10.21.2016

Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies


IT'S FRIDAY!! HOLLA!  Does anyone actually ever say that anymore? No? Oh well. This week has felt particularly long so I am ready to take a breather from work. We don't have a lot planned for this weekend & I'm totally OK with that.  I'm always looking at my blog & trying to find ways to improve it.  I once had visions of a big makeover, but I simply do not have the time nor the energy. But what I did notice last weekend is, I haven't baked in a LONG time.  To remedy that, I decided to make these cookies. I mean...one look & why wouldn't you want to make these?



Overall, it was a relatively easy process.  The one thing I would recommend is using parchment paper to line your baking sheets instead of tinfoil.  A few of my cookies got a little burned on the bottom & I'm 100% sure it's because I used tinfoil.  I will FOR SURE be making these bad boys again!  Have a great weekend everyone!







Makes: 20-25 depending on your scoop size
Prep/Cook time acc to me: 45 mins
How difficult was this recipe for me? Not bad, it would have helped if I'd followed some of the directions I'm now reading as I reread the original recipe.






1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 tbsp whole milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips






Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. SUPER IMPORTANT! You will be turning down the heat when you put the cookies in (I missed this step)

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper & lightly spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips & butter in a small microwave safe bowl.  Heat them in the microwave for 15 second increments of time, mixing in-between each, until butter & chocolate are completely melted & can easily be whisked smooth.  Set aside. (You can also do this stovetop)


In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & salt. Set aside.



In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugars, eggs, milk & vanilla.


Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients & stir to combine. Be careful not to over mix. As soon as they are mixed together, stop!

Apparently I didn't take a picture of this step. Moving on.

Fold in the chocolate/butter mixture.


Add in the milk chocolate chips


Scoop 1/4 cupfuls of the batter on prepared baking sheets


Place pans in oven & REDUCE HEAT TO 300 DEGREES.  Bake for 16-18 mins.


DO NOT remove cookies from baking sheet until they've completely cooled! This is super important!

Serve!



10.17.2016

{Design} Inexpensive Ways to Fall-ify Your Home


There is a high of 99 degrees this week & all I can think about is fall.  Growing up in the midwest, fall was THE BEST.  Cooler temps, the beautiful colors,  trips to the cider mill, tailgating & college football games, hooded sweatshirts, the smell of burning leaves...do I need to go on?  Given that southern California doesn't really have fall, it's a slight problem for me.  We have summer where it's my-face-is-melting-off hot for like 2-3 months, then we have winter where it's freezing chilly (ya know, like low 60s) & then the rest of the year is a solid 70-80 degrees. I know, POOR ME.

I've never been one to really theme out my home based on a particular season.  However, this year I'm really feeling the urge to bring in a few fall accents without covering our home in gourds, straw  & burlap.  Given that I traditionally steer away from warmer tones when decorating, but I've actually found some pieces I am LOVING. So if you're like me & not into the super themed out decorations, but want to add just a touch of fall, here are 5 in-expensive ways to do so.


1. Throw Pillows
One of the easiest & most fun ways (in my opinion) is swapping out your throw pillows.  Dark metallics, faux-fur & leather are IN & I am LOVING it. Also, how FUN & versatile is that blue pillow?  Seriously, crushing on ALL OF THESE. (I should apologize, the fringe pillow is actually kind of pricey, but it's SO cute, I had to include it!)



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2. Throw Blankets
Next to pillows, blankets are one of my favorite home accessories. They're pretty & perfect for snuggling up on those 60 degree days (insert the crying/laughing emoji).  These colors have me swooning.



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3. Scented Candles
We tend to ALWAYS have candles burning in our house.  Fall scents can be a tad overwhelming if you don't want your house to smell like pumpkin pie. These are some of my favorites that remind me of fall but don't overpower your nose.  Plus, the containers are so pretty!


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4. Fall Blooms
I love having fresh flowers in the house. It's even nicer when I don't have to buy them *cough* *cough*.  Tulips are my favorite flower & my usual go-to at the grocery store since they're relatively inexpensive & I love all the colors.  But they aren't always the best in fall.  Don't want to spend a lot? Our local grocery always has pretty full arrangements for under $20.  Buy one arrangement & divide them up amongst multiple mason jars. Ta-da! Multiple arrangements! Also, can we talk about the baby pumpkins in the vase?? 



Which brings me to #5. 

5. Pumpkins. Yes, Pumpkins.
Ok, so I've never actually bought a fake pumpkin, or anything shaped like a pumpkin, or anything that had pumpkins on it (for the interior)...until now.  I'm OBSESSING over the studded pumpkins from Target & might have bought one three.  Homegoods also has copper pumpkins that I'm dying to get my hands on, I've just yet to find any in stock at any of the stores near us. I've also failed at finding a picture of them, but take my word for it, they're awesome. I love the idea of metallic pumpkins because besides my love for metallics, it takes what can be a hokey decoration up a notch.




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There you have it. My top 5 ways to fall-ify your house.  Is there anything you like putting up fall or have any tricks of your own? I'd love to hear them!



10.13.2016

{Design} Serious Office Envy


Anyone else's week just DRAGGING? Only one more day people. ONE MORE DAY.  So I may have mentioned once or twelve times how we're planning on moving. Originally we were hoping to move this fall, but the timing was off, so while we stay put, I'm going to continue to dream about our next home.  One of the things I cannot wait to have is my own office/workspace since I don't currently have one.  I love looking at pretty pictures of other peoples spaces to draw inspiration from so here are 12 swoon worthy office spaces. 


















10.12.2016

{Recipe} Southwestern Steak Salad




So the past few 6 months I've been completely slacking & not taking care of myself at all. I was stress eating up until the wedding...legit the only bride who probably put on the lbs before the big day.  Then, after the wedding it was all honeymoon & "We're married now, who cares?!"  Except my pants are starting to notice it & well, I'm not in the mood to buy all new clothes. I mean, I ALWAYS want to shop, but not because my old clothes no longer fit!  So, it's time to get back on the stop being a lazy ass & start to eat better train. I make salads all the time but I never remember to blog them. So, last week I decided to amp up our salad game & what better way than adding steak?



I bought a very lean, organic rib-eye steak that worked out beautifully.  We J grilled the steak using our grill pan since our actual grill is quite out of commission.  This salad took minimal effort & is so easily modifiable to your taste buds.  J & I were also really surprised that one smaller bowl easily filled us right up!






Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 35-45 mins (depends how fast you are at chopping veggies)
How difficult was this for me? Not bad at all!







  • .75-1 lb rib eye steak, lean
  • 1 packet pre-made taco or fajita seasoning
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped - you can really use any lettuce of your choice, I use romaine
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 chopped purple onion
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 3/4 cup low sodium black beans
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • Dressing of your choice, I used a pre-made cilantro lime dressing because I am lazy





I mean, it's a salad...it has to be somewhat self explanatory...but here you go

Season the steak generously


Over medium heat, grill those bad boys (you can also sear in a skillet...works just as well!)

For a steak salad, I prefer the meat to be a little more pink so our steaks cooked pretty quickly



While steaks are cooking, chop the veggies...of which I took no photos. So here's more of the salad.


Once the steak is done, I let it cool for 5-ish mins & then trimmed off the little fat there was. The dogs loved it!

Mix it up & enjoy! (This is actually not a good picture, but you get the idea)






10.11.2016

2016 Popular Reading Challenge - Check In


People. HOW IS IT MID OCTOBER? (seriously, how the HELL did that happen?) 2.5 Months left in 2016 & this girl is BEHIND on the reading challenge. It feels like I JUST posted a reading challenge update (catch up here)  but it's actually been 3 months.  In that time, I haven't read nearly as much as I intended to, but I WILL finish this challenge...whether on time or not! I had to shuffle some books around & rework a category, but here's where I'm at thus far & categories I still need books for. Please help!

What I've read since I last posted:

Category: A book translated to English
Book Read: My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

Category: A book becoming a movie this year
Book Read: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

Category: A book more than 600 pages
Book Read: Somerset, by Leila Meacham

Category: A graphic novel
Book Read: Hot Dog Taste Test, by Lisa Hanawalt

Category: A book recommended by a family member
Book Read: All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Category: The first book you see in a bookstore
Book Read: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

Category: A book written by a comedian
Book Read: Let's Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

Category: A book recommended by someone you just met
Book Read: The One We Fell in Love With, by Paige Toon

What I've read thus far:

Category: A YA best seller
Book Read: Me, Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Category: A book set in Europe
Book Read: After You by JoJo Moyes

Category: A NY Times bestseller
Book Read: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Category: A book that takes place in the summer
Book Read: Glitter & Glue by Kelly Corrigan

Category: A book at least 100 years older than you
Book Read: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Category: A science-fiction novel (this one is a slight stretch)
Book Read: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Category: A book published in 2016
Book Read: The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Category: A book with a protagonist who has your occupation
Book Read: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

Category: A murder mystery
Book Read: The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark

Category: A book with a blue cover
Book Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Category: An autobiography
Book Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Category: A book about a road trip
Book Read: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Category: A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy
Book Read: She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan

In the Que:

Category: A book you haven't read since high school
Book to Read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Category: A book set in your home state
Book To Read: South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

Category: A dystopian novel
Book to Read: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Category: A classic from the 20th century
Book to Read: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Category: A book that takes place on an island
Book to Read: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Category: A book based on a fairy tale
Book to Read: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Category: A National Book Award winner
Book to Read: The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

Category: A book under 150 pages or book you can finish in a day
Book to Read: The Stranger, Albert Camus

Category: A book from Oprah's Bookclub
Book to read: She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb

Category: A book of poetry
Book to read: Milk & Honey, by Rupi Kaur

Categories still needed! 
*Note, I have a few options for some these categories, but still looking for more suggestions!

A romance set in the future
A self improvement book
A book & it's prequel
A political memoir
A book written by a celebrity
A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with
A satire
A book I can finish in a day
A book from the library - this is a freebie...any book the library might have! What's your fav book of all time?

So if you do the math, I'm 8 books behind where I should be right now, which means I have 20 books to go in the next 2.5 months. Oh sure, no problem! Have you read any of the books above? Loved/hated? Let's talk!





10.06.2016

Recipe Round-Up: 17 Slow Cooker Soups For Fall


I'm in total fall mode over here despite the fact that temps are supposed to be in the 90s this weekend.  One of my favorite parts of fall is the food!  Ok, I can probably say that about every season. But, as much as I love my crock pot, the one area I definitely underutilize it is making soup. I've only made 2 soups in my crock pot before (see one of them here, the other I forgot to blog) & it's a real crime I haven't made more.   I LOVE soup & I love my crock pot. Doesn't make much sense.  So today, I'm rounding up 17 slow cooker soup recipes from other blogs that I want to make this fall/winter.  I should really turn this into a challenge. A soup challenge...genius.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Skinny Loaded Potato Soup

Pasta E Fagioli Soup

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

Vegetable Barley Soup

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Minestrone Soup

Lemon Orzo & Chicken Soup

Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Skinny Chicken Fajita & Quinoa Soup

Sweet Potato Soup

Vegetable Beef Soup

White Chicken Chili

Black Bean Soup

Chicken Parm Soup

Butternut Squash, Chicken & Quinoa Soup

Have a favorite soup recipe? Please share it below!