So Chocolatey: Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe

February 28, 2012
A little while ago, I tried the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever that the lovely Julie Ann shared on her blog. They were so unbelievably chocolatey, and pretty easy to make.

The only thing that made this recipe a little more difficult than the regular chocolate chip cookie recipe is the fact that I had to cut up all of the chocolate. I'm thinking that I cut it all up a little too finely, but the cookies were still super chocolatey. They just weren't chunky chocolate super chocolatey -- had enough of the word "chocolate" yet?

After the initial cutting up of the chocolate, the recipe was very straight forward and easy to follow -- Julie Ann's recipes are usually pretty easy to follow, though. I was very excited while cooking this recipe because it was the first time since being pregnant that I had made chocolate chip cookies, and I finally got to eat the cookie dough -- yummm!

Once I got my healthy spoonfuls of dough spread out onto the cookie sheet and cooking in the oven, I couldn't wait until I could get the first bite of one of those gooey, chocolatey cookies!

They were most delicious! I will definitely be making this recipe again :)


10 Things I Like

February 26, 2012
I was tagged by the lovely Steffi over at Maedchen Zimmer to share 10 Things I Like with you -- you can check Steffi's 10 Things out here

1. Water - I love how the feel and the sound of water make me feel so relaxed -- like sound of the waves lapping at the shore of the lake, and the encompassing velvety smoothness of the water on my body as I do a back float.

2. Fashion - I love fashion, and, more importantly, shoes. I don't have as many shoes as most women, but I do enjoy them and how they can complete, or destroy, an outfit.

3. Art - This one is a given. I guess it's not safe to assume that all artists enjoy art, but it would be in my case.

4. Coca Cola - I have share this fact with you a few times, but this goes to show you how much I really do enjoy cracking open a can of Coke. Mmm...I want one now...

5. Flowers - I love the smell of flowers. I love the feel of a flower's petals. I love how they make a room so much brighter. How could you not enjoy flowers. They make my world happy.

6. Christmas - I absolutely love Christmas. It is my favourite holiday. I like how it makes me feel inside when I start buying gifts, putting up the Christmas tree, and sending out the yearly letter. The baking isn't too bad either :)

7. Books - I haven't been paying as much attention to my books recently, but I do enjoy reading. I love when a story envelopes me and takes me on an adventure somewhere that I will never be, or have the chance to be -- I love historical fiction.

8. Animals - I love animals: horses, dogs, cats, name it, and I love it -- I especially love little goats. Sooo cute!

9. Naps - I am really enjoying being able to have naps right now. My son is currently teething, and naps are the perfect way to help me get through the day. This will be much more difficult when I go back to work. Booooo...

10. New Girl - I absolutely adore this show. I look forward to watching it every week, and actually get a little depressed when it takes a break. Seeing it leave for the Summer is going to break my heart -- and then I will take my son to the park :)


Just Me: A Self-Portrait on Saturday

February 25, 2012
I discovered the Self-Portrait Saturday series over on the blog of the lovely Wonder Forest, and decided that I would give it a shot -- no photography pun intended...well...maybe. She started the series as a way for us bloggers to become more comfortable with our cameras and our bodies.

It's been a very long time since I've done an intentional self-portrait -- not holding a purse or showing off a necklace -- and having been recently pregnant, I have been having a lot of issues with my body, but after seeing myself in these photographs, as well as recent others, I can see that I don't look as awful as I feel.

I'm very pleased with myself that I only took a total of eight photos. It is incredibly difficult to know what you look like in front of the camera until the photo has already been taken. Then you say to yourself: "Okay...I need to face the window to get more light because the bags under my eyes are very prominent in this photo." or "Hmmm...I need to find a different place for my arm because my elbow looks gigantic." or "Wow! My eye is really smooshed against the pillow in this one. I'll try again and be more aware of not keeping my face so close to the pillow."

It's those little things that if you were behind the camera yourself, or had someone watching you telling you what to do with your face and arms, would be corrected the first time. Just part of the learning process, I guess, and yet another reason to have more than one of yourself.


Darby O'Gill and My Card Making Process

February 23, 2012
For those of us with a wee bit o' Irish blood, or those that are looking for an excuse to drink green alcoholic beverages, St. Patrick's Day is a fun day -- mostly because it allows me to dress in green and prance around like the leprechaun that I am. I actually wear a button that says "World's Cutest Leprechaun".

To help spread the love for this festive little day, I wanted to share with you how I sketch out my cards, and show you one of the newest cards in the shop.

The first thing I do is pick-up my pen and my sketchbook. Sometimes I am able to write out what I want a card to say perfectly the first time, and other times it takes several tries before I get the layout and my cursive exactly the way that I want it. The "happy St. Patty's Day" you see above, sadly, did not make the cut -- well, not sadly, I'm actually glad it didn't make the cut; it looks quite horrid.

As you can also see, it usually takes me at least a couple of tries to get the perfect little drawing to go on the card as well. Again, sometimes I'm able to make it awesome the first time -- like the shamrock -- and other times it takes a little work -- like the hat.

After I have sketched out exactly what I want, I scan it all, and take to Photoshop where I crop everything down to size. After all of the images and words/phrases are saved in a special folder, I open up Word while I say the magic word: "wuuurd", and plug it into a special little template that I have saved. Then I print it off, and -- voila -- what you have is the card that you see above.

I usually write out a bunch of words, or phrases, and draw a bunch of little things before I scan it all in. That way I'm not scanning every single second. Sometimes an idea comes really quickly to my head, and other times I might sit on a drawing or phrase for a while because it just doesn't seem right when I first put it on the page. Some drawings and words make it all the way to the final stage, and other times they will never be more than scribbles on a piece of paper.

p.s. I have changed the comment section. It is now a pop-up window and you don't have to prove you are not a robot. I am finding it really difficult to read those verification words, so I assume that others are as well. Peace :)


Breaking the Habit

February 21, 2012
Chewing your nails: if it's habit that you have, it's something that you so badly want to break, but, like any bad habit, it's tough. I don't know how many times I tried to stop chewing my nails. I remember there were points in my life where I would let my nails grow for a week or two, and then I would just chew them right off. I don't know where the habit came from, or why I continued to do it, but it took me a while to finally stop myself. It has been such a very long time since I have chewed my nails, and I want to share with you how I broke the habit:

It started with a single nail: my pinky nail -- or what I called the sacred nail. I was not allowed to chew on my pinky nail, ever. All other nails were open to be chewed, except for that single nail. Over time, that nail grew quite long, and I was very proud of myself. Eventually, I decided to do the same thing for the pinky nail on the other hand, and so another nail joined the wolf-pack of sacred nails. It took a couple of years, but eventually all of my nails became sacred nails.

I would be lying if I told you I never chewed my nails again. I definitely had moments of weakness, and they usually were coupled with boredom. The last time I remember chewing all of my nails, I was 19 years-old. I was not happy with myself that day. I have recently had moments where I might nibble at my nail if it has been chipped or broken when I don't have access to nail clippers -- like on an airplane. Let me tell you, as soon as I land, I am on the hunt for a pair of nail clippers -- nothing annoys me more than a broken nail that I can't fix. But, I am proud to say, that I have not chewed my nails since that day when I was 19 years-old. Long nails for life!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Delightfully Delicious: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

February 19, 2012
A little while ago, I made the most delicious cookies that I discovered on the fantastic blog of Obvious State (the recipe is now gone, but I wrote it down!). I knew immediately that I had to make these cookies, and they turned out so well. They were very easy to make, and such a simple recipe to follow -- you just need a little bit of time because the dough needs to harden in the fridge for about four hours.

The dough was simple enough to make, and looked like little donuts when rolled into little
balls and smothered in confectioners sugar :)

The cookies taste just like brownies!

What you will need:

1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and oil together, then add the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and then put the mixture in your refrigerator and let it chill for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, take out your dough and roll it into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Roll each ball in the icing sugar before placing on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

If the dough starts sticking to your hands before your able to roll out all of the cookies, just put it back into the fridge for a bit to harden again so it becomes easier to work with once more.

Cook for 10-12 minutes at 350 F.

Do not over-cook these cookies or they will be hard as rocks. You want them to be soft and chewy like a brownie.



It's Time to Take Some Responsibility

February 18, 2012
*This is often a touchy and controversial subject on which there are many opinions that differ greatly. These are my thoughts:

I'm tired of people blaming the mainstream media for how the children of today act. It seems like parents will do anything to not take responsibility for the actions that they take that affect the lives of their children.

The reason why children curse is because they hear their parents curse, not because they hear a word once in a song on the radio. This is something that I personally need to work on. One of my worst fears is my son going to school and cursing when he drops something on the ground.

The reason why children say racist or cruel things is because their parents say racist or cruel, not because a character in a show on the television says racist or cruel things. This one is a tricky one. No one is perfect, but we can certainly take note of the comments that we make about other people and other cultures in our daily lives, and perhaps realise how cruel we really are.

The reason why children dress provocatively is because their parents dress provocatively, not because they saw a woman in a music video in a low-cut top and hot pants. Who do you think is buying the clothes for these children anyway? It's certainly not mainstream media.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: you are the example for your children. If you don't want them to curse, say racist or cruel things, or dress provocatively then don't do them yourself. All children want to be is a little version of their parents; they look up to us more than we ever think that they would.

When will we stop trying to find a scapegoat to blame for why our children are the way they are, and finally take responsibility for what we have taught them.


Loving Matt & Nat

February 16, 2012
I made a trip to Winners the other day, and found the most fantastic Matt & Nat bag. I have always wanted a Matt & Nat purse, but they are just out of my comfortable spending zone. Imagine my excitement when I found one at 50% off the original price. I just had to scoop it up!

This bag is a dream! It is true what they say -- that "you get what you pay for" -- because this bag is beyond any other bag that I have ever owned; it just feels expensive.

What's fantastic about Matt & Nat -- that I have since discovered -- is that their products are completely vegan, meaning they are cruelty-free and free of animal by-products.  Another interesting thing is that the lining of each bag is made with 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Pretty cool, huh? Not only am I going to look fabulous carrying this bag, but I can feel good about what I have done for my world at the same time!


Great (Valentine's Day) Expectations

February 14, 2012
When I was a young girl, I had all of the romantic notions that tend to come with Valentine's Day. I always day-dreamed that a boy that I liked would give me a valentine and profess his love for me, and that, when I did find the boy of my dreams, we would spend Valentine's Day eating chocolate while giving each other gifts and cards, and eating dinner by candlelight.

I had high expectations for my poor husband in the first few years of our Valentine's Days together, and I was always disappointed -- the guy never stood a chance. I always wanted him to take me out to dinner and buy me flowers and shower me in gifts -- he gave me the flowers and gifts, but I never got the dinner -- and for some reason, I always felt empty on Valentine's Day, like the flowers and gifts weren't what I really wanted.

It wasn't until a few years later that I would realise that I didn't need Valentine's Day. I know it sounds cliche, but I'm not a big Valentine's Day person. I no longer expect flowers and gifts, because what I really want is to spend time with my husband every single day of the year. I love being with him; going to movies with him; driving in the car with him; talking to him. That will always be enough for me. I need nothing more.

In our earlier years, my husband would always give me gifts and write me poems -- he still writes me poems, but not as often as I would like. The other day, I was going through a special box where I have stashed my most precious letters and photographs, and found a poem that he had written for me as a gift on our very first Valentine's Day. I had given him a ring as a gift, and he apologised in the poem that he had no gift for me, save for the poem. I have no idea where his ring is, but I still have the poem. 

Here is a small excerpt:  

"The love of one another, is shown on this special day
This day is very happy, not at all grey
You are with the one you love, for as long as you can be
I know for sure with all my heart, the day will be perfect as long as you I see"


The Simplicity of a Handmade Valentine

February 12, 2012
A valentine doesn't have to be complicated. It could be as simple as a couple of pieces of paper, a paper doily, and some baker's twine. I actually used little extras that had been used as packaging for items that I had purchased on Etsy -- smile for recycling -- and some bits of paper that I had left-over from other projects.

Now, heaven forbid you shouldn't already have a valentine for your special someone, but hopefully you have some little extras hanging around your house so you can quickly make a valentine. Sure, cards are nice -- and I appreciate you buying one from my SHOP -- but there's nothing quite like a handmade valentine to give to the one you love most.

Peace and love :)


Decorate to Dream: Some Added Elements

February 11, 2012
Last year -- wow -- I shared with you what inspired me in decorating my son's bedroom -- here. We didn't find out the gender of our baby before he arrived, so I decided that the colour green would be a good choice, and I am still in love with it -- although it needs a little love from all the nicks and what-not. Recently, I finally got around to hanging up the rest of the art and photographs that I have been meaning to put up on the walls for quite a while now.

From left to right: 1. This amazing cross-stitch picture of the months of the year with the loveable Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends was done by my Godmother, and was a shower gift for my son. 2. The photographs of my sweet little boy were taken at his newborn session with Cindy Moleski Photography. 3. The little bi-plane is a drawing that I created with him in mind and is also available in the shop -- here. 4. I found this little print from Sugar Fresh just before giving birth and thought it was perfect for either a little boy or girl.

I know that I have a lot of things hanging from the ceiling in my son's room, but I had to add one more! Right above my son's window, I have hung the most wonderful little fabric bunting imaginable. I think it adds a little something extra to the room. I found it in the cutest little shop called A Fete Beckons.

The most important element, and the most recent, that I have added to the room is a little wicker chair that my grandparents gave to me when I was a little girl. I have already sat my little boy in the chair several times to get some cute photos. He actually quite enjoys the chair, and has even used it to help himself stand up. I look forward to the day that I walk into his room and he is sitting in the little chair reading books. *Sigh*


Shop Update: To Valentine's Day and Beyond

February 09, 2012
It has been a fantastic first Valentine Season in the shop. I added a lot of Valentine's Day cards to the SHOP at the beginning of January, and I'm quite surprised and excited about how many Valentines that I have actually sold. What I really like about a lot of the Valentines that are available, is that they don't have to be just for Valentine's Day. They are perfect for telling someone that you love them, or how grateful you are for something that someone has done for you, any time!

You're Sweet Love Card

Right now, I am getting ready for Easter, and have some fun little ideas for cards that have already been put down on paper -- and some that are still swirling in my head. I am also working on a lot more everyday cards, and cards for other special occasions -- like baby showers.

 The Dandelions limited edition art print

I will continue to keep adding little art prints to the shop, and have even introduced a few limited edition art prints. I will be adding more in the coming months. There will only be 50 of each print available, making them a little more rare than the other prints available in the SHOP.

Patiently Waiting 5x5 photo print

Lastly, I have decided that it is time to phase out the photography. Not only because there wasn't much interest in my photographs -- there are many, many way more fantastic photographers than myself selling on Etsy -- but because I have realised that they no longer fit in with the SHOP. I have a certain direction that I am taking, and my photography is not going to help me on this part of my journey. I am grateful because my photographs have brought a lot of different people to the shop, and they are, in fact, one of my main reasons for opening up the shop. But, like everything else in life, we must be willing to grow and let go of the things that are holding us back.


Dear Valentine...

February 07, 2012
Valentine's Day is right around the corner! There's still a bit of time left to find that perfect Valentine for your Special Someone. Check out these cute Valentine's Day cards from some really cute online shops:


The Story of How I Met Your Father

February 05, 2012
It was December 28, 1999, and my best friend, who was here for a visit during the Christmas holiday, and I somehow convinced my mom that she should drive us over to a friend's house so that we could hang-out with him and a group of his friends -- that we had never met. My mom was a bit anxious about the fact that she had never met this group of friends -- especially because we had mistakenly told her that one of them was a bit of a trouble-maker. We had loads of fun, and there were a couple of guys there that I had my eye on, but -- little did I know -- there was one guy that had his eye on me as soon as I walked through the door.

 My 18th birthday celebration in 2001.

That was the night that I met my husband, and I didn't even know it. Literally, I didn't even know he was there. Years later I would look at photographs of that night and see that he was there the whole time, but I didn't remember him at all. He was such a shy boy to the point of invisibility, and he is still quite shy to this very day. I continued to hang-out with this new group of friends, even after my best friend went back home, and slowly began getting to know this guy a bit better.

We began emailing, and talking to each other on the phone -- a real phone -- and he eventually worked up the courage to ask me out to a movie; I said yes, thinking, for some reason, that it was going to be a group of friends, and not just the two of us. After we hung up, I realised that it was going to be a date and quickly told my parents about it because I had never been on a date before, and knew that it was part of the rules to ask their permission first -- lame, I know, but I always played by the rules.

 At my best friend's graduation in 2003.

Clearly, my parents gave their consent, because, on February 5, 2000, my husband and I went on our very first date! We decided to go to a movie called The Talented Mr. Ripley. Neither of us could drive at the time, so my future mother-in-law dropped us off at the theatre, and then picked us up and took us to McDonald's to get some food -- yes, we were spoiled. After the movie, he asked me if I would like to be his girlfriend and I said "yes" -- my husband actually got a raise in his allowance because he had a girlfriend.

Our friends were supportive, but behind our backs they had made a bet that our relationship wouldn't last more than two and a half weeks -- we sure showed them! It was at about a month that I wasn't really feeling it anymore; this was my first relationship, and so I obviously had no idea what to do or expect. I let it be while I went away for a week on a school trip, and while I was gone I really started to miss him. It was then that I decided to stay in the relationship, and, although we have had our rough patches, I wouldn't trade my experiences with him for anything.

Fun with a photo-booth in 2003.
Top left: Unsure about when the photo will be taken
Top right: we know when it will be taken
Bottom left: Kiss shot. He thought the photo had been taken
Bottom right: Okay...linger until we know it's been taken :)

Today, it has been 12 years since our first date, and neither of us forget a single moment of the day. I actually just realised that we are going on a date to a movie today. I hope it's better than The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I know that it will be with the love of my life!


In Love with Art

February 04, 2012
I can't get enough of art! I have had to hold myself back a lot recently and really think about the pieces that I want to have because I know that I would end up with more art than I have wall space. 

I finally have all of the new art that I have purchased from fantastic shops on Etsy framed and up on a wall in our hallway. I have been accumulating these pieces over the last year, and I finally got around to purchasing the last frame. Unfortunately, it doesn't match the rest, but that's okay because I think it gives the collection even more of an eclectic feel than it already has.

  It is so very difficult to take a photo of a wall in a hallway...

I am in love with this wall, and it makes me so happy to be able to look out of my office and see these pieces happily looking back at me.


My 10-month-old Boy

February 02, 2012
Yesterday, my little boy turned 10 months old. It is hard to believe how quickly the year has gone by, but I have enjoyed every minute of being at home with my precious boy. Knowing that I will be going back to work in two months, I would not trade this year for anything in the world. I have enjoyed all of the special moments that we have shared from reading books to learning how to crawl.

 Playing with the mustache we got in the mail for his birthday party.

I am amazed at all the things that he is now able to do:

He loves turning the pages while we are reading a book.

He loves to dance and clap to music -- any kind of music.

He is able to stand by himself and walk with a little help.

He can now crawl over things -- he is a small guy, so this is a big achievement.

There are also so many more things to love about him because of the interaction that we now get with each other. Don't get me wrong, I loved him from the beginning, but it was a different kind of love than what I feel for him now. He is able to giggle and play with me, and I feel like our personalities are perfect for each other -- for now at least.

I look forward to the next two months with each other before I head back to work, and before my little boy turns into a one year old boy :)

Right now, he loves September by Earth, Wind & Fire.
We discovered them on Ellen's birthday show.

Powered by Blogger.