I’ve always loved baking. Not only is it therapeutic for me, but of course I also love the end result (or even the middle result because: cookie dough). Baked goods are also one of the ways I express myself. When someone is happy, sad, grieving, celebrating, my initial reaction is to always make them something sweet. Perhaps baking is my real love language.

Over the years I feel like I had tried every cookie recipe on the planet. I loved making them, eating the cookie dough, and then tasting them fresh out of the over. Then, after cooled, I was over them. I just didn’t love any cookie I made past fresh baked. Everyone else would enjoy them, but I would just be over them.

That was, until my friend Katie introduced me to her secret family recipe one wreath making weekend with her.

It was like the heavens had parted when I first bit into this cookie. It was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It was absolute perfection. Not only did I love the cookie one minute after they came out of the oven, but I also loved them one day, even one week later.

After that fateful first bite of cookie, I haven’t made another cookie type since. I am 100% sold on these cookies! Plus, they are slightly customizable too, which makes it even more fun.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package of instant pudding mix (experiment with different flavors)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Any other add-ins you like: nuts, sprinkles, etc.

Beat butter at medium  speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars and pudding mix, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well.

Combine flour and soda; gradually add to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate morsels and any other add-ins; drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets 3 minutes. Remove to wire racks for cool completely.

I use the birthday cake instant pudding mix (Kroger brand is the only one I’ve found) and it creates an amazing taste and those sprinkles are SO pretty. I’ve also made them using finely crushed peanut brittle in them and it created the most amazing caramelized insides that I have ever eaten. Ahhhh-mazing.

Let me know if you make these and what combinations you used! Have fun with it!

  • These look so good!! We love cookies and I’ve never made a recipe that contains pudding mix. Dave thanks you in advance for sharing this recipe.

    P.S. He still talks about the apple pie that you made for us.ReplyCancel

    • Haha. You’re welcome Dave! Ooo and that pie! I need to make that again and share the recipe on here. Enjoy making these cookies!ReplyCancel

Can I just say I love summer. I. Love. Summer. Emphasis needed. It’s been the best summer ever! I’m going to need to do a post with just some of my random summer adventures. Also, when talking with a friend the other day I said “winter” and it was like it was a bad word! We both recoiled when I said it.

Anyways, now that you’ve seen pictures of my new apartment, I thought I would show you the video of what it looks like! This really helps get an idea of its layout that can’t quite be captured in photos.

Here’s a quick slideshow in case you want to check out the pictures before diving into the video:

Also, this was about an hour after receiving my keys, and I was super excited. But I’m sure you can tell that…

Ok, now I promise to get my act together and show you pictures of it furnished….with basically all new stuff you haven’t seen if you’ve been around this blog a while. I basically sold everything I owned and bought modern, multi functional furniture that is perfect for this updated city living apartment and gal!

  • Your space is so attractive and I’m looking forward to seeing how you you’ve furnished it.ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! I took the pictures…I just need to get it posted now!ReplyCancel

Sound the gong! Ignite the confetti cannons! Turn on that strobe light! [What kind of party am I having here…?!] Let’s get this party started because I am finally, FINALLY showing you my sweet new small apartment digs.

I’ve been in the apartment for almost four months (!!) now and have been having the time of my life (for real…) figuring out this small space living, learning about my new city, exploring downtown, being a city girl, and using brand new modern appliances. Can a girl love a toilet this much? Yes, yes she can. I love my toilet, hard core. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I haven’t been posting as much because I have been living. Living so happily, so freely, so uninhibited and boisterously! This has to be one of the best life decisions I have made for myself in a long, long time. It’s amazing that 53 miles can do for your life. It’s been a game changer.

I’ve met new people, learned to factor in time to get to my car in a parking garage, walked everywhere around this little city, and learned how to carry everything to my apartment in one load (it gets interesting).

Okay, okay enough of me going on and on about this change, you probably want to see the place right? Well here is my blank little slate of an apartment before it got piled high with boxes.

This is the view I am welcomed to every day I walk in the door! Well, of course there is furniture now, but this is taken from the doorway. Those windows, right?! That kitchen?? I love everything about it. This is the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It truly is a small space, but it just works so well.

I am so in love with this kitchen. I love how modern it is, I love the accent wall, I love the wood color of the cabinets. It’s perfect. Is it small? Yes. But does all my stuff fit? Yes! With room to spare! Thank you organizational skills and downsizing (and being tall so I can use all those cabinets daily).

Can’s stop looking at this kitchen! I will show you (one day) the inside of my cabinets and how I made it like a tetrus puzzle and made everything fit. It was so oddly fun putting together the puzzle that is my kitchen. Everything was very thoughtfully placed.

This picture was taken with my back to the windows and facing the front door. I am using that wall as my dining area. Also, please excuse the mess that is my purse, modem, cables, and photography stuff.

This angle is with my back to the kitchen with the windows to my left and front door to my right. This is where my TV currently is.

The only downside about my apartment is that it is an inner apartment and the windows face into the open area between apartments and not out to the city. I call it my weather hole because it is a little dark, and I have a hard time telling what the weather is unless it’s raining or storming really hard.

This is standing in the hallway to the right of the kitchen looking into the bedroom area, with the bathroom to the left. This is true studio with no doors, which I love. It’s only me so I don’t need privacy from myself. Plus it makes the whole place seem so much bigger without the confines of extra doors and walls.

My bathroom!! I love my bathroom so much! It matches the kitchen, which helps unify the space. Plus, another beautiful grey accent wall. And that toilet. Yes, I am going to swoon over my energy and water efficient toilet. Makes me so happy.

This is standing in the bedroom looking towards the closet. Those windows look out into…an alleyway. Woo hoo the view! Also contributes to my weather hole. But napping is super great here.

At this point in my life, having a washer/dryer is essential and completely a deal breaker. I don’t know if I could handle a laundry mat anymore. Plus, how convenient is it to be in the closet? Almost eliminates the need for a hamper and makes laundry time a breeze! But I’m the oddball who actually enjoys laundry so I don’t really consider it a chore.

And finally, here is the other side of the closet. It is actually so much bigger than it looks! I fit all my cleaning supplies, a bookcase for storage and all my in-season clothes and shoes in here. Amazing right?! I just keep two bins under the bed for off season clothing and shoes. It all fits perfectly.

Oh well, I do have to point out that I have a small storage unit in the basement. That is mainly filled with books though. I can’t help it! I still can’t get rid of my books, although e-readers have definitely helped my storage space situation. As one of my friends helping me move in put it, “You know, moving would be so much easier if you didn’t have so many books!?” Well,  guess moving will always be challenging for me because I’m not letting go of the books, buster.

I am also working on a video tour because that helps so much in helping you get a sense of the flow of the apartment. Stay tuned for that!

I’ve been puttering around for months now trying to get everything in its proper place and it’s really coming together. Things are even on the wall! I can’t wait to give you a progress update soon!! Also, can you tell I LOVE my new place?? I am one happy girl here!

  • I love it and I know that you’ve made use of every single space. It’s cozy and modern and just perfect for you at this stage in your life. And it probably takes no time to clean!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! I completely agree. I love every single part of this space!!! And the cleaning…it’s almost like what cleaning?! Except when I dump a whole container of mustard seeds in the kitchen….but anyways….Can’t wait for you to come visit!ReplyCancel

On a random night in April my sister called and asked me, “Do you want to fly to New York City and spend the weekend with me in May?”

Yes, the answer is always yes. New York City? Yes. Sister time? Yes. Sister time that’s not a whole country plane ride away? Yes.

So that’s how I saw myself in a little prop plane high in the sky on my way from Roanoke to NYC. After two plane rides, one sprint through the airport, one read book, 12 Hershey kisses, and  one Uber ride, I was finally at our hotel around 1am Friday night/Saturday morning.

After some good girl gab, we finally got to sleep so we could really explore the next two days. Our plan? Do whatever we wanted, see lots of stuff, and eat good food.

So of course our first mission if the day on Saturday morning was to find an amazing bagel. I mean, that’s what New York  is known for! So we wandered around for about 30 minutes until we found the bakery we were looking for. It was delicious….but not amazing. Still, a good treat.

Then I think my favorite part of the trip happened. Jackie and I just wandered up Park Avenue to the Upper East Side for about an hour and then continued our wandering through Central Park. The morning was cloudy (perfect for this redhead) and pleasantly cool.

Finally we made our way to SoHo (note: apparently on the weekends in the summertime they do construction on the subways. This makes it take a lot longer and you have to get creative as to the trains you take because half the time the train you want isn’t running or the station is closed.) I had never been to SoHo. It was so trendy, packed, and fun! They had the coolest restaurants and stores. We were meeting some of my college friends for brunch and ate at a very cool, very New York restaurant.

After brunch we decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was the first time for both my sister and me, and we loved it! This is also the time I remembered that it is essential for me to have snacks when on my feet all day. I made my sister get fro-yo with me in the cafeteria or it just wasn’t going to be pretty the rest of the day.

When we emerged it had started pouring, so we scurried along the sidewalk in search of dinner. We found the best hole in the wall with an open-air front. We sat looking outside at the rain. We were there for 2-3 hours, just slowly eating many courses and having a great time.

Once dinner was over the rain had also stopped. There is nothing like NYC at night. I love it. We walked about 30 blocks home just enjoying the night, the lights, and the people.

The next day we decided to go the Statue of Liberty. But once we got there, we really didn’t feel like going on the ferry ride, so we took an ole selfie with the lady herself….

We saw it, it was good, we moved on. Ha! We decided to walk to Ground Zero and spent time there just soaking it up and remembering.

Then, it was time for what we had been waiting for all weekend: our Broadway play! We had tickets to see Something Rotten, on recommendation from my sister’s friend. And it was SO GOOD! We both love, love, loved it! So funny and quirky and a little sarcastic. I would highly recommend it!

Afterwards we had a nice little walk around Times Square (but ugh, people, so we left quickly). We decided to do a flyby the Empire State Building, and then we went back to the hotel to eat salads on our bed and watch The Big Bang Theory. Best. Night. Ever. For real, because that’s our style.

Then Monday morning I was sadly outta there. 🙁 What an amazing little weekend getaway we had though! Thank you wonderful sister for sharing it with me!

  • What a fun weekend! I’ve only been to NYC once and I definitely would love to go back. It looks like you made the most out of every minute that you were there.ReplyCancel

    • It was so fun! You should definitely plan a trip back one summer vacation!ReplyCancel

Just because you are alone (whatever that means to you: single, just hanging by yourself while others are away, or something entirely different), it should never hold you back.

Want to see a movie? Try a new restaurant? Go to a concert? Check out a jazz band? Go sit at the lake?

Why do you need someone by yourself to validate those actions?

Be your own best company and get yourself out there and have some fun.

Of course, sharing experiences is so much fun – having someone to travel with, talk with, and make a memory together. There is no denying that is wonderful.

But going alone can be wonderful too. It opens up the event.

You don’t go with a friend or significant other, but everyone there suddenly becomes a possible fun time or friend.

The world kind of opens up when you see every event like that. An endless possibility of new friends, memories, or opportunities.

Yet, you don’t need to call it a successful event by the number of people you meet or friends you make. Sometimes there is just so much beauty in just being out by yourself. Enjoying a wonderful meal while quietly sitting there reflecting (and hard core people watching of course).

Or going to a movie and being able to pick your favorite seat with no other input.

Or swaying to the music enjoying being one in a crowd. Or acting moronic as you dance like a crazy person with no one to judge. You are never going to see those people again anyways!

Never, never, never let just being one person stop you from going out and doing something you want to. The opportunities are endless when you open yourself up to whatever could come your way.

  • Great advice! I am terrible about not doing things just because I have no one to do them with. I need to get over that and just do it!ReplyCancel

    • It can be really fun that way! Plus you’re so friendly, so I’m sure you would have tons of friends by the time you left!ReplyCancel