April 21, 2017

Chewy Secret Ingredient M&M Cookies


Have you ever had one of those weeks where things have been so crazy busy that you drove home from work with your car radio off? Ahhh, silence.

This was exactly where I found myself yesterday. Even after walking through my front door, my mind was still racing with all of the things I needed to do. So I knew I needed a good distraction and stress relief, and what better way to find that spending time in my favorite little corner of our house baking! I was looking for sweet treat inspiration when a little bowl of pretty pastel m&ms leftover from Easter caught my eye.

Right away, I remembered a recipe I had eagerly saved from the cookie queen herself, Jenny at Picky Palate. She is always posting great recipes and fun treats on her blog and Instagram! Let me just say, this is the best cookie dough ever... not that I had a scoop (or 7...). Yes, it's incredible and the secret ingredient makes it pure magic. This is going to be a go to recipe for me... check it out!

Side note //
I recently had to change my blog URL, so be sure to follow along to the NEW site on Bloglovin here!


Chewy M&M Cookies
 // Lightly adapted from Picky Palate //



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract (the good stuff!)
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons dry Jell-o instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup m&m candies


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Cream softened butter, brown sugar, and sugar using a stand or hand mixer for about 2 minutes until well combined and creamy.

3) Add the egg and vanilla to the mixture, just until incorporated

4) Add flour, instant pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Combine ingredients, but be sure to not over mix as it leads to tougher cookies. Hand stir in m&ms and chocolate chips.

5) Once dough is ready, place cookie dough onto a Silpat lined cookie sheet by the large spoonful. I recommend about 1-2 inches of spacing as cookies may spread a little. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden but centers are soft, and let cook on the cookie sheet.

Yields: 12 cookies




Bon Appetit!


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April 13, 2017

NYC Sister Trip

So, apparently it's 2017 and I completely bypassed ever sharing this incredible trip that I took with my sister. 

In 2015. 
The embarrassment is real, folks. 

But it was such a magical trip to be in NYC with my sister at Christmastime - a dream I've always had since I was a little girl - and I don't want to forget one detail! So please let me indulge in a nostalgic walk down memory lane as I remember all of the best sites, sounds, experiences, and views of New York.

My dear friend Katie and I have been friends since the day she was born. We grew up as neighbors/besties always decked out the finest Winnie the Pooh embroidered matching outfits and were inseparable. Now, Katie is a fancy pants lawyer living in NYC, and had been begging us to come out for a visit ever since. Our families have been close for all of time, and I knew it would be an extra fun touch if we had a sister girl trip.


Me, Abby (Katie's sis), Katie, and Lindsay (my sis) 


My sister Lindsay and I hopped on a KC plane bound for the city armed with the latest issue of US Weekly and Serendipity cued up to indulge in. As soon as we landed we met Katie and her sister Abby in the Upper West Side and spent hours catching up over champagne.

The next day, we knew we wanted to hit up Rolf's, a cozy little German restaurant in Gramercy Park known for it's floor to ceiling Christmas decorations and general holly jollyness. What a fun place to kick-off our holiday in the city! Check out more photos of how amazing this place is here.




After lunch we wanted to walk along the beautiful holiday displayed storefronts on our way to the Rockefeller Center area. We passed Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co., and Macy's to name a few. We were nearing the giant Christmas tree when my sister asked to stop and wanted me to hold a few pieces of paper that were in her purse. I looked down and they were tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy (freaking) Fallon! Unbeknownst to me, our friends were filming me the whole time  and got my total freak out moment on video. She pulled off one heck of a surprise, but here's the backstory...

Jimmy Fallon tickets are insanely hard to come by. These highly sought after free tickets go up for grabs one month before (you have to stalk twitter to know what the date will be) and they sell out in less than 10 seconds for the whole month of December. There are THOUSANDS of people trying to get 1 of the 200 tickets for each show (5 shows per week)

So in November we enlisted 3-4 additional friends and family members who could help us log in from different computer to see if me and my sister could get through. I got through and put on the waiting list, but was told I was the only one. Little did I know my sneaky sister got through and was waiting for the perfect moment to surprise me! So within minutes we were rushing to the studio.

PS - If you are visiting Jimmy Fallon, I found these article/blog posts super helpful with how to get tickets:



We checked into the lobby, went through security, and waited in this holding room. It's really strict, no phones allowed, and they have no problem with kicking anyone out who breaks their policies. Even with tickets in hand, they still don't guarantee your seat until you are physically being escorted to an assigned section. 

Once our little booties were in seats we could finally relax. WE MADE IT! The studio is way smaller than it looks like when you watch on TV, and it was so incredible to see the whole crew. 

They have a comedian out there warming up the crowd, The Roots rehearsed and talked to everyone, and the producer ran through audience cues with us. There were giant monitors overhead that would light up saying "APPLAUSE!" and she would really try to ramp up our volume by egging us on with hand gestures.

And then finally... Jimmy came out! Our guests for the evening were Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, and Calvin Harris - it was such a blast. He was doing the 12 days of ugly Christmas sweaters where he'd give one away to a lucky audience member, so we got to see ourselves on TV a lot - haha! We're pretty much famous and will gladly send you an autographed head shot. :)




The film quickly and straight through, which was super impressive to me, and as soon as it hit 6PM we were free to go! What a fun memory! We had to buy some sweet Tonight Show swag and then met the girls in Rockefeller Center afterward to see the tree lit up and grab a night cap.



The next day we woke up early, and decided to hike down to Chelsea Market to shop. Along the way we passed cute row houses decorated for Christmas and loved every second of Chelsea.





I loved that we also got to walk across the High Line Park, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The views were beautiful and it was fun experiencing a little piece of heaven in the middle of the city. We really lucked out for December weather - we didn't even wear coats!



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We dropped by Brooklyn Diner to share the biggest pot pie I've ever seen. On our way back to the Upper West Side we walked by Cafe Lalo, where they filmed You've Got Mail (my fave!).

That night, Lindsay and I went to Matilda on Broadway and had an incredible time. Times Square at Christmastime before/after the Broadway shows get out was super overwhelming for us, so we were glad when we made it out of the shoulder to shoulder chaos.






The next morning we took it easy after walking 6+ miles the day before. We got coffee and went to Central Park for doggy off-leash park hours. I had no idea that the park even offered that, but it was so fun to see dogs everywhere and take Katie's visla Maizey (check out Maizey's city dog adventures here on Instagram)!






We spent the day leisurely tootling around the park, walking through the Christmas market, and eating delicious fancy waffles. 

That night Katie's boyfriend Mark took all of us to the top of the Time Square Marriott to share a fun drink at their rotating restaurant, The View. When you get your napkin it actually has an outline of the buildings and what they're called so you know as you slowly turn. What a great way to end the trip.


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On our final day, we made one more quick jaunt to Central Park for dog park hours before we had to head back to KC. It was a quick weekend but so many fun sister memories were made with Katie and Abby! We're ready to go back already!






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December 30, 2016

Two Leg Surgeries Down & I'm Rehabbing!



"Hellllooooo from the other siiiiiiddddeeeee!"

After getting through two fasciotomy surgeries in September and December to fix my chronic exertional compartment syndrome in both legs, I am slowly on the mend.
Emphasis on the slowly.

Happy to be back in blog land, a place I love so much, and hear from all of you! It's been weird taking quite a break, but I very much needed to focus on my health and healing... and watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. *insert that monkey emoji with it's hands over it's face here*

I've spent my days doing some wildly exciting things, including but not limited to...

+ counting how many squirrels I saw on our deck
+ taking an embarrassing amount of photos of our dog
+ pinning all the things I can possibly pin on Pinterest
+ crushing Hallmark Christmas movies
+ painting my nails a different color every few days
+ playing 4,298 games of Farkle
+ giving Adam a play-by-play of how many cars were at our neighbor's house
+ reading home safety tip articles, freaking out, and then purchasing $200 worth of fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide alarms, and deadbolts (I may or may not have gotten in trouble for this one! Hahaha...)

Clearly enthralling stuff.
(read: someone get me out of my freaking house!)


As hard as it was to recover from one surgery and start rehab, and the turn around and do the other leg, I couldn't possibly have asked for a better support system. 

First of all, my husband Adam has been my rock through this whole thing. From getting up throughout the night with me to make sure I was up on my pain meds, to the very sexy tasks of helping me bathe or get around in the restroom (#marriage - ha!), he reminds me that his unwavering friendship and love carry us through the toughest of times. Adam is by far the greatest blessing I have ever been given and I'm so thankful for him.

Second of all, my family and friends have been incredible. From my sweet friend Sarah organizing not one but TWO meal trains for us, to the wonderful people cooking/delivering meals to our home during the busiest time of the year. We even had friends traveling in Europe right now who sent us a delivered meal while they were gone! Both of our families have made it very easy to spend Christmas at their houses and were constantly checking on me to see if they could make me more comfortable when not in the comfort of my own home. Everyone has been so selfless and it's incredibly touching.

Lastly, my co-workers, boss, and staff are amazing. It's not very easy to have someone away from work for more than 4 weeks, and many have been asked to fill in and take extra tasks in my absence. Not only have they been so supportive, but they've also checked in with me and have made things as easy as possible when I've been back in between surgeries.



And thanks to you all for even clicking on this humble little post and being interested in my recovery, even though my blogging has been intermittent at best these past 6 months. I am so excited to catch up, share, and connect! 

Overall, I am so thankful to have found the source of my pain from the last 2 years and have a solution. I am ready to work really hard in physical therapy, even though it is really hard and uncomfortable most of the time, but I am antsy to be able to exercise again. How exciting to think about the first time I will get to go on a run (which I love!) for the first time in years, lose the weight I've gained, and feel more like myself.


Cheers to good healing and new beginnings!


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September 22, 2016

Pre-Surgery Checklist

As you you know there is a lot going on in my little world as of late.
With surgery less than 2 weeks away, I'm diving into full planning mode. While I'm down to one functioning leg, I'd prefer that our house doesn't fall apart, we remember to feed ourselves daily, and I am not bored out of my mind during recovery.

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1) Research and prep quick meals
When I told Adam I was doing this he reminded me that he has fully functioning limbs and would be happy to cook (he's a keeper, ladies and gents). However, when he's working long days I don't want him to work about my usual duties of meal prepping, shopping, and cooking. So anything I can help do ahead of time to make it easier, I'm all about it.

Any suggestions on freezer or crockpot meals that you love? 


2) Buy comfy lounge clothes
Have you tried the amazing things at GapBody? They make a good majority of their PJs and lounge wear out of modal, and let me tell you, there as smooth and silky as butter! I have two Gap Body boy short/cami sets that I practically live in, but I would love some cozier pants or a little hoodie to lay around in. I love these joggers!

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3) Clean the house from top to bottom
Nothing relaxes me more than enjoying a squeaky clean house while my Scentsy warmer is on making our house smell SO good (fave fall scents are Cider MillHoney Pear Cider, and Pumpkin Marshmallow). However, our house could use a little TLC deep cleaning... enter weekend to do list! 

I've started lots of miscellaneous projects - sewing, going through my closet, sorting and labeling Christmas decor - that I need to finally wrap them up. After that, I want my floors to shine like the top of the Crysler Building (any Annie fans out there? Buehler?).


4) Make a list of fall movies to watch
So granted I will be hopped up on some good pain meds and will be sleeping some of the time, but I am not a napper. With fall being my absolute favorite time of year, I want to bring a little bright spot into my recovery by watching some of my fall favorites:

   + When Harry Met Sally
   + You've Got Mail (pretty much anything with Meg Ryan!)
   + Runaway Bride
   + October Sky

Do you have any that remind you of fall?


5) Stock up on good books to read
I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I can barely put it down. I love being back in the world of Hogwarts! Looking for other great books to add to my library list. I'd love to stock up before being confined to the couch for a week or so! If you have any books you could barely put down, please send your recs my way!

Recently read:
   + The Girl on the Train
   + Me Before You // After You
   + Modern Lovers

On my radar:
   + When Breath Becomes Air
   + The Last Lecture
   + The Summer Before the War
   + First Comes Love
   + The Vacationers
   + All the Light We Cannot See


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


If you have any suggestions on recipes, fall movies, and books... help a sister out!!


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September 20, 2016

Pulse Check... I'm Alive & Have Photos!

Why hello there!
After 6 weeks away from the blogosphere many have reached out to make sure I was still alive, and to those wonderful peeps I want to say thanks! Although still alive and ticking, there has been a lot going on to say the least.

Here's a little recap...


1) I went to Chicago!

I had such a blast conferencing with my co-workers for the week, and I feel truly blessed to say I love my co-workers and they inspire me to work harder and smarter every single day.

After our work conference wrapped up, I got to see my dear friend Jess from 26 and Not Counting for a lunch date and catch up! She just moved to the big city and it was so fun to spend some girl time with her!

Adam joined me for the weekend and we laughed until we cried at Second City, watched the Olympics while eating deep dish Chicago pizza from our hotel bed, visited the Aquarium, and saw the sites!



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2) I was diagnosed with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (boo!)

After getting back from Chicago my leg pain was worse than it's ever been. Unfortunately a diagnosis been a long time coming (if you remember this post from last year). After 6 months of physical therapy and 1.5 years of not being able to exercise and do the things I enjoy, we have figured out the source of pain. Here's a little more on compartment syndrome in case you are wondering what the heck that is... and for the love of Pete please don't google image that like I did!

Anyway, I'm honestly relieved to have a diagnosis and a plan. Bring on feeling better! My first surgery on my left leg will be early October and I will have 6 weeks of recovery time. After healed, I will have surgery on my right leg before Christmas and hopefully start the New Year off brand new. Prayers appreciated!  #wowzers


3) I visited my Okla-homies

My bestie had a baby, so of course we had to go meet him! It was fun to see my favorite people, spend time lounging, snuggle my new "nephew", and make a trip to my alma mater... Go Pokes!

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4) We had a bestie cabin weekend

It's always nice to sneak away to the cabin and lounge, especially when you are in good company. My bestie married Adam's cousin... so now Court and I are bestie/cousins (didn't we plan that nicely?!). They have a sweet baby girl who is so animated, snuggly, and gives me mad baby fever. The struggle is real! It was a great weekend visiting the Kansas State Fair and just catching up!

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Don't worry, I got my act together and feel a little more at ease after things have settled a bit. I can't wait for more blog posts (and not in 6+ more weeks - yeesh!) coming this week and the weeks to come! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, so it shakes up my inspiration quite a bit.

Sending all of you lots of love!
What have you all been up to lately?



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