a joyful moment in your life. Cooking dinner with a baby on my hip.
8. Do you have a mantra or manifesto for living and loving with your whole heart? I couldn't come up with anything better than the Prayer of St. Francis. It's everything.
Now, for some fun!
From James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio
What is your favorite word? Mellifluous
What is your least favorite word? Scab
What sound or noise do you love? Laughter
What sound or noise do you hate? Finger licking
What is your favorite curse word? Dangit
From JL’s Uncle Jessie Meme
A song/band/type of music you'd risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? Jazz. I'm sorry.
Favorite show on television? Real Housewives of Anywhere
Favorite movie? The Godfather
Best concert? Cyndi Lauper. 1985-ish.
If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? Homeschooling. There is no substitute. (Get it?)
What makes you really mad? When I can't find something I just saw hours earlier, or have seen a hundred times over the previous week. Where IS that? I just saw it! UGH!
A talent you wish you had? Singing. Like, Broadway stage singing.
Dream vacation? Anywhere in the mountains.
What’s on your nightstand? Rolaids.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I can put both feet behind my head.
My car was stolen at gunpoint when I was seventeen.
I've never been to Europe.
I can burp whole sentences.
Your six-word memoir: I Will Never Eat a Banana
Don't forget to leave your name and your favorite dessert to win a copy of Ree's latest cookbook!
Congrats to Jane P., Lisa W., and Maryann S.!
Y'all will be cooking with PW in no time!