I had always thought that at some point in life you get it. That there comes a time when life just sort of magically clicks and you make sense, the world makes sense, people make sense. I don’t know exactly when I thought this would happen but I do know that by the time I was 30 I thought I would have it all figured out.

Well here I am, 30 and often more confused then ever. But the difference between a confused 30 year and a confused, say, 20 year old is that now I simply don’t care. I don’t care that I don’t have it all figured out. In fact I’m thrilled that I don’t.

At this time in my life I feel more free to ask questions, to humbly acknowledge my misunderstandings and earnestly seek to find the answers, knowing full well that most likely they will just open up the flood gates to more questions.

It is an incredibly freeing time in my life where I sense the burden of self-consciousness slowly lifting and life’s subtleties filling me with an intoxicating joy. I’m okay with making a bit of a fool of myself for the sake of seeking answers, understanding something a little better, and for protecting my family and myself.

The mocking voices in my head are retreating to a dull whisper instead of a deafening roar. The space in which they used to inhabit fills with thoughts of thankfulness, abounding blessings and purpose.

I’m seeking adventure, owning up to what I feel called to in life, living and perusing life with an unashamed passion.

I eagerly await the coming years and the wisdom and memories they will produce.

Although there may be a few more fine lines on my face then there were before, this is the best time of my life. Goodbye 20’s. Hello 30.


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Mascarpone Ice Cream


Makes 3 cups

Although cake is what’s typically enjoyed on occassions such as birthdays, when given the choice I will always choose ice cream. And if said ice cream happens to be topped with a dark and bitter shot of espresso then what you have is one of my favorite desserts.

1 cup mascarpone

1 ½ cups milk

1/2 cup brown rice syurp

squeeze fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch salt


Whisk all the ingredients together. Churn in your favorite ice cream maker according to the directions.

Freeze until firm.

For an affogato simply pour a shot of freshly brewed espresso (or very strong coffee) over a scoop of the ice cream.

89 Responses to “Mascarpone Ice Cream Affogato”

  1. Mary at Deep South Dish

    I’m 50+ and the world still doesn’t make sense, other people certainly don’t make sense, but you know what? It still doesn’t matter. I just plug away trying to do the next right thing day to day and try to just make sense to myself. Happy Birthday!

  2. Kasey

    Ay. I am about 1.5 years away from turning 30 and I kinda always thought along those same lines. I’d have it all figured out: work, family, home, etc. etc. But life never works exactly how you plan and the surprise of it all is and should always be a great job. Happy happy 30th birthday, Ashley!! xo

  3. cheryl

    30 looks absolutely beautiful on you. Just wait until 40. Things speed up and mellow (a contradiction? maybe), and you’ll find even more humor in life’s endless absurdities.

    Your food, I have no doubt, will continue to inspire.

    Merry happy to you, and many more. Make a wish!

  4. Lorna

    Happy Birthday Sweet Beautiful Ashley. Thank you for sharing as always. You are one incredible girl. With Love XXX

  5. Kathryn

    I used to feel the same and that one day I’d just magically wake up and be a grown up. Despite my job and my flat and all the other grown up things that I have in my life, I definitely don’t feel like it’s happened yet and I can’t see it happening any time soon! Love this post, happy happy birthday!

  6. leaf (the indolent cook)

    The number 30 is in my not-so-distant future now but I still feel quite child-like – and not as beautifully wise and mature as you come across! Happy birthday, and enjoy that gorgeous ice cream.

  7. Melissa

    Happy Birthday! I agree – with age comes wisdom and self confidence that it is a great trade for a few more lines.

  8. Rachael

    I remember being truly amazed in my early twenties to realize that no one actually feels like a grown-up. Like you, I kept waiting for that day to arrive where I went, Well, hey, this is what grown-up life is all about! I own a house, I’m happily married, I’m a foster mom, and I’m still making all of it up minute-by-minute. You did a beautiful job capturing those feelings. And affogato looks like a perfect way to celebrate. Happy birthday!

  9. Chez Us

    Happy Birthday Ashley! Brace your 30s – they are simply wonderful! I really enjoyed mine, and have the fondest memories of becoming a woman. No longer a girl but a woman. Always keep the days filled with love and adventure. xo

  10. ileana

    This ice cream sounds wonderful. Happy birthday! I’m 23 and look forward to 30 because I suspect I’ll have more figured out by then. And you know, live in an apartment for more than a year or two. 🙂

  11. Annie

    Happy 30! This morning my husband and I talked about how we’re almost 30 (he’s turning 28 this week) and how it’s a little mind-boggling. But I think your post beautifully describes why growing up is great and not something to be scared of. It doesn’t mean things always work out, but it means you can move forward into new adventures with self-confidence. And ice cream, of course.

  12. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    Although I’m not 30 yet I have to agree that with every passing year I’ve become more and more ok with not having it all figured out. Makes life the adventure it was meant to be!

    Hope your birthday is absolutely perfect 🙂

  13. Cheryl Markel @ ArtsyRedhead

    Congratulations on turning 30 – and Happy Birthday! I smile knowingly when I read your post, because turning 40 had a similar effect, but stronger. My husband and I have been roller-coasting a mid-life-crisis-without-the-infidelity this past year with alot of profound changes in our lives. I’m curious to know (10 years in advance) if it will be the same for you, and if it will be as meaningful. I hope it is. 🙂

  14. Michelle

    Happy birthday! I actually have enjoyed growing older. It is a balancing act of keeping the care free feeling of early 20’s with the confidence that comes with getting closer to 30’s.

  15. thelittleloaf

    Just discovered your blog through Twitter and what a wonderful day to arrive – a celebration AND a gorgeous recipe 🙂 looking forward to many more hours spent browsing in the future and happy birthday!

  16. Emily

    Well said! I turn thirty in two months and this sums up my feelings about it too!

  17. Cait

    Happy Birthday! Any recommendations for a high-quality, affordable Ice Cream Maker?

  18. Emilia Brasier

    This is a really great post! I turned 30 in July and I have to say that turning 30 was not as hard for me as turning 29 🙂 I just talked to my Grandma who turns 92 today and there are still things that shock her. Happy birthday it looks like you are off to a delicious start!

  19. Clara

    Happy Birthday, Ashley! As always, such a beautifully written post. I’m about 3 1/2 years out from 30, and while the number itself doesn’t really scare me, I really can’t believe how fast time is going. I have placed that same pressure on myself to “get it all done” or “figure it all out” by the time I reach 30. I’m finally starting to accept that that’s ok- and in fact, a good thing! Why would I want to have it all figured out, or completely stop growing and moving forward? There’s so much more to do! And I can’t wait. Thanks for helping me along :).

  20. Ronda

    Happy Birthday! I have to say though I still tell people I’m 29, that my 30’s are wonderful (I’m only a year in so I’m going to guess that the trends continues) because it is so nice to not feel like I have to have it all together and to have ice cream to celebrate is pure bliss.

  21. Colette Lee

    Happy Birthday Ashley!! Awesome for you that you have reached that time of being free! I hope this year brings many new adventures! These are the best times yet!! Thanks so much for all that you share!
    Your favorite dessert looks amazing!!

  22. Marie

    Happy Birthday! And congratulations, Ashley, on seeing that there’s no magical age when we have it all figured out. I wish I had been as insightful at 30 as you are. That would have saved me a lot of anguish. Now in my 60s, I see how wonderful it is NOT to have all the answers. Having a steady stream of mysteries to challenge me makes life interesting.

  23. Amelia

    I remember when I turned 30, I was so happy to get out of my 20’s. Felt like I had finally reached adulthood…same thing happened when I turned 40, and so on. It’s all just a great adventure. Have a happy 30th birthday and coming decade. Thanks for your gift to us of mascarpone ice cream. Yum!

  24. Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    Happy Birthday, Ashley! I can understand your sentiment entirely. I’m not at 30 quite yet but I’m not stressing–this unexpected, twisty turny life is awesome. I’m slowly learning to accept that things aren’t ever going to be exactly what I think they should be. And that’s okay. Wishing you the very best this year! xo

  25. natalie

    Y’know, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I’m 30 this year too and I keep saying to people that I can’t wait because this year I pretty much stopped caring about what people think and about getting it all right, trying so hard to be the person that I always wanted to be. Since I realised that, I’m now just being the person I am, having a great time and loving every minute of it.

  26. Deanna

    Happy Birthday! I just hit my mid 20’s and some of what you wrote really spoke to me. I’m scared about not knowing all the answers, but I realized last week that I need to take advantage of some of the more nerve racking opportunities that are being presented to me since they’re kind of once in a lifetime.

  27. Madelief

    Happy birthday to you! 30 won’t dissapoint you!! Your icecream looks delicious :-)!

    Have a lovely day,

    Madelief x

  28. MG Atwood

    Having things figured out is highly over rated. Pretty 30, and skipping through life’s adventures is so fun. Embrace it.

  29. Sonja

    This is beautifully written. I just turned 30 as well, and had some similar sentiments. The way you captured them resonated perfectly. Happy Birthday!

  30. Gayle

    Oh, how I wish I had things figured out at 30! I’m 35 now and I’m certain I know less now than I did when I was half this age! Hope it’s a great decade for you!!

  31. Louise @ Kitchen Fiddler

    What a beautiful post! I’ve enjoyed your gorgeous photos for a while even though this is my first time commenting, and I wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Here’s to joyful living and embracing all the wonderful things that this next decade has in store for you!

  32. Mikaela Cowles

    What an inspiring post. In my mid-20s it seems 30 is looming infront of me. Each birthday comes with a sort of chocking uncertainty. How wonderful to not care! And, how wonderful to not care while eating Mascarpone Ice Cream!

  33. Andrea

    I will de-lurk to wish you a very happy birthday! I’ve been in my 30s for a couple of years and they have been the best, most settled, humble ones so far. And figuring out that mascarpone makes for an awesome ice-cream is a great way to start a new decade! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  34. Jana

    Happy # 30. I love reading your blog. As I have said before you are truly inspiring! I hope it’s a beautiful day for you..beautiful.

  35. Karen Rogers

    Beautiful post. So well written, such lovely photography. I am in awww…. Happy 30th, at 53 it’s best not to have it all figured out either!

  36. Jen

    Happy Birthday, Ashley! I turned 30 this summer…I think I’ve been stripped of my intent on knowing everything sometime after the birth of my first son… Which I agree, is quite freeing! 😉

  37. Anne

    Happy Birthday! I have found as I’ve gotten older (45 and getting better!) that things, life, and people (especially people) make less and less sense the more life experience I have, although my tolerance of the nonsensibleness of it all gets greater and greater, so it all balances out… 😉

  38. Daniela

    You wrote exactly what I feel. I always thought that by the time I would turn 30, I would have everything on track. I have a wonderful life, but I’m much more confused than I was in my 20s. Still enjoying the 30s!
    Happy birthday!

  39. Maureen

    How perfect is this? I made mascarpone yesterday and I have heaps left and I must use it or toss it. I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon.

    As for getting older, I’ve never worried about the calendar. In my head I’m about 20 and I’ve been 20 for a very long time. Although I DO put black cloth over my mirrors. 🙂

  40. corey @ learning patience

    Happy birthday….Im glad I am not one of those bloggers who envys other bloggers for their pictures…LOL Beautiful shots, always. I LOVE esspresso over ice cream (you forgot the Bailey’s!)
    xoxo from Trinidad

  41. Margaret Baron

    Ah 30 sounds pretty young to me how about 82 on April Fools day!! Oh and your card will be a little late.

  42. Cookie + Kate

    Happy birthday, Ashley! Lovely sentiments, photos and recipe, as always. I’m 26 now and hope that I’ll share your feelings about turning 30 when I get there.

  43. Squishy

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! What a lovely post to commemorate such a special day…thank you for allowing us to share it with you!!!

    The Squishy Monster ^.^

  44. Tracy

    Happy birthday! I’m closer to Hello 60 than Hello 50 (that ship has sailed). I find that it doesn’t bother me in the least – life is good!

  45. Melissa

    Happy Birthday! Looks like you are giving us a present with this Mascarpone ice cream. What a great idea!

    Thanks for sharing!

  46. Calantha @ piecurious

    Many people have told me that the thirties are the best years of your life, and I think it is exactly for the reasons you outlined above. You stop worrying about all of these little details – about “figuring it all out” – and you start living. I think that is actually what it means to figure it out. Life is but a series of events unfolding, sometimes without our control, and often in ways we could never expect. There are challenges, successes, disappointments, celebratory moments – and all of them involve living. Life is for it – living, that is. You can spend your whole life trying to “figure it out” only to realize that you’ve forgot to live it. It’s a pretty good idea to abandon that goal of figuring it out and choosing to live instead 🙂

  47. Krystal

    I just turned 30myself on 2/6 and feel about the same way that you described. I still remember seven years ago when I started my first “real” job thinking that by 30 I wanted to be a lot further along than where I am. And now that I’m here, I’m content. I’m not where I wanted to be, but I don’t deserve to be there yet. I think the longer you live, the more you realize you have a lot to learn, and the more patient you are to let life give you lessons. I”m happy to embrace 30 and looking forward to more patiently learning those lessons that live has to offer. Maybe I’ll get more out of them now 🙂 (just don’t tell my mother I said that, okay?)

  48. Sarah

    Happy birthday! Your self-assuredness is making me want to skip this twenty-something business 😉 All of my friends in their 30s seem so happy. These years will be good, I know it, as will all the following ones—with time I think the discovery just gets to be greater.

    Affogato is one of my favorites, too. Sometimes I pour the teensiest bit of bourbon on there. Especially for a birthday 🙂

  49. heather

    i love all of your posts, and your words consistently ring true…but this post. THIS post resonated in a deep, deep place in my heart & spirit. you captured the joy of 30 in a way i could have never put into such eloquent, purposeful, meaningful words. i turned 32 in january, and i feel as grateful 2 years “in” as i did when the chapter opened on 30. happy, happy belated birthday, dear ashley.

  50. kale @ tastes good to me!

    This is exactly how one of my dearest friends, Lesley, explained it to me. I was worriedly going over some ill-advised thing I’d done or said and she just looked at me and said, “Kale, just hang in there. You’re in your twenties, when you care too much about what people think. Wait for your thirties. You’ll see it’s not worth all the worry.” Truth be told, knowing that in my twenties kind of jump-started the process. Not completely, of course, but I’m working on it. 🙂

  51. Julie

    Welcome to 30! Not that I’ve been there for awhile… I spent most of my 40th birthday, and most days since, in a mild panic – how can it be?! 40 is so grown up! I wish I had been where you are now (or what I see of you, of course!) and had such great perspective when I was 30. Love your post – am going to go re-read it now and feel better for it.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Paula – Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully the site isn’t too intimidating. 🙂 That’s enough to make me look forward to my 40’s as I know I have much to learn.

  52. Sarah

    I stumbled upon your blog looking for a recipe with mascarpone ice cream and I’m smitten with your pictures. So beautiful!


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