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Where Has URBAN BAKES Been?


It’s been nine months since I’ve published a post.

Palms in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

 

During this absence, many thoughts and emotions I felt the evening before of everything I wanted to say in a post, was gone by daybreak.  Or sometimes the words which ran through my mind of what I imagined would seamlessly transfer onto the blank screen, disappeared the moment I took a seat.  As if everything I have felt, never existed.  I never imagined pulling up a chair with a laptop in hand could become so difficult.  And those few times when I was able to muster enough courage to take a seat and begin typing, I would sit with a blank stare and watch the blinking cursor, just waiting for my vulnerable side… EXPOSED.  To everyone.  I couldn’t handle it.  Shut the laptop and walk away.


You see, blogging was once a small hobby, a virtual diary to store my memories, my creations and my most happiest moments of those I cared for most.  Yet somehow (with no regrets, of course) this blog began to grow an audience from those like yourself who lived vicariously through the words of my experiences which is why I held back for so long.  Let me explain…

To catch you up to speed, the blog began during my 3rd year of what was a good relationship.  Unwillingly, I moved from a comfortable home in Bayside, Queens to Manhattan for my partner’s career.  A year later things between he and I didn’t work and we split by the end of 2014.  As they say, sh*t happens… life goes on.  As a result of the split, I moved back to Astoria, Queens with family for a year before making the decision to leave New York for good.

If you know me personally, you may already know if there’s one thing I enjoy most, it’s that I truly enjoy making food/desserts for others, even more than for myself.  Therefore, for a long time, the loss of my relationship hit hard because I was dependent on having my other half to share my creations with and the support from someone who truly understood what managing the blog entailed (by the way, it’s much more than what meets the eye).  To make matters worse on top of the loss of a 5-year relationship, I had no choice but to leave two of my precious loves, my fur babies: Chocolate and Grizz-Lee to stay with him.

Coming from a place where I worked at home full time and spent 24/7 with my little ones to only being able to visit them for merely a few hours every 2 weeks, pained me terribly.  I don’t have kids of my own as of yet and so my two dogs are my greatest companions.

I came to a peak of my online [blog] business and 90% of my supplies had to be placed in storage which stirred up many negative emotions.  Much resentment.  But through the grace of God, someway-somehow, I managed to pull through in 2015 surprisingly better than ever.  Simply business-wise.  Emotionally, not so much.

You may recall the changes I went through during my last year of 2015 living in New York.  I blinded myself with chaos.  A distraction to mask the reality of what I was running from.  I kept myself busy, accepting contracts one after another, taking on jobs up till the night before my morning flight to Arizona.  This was all to mask the pain I desperately tried to avoid from the loss of my dogs, my belongings and the lifestyle I once lived.  Thing is, at some point when my surroundings finally settled, the pain I was running from eventually came back and slapped me in the face.  There was no running from it any longer.  I faced depression.

For the first time, I am revealing a side that I not only find extremely personal, but difficult to discuss.  It took SO much effort to get here; to explain why I was gone for so long.  I am certain I struggled with depression during my last year in NY which has progressed into an entirely new level but I simply cannot hide my true self any longer from what I enjoy, blogging.  After accepting the reality of what was happening, I am presently working on the issue and only hope that if you were once a loyal reader of URBAN BAKES that you may bare with me, as I try to get my life and mind in order.  And by no means, do I share this to gain pity or sympathy.  This is real life, and I use my blog as a form of an outlet to express what I am going through.  I only hope that you understand and if you are or have had a similar experience and want to share your story, I’d love to read about it.      [ ; ]

Moving to Arizona has been by far one of the greatest yet most difficult experiences I’ve encountered.  Starting my life over across the country with two suitcases leaving everything behind, no family or friends, I had to learn how to live independently all over again; and I don’t regret any of the choices I’ve made to get me to where I am.  Even through some dark times, I view everything as a learning experience.  To look back a year later with the very little I had and recognize how much I have grown, is very rewarding.

In lighter news, I am making a return to this blog, I am hoping consistently but I’ll have to take it one step at a time.  And so before the next post is published, I’d like to share with you several pictures taken over the past year here in sunny Arizona.  And if you’ve never been to the great southwest, I highly suggest you make a visit.  The natural beauty here is unlike any other.  Although these pictures were taken with a phone camera, they don’t come close to AZ’s beauty in person.  You’d have to see it for yourself, one day!

November 2015:  Just a week after my arrival, this was the first time I saw a bulbous cactus – has the shape of a ball.  Thought it looked funny so I took a picture.

Bulbous Cactus - URBAN BAKES

December 2015:  At a street fair in Phoenix, I discovered my newest obsession, succulents.  I want them all!

Succulents | URBAN BAKES

A drive in the middle of the desert off the I-10, this is what the desert grounds looks like.

Arizona Desert

December 2015, during my two-month stay in Payson, Arizona before moving into the valley, I snapped this beautiful sunset.  I call it, Fire in the Sky.

Payson, Arizona Sunset in December 2015

Payson: 5k ft. elevation, its winter is much like New York’s winters.

Payson, Arizona Snow

December 2015: Tempe Marketplace – Was very happy to see these two trees next to each other.

Tempe Marketplace

December 2015, at the Phoenix ZooLights

ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo - URBAN BAKES

January 2016: Bumped into a LOVE sign right in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.

LOVE Sign in Scottsdale, Arizona

I have a weird obsession of palm trees.  Nevertheless, I am happy to see these everyday.

Palm Trees in Arizona

April 2016: Hiked South Mountain and was amazed with the view overlooking the city of Phoenix.

Hiking on South Mountain

Sunset at South Mountain

South Mountain

The calm before the storm and all its beauty.

Arizona Storm

Summer 2016: At work in a veterinary hospital.

Connie Chong - Veterinary Hospital

Summer 2016: At the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.  Highly recommend paying a visit.

Phoenix Botanical Garden - URBAN BAKES

July 2016: With Arizona’s mid-summer heat reaching a scorching high in the one-teen degrees, hanging by the pool is one of the few outdoor activities you can do and only for a short time.

Connie Chong Poolside | URBAN BAKES

Typical sunset on any given night.  Be prepared with sun glasses at all times.

Beaming Arizona Sunset

Had to pull over to capture the pink sky moments before the Monsoon began.   And no, there are no edits.  Amazed?  :-)

Beginning of Monsoon Season in Arizona

One of my favorite places, Hole in the Rock, Papago Park in Phoenix.

Papago Park

Take note of the small hole in the rock in the photo above.  When you hike the back of this small butte, this the view of Phoenix facing southwest.  It’s quite amazing!

Papago Park Hole in the Rock

During Monsoon season, the sky changes to all sorts of pretty colors.  This photo and the next 5 photos were taken at the Hole in the Rock.  A tranquil place to sit and watch the sun set.  If you look closely to the left above the mountains, you can see a plane arriving into the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 

Papago Park - Hole in the Rock | URBAN BAKES

 

Arizona Monsoon Season - Papago Park

The pink sky at the horizon is where the Monsoon begins.

Arizona Monsoon Season - Papago Park

A closer view of the storm about to come.

Arizona Monsoon Season - Papago Park

“Tropical jungle”

Arizona Monsoon Season - Papago Park

The lightening gives quite the show!  It’s much better in person, of course.

Arizona Monsoon Season - Papago Park

Camelback mountain, Arcadia, Phoenix where I live just a few blocks away.

Camelback Mountain

October 2016: Arizona State Fair.

Arizona State Fair

On the Ferris wheel overlooking the State Fair.

Arizona State Fair

Thank you for reading.  I promise to give you a recipe in the next post!  :D


6 Responses to Where Has URBAN BAKES Been?

  1. I can relate to your depression! It will be 7 years on Sunday since my husband just walked out on me and by his accounts, for no reason, but as you know…there are always reasons! I was very depressed for a long time, but it does get better over the years! You are a very brave Lady to be where you are today and I commend you on your strength! I am sorry for all that you have been through, as I am for what I have been through. But at least I did get to keep my babies. But they are my children and I am not sure I could have made it through it all without them and I know how you must have felt to have to leave your two fur babies behind, too! You have done an outstanding job with all of it!! I will continue to read your blog and look forward to your recipes and I did wonder where you had gone! Thank you for having the courage to sit down and type that explanation to your readers! You were missed and you are loved…..never forget that!!!

    • Hi Patricia,
      It’s sad how depression can get the best of you. For a long time, I thought it would never happen to me and when it did, I was in denial for a long time. Sorry to hear about your situation but I am happy you’re in a better place now. I am working on getting my dogs back and will announce what’s happening with this in a post soon to come!
      Thank you so much for your message and being a loyal reader. XOXO
      – Connie

  2. So happy to see you return to blogging. I’m sorry that the journey which led you to Arizona included such sad times but you radiate strength and health in this posting. Your beautiful pictures have made me excited for our next trip the the desert southwest! I wish you well and look forward to your writing again.

    • Hi KathyBB,
      Thank you for your kind words. The Southwest is an amazing place. I’m sure you’ll be in awe with its beauty. Have a safe trip and take lots of pictures (and water!).
      – Connie

  3. You are brave, you are awesome! Thanks for coming back to blogging. I’ve missed your posts. You’ve been through so much and come out an even better you. Sometimes, we all have to take a step back to get two steps ahead. Thank you for sharing your personal life. You’re in a great place and I can’t wait to read more of your blog in the future. You’re so inspiring!!