Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dark chocolate chip and sea salt cookies

So I made some cookies yesterday that were seriously some of the best cookies a) I've ever made and b) Ever had in general.  They are YUMMY.

I LOVE dark chocolate. It's not something I've always loved, but now that I like it, I prefer it over milk chocolate.  And the addition of sea salt - wow. The two are just an epic combination because the salt enhances and intensifies the chocolate flavor.  Think about it - why do we put salt on savory foods?  To bring the flavor to another level!

So I got the recipe from a blog I follow.  Here's the link:


I'm an absolute mess in the kitchen.  When I bake, there's flour on the floor, the counter tops, everywhere. I'd consider myself a person that pays attention to detail, but for some reason, when I cook/bake, all of that flies out of the window.  I don't prepare well. I just decide to make something and start. What I really SHOULD do is measure out as many things as possible so that I'm not doing it all on the fly.

So that brings me to the real reason for this post, which is to give a heads up to all of you out there who fly by the seat of their pants in the kitchen.

As you see from the recipe I posted, the ingredients are listed in paragraph form.  As I was making the cookies, I didn't pay attention enough and read that there was only 1/4 cup of butter because the extra "1" was on the end of the previous line. So yeah, the recipe calls for 1 AND 1/4 cups of butter.  Oops.

Here's what happened when I put the first half of these cookies in the oven. The dough was SO crumbly and I thought surely there must be something wrong, but I went with it anyway:

Dark chocolate and sea salt BRICKS.  Wow, those things were HARD!

Thankfully, I figured out my mistake and thankfully, this batch makes a TON of cookies, so I still had a chance to succeed.  Since I had already used half the batch, I halved the amount of butter that I missed, added it into the batter, and cooked the second batch.

Success! As you can see, my cookies are much bigger than the blogger's original recipe.  I like BIG cookies. These do have a nice brown edge, but they are mostly pretty soft. And PS - I only had them in the oven for 14 minutes.  It was the perfect amount of time, in my opinion. 

If you decide to make them, let me know what you think! Brian tried them and liked them even though he doesn't like dark chocolate, so that's a great sign. I love them so much that I already plan to make them again soon!

Happy baking! Love,


Monday, September 10, 2012


Can I just say how amazing these past few weeks have been? I have finished all of my dissertation edits and have also had the time to have fun with some hobbies!

I've had several craft days and have made lots of cute stuff! I really never got the chance to do these sorts of things in graduate school, so this is really exciting to me. Huge hugs and thanks to my new cousin, Mindy, for being my partner-in-crime/coach as I try all of these new things!

My favorite things so far are my fabric flowers.  These flowers were made using fabric from tablecloths at Brian and I's engagement party last year, so it has some sentimental value to it. I certainly can't take credit for the idea.  The tutorial I used is here:


They are not difficult to do, but they do take some patience. You essentially need 16 fabric circles to do one of these flowers, so there's some tedious cutting involved.  GOOD NEWS though - They don't have to be perfect! These hide imperfections well, so that's always a plus!  The stems I used are sticks of floral wire covered in a brown paper - I bought these at Michael's.

Anyway, I just think these are so cute and they add a pop of color and whimsy wherever you put them!!

Next up - I've been making stationary lately, mostly with the intention of giving clusters of the cute cards/envelopes as gifts.  So, if you have an occasion coming up - You may get some of these. :)

Here's one of my latest - Sparkly LSU stationary!


Just wanted to share some of the fun little things I've been doing lately and encourage you to try them. I'm a total novice at all of this, so if I can do it, you can too!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.



Friday, September 7, 2012

And the WINNER is....

Had to draw a new name due to not all the steps being fulfilled by the original winner ( Sorry :(, had to keep it 100% fair ) ---- Our new winner is JENNY STRAIN!  Congratulations! I saw you entered on behalf of your mom, so I'm sure she will be excited!

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me by entering!  I hope to do something else similar soon!

HUGE THANKS to Accessory Auctions for providing this necklace to me to give away! I want to buy one for myself now. :)

Have a great day, everyone!



Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Yall - OMG.

Seriously, OMG.  I can't get over how CUTE the necklace is that Accessory Auctions sent me to GIVE AWAY!  I have to admit, I am extremelyyyyyyyy jealous because it is that cute.

Yes, Saints fans - It's black and gold and fabulous!!!!!  I am so in love with this statement necklace.

Here's what you have to do to enter - You must complete ALL THREE steps to be eligible!

(1) Go to Facebook, search for "Accessory Auctions," and LIKE their page.

(2) Comment on THIS post (not on Facebook, please), telling me that you "liked" their page. (I know a few of you have already done this, but please comment here anyway that you have Liked them)

(3) SHARE this blog post on your Facebook.

(Do not worry - we do not have to be Facebook friends for you to enter.  I can verify all of these things regardless, so please enter!)

That's it!  Super easy!  I will announce the winner on FRIDAY afternoon!  If you are local, I can bring it to you, but if not, I will mail it.  So excited to see who wins!!!!



A few details to disclose about the contest:

  • Only folks who follow all of the above steps will be eligible
  • Based on the number of entries I have, I'll enter it in a random number generator online to choose which post will be the winner. I give you my word that I will not play favorites and will choose at random!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Well Rounded

No, this post isn't about how I've become more well rounded after pigging out on junk food during the hurricane (though, I did do that!). Rather, I do think it's so important to be a well rounded person - A Renaissance woman (or man, for you few male readers out there), if you will.

I created this blog primarily to indulge in my love for fashion, yummy food, and all things fabulous in life; however, this wouldn't truly represent me if I didn't have some sort of positive, quality of life-boosting message sprinkled in here every now and again.

So today I want to talk about volunteering. Call me crazy, or old fashioned, or whatever you want, but I just don't think we focus on this as much as we should as a culture. I like a good party, I love football, and all other things a typical late 20-something from the South enjoys, but why doesn't anyone ever talk about their volunteering? I don't know if it's that it's not happening, or that it's not "cool" to talk about, but I think we need to get a conversation going and start taking some ACTION.

In no way, shape, or form am I in the financial position to give money to charity. That's just something I can't give at the moment, but I can give my TIME. Thankfully, I can often also offer my expertise in situations where it is warranted. In the past year, I've become increasingly involved with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For the local chapter, I now sit on their committee, I'm on a speaker's bureau to offer my personal and professional thoughts in public forums, I run a monthly support group for patients and families impacted by blood cancer, and I've started facilitating the training for a FABULOUS program called First Connection. First Connection is a program that pairs up newly diagnosed patients (and/or loved ones) with volunteers who have been through similar experiences. One of the best things you can get when you're living with cancer is to hear from someone else saying, "Yes, I KNOW what you mean.  It sucks" and to know they also got through it. I have now talked both my mom and my dad into giving their time to do this program and I know they will touch so many lives.  I am so happy and proud that they are going to do this soon. :)

Maybe some other time I'll share parts of my cancer story (that would be a LONG post), but if you know me, you probably know I'm an almost NINE YEAR survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Woot woot! I want so badly to give back in as many ways as I can because I feel so blessed to be on the other side of cancer now. When I was first diagnosed, my grandmother gave me a prayer necklace.  It's a little box on a chain that you can write a prayer to keep around your neck. Every now and then I'll open it up and look at it because it reminds me why I'm here.  Yep, I'm getting all existential on you now! ;) Anyway, in 2003 I wrote, "Dear God, I pray that you will help me get through this cancer and someday help people because of it." Well, that prayer came true, and I am so so thankful. :)

I attribute all of my humanitarian-like tendencies to my upbringing. My parents and other family members, most notably my grandmother, have fostered this sense in me from way way back. I vividly remember doing the Adopt-a-Family during Christmas for other families - going into their homes with meals, presents, and smiles - and seeing their faces.  Wow. I can honestly say we grew up spoiled in many ways, but I always knew it and knew I needed to balance that by giving to others. I remember in middle school doing the St. Jude's Math-a-Thon too (man, I wish I still had that tshirt!!). Anyway, the same people who fostered this early on are the same people who continue to model this behavior today. My mom continues to organize adopting families for Christmas with her co-workers and raising money for local animal shelters. If I'm involved in any type of charity event, my parents will drop everything and drive to be there. My grandma is very involved with her church and is a Stephen Minister to people in her congregation.

For some reason, at this point in typing this post, I became tearful - and I just think that when you surround yourself with amazing people and see firsthand the good you can do just by offering your TIME, it fills your heart so much that you well up with happy tears and you feel like you might burst (in a good way).

That being said, for those of you who volunteer - GO YOU!!!!!  For those that don't yet - try it, seriously. If you don't know where to start, contact me and I'll help you find something (seriously, that would be fun for me :) ).  I'll help you find something that meets your passions, strengths, and time available.

If you volunteer, comment below and tell the world how.  It's ok - BRAG A LITTLE!  Seriously, do it!  We don't talk about this stuff enough and I want to hear!

Much love,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


EXCITING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The fabulous ladies at Accessory Auctions (featured on my post yesterday) have offered to send me a necklace to GIVE AWAY on my blog!  Yay!  I am so excited to be doing this so I can give away a pretty piece of jewelry to one of my followers.

Please like Accessory Auctions on Facebook and leave a comment below letting me know! I want them to get a lot of new followers for doing something so nice, plus it will be required that you "like" them to enter the contest later.

Stay tuned for more details! =)

Lots of love,


Monday, August 27, 2012

First post + Accessory Auctions!

Hi all!

Seems like I always start a blog around the time that something really big is happening in my life that I need to get finished.  I think my first blog was a few years ago as I finished up my Master's thesis.  Well, here we are now at the tail end of my dissertation.

Since my new job doesn't start until October, I've had some time in between writing to really relax and pursue my hobbies.  A new hobby: Fashion and lifestyle blogging. I seriously have a list of over 15 blogs that I check every day and over the course of my own blog, I'll share some of these fabulous sites with you!

I know many of you may be stuck inside for the next few days waiting out this hurricane.  So I have something to entertain you this evening (and other nights): JEWELRY AUCTIONS!  Yes, Facebook now hosts jewelry auctions each week through various store pages.

My favorite so far is called Accessory Auctions. They have facebook auctions every Monday and Wednesday evening starting at 8PM Central. So far, this is the only site I've actually purchased anything from, so I can vouch that they are legitimate.  I got a REALLY cute blue and gold statement necklace for around $25 and free shipping (see below!). Plus, it got to my house only a few days later because the company is based in  Dallas!  Search their name if you're interested!

A few others I've been following:

Glam Grab Accessory Auctions (also a Dallas company) - Mondays at 7:30PM and Wednesdays at 11AM

Jewelry Nut Auctions - Mondays and Thursdays at 8PM.


So if you're like me, the idea of a facebook auction is a little confusing initially. I'll give you a quick run-down.  Basically, it's not like a conventional auction where you are able to bid on items.  When the auctions begin, each of the sites will start posting pictures of their jewelry/accessories. With those pics are the prices and the number of that item that they have in stock. If they have 10 in stock, the first 10 people to post that they want the item will get it and will receive a Paypal invoice with the next 24 hours. Read each site's rules for what exactly you need to post to participate.  You'll need to "Like" the page on facebook to get the details and to see what's up for auction. :)

If you're obsessed with accessories like me, you'll love it.  Happy buying!  PS - If you have participated in or plan to participate any of these auctions and have any feedback, comment and let me know!  I'm interested to hear your thoughts and experiences.

And everyone, please stay safe during the hurricane.  Much love!