Friday, December 8, 2017

Cookie Swap {Recipe}

Hello Friends!!

Yesterday, I did something really fun and totally new (to me). I participated in a cookie swap. It was part of my Junior League fun. We had to make 4 dozen cookies. As part of the Cocktails and Cookies, every participant brought cookies and their recipe. At the event, we could eat cookies, enjoy drinks, and meet people. It was nice to finally meet some new people in Boston!



The event was so much fun! About 20 of us showed up with 4 dozen cookies each. The table was so packed with cookies we had to start combining Tupperware in order to get them all to fit! I had some AMAZING cookies. There were some that were super cute. Everyone did an amazing job, I was so pleasantly surprised.





My favorites were a Nutella stuff chocolate chip cookie, chocolate chip snowball cookie, and an M&M cookie. It was hard to narrow it down. Ultimately, I had so many cookies that I didn't end up having dinner. For the swap, I made about 50 Snowball Cookies. They were walnut flavored. I had seen them quite a bit on Pinterest. When I asked friends to choose from a couple of cookies this one won by a landslide.







The cookies are not hard to make, even though they look super hard to make. They are sweet and melt in your mouth. I really enjoyed making the cookies. I made them fairly small in order to get a lot so that was time-consuming, but they bake very quickly.



Here is the recipe I used:


Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:14 minutes
Total Time:1 hour and 15 minutes
Yield: About 6 dozen
also known as Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks/226 grams) unsalted butter, softened slightly
5 tablespoons (63 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) salt
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour,
2 cups (about 240 grams) finely chopped walnuts
1½ cups (about 188 grams) confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cookies twice (will need more)

Directions

  1. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and salt. 
  2. Gradually add flour; beating after each addition. 
  3. Stir in the nuts; mix until fully incorporated. 
  4. Divide dough in half and refrigerate in plastic food wrap for approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, arrange the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. 
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. 
  7. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside. 
  8. Measure dough using a small, 1-inch spring-loaded scoop making sure each scoopful is level. 
  9. Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball.
  10. Place dough balls 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets. 
  11. Bake in preheated oven until the cookies are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The underside of the cookies should be only lightly browned. And the cookies should not crack—a sure sign of overbaked teacake cookies.
  12. Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks for approximately 2 minutes. 
  13. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar. ** IMPORTANT TO DO*
  14. Place the sugar-coated cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Roll cookies once again in the confectioners’ sugar.
Yield: Makes about 6 dozen (about 72) small cookies when using 1-inch size (very small) cookie scoop as indicated in the recipe. Of course, larger cookie scoops will make larger sized cookies and yield less of them.
Which cookies do you like for the Holidays?
XOXO

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

6 Ways To Enjoy Spending Time Alone

Hey Y'all

I think this is something that is very important to master. Even myself who actually enjoys time alone very much, I find myself needing some extra help. There are times I want to be alone, but I also want to do fun things. So now is the time to beat that stigma and enjoy your time alone, enjoy doing things alone, go out and explore the world. There is great power in being alone for some experiences. There are tons of articles praising traveling alone or going to restaurants alone.


one// Find a Hobby

This is one is probably the easiest and best way to enjoy spending time alone. Personally, I always thought I was a hobby-less person but eventually, even I found stuff I enjoyed doing. It can be anything from knitting blankets (like me) to photography, reading, flying kites, or anything else that makes you excited to spend your free time. It will be a passion of yours, not a chore. If you're sitting there thinking, "I don't like anything that much" that just means you have to keep searching and trying new things. Its out there for you, I promise. 


two// Boost your Creativity

I always thought (and still think at times) that I am not a creative being. As someone who is terrible at drawing, or basically any type of art to the point that doodling stresses me out, I figured creativity is just not for me. Until I realized that being creative takes on many different roles and shapes within our lives. Any type of problem-solving uses creativity, you can be creative in the way you dress, raise children, do your makeup, your cooking, the way you work or study, etc. We are all creative beings and we all need time to foster our creativity. Spending time alone can help us boost our creativity and refine it so it can shine in our lives.

three// Take Time to Grow

Some steps need to be taken alone. It’s the only way to really figure out where you need to go and who you need to be.”    – Mandy Hale
This is really the cornerstone of spending time alone. The idea that by being alone you can really focus on yourself and your needs. It might not always be so obvious what your needs are or what you need to accomplish for yourself, but as you practice alone time you will get there. All these components build upon each other so as you start to figure out how to be alone you will be growing as a person. The more you learn to enjoy your own company and meditate, refresh, and renew yourself the better you will feel afterward.

four// Go on an Adventure

This is probably my favorite thing to do. Especially now that I've moved there is so much to explore and see. Even if you haven't moved you cannot tell me that there isn't something you haven't seen or haven't done that you've always wanted to try. Be a tourist in your own city/town. Enjoy the sights. Really slow down and see what the area around you has to offer. You don't necessarily have to go on a trip to be able to adventure, but if you do decide to go on a trip alone that's awesome as well.

five// Take yourself out on a Date

This one can be the most intimidating to do because the idea of going to a movie and dinner alone can sound sad or scary. There is great power in having the confidence to go out into the world and wine and dine yourself. Put down the phone or all the other things we use to distract ourselves and take in the world around you. There is no shame in being alone, don't let that deter you from going out. You'll see you make great company.

six// Get to Know Yourself

What lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be” – Ellen Burstyn
Sometimes being alone with your thoughts can be, well, intimidating. But don't let that stop you! You can be your own best friend. Go out and do something you've always wanted to do, something that might scare you a little and learn from that. There is great power in knowing what you like and don't like and even more power in being able to figure that out for yourself. I know I'm not the only one that automatically assumes I don't like something without even trying it out, then when I actually gain the courage to try it, I end up liking something brand new. Go out and try the world. There is so much to do.

Do you have any tips for being alone?
XOXO

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Bucket List

Hello Friends!

Christmas is right around the corner. I still cannot believe that this year went by this fast. Along with the holiday season, it is also finals season. So excited to finally be done with this semester and get ready to deck the halls! I am looking forward to some really fun things this semester. I feel like New England is a great place for Christmas because it'll start matching all the songs. With that in mind, I decided to make a Holiday Bucket List!



  1. Spend time with family & Friends
  2. Enjoy a snow day
  3. Decorate my house
  4. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon
  5. Go ice skating
  6. Send out Christmas Cards
  7. Go to a Cookie Swap
  8. Participate in an Ornament Swap
  9. Cozy up by the fire
  10. Go to a Christmas Tree lightening ceremony
  11. Go on a Christmas Lights Tour
  12. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

What are you planning on doing this Holiday Season?
XOXO

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Club {November 2017}

Hello, My Fellow Clubbies,

For the majority of this month, I spent my time reading a Stephen King novel. I want to preface this review by saying that I get scared very easily and I do not like scary or horror movies/books. Now you're wondering to yourself "why would she pick up a Stephen King book then?" that's an excellent question. I was wandering through the library and something about this book just called to me. So I made the poor decision in picking it up. It's ironic that the book called to me and if you read the book you'll understand why!



Rose Madder by Stephen King
This is the first Stephen King novel that I have ever read. I know that he writes scary/horror type books, but I grabbed it anyway. This book follows Rose (or Rosie as she likes to be called) as she sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. Reading the summary of the book does not fully explain what is going to happen. The vivid imagery and complex characters really suck you into the storyline. You feel as if you're sitting right next to Rosie as she discovers her new life. Worlds begin to merge, yours with Rosie's, and Rosie's with Rose Madder's. In order to escape her fate, Rosie must escape reality. It is a difficult book to put down, no matter how horrifying and scary it may be.

While I was scared for most of the time I read the book, I got invested in Rosie's story and life and simply could not put it down. Hopefully, you enjoy it. But I caution if you dislike strong language and graphic violence this is not the book for you.

What are you reading?
XOXO

Monday, November 27, 2017

10 Must Have Etsy Christmas Decorations

Hello All!

Christmas decorating is my favorite time of the year! I am so excited to decorate for Christmas this year. I like to put up the tree, but also to do little things. Little things that bring winter and warm holidays inside the home. I like being able to add my own flair to my holidays. I will definitely be trying some DIYs this holiday season, but I do love these cute Etsy decorations. They are all the DIY feeling with the professional look.


Buy it for $30.00

I was in Maine last week and we went to L.L. Bean's Northern Lights Festival and they have A TON of balsam fir trees. Balsam Fir Trees smell like Christmas! That's why I absolutely love these wreaths. If you ever get the chance to make it up to Maine you can literally pick up any of these wreaths on the side of the road!

Get it | CreativeByClair

Buy it for $23.99

This throw pillow is so cute. They have a bunch of customizable options! Let your visitors know that they are at the right house!

Get it | GFTWoodcraft

Buy it for $15.00

These little trees are adorable! Perfect for any mantle or coffee table. They can even fit on a bookcase. I am absolutely getting these for my house.

Buy it for $29.00

This adorable kitchen sign will welcome everyone into your delicious fresh cookie smelling kitchen!

Get it | RustiqueSigns

Buy it for $41.00

I love these signs for the outside. They are double sided AND customizable. I love this little snowman to put outside of my house.

Get it | Justforupersonalized

Buy it for $30.00

Absolutely in love with these stockings! They are so cute. Plaid and personalizable. I absolutely need the bow stocking!

Buy it for $16.00

This is a great banner to decorate your home. It combines Christmas and winter for the perfect winter wonderland feeling within your house.

Buy it for $65.00

This wreath is so cute. If you are going for a less traditional looking wreath with a more rustic feel I'd totally go for this one!! It is beautiful with the very detailed part.


Buy it for $26.00

Advent calendars are my favorite part of Christmas! I love counting down the days and getting a little present too. 

Buy it for $18

I love these! They are so cute and fun to decorate a mantle, bookcase, shelf, or even coffee table. 


What do you like from Etsy?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Friendsgiving Acorns {Recipe}

Hello Friends!

This year instead of going to a Friendsgiving I went to my boyfriend's firefighting department holiday party. It was a potluck style party. So I searched on Pinterest for some fun Thanksgiving/Fall themed desserts. Then I made the mistake of giving some options to my boyfriend to choose. So although these are REALLY cute, they are fairly time-consuming. Keep that in mind before you start.



They were a hit! Everyone really likes oreo truffles. By the end, there weren't any left over. The whole party was so much fun. I got to meet some of the men that fight fires with my man. We got to watch a slideshow of all the fun stuff they did this past year. We played a Yankee Swap version of Christmas gifts. Some guys got awards and everyone got a new shirt (by everyone I just mean the firefighters). It was really cool to see all these guys from different walks of life volunteering to help out their town. 




Ingredients:

1 package peanut butter Oreos 15.25 oz, pulsed in the food processor (I used double chocolate Oreos)
1 package regular cream cheese 8 oz, softened
2 tubs of Baker's Melting Chocolate
Brown sprinkles, I used chocolate flakes but brown jimmies work great too!
Pretzel sticks, broken into small pieces

Directions:

  1. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature, you can speed up the process in the microwave
  2. Put half of the Oreos in the food processor and pulse until you have Oreo crumbs. Add the other half of the Oreos to the food processor and pulse again, until all the Oreos are fine crumbs.
  3. Once the cream cheese is soft, mix the Oreos and cream cheese together, making sure the mixture is very well blended.

  1. Use the tablespoon to measure the oreo mixture and form it into acorn shapes. I used a little bit more than 1 tbsp for each acorn. To make an acorn shape, form the mixture into an elongated ball, then pinch one end to make it slightly tapered.
  2. Place the acorns on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place them in the freezer for 1 hour.
  3. After the acorns are hard, begin to melt the chocolate. I prefer to remove 3-5 acorns from the freezer at a time for dipping. To dip, place 1 acorn in the melted chocolate. Use a spoon to spoon chocolate on top of the acorn, if needed. To remove the acorn use a fork to lift it out of the chocolate. To remove excess chocolate from the acorn on the fork, tap your wrist 2 times with your other hand. Scrape the bottom of the fork on the edge of the saucepan to remove more chocolate, then move the acorn to another baking sheet lined with wax paper using a toothpick to help get the acorn off the fork smoothly.
  1. Continue this process until all of the acorns are dipped. Allow them to harden at room temperature.
  2. To add the chocolate sprinkles, dip the top portion of the acorn into the chocolate then dip that portion into a bowl with chocolate sprinkles.
  3. To add the pretzel, dip one end of the pretzel into the chocolate and press it into place.
  4. Return the acorns to the baking sheet to allow the pretzels to set. After they are set, serve and enjoy! Store leftovers in a container in the refrigerator.
Brown Jimmie sprinkles can be used as well!




What are some Thanksgiving/Fall desserts you like?
XOXO

Friday, November 17, 2017

6 Easy Holiday Hosting Tips

Hello Friends!

Hosting a holiday party or dinner can be hard. Because it is the Holidays there is so much extra pressure to do an even better job! With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we will have many Friendsgiving. Some of us (like me) will be hosting their first Thanksgiving ever! There can be a lot of stress that goes into this. So for this post, I turned to the person in my life that knows everything, my mom. Here's my mom's list of easy holiday hosting tips!


one// Take Inventory

You want to make sure you have enough of everything. This means enough plates for all the people that are coming, serving dishes, utensils. My rule of thumb for utensils is you definitely don't have enough, same with cups! Make sure you have enough chairs for everyone to sit. You don't want to be scrambling the last minute trying to figure that out.

two// Start Early

I'm a HUGE advocate for waking up early. But for the Holidays, waking up early is not nearly enough. You want to start cooking and preparing some things the days leading up to the big day. You don't want to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is watching the parade. On that note create a schedule of what needs to be in the oven when and for how long, in order to use everything effectively. 

three// Decor

Same as cooking you want to start early. You also want to have all your decor done before your first guest walks in the door. If you are DIY-ing your decorations start a couple weeks in advance. Set your table and all other decorations the day before so you don't have to rush the morning of.

four// Delegate

Use your resources. People are always happy to help be it by cooking or by helping you make the decorations. Ask for help and delegate things you cannot do. I never cook the turkey, it is a recipe I don't know, but my husband knows how to do it. It's all his job. Letting people be a part of the planning and cooking helps them feel involved and invested in the holiday.

five// Self-Serve

Set up a self-serve bar both for the alcohol and for the food. You are already the hostess don't also become the food server or bartender. You want to be able to enjoy your party.

six// Potluck Style

I was not always a fan of potluck (because I'm picky and like my food my way), but once I started to really embrace the idea it is really fun. Not only does it help your costs go down, but it gives you time out of the kitchen to enjoy your company. Plus people get very excited to share their food with you and each other.

Good Luck!- Daphne's Mom
XOXO


Affordable Holiday Dresses

Hello Friends!!

The Holidays are among us!! It is the best time of the year, it also means that its time for new dresses!! (Which only makes it a better time of the year). I already got my Thanksgiving dress(es) now I'm turning my attention to Christmas, Holiday Parties, and New Years. Luckily Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner! Here are some of my favorite picks




       
       

      

       

I'm also really liking this fun dress

What are your favorite dresses?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

5 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Schlump

Hello All!!

On any day, school or at work, powering through your AM grind is only half the victory. Then post-lunchtime sets in. About 3 o'clock, motivation plummets, and procrastination arrives. I've been playing with some new ideas and ways on how to help beat that afternoon schlump and refocus the day. Eventually, we will all have a schlump-free day!


one// Declutter your Desk

I find that a decluttered desk helps de-clutter my mind. Instead of reaching for your phone, try changing up your desk area. Removing the excess stuff on your desk helps reinvigorate your energy and more creative juices flowing.

two// Change Seats

Moving to a different seat (especially in school) help give you a new perspective on your day or on class. In an office maybe try sitting at a different desk or changing your chair in order to get new inspiration. I know it might sound odd or uncomfortable, but a new space can give you inspiration.

three// Afternoon Snacks

Mid-afternoon is right when my blood sugar drops. Taking a little bit of time to get a snack can really help concentrate again. I like sweet snacks. Try to aim for something that has nutrients like fruits. Nuts or other easy snacks, full of omega-3s, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals are the best to get you going again!

four// Move Around

Take a walk. Both at work and at school I like to take a 10-15 min break and just walk around. Go for a walk around the block or from one end of the building to the other. The movement helps you energize and prepare for the afternoon. Don't get on your phone, let your mind clear all on its own.

five// Take a Timed Break

If nothing works, try taking a timed break. Working on one project for a certain amount of time, then moving to another for another amount of time then going back. This is the Pomodoro Method. By timing your work and breaks it helps keep you on track and motivated. It is a true and tested method.

How do you beat your afternoon schlump?
XOXO

Monday, November 13, 2017

How-To Create Your Own Holiday Traditions

Hello Friends!

With all the Holidays right around the corner, we all start to dust off our traditions and get prepping for the holidays. This year will be full of firsts for me and I'm excited to potentially add new traditions to my favorite traditions. The idea of having a holiday full of firsts can be a little scary. But between our 20s and 30s life is full of firsts and full of new milestones, might as well add our own flair to it! It can be really special to create a tradition that is new and unique to you, even if its just mashing two "old" traditions together.



Here are some of my favorite ways of creating new traditions!

one// Making a New Recipe

Maybe you're like me and you spend WAY too many hours on Pinterest pinning all those recipes you'll vow you will make one day, now's the time!!! Hit the kitchen to test your skills! Blast your favorite holiday tunes, spend a day cooking up something new and have an awesome dish to show for it. This year I'm attempting a Maple Bourbon Apple Pie! I'm very excited if it's successful I'll try more desserts for Christmas. 

two// Add a New Ornament to the Tree

This is something my sister and I started a couple of years ago. On a whim, we bought ornaments to decorate and every year since we head to the craft store, pick up a clear ornament, then spend too many hours watching movies and painting ornaments. It's been fun to add our own ornaments each year, it really brought us back to our childhood. I made Mike Wazowski the first year and I was hooked!

three// Send Holiday Cards

Personally, I love receiving mail especially holiday cards! Although I have tried to convince my family to do picture Christmas cards (no one listens to me), I really enjoy shopping for Holiday Cards and mailing them to my loved ones. We always take the picture and my mom uploads it to Facebook. This year I already got stacks and stacks of cards and started writing my list of people to send them to (don't worry we checked the list twice).

four// Christmas Movie Marathon

ABC Family's trademark "25 days of Christmas" is the best inspiration for these movies. I will ALWAYS watch the Polar Express, but you can throw in your own mix of favorite movies. My sisters and I like to watch Harry Potter as well. 

five// "Stress-free" Friendsgiving

This is one idea I got from my boyfriend's ex-boss. She always has a "stress-free" family Thanksgiving. They just don't worry about it. If there's no turkey then there's no turkey. They just don't worry about the little things, they focus on having fun! I really liked that idea! Especially for inviting people over and just enjoying each other's company.

six// Make Your Own Schedule

This is something I am looking forward to doing the most this year. You can create your own schedule Holiday schedule. From Holiday Parties to Christmas tree lightings, to Light Parades. It will be so fun to create your own schedule.

seven// New Holiday Decorations

Nothing makes the home feel more festive than being decorated for the Holidays. Going out and refreshing some of your decorations is the best way to put your personal spin on the holidays. I love getting a new wreath every year. Maine has some wonderful handmade wreaths! You can also get fun tablecloths or pillows. 

eight// Holiday Mash-Up

When you're with another person (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc) we each come in with our own family holiday traditions. My boyfriend and I have had the most fun time trying out each other's traditions and finding a middle ground that makes up our own personal traditions. He introduced me to put candles in the windows. It has been really great to mix our traditions into our own.
Do you have any suggestions for making new traditions?
XOXO

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How To Be A Great Post-Grad Roommate

Hello All!

This month marks the start of my third month living in Boston and living with roommates. Living with roommates has been an interesting experience. It has challenged me in new ways and in things that I've never realized before. I have learned new things about myself along the way. I wanted to share some tips that I've learned about living with roommates and maybe you all can share some more tips with me!!


one// Be Clear with Chores and Responsibilities

I do enjoy cleaning, sometimes. But mostly I hate dirty dishes in the sink. One of my roommates also really enjoys to clean (definitely more than I do). Usually we have a good system in which we all spend a good chunk of our Sunday cleaning the apartment. Taking out the trash and emptying the dishwasher is something that gets done more frequently and usually whoever is around will do it. Coming up with a chore chart or a system can also help with breaking up some of the tasks.

two// Be Clear about Financial Responsibilities

Living with other people is great because it lessens your financial burden. You are able to split wifi, gas, heat, energy, and the cost of rent. Making sure you split up these costs at the beginning and at the very least decide when you will be making payments and who will be in charge of making the payment. Talking about money can be stressful and awkward especially since there are different salaries involved. But it is imperative that this is figured out as soon as possible.

three// Establish Expectations

Going into the living situation with your roommates, have a clear expectations. You don't need to lay out whether or not you're going to be friends, but instead discuss how you would like to live. Do you want the house warm or cold? Do you want to host friends? Do you love to cook and plan to use the kitchen a lot? Little things like how often you'll be home and what you expect from your home when you get home can make a difference in your co-existence. By picturing how you are living together with realistic expectations from the beginning hopefully you'll be more satisfied in the long run. 

four// Be Considerate and Courteous

Caring about your roommates and what they are doing in your space is necessary for you to have a good relationship. Be considerate of them when they are sleeping. Try not to be too noisy early in the morning and late at night. If you share a bathroom try to make sure that you all share and take appropriate turns. It's small things like that that will make a difference in your living situation.

five// Be Intentional

The more you put into your roommate relationships the more you will likely get out of it. You don't become immediate friends usually, you need to put some time and energy into those relationships. Be sure to include your roommate on plans when possible. Take the time to ask them how their day was and what they are up to. 

six// Deal with Problems as they Arise

If problems do arise or if you aren't thrilled with how your living situation is currently be sure to talk about it in a kind way. Don't let the anger build up and definitely don't talk to them when you're angry. Being passive aggressive is not going to help either in the long run. Bring up the issue in the most benign way possible, try not to point fingers, but instead work together to come up with a solution.

seven// Respect Each Other's Space

Obviously you and your roommates can do whatever you all want in your own space. If they close the door when they leave in the morning that means you shouldn't go in. They will in theory anyway do the same for you. I typically try not to enter their rooms, even if they are there, unless they tell me its okay. 

eight// Respect Common Areas

When it comes to shared space however, a good rule of thumb is to try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you make a mess in one of the areas try to clean it up instead of leaving it for another person to clean up after you. Whether its dishes, or an unorganized living room from visiting friends, you don't want to have your space a mess. Your roommate definitely doesn't want it a mess either.

nine// Discuss Apartment Organization

Knowing how you plan to organize the pantry, kitchen, fridge, communal closets, and basements will help to make sure that no one claims more space than they should. Storing extra supplies in communal space seems fair for all but double check to make sure it is okay with everyone else. It is important to be extra conscious of space when you don't live alone.


Do you have any tips?
XOXO