By the time you'll be reading this it will be my birthday.
There are some of us that aren't into birthdays but me, I dunno, I'm super into them. I'm that girl who tells her doctor as she's cutting a mole off my back (TMI?) that "it's my birthday tomorrow" when we've just casually chatted about Christmas shopping.
Last birthday I was super depressed. I won't go into too many details because depression is sad, but I will tell you this: I wasn't myself. I kept telling myself that it was okay that I wasn't "me" at that moment - I was a very sad version of myself and I had to get help and fight through it. I talked to myself the same way I'd talk to a best friend and holy hell, I really fought to be happy. I had to act the way I wanted to feel so much of the time - and for me, for a girl who's super blunt and transparent, that was REALLY HARD. I took walks outside, made conversation with random strangers at the grocery store (and visited the grocery store several times a day just to be out in public), called friends, listened to books and podcasts. I danced with my Myles in the grocery store isles and he danced with me. I bought marshmallows and chocolate and lit citrus scented candles. I never watched t.v. (still don't). I also worked as hard as I could on this blog even though I was a zombie and we were mega struggling financially. (Keeping a blog up is expensive yo!)
I'm really proud of that girl - that girl who overcame postpartum depression, moved far away and had a baby all at the same time. I'm not so proud of the amount of tears I cried or how many times I crumbled onto the floor sobbing for absolutely no reason, but I'm stronger and better for it. I have such empathy for heartache, because depression is like carrying a million, heavy broken hearts in your very soul all the time and it's exhausting. That feeling is still fresh and I know it very well.
I turn 33 this year. Thirty freaking three. A part of me is wishing I could still be 25 because time is going by too fast, but then another part of me is so grateful I'm here, mainly because the older I get, the more I seem to count my blessings.
If there's anything I've learned this past year (because birthdays kind of inspire personal reflection right?) it is to trust God.
Faith isn't really something we prove on the internet or really even talk about but let me tell you, even if everything in your life completely sucks butt and you feel like you are weighed down with heavy sand-bags of despair, you are NOT alone. (And trust me, I know alone.) God has got you.
I've wrestled with God a lot this past year and told Him how angry I was that we felt so right about accepting a job out of state and moving far away when it all seemed to go wrong. The whole experience literally felt like gut punch after gut punch. I'm not saying there were no happy times or good memories or friends made because there most certainly were, and we're so grateful for them, but we walked into that risk expecting an entirely different outcome. Especially when we were led by our intuition and answers to prayers.
But here's the thing - all of that - ALL of it has changed me and John forever in the best way. Details I don't want to get into today, but please trust me when I say this: God really does have your back. Even though the outcome of our experience was not what I expected, I am so much better this year than I was the last.
You know how phoenix's get old and crotchety and then they suddenly (when they're too old and tired to go on) burst into flames and from the ashes are re-born fresh and new? Enter ME and this past year. I feel like a lil' baby phoenix. (My fellow Harry Potter fans you may get this analogy a little better.)
Maybe all of this was too heavy to put on my site, but whatever. I can do what I want today because it's my birthday.
Here's to another year, but for reals this time, way wiser.
Hugs to you. xo
the happiest chocolate chip cookie
yields 2-3 dozen cookies depending on the size you make your dough balls | Robyn Holland | Sweetish.co
This used to be my cookie to top all other chocolate chip cookies but this recipe has been sitting on the shelf for a while so I'm happy to bring it back. I think the use of dark sugar is a game changer here, but light brown sugar will still work. I highly recommend pressing little colorful candies (see resources) into the tops of your cookies too, it's just fun and makes everyone excited to eat them. Also, I added a sprinkle of sea salt on top because I can't seem to make a chocolate chip cookie without it these days. This cookie is literally all I want for my birthday dessert....with maybe a scoop of ice cream or milk. (Yes, I love me a glass of good organic milk with a cookie, don't you?) xo
bakers note: Don't skip the "chill your dough" part and make sure you space your cookies far enough apart to they have room to bake. These cookies spread.
special equipment: electric mixer, cookie sheets / sheet pans, parchment paper
2 cups / 220g cake flour
1 ⅔ cup / 188g bread flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. medium-grain kosher salt
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) / 248g dark brown sugar (you can use light if you want, i prefer dark)
1 cup / 200g sugar
2 large eggs, preferably pasture raised
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds large bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate bars cut into chunks - at least 60% cacao or higher
colored chocolate candies (see resources for ideas)
Good flakey sea salt for garnish, (like Maldon Salt) optional
for the dough:
preheat oven to 360° F / 182° C. get a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. don't even think about greasing it. parchment paper or bust.
combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. whisk together and then set aside.
beat butter and both sugars on a medium-high speed in an electric mixer until the sugar combines with the butter. it should look very fluffy. beat for about 5 - 7 minutes.
add eggs, one at a time. adding the other only after the first as been incorporated.
slowly scoop the dry ingredients (aka the flour mixture) into the butter + sugar mixture. mix on a medium slow speed until combined. scape the bowl down once or twice to make sure everything is incorporated.
add chocolate chunks and mix until just combined.
you can refrigerate the dough at this point for as little as an hour up to over night. wrap dough in parchment paper and then put into a sealable bag for extra freshness. the refrigeration of the dough allows a more carmel-y flavor. i hardly have patience to refrigerate dough. so i usually skip this step, and use the dark brown sugar instead. the dark brown sugar achieves that deep rich carmel flavor that the refrigeration does. even if you do use dark brown sugar, and still choose to refrigerate your dough, you cannot go wrong. dark brown sugar is a must to me.
make little dough balls weighing anywhere from 3 -3.5 ounces (about a little palm full). i can usually get nine cookies on one sheet. press little candies into the tops of the dough.
bake for 12-15 minutes in 360° F / 182° C oven, switching the cookies about half way through the bake time. if using refrigerated, cold dough, they might need a few more minutes, until the edges are golden brown, and the center of the cookie looks pale and slightly doughy. you WANT to under-bake these babies. over baking them is a crime. ;)
go spread the love and happy eating.
UnReal candies are great here, but I used little m+m-like (or smarties-like) candies from Trader Joe's - find them here. The UnReal candies was a suggestion made to me by French Pressed Kitchen via instagram. I don't know why I didn't think of these at first because I LOVE UnReal candies so much - John brings me home candy of theirs on the regular (that's what love is) - so I'm totally trying this next time! xo