Happy October

Fall always feels like a new beginning and this year especially so. After months and months of every day feeling the same, but also like nothing at all, it is nice to have some normalcy and rhythm again. 

The kids are finally back to school. We didn’t start until the 16th, and it really was the morale boost we needed. The high schoolers are doing a hybrid model, and my middle schooler goes full-time. 

bree hester standing in a door in stoneham

We’ve been 98% housebound since March. In a lot of ways, it was great. In the beginning of lockdown, it was still winter in Massachusetts. So it felt like one long snow day and having everyone home from school (Wes was still a student at the time) was fun. 

As spring turned into summer, and one day just felt like the last, it got to me. Between being isolated, the world literally and figuratively being on fire, politics, worrying about keeping everyone healthy, I was not in the best head space. I retreated and spent a lot of my days playing hours and hours of Animal Crossing and trying to do my best to stay positive. 

When we came to Massachusetts last summer, it was for Wes to be a fellow and it was only for 10 months. We never in a million years dreamed that we would be able to stay here, but by some miracle, we are, and Wes is working at the D1 command. So, we are going to be here for a while. He also got promoted, and with that, we were able to move to a different house on base. So we moved down the street in June and it was a pain, but it was worth it.

family at coast guard promotion

I’ve gotten some emails/messages/DMs about my Friday newsletters. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can read some old ones. 99% of them are so sweet and kind and you tell me that you miss them. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. 

I got more than one (really) that mentioned that they really liked them better when we lived in Europe and now they weren’t as interesting. 

Were these intended to be rude? No

Did I get what they were saying? Absolutely

Did it still rub me the wrong way? You bet

The Friday newsletters take a really long time to put together. I loved doing them, but I was really thoughtful about what I linked to and I read everything that I posted.

I spent a lot of time taking and editing photos to share each week and I also wrote back to every single person that responded to my emails. 

And if you aren’t a blogger, you would not know this, but it takes a lot of time and energy to maintain so many links. Google does not like broken links so I spent a lot of time making sure that all of those links worked (all the old ones too). And we need Google to ALWAYS be happy with us. 

I resented that you (not YOU specifically, obviously) found me to be boring now that I lived in New England and wasn’t visiting England, England. 

I felt like my time is valuable and if I am boring, then why bother?

It hurt my feelings. 

overhead shot of hands cutting a lemon and blueberries with a bunch of lavender in a vase

It was also coupled with another interaction that I had around the same time where someone that I respected in the blog world told me that brands are not interested in 40-year-old lifestyle bloggers with teens. Unless I was shiny and new with babies, it’s hard out there for a girl like me. 

What I heard (and this is NOT what she said) is that no one would be interested in what a 40-something like myself has to say. 

Between those two things, COVID, racial injustices, everyone being mad all the time, being afraid of saying the wrong thing, or saying the right thing, being tired and semi-depressed, I just stopped saying anything at all. 

bouquet of flowers

I am far more interesting now as a 43-year-old mother of teens than I was 15 years ago. I am more nuanced, smarter, I’ve seen more, my worldview is larger. It’s a shame that brands aren’t that interested in women like me (she wasn’t wrong on that front) because we are kind of amazing.

Am I going to bring back the weekly Friday newsletter? No. I cannot handle that level of commitment right now. But I can handle monthly. 

I really miss the connection that I had with you and I *almost* even miss when you judge me on how much money I spend on makeup and candles. I get emails about that too.

So here we are, it’s already October. 

I don’t think we really need to recap much of 2020 do we? But there are some things that I’ve found to be really wonderful about it. And for things I’ll always be grateful. 


bree hester at a counter with a cup of coffee

I have put off getting headshots for YEARS and I finally did it. I found Joy LeDuc on Google and as soon as I hit her website I knew she was my photographer. She is indeed a JOY. We rented an incredible house for the morning and I also used Veronica Nunes for my makeup and I am so happy with how the shoot turned out. I dreaded it and now I can’t wait to do it again. (If you are Boston local and need a photographer or a makeup artist, these two women are incredible.)

virtual school at the dining room table with a teenage girl and her dog

Our schools did the most AMAZING job of getting our kids back safely and I am so grateful to every single person that works in those buildings. I know that they worked tirelessly (and didn’t get paid for a considerable portion of the time) to get the kids back into the buildings in the most effective and efficient ways they knew how. So much love and gratitude for our teachers. 

Also, virtual school days are very exciting when your dog gets to say hi to your class.

bree hester holding a golden retriever puppy

We got another puppy! Beauchamp (staying with the Outlander theme, but we call him Beau) is an 8-week-old Golden Retriever and he is the sweetest, most chill, little dude. We always planned on getting two dogs and needed to figure out where we were going to be before we could get another one. We love him so much. 


If I am being totally honest, I have been taking breaks from the Internet so instead of just sharing links, I am going to pepper links with actual things that bring me joy and happiness.

I do religiously read one newsletter and it comes from Erin Moon. It’s called The Swipe Up and it’s worth the time and space in your inbox.

Every morning, I watch Kalin’s Clinks on Instagram Stories. I’ve always loved flowers, that’s not new if you have been here for a while, but she’s really taught me how to design and arrange flowers and it brings me JOY. I’ve also been going to a local flower farm and picking my own each week. Next year – I’m going to plant a cutting garden.

Animal Crossing from my Nintendo Switch has gotten me through a global pandemic with my sanity intact. (Mostly.) It’s a sweet and simple little game that is mindless and I’ve spent so many hours making my little island cute and if you need a brain break, this is it.

Yellowstone. Wes and I are so sad that we finished Yellowstone and have to wait so long for the next season. It’s like the Sopranos meets Montana cowboys.

Making little family films. I used to do these a lot and I stopped making them. My kids weren’t around as much and how many shots of kids looking at screens can you take? But lately, I’ve started consciously taking more video clips and I love putting these together.

Going to the grocery store used to be one of my favorite activities and now it stresses me out. Since we live on base, we can’t get grocery delivery, otherwise, I would just do that. I started ordering Butcherbox for my meats and I’m waiting for my first box. I’ve heard nothing but great things from friends I trust and they have amazing customer service. If you want to give it a try here is a $15 coupon.

My favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s super easy and I love the way my house smells when it is baking. It also makes a few loaves so you can give a loaf away or save some for another day.

Reading normally is something that brings me a lot of happiness, but has been really hard for me since we’ve been homebound. I don’t have the attention span like I used to, it’s taking me a long time to get through books that would normally take me a day or two. But I have read a few good ones. Transcendent Kingdom was excellent. There are a few other good ones in my Goodreads if you are interested in what I did manage to get through.

close up of golden retriever puppy

What have you been loving this month? Let me know in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using any of these links, I make a small percentage of that sale at no cost you.

Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

raspberry orange pistachio ricotta cake slices on a wire rack

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White Chocolate Banana Bread

This Post Has 125 Comments

  1. Kristin H

    So glad to see a post from you. Clearly I must be a boring 40-something too – because I very much enjoy your posts and your recipes. I am curious if you have discontinued your vegetarian diet?

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Kristin. I eat vegetarian about 90% of the time. I have added chicken and pork back in because I was having a really hard time getting enough protein into our diets without having to cook 3 different meals for all of us. Wes and I will likely never eat red meat again ever, and have not in years.

    2. Alicia B

      Hi Bree,
      It’s good to see you and receive your newsletter, blog, and recipes. You look great and the puppy is so cute.

      1. Bree Hester

        Thank you! He’s such a sweetheart!

  2. Lisl Sukachevin

    Hi Bree! I don’t know what brands want, but as a long-time reader, I LOVE hearing from you and your voice! I am a few years older than you at 51, and my kids are even more grown up, in their early 20’s. I have LONG lamented the fact that so many blogs are written by new/young moms and it is darn hard to find a blog written by someone with teen or older kids. So the few I have found like yours, Design Mom, and Grown & Flown are my favorites!! So please keep it up and know that there are people out there who love hearing what you have to say!

    1. Bree Hester

      There really isn’t a space for us. It’s so aggravating because we are the OG bloggers too. We created this space and now we aren’t invited to play in it anymore.

  3. Hillary

    I’ll read anything you publish – weekly, monthly, or whenever at all. I appreciate your content and, while I have little kids at home, I love reading about the ways you parent your growing kids. I make your horseradish cranberries every year now and think of you when I do. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Hillary, that is so nice of you to say. I love that you make my cranberries. But really, those are my grandmother’s cranberries. They have taken on a life of their own.

  4. June darmanian

    Hi Bree, I do miss your Friday weekly newsletters. As they had so many interesting articles, book recommendations and yes, I did love your Europe blogs. New England has just as many beautiful and interesting areas to explore and photograph. Thank you for doing your monthly newsletter. I know that your time is valuable and I enjoyed your October newsletter. 😃 June

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you for understanding June!

  5. Kathy Elftmann

    Thank you so much! I appreciate your candor…as a mom and grandma I really enjoy your post and will look forward to hearing from you monthly.

    Congratulations on the new puppy.

    Take care ❤️


    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Kathy! See you in November!

  6. Cathy

    I, too, am going a bit stir-crazy but trying to stay positive and I am also a reader – I actually LOVE to read but I have been having attention span issues as well. My sisters and I started a long distance book club and that has been a wonderful way to stay connected not only to sisters who live a state or two apart but for books, including ones that I probably would not have chosen for myself.

    We have a Golden and absolutely love her. She is probably THE best dog we have ever had. She’s getting a bit older now but still is so affectionate and loving.

    Take care, Bree! (I MISS your Friday newsletters!)

    1. Bree Hester

      That is such a sweet idea. I actually was able to finish a few books this week and it was nice to do something that I enjoyed so much again. Beau is actually asleep at my feet as I type this, he is the sweetest little thing ever. But also doesn’t take any sh*t from his brother. 🙂

  7. Ginny

    Love your letter! As an Army brat and Nonna of four Navy brats, I understand how complex life can become. I have told the grandgirls that looking back over the past 74 years I would not change a thing. Military families may have many moves and other challenges, but I now realize how much I gained from the experience. Figured out three years ago why I prefer red wine. When stationed in Europe after the war children could not drink milk or water when not on post or base. When we traveled I was given water diluted with red wine to drink at lunch and dinner. If white was used you could not tell the percentage of dilution. Thanks for you wonderful site.

    1. Bree Hester

      I wouldn’t either. This is a weird life, but it’s also a great one. 🙂

  8. Natalie Fujita

    I have missed seeing your frequent postings, so am happy to see this one. I must say I adore all the recipes of yours that I have tried. The chocolate sauce is one of my favorite things of yours that I make frequently, & give as gifts. I’ve even jarred & processed the sauce so I could give it away later. Also your caramel sauce which is also THE BEST ever. I printed your recipe for pumpkin bread & will make it soon, after all it is pumplin season now. Thanks for coming back on!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Natalie. I made pumpkin bread yesterday and put a generous amount of cinnamon sugar on top and it was DIVINE. I love that chocolate sauce too. It’s a sleeper recipe on this site. I need to update it and bring it to the top. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Kathleen F

    I have been loving our Friday night cocktail time with my husband, son and daughter-in-law. I look forward to this all week. I plan a new cocktail each week and pair it with an appetizer. It’s getting colder now, so I’m guessing those Friday nights will go by the wayside. It is so sad to hear of negative comments on your posts. You are not the first blogger I follow who has said this very same thing. People are just more angry now than I can ever remember. I am a 60 something year old woman and really look forward to reading whatever you post. I’m holding on for better times.

    1. Bree Hester

      That is such a great weekly tradition. Why does it have to end because it’s getting colder? Keep doing it!

  10. Andi

    Hi Bree. I must admit that your complete honesty about your feelings through all of this 2020 stuff brought tears to my eyes. I think there are a lot of women out there who have been experiencing similar feelings. You are still young and beautiful w/blessings of a strong family – including that cute Beau. We all need to pray for healing and peace in this country. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Andi, I didn’t mean to make you cry. I appreciate the love and support from my little community here more than anyone will ever know.

  11. Janeen

    It’s a shame brands aren’t interested in ‘older’ bloggers. As a 50 year old with grownish children (22 and 19) I’m not interested in baby and kid stuff. I think this is a huge missed opportunity for them. I’m happy to read your posts, which are more relatable to me. Keep doing what makes you happy, when it makes you happy. You don’t owe anybody anything. Oh, and congratulations on your beautiful puppy!

    1. Bree Hester

      Me too, it’s a missed and neglected space. And thank you, my sweet baby Beau is at my feet as I type this. 🙂

  12. Linda

    Love your new pictures and your darling hairstyle. Boo to unkind people who put others down. Congratulations and thanks to your husband for his continued service to our country. I’m delighted your beautiful family gets to “stay put” for a while!
    Here’s hoping you bloom where you are planted.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Linda, we are so happy to be able to stay.

  13. Susan

    Bree, I’ve missed you! So glad you and your family are OK. I love hearing about and seeing New England – I spent my early years in Marblehead, which made for a charmed childhood. Looking forward to your future communications! You go girl!!

    1. Bree Hester

      We got to Marblehead all the time. It’s been our “spot” to get a taste of the ocean. We order pizza and have a picnic at the yacht club or the lighthouse.

  14. Cindy

    Thank you for sharing your journey over the past few months. I’ve had some of the same struggles especially over grocery shopping because many people in the south do not want to wear masks. I order weekly food boxes which can be a little pricey but it saves trips to the grocery store! I’m also adding to my recipe collection this way!

    1. Bree Hester

      I’ve decided that spending more for piece of mind is 100% ok in my book. Good for you making it work. And people, WEAR YOUR MASKS!!

  15. Susan Anninos

    Don’t let the trolls get you down. If they could do what you do they would, but they can’t. Saying that you’re boring makes me wonder how empty their lives are that they’re depending on you to fill it. And if you’re looking for another binge-able show (and you have Netflix) I highly recommend Longmire.

    1. Bree Hester

      Ha! You are so right about that. And thank you. Maybe I will start this this weekend. I am having Yellowstone withdrawals.

  16. K~

    Hey Bree,
    Thanks for your note. I feel the same as you. These are crazy times. I’m from the NE but reside in FL where it’s bat shit crazy. A Gov who just does not care about public safety while our covid numbers continue to rise. I started watching Gov Andrew Cuomo from NY every day in May . His briefings gave me FACTS and much needed encouragement, hope and love. Then his briefings stopped and I’m back to the twilight zone. Meditation is helping and staying off fb. I now have culinary fatigue yet I’ll baking another batch of cookies tonight ?! Please take care of your self
    Love.light. peace
    Thxox for being you

    1. Bree Hester

      Oh yeah, he CRAZY. And his constituents are the exact demographic of people at risk. Our Governor in MA has been incredible and I could not be more proud of how he has handled this pandemic. I’m not a Republican, but I would vote for him for president in a heartbeat if he ever ran.

  17. Theresa

    Bree – Welcome back! The head shots are superb! I noticed them immediately. If the branding world isn’t ready for wiser, smarter, kinder women in their mid-40s, whatever will they do with me at 61?! You have an audience here which is grateful for the energy, TIME, and maximum effort visible in each and every post. Thank you for staying true to yourself.

    1. sue

      Don’t listen to those naysayers, we love you. I for one am pumped to have your newsletter back even for monthly. You go gir.!!

      1. Bree Hester

        Thank you Sue!

    2. Bree Hester

      Thank you Theresa. Who knows? It’s weird because I surely didn’t have any money to spend when I was that age, but I do now. I feel like they are missing a piece to the puzzle…

  18. Janet Loop

    Thank you for even doing the monthly letter now. I cannot believe how much you do as a military wife and writing this blog. I am an Army Brat. During my first 18 years, before my father retired – we moved 12 times. I enjoyed that life but the work around packing and moving and getting to know a new location took time and energy. I am impressed you managed to write a weekly Friday newsletter at all with children and that lifestyle. Take care and stay positive. Looking forward to next month’s newsletter. Love Golden’s – they are such great dogs.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Janet. Weirdly, this blog has been the most constant thing in my life and keeps me feeling connected and sane. And my little Beau is actually sleeping on my feet as I type this. 🙂

  19. Diane Eddy

    You know, people will have opinions. Some are encouraging and some are discouraging. Keep doing what you enjoy doing and that is enough. I am now in my 50’s and a grandma, and I feel I have so much more to offer than when I was young, Keep posting wisdom and fun stuff cause we need older, but wiser people! Enjoy your blog and your life giving to others.

    1. Bree Hester

      Right? I was great then, but I am much smarter and wiser now. Stay well!

  20. Allison

    I love you blog! Don’t let the naysayers get you down. We’re all a lil crazy in these odd times. Hugs!

    1. Bree Hester

      Hahahaha! We are, aren’t we?!

  21. Cheryl Brennan

    I for another find you as at blogger very relevant! I like your recipes, photos, stories and overall blog! Way too much negativity all around us now so happy to have you come into my inbox whenever you feel like it! You look great too!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you, Cheryl, I appreciate this so much.

  22. Kathy B

    I love your emails and posts, and was delighted to get this one today. Ignore the haters. I’m older than you (by a bit) and have teenagers, so I thought your posts were amazing and made me feel young instead of being an “old” mom. Thanks for all you do! I’ve been living having down time…I now have time to do things at home that I love like crocheting, reading, and puzzles. Have a wonderful Friday!!

    1. Bree Hester

      I love having teens, it’s one of the best parenting stages. I’ve also been enjoying the downtime. It’s been so nice to spend so much time together.

  23. Candy Grzenia

    Hey Bree, welcome back! I had withdrawals and wondered if you had just stopped your posting, so glad you didn’t! It sounds like you had quite a year so far. I can’t believe all the drama that’s going on and I wonder if it’ll stop once the political crap is done. If Trump gets in again, I hope the democrats don’t do their little hissy fit antics again. I think we’ve all had enough of 2020 madness! I love your haircut, it’s very flattering, and I will be trying your pumpkin bread. I’m one of those crazy pumpkin spice people that so many on my Facebook complain about. Can’t help it, it’s my favorite thing at this time of year (plus all the colors of the trees and crafts). Your new puppy is so adorable. I retired in March of 2019 and we bought a house up north in Central Wisconsin. We haven’t moved yet and people keep wondering when we will. I should say we’re half moved and it’s nice to not have to stay with relatives or in a hotel when we go up there. It’s hard to think of moving away from my friends, a lot of them are people I graduated with. We get together once a month for breakfast and one a month for dinner. I didn’t chum with the majority of them in high school, but knew of them. They are gems in my life and fill the hole in my heart that was left when my best friend dropped me. I’m so sorry you received so many disturbing emails and messages, I think that was very rude! I love your posts and hope you keep writing them forever (you know what I mean, I’m sure). Well, I’ll close for now since I’m running out of space, but I will do my occasional email to you as I did before the madness entered our lives. Your friend and fan,
    Candy Grzenia

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Candy. Honestly, I don’t think that it is going to stop when the election is over. I am one of those pesky Democrats (no hissy fits from me though) and I just think that people are tired. There is a lot of not great stuff going on and hurt right now and it doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. I made my pumpkin bread yesterday and put a generous amount of cinnamon sugar on top and it was delicious this morning for breakfast. I also am a pumpkin spice fan. I hope that your move goes well. Take care!

  24. judy lyon

    I am so glad to hear from you and know you are ok. A monthly newsletter sounds wonderful and I hope doable. I am 78 years old, but still in pretty good shape and love to cook and of course love good recipes. Your chocolate chip cookie recipe is my favorite. I don’t make it often as I would eat most of them, but I use any excuse I can to make and share them.

    Good luck to you in all your endeavors. ps I am sorry you had your feelings hurt. We need more kindness these days.

    1. Bree Hester

      Good for you Judy! I make the chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze them in dough balls and only bake off a couple at a time. That might be a good solution for you. And I could not agree more – more KINDNESS.

  25. Tamzen

    I missed your weekly messages so much, but I completely understand why and for goodness sake, girl, you give us this gift for free! The fact that people would complain is wrong. Thank you for thinking about doing this again, and even monthly would be perfect. Take it easy and all the best to you and your family!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you so much for understanding Tamzen. I really appreciate the support.

  26. Karen

    Boy. Did I ever connect with your thoughts about
    living positive through this mess. Everyone is angry and stressed. The country is either flooding, on fire, or getting ready for a hurricane. Gotta be careful what you say because you might offend someone. My long-time friends and I never (and I mean never) talked politics. Now we avoid each other because both sides have differing political opinions…….and there is NO discussion about it. It is so awkward that we often just avoid each other. So sad.
    Please keep doing what you are doing. Many of us have zero interest in new moms and babies.
    We are done with that. Sometimes real life IS boring. So what. The majority of us are not, and never will be, jetting around to foreign places. How lucky you guys are to have had that chance. I actually relate more to you now than when you did live overseas.
    Stay well, and keep on doing what makes you comfortable. We all support you !

    1. Bree Hester

      I understand. It is really awkward right now and sometimes easier just to not say anything.

  27. Gina Taylor

    Welcome back!!!!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Gina!

  28. Pam

    Welcome back!!!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Pam!

  29. Jill

    I was so happy to see your Friday Email! I have always enjoyed them. Don’t listen to the haters!!

    1. Bree Hester

      I won’t, thank you Jill!

  30. Skip Maysles

    Welcome back!

    I absolutely love the new photos! So fun and love the smile!

    I believe Gov Baker has done an excellent job during the virus for MA residents. His great team took control and listened to the science and it shows in our low infection rates! Charlie Baker for president!

    Congratulations on Wes’ promotion! Is he now a Captain? Hurray!! What a great man and family!

    With more time, we will ALL get through this!

    1. Bree Hester

      I could not agree with you more, Governor Baker has done such an incredible job and I would vote for him for president in a heartbeat. I am so proud of the way that MA residents have handled this and taken it seriously. And yes, he is a Captain now. Hope you are staying safe and healthy. 🙂

  31. Teri vakenti

    So,glad you are back posting, even if it’s once a month. Maybe I missed a couple posts but I love your new hair style.
    It’s so great to see how your children grown into little adults!
    Our family has been blessed to have 3 Golden’s as part of our family and they are the best, most gentle, loving dogs ever. Beau will bring many years of joy.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you! I realized that it’s been a very long time since I put my face on here, I cut my hair well over a year ago! It’s actually grown out. 🙂 Beau is actually curled up on my feet as I type this. We love him so much.

  32. Terry

    Welcome back! Pictures are great. Actually,I don’t look at you as my travel agent, so am very happy with your stateside posts. I look at them more like real-time conversations about family, traditions, kids, food, and new discoveries with a friend over goodies and hot tea. You do you Bree. Happy October.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Terry, be well!

  33. Michelle Dame

    Have loved your Friday posts and your lists of things that are catching your attention. Found you originally by your recipes and have loved watching the kids grow and your family move. I’ve taken great joy in all your different experiences and you enthusiasm to try new things. As someone else has stated you give us this gift for free. Take care of yourself.
    People think way too much of themselves and think they have the right to comment negatively on your blog. Would love to see you return to this but in this time of so much upheaval and change take the time to rest and renew. You are an amazing woman and have achieved so much. I wish you the very best.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you so much Michelle, I appreciate the support. <3

  34. Pam S.

    Hi Bree, so nice to get your update. I love your haircut – very flattering. I’ve struggled, along with everyone, over being housebound the past 6 months and having to cancel 2 vacations. It felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. We were able to make a road trip to visit family in Montana and it did me a world of good. Was nice to leave the smoky air of CA and the ever present heat of the summer. I’m sorry to hear about the nasty comments you got about your posts. I love hearing about any of your adventures, so the hell with ’em! You’re awesome,

    1. Bree Hester

      Yes, it has been tough. I spend a lot of time at home normally, I think that the hardest part for me was having everyone at home with me. I am normally alone most of the time and am used to the quiet. I am glad that you got some respite and were able to get away for a bit.

  35. Sheryl

    Glad to hear from you. Have missed your posts. Have been enjoying your posts since you were in Sacramento!
    Am transitioning to a vegan diet will look forward your posts of new recipes. Some of my best known cooking endeavors are based on your posts. Also enjoy your perspective on what books and websites you have found of value. Have missed hearing from a honest, sincere, person such as you. Glad you are who you are no matter how old you aren’t (I’m 73!). Too bad our culture ( brands) don’t honor your experiences and learnings, but then they are probably youngsters coming up with these ideas. Loo forward to hearing again from you.

    1. Bree Hester

      Good for you! Vegan food has come a long way. Some of my favorite restaurants are vegan and I eat there because they are delicious and I am not a vegan.

  36. colleen moore

    missed you green with jealousy over the new puppy. It is a stressful time for many even up here in Canada eh? Your picture rock. Take good care

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you, he’s a little yellow ball of sweetness. I love him. Stay well in Canada and drink a double double from Timmy’s for me, ok?

  37. Kathy Fodge

    YOU are a beautiful photographer! (and your photos aren’t bad, either) HA HA. Seriously, I’m so sorry that someone offended you, tell them to move along, if they can’t appreciate your work. Being that this time away from us has been during a pandemic, you had us worried sick! I am so glad you all are well. You look fantastique! So glad to see you in my mailbox. Take care and God bless you all.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you, I feel good too. I’ve missed all of you too.

  38. Jeanne

    WELCOME BACK!!! Wow you look Fantastic!! I was so happy to see your newsletter in my inbox. I was sad to hear about the rude comments some feel necessary to share (yes, they’re RUDE!!) Whatever happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?? Those people can always choose “Unsubscribe “ at anytime. I am happy to have your newsletter in my inbox anytime, even if it’s only once in a while. You’re a great writer and your message is always from the heart and relevant.
    Love the puppy pics. Very cute. You look amazing and hope you’re doing as well as your pictures look.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Jeanne! People are rude, I actually have pretty thick skin, I just think that people forget that there are real people here doing this. And I strongly encourage people to unsubscribe if they don’t like it. And thank you, isn’t my Beau handsome?

  39. Norma Olson

    I’m new to your posts, Bree. I’m so glad our paths have crossed. So sorry you got some negative comments. I have a feeling you already have taken it to our Lord..
    Love your pictures. Awesome family!
    May God bless you and your family richly.

    1. Bree Hester

      I have. 🙂 And welcome!

  40. Phi

    I was so excited to see your name in my inbox! I missed it. It’s one of the few newsletters I truly look forward to.
    I do a weekly newsletter/more personal type update vs. just recipes, and OMG is it a lot of work! I can relate. It takes almost all week to put it together and then it’s time for the next weeks one lol.
    The offhanded comments of others can sometimes really stay with you. Someone said in a flippant and rude way as I was taking a cute picture of my husband hanging a door (which was a huge deal to me because my office didn’t have doors!) “Oh is that going to go on your little blog”. It was so frustrating and what’s even the response? My ‘little blog’ is not only a personal space and something I enjoy working on, but it also happens to be a business I support myself and and my family with.
    I’m so sorry someone made a discouraging remark about brands, I definitely hope that is not the case and don’t think it is. I want to hear from all different types of people, in all age groups with and without kids. Everyone has their own beautiful unique voice, and I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you put out there in the world.

    1. Bree Hester

      You get it. I think that people forget there is a real person over here typing away. If people had any idea the amount of time or energy it takes to run a blog they wouldn’t call it a “little blog”. And thank you, I appreciate your kind words. I feel the same way about you.

  41. Melinda

    I’ve missed your updates! I’m sorry that people were rude (seriously…think before typing people!). And as a fellow early 40’s mom of older kids (with a 7 year old thrown in for good measure) – who cares what they think. As you said, we’re more interesting now than we were 15 years ago. I struggled big time with reading for several months, found my groove and finished a few books, then struggled again with a lot of DNF. It’s hard to focus when so much is going on. Take care of yourself.

    1. Bree Hester

      I don’t really care what they think, but I think people need to occasionally be reminded that there is an actual person behind the computer screen typing these to them. I actually have pretty thick skin.:) I finished a few good books in the last few weeks and I have sort of found my reading groove again. I’ll share the good ones next month.

  42. Julie

    Hi Bree – I only subscribe to one blog and that is yours. I always love seeing your email pop into my box. Thanks for spending your valuable time with me. I’ve tried and enjoyed so many of your recipes. Thanks for those too. And I’ve shared your blog with others too. You write about what you love at the moment and that love shines through. I have very little in common with you (no kids, no dogs, I’m much older, etc) but I so enjoy hearing about all of those things. All the best,

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Julie, that means the world to me, I value people’s time and their inboxes. 🙂

  43. Bev Dobson

    I love your posts . Thank you for all the work and research you do. Your pictures are beautiful.
    I live in the Maritimes in Canada. It makes me sad to see all the tragedies happening in the USA.
    Do you think a lot of Americans have decided to move to Canada or other Countries to try and get away from the USA.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you! We lived in Nova Scotia, in fact, that is where my daughter was born, it holds a special place in our hearts. I don’t know if they have decided to or not, but as of right now we couldn’t even if we wanted to, our passports are no good anywhere. Not that I can blame any other countries for not wanting us, I wouldn’t either. I live close to the Canadian border and miss being able to visit. I was there right before the world shut down.

  44. Pam R

    Hi Bree. I
    I’m sort of new to your newsletter but I thoroughly enjoy reading it. Yes, sometimes I feel like there’s no end to all of this. I’m a big reader, or used to be, but now it seems to take me forever to finish a book. I love to bake, but I’m trying not to because then I’ll eat it! I also have pets: 3 cats (one is my daughter’s) and a black lab, who also belongs to my daughter but lives with me.
    I’ll look forward to your next newsletter.

    1. Bree Hester

      I actually read a few books last week and it felt like an accomplishment. I like to bake, but also really like to give it away. I like the act of baking, more than I like the eating of it.

  45. Diane D.

    Hi Bree, So wonderful to hear from you again. As many others have said, I too have missed your weekly emails. I’m relieved to hear that you and your family are healthy and doing as well as can be expected. Please continue to share your thoughts, likes, dislikes, recipes, photos, and whatever else suits you. I appreciate it all and clearly many others do as well! Take good care.

    1. Bree Hester

      I will, and thank you for thinking of us.

  46. Dawn Stellmann

    I am so glad you are back! I have missed you! I am another overlooked demographic-56, and still have a child at home. No one wants to hear what I have to say. I, on the other hand, love hearing about what’s going on in your world, and, now, especially in New England, as I will be selling my house, quitting good job, to move to Maine next Spring when my last child graduates (finally, my other 2 are 35 and 33!). I have always wanted to live in Maine so I am finally going to take a chance and do something for me.
    Please keep up your blog, and good luck with kids, dogs, and husband!

    1. Bree Hester

      Good for you! We were in Maine a few weekends ago, it is so beautiful, this fall was EPIC.

  47. Geraldine Rosa-Brown

    Hello, so very nice to see you. Don’t listen to any of that garbage…….bla bla bla. It’s all just unnecessary noise. You’re beautiful, and bring us so much joy, I (we) enjoy you and whenever you post……. weekly, monthly, whenever, we’ll take it. You ROCK!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Geraldine. 🙂

  48. Linda

    Listen Jersey Girl, you’ve got this! You are terrific, cosmopolitan and a great wife, mother and cook besides! Go for a walk, go for a ride. Go visit where the Arabella docked (for me) in 1630 with my Chapman’s on it! Just enjoy the little stuff. Drive to NJ and get some great pizza and hard rolls and crumb cake! Find the joy. Dump the naysayers.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you so much Linda!

  49. Cindy

    Bree if there’s anything the pandemic has taught us it’s that life is short, and we have to honor our time by doing what we love, and investing most in people and things that love us back at least most of the time. So go easy on yourself, and know most of us who’ve fully enjoyed your updates from your travels near and far fully understand your need to be freed from the weekly blog if it isn’t bringing you joy at the moment, stay safe and enjoy your beautiful family!

    1. Bree Hester

      PREACH! ANd say it louder for the people in the back of the room! 99.9% of my readers are so incredibly kind and supportive, and I am so grateful to them. I just think that people sometimes forget that there is an actual human sitting on the other side of the screen typing these and there needed to be a reminder.

  50. Stephanie

    Welcome Back! I’ve missed your weekly Friday emails, recipes and links and gorgeous photography during these many months of being home-bound. We always plan a yearly trip to New England and this year our trip was cancelled. I don’t have kids and am much older but I always enjoy reading about your family… the puppy pics are too cute! And by the way, you look amazing!!! Stay true to yourself and keep doing what you love. BTW, if you love flowers, check out floret flowers: https://www.floretflowers.com/

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Stephanie! I’m sorry that your trip up here was cancelled. I don’t want to rub it in, but the leaves this season were epic. I know all about Floret!

  51. Julie

    Hi Bree,
    I teach classes online on the baccalaureate level, so I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to write a blog, ensure the weblinks are functional, and proofread your own work. To those who say you’re boring -so what? Last I checked, this is a free country, and people can tune out just as easily as they tuned in. I think some folks feel they can write whatever they want because the setting is virtual, but I guarantee they would never say these negative things to you in person.

    Let the negative Nellies go, and keep doing what you’re doing. You bring a smile to my face:) If you need inspiration as to how to ignore the naysayers, check out the Anyway poem. Here’s one link: https://herolife.com/2019/02/22/mother-teresa-anyway/

    1. Bree Hester

      You are very right. It just rubbed me the wrong way. I only said something because I think that people forget that there is an actual person on the other side of the screen typing these. I think people need a reminder sometimes. Thank you for the poem and your encouragement. I hope that your classes are going well, teachers are HEROES!!!

  52. Trude

    I’m so glad to see you coming out the other side of that. People never cease to amaze me with their need to let you know exactly what they think when most are too scared to put themselves out there! Beau is too cute, labs are just the sweetest. And hooray for getting to stay where you wanted to! Have some lobstah for me!

    1. Bree Hester

      I am also fascinated by it because I would never complain about something like that. I won’t even send food back when the server made a mistake with my order. It just isn’t my style. Beau is delicious. He’s getting so big already. He has a cute little personality, so different than his lab brother. I had some lobster this weekend. I will be sure to have some more soon for you.

  53. Glynis Sacco

    Welcome back Bree, I have really missed your newsletters, always something so different, interesting and so great reading about how “others” live, I live in
    Johannesburg South Africa. 🙂
    Love love your new hair style!
    Your book suggestions are great, thank you
    It really has been an awfully tough time for everyone, I am part of the “essential services” group so have been out there from the get go! Very stressful and difficult
    to remain positive all the time. Missed my children and grandies so very much, one doesn’t realise the power of hugs and kisses until they aren’t there 🙁
    Thank you for being YOU, much love to you all

    1. Bree Hester

      I would love to see how you live! South Africa is a place I would love to visit. I’ve read some good books lately, I’ll post them next month. And thank YOU for being there for the rest of us during these crazy times.

  54. Amanda H.

    Interesting re the branding. I’m in my early 40s, and have a tween–financially, I have A LOT more disposable income than I did when she was little (or before becoming a Mom), and I often make purchases based on the limited pool of bloggers and influencers I follow (all of whom I’ve followed for years, trust, and that list includes you!). Short-sighted for sure!

    1. Bree Hester

      Exactly! I trust my fellow people in this space and buy what they tell me too. I trust them and I am lazy. 🙂

  55. Natalie

    I’m so glad to see your post – YAY! Your headshots are absolutely lovely. Seeing your emails pop up in my inbox – knowing I’ll soon read your words and see your amazing photos – never fails to bring a big smile to my face.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you so much Natalie, I am so grateful! Joy did such a good job, thank you!

  56. Leslie Levy

    I have been reading your blog for quite a while now. I miss your Friday newsletters, but if I can it get once a month, that’s ok!
    I love following all of your travels over the years, I enjoy your photography and I especially love watching your children grow up. Keep it up!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you so much Leslie!

  57. PM

    Thank you for this- I hear the hurt in your voice, and as a 43 yo woman who also has teens – I agree, I have so much more to offer than I did 15 years ago. Keep up the great work and remember haters gonna hate but there are a lot of folks that appreciate what you do.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you, I appreciate the kindness. People have a lot of time on their hands and feel very emboldened to say whatever they want from behind a computer screen. I know that my people are appreciative and that is why I continue to come back year after year.

  58. Sosae

    Bree, your blog is beautiful, and so are you. Thanks for returning. I love this cozy, oh-so-lovely corner of the web. I feel warm and welcome here, catching glimpses of your life, thoughts, family, and the lovely things that inspire you. And I think it’s just perfect you’re in New England, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. You have a way of capturing the warmth of a place, both through your stunning photography, and sincere prose. Thanks for taking the time to blog and share again.

    1. Bree Hester

      This is the sweetest, Sosae, thank you so much for the encouragement.

  59. Sarah

    I’m so happy to see this new post from you. It is obvious that your posts are the result of quite a bit of work, so I’m so sorry that you were made to feel they weren’t worth someone’s time.

    On another happy note, I am on your site today to grab your recipe for hot chocolate cookies. It’s an older one of yours, but one I come back to each year. Delicious, original, and just a quality recipe all around. Thank you for your hard work to put out quality content.

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Sarah, I appreciate that, more than you know. I am also a fan of that old recipe. I am so glad that you are too.

  60. Diane

    Hi Bree,
    Just wanted to say that I’m glad you are back. These last months have been so hard on all of us and your move to MA and getting back into the swing of things here had to be filled with stress and anxiety even though it was wonderful. While I’m not a 40 something by any means (more like a 70 year old -I’d like to think young 70!- grandmother (of 5), I’ve loved reading your Friday columns and was always sharing links with my two daughters (40 and 45) and many friends like myself! I enjoyed your time in Europe and marveled at all the traveling and amazing experiences you provided for your children (who incidentally have grown so much and look wonderful!). I wish you good luck and much happiness back here in the US and look forward to your monthly post!! And let me tell you, 70 year olds are often deemed not relevant too…I hear your voice and it’s amazing and sooooo relevant and your creativity, talent, and love for your family and life shine through. Keep up your amazing work!!

    1. Bree Hester

      Thank you Diane. I really appreciate the support and encouragement.

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