Photo by Kathleen Kamphausen
Let's face it, being emerged in the world of "adulting" (also known as the act of being an adult) can be super challenging. It seems as soon as we think we have it all figured out, life throws us another curveball. Luckily, features editor at delish.com Tess Koman has written a book to answer all of life's hardest questions in her first book, aptly named The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions, a humorous (and insightful!) guide to adulthood as a millennial. We sat down with Tess to get the scoop on the little things that have helped her navigate adulthood with grace.
What's a typical day like for you at delish.com?
There’s no such thing as a typical day at Delish, but such is life in digital media! Each day is some frantic combination of scouring the world’s food news, pitching stories for the site, writing up a bunch of them, pitching and editing larger features for all platforms, and seeing those through! One thing that is constant, though? Gigantic batches of INSANE recipes magically appear at our desks a few times a day from our genius food team. The Delish 15, as we lovingly call it, is an actual thing.
We're sure you must come across some great healthy recipes. Can you share one of your favorites with us?
I’m a big Ina fan — she’s one of the few people who has mastered both the super healthy … and the super not. I’ve made just about every roasted veggie recipe of hers and love making her salads in batches for the week ahead. I’m working through a mega-batch of her Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad at the moment. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you Delish’s Balsamic Basil Chicken is one of my favs too. :)
Tell us about your self care routine! What makes you feel most relaxed?
Oh dear, what a question. There’s not much that makes me feel relaxed, honestly, but a few foolproof options: reading, meditation apps (I listen to Simply Be unfailingly before bed), cooking something really good or really bad for me, and a quick trip to Jersey to see my parents' gigantic dogs.
Who is your greatest source of inspiration?
Is it cliched if I say my mom? Lady is a crazy hard worker despite all obstacles and always has been. She’s great.
Speaking of inspiration, what motivated you to write The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions?
A combination of a publisher with a great idea and willingness to work with me, a crazy person, and the desire to bring something super fun, different, yet service-y to the world!
In your book, you take your audience through many answers to the questions people face as they move through adulthood. Are there one or two specific questions that are your favorites?
All the charts — well, almost all of them — are deeply routed in all the anxieties I (and a lot of people my age) have, so it’s hard to pick an absolute fav! That’s like asking what’s stressing you out most at any given time. The answer is “who tf knows, everything!!” But if I had to pick, I’d go with “What Do I Even Want to Do With My Life?” “How Long Do I Have to Answer This Text,” and maybe “Am I a Terrible Person?”
If you could go back in time, what is something you would tell your younger self?
Ugh, I love this question. I’d probably tell myself that I would one day accomplish that dream of writing a book. Also, I’d probably want to relay that FOMO never really goes away, but that YOU'RE NOT MISSING OUT ON ANYTHING life-defining when you choose to stay in instead of go out. Oh, and that your health is important. So, so important. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, CHILD.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced while moving through adulthood?
So many of the challenges are rooted in the things I was stressed about when I was younger: not being sure I’d fulfill professional and personal goals, wondering what those goals should even be, and, again, taking care of myself as a living, breathing human while existing in this crazy world. The struggle to balance everything healthily is very real!
What do you hope people take away from your book?
I hope people take away that the never-ending internal monologues they find themselves having around seemingly minute issues are valid and normal. Validation is so important! If someone picks it up and finds nothing more than a cute thing to laugh at for a few minutes, that’s totally cool with me too.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects on the horizon?
Always! I’ve got a few things in the works I can’t tell you about quite yet. In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of Best Damn Answers-themed holiday stuff coming up. Look out for that!!!
Tess Koman is a features editor at delish.com and a writer. Her work has appeared on elle.com, seventeen.com, and esquire.com. Check out Tess' first book, The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions, here.