New Segment: Retail Therapy

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There’s a couple of things I really like to do, and there’s a couple of things I’ll admit that I’m good at. If I had to get those things down to their empirical form, they’d be:

  1. Finding good deals
  2. Brightening other’s days
  3. Telling boring stories in a humorous way

So, it’s no surprise that as I get to know myself better, I become more prolific in all three of these categories. But today is when I merge them together, in a new series I’m going to call Retail Therapy, or, more commonly known as What I Bought When I was Sad AF.

It’s not that I’ve never wanted a pet, I just don’t really know what to do with one. My mom was one of six kids, and my kickass grandmother raised all six of them with the help of her mother, after my grandfather was killed in the military. Half of my aunts/uncles went on to own animal friends, the other half went petless. I was one of those households. Currently, my mother has been in a 16 year long “discussion” with my step dad and brother that “it’s me or a dog”…we’ve yet to welcome a Husky into our home.

I say this only so you know the seriousness of our “No Pets Policy”.  I should say that somehow, around ’99, we acquired a brown bunny for Easter. I was told it was a FAMILY pet, but it was only ever me that cleaned her cage, walked her (yes, she had a leash), lovingly cuddled her, and carefully fed her (even when she got so mean she would attack anyone who went near her.) It was also me who cried her eyes out when we had to send her away to my aunt’s Rabbit Rehab, so she could live a more free life – which she never got to experience, as she had turned an irreversible hormonal corner, bit my cousin, and had to be sent to Bunny Heaven.

In 2012, me and my boyfriend at the time were moving into an apartment building that my company was renovating. During construction, doors and windows were left open, which allowed for all kinds of furry friends to visit. As we walked through the barren basement, I heard a noise that I couldn’t place. “What is that?” I asked. I started scanning the dark, empty rooms off of the hallway. The sounds got louder. “I think that’s a cat! But where the hell is it??” “Sarah, don’t move,” my partner said. I froze in a hunched stance. I looked at him, and he pointed up. I let my gaze follow his direction, and there, perched on some narrow pipes was the skinniest, cutest, loudest kitten I’d ever seen. “Oh my gosh! We have to save him!” So, off I went to grab a can of tuna, while my boyfriend assembled the necessary rescue tools. Once I got back, we coaxed the baby kitten onto a shovel where an open can of tuna was waiting, and then lowered him to safety. We played with him, fed him another can of tuna – which he happily devoured – and then tried to figure out what to do next. “First, we have to name him!” We decided on “Cinco”, in honor of the Cinco de Mayo holiday on which he was found.

Cinco proved to be very independent, and did not appreciate the cardboard house we made for him. He sprang out of the box, ran down the hall, and burrowed back into the hole in the wall, which had been his “home” for the past few weeks. No cans of tuna were luring him out this time. “We’ll come back to get him tomorrow and take him to a shelter,” my boyfriend said. So, the next morning, we went down into the basement and as soon as I started calling out “Cinco! Cinco!” the familiar little face scurried along the pipes and practically jumped into our arms!

Oh God, was I a cat person now??

We drove our beloved baby to the shelter, where we found out that “he” was actually a “she”. We filled out the paperwork, said our goodbyes, and left. We were heartbroken. “I’m just going to…uh…call and see if Cinco found a home…” my boyfriend would mumble, while he held the phone up to his ear. Day after day, she was still homeless. We finally decided that if we called the next day and she was still there, she was coming back home to be a part of our family. The following day, our hearts pounded as the shelter’s phone rang. “Calling about Cinco again?” the shelter volunteer laughed. “Well, you’re in luck.” My heart was bursting. She was ours! “She was just adopted today!” Our hope came crashing down, hard. My eyes welled up with tears as I mourned the loss of the pet that was never mine. “It’s OK, ” my boyfriend purred as he pet my head, “she’s off to a wonderful home where she’s going to be loved and grow up to be a happy little cat!” “But she was supposed to be our happy little cat!” I wailed. The sadness resurfaced the next day, when I saw her tiny paw prints in the dust of one of my storage spaces at work.

And now, the purpose of this long, gut-wrenching story. No, we didn’t go back to the shelter and rescue Cinco before her new owner could claim her. No, we didn’t go back to the shelter and adopt another happy little cat.

We went to Marshall’s and I picked out 2 new dresses for summer.

The point is: Once I found those printed maxi dresses, I felt better. Although they could never take the place of my sweet, sassy Cinco, they still brought me some joy. Retail Therapy is a real thing, at least for me. I’m willing to bet that half of my closet was gained through the devastating loss of a lover, cancelled plans with a fickle friend, or a disappointing call about the apartment that got leased out from under me.

So, here’s to the cats that become dresses, the missed brunches that become bracelets, and the missed hikes that become heels.

New Pom Pom Bedding!

Hey Hey Hey!

A mid-week post?! I know…crazy.

Remember when I was craving some pom-pom bedding and I posted about it here? Well, I DID actually give into my craving. Even better, I didn’t have to settle on any of the options I talked about. I got exactly what I wanted, which was this Smoofy pom-pom duvet cover AND matching shams for under $40.00! Thank you, Amazon 🙂

And here it is in my room!

On The Hunt: Zella Leggings and Jesus

Happy Friday, Loves! Let’s get riiiiiight into it!

ZELLA LEGGINGS

Am I the last woman alive who doesn’t own Nordstrom’s Zella Leggings?? Don’t answer that. Every blogger I know has mentioned buying them, loving them, and buying more. I even put them in my cart last week when I was going through a major shopping spree (MUST.BUY.EVERYTHING.) But, then I looked at my current legging collection, and my alter ego, Alexis, came out and was all, “Girl, where u gonna put them at? Yeah, thas right, you got no room in them draws.” Ugh. Who invited her?

Thank God I have a birthday coming up in June…

Apparently, the original Zella Live In High Waist Leggings are the perfect length for petite girls. Perfect! I’m 5′-2″!

But I also really like the look of an ankle pant, so maybe the Zella Live In 7/8 Leggings?

And for those of you who love pockets, the Zella Live In POCKET 7/8 Leggings!

SPANX LEGGINGS

Again, have I been living under a rock? How could I not have a pair of these Faux Leather lovlies?Or these slimming Faux Leather Moto mamas? Oh, that’s because I have at least 3 moto/faux leather style pants in my “draws” already. But, I need them, OK??Wait…what the ?? Did you know Spanx sells jeans?! Like, really, really cute Distressed Skinny Jeans?! Should I be ashamed of myself for A. Not knowing this and B. Wanting a pair? Again, don’t answer that. Good thing I’m looking for Jesus, because He’s the only one that can stop me now…

JESUS

In theory, we all “need Jesus”. So, on my hunt to find Him, I came across these super cute inspirational tees. The past few years has got me l-o-v-i-n-g Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you” and so, this darling tee from ButterflyDesignCo on Etsy is the perfect way to remind myself of that every time I wear it! And how cute does it look with some Converse sneakers and a plaid shirt (and some ripped jeans – obvi…)? 

This is also a really cute option from EllyandGrace on Etsy

I’m also seriously vibing on Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”, so this sweatshirt, also from ButterflyDesignCo does the trick.

OK, NOW I’ve found Jesus!

Happy Shopping!

❤ The Huntress

On The Hunt: Distressed Boyfriend Jeans, Leopard Flats, and Off-The-Shoulder White Top

Every weekend I’m going to write about the things that I’m craving in more consistent “On The Hunt” posts! Let’s dive right in!

Distressed Boyfriend Jeans

Even as I’m typing this, I literally can’t believe that I’m looking for glorified mom jeans! 😂 Often, I think about different styles from my past and how at that time I would have been mortified to wear certain clothes that I wear now. Alternately, I think about how mortified I would be today if I had to parade around town in pedal pushers and a fuzzy pink sweater. Not like I wore that to a 7th grade dance or anything…On further thinking about this, that was the same dance where one of my classmates wore faux leather pants and a black top. Some of us were really ahead of the fashion curve. I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t me.

If you followed my Instagram stories (@thehuntressblog) this past weekend, you would see that I DID end up scoring 2 pairs of distressed boyfriend jeans this weekend. I’m linking them here! I’ve also linked other options that I’d consider if I could try them on.

Here’s the link to the Kancan girlfriend jeans I bought from Palmetto Moon!! I’m SO excited I found them! They run True To Size to slightly big, so I would size down.

And I was finally able to locate these these Target jeans! Truth be told, I”m 5′-2″ and 122 lbs. I hold most of my weight in my lower abs and thighs, so often, jeans fit my thighs, but gap at the waist. Or fit at the waist, but are suctioned to my thighs. *shakes head* I bought these in a 0, but when I went online, to link them for you, I saw they had a 00 (which ended up fitting like a 3 or 5) The online description is different from the tag description, but I can confirm that they ARE the same. The physical tag says Wild Fable “High-Rise Mom Jean” in Washed Blue. I did buy them online and had them shipped to my closest store. I posted the Try On in my Stories, and returned the original pair (which is what I’m wearing in the photo). The smaller size fits more like a girlfriend jean – kinda straight leg, not baggy. I’ll wear them this weekend and snap a photo.  Again, they run big, so size down!

Click here for the link to these lovelies!

Leopard FLATS

I used to have a pair of these old Rocket Dogs flats, back when they were popular…

But, now, I’m looking for more of a sneaker, or pointy-toed look. I’m seeing them ALL over Insta, but I’m old-fashioned and I need to try things on. The lovely @sarahknuth just posted these from Nordstrom, but at $89.95, they’re a little too expensive for me…but they DO have hair-on-hide. Damn, that’s how they getchya. These platform sneakers from Amazon could be a good alternate for the Nordstrom pair!

Payless has SERIOUSLY been stepping it up, especially after that commercial where they show people paying 700 bucks for a pair of $20 heels *shakes head* So, I’m on their site right now, and these aren’t leopard flats, but…how cute are THESE?? They are totally a great dupe for this $100 Steve Madden pair! They have faux hair hide too! And they’re only $20.99, which only reinforces why I will NOT spend $90 on leopard sneakers at this point in my life.

I like the idea of a slide. And they’re super trendy, but I want to be able to walk comfortably, like, maybe a couple of blocks, and I’m imagining a lot of clopping around. Sometimes you just KNOW yourself. So, maybe these J. Crew Factory Zoe Calf Hair d’Orsay flats would be better? I get SO many emails from them notifying me of specials, and it looks like they have plenty in stock, so I’ll try them on in the store, and then wait until there’s a sale!And these are a little pricey, at $72.99, but they’re Dr. Scholl’s, so I think they’d be more comfortable, right?

 

OFF-THE-SHOULDER WHITE TOP

I have a white long-sleeved PIKO top that I slept in once, which resulted in it being permanently stained with self-tanner 😦 I tried everything to get it out (“…and they used Bon Ami”)  I was able to wear it in my Insta stories this past Sunday when I was showing off my new Free People Adella Bralette and these Target Boyfriend Jeans. But I’d like something a little more fitted, casual, and classy. The kind of top you’d wear to brunch that says, “Oh, me? I woke up like this.”

Narrator: But, she did NOT wake up like this.

As I was writing this post, I realized I have about 8,612 white shirts in my closet, one of which happens to be an off-the shoulder white top from Victoria’s Secret a million (OK, 8) years ago. But, it’s super thin and never really lays right. Which always begs the question, “Why did I buy this?” Anyway, I’m still waiting for my super cute white Truly Madly Deeply peplum to arrive from Urban Outfitters, but in the meantime, I’ve found another Truly Madly Deeply top that nails the off-the-shoulder look.

And, although this one’s a sweater, it still has the same effortless vibe I’m after. It’s only $25 but I’ve never ordered from Boutiquefeel before. Is it legit?

And these are basically the same shirt. I think Lulu’s might have more in stock, so I’m linking it herebut I’d probably go with this Guess Factory option, because it’s on sale for only $19.00!And I knowww this isn’t a white top, but it’s cute AF and it needs to go on my “want” list 🙂

The Truth

Since the new year, I’ve been inspired to take this blog more seriously. But more than that, to fill in the gap with what I feel is needed. I am NOT an Instagram Model, and I don’t aspire to be. I want to be a Role Model. There are so many opportunities to compare yourself with others on social media, and it’s seriously exhausting. I’m hoping to take an alternate approach and tell it like it is: with humor, honesty, and a realistic budget for the everyday single woman. At this point, I don’t get anything for free. I buy everything myself. On one salary. And I want to show you how to “live an abundant life” the same way. It IS possible to live fabulously AND save at the same time, and never feel like you’re missing out!

Having said that – I’ve been sitting on this post for several months now. Half of me wanted to share all of my secrets, the other half wanted to keep it all to myself. But, I went to the Sisterhood One Night event at my church in September, and the guest female Pastor was speaking about when you’re vulnerable and share your struggle with other women, they can share in your miracles too. And it got me thinking, “I’m never ashamed to talk about the deals I’ve scored, so, why should I be ashamed about the other things I do to keep myself feeling good?” If y’all can share in my struggle of trying to keep up with all of the other women, then y’all can share in the joy about having it all. Suddenly, we are all on the same team! And instead of trying to out-do each other, we instead share in the sisterhood bond of taking advice and tips where we can, so we can be the best versions of ourselves. The best women to get tips from are the women we admire – The women who ask for help when they need it, women who live the lifestyle we aspire to, women who have the relationship we desire, women who have scored the boss-job we crave, and yes, women who admit that they go to Hair Cuttery for trims to save money. Today, I’m hoping I can be the sister that shares her vulnerability, so that we don’t feel alone in our struggle to do/be/have it all.


Do you ever see Instagram or Pinterest photos and think, “I didn’t even know women existed that could look like that?!” Every contour is perfect, hair is flowing, clothes are endless, bodies are incredible, homes are out of a magazine, engagement rings are the size of a small car, oh, and their husbands are usually millionaire models.

How do they do it?? Well, I can’t answer for everyone, and I surely have some things that could be improved (currently working on snagging all of the above). But, I’m going to speak some truth and tell you my tricks for making me feel like a goddess on an everyday budget:

Beauty

SAVE:

I paint my own nails. I like Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line, with her Gel Topcoat. I can usually get 3-4 days out of that!

I swear by a good self-tanner. If I could only do one thing, it might just be this. I recently linked  a new self-tanner on my Instagram profile that I tried and loooooved called Skinerals. It comes in a “normal” color that they call Californium Original Blend, and an “extra dark” version called Onyx Extra Dark Blend. It’s way affordable and you can get it on Amazon Prime!

I purchase my services in packages. I like to say that the only Italian trait my mother gave me is thick body hair. So, waxing is a MUST. For my Philly fans, I used to see Annie Morris at Salon L for the past 12 years! They used to take a percentage off of your visit if you “checked in” on Facebook. They may have updated their policy, but you could always ask if there’s a “bulk” discount. And just this past week, I just started seeing Liz Bailey at Bikini and Bronze by Liz. She gave me a great (and *almost* pain-free) wax, and I bought a one-time spray tan session to be used at a future date, since it was a little cheaper to buy them together! Same thing with purchasing mani-pedis together, if I feel like treating myself!

I buy some drugstore makeup products. In the winter, I mix my usual Lancome foundation with a drugstore brand, and I use drugstore mascara. I’ve tried expensive brands, but I think I get similar results with cheaper brands!

SPLURGE:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY need to have a skincare routine, and if I did, it would be in this section. Currently, I’m still in denial that I’m at an age where I need a skincare routine. Also, feeling overwhelmed with my options and the cost. I’ll need to resolve this sooner than later 🙂

I use Rodan + Files LashBoost. Using Rodan + Fields LashBoost isn’t cheap. I usually pay $135 per tube, but it lasts me about 4-5 months. However, it beats the cost of getting lash extensions every 2 weeks. *Note: There’s TONS of reviews, likes and dislikes about this product. I’ve had great results and I love it, but there’s a few other options you can look into if you’re still feeling unsure!

I buy a few good-quality makeup products. I love Lancome, Makeup Forever, and The Balm for my splurges!

I had Invisalign. OK, so this could be an entirely separate post by itself. And it will be. But I did spend the money to get my teeth to where they are now. However, I was able to save in a few ways – my orthodontist generously gave me a discount because my ENTIRE family (Step-dad, mom, brother 1, brother 2, ALL got their braces there) and I paid for everything up front, which saved me an additional 10%. Altogether, I paid less than $2,000 to get a straight smile.

I got Zoom Whitening. I probably would have wanted to get this anyway, but, after the Invisalign, I wanted to get my bonding re-done. Bonding only lasts 10 years, and I was running up in the 15+ zone, so it was time. It doesn’t bleach, so, in order for the new bonding to match white teeth, I had to get this done before the bonding.

I have bonding. Genetically, the two teeth on either side of my front teeth are extra small. This is called peg laterals. “Thanks, Mom and Dad!” So, bonding, which is *kind of* like an acrylic nail for your teeth, has really been helpful to create a seamless smile. This only needs to be updated every 10+ years, so it’s definitely not a normal splurge item.

Hair

SAVE:

I go to Hair Cuttery/Great Clips for all hair cuts. *Insert shocked face* I know…Can you believe it? Since I only ever get a trim anyway, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay more than $20.

I only get balayage 3x a year. By choosing a method that doesn’t require too much upkeep, I can keep my costs down, but still feel bright and sunny.

SPLURGE:

I go to a good stylist. When I DO get my hair colored, I don’t mind paying a bit extra, especially because I only get it done every few months. Side note: I was enjoying a rare third mimosa at a restaurant this past fall, and couldn’t help but stare at a woman at the table next to me with perfect hair. I went over and asked her where she got her hair done, and she said she does it herself. SHE’S the stylist! Not only that, but SHE’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE! Shout out to my girl, Jenna Frontiero #networkingwhiledrinking

Clothes

SAVE:

I shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and outlets. With so many bloggers linking their clothes to LikeToKNow.IT, and listing all of the sales, it makes it easier to navigate so many stores. But let’s face it, I cannot afford Nordstrom every week…even if the items are on sale. My post on my favorite jeans for “petite height with normal thigh width” girls is coming soon – but TJX always has my favorite brands. Going to outlet stores and/or signing up for their online notifications has allowed me to score some pretty great deals., especially at J Crew Factory.

SPLURGE:

I’ll *occasionally* get a few key pieces at a boutique. Sometimes you just need a few unique, good quality pieces. And I think it’s important to mix expensive and affordable items together. As I get older, I have a little more money to spend on myself, so sometimes I splurge. But, it’s funny, because there’s times when I still can’t justify spending money on clothes that I think I can find at a better price elsewhere. Case in point: The $108 Pistola boyfriend jeans that I did NOT buy, which I featured on my Instagram Stories today. But, I’m sure to check out the sales rack first to see what deals I can score. I never really did boutique shopping in Philadelphia (no idea why…) – I’m sure there’s PLENTY of cute shops there, but I do have a few favorite around Charleston. Post to come soon!

Fitness

SAVE:

I paid for a package gym membership. By paying for a 2 year membership in advance, I was able to save some money. Bonus, it includes ALL of the classes I want to take, so I have full-access!

I follow YouTube fitness videos in between trainings. Check out these videos that I watch to supplement my training and classes. I also follow Beach Body’s “Leandro Carvahlo’s Tummy Tuck videos from his Brazilian Butt Lift” series.

*Note: I’m not a fanatic about these, I just do them when I get bored.

I don’t drink too much alcohol. I’m not much of a drinker…I mean, if I could get drunk on Betty Crocker brownies, then I might have a problem, but I’d ALWAYS rather eat my calories. I’d say I might have 2 drinks a week. Maybe more, if mimosas are involved…

SPLURGE:

I pay for personal training. I see Tom at Pivotal Fitness 3 times a week for weight training. This cost was separate from my regular gym membership, but I really wanted some one-on-one time with someone knowledgable. Now that I’ll know how to use the machines, I’ll feel more comfortable doing this on my own, intermixed with classes.

MENTAL HEALTH

SAVE:

I listen to Abraham Hicks on YouTube. This is totally free and has helped me way, way, way more than anything has ever helped me before. It has opened the door for my relationship with God and to see the abundance around me every single day. Abraham has calmed me down and opened my eyes to the fact that every day is made for my enjoyment. And it’s true for everyone, which is so wonderful!

I go to Church. Now, this is something that’s kind of new for me. I mean, I was raised Catholic but would hardly consider myself “religious”. In Philadelphia, I occasionally attended Epic Church, but in Charleston, I’ve become really involved in Seacoast Church. It’s my time to reflect, pray, and mostly THANK God for everything I’ve been given.

SPLURGE:

I work with Jacki Crawford from Everybody Energy. Jacki has seriously turned my life around. I highly, highly, highly recommend talking to a therapist, meditating, going to yoga, reading, listening to inspirational speakers, going to Church, or whatever else gives you some mental peace and clarity. I can’t say that I would have always been ready for the kind of work that Jacki and I do – I had to get to a certain place of healing before she could help me be more “bright and shiny”, as she likes to say. But I can always talk to her about what’s going on in my life and we work on how to overcome any obstacles.

Home

SAVE:

I shop at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Target. I’ve found SO many pieces of furniture, accessories, lighting, bedding, dishes, and candles at these stores, that I can’t even imagine going anywhere else to buy things!

I repurpose hand-me-downs. I’m lucky to have some really great antique pieces that my family has given me. I love that they tell a story. My home feels so much like me, because it’s filled with my history.

Through my profession, I’ve been able to use my trade discounts on furniture. Everyone has a skill that they use to help them. I can get discounts on furniture, but I pay to get my taxes done…so, we’re even 🙂

SPLURGE:

I buy a few key pieces from brand name stores. A few years ago, I bought the Montclair sofa from crate&barrel. My first “Big Girl” piece. I love it and it was worth every penny.

Travel

SAVE:

I fly Frontier as much as I can. Frontier has awesome deals, so I check their site first when I’m booking my flight. Sometimes I even book one-way trips, since it can be cheaper to mix-and-match flights.

I choose all-inclusives. Let me just say that I’m a super snob when it comes to hotels. I never want to stay at a place that isn’t as nice as where I pay to live every day of the week, so I can be picky. However, I’ve found some excellent all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, and even better,  I could budget the entire tript by paying for everything together and upfront.

I stay with friends/budget hotels. Sometimes I’ll stay with friends or a cheaper hotel for a majority of my trip, so that I can stay 2 nights at a really fancy place.

SPLURGE:

I’ll stay at a nice hotel for a few nights max. By treating myself to a 2-night stay in a fancy hotel, I still feel like I”m living my best life, but not depleting my bank account!

Finances

I allot portions of my paycheck to savings/bills. This is one of my FAVORITE tips to saving money. I have a direct deposit to my savings account so I’m constantly saving with every paycheck. I also figured out how much of my paycheck needs to go to my bills, so I have that direct deposited into another account, meant only for bills. Anything else is for me!

I negotiate pricing for living arrangements. Often, apartment complexes will run holiday or seasonal specials. Look for them! If you live in an old house, like me, sometimes you can negotiate the cost, especially if you agree to stay for a longer term, or pay more upfront.

I take on side projects. I take on some side hustle if there’s something important that I’m saving for. I’ve been blessed to have some great, repeat clients that have helped me!

I cook most meals at home. I do go out to eat, but by cooking at home most of the time, I’m able to save some money there! This is SO hard to do in Charleston, because literally, every restaurant is unreal!

I really hope that spilling ALL of my secrets has been helpful. And, go ahead, tell everyone. These are the kinds of secrets that are meant to be shared!

❤ The Huntress

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Avocado Brownies


Last week I read a meme that said something to the effect of “Why do recipe posts include a 5 paragraph story about strolling along a tree-lined path in the fall smelling the scent of cinnamon apples and crisp leaves?? Just give me the damn pie recipe!” I laughed, seeing how true that was. And now I’m about to do it.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

I’m not a good baker. I can’t even call myself a bad baker. I’m literally not a baker. At all.

A brief history of my baking attempts include the hits: Singed Sweet Potato Pie and don’t forget Extra Extra Extra Crispy Crunchidoodle Cookies.

My trash has eaten more of my baking than I have. My kitchen walls have heard more curse words than a prison cell. In fact, most of my Christmas presents this year involved some kind of device lovingly meant to help me in my quest, including cookie cutters and an oven thermometer. The “whipped cream on top”, if you will, was as I got cozy on the couch to write this post, Worst Bakers in America came blaring on to the TV. Was the Universe trying to tell me something?! As my Aunt Cathy says, “you just have to laugh.”

All of these struggles only made me more determined to succeed. So, I started with Pinterest. With the new year upon us, I decided to organize my recipe board. As I was going through pins and pins and pins of crockpot dinners, protein shakes, and cocktail concoctions, I came across a few brownie recipes. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that brownies are my weakness. If you really know me, you know that I tend to say that about everything, but I mean it this time. I love me some fudgey, chocolate-y, from-the-box brownies. I love these so much, that, in order to gain my affections, a smart gentleman recently made me an incredible 4 course meal, with the dessert being Betty Crocker’s from-the-box Fudge Brownies. Told ya he was smart…

Anyway, I thought 2019 might be my year of an Adventure…in Baking. So, I thought I’d start by making The Shirley Journey’s Avocado Brownies. If I’m going to eat horribly, there might as well be a healthy avocado or two in there, right? Right.

CHRISTINA SHIRLEY’S AVOCADO BROWNIES
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 
Total time: 
INGREDIENTS
    • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
    • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
    • ½ cup light brown sugar
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ¾ cup flour
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

  3. In a large bowl (or I used our food processor), mix avocados and melted chocolate until smooth and creamy.

  4. Add in sugar and eggs. Mix until well combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

  6. Stir into chocolate avocado mixture until just combined.

  7. Spread batter into prepared pan.

  8. Bake about 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Umm, OK, these are incredible and will SERIOUSLY make you feel like a Baker Extraordinaire. They are extra-fugdey, super-gooey, and totally-chocolatey. And I’ve already eaten 3 squares…in the past 20 minutes.

Now that I know this is a recipe I can’t “fudge up”, I think I’d like to experiment by adding a little more brown sugar. Maybe some vanilla extract. Maybe a sweeter cocoa powder. The possibilities are endless 🙂

Thanks for listening.

Enjoy!

 

 

Word of the Year: 2019

Hello!

It’s been quite a whirlwind the past few months. I’ve been going on dates, making a ton of friends, getting involved, and keeping myself creative at work. And I’ve truly never been happier. It’s like anything I’d been doing before was just, well, a half-life.

You know I do a Word of the Year every year. Check out 2018’s word in this post, which links to previous year’s words! Last year, “Welcome” came to me so clearly. I barely had to think about it and it appeared! However, I thought that it meant that I would be welcoming new people into my life, welcoming new situations. But March 22, 2018, as I was living my best life on vacation in Charleston, I walked past a pineapple sketched on a chalkboard sign…and “Welcome” scrolled across the bottom. Everything aligned and I had so much clarity! Welcome…to Charleston! Whatever fog I had been in was lifted, and I knew exactly what the year was going to bring. #captainobvious

This year, my word came to me early, but not so clearly. I wanted Commitment. Or Security. Or Abundance. But, that’s not what I got. I struggled: “Are You sure that’s my word? Really? What about Limitless?” *prays to anyone who’ll listen*

No. None of them were my words.

But, now, now, I’m kinda excited about it. Gahhhh! OK, actually I’m super excited about it. Like jump-around-the-room-tell-EVERYONE-post-it-on-your-Insta-feed-AND-your-Stories excited about it. Maybe like if you really wanted a girl, and you find out you’re having a boy, but then you start creating a boy’s room and buying boys clothes, so your baby can look like a mini version of your hubs…so then you’re all, bring it! You with me?

Here we go! Literally…

 

An adventure is an exciting experience that is typically a bold, sometimes risky, undertaking. How could I not be FREAKING out in excitement?!

When I think about my 2018, there were so many totally unexpected, cool, kick-ass things that happened to me. So, I can’t even imagine what 2019 has in store. I have so many questions: What kind of adventure? Solo trips? Romantic getaways? Friend journeys? Finding a copilot to do life with? Blazing a new career path? Finally redesigning my blog format? I don’t know! Damn, this is gonna be a good year.

What’s your word?