On Turning 40 and Celebrating Happy Finds (Bakerella Cake Pop Holidays Video)

I turned 40 years old this month. Gosh, that feels like such a significant number when heard in the context of “over the hill”. In my teens, the big 40 felt like such a far distance away. I had my vision of where I wanted my life to go and what I’d be doing. The dream I had for myself was to finish medical school and be serving the Peace Corps on assignment in Africa, somewhere.  In between my life in Africa, I wanted to pursue music composition, art, literature and climb mountains.

Food, gardening, cooking, photography and blogging were never on the list. In fact, blogging and internet never existed back then. Cell phones—what?

I never reached the shores of Africa (yet), nor did I ever accept my acceptance to Yale. Writing a Broadway musical never happened and I’m so currently out of shape that even hiking up my local trails is traumatic on my lungs. Now my days consist of photographing client work with Todd, plenty of traveling, coming home to two very happy dogs, writing our food blog and digging in the garden dirt.

Though I’m far from my high school graduation goal list, I’ve never felt more successful, content, balanced, happy, in love and most importantly, young than I do this month.

I’ve had my fair share of challenges and struggles, but this 40-year-old-over-the-hill thing feels like just the beginning for me. If  anyone were to tell me that I have now reached the pinnacle of my life, I’d say that they’re far from right.  All the mistakes and failures I’ve experienced during my thirties made me even more ready for my fourties. This next decade of wisdom, new beginnings, friendships, love and calmness is really what I’ve been yearning for.

The one consistent dream I had when I was in high school and that am still living today is that I’m pursuing what I love, what makes me happy and with the people that matter most to me. I’m reminded of this every day when I wake up, do my daily work and connect with all of you.

Thank you all for making my life so complete and making my turn to 40 so exciting.

happy days. xoxo


So much of what makes me happy is seeing other people doing what they love so well. These are some of my happy finds that keep me young in mind and spirit:

Sweet Jennie’s yummy brown butter pumpkin seed cookies remind me that Halloween is around the corner.

and other sweet Jenny has a new cookbook out! and a new baby boy. Talk about busy.

and so do the beautifully humble trio of Veronica, Vangie & Yvette ! I mean a cookbook, not a baby.

Jessica’s brussels sprouts breakfast hash topped with fried egg is omg

These funny frankenstein cookies are ridiculously cute

This grilled turkey and brie cranwich recipe and photo is killer. Again, omg.

Kristen has a gorgeous new blog design. It’s beautiful and happy place.

And finally, everything that Bakerella makes keeps me young and smiling. Here’s the cookbook promo that Todd and I produced for her new Cake Pop Holidays Cookbook. Isn’t Angie and her cake pops just the cutest thing ever?! Has anyone made a cake pop of her “dork wave” yet? I’ll buy the first 4 dozen.


{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. RSA Online

    Turning 40, not that really bad. Happy birthday!

  2. Mallory

    Happy Birthday!!! I am a new reader and am in love with your site. This post inspired me and helped reassure me that life works itself out. I am about to graduate college and have no idea what I want to do or where I want to end up (though I do sometimes pretend like I do). It’s about that time where I’m freaking out since I kinda sorta have a path I want to take, but I’m not sure where it’ll lead me or if it’s really what I want to do. I always tell myself that as long as I know what I love and the people I want to be in my life, I will find the thing I’m supposed to do. I hear it all the time from people my age (which really doesn’t help since we’re all going through the same thing), but reading about your journey that is completely different from their college dreams and that you’re happy makes me excited and inspired to always keep searching to do what I love and striving to improve myself and work. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this post and your blog 🙂

  3. sally cameron

    Happiest of birthdays and blessings Diane. 40 is fabulous, and you are a fabulous 40. Wait until 50. Really, it just gets better! Whoever said it was downhill was wrong. It’s uphill to terrific! As we “grow” we are more appreciative, more fulfilled, more empowered, stronger, more confident. Like you said – balanced, loved, happy, young, wiser…and on the cusp of the best years of your life! It’s attitude! Thanks for sharing your journey, your gifts, your passion and encouragement, your excitement with all of us. Hugs to you. xo.

  4. Gilbert

    Happy Birthday Diane! 40 is just the beginning!

  5. thyme (Sarah)

    Happy Birthday to you. I feel the same way. Would NEVER go backwards in age. Each decade I am more relaxed and… happy.

  6. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Hi Diane, happy birthday to YOU! I also turned 40 this month, on Friday (10/26). . and I still can’t believe I am 40. But like you said, I feel like this is just the beginning. . of great things to come. . so I am excited. . 🙂 Age is just a number right?

  7. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Happy Belated Birthday, Diane!!! Here’s toasting you to lifetime of happiness!!! 🙂 xoxoxo

  8. amy

    Happy Belated Diane! I’m sure your years ahead will be just as wonderful : )

  9. Katie

    Such a happy post. I love hearing people say that they are happier than they’ve ever been after turning 30, or 40 (or 50!) – it means that life will just keep getting better! I love the Bakerella trailer, as well – so fun and festive, makes me want to work in a publishing house!

  10. Tyler

    Happy birthday Diane! I love your attitude on life. That your next decade will be of of wisdom, new beginnings, friendships, love and calmness is something everyone will wish for going into their 40’s!

  11. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife

    Happy Birthday Diane *a little late sorry* Your HS list does sound wonderful but to be honest your current life sounds quite amazing to me 🙂 I am so glad to have met you and Todd in Disney, you inspire me so much! Hugs!

  12. Veronica of Muy Bueno

    Diane, Feliz Cumpleanos!!! Know we at Muy Bueno adore you and Todd and I enjoyed reading all about your turning 40. May the days ahead be filled with lots of love, peace, good health, and delicious food of course. Since you love to travel so much, please know you always have a home away from home in my little casita in Germany. Loved the video and those pops of course, great work! Thank you for the sweet mention, besos! Hope to see you in November. Abrazos!

  13. Margaret

    Happy Birthday!!!…and many blessings and celebrations during your birthday month!!!


  14. Dani G.

    Happy birthday! Life is just beginning! I loved my forties and hope yours are as wonderful in their unique way. 🙂

  15. Dana @dbuenovida

    The happiest of birthdays Diane – your light shines so bright!!

  16. Ricki Jill Treleaven

    Happy Birthday!!! I hope you continue to celebrate for the rest of the month.

  17. keiko

    Happy birthday Diane, here’s to another fabulous dacade! x

  18. Aggie

    Happiest of birthdays to you! Sending you a big hug from Florida! xo

  19. Maria

    Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in your 40’s! I know good things are ahead! xoxo

  20. Kristen

    Happy birthday, my friend. I’m hitting 40 next year and I kind of can’t wait, although I’m thrilled to see what I can accomplish before next October.

    You are such a wonderful, giving, accomplished, talented person. I’m proud to know you! (Thanks, btw, for the shoutout. Glad you like the new design!)

    Much love!

  21. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Happy birthday, Diane! As someone who’s gone way past 40, I can tell you that 40 is the beginning of the most creative time of your life. Enjoy! xo

  22. Mama Geri

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Diane! Wishing you many blessings now and into your future. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and making us feel so welcomed to your site. Every time I visit time seems to stand still I don’t want to leave this place. Always something that inspires me to make something new or revamp an old recipe. Your photography is the very best. Ciao!

  23. terri

    happy birthday!

  24. cindy

    Happiest Birthday, Diane!

  25. Bev @ Bev Cooks

    Ohhhhh, Dianne! Happy Birthday! I know you have a most stunning decade ahead.


  26. Jennifer

    Happy birthday!

  27. Cookin' Canuck

    Happy, Happy Birthday, sweet Diane. There’s something very liberating about turning 40. Instead of having an epic meltdown on my 40th, I felt ready to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and really set my gaze on the days ahead. I’m wishing you all the happiness in the world!

  28. Shut Up & Cook

    So glad to have found your blog! Happy Birthday!

  29. Terry Covington

    Happy Birthday! And many, many more. I am about to turn 54 and am very happy with that. My thirties and forties were difficult in many ways. Now I am so much more comfortable in who I am, and have new adventures opening up all the time. Here’s to looking forward!

  30. Christi Nielsen

    Happy Birthday! Welcome to the 40s! 🙂

  31. Alicia

    Happy birthday, Diane!!! xoxo

  32. Heidi @foodiecrush

    Happy birthday!! I’m 100% with you, 40s are the time to reflect and learn from all the yearnings we had in our 30s and the foolish notions of our 20s.

  33. Vesta Melcher via Facebook

    Diane… you are a remarkable woman… belated Happy Birthday wishes… reading your remarks I’ve been privileged to listen as you traveled part of that journey…. Congrats!!

  34. Catherine McCord

    Happy happy HAPPY birthday!!! Love the Bakerella video. Congratulations!!

  35. Chris Ladd Garboski via Facebook

    Happy birthday, D! I just looked at all your happy links – happy indeed! You surround yourself with such a talented circle of friends! (By the way, 40 isn’t so old. I’m a few years beyond that!) 🙂

  36. Vijitha

    A happy happy happy birthday to you Diane! Just like wine, we get better with age. So I think you are good on that. Have a fantastic day!

  37. Colette @ JFF!

    Congrats on the big 4-0! It’s all down hill from there. So hang on for a crazy ride!

  38. Kristen Hess, Artful Gourmet

    Happy Birthday to you Diane! Hope your day is blessed with lots of food, friends and fun!

  39. TheKitchenWitch

    Happy Birthday, beautiful.

    You might find this amusing, now that your are in the 40-club. http://thekitchwitch.com/2010/02/guest-post-momalom/

    Welcome to the asylum 🙂

  40. Cristina

    What a beautifully written post, Diane.

    Happy belated birthday to you and thank you and Todd for sharing in your experiences with blogging and photography! 🙂

  41. Bao @TripleScoopDesserts

    Have a Great Birthday Diane!

  42. Kimberly

    Happy Birthday, Diane! I love that photo of you. Just beautiful!

  43. Sreelu

    Happy Birthday Diane, may you always find love in what you do in the years to com e-xoxo

  44. LiztheChef

    Birthdays are so special – enjoy your beautiful day and celebrate life with those you love.

  45. Tina

    Happy Birthday Diane!! Beautiful post today 🙂

  46. Melissa | Dash of East

    Happy Birthday Diane! What a wonderful, reflective post. It’s just amazing where life decides to take us, and we end up happier than we could have ever imagined.

    xoxo, Melissa

  47. Grishma Vikas Sehdev via Facebook

    Belated birthday wishes!

  48. harveys mom

    Happy birthday Diane!!!!

    The life adventure has really just begun….hang on and enjoy every minute!!!!

  49. Sharmila

    Happy birthday Diane! I think over-the-hill is an expression that needs to be redefined. Redefined as over the hurdle of diffidence, of self-doubt, of confusion. I imagine striding off into life after forty, , confident in the understanding of one’s self…a beautiful thing. How amazing this future will be!

  50. Ashley

    Happy birthday to you! Positivity and happiness are radiating from your words. What a beautiful post. I truly enjoyed reading this. You and Todd are constant inspirations. Thank you! It sounds like you are well on your way to enjoying your birthday. I hope it’s the best yet!

  51. Alyssa (Everyday Maven)

    Happy Birthday! What a wonderful post – Cheers to continuing to follow what you love and is true to you! 🙂

  52. Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas

    OH. MY. GOSH. That video is ridiculous. It is just bursting with happiness and holiday cheer! lol.

    I loved your reflections on turning 40. Isn’t it funny to think back on how we thought our lives would be at 18? Certainly didn’t think I’d be where I’m at now. Happy birthday Diane!!!

  53. alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog]

    Happy birthday, Diane! Thanks for sharing your journey with the world here on this beautiful space on the web you + Todd have created. You [both!] inspire many and I hope [selfishly] that you continue to do so for many years to come.

    Whenever you want to work on that Broadway musical, by the way, just come on down to Nashville! Recently discovered that a bunch of local food bloggers are also Broadway geeks like me! 🙂

    xo, alexandra

    PS – Rosey + Ramble give puppy hugs to Sierra + Lexi! *woof!*

  54. Kathryn

    A very happy birthday Diane, this is such a beautiful post.

  55. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    The part of your post talking about your thirties making you even more ready for your forites and that you’ve amassed wisdom and calmness. I love this!

    Happy Bday and what a beautiful post, Diane! Seriously powerful and poignant. I am happy that you are living a life that fulfills you and makes you HAPPY! 🙂

  56. Nate @ House of Annie

    Happy birthday! 40 is really just the beginning. May you be blessed with health and happiness from here on out.

  57. Emily

    A very, very happy birthday to you. I hear your 40s are a magical time. I am looking forward to turning 40 in 2 years…a crazy thought since I thought turning 30 was the end of life as I knew it. But I think we really do get better with time (kind of like wine as they say). Here’s to a magical year and continued contentment, joy and doing what you love (because I love what you do).

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