Coffee Break

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting on

I haven’t shared any updates in awhile, so let’s sit down together and catch up. First, I made my favorite vanilla cupcakes the other week. Didn’t feel like whipping out my piping tips or anything, so I simply frosted them with my small icing spatula. I love this look. Just plop a bunch of frosting in the center, spread it to the sides, then make a little well of sorts in the center for some sprinkles. I tinted the frosting with AmeriColor gel deep pink and sky blue.

And did I tell you I reshot my red velvet cake? I made it back in February and decorated it naked cake style. I used Wilton 12 small round piping tip to pipe dollops of frosting around the top edges. So pretty!

Red velvet cake

I’m trying to work ahead so I can enjoy more time off in the summer. We booked a long August vacation at our favorite spot: Deep Creek Lake. It’s a very special place for us, both where we got engaged and spent our baby moon. I already bought Noelle’s first swimsuit with a sun hat to match!!

We also began shooting recipe videos again. I took a break from videos when Noelle was born, but here are a few new ones:

Have these videos been helpful for you? Videos are like beginning food photography all over again. It’s a huge learning curve, but practice makes progress. We both really enjoy it, so we’re going to keep it up.

Shooting videos

I can’t believe my sweet girl is 6.5 months. It was this time last year that I announced my pregnancy. I know parents always say this, but it’s the truth: time flies by. It’s funny because sometimes the days feel very long, but the weeks and months are flying past us. We actually sat down to dinner the other night and I told Kevin that I just want to slow down and savor it. No matter what stage of life you’re in, life can feel heavy and chaotic. But it’s so important– no, it’s CRUCIAL– to sit back and savor those moments because you’re never going to get them back. I actually found this video on a day I felt tired and overwhelmed. Here’s the article.

Related to this, the start of spring is the perfect time to revisit 2018 goals. As the months go by, new year goals seem like distant memory and we’re right back in our old habits. A season of renewal, spring gives us a chance to refocus energy and take another look at our intentions. Everyone falls off track, myself included, so last week I remembered my 1 big goal for this year: create the life I want to live. Sounds vague, but what I mean is saying no to the things that bring me down and saying yes to anything that makes me feel alive. Maybe this is a goal you have too? To make it a reality, I wrote down specific monthly ideas/activities. For example, in April I want to (1) try a new cupcake decorating technique (2) sign us up for story time at a local library and (3) go on 2 long runs outside. Each activity is realistic, simple, and brings me joy. Writing down my monthly ideas/activities will remind me to DO THEM! Just an idea if you have a similar goal.

A couple readers have already tried the April Baking Challenge. Croissants:

This next picture cracks me up.

Jude celebrated his 10th birthday last week and Franklin turned 2 in February. Jude got extra special attention for hitting the double digits, including a peanut butter smeared “10” on the special birthday plate. Please tell me you celebrate your dog’s birthdays too!


  1. Time does fly! I feel like my baby was just 6 and a half months yesterday and she’ll be 9 months next, wait scratch that, THIS week! At almost 7 months, in one week, she went from sitting up on her own, crawling as fast as a bullet, and pulling herself up against ALLLL our furniture and her little toy basket I had sitting on the floor (which has now moved!). I read in my Ovia Parenting app while sitting in a doctor’s office that babies start pulling themselves up between 9 and 12 months and I quite literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD! It also said it’s good to let them “practice” crawling up stairs for development so we let her try this over the weekend with my husband behind her the whole time ready to catch her. We have a flight of 10 and then round a corner and climb 3 more. She climbed them in a minute and a half. ALL OF THEM! I’m going with… she’s really petite and so it’s easy for her to move? Gosh! Enjoy every minute mama! 🙂

    Oh, and I love your idea for MONTHLY goals/activities/ideas… my biggest one this year has been self-care and meditating in the moment (different than regular meditation… it’s a book my mom group recommended called Breathe, Mama, Breathe and I’ve been loving it!). I’d love to know your thoughts/idea/what you’re doing for a baby book? I started a sticker calendar but confess I haven’t been good at keeping it up. I do sometimes write journal entires to her on my computer just in a Word doc about our life these days. 

    1. Oh my gosh… you have a very mobile girl on your hands! She’s curious and just wants to explore the world. It’s so crazy how immediate and close together these big changes are. Within 1 week, Noelle began teething, eating solids, and sitting up. I feel like I need to get used to 1 change for some time before the next one comes!!! I use a sticker calendar and this baby book. Though I much prefer the sticker calendar where I can write a little something for everyday. 🙂

  2. Hi Sally, it’s so lovely to hear what’s going on. The cideos are great as well as all the pictures and all the specific details. Love it. Now that Noelle is on solids- I’d love to see if you wanted to venture down the baby/ toddler food recipes too? 

    I love your recipes and think it’ll be amazing if there were delicious finger food ideas for my ten month old- our three year old gets to enjoy some of the adult Sally treats from time to time. 

    Keep up the stellar work x

    1. Thank you so much Grace! 🙂 I definitely plan to work kid-friendly options into my website content as that will, naturally, be what I’m baking for my own sweet girl!

  3. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been a long time fan of your website although since becoming a mom, it’s been harder to get back to baking like I used to. My little one was born only a month before Noelle!
    You’ve done an incredible job keeping up with your blog despite becoming a mom and I’d like to congratulate you on that 🙂 it’s always a pleasure take my time to have a coffee break with you. Will you be posting any more photos of Noelle? I’m sure many other readers are as curious as I am to how she’s growing up 🙂 although I’m sure she’s adorable as ever.
    And like the previous reader recommended, a baby/toddler friendly recipe section would probably be a big hit for you! I know I could definitely use some fresh ideas for solids by now…
    Wishing you all the best!

    1. Hi Cynthia! Perfect timing because I’m publishing another Coffee Break post this week! Time for a life/Noelle update, I agree. Life is so good with my sweet girl! I’ve been toying with the idea of sharing toddler friendly recipes when we get to that point. I’m glad readers are on board with it!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally