Music, Martha Stewart, and a Leap of Faith

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops in Madison, WI (Thanks for the morning cuppa, @colectivocoffee)... How the hell did I end up here? Perhaps this post is the start of a new journey… or perhaps I’m picking up where I left off on an old journey….

More importantly - what led me to this place?

For those of you who don’t know me… Here’s an extremely reductive version of my backstory… I grew up on the beautiful south coast of Massachusetts with the most supportive family I could ask for. As a child, I dreamt of a career in the arts. My wild imagination and outgoing personality found me acting, singing, directing, and producing theatre from practically the moment I could walk and talk. (Maybe I’ll share with y’all some stories about the costume-wearing extravaganzas that filled my childhood… but I’m not sure I’m ready to divulge that info quite yet.)

From early on, music began playing a fairly prominent role in my life… Whether it was performing in school choirs or the school musical, playing piano for community theatres, or working in NYC and on tour, music has instilled a disciplined work ethic that has followed me throughout my life. In middle school I inherited a piano from my aunt and uncle and I’m pretty certain I drove my family insane teaching myself to play it… I guess it paid off when I eventually decided to earn my undergraduate degree in music…

I mention the piano because that was the first skill I developed that involved working with my hands… which I’m guessing may have, in some way, influenced my interest in baking. I think it’s also worth mentioning that my father is an incredible woodworker and craftsman by trade and he clearly passed on some of that gene to me as well. Ya know, The more I think about it, baking and playing the piano have quite a bit in common… They’re both hands-on, artistic, bring people together, independent, collaborative… I could go on and on…

After undergrad, like most artists, I had a post-college crisis…. What was I going to do with my life? How was I going to make a career of music? It was during this period that I discovered the kitchen. I started baking as a way to take my mind off of the self-doubt and anxieties of facing adulthood. I spent time teaching myself to measure ingredients accurately, how to crumb coat a cake, and even how to make puff pastry from scratch… I even developed a slight obsessed with Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart – if you’re out there, thank you. You taught me the basics when I bought your Baking Handbook at The Christmas Tree Shoppe for $10)

I started wondering if maybe baking was an option?

Instead I decided to choose the path more comfortable and ended up in graduate school for arts administration…. I’m happy to say that my graduate school experience was life changing. I met the most incredible people and learned so much about myself and acquired new tools to navigate my life. (If you haven’t read anything by @BreneBrown you need to jump on Amazon right now… Pick up “Daring Greatly.” You can thank me later…) Baking (and piano), unfortunately, got put on the back burner but I knew someday I would come back to it.

Following graduate school, I moved to Boston and took a job with a kick-ass theatre company (@SpeakEasyStage), which unfortunately did not end up going as planned. If you’re in Boston you’ve got to check this company out… Contemporary plays and musicals like you’ve never seen…

Anyway, my time in Boston was an eye opening experience and necessary. I learned a couple of invaluable lessons: 1.) Life is too short to be unhappy 2.) We, and only we, have the ability to create our own fulfilling lives and 3.) Boston is REALLY expensive….

So I did what any sane adult would do… I quit my job, packed up my life, and moved to Madison, WI. (Did I mention that I had only been to Madison once... for about a day?) The past 6 months have been refreshing to say the least. Madison is an incredible little city and these people know how to take advantage of the seasons! Incredible bike paths, beautiful lakes for kayaking, and a robust food scene… (I’m told Madison has a higher ratio of restaurants per capita then NYC!?) Needless to say, I think this was the right decision at the right time.

So… here I am… I’ve had the time to begin rediscovering my passion for baking and I’ve decided now is my moment to take control of my future and see where it takes me. I think every now and then it's important that we take a leap of faith into the unknown. The branding of @ForknCake is the start of this journey and I’m excited to see where it takes me. Indulge with me and subscribe below…  Get ready for some delectable recipes, mouth-watering photos, and baking tips to help you be the center of the dessert table at your next party!

Until next time - I challenge you to grab a fork and take a great bite out of your life (or your week....).