Thursday, October 17, 2019

Soft and Gooey Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the past six (!!) years, I've had a go-to fall cookie that is not only easy to make but also delicious to enjoy. At this point, it's a tradition to make them as soon as the weather turns crisp and I can embarrassingly or proudly admit that I've already made these twice this year! If you hate soft and gooey cookies that epitomize the flavors of fall with every bite, then go ahead and click out of this post; otherwise, I'm convinced making these cookies will become a tradition in your own home in no time. 

The best part about these cookies is the fact that they remain soft and spongy even a few days after baking them. And maybe even better yet is how easy these are to make given that they use a bag mix and a bit of doctoring to create a cookie your friends will crave. 

I first discovered these when my friend Olivia's mom made them for our freshman hall friend group. Before we could even finish our first cookie, we were already begging for the recipe! And for any of you gluten-free girls, these will quickly become your favorite treat as well since you can substitute Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie mix in for the regular one with an equally as delicious result. I am encouraging you now to stock up on enough pumpkin for a whole year because once you try these, you'll be hooked.

The ingredients are more than likely products that you already have on hand with it being the holiday season, for one batch you will need…

One box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (pictured is value size but it works better with the regular bag mix)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Extra Chocolate Chips, I used Nestle milk chocolate morsels (the more, the merrier when it comes to chocolate chips)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar if desired to sprinkle on the top (such a yummy touch)


First, heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your cookie sheets
Second, in a large bowl, stir pumpkin, butter, vanilla, and egg until blended. Stir in the cookie mix and cinnamon until dough forms. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Lastly, depending on how large your cookies are, bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when lightly touched in center and edges are golden brown.

I hope that these fulfill your fall cookie craving! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

#StepUpYourReading 9 Spooky Reads for Halloween with Phoebe of Read & Wright

Y'all know me well if you can pinpoint my favorite genres of books. Self help and psychological thrillers/mysterys are my go-tos and tend to make my book shelf look a bit questionable. I am especially excited for today's guest post from Phoebe of Read & Wright since she is sharing 9 books perfect for Halloween, and yep, you guessed it, some of them are thrillers! My Amazon cart is now full and my guess is that after reading her recommendations yours will be too. 

I’m not going to lie to you: I am not a Halloween girl. I am a Christmas girl, through and through. But I do love a theme and a reason to be festive! When I think of Halloween, I think of cozying up with a mug of hot apple cider (throw in a dash of fireball whiskey if you’re celebrating!) with a fuzzy blanket, a candle, and a good book. I love to mood read, and in the fall I love visiting the campuses of private boarding schools, pumpkin patches, and witchy happenings. Here are nine of the best books I think you can read this Spooky Season! 

True Crime: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara 
One Sentence Synopsis: One woman’s obsessive quest to discover the identity of the Golden State Killer. 

YA: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 
One Sentence Synopsis: Set in Victorian Era England, seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose floats between two lives--one as the daughter of a lord attending teas and balls and one as a student of forensic medicine. 

Horror: The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup 
One Sentence Synopsis: A murderous psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen, promoting two detectives to put aside their differences to find the killer, with the help of an unsolved murder from 

Horror: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky 
One Sentence Synopsis: A single mother and her son Christopher are forced to flee to a small town, where he goes missing for six days and returns with a voice in his ear that only he can hear: he has a mission to complete before Christmas, or no one will ever be the same. 

Thriller: Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
One Sentence Synopsis: A live-in nanny finds herself in jail, accused of murder, but knows she’s innocent. So who killed the child? 

Thriller:  Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
One Synopsis: Jules accepts a position as an apartment-sitter at the most exclusive apartment in Manhattan, but soon finds out there’s a dark history in the building that she must uncover before her residence becomes permanent. 

Mystery: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie 
One Sentence Synopsis: 10 strangers gather on a private island, but none will survive, as they are all marked for murder, and only the dead are above suspicion. 

New Release: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo 
One Sentence Synopsis: An unlikely member of the Ivy League, Alex finds herself a freshman at Yale University, tasked with monitoring the secret societies on campus that reveal themselves to be full of activities more sinister than imagined. 

Graphic Novel: Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell 
One Sentence Synopsis: Two friends are working their final night at the pumpkin patch in their hometown before heading to college, and it’s time to finally go on the adventures they’ve been dreaming of for years. 

Honorable Mention: Harry Potter! You can’t go wrong with returning to Hogwarts during the fall. I’m due for a reread of the series, and the illustrated version of The Goblet of Fire was released last week! It’s currently 50% off at Barnes & Noble. 

What’s your favorite way to get into the Halloween spirit? I’ll definitely be watching Hocus Pocus too many times to count! 

Don't forget to follow along with Phoebe on her blog and instagram for more great reading recommendations. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Step Into My Week 10.15

I think I’ve put off writing about this past week since I am still catching up on sleep from how busy it ended up being. We hosted a big event in Birmingham for work, which meant that I had a seven day work week and am trying to stay on track this week so that I can fully recover this weekend. Event aside, I still had regular tasks that needed to be accomplished, and at this point, I’m struggling to even remember what I did each day since it is all starting to run together. I’ve done my best to separate what I was up to from day to day and share that with y’all.

Monday was about as normal as it got, although I had a meeting in the afternoon that I had to be “on” for. I spent most of the day trying to get ahead on social posts for the week and sending out complimentary copies to the people who helped us with many of our Christmas issues. After work, I met a friend who recently moved to Birmingham to go for a walk and hear about her job search. From there, I headed home to try to get ahead on some blog work and get in bed at a decent hour.

I spent Tuesday continuing to get ahead, knowing that I’d be away from my desk from Wednesday afternoon on. I was able to work outside in the afternoon as I completed some of our resources for the last of our Christmas issues for the season. After work, I went to true40 to workout before heading home to shower, eat, get some blog tasks done, and go to sleep.

Wednesday was not what I expected it would be given that I spent a little bit of time at my desk before going downstairs to assist with arranging some of the flower arrangements for our event. One of my teammates and I ended up then taking those to our CEO's house for the kickoff of the event on Thursday evening. Since I was working all weekend, I was able to leave work a little bit earlier on Wednesday and had time to go to Trader Joe’s before changing and making it to a 4:30 true40 class. That night my roommate and I invited our bible study to our house for a fellowship night where we enjoyed chili on our back deck since the weather is finally cooling down in Birmingham! Our friends stayed until close to 9:00, and we cleaned up before heading to bed. 

Thursday was a FULL day, and I was running between the hotel, our CEO’s house, and the office to gather supplies and prepare for the VIP dinner taking place that evening. We transformed our CEO’s house with tables filled with different china, floral arrangements, and more. By the time we finished that it was time to change for the dinner and head back to our CEO’s house to prepare the food for the event. Our team plated the catered meal, filled glasses of wine, and served the meal while mingling with the attendees. Our CEO spoke and played the piano, and once the guests headed out, it was time to clean up. I ended up getting home around 10:30 and was exhausted.

Since I didn’t shower the night before, I showered Friday morning before grabbing a cup of coffee before heading to the office to load up three of our vans with the remainder of the supplies needed for the event. I have never taken so many trips up and down a service elevator in my life and am glad to have a break from that for a while. I don’t even remember what other tasks I did that day before the event officially began that evening. The owner of Vietri was our guest speaker that evening after the dinner, and it was so interesting to hear the story of how her company got started. Once that finished, we re-set gifts for the following day and helped set up the pop-up boutique that would be opening on Saturday.

I had to be back to the hotel early on Saturday morning to finish up some last-minute tasks before the breakfast and demonstration by Dorothy McDaniel’s Floral Market that morning. After Dorothy’s demo, we had comedian Jeanne Robertson speak, which had everyone in stitches. After she was finished, the pop-up boutique began, and most of our team was finally able to grab lunch close to 3:00. We headed back to the hotel to get some more work done before changing for the gala event taking place that evening with Lori of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta as our keynote. Once everyone was in the ballroom for the seated dinner, our team devoured some cheese straws and sipped on wine before heading in to hear Lori talk. By the time everyone was out of the space and we re-set everything for the morning, we were starving, and our editor ordered quesadillas from the hotel bar for us to eat after we had finished. At that point, it was after 10:00, and we happily ate our quesadillas sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. I made it home that evening around 11:30 and immediately got in bed, given how early I needed to be up in the morning.

Sunday felt like the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I had to be back at the hotel before 7:00. We had two demonstrations that morning, and the event finally ended around 12:00. Since we loaded up lots of stuff that morning, we were able to leave around 12:45 with a quick trip back to the office to unload one of the vans before I finally went home for the weekend. I showered, put laundry away, and ate before taking an ideal nap since it was cold and rainy outside. I slept for about 30 minutes and then moved to the couch to watch Hocus Pocus, eat dinner, and fall asleep before 8:00. 

I hope that next week, my Step Into My Week posts has a lot less work in it and some more fun activities. Regardless, I hope y’all had a great week, and thank you for being so patient with me and my lack of updates toward the end of last week! 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Saturday Shopping vol. 26

It has been far too long since I last shared a Saturday Shopping post with y’all! I know that Saturday was days ago at this point, but I figured a few days overdue would be better than nothing. Plus, in total transparency, I had to work all weekend and have not had time to write out this past week’s Step Into My Week post, so it seemed like a win-win of y’all getting a new post and me having time to work on that! 

If you decide you want to purchase, any of these cute fall finds you can click directly on the item of interest in the graphic below to be taken to where it can be shopped! 

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