How Thug Kitchen's Creators Set Big Mother F*&$!#% Goals

March 20, 2018

Note: This episode contains explicit language


Prior to having Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, creators of New York Times Best Selling cook books, Thug Kitchen, on our podcast, I wanted to know, "Do they curse as much in real life as they do as a brand?" The answer was - not surprisingly (and yet still delightfully) - of course.

This episode of #WeGotGoals is marked E for explicit, and in it we dove into the "why" behind the profane language.

As lighthearted and fun Davis and Holloway are to chat it up with, they mean serious business when talking about eating healthy and taking care of yourself.

"Take that shit f*&$!#% seriously," Holloway said. "We want to grab the audience and shake the s*#$ out of them and say, 'Eat a f*&$!#% salad, I'm worried about you!'"

Davis interjected, "The swearing levels the playing field." She emphasized that you don't have to change who you are or completely change your life if you pick up healthier and smarter eating habits.

In creating The Official Cookbook, Party Grub and 101 Fast as Fuck (I know we have a strict one-swear-word-per-post policy on aSweatLife.com, but these two make it impossible when the title of their Best Sellers also happen to be curse words) Holloway and Davis became leaders in the world of eating for your health on social media and IRL.

But that's not what they initially set out to do. In fact, before the Thug Kitchen brand, the two were posting to a Tumblr page for fun, with no idea who, if anyone, was reading.

"A big reason our blog went viral was because Gwyneth Paltrow talked about it on The Rachael Ray Show," Holloway said. "We don't have any connections with either of them, but that was like a boom in traffic for us."

But the reason Paltrow probably took notice, Davis notes, is because they were already doing the "unsexy work" and were committed to it.

Her advice to goal setters looking to achieve big things?

"Work as hard as you can and perform at the highest level you can regardless of who's looking because when they crack that door open for you just a little bit, you can be ready to shove your f*&$!#% foot in and make the most of it."

Based on the nature of their content and lack of censoring on the regular, I wasn't surprised but I still appreciated how refreshingly truthful, open and honest these founders were about the ups, downs and lessons learned over the past few years during their Thug Kitchen journey.

From the outside, when we see people achieve amazing things, we see what they have. Davis pointed out, though, that she learned going after what she wants means other things in life have to give.

She begged the question, "What are you willing to give up in your life that you also love to get what you want?"

She added, "You have to be willing to not be caught up on Game of Thrones and to not be able to go on dates and to not see people as much as you want to because you are pursuing this dream. It's not always adding stuff to your life, sometimes it's taking away."

But for these two, the give and take has been worth it. From the recipes in the best selling cook books to the Forked Up podcast, to the direct messages you'll receive on Instagram, all things Thug Kitchen come directly from the dynamic duo. Davis creates the plant-based recipes, Holloway photographs them, and the two together are in charge of the bluntly witty brand voice that stands out among any other plant-based cook books and blogs, making this company so unique.

And based on their goals for the future, I don't think they'll be going anywhere anytime soon.

This episode is presented by Chicago Sport and Social Club, reminding you that summer is just around the corner. Get into a summer volleyball league now and use code “GOALS” to get 5 percent off until March 15.

If you like what you hear, subscribe where ever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts.



JAC: Hi there, it's Jeana Anderson Cohen from aSweatLife.com. We're going to get to the high achievers in just a minute, but first we want to tell you about something we're doing over at aSweatLife.com, Until April 9th, we’re running a kickstarter, so if you or anyone you know has ever been impacted by any of the work we do at aSweatLife.com, whether it's the podcast that you're about to listen to here, the ambassadorship, or the content we create on a daily basis, or even the events that we host here in Chicago and across the country. We’d love for you to help us fund the growth of our ambassador program, helping women set and achieve big, hairy audacious goals. So if you'd like to contribute, check the show notes for this episode or aSweatLife.com and you'll find a link to fund our campaign. Thanks so much. Here's the episode.

JAC: Welcome to #WeGotGoals, a podcast by aSweatlife.com on which we talk to high achievers about their goals. I'm Jeana Anderson Cohen; with me, I have Kristen Geil and Maggie Umberger.

MU: Morning, Jeana.

KG: Hi, Jeana.

JAC: Good morning. This week, Maggie, you talked to Michelle and Matt from Thug Kitchen—and for our listeners at home, be sure you take your kids out of earshot. There will be swearing in this episode.

MU: Yes, I did speak to the founders of Thug Kitchen, Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis. I was fortunate enough to get to hear a little bit about the behind the scenes of Thug Kitchen, how it came to be and how these two have created an incredible brand, multiple best seller cookbooks and now a podcast called Forked Up.

JAC: So what's interesting and has always been sort of a part of the brand is that they sort of use swear words to punctuate their language in different and interesting ways. It’s their way of sort of staying authentic. We have a policy on how we use swear words at aSweatLife, it’s one swear per post, but they clearly adhere to a different policy. Maggie, do you care to elaborate?

MU: Yeah, so I even asked them, you know, why swear what's the, the need to do it and for them it, it isn't necessarily a distinct desire to swear. It's just the response to being a little bit more frank about what their business is. It's a cookbook, it started out as a tumblr page and then became this best selling cookbook, Thug Kitchen, but they use swearing to cut through the clutter of beautiful photography that is just fluffy language and they saw good food on the pages, but they didn't relate to the words behind how it was portrayed and so being very candid with their audience about how they view the importance of cooking good food to be healthy and to take it very seriously, but it is just that. It's just the importance that it is and and because they developed this brand that is so honest and open, they're running with it and people are loving it to the point where all of their growth through social media has been organic because they can't promote their posts on Facebook because they're explicit, but they've chosen to go that route, to be authentic to who they are and to trust that their audience is going to respond the way they're going to respond and follow them or not follow them and they're cool with it.

KG: You mentioned their Tumblr page just now and they had a stroke of luck when celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Ray noticed their hard work and promoted it themselves because they thought it was something authentically cool. How does this tie in to how they view goal setting?

MU: The more we talked about goals, the more I could tell they were lighting up about talking about them and about their experience with going through the journey of starting a page for fun, not really thinking anything would come of it and then they were putting in a lot of hard work and that's when they got noticed by Gwyneth Paltrow and that was part of their. their points that they made to me as advice to other go-getters and people who were setting goals for themselves, is to know that you're going to work hard and to put in that hard work when no one's looking because you never know when someone is going to be looking and then you have to be ready when they are looking so that you can take flight and run with it and that's really what they've done from cookbook to cookbook and now to podcast. They are very much in the weeds, working day in and day out to produce everything that you see through the Thug kitchen brand.

JAC: And here's Maggie with Michelle and Matt.

MU: Awesome. So I'm here today with Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, the authors and creators of Thug Kitchen. Thank you guys so much for joining me.

MH: It's great to be here; thanks for having us.

MD:  Yeah, we’re stoked, thank you.

MU: And it's really fun too, because this conversation is about setting goals and I get to talk to both of you as individuals and as the co-creators of a brand that some people don't even know who created, but we get to, I get to hear the backstory and a little bit of the behind the scenes from Thug Kitchen, which I'm really excited about. So before all of the Thug Kitchen craziness, before the official cookbook and Party Grub and 101, Fast as Fuck, which there we go, now we're explicit. Um, I would love to hear sort of a day in the life of how did you spend your days before thug kitchen?

MD: I worked full time at a grocery store. And so that was legit all I did, like anyone who works in retail knows you don't really have set hours, they change your schedule all the time. So it felt like I lived at the grocery store and then if I wasn't working I was cooking dinner for myself, for myself and Matt, and just trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life because I had been there for eight years.

MH: I was a production assistant, so essentially fetching meals for executives. I would have to arrange travel, it was just sort of like …

MD: Lots of diet coke and coffee runs.

MH: A production week—anybody who's in entertainment understands it like it's a least a 12 hour  day. So you know, my, my work week was like 60, 70 hours, like every week.

MD: For like a lovely, like, what? $12 an hour? Like what were you making?

MH: I wasn’t making any money, I was broke as shit.

MD: Same thing with me. I was making at most $12 an hour at the grocery store so.

MH: So we were broke as fuck and Michelle was trying to get me to cook more on my days off and I'm like yo, I just want to sit on the couch like I don't want to cook. Like, so I get that immediate sort of like knee jerk response and be like now's me time and I don't want to cook. And I was having to like battle that as Michelle was like, dude, you should learn how to cook and like take care of yourself.

MD: It’s an important part of being a full fledged grown-up.

MH: Yeah. And she was being very encouraging with that and I was trying to, I was looking at everything, I was looking at cook books. I was looking at other websites and YouTube videos and I don't know, we just, when Michelle and I got in the kitchen together and start cooking and doing photos. Like I was just like, I don't, I don't fucking identify with these people who, you know, wrote this cookbook and they live in Malibu and have all the fucking time in the world to source their ingredients

MD: And all the money.

MH: Yeah, and all the money. It's like they take, they take literally half a day to cook lunch.

MD: hat obviously wasn't our fucking lifestyle. And so we created Thug Kitchen, because that's what we wanted to read and thought it was like a fun thing to do when we happened to have the same days off together.

MH: It was a very selfish endeavor.

MD: Yeah. But it wasn't even like we, we didn't think anything was gonna happen of it. I mean it was a tumblr account.

MH: Yeah, I mean we didn’t—it was just food memes. And we were just trying to encourage people to eat more vegetables and describing why they should eat those vegetables and like, you know, the health benefits that go along with adding this to a dish and it just fucking blew up. And like we're like, oh dude, like what does this mean? And we got, we got like some national press and then we got a book deal and we didn't even, even when we got the book deal, we didn't think was going to perform well. So Michelle and I like to sort of a hiatus from our day jobs.

MD: Yeah, we didn't burn any bridges.

MH: No, we were so ready to go back to our jobs because we're like, well it will be that thing. Where we were like, hey remember that time that we wrote a cookbook?

MD: That was so weird!

MH: But it sold like gangbusters

MD: And here we are.

MH: And we're very fortunate for it.

MU: I can totally identify with the not relating to the beautiful Instagram-worthy photos of the food, even when I cook it and it tastes fine, it's never like gorgeous and I'm definitely not going to spend time to plate it and take a photo of it before I eat it. But I also like, I don't really know how to cook that well. It sounds to me like you guys sort of, you were teaching ourselves how to cook as you were going through this process of building the tumblr and or did you have like a—

MD: I'm the cook. Yeah. I've always known how to cook; I’ve been cooking since I was a kid. It's always been like a hobby of mine. Also a way for me to eat, so. Because I’ve always been broke so I've always had to cook my own food.

MH: And I’ve just been like the echo of a thousand excuses.

MD: So it's more like I was teaching Matt how to cook through the process.

MH: And all the fucking tropes that people are used to telling themselves like, oh well I can't cook because you know, I don't have time to grocery shop. Like isn't eating healthy super expensive or like, so I was like, I was the embodiment of all those things and Michelle just kept nudging me and nudging me and yeah, I just, after awhile it was like, man, that is just a bunch of bullshit.

MD: And so we put it in the book.

MU: And then it became an explicit cookbook. Partially. I mean why, why the explicit cookbook? I get the, the idea to do it very simplistically, but then to just go all out with it. I love it. Walk me through why.

MH: Yeah, we wanted to be really aggro with like the, the tone because like, I mean we uh, we, we say this all the time, but like eating healthy and taking care of yourself and cooking a meal for yourself, like take that shit fucking seriously and we, we want to grab the audience and like shake the shit out of them and be like, eat a fucking salad, like I'm worried about you.

MD: But also it shows that you don't have to be like, I feel like eating healthy and the idea of eating like a plant based diet, people think they have to be a totally different kind of person from who they are now. And I think the swearing really levels the playing field and like let you in, like—we’re not taking this shit super seriously. You don't need to take yourself super seriously

MH: You can have some fun with it. Yeah. I feel like I was reading everyone else's cookbooks in like a hushed NPR tone, you know what I mean?

MD: That's not how we talk to each other, that’s not how we talked to our friends growing up, that's certainly not how we talk in the kitchen, especially when we fucking burn ourselves.

MH: Like, yeah, Michelle's from the Bay and I'm from Houston, like the, these, these sort of like Malibu cookbooks are not like reflective of us

MD: Or anyone we know.

MU: Yeah. I mean and, and now you have best sellers on your hands, which is incredible. So I love it.

MD: It feels very surreal.

MU: Was there a moment that you realized we're onto something, people people really love this or is it just that, that process of going from getting the book deal to it catching on fire.

MH: I mean Michelle might think differently, but I still to this day I don't know what the fuck we're doing.

MD: Yeah. Every time you know, a new book comes out or honestly anytime we post anything, I'm fucking delighted that anyone gives a shit. Like, every single time. I don't think. I mean, you know, just recently, last October we found out we've sold more than a million books in the US, but still when I meet someone and they've heard of the book, I kind of can't believe it.

MH: I don't know, I guess in those moments that we see as sort of exists in the real world that, you know, it's not just me and Michelle in the office trying to crank out food puns and jokes like, yeah, like I was in Houston just a few weeks ago and a woman came up to me and asked to take a selfie with me and that fucking blew my mind. And then she talked about how she was like, she's not vegan, but she eats more vegetables because of our book and everything like that. It's like in those moments, that's when it's like, Oh wow, this is like a, this is like a thing. I mean, most of the time it's just, I feel like we're just kind of writing jokes in the ether.

MD: Yeah. Just putting them on the Internet and just like, we’ll see what happens.

MU: I love it. And then you launched a podcast? Yeah, that was kind of, that's actually been a really big goal of ours. Our last book came out October 2016 and we wanted to kind of diversify how we interact with people and kind of try to find new mediums to further our message, but we kind of couldn't figure out a good way to make that work. You know, we really didn't have time when we were writing, we wrote three books in three years. Matt does all the photography. I do all the cooking. We write all the jokes together, like we couldn't really brainstorm for future endeavors while we were doing that. And so we really took the last year to kind of figure out how we could interact with people and, and give a bigger platform to some of our opinions in the food space. And we finally got to realize that with the podcast.

MU: So. So yeah, that's a huge goal and I think that what's something that's really cool that you were talking about is that it, it does open up the conversation about something a lot more than just food. Even though you could talk about food forever and I would love it, but you, you talk about politics and you talk about pop culture and so talk to me a little bit about how, how you want to keep sharing your viewpoints and those different endeavors in your life. Like through the podcast.

MH: Maybe it's just me, but I feel like a lot of podcasts are sort of … I, I enjoy podcasts are very conversational and I like to maybe think of what other people were sort of like, you know, their point of view and that's, that's kind of what, I mean I'm aiming to do with the podcast is that we want to have conversations with people. And food is an anger, you know, it unifies all of us.

MD: Yeah. It's like it's a really good inroad into a lot of different things

MH: and it, and it weaves through everything, like you said, from like politics and pop culture and like we just want to have like constructive conversations with people who are in these spaces and just use food as that anchor.

MD: Yeah. And I think that we want to keep bringing our different viewpoint to these conversations, the food, because I think a lot of people who are kind of the tastemakers and the big top line food writers and all that stuff kind of come from a homogenous background and you know, being the kind of kids who grew up with, you know, frozen dinners and living on a budget and buying cereal in bags like we, we want to bring that perspective to this conversation about food and healthy eating that we don't think gets a lot of representation.

MH: Yeah, I mean I'm just tired of seeing the same fucking 10 people in the food space.

MD: And everyone just talking about turmeric.

MH: Yeah, just talking about the same shit. Michelle's right. There's, there's a lot of different perspectives and backgrounds out there and we want to have those conversations so that the audience is like, yeah, identify with that.

MD: We want to, you know, kind of shine the spotlight on those people and also kind of vocalize that stuff ourselves.

CK: So we’ll get back to Maggie, Matt and Michelle in just a minute. But first we want to thank our sponsors this week, Chicago sports and Social Club. With them, it’s more than a game it's a social sports experience. Whatever your personal goals are, big or small, Chicago Sport and Social Club that can list many reasons why you should play. It could be the sand between your toes, or meeting people and moving your social life outside for a season. Whatever your goals are or your reasons for playing, Chicago Sport and Social Club has a beach volleyball league for you. Go to www.chicagosocial.com and use code GOALS, that’s G-O-A-L-S when you register to get five percent off

MU: When—if we take a step back and I hear what you say about you had to spend the first three years just really like making those cookbooks, spending that time and now you get to diversify and talk to more people and talk about different things. And it seems like that's sort of the way that you set goals is based off of what you see in front of you, what you can accomplish, and then going forth with enthusiasm and passion, is what I see. Talk to me a little bit about just your perspective on maybe how goals have shifted or how you think about goals now that you have multiple platforms, multiple cookbooks under your belt.

MD: I think something we always keep in mind as we're moving forward is, are we creating content or a product that we ourselves would consume?

MH: I wouldn't dare anyone spend $16 on a cookbook that I wouldn't buy myself.

MD: Yeah. And so that is always been one of the guiding principles as we set goals moving forward is would we want this? Like as just regular fucking people, would we be interested in this? Would we feel comfortable, you know, spending our hard earned money on something like this? Are we presenting quality or are we just trying to like toot our own fucking horn? And that has really helped us kind of knock away opportunities that have come our way that really didn't serve us.

MH: Oh there's been a lot of nonsense that’s come our way, with opportunities for like TV shows and shit and we're just like, no, like we're gonna, we're gonna do a book and we want to do, I'd rather do a good job on one thing than a mediocre job on three things. You know what I mean?

MD: Yeah, and something that I would be embarrassed to be a part of just to do it for the money. Like we, we really have let that idea of us as consumers of our own product push us forward and help us find kind of the right path.

MU: Yeah, your true north.

MD: Yeah, exactly.

MU: So where does the kitchen go from here?

MD: You know, we want to keep, you know, normalizing plant based dining.

MH: Yeah, I mean I would say that a big goal of ours going forward like is just giving plant based options in as many restaurants as possible. Nothing drives me more fucking crazy than going to a restaurant and I see six or seven gluten free options and like the only plant based options is a fucking salad.

MD: Or a hummus plate.

MH: So like yeah, we just want to normalize plant-based options in the eating space.

MD: And in all the eating spaces, you know, we, we do that for people eating at home and we also want to make it more available to people who are dining out too.

MH: Yeah. Most of our audience, they're omnivores and they want to eat more plant based dishes. They just don't know how. So yeah, a big goal of ours is to continue to normalize that just in the food space in general.

MD: So, yo know, working with restaurants, helping them develop menu items that are delicious that anybody would order regardless of their dietary preferences. That just happened to be vegan and ideally one day opening our own space.

MU: I was going to say, that sounds super intriguing. I think even just to be able to define what is plant based because we slap labels on so many things now where I don't even know what gluten-free really means. I don't even know, you know, people are semi plant based or like vegans on the weekends or like whatever it is. It's I feel like there's just so much room to clarify what's out there.

MD: Yeah, absolutely. Clarify and hone and also just show that you know, it's good food that happens to be vegan. It's good food that happens to be plant-based, it’s not a different kind of food.

MU: Right. In your cookbooks, do you have a favorite recipe?

MH: Spaghetti pie! Hands down, that's one of my favorites. Is is great because not only does it tastes fucking amazing because it does, but like it's a great party trick. People fucking lose their minds over spaghetti pie.

MD: Yeah. That's our third book, but for me, I love the spaghetti pie. It’s like choosing a baby. I like the Tex-Mex queso in our third book a lot too and I have a really special place in my heart for the chickpea dumpling soup that is in our first book. That was my take on my Nana's recipe of chicken and dumplings. I made it a fuck ton more healthy and threw in a ton more vegetables because hers was just like gray and white chicken and just like gray—it was not visually appealing.

MH: No, you're right. That's that soup is something that I have served my family and friends who are not vegan and they're like, there is no better than this? I'm like, there’s none, none whatsoever.

MD: Yeah. It's really hearty and super comfort food

MH: It’s like velvety.

MD: Yeah, it's. Yeah, that is a. That one has a really special place in my heart.

MU: Oh my gosh. I have to make this, it sounds so good.

MD: And the recipe makes a fuck ton.

MH: Yeah, every I give someone that recipe. They're like, oh, you know, it takes like a couple of hours to make.

MD:  It doesn’t really.

MH: I’m like, yeah, but did you have soup for the rest of the week? Yeah.

MD:  If you're terrible at chopping stuff, it's going to take you a minute.

MH: It’s worth it, it’s so worth it. That's a good recipe.

MU: Duly noted. Page marked. So I'm, I'm interested in knowing since you talked a little bit about how people aren't always sure like where, what the, the world of vegan dining is or where you can you go to get simple good food as one obstacle. Maybe as far as your journey has been so far, another obstacle along the way that maybe has tried to hinder you in attaining any of your goals? Have you encountered anything like that?

MD: Um, yeah, I would say actually our swearing, while I think it's brought a ton of people to the audience, sometimes has hindered us in growing our audience. Like we can't promote any posts on any social media accounts. So all of our growth on any account you see has all been organic all through peer to peer sharing because we can’t advertise.

MH: Yeah, we didn't find that out until like we were trying to um, advertise the first cookbook. And what was it like facebook, instagram, twitter, like all the social media platforms flagged us for language.

MD: So even if we write a clean post, we can’t boost it.

MH: There’s nothing we can do.  So, we, that just like we were like, all right, well fuck, I guess people will just buy the book.

MD: You know, it really puts us at the mercy of our audience to share it with new people.

MU: That is really fascinating. I know from being on the media side of things that that is true and that can be a huge, huge hindrance.

MD: Yeah. But you know, luckily we have a really passionate and vocal fan base and so they’ve really stepped up and this shared it with people. I don't even think we've ever told them we can't advertise, but they, they're always tagging new friends and you know, sharing our posts with people and really that's what's made us survive as a business and we're so fucking grateful for it.

MH: I mean it's, it's, you know, it's helps when we have a fucking book come out, but like going out and meeting people and speaking and like, like connecting with our audience like that. And that's why like with the podcast we can like, you know, we tell people on twitter like, hey, you got somebody or something. You want us to talk about fucking Tweet us, let us know. And that dialogue and that, that communication we have with our audiences has been so key to our survival.

MU: And you guys together, you talked about it already, Michelle, you, you do everything yourselves together. You write the jokes, you do the photos, you create the recipes. How does your partnership help you guys go forward and keep chugging along and building this brand?

MD: Yeah, sure. I mean I can't imagine doing this by myself. It's so great to have a sounding board and a different perspective, you know, we don't always agree but 95 percent of the time on our plans for moving forward like I'll vocalize something, and Matt’s like, I was thinking that same shit. And so it's really great to have that built in support and also this has been a weird couple of years for us and you know like this wasn't necessarily what we planned for ourselves to get to do all of this. So it's great to have somebody to talk to you that completely understands what you're going through and so it really helps keep the business anchored in reality and we just, we are each other's cheerleaders and taskmasters and I'm really grateful for it. Yeah. And we're, I mean we're still totally involved in every facet. Like if Thug Kitchen likes your post on Instagram or Twitter or anything, I mean, that’s us. Like we don't have anybody else. So you know, we know we get retweeted on our twitter account and somebody writes something funny like that's probably Matt. And like if someone's liking your photos on Onstagram and we repost it like that's me.

MH: Yeah, we want to not like, it feels weird to hire someone to handle social media.

MD: But it also goes back to that interaction with our audience that’s so important. Like we want to see what recipes people are responding to, to what jokes people think are funny and the only way for us really do that is to be in the fucking weeds with everybody.

MU: And if you had some advice to give to either friends or significant others that wanted to launch a business or start something together as a partnership, what kind of advice would you give to them?

MH: Don't. Don't do it.

MD: I would say if you're in a romantic partnership, be willing to lose the romantic part of that partnership. If that's what this business idea of yours or whatever it is is that important to you. You really do have to prioritize what you want from that person and have realistic goals because it is really hard to work so close to someone and to be like, you know—we talk business 24-7 with each other. So it's, it's hard to then have space for whatever your personal relationship is and so you guys need to be upfront and honest with your expectations and what you want and I'm just always be super transparent with each other.

MH: Yeah, I think that there—I was joking earlier. I think people should absolutely, if you've got an idea fucking chase it, like and if you got someone you care about like do it with that person because you trust them.

MD: Yeah, trust is the partner is probably the most important.

MH: But like just make sure that you care about it as much today as you do in two years or if things go great or if things don't go great, like you have to care about it and if that's what you want to do then fucking chase it. But I think that with Michelle and I specifically a lot of people, because Michelle and I get along so well and everything, I think that when we've talked about dating in the past, like Michelle and I separated before the first book came out.

MD: Yeah, we weren't romantically dating before the first book came out.

MH: Yeah. And you just have to, like Michelle was saying, it's just like you have to trust that person and you got to care about what you're doing.

MD: And you might have to make a choice.

MH: Yeah, you might have to pick that your project is priority over, you know, your love life and you have to be OK with that. Otherwise don't do it.

MD: Yeah. There's a good quote I heard from, I can't remember who now, but it was like, you know, if you have this dream or this goal, like what are you willing to give up in your life that you also love to get what you want because it's not always going to be like, oh, now I have all of these things that I’ve always wanted. It's like, no, you have to give up things you also love. You have to be willing to not be caught up on Game of Thrones and to not be able to go on dates and to um, you know, kind of maybe not see people as much as you want to because you are pursuing this dream. Like it's not always just adding stuff to your life. Sometimes it's having to take stuff away.

MU: It can take you to places that you didn't foresee. Like you say, you didn't think that in the last couple years would be as they are and here you are. So if you have maybe one last piece of advice for others that are, that are going after a goal and they're not really where they're going to end up. How do you navigate some of those dark spaces?

MH: Just be ready to power through the valleys. You know it's going to be peaks and valleys and you can't have any ups without any downs and when, when you have the downs, like just power through it and just keep going like that.

MD: And you also don't know who is reading your stuff. So work as hard as you can and perform at the highest level you can regardless of who's looking. Because when they crack that door open for you just a little bit, you can be ready to shove your fucking foot in and make the most of it. Because if you're not doing the work when no one's looking, it's going to be really hard to keep doing it when everybody's fucking looking.

MH: A big reason that our blog went viral is because Gwyneth Paltrow talked about it on the Rachael Ray show, we don't have any fucking connections with either of them, but like that was like a boom in traffic for us and if you had told me to write like Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Ray were reading it, I would stop posting immediately and probably go back and like edit all the posts. Like they were all riddled with typos and shit and the photography was like whatever.

MD: We were ready when someone said jump, we were fucking ready. And so it's about doing the work, putting in the hours during the un-sexy stuff of just doing the ground work for when that peak comes for you.

MU: That's awesome advice for whatever goal you're going after, whether it's a new business or just doing your job well.

MD: Yeah, exactly. Just do it for this sake of like accomplishing something that makes you feel proud about yourself because you can't always control what people's reactions to you and you can't control who's looking at your project, so you really want to just be able to be satisfied with the product yourself. So always perform as best you can regardless of who's patting you on the back or not.

MU: Absolutely. So people can find you on the apple podcast for Forked Up. They can find you throughout social media. It's you.

MD: It’s us, we’re just @ThugKitchen, we've never over-thought any of our tags.

MU: And they can get any of your books through your website or through Amazon.

MD: Yeah. Through, um, Amazon, Barnes and noble. Anywhere books are sold.

MU: Amazing. Thank you guys so much for joining me.

MD: Thanks for having us. We really appreciated it.

MH: This has been fun. Thanks for having us.

CK: This podcast is produced by me, Cindy Kuzma and it's another thing that's better with friends, so please share it with yours. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and if you could also leave us a rating and a review in Apple Podcasts, we will be so grateful. Special thanks to J. Mano for our theme music; to our guests this week, Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway; and to Tech Nexus for the recording studio.