Friday, February 12, 2016


"Life is about choices. 
Some we regret, some we're proud of. Some will haunt us forever.
We are what we choose to be."

This is just a cropped excerpt of the flowers delivered to my teller station one Friday in January. The note said, "Happy last day of work!" I was quietly choking down a lump in my throat that day. I had chosen to leave behind a fun job, so I could better dedicate myself to photography, and actually have time for my family. Yet change always terrifies me, so the choice to let go of this financial security and all the friendships it had cultivated in hopes of succeeding as a photographer was bold and daring and scary. 

It's been two weeks, and this copper tone bouquet is still sitting on my table. While the petals fall listlessly, one by one, to the platter below and the greenery slowly wilts, I still hang on to them just one more day... by day... by day... Because I feel passion and motivation every time I look at it. It's such a pretty reminder of choices and blossoming within them. And friendship too, of course.

Choices close chapters and open new ones. You don't always know in the moment if your choice is ultimately good or bad. Sometimes the choice seems so perfect--cut-and-dried, only to wake up and realize it was nothing short of devastating, leaving you with painful scars. Other times you might think you're biting off a piece of hell, but it ends up being the closest thing to paradise this side of heaven. 

Choices. We make them every day. They're as simple as deciding which socks we put on in the morning or as complex as the person we choose to spend the rest of our lives with. Choices chart the course of our lives, they are who we are. It can be scary, choosing to let go of your secure comfort zone to free fall into an abyss of dreams and the great unknown. But today I dare you to choose to not be ordinary. 

Dare to be brave, to trust God and to believe in yourself. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cranberry Orange Doughnut Muffins

We had a snow day yesterday. And since I can't really remember the last time I baked anything for fun, we decided it was perfect for a muffin baking day with the boys. I tweaked this blueberry muffin recipe and ended up with the husband-declared "best muffins in the world". They were quickly consumed and I have received numerous requests to make this again. Friends and family members who saw my snapchat have even offered me money and bribes to make dozens more. My boys keep pretending to pull the muffins out of these pictures to eat them again. 

They are that good.

Cranberry Orange Doughnut Muffins

yield: ABOUT 18 MUFFINS  |  prep time: 20 MINUTES  |  cook time: 15-17 MINUTES


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup pure cane sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tablespoon vinegar to regular milk)
2 cups coarsely-chopped cranberries

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon warm water

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease or paper a standard muffin tin.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large bowl, Combine the zest and sugar until it is moist and fragrant. Add applesauce, eggs and vanilla. Cream together until smooth. 
  • Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients alternately with milk, make sure everything is thoroughly combined. Fold in cranberries.
  • Spoon the batter evenly into prepared pan, filling muffin tins nearly full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until muffins are a pale golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. 
  • In a medium bowl or small sauce pan, whisk the glaze ingredients until smooth. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. You can leave them as is or go for the double dip. 
  • Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight.