Home for the Holidays

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One of the biggest things I miss about being home is the smell of my house. I am pretty sure my mom has something baking or on the stove at all hours of the day, because that is just who she is. She has a knack for cooking and baking, and someday I hope I am as talented as she is.

My favorite is when I come home and I smell cookies baking in the oven, especially around the holidays.

So for this post, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe found on pinterest!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don’t use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.

Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made 28). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

This is not an original recipe, although I wish it was.

ENJOY

Thought Catalog: On Being Happy

f3fa3f36addbfbef6695c23d1313004bEverybody has their morning agenda, and by that, I mean the things that you do without even realizing it. For instance. Every morning when my eyes open from a long night sleep, I click snooze on my phone exactly three times before I realize that I need to be an actual human being and do actual human being things.

I sit up, let me feet dangle over the bed while I gather my surroundings, because lord knows I am still half asleep from my rough night of studying and writing silly papers for silly college. Once my surroundings are a bit in place, I take that first eager yet still a bit hesitant, step. I make my way to the bathroom, tripping over a couple of shoes on the way, and YOWWW, who put those heels there? Once I make it to the bathroom I examine myself in the mirror and shake my head because I forgot to wash my makeup off from the night before AGAIN! Why do I always do this? Laziness at its finest people. I wipe off the mascara and the eyeliner, brush my teeth for two minutes, gargle some mouthwash, and here is where it gets interesting. I put the water in the facet on the coldest it could possibly get. I wait for it to get to maximum coldness so I put the toilet seat down and sit, and wait, and sit and wait. Once I think the water is as cold as possible, I form my hands into a makeshift bowl and go to town. I think I throw water on my face about ten times before the job of waking up is really done. The makeup is gone, the eyes aren’t puffy, and best of all, the color is back in my cheeks. There she is. There is Haley. Then, I make my way back to my room, turn on my curling iron, and while that is heating up, I make a cup of coffee.

I am very particular about my coffee, as I am sure most everyone is. My mother got me hooked sophomore year of high school, and I have been a goner ever since. And as I sit here writing this, I am thinking to myself, “Why in the hell would you brush your teeth and then drink coffee?” Oh gosh, that just is silly. I really need to rethink my morning rituals.

Like I said, coffee. Drinking coffee. I love Hazelnut creamer, so after the coffee is done brewing I poor the creamer in for exactly three seconds. 1 mississippi 2 mississippi 3 mississippi. And there you have it. A lot of creamer and a little coffee.

I come back upstairs, coffee in hand, and go to my favorite website. Thought Catalog. Oh, how I love this site.

“Launched 1 February 2010, Thought Catalog is a website dedicated to your stories and ideas”

Thought Catalog is a blog site where many different people can put their thoughts into words, and share those words with the world.

It is an amazing idea, and that is why I read it each and every day.

Many of the posts are funny, fun loving, thoughtful, and just downright weird. But many make you think. And that is what I really love.

So today, like many other days, I am skimming through the blogs when I come across a title that stands out to me.

“How to Not Be Terrified of Being Happy”

The author speaks of happiness being this utopia, or this mystical world that  nobody truly understands the concept of. That somehow, some shape or form, we are always trying to do better than we already have. That we cant stop moving or doing more because things will just fall apart, “like a house of cards”.

Instead of being happy for the things that are going well in our lives, many of us worry about when it will be taken from us, like a game of hide and seek.

I have this problem where sometimes I feel like I do not deserve to be happy. That the people around me deserve better. Because of that feeling, I have a lot of anxiety. Anxiety about life, relationships, friendships, family, school. Everything scares me. It doesn’t mean I stop going about my daily routine, but sometimes I think that I don’t take things for what they are. I over think. “Things are amazing now, but that wont last.”

You may get your heart broken.

People may not like you.

You might not get your dream job.

You might upset your loved ones.

But that will pass, and you will once again, be happy.

“Avoiding happiness just so you can avoid the sting of eventually losing it will ruin you.”

Periods of Joy

Periods of Difficulty

Periods of Love

Periods of Heartbreak

I do not think I have ever read something that has hit so close to home for me. You can learn so much from a 500 word blog. I hope that one day I can meet the writer and thank them for opening my eyes to a world that can be full of happiness and love.

So. Morning rituals can be robotic, and boring, and annoying, but this particular morning, it was a great one.

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Do you ever read over something so captivating, that you just keep reading it over and over again. Like you want it to progress but its almost too perfect to even do that?

I think that sometimes we fail to take a step back in life and think about all the things and people that we love. We so often forget about the good, and focus on the bad. Why have we gotten to this point? Why have we taken for granted the things that have become to effortless to us? Life is a beautiful thing and we must not take for granted the parts that have become so effortless for us. And please, please remember, we are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

As you read over this quote, think about the things in your life that you have taken for granted.

“I don’t think I love very many things but here are the ones I can think of:

I love the first sip of coffee in the morning

I love reading someone else’s words and finding a connection in them

I love the feeling a good song invokes

I love wondering

I love driving at night with no destination

I love the gentle kind of sadness like a reminder that I can feel”

-Unknown

I don’t know what it is, but this really stuck with me. I wrote down in the notes in my phone as a reminder that at least I am here, and at least I can feel.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

FUUUUURRRRRRREAZINGGGGG

Personally, I am not much a fur lover, I stay warm other ways, but fur has definitely become very popular this fall and winter. From fur vests to fur jackets, fur has become a huge fashion trend for 2014 and upcoming 2015.

If I ever were to wear fur, I am showing you two outfits where it is a little piece of the outfit that really dresses it up. Then I will provide you with an OH HELL NO outfit, that I would never ever EVER wear….ever. Obviously fashion is a freedom of expression, and I envy anybody that can step out of the box and do crazy awesome things with their wardrobe, but I am quite the simpleton and love me some “inside the box” clothing.

Here we go.

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This first outfit is very casual and comfortable. but still brings in a pinch of fur, with the  beautiful scarf that she is wearing. I like that she put her hair up into a soft bun so that the emphasis of her outfit was still on the fur, and she didn’t over do it at all. Overall, great outfit, and if I was feeling super fashionista one day I would definitely wear this. 37d67e963bba9c5452da130d7dd020bfThis next outfit, with the fur vest, has been a huge hit this fall.  Two of my roomies came home the other day with matching fur vests and they were so excited to finally own one! My one roommate, Katie, wore the vest out with a plain long sleep shirt underneath, and she looked great. She paired the outfit perfectly with some sleek riding boots, and the outfit really came together. deab08b872ac6a54909bfd187603ad0aAnd then wow. This is definitely something. This is the highest extreme of fur I have seen in a while. All I am saying is, work it girl!

THANKSGIVING FESTIVITIES!!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have lots on my mind, but specifically, FOOD. I know that there is the typical food that is included in the dinner festivities, like the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. This year, why not try mixing things up a bit and trying different types of foods, and starting new traditions. I know for me and my family, holidays have always been really important to us. Not only was it a time for everyone to finally be together for a night, but we could also participate in something we all know and love so much, eating. LOL.

This year I will not be with my family because I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, but I am sure my mom will have something extravagant up her sleeves for the dinner portion of the night. No surprise there.

I am not that good at cooking unless I have a very specific recipe and a right hand man there to help out, but earlier today while I was on Pinterest I noticed so many different foods that looked so amazing, and especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple pictures of what could potentially be some wonderful dishes for Thanksgiving night. Your bellies sure will be HAPPY!

Start with a nice salad to begin the dishes.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

Ingredients
  • 6 cups salad (I used a combination of arugula and baby spinach, any spring green mix will do)
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (such as Diamond of California)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
dressing (see note)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup oil

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UGHHH so delicious…

Next we have some Crunchy Holiday Stuffing

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups celery
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 (14 oz.) pkg. stuffing
2 cups FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup Water

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 3-quart baking dish; set aside. Melt butter in large pot; stir in vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.
ADD stuffing, broth and water and stir until moistened. Gently stir in French Fried Onions. Spoon stuffing into 3-quart baking dish.
COVER and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Onions. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until Onions are golden.

The results come out to an amazing looking dish, and what I love is that it is crunchier than all the stuffing I have ever had.

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And lastly, but could never forget, THE TURKEY!

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-to-16 pound turkey
  • Salt and pepper to season cavity
  • 1 1/4 lb. shallots, peeled and cut in half through the root
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups (approximately) chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together softened butter, sage, thyme and parsley until well combined.
  3. Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Tie the turkey legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey, using small skewers to secure, if necessary.
  5. Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.
  6. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the shallots around the turkey, on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting it with 1/2 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil from the breast. If you find that the legs are browning too much, cover each drumstick with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh (be sure not to hit the bone) registers 170 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, about 1 hour total.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  10. Remove the carrot, celery and onion from the cavity and discard.
  11. Remove the shallots from the pan and serve with the gravy. Use the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the remaining herb butter to make the gravy.

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And wow, is that a good lookin turkey!

Ps: These recipes and and directions are found from sites on Pinterest, and are just some of the wonderful dishes I have tried before. Pinterest always has some great pins for the Holiday seasons especially when it has to do with food!

Hope you all enjoy, and potentially use these recipes!

Fifty Shades of “Oh My GOD!”

“Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Not sure if many of you have read the trilogy, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James, but the book is truly insane and memorable, not in the sense that the writing is great, but because, well, you can get the gist.

The book literally is insane. When I started reading it I had no plan in never putting the book down. I could not stop. I did not even really like what I was reading but I was so shocked and taken back that I could not put the book down.

I am not sure if it is an uncomfortable feeling or a hysterical feeling, but I cannot believe I read all three of the books in the trilogy.

I am very excited to see how the movie turns out on Valentines Day. Will the movie be as explicit as the book was, and if so, will that cause a bunch of uproar from parents?

The books were very descriptive and I am not sure it is the best idea to include all of that nitty gritties in a movie!

Having said that, I am so excited to see it! Definitely eager, to say the least!

Would love to know what you all think about these controversial books, and what you hope the movie is like in February!

Be inspired…

Do what you love and love what you do…

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Sometimes without even knowing it you are causing a ripple effect with dreaming your dream and just doing it.

I myself, hope that I do this with my children. Working hard in life in any manner builds character and just tells your spirit you can do anything if you try.

I can honesty say, I love what I do everyday.  I may be a little stressed out at times or want to just take a stay vacation and say “calgon, take me away”!

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You younger generation have no idea what I am talking about but the “hip older generation does”…

If I did not design jewels everyday, I think I would have missed my calling. I know why I am here and what I am supposed to do,  I think?

5 Tips to help you run a successful business…

I am not the expert on success but what I am an expert on is “working hard”!

I do not work for money, I work because I love what I do. I have a few tips to help you find success in your life that translates to accomplishment in your financial life.

1. Find what you love…

That could mean, you love people.

You love to invest money.

You love the rush of jumping out of a plane. (Cray, Cray people)

You love to write.

*Find a way to JUST DO IT! 

2. Develop a plan…

Look, dreaming about doing something in your head will never get you anywhere, it’s a dream. Take that dream out of your head and put it on paper. It may take you weeks to figure out exactly what that dream is on paper but it developes into a plan with out you even realizing it. It is your roadmap.

3. Do not work for money…

The minute you start your roadmap and all you can think about is “money”, it will never work. You have to think of this as a labor of love and “love is in the details”. Sometimes when the main focus is money, you look at it like; what is the fasted way I can accomplish this? Wrong approach. There is “no overnight success” and if there is, it is very rare.

4. If you can, always own your own business…

Work for someone else, develop your plan in baby steps. Leave, take your chance on yourself…

Doing something right is the most important thing you can do. Make everyday, a day forward to where you will be working for your own business and loving what you do.

5. Work Hard and I mean hard…

My husband often asks me: Do you really need the money that bad?

Note: We own and operate several restaurants in MD, VA. They are successful because we worked for 10 years very hard. The first 5 years, my husband worked 18 hours a day, one day off. I did all of the financials from home to raise our children. Was it my dream? No, it was my husbands, so I worked as hard as him to help him achieve this life long dream of owning and operating a business to be proud of.

My dream was to be a jewelry designer. I have designed for 15 years but just did shows here and their. I knew I was talented because I loved it and I sold everything out every-time.

I taught myself day and night new techniques and would just sit for hours upon hours creating these little sparklers. I love what I do and very big things are happening for our little train that could.

The truth is; I do not do this for the money, I do this because I am involved in so many of life’s special moments it is unreal. My jewelry is worn, loved and passed along as gifts, moments in time to be remembered.

Like a Bride designing a necklace for her “bridesmaids”. (They will always remember, where/how/who gave this to them.) It’s almost like a song that brings you back to a very special moment or a place in time.

A wife purchasing a “love link” bracelet for her husband that shows her devotion and love to him.

A friend who purchases our Initial birthstone necklace for a new mother to be. Emotional, loving and I get to be there without being there.

A Mother who designs a “keepsake” necklace for her daughter that has her initial on one side and the daughter on the other. Cherished for life.

I want to create and be part of memories in people’s lives. It makes me happy and fulfilled….

Have you just ever felt like this?

We all have days where we feel like the world is caving in on us, don’t we?  Sometimes,  I feel like I am the only one. To be honest, usually I am “happy-go-lucky” all the time. In fact, my husband always looks at me in times of trouble and says “you just don’t have a care in the world”!  Always perplexed with him looking at me like that, I just node, laugh and say no! I have always looked at things as if they were meant to happen and it is all in how you handle it. I am very good under pressure, I always have been but this week, I just want to pull my hair out.

Here, let me explain…

1. Leaving a house I grew up in since I was a child.

 2. Being self-employed, the bank is driving me crazy.

  3. A good friend will not speak to me and I don’t know

what I did?

4. My daughter is getting married…

5. Everyone wants something from me.

6. My house is a cluster f@%k with furniture, lighting

and accessories for the new house everywhere.

That is why I feel like this…

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But…

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These are all the great things that come out of the bad…

1. My daughter and her fiancé are moving into the house I grew up in…

2. We are blessed beyond belief to have what we have…

3. Maybe that friend is not worth the aggregation if they

do not have the time or patience to explain why… a blessing in disguise…

4. My daughter is getting married to her perfect guy…

5. At least someone wants something from you and you are not alone…

6. Well, that I need a magic wand, it is still a cluster f@%k…

There is always a silver lining in life. Don’t forget to remember that when your hands are in your hair and you want to scream and hit your head against the wall:)

LOVE SUCKS!

Bare and Me

Ladies, sometimes relationships aren’t meant to work out.

Sometimes, you deserve more.

Sometimes, you overanalyze too much.

And sometimes, its just not meant to be.

Do not force something that isn’t supposed to happen.

What so many women (me included) fail to understand is that we should not be with someone who does not want to be with us. It really really sucks to know that someone isn’t as into you as you are into them, but why would you want to fake love? Yeah, it sucks.

Having said that. Stop wallowing in your heartbreak, Stop sleeping all day, and please please please…. STOP CRYING. Don’t waste those tears. The more you think about how hurt you are, the longer you remain damaged.

What to do instead? Have fun!

Go out with the friends that make you the happiest. Think about all the other things in your life that make…

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