homesick

Have you ever been homesick? You know, that undeniable feeling of sadness for the place you are most comfortable. It’s the place you can just kick back, be your goofy self…it’s the place that makes you feel better. The place we call “home.” We don’t necessarily have to even travel far from home or even be away from it for too long to feel homesick. Homesick can also be a feeling of belonging. I experienced my fair share of homesick feelings last week. I needed comfort, I needed familiarity, and I needed it ASAP! Guess what?!? I also needed chocolate cake, so that’s where this recipe for triple chocolate pound cake comes into play.

Make sure you enjoy this cake with a tall glass of milk, a side scoop of peanut butter, and (or) vanilla ice cream to go on top. It’s so good that one slice may not be enough. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Triple Chocolate Pound Cake

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Happy Baking, friends…don’t forget to be kind to yourself!

-Ange

A letter to my twenty-two year old self.

 

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We’ve all thought about it before. The notion that what if we could write a letter to our younger self, or go back in time and share some wisdom with our younger self. Life doesn’t come with a set of instructions, so what advice/pointers would we give? What would we say? I’ve thought about this countless times and I’ve even touched on it once in an Instagram post a few years back. It was a brief paragraph about what I would say to my twenty-two year old self. I picked that particular age because it was a difficult time in my life and I really thought I knew so much about life. I thought I had it all figured out.  Little did I know what was ahead of me, but that’s the beauty of life. We don’t know what’s around the corner. Besides telling my twenty-two year old self to “buckle up” here’s what else I would say…

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Try not to always worry about what people think of you. You’re more than great just the way you are.

Not everyone is your friend. Sometimes you just have to learn to look out for yourself.

Please stop comparing yourself to other people.

Your happiness depends on YOU, nobody else.

You will have your heart broken a few times, but just remember that after each heartbreak, you will get to know yourself a little bit better. That is a gift in and of itself.

Spend as much time with your family as you can.

Tell the people you care about how much you love them, all the time. Everyday.

Take lots of pictures even if it gets on people’s nerves.

Be spontaneous and don’t follow all the rules. You really will miss out on all of the fun.

If you’re passionate about something, stick with it. You just might be able to turn your passion into a career.

Follow your dreams. Don’t give up, regardless of how hard it is.

You are beautiful.

Nobody is perfect, so please stop trying to be.

You are enough.

Always be kind to everyone you meet. It really is true, you never know what people are going through.

Help people whenever you can.

Don’t compromise your happiness for someone else’s.

Realize that just by having a plan doesn’t mean things will work out the way you want them to.

Be patient with life.

Be patient with others.

Be patient with yourself.

Don’t be afraid to cry. You’ve gotta let it out sometimes.

Try something new even if you’re scared.

Never underestimate the value of a hand written card, letter or thank you note. A little goes a long way.

Learn to let go of people and things that aren’t helping you become a better person.

Don’t let your pride get in the way. Ask for help when you need it.

Stop obsessing over things you can’t control.

And last but not least…Don’t be in such a rush to “grow up.” Enjoy being twenty-two because before you know it, you will be in your thirties wondering where the hell the years went!

I literally could go on and on but I knew it was time to wrap it up, but can I add something? After I read through all the things I would tell my twenty-two year old self, I realized all of these points I made I can apply to present day. So, I think the point is that no matter how much we’ve grown or how fast the years have flown by, our younger self is always inside of us. It’s our job to remind them how to really live life and enjoy the moment.

I encourage you to write a letter to your younger self. It’s a great take away and a testament to who you are today and where you are in life. It’s also serves as a great reminder of how much of a survivor you are. We’ve all been through a lot and it’s nice to remind ourselves that we made it out the other side. Woohoo! Good job, guys!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself…and just remember that whatever life may throw at you, don’t forget to say “bring it!”

-Ange

Fact: I don’t always know my way around the kitchen.

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Here’s the deal, I don’t cook. It may seem weird to some of you since I bake for a living, but the fact of the matter is I’ve never been much of a cook. I actually don’t enjoy it. I feel like I’m going against so many rules by admitting this. I make the excuse that because I’m always in the kitchen baking, that I just don’t have the time. I don’t feel like cooking at all after I just spent 10-12 hours baking. However, the truth is that even before I started the bakery and became a baker, I still didn’t cook…like ever! If I did, I literally had to give myself pep talks and encourage myself that I could do it. You would swear I was going for a root canal anytime I attempted to get in the kitchen and cook a meal. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

My poor husband has maybe gotten 8-10 meals out of me in the 7 years we’ve been married. I’m going to guess and say that he’s going to disagree with me and say 5 meals, not 10. Thank goodness he enjoys cooking. He’s actually good at it, too! Listen, I’m not proud of it and my mom tells me all the time I should cook more often. Not just for Steve, but for myself, too. I’m a creature of habit and will eat the same things over and over. I like simple, I like easy. I know I’ve mentioned before that some days I have a bowl of cereal for dinner. It just is what it is. However, I would like to start getting more creative and I would like to actually cook something else other than baked ziti. I want to make the time and hopefully along the way, I may even start to enjoy it. Ya never know, stranger things have happened.

I really have no idea how some of you do it. Whether you work full time while raising a family or you are a stay at home parent, to somehow find the time to make dinner at the end of the day is amazing to me. I applaud all of you. You are all rockstars in my book. Growing up, my mom worked full time and would always find the time to make dinner for us. She had a meal planned out for almost every night of the week. Except Friday, Friday was always pizza night. I’m pretty sure it was my mom’s favorite night of the week. My mom is also one of those people who likes to bake AND cook! Say what?!? Clearly I didn’t inherit her cooking skills. You get the gold star, Mom.

So, tonight I’m keeping my fingers crossed the dinner I’m making is edible. May the odds forever be in my favor. I will also be posting the recipe in case anyone else would like to make it. I was just thinking that if for some reason it doesn’t turn out the way I had planned, at least I’ve got cupcakes as back up.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself.

-Ange

Celebrate progress, not perfection.

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A wiseman once said (Theodore Roosevelt) “Comparison is the thief of joy.” For years I would always come back to this quote. It would be at different times in my life for a variety of different reasons, but mostly because I was comparing myself to other people. Comparing what they were doing in their life, what they had, what I didn’t have, etc. etc. I think we all do this from time to time. I try my best not to compare, but let’s be real, I’m human. It happens. We just need to try and be comfortable with where we are, not where we think you should be. We must honor our pace.

Of course I’ve been doing a little comparing of where I’m at in my life with where others are at in theirs. I’m totally calling myself out on it. I have even been comparing what I look like to what other people look like. (Kinda silly, but I’m just being honest). That may be something I always struggle with, because it’s just something that’s been ingrained in my brain (my own doing). Yes, I know it’s not something I should be doing, but the reality is is that I am. It’s like I have to reprogram my mind a little bit. However, as quickly as I jump on the “comparison hamster wheel”, I quickly try to turn it around and think about what I do have and how far I have come with my body image. This is one of the main reasons why I post pictures of myself from time to time, or take a selfie. I’m learning to accept and embrace what I look like. I’m becoming more comfortable sharing pictures for others to see, which is progress. There was a time when I couldn’t stand what I looked like and never wanted my picture taken. I’m learning to appreciate not just who I am on the inside, but who I am on the outside. I’m learning to limit the comparing (I’m realistic that some days I will be better at it than others). I may not have what some people have or look like a super model, but at the end of the day, I know that’s okay and I’m going to be just fine. I am who I am.

In a previous blog, I mentioned how social media makes us compare our lives (as well as our looks) to other people. Talking with other people/friends, I know this to be true. It’s hard not to compare when everything is right there for us to see. Insecurities kick in and we start comparing but let’s try and remember:
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight real.” – Steve Furtick

Let that sink in for a minute. I mean…so true, right?!

| Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy, it’s the thief of EVERYTHING. Keep your eyes on your purposeful path, celebrate others. Celebrate progress, not perfection. Cultivate gratitude over comparison. Gratitude turns what we have into more than enough. |

AMEN to that!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself.

-Ange

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

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There are plenty of days where I’m not really up for a challenge. I would rather just stick to the same old – same old routine and play it safe. Just go with what I know and with what feels most comfortable. This way, I know what’s coming and I can be somewhat prepared for it. But life doesn’t work that way. We can’t control everything (believe me I try) and getting out of our comfort zone is key in order to make life a little more interesting. “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”

Today, I made a decision to really step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I signed up to take a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) which will take place over the next 6 months. Taking this training is something I have always wanted to do but never really allowed myself to even “go there.” I always thought there’s no way I could do it. I found a million and one excuses to not take a walk out of my safety area aka comfort zone. Guess you could say I just wasn’t up for the challenge.

If you’ve been following along with my blog (and for those of you who know me), you know I’m on a continuous journey to REALLY love the skin I’m in. I want be comfortable with who I am…on the inside as well as the outside. This is something that has never come easy for me and I have to work hard at it every single day. I believe most of us have to. Having struggled for most of my life with an eating disorder, I’ve had to put in a little extra work to love the person on the other side of the mirror. I’ve mentioned countless times that I am a work in progress. My life is constantly under construction and there’s always something to improve.

The YTT is going to force me to go beyond the surface and discover more about who I am. It will challenge me physically, emotionally, mentally…but I’m ready to take the time to get to know myself better. Regardless of what happens, I promised to go easy on myself as I begin this new journey. I don’t need to put myself down before I even begin or be negative about how I’m doing during the training. My body is my home and I will not tear it down. I repeat: my body is my home and I will not tear it down.

We all face challenges everyday. Some are scary, some are exciting. Some make us want to lie down and take a nap, and some make us want to puke. Whatever challenges you are facing right now in your life, remember that it’s ok to be afraid. It’s ok to want to stay in the safe area. Let’s not forget that I started this blog because I never want people to feel alone…it’s so important that we never feel alone in this life. I have always wanted to connect with others and it turns out that what I’m writing about actually ends up being the pep talk that I need. I’m sorry if I sound redundant…it happens. However, throughout my life whenever I was struggling, hearing other people’s stories is what has helped me. It’s what has pulled me through some dark times. I would think “if they can do it, I can do it!” Without a doubt, my struggle is part of my story. Your struggle is part of your story.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself. Maybe take a little walk outside of your comfort zone this week. It’s ok if you turn right back around, but be happy knowing that you at least you tried.

-Ange

I need a vacation from my own thoughts.

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Vacation. You’ve been looking forward to this moment all year. Time to relax and rejuvenate. Well, that is for some people. Anyone else like me out there who tends to worry about every little thing in life? You just can’t seem to relax EVER, let alone while you’re on vacation. You know, the time when you really are supposed to be taking time out to relax. Or how about when you do finally relax, it’s time to go home! Yeah, turns out I need a vacay from my own thoughts.

This was my experience last week on my family vacation. I was looking forward to it for so long and honestly, all I did was worry about the stupidest shit. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy myself and my time with Steve and my family, but I definitely found myself worrying and being on edge for NO REASON! I wasn’t able to just be. It was like I couldn’t or wouldn’t allow myself to relax. The main reason being was that the house we rented last minute, the owners were staying upstairs. I was constantly worrying if we were too loud, was the porch a mess, were we opening and closing the door too much, blah, blah, blah. See, constant worrying over stupid shit.

Let’s not forget that there was 1 bathroom for 11 people. Yes people, we were shitting in shifts! Needless to say, I worried if someone was in the bathroom when someone else (or myself) had to use it. I’ll admit it, I was definitely a buzz kill/the fun police on this vacation. My poor family and Steve. God bless them for having to deal with my ridiculousness. I’m pretty sure that if my family and I were on “Survivor”, they would have voted me off the island after the first day.

It finally occurred to me to leave it be, give myself a break, and just enjoy being at my favorite place on earth…Long Beach Island.  The problem with that was when I finally came to my senses, it was the day before vacation was over. Typical, right? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we worry about things that really don’t matter? All it does is just take away from living in the moment and enjoying those around us. I personally have to put an end to the endless “what ifs” and worries. It’s so not worth it. Worrying is a complete waste of time. It doesn’t change anything, it just messes with your mind and steals your happiness.”I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m stressing about for absolutely no logical reason. ” Yeah…Ain’t nobody got time for that!

As always, thank you taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself and make sure you take a vacay from your thoughts this week. And if you’re about to go on vacation, enjoy yourself, ok?

-Ange

self love

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Self love and self care…it just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process and it can be a difficult one at times. I think it’s safe to say that most of us have moments where we feel really great about ourselves. Then there are those moments where we are our own worst critic. We literally pick apart everything we don’t like about ourselves. Loving yourself and taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you’re selfish, it doesn’t make you conceited. It makes you more aware and open, which, in my mind, is so important. When we practice self love and self care, it spills over and allows us to love others fully and completely.

Self love and self care is vital and it takes a lot of practice…at least for me it does. I was having a very “off” week last week and as much as I don’t want to admit this, I spent time beating myself up. I just repeatedly said mean things internally to myself about myself. What can I say, I got caught up in a negative cycle. It happens. There’s no need to punish or berate ourselves for falling into the negativity trap. Last week served as a reminder for me to practice more self love and self care because I was out of balance. I am and will always be, a work in progress. I mean we MUST continue to love the crap out of ourselves in order to give love to others, right? Just like most things in life, we have to do the work.

It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power. I wanted to share some ways to love yourself, ways to practice more self care.

*Know yourself.
*Don’t be afraid to say no.
*Don’t be afraid to say yes.
*Don’t be a people pleaser.
*Trust your instincts.
*If it feels wrong, don’t do it.
*Say exactly what you mean.
*Don’t compare yourself to others.
*Allow yourself some downtime.
*Never give up on your dreams.
*Never speak bad about yourself.
*Be truly present.
*Know your strengths and use them.
*Treat yourself.
*Be honest with yourself.
*Let yourself off the hook for your mistakes and imperfections.
*Work on forgiving yourself for the bigger stuff.
*Accept that some people won’t like you.
*Make “having fun” a priority.
*Practice gratitude.
*Write down your successes/accomplishments.
*Feel your feelings.
*Take good care of your body.
*Pursue a hobby.
*Stand up for yourself.
*Ask for help when you need it.
*Speak kindly to yourself.
*Surround yourself with people who treat you with kindness and respect.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself and remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

-Ange

small acts

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So much sadness and hate in the world. At times, it doesn’t seem real. Am I right? We can’t seem to ignore it or escape from it. The reality is, it’s becoming part of our everyday lives. In the wake of the tragedies that occurred last week in Orlando, I believe now more than ever, we must continue to spread love and kindness. That’s all I keep hearing/seeing. “Love more. Hate less.” Such a simple, easy task, but yet it’s difficult for so many people. Why? I do believe that is a question that will never be answered. I just know that in the midst of all the hate, love is what will pull us through. It may sound cliche, but the saying “love conquers all” resonates with me anytime something tragic like this happens. It’s like it’s on repeat in my head.

Through all the darkness that has happened, not just last week, but any time our country or the world experiences tragedy, there are those stories that emerge. You know which ones, the stories of human kindness, selflessness, hope & love. Stories like that of Greg Zanis. The kind, sweet man who drove 1,200 miles to Orlando with 49 wooden crosses. He made the crosses to memorialize the Pulse Nightclub victims. That right there was done out of pure love. People like that, stories like that, are what I cling to. They help to restore my faith and remind me that even though there’s so much hate and negativity in the world, there’s still a lot of good and love is still present. Even if we have to search high and low for it, it’s there. Just keep looking.

I know so many people personally that make it a point to show random acts of kindness or always take the opportunity to “pay it forward.” I just LOVE that. I try to do it as much as possible or when I can. It really doesn’t take much, but it can truly turn someone’s day around. When something like that happens to us, it helps us feel like there really are still good people in the world. It happened to me the other day when I was waiting in line for a coffee. The person in front of me paid for my order. It immediately put a smile on my face, restored my faith and it made me want to pay it forward right away. So, I did just that and paid for the person behind me. I thought it couldn’t hurt (only help) to share a list of some simple ideas to show random acts of kindness which I personally feel leads to paying it forward. I’m sure many of you do a lot of these already without even knowing it. You may be saying “it’s no big deal.” It makes a difference though, and like I mentioned before, I think we could all use a little reminder that there’s still goodness and light in this world.

*Put extra change in a parking meter that’s about to run out or that has run out. (That’s what the picture posted above is about. I did that earlier today…took me ten minutes tops!)
*Pay for the order for the person behind you in line.
*Leave a nice note or flowers on the windshield of a car.
*Give a generous tip to your server.
*Pick a good cause and donate whatever amount you can to it.
*Run an errand for someone.
*Pick up any trash that you see.
*Give someone an unsolicited compliment.
*Bring treats to your work and share with your co-workers.
*Help someone carry their bags.
*Leave a funny note or a little bit of cash in a book at the library.
*Volunteer.
*Say thank you to someone who does a hard job that not many people would take.
*Donate clothing/books you don’t need.
*Ask someone how they are and really listen when they answer.
*Thank a soldier, police officer, firefighter, EMT.
*Smile at everyone you see.
*Write a letter to someone serving in the military.
*Bake cookies and drop them off at a friends or local police or fire station.
*Leave coupons you won’t need at the store.
*Place $0.25 in a purse you’re looking at in a store, it will be a treasure to the next person.

 

“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would always say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster/terror”, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Mr. Rogers

 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read. Be kind to yourself and maybe try and bring a little light and love to someone else this week.

-Ange

Beginning Over

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Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Angela who dreamed about having a beautiful bakery. She would make pretty desserts, help others, have really great hair, and live happily ever after…

About 4 months ago, I decided that I was going close the bakery in October after all of the weddings I had scheduled were done. I was burnt out. I guess you could say my fairytale was o – v – e – r! The stress had finally gotten the best of me, physically & mentally. I had made the tough decision to walk away from my dream and no longer be “Sugar Babe.” I just felt like I had given it my all but I just couldn’t do it any longer. If you read one of my previous blog posts about being a small business owner, you know what my life entails. I struggled for months about what I was going to do about everything. How I was going to move forward. I had finally reached the end of my rope…or I should say, I finally ran out of ingredients for the bakery.

They say that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. For me, that saying couldn’t be more accurate. I had just come to terms with my plan for moving forward with closing the bakery, and then I met Heidi…aka my Fairy Godmother! Heidi is the founder of the non-profit “Beginning Over Foundation” which helps victims and families of domestic violence. I met her at a friend’s get together one Sunday afternoon. I literally met her for five minutes but for some reason I started telling her that I was going to be closing the bakery. Mind you, I hadn’t even shared this bit of information with many people at this point. Heidi was aware of what I had done with my business and she mentioned to me before I left that that she had an idea and wanted to help. Honestly, I thought nothing of this and went about my evening. She also knew how important giving back to others was to me and how much I incorporated that into my life and my business. She said she wanted to give me this “gift” because I deserved it. Huh?!? Is this real life?

Well, apparently this is real life and the “gift” she wanted to give me was going to alleviate a lot of the burdens I was experiencing. One of the many reasons why I was going to close. So, she approached me about merging with her non-profit and essentially becoming a nonprofit bakery.  Yes, I know it all sounds confusing and you’re probably going, “huh?!” I mean, I was confused for months. I didn’t get it. So, when you merge with a non profit, that person you’re merging with assumes your business debt. Which means, Heidi would pay off my existing business debt moving forward. I couldn’t believe it. This was a dream come true! I mean, I had mentally prepared myself with the fact that I might not have a job right away come October and I would still have all the debt from the bakery haunting me for years. Bottom line, Heidi saved Sugar Babe! My fairy Godmother saved the day…just like in Cinderella!

To me, this partnership is nothing short of amazing! It is allowing me to keep doing what I love which is baking and helping others. Heidi and I can continue to do great work, important work, to help support such an amazing cause. How could this partnership not be a sweet deal?!? So now anytime someone orders from Sugar Babe, whether it’s a birthday order, a wedding or an event, that money is going to the Beginning Over Foundation. Sweet charity, how amazing?!

I’ve come to realize that just when you’re about to give up on yourself, an idea or a dream, that’s usually when the universe flips the script. The people who believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself are the ones who bring the magic…or should I say, the magic wand. They bring us back to life. Maybe fairytales do exist!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and thank you for continuing to support the bakery. I hope you all stick around for this new adventure that’s about to begin because big things are ahead!

-Ange

H E R O