ROSES ARE RED – AND OVERRATED

Boys- are you thinking about buying your girlfriend, fiancé, or wife some roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day? Don’t. Roses are over played and just seem like you are falling into the category of people that crack under pressure by this commercial holiday. Instead, get creative in your present to your woman! Here are my favorite options…

Flowers. If you are going to go the flower route take advantage of the “farm-to-table” concept. I don’t mean go to a farm and pick your own flowers. I mean when purchasing flowers, take into consideration where the come from and the ones that are in season, because they will look the best. If you wanted the most beautiful roses that weren’t shipped from across the country, then Valentine’s Day should be rescheduled from February 14th to mid-spring through fall. Also, take into consideration the fragrance of the flowers. After all, this is a sensual holiday.

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Candy, Chocolates, and Food. Just like smell, taste is another strong sense that you want to trigger on Valentine’s Day. Instead of buying a heart shaped boxes from Whitman’s, try making something that will impress your significant other. If you really want to impress your significant other, come up with a menu that is comprised of foods that are known for their aphrodisiac qualities! Foods like honey, chocolate, and oysters are associated with sparking reactions of energy, love and passion.

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Jewelry. Staying in theme with the “farm-to-table” (farm fresh flowers) and DIY (making a romantic dinner yourself, instead of going out to dinner) purchasing jewels that are handmade are perfect for this kind of holiday. I can’t tell you how much time, heart and soul my mother, Laurie (owner of Bare & Me) puts into each piece that she handcrafts. From her Keepsake Pendants to her Heart and Arrow necklace, your significant other would be lucky to have one of these in her jewelry armoire! (Also, girls! Don’t forget about you mothers, sisters, and friends this year!) They deserve one too! Click the link “SHOP” at the top to view my mom’s collections. You won’t regret it! 😉

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I have a challenge for you. Don’t let people tell you that Valentine’s Day is the only day to treat you significant other, mothers, dads, sisters, brothers, and friends to something special. Telling someone constantly that you love them and appreciate them is what makes the feel special. Surprising them with small gifts here and there will have a bigger impact than a diamond on Valentine’s Day. Spread the love! Remind each person in your life that you hold close to your heart, and tell them that you love them…everyday up until Valentine’s Day…through your actions and through your words. Then, once you see how easy that was, continue to do so throughout the entirety of the year! We love you guys!

XOXO,

Jessica Calkins

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

3rd Act of Kindness!

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Cookies make the world go round. Or so we think! Today was definitely dreary, so we took it upon ourselves to brighten the days of those around us.

We went to the grocery store and bought ingredients to make some HOMEMADE chocolate chip cookies, and boyyyyyyyyyy can Laurie bake!

We bought cute little gift boxes to put the cookies in and some nice cards! The end result was adorable.

We went to three random houses around Laurie’s neighborhood, knocked on their doors, and sure enough, their days were made!

Not only were these people so happy, but we had some great conversations as well. Who knew the smallest things counted?

We had a blast making the cookies and running around her neighborhood like mad women!! 

Receiving these warm reactions have really helped us to open our eyes to personal satisfaction as well! We walk away grinning ear to ear because we know that we, in some way, made someones day.

Check out our videos on the Bare and Me Youtube Page