Coffee Break

ice cream cone cookie

Life’s been a daze lately. A delicious daze, though.

Adorable sugar cookies from Wegmans are my weakness right now. We’re moving pretty close to a Wegmans (it’s a grocery store the size of Texas) next month and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t most excited about this part of the new house. Yes, the proximity to a massive grocery store. I can get lost in the prepared food section. Have you ever had their sushi?!

I didn’t make these cupcakes either. Totally cheating on my kitchen.

gold cupcakes

Let me get real for a sec though.

Life is challenging right now; it’s been turned completely upside down the past few months. A few weeks ago, Kevin lost his last living grandparent. It’s unfortunate that something like death can put life into perspective, but we’ve been trying move forward with what life has handed us– whether that is a positive change, heavy workload, or heartbreaking loss. I’m not going to say much about it, but I’m just grateful that his grandfather’s work ethic, strong will, and humble heart will forever be instilled in the family.

Buying a house completely snuck up on me this year, but I’m trying to enjoy every piece of this moving process rather than let it consume me in a negative way. Life. It’s just too short, fragile, and precious to let something as rewarding as moving into our dream home stress me out. I’ve moved so many times before but moving into a home I own: wow. It just feels so big on my shoulders. Change has always brought up all these scary anxious feelings. It freaks me out to the core, like public speaking once did. After the handful of cooking demos I’ve done in the past year or so, I’m feeling pretty good about that whole scene so I’m hopeful I can conquer “change” at some point too. So changing how I feel about change. Sounds so easy, right? Oy.

Here’s what’s been helping:

  1. Journaling. It sounds silly, but it’s been my saving grace. And making time to journal, even it’s only 5 minutes between conference calls and photoshoots. Putting down my phone and paying attention to my mind. Writing down my thoughts and feelings, either positive or grief, helps.
  2. Taking things one day at a time. This advice came from family, friends, and YOU. Only focusing on what I need to do today, rather than letting every single thing on my plate the next few months pile up in my brain. And to-do lists. I’m massively grateful for to-do lists.
  3. Baking. How completely ironic and fortunate that baking soothes my soul, but is also the workload that I need to complete. Creating delicious food keeps me, and my career, trucking along.

lemon cake recipe

Here’s what’s been going down. Lots of new recipes coming up in the next few weeks, all ones I’ve shared over coffee or conversation with loved ones lately. Including a fresh fruit tart recipe later this week!

I recently made two old favorites too. First, I made my recipe for lemon blueberry cake for my mama in law’s birthday. Only this time, I made it in a 9×13 pan and skipped the blueberries. It was suuuuper lemony with cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles on top. It took 42 minutes in the oven at 350F if you want to try it this way. I served it right out of the refrigerator– it’s REALLY good chilled and almost tasted like lemon pound cake because it had firmed up.

And I just made these muffins the other day for breakfast with my mom. They’re my orange lemon poppy seed muffins only without the orange. I used an extra lemon instead. And to these, I DID add blueberries! I used about a cup. The burst of blueberries, the crunch of poppy seeds, the fresh lemon… Sunday morning was delish. PS: You don’t need a mixer for these lemon goodies!

lemon blueberry poppy seed muffins

It’s my birthday next week and I’m trying to figure out what we can do that’s dog friendly. I love people but I really love my dog and would love to celebrate with my friends… and my dog. There are some dog-friendly restaurants in the Philly area but do you have any other suggestions? I’m thinking maybe a picnic with great food and drinks or a winery if they allow dogs?

Before I forget! I’ve got a new post up on my photography blog today– just a whole bunch of photos (with new filters!) from lately.

So what’s new with you?

92 Comments

Comments

  1. Liz B. on May 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    My fiance calls it Weggie’s as well. I’m obsessed with Wegmans. It’s a sickness. ALL THE SPICES IN THE BAKING AISLE! And the cheese section! Oh my heavens. My home one is the one in Concordville, PA (which they call Glen Mills, but it’s not). 

    As for your birthday, if you’re close to Rose Tree Park, they’re dog friendly. My friends and I have picnics there several times in the spring, summer and fall, and it’s always a good time. We all bring a blanket and a dish to contribute, and we just hang out and talk and laugh. Usually someone brings music as well 🙂 It works for us, so I thought I’d throw it out there for you. 

    • Liz B. on May 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Oh my goodness, I am the worst person. I need to start keeping lists of what I mean to respond to!

      I am so, so, sorry for your and Kevin’s loss. Losing anyone is never easy, and losing your last remaining grandparents is particularly haart-wrenching. You will both be in my thoughts.  

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Great suggestion about rose tree! Thanks Liz. And the baking aisle at wegmans is absolute insanity. In the BEST WAY.

  2. Alexe @ Keys to the Cucina on May 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Love your attitude, Sally! Since my husband is a realtor I know all about the stressful home buy process, but congrats to you and your husband on an amazing accomplishment! Cheers to you and your positivity AND those blueberry poppy seed muffins 🙂 🙂

    Alexe

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Thank you Alexe!

  3. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life on May 17, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Sally, I’m so sorry for you and Kevin’s loss. I’ll be thinking of your family during this time.
    I am an easy stresser too. When I get one too many projects on my plate, or someone unexpectedly throws me a last minute job I get panicked and anxious. I’ve recently started doing yoga classes with a very small group of ladies 1-2 times per week and it has super helped my stress levels. All the focus on breathing and waiting a heartbeat or two before you make the next move is something I take into my busy days when I start getting overwhelmed. 
    I think your birthday plan with Jude sounds amazing 🙂 I hope you find a lovely dog-friendly place to celebrate. Just think how many amazing things you have accomplished since your last birthday! Hope you get to take a moment to relax today Sally x

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

      I need to get back into yoga. I used to do some everyday and you’re right– helped cleared my mind! Thanks for the reminder my friend.

  4. Lucia @ The Foodwright on May 17, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    So sorry for your loss, Sally, losing a grandparent is so hard! And so many big changes happening all at once is never easy, either! Journaling is a FANTASTIC way to get through tough times, whether you’re recording the good or the bad! It’s so therapeutic. You’re in my thoughts, sending prayers your way! 

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Appreciate it, Lucia!

  5. lola on May 18, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Dear Sally, I know how difficult it is to lose a family member, and I always love moving and can look at all of the stuff you can throw away!!  It just excites me because I moved, with my two young boys 4 times in 2 years.  It’s all how you perceive it and your wonderfully encouraging and very young and energetic..So see it as a positive situation of all the junk you can throw away and respectively honoring your husbands lose, make the best out of the bad situation by seeing the positive.  I hope she is in heaven, beaming her glory over you and Kevin.  Mean while thinking about her daily and creating your own wonderful recipes, in her honor will give her Glory, while she looks down upon you both and is proud and blessed!

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 10:40 am

      I don’t know how parents move with young children! If they can do that, I’ve got this. Thanks for all your kind words!

  6. Sofia on May 18, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Did I hear Sushi? And in a grocery store? Such luck, you better be going all in on that. I love grocery stores, I think I get more excited about visiting grocery stores rather than clothes stores. True story! 

    Sally you are moving into your dream house it is forbidden to have stress in your life for any other reason. Unless shoes are on sale and you can’t find your size. Hiccups in life come and go but a dream house is one of the ultimate goals in life. Cherish it, laugh about it, get crazy over making it ‘Home’ and when you do, sit back, relax on your dream couch and have a margarita. 

    Now about your birthday. The day of the year that all of us become royals and take the world. I do it for a week because come on it’s a birthday right? I suggest you wake up to a relaxing day and do absolutely nothing other than going out with your loved ones to celebrate. Whatever you choose to do enjoy, def have a slice of cake because it is a sin not to and think of what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday and what you want to achieve by your next! You are doing great so far, keep it up everything is lovely in SBA….

    • Sally on May 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Loved reading this, Sofia, you are always the sweetest. Thank you so much for all your kind words, advice, and support. Looking forward to that couch/margarita situation!

  7. erin m. on May 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Wegmans is one of my happy places. They’re so great! I hope things start looking up for you! Baking is one of my favorite stress relievers. Good luck! 

  8. Rachel @the dessert chronicles on May 18, 2016 at 11:09 am

    SO jealous that you live near a Wegmans! That is my favorite store of all time, but I haven’t been able to convince them to open one near me yet! I really appreciate your honesty about tough times lately and I am sending you hugs. Baking really is the best type of therapy :-). 

  9. Ellie | from scratch, mostly on May 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Ohhh I’m sorry to your family for the loss. Death is NEVER easy on any terms and I hope there will breaths of fresh air throughout the grieving process for you guys.

    And congratulations on your transition! I wouldn’t know what that feels like and I imagine it’s kind of surreal~!! 😉

    • Sally on May 19, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Feels crazy, bizarre and surreal yes! Thanks Ellie.

  10. Linda @ Today She Loves on May 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    So sorry to hear about Kevin’s grandfathers. Condolences to y’all and family. 

    On a happier note, congrats on the new house! Please please take pictures of your kitchen. Photos of kitchens are my happy places. 🙂 especially when there’s organization going on. 

    As for your birthday, you should totally do a picnic with friends and bring Jude! That sounds like an awesome time and you won’t have any limits or other dogs distracting y’all. 

    Happy early birthday Sally. <3

    • Linda @ Today She Loves on May 18, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Oops, meant to type grandfather, not s. 

    • Sally on May 19, 2016 at 8:33 am

      I’ll be sure to share pictures of the new kitchen when it’s all done! Thanks so much my friend 🙂

  11. Merle Bomba on May 18, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Wow, I read your post and everyone’s comments and I’m sitting here crying. I’m sorry that Kevin lost his Grandpa, he was so lucky to have had him and known him into his adult years. I never had a grandpa. My own Dad died almost 21 years ago and there is not a day that goes by I don’t think of him. So many of my loved ones are gone and I’m not that old lol. Just make sure we all appreciate everyone we love and show them that love everyday. No regrets! Sally, before you know it, you will be all moved in and loving life!! Good luck! My Mom always used to tell me ” chin up!”

    • Sally on May 19, 2016 at 8:32 am

      Thank you so much Merle. So much strength in you. xo

  12. Merle Bomba on May 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    P.S. Sorry still crying, forgot to wish you a very Happy Birthday!!

  13. Kathie Kerler on May 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    This is off the recipe topic but wanted to say I made the Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread (finally) and used lemon, because I didn’t have an orange. The bread was delicious and barely lasted two days. It’s now in my Computer Cuisine. Thanks!

  14. iram on May 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Dear Sally,
    I am sorry for commenting a bit late… I am really sorry for Kevins last grandparent to pass away. I am praying for all of your family members that they can get thru this difficult time.

    Lots of well wishes, Iram

    • Sally on May 20, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Thanks Iram, appreciate it!

  15. Judi on May 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Sally, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Kevin’s grandfather.  And I completely understand what you mean about change.  I am a retired teacher and my favorite quote that I posted at the beginning of every year was:  “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.”  

    • Sally on May 20, 2016 at 8:50 am

      I love that. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Susan Hammitt on May 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Love Wegmans. So much great stuff

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