You Just Do You

The short version of events is that I freaked out and took down my blog for about a week.

The longer version is slightly more complicated and it goes a little something like this: someone who I genuinely admire and whose opinion I greatly respect found out that I had a blog. Ok, maybe I accidentally let it slip. One thing lead to another which lead to a misunderstanding that made me think he was mocking my work, which really bummed me out. It made me doubt myself and the reasons I was writing in the first place. What was the point exactly? Who was I writing this blog for? If I felt reluctant to share it with people in real life, did that mean that somewhere deep inside I felt that it was worthless? Was I only invested for nostalgia’s sake?

So I took it down. I felt confused and lost. I told no one and nursed all of my secret little hurts inside of me. That is, until some people started to notice my blog was gone.

A lot of people voiced their dismay, but one friend was really honest. After listening to my reasoning she told me, “I get it, but that was kind of a dramatic thing to do.”

Defensive, I asked her why she cared anyway. She didn’t even read my blog. (To be fair, they aren’t really her thing.)

“I don’t read it all the time,” she admitted. “But it’s who you are. It’s so you. I see you all over it- your hard work. Your love. Who cares if I don’t read it? Why is that a reason not to follow your passion?”

I didn’t really have an answer to that and I still don’t. The best answer I could come up with was that there was no good reason. Are you going to stop eating sushi because someone else thinks raw fish is gross? Why give up something you love based on other people’s opinions? What bearing do they have on your life?

Eventually the misunderstanding was cleared up but I still felt conflicted about what to do. Was it a waste of my time? Should I try and improve the things the make me less proud of my work?

Then I remembered something a writer once told me about making the decision to write a book, despite having no formal training or connections in the publishing industry. I asked him how he ended up doing it. He shrugged and grinned. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just did it.”

And then I remembered why I blog- because I just do. Because I love to write. Because it’s a form of release. I write because I have to, because it’s a part of me, and not having that in my life was like losing the thread that wove all of the parts of myself into the fabric that makes up my being. Why would I let someone take that away from? Why would I take that away from myself?

So here I am to tell you that no one is allowed to criticize the things you love or make up the real you. Your passion will not always be the path to success but it will always be the path back to yourself. Do the things that bring you catharsis, that bring you joy. Do the things that allow you to express the real you. Let it out. Be free. Be weird. Dare.

My blog is not everyone’s cup of tea but it doesn’t matter; if you the love the things I love, maybe you’ll like it. Or maybe you won’t. I hope that you do but in the end there’s nothing that I could really change or do differently. This is who I am, not perfect, but the best version of my myself I can possibly be. I’m just doing me.

And you just do you.

Your Burning Baking Questions for B

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If you’re new to this blog, welcome! I love meeting new people who love baking as much as I do.

If you’ve been following for awhile, you’ll know that in addition to having a giant sweet-tooth, part of my passion for baking lies comes from how I cope with stress. But I get a lot of questions about my favorite recipes, methods and my baking experiences both online and in person, so I thought I’d attempt to answer a few more of them here. Maybe we can even get to know each other a little better!

What was the first thing you ever made? Some of my earliest memories are of helping my mother in the kitchen but the first thing I ever baked all by myself were these chocolate brownies.

Are there any recipes you know off by heart? Yeah, that one! And the one for peanut butter cookies because it’s so freaking easy.

What’s the easiest thing you’ve made? I’d say pretty much all of the stuff I’ve featured on the blog is pretty easy (otherwise I wouldn’t blog about it!) but these peanut butter cookies, this peach cobbler, these minty Nanaimo bars, these butterscotch treats, and these S’mores Squares were among the easiest. Oh! And applesauce, although I don’t think that really counts as “baking”.

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve made? Making your own pastry dough like I describe here is pretty labor-intensive. If you’ve never baked anything before, it’s probably not the best recipe to start with but mostly I think it’s just all of the steps that make it intimidating.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I read lots of cookbooks (found here and here), but I also used to collect magazine clippings like crazy. That was kind of getting out of hand so I’ve relegated a lot of my collection onto Pinterest and into my recipe book. I also read a ton of amazing baking blogs run by talented bloggers, all of whom are way better bakers than I am.

Do you only bake for your blog? Yes and no. Mostly I bake for myself, family, friends or co-workers (especially if there’s a special occasion). I enjoy trying new recipes all the time but since I started featuring more of my baking on the blog I’ve made a more concerted effort to vary the kinds of things I make, and the flavors I use. So yes, sometimes I find a new recipe to try out for the blog specifically, but I’m constantly returning to my favorites in between.

Have you ever considered making baked goods on commission? Are you going to open a bakery? I don’t have my food handler’s certificate, or any formal culinary training so probably not. I kind of like the idea of feeding a bunch of people and getting paid for it, though, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

Do you cook as often as you bake? Not as much, although I do like cooking a lot. I don’t often like eating big meals so I’m more of a grazer throughout the day- fresh fruits and veggies, and yogurt. Oh man, yogurt. I usually save my more substantial recipes for other people. Maybe I’ll share one or two on the blog in the future!

What’s the one thing you haven’t baked? I have yet to successfully make meringue, and as of yet I’ve never attempted a soufflé. (It kind of scares me.) I’ve also never made a cheesecake- no particular reason, I just haven’t done it yet!

What is your all-time favorite dessert? There haven’t been many baked goods that I’ve met and haven’t liked, but there’s nothing like a dense, moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed getting the chance to know me a little bit more- now I want to know a little bit more about you! What’s your favorite dessert? What’s the one recipe you’ve always been too intimidated to bake? Leave your answers below, and make sure to link to your favorite recipes on your blog! When it comes to baking, the more the merrier.

One Lovely Blog Award

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The Internet is truly the coolest. Since starting my blog I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful and interesting people from all over the world and all walks of life. But the one thing that brings us bloggers together is our passion for what we do. That’s why I’m so honored to have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the folks over at Sweet Spell. (Reader advisory warning: the pictures on that blog alone are almost too delicious to look at.)

For those of you visiting for the first time, my name is B and I keep busy working an office job, running a freelance business, and caring for my dog G. To decompress, I like to bake and read and blog all about my (mis)adventures trying to keep it all together.

Part of accepting the nomination is telling you a little bit more about myself, so here’s some things that my Internet friends, both new and old, may not know about me:

  1. This is not my first time at the blogging rodeo. Way back at the dawn of the Internet I may or may not have had a fan fiction blog. Yes, a boy band of the time played a starring role. No, I will not tell you which one it was.
  2. Obviously, I’ve always loved writing but for a while there I thought I was going to be a linguist because I was fascinated with languages. Turns out becoming a linguist is more than just embracing your inner J.R.R. Tolkien (apparently he knew 14!) so I stuck to dabbling around with them- I still have working knowledge of a few!
  3. You’d think that blogging and baking and drooling over books would be enough to keep me busy, but I’m actually doing all of those things while simultaneously singing my face off. Which brings me to my next point…
  4. I can sing pretty much every Disney princess song. No, really. It’s my one and only party trick. The only one I haven’t seen is The Princess and the Frog. I blame my parents, because there was always music in the house growing up.
  5. It was my mom that taught me how to bake, and I made my first batch of chocolate brownies at the tender age of seven. To this day, baked goods are still my kryptonite.
  6. Part of the reason I love baking is because I love making things for other people. If you’re my friend in real life you’ve probably received a homemade card from me at one point in time or another.
  7. If I could have any other job in the world (other than being a superstar-celebrity-entrepreneur-philanthropist) I would want to be the one who comes up with the names for colors on paint chips, or crayons. I love playing with words like “cilantro” or “persimmon”.

Now that I’ve accepted my nomination by telling you seven different things about myself, it’s time to nominate some of the other wonderful blogs that I hope you think are truly lovely as well.

Here are the rules for accepting your One Lovely Blog Award nomination:

  1. Write a blog post accepting your nomination.
  2. Show the blogger who nominated you how much you love them by thanking them in the post and linking to their blog. (Thanks again, Sweet Spell!)
  3. Tell us seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate other blogs that you think are totally rad.
  5. Let the bloggers you’ve nominated know about they’ve received an award.
  6. Post the rules again to let those bloggers know how it works.

My Nominations

I love keeping up with Lydia as she cultivates a stylish life over at The Artful Attempt.

Tracy of The Culinary Jumble bakes all the Swedish things my mom and I used to make.

You’ll flip out over the incredible costumes Tanya sews over at It’s All Frosting.

I can’t help but smile every time a new post from Clairely Happy pops up in my feed.

Pola at The Escritorium has a talent with words, both real and imagined.

The gals behind Owl Machine are smart, hilarious and the authority on all things Disney.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive and can’t possibly include all of the other amazing bloggers I have met and continue to meet on my blogging journey. Writing this blog is one of my favorite things in the world to do and it’s readers like all of you that make the blogging experience a special one.

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Many thanks again for Sweet Spell for nominating me and congratulations to all of the other recipients that were nominated: Mrs. Twinkle, Goan Imports, The Creative Life in Between, Electric Blue Food, Love Served Daily, Twindays, milkandbun, The Millionaire’s Digest, A Pug in the Kitchen and Snapshots in Cursive. They’re all worthy blogs that you should go check out now!