Just a Number?

My friend Annie’s birthday is this week. We kicked off the week of celebrating by joining her at the F.A.B. (Fighting Against Breast cancer) 5k on Sunday.

She was a perfect hostess and threw a ladies brunch that will surely show up on pinterest one day.

Finishing up last minute details before the race.

Since I crashed at her place the night before, I did what I often have others do for me while baking- sit and kept her entertained as she cooked away.We talked about this, that, and the other, until the topic of her birthday came up. She’s older than me by just over a month. And this is the year we turn 27.

A cookie bar recipe that includes whoppers? And not just some- I doubled the recipe and used the WHOLE carton. You’re welcome.

She said she had always wanted to have get-togethers and throw parties like this when she grew up and was just waiting to do it. Then, she realized recently, that uh…. well… somewhere in the past few years, we did grow up.

When mixing all the dry ingredients, I’ve learned to always hold back, at the very least, a half cup of flour. It only took one incident where there was WAY too much flour listed (I think it was an accident) for me to start doing this. You can always add more- it’s much harder to take away…

When? I’m not quite certain. Adulthood is a sneaky bastard, and I assume it snuck into my head as my preferences turned from Keystone Light to Goose Island.

Or when I made the decision on my own as to where I would live after college?

Or when I started drinking coffee instead of Diet Coke to wake myself up in the morning?

Or when I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “there is no way you’re leaving the house with a skirt this short. Has it always been this short? I look like a prostitute. Did it shrink in the wash?!?!”

Or when I started not being able to sleep in past 8:00 (or 9:00 at the very latest) on the weekends because I felt the need to “be productive”.

Maybe when I rolled my eyes in exasperation and said “oh crap… Mom was right.” (Yes, mom, I have said that. And no, I will not tell you specific times it happened.)

Sometimes a rolling pin just won’t do the trick. That’s when you know it’s time to break out the hammer. And I did. With pleasure. Muahahahaa….

Whenever it was, it happened. And after Annie confessed her realization, we just looked at each other.

Sure, we have two very different lives. She has a husband and owns a house. I’m perpetually single and rent. She’s excited about the idea of children and I can’t wait to say I’ve officially kept a house plant alive for 3 years (this summerrrrr!!!!).

I used the same ratio of whoppers stated in the recipe, however, I skipped the marshmallows and cut back on the amount of chocolate chips used. Unlike the original, I planned to frost the cookie cake and didn’t want it to be overkill.

But we’re both adults, nonetheless. We pay bills and taxes. We grocery shop for ourselves. We clean. We watch the news and discuss the weather. We talk about 401k’s and health insurance options. And, as we now officially enter our late 20’s, the evidence is not only in how we act, it’s on legal documents, too.

A new trick I learned! If you pop the cookie sheet into the freezer for about 10ish minutes before throwing it in the oven, the sides will start to cool down. Because the edges are cooler when put into the oven, they’ll bake slower than usual (and theoretically at the same pace as the middle). This leaves you with a cookie cake that isn’t raw in the middle and baked relatively evenly across the whole pan. Brilliant!

But why don’t I feel different?

I still feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to do some of the things I do without thinking, “oh man… mom and dad are going to be so mad…”. Shouldn’t be allowed to buy certain things on my own. Go where I want without permission.

Ahhhh the pink icing. It not only fits Annie’s personality, it went extremely well with the breast cancer awareness theme of the race!

So, my question is, when does that part change? That part that automatically knows what to do and reminds me “you can do this because you’re an adult and that’s what adults do”.

Or will it? I’m nervous it won’t.

Sometimes the best birthday cakes are simple and fun. Done and done.

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t imagine my life without a few nights out of the month where I stay up much too late for my own good. Drink an extra glass or two of wine more than I should. Eat cookies for dinner. Giggle at the word “balls”.

So yes, we have come a long way. And yes, from the looks of this post, I’m still very much confused about my age.

But oh how much longer we have yet to go. 27 doesn’t seem as scary as it used to be.

Talk to me in another year…The recipe used for the cookie cake was Picky Palate’s loaded malted chocolate chip cookie bars. I doubled the recipe so it would give me enough for a 9×13 pan and, as mentioned earlier, cut out the marshmallows and cut back on the chocolate chips. The frosting made up for this. Promise.

Another promise? There is surely not a better recipe for a cookie cake. My favorite thing about it was how the malted milk powder/crushed whoppers baked. They created a texture as if toffee had been added. VERY chewy.  And VERY addicting.

I’ll just hold on to that childish notion of eating cookies for dinner for maybe one more day…

A Little Sunshine

Sometimes it just makes us feel better.

Even if it’s raining as I write this.

And even though it’s been a crazy week and a half (does this explain my random absences?), looking on the bright side can sometimes be helpful. Or necessary. Depending on the day. Like today. As it continues to rain.

And rain…

Anyway… let’s try this, shall we?-I heart my house, although we’re still getting used to it. Creaking wood floors, the vintage-style (i.e. “tiny”) bathroom with the worst placement of the toilet paper holder ever, the sky light in my bedroom (ok, not getting used to it and trying to find a classy way to remedy the situation other than duct tape some cardboard up there). But all in all, it’s becoming “home”. Slowly but surely.

A few have requested it, and you’ll see a pic or two in due time. But there’s still much to be done. Patience… ;)

-As much as I want to bronze it up on Lake Michigan in sunshine and 85-degree weather, the cool down into the low 70’s has been extremely beneficial for at least one thing. My lunch running dates with my buddy. We’re still not quite sure how far we’ve been running (seriously only about 20-25 minutes), but I’m loving the little break up of the work day and am possibly becoming a little more fond of trail running (never thought I’d say that- road runner for life, ya’ll!).

We have plans to run today, but it’s looking pretty dreary out there. Better luck tomorrow?– Working out a little during lunch also leaves time after work for things such as cruisin’ the new ‘hood with my new roomie. On Monday, we found a few interesting restaurants/late night haunts. Picked up some takeout menus. Mexican food until 4:00 in the morning? Where have you been all my life??? 

Then a bird pooped on her shoulder and that was the end of our walk. Win some/lose some.-Sometimes the internet stops working at your house (ahem, another reason I’ve been absent). When you get home at 10:00 at night and want to use it, this is a problem. Hopefully it’s just a minor issue that will be resolved soon. Otherwise, I guess it means I’ll just be that much more productive at unpacking the rest of the house tonight?

Bright side… breathe… there is a bright side with that one…

-Yesterday was my dear friend Annie’s birthday and I was invited over to her in-law’s place for dinner. They’re also the same family that took me in last Thanksgiving. I sort of love them. And love that her mother-in-law can make some ridiculously good fajitas.

I brought the cake.Obviously.

Annie requested a cookie cake this year. With my love of cookies and sugar, this was not a problem.  I just hope she doesn’t mind the simplicity- finding my way around the new kitchen was a little harder than I thought it would be (babysteps…).Happy Birthday, Annie!

The trip out to the ‘burbs to have birthday dinner with Annie and her in-laws worked out extremely well. Because I technically still have a lease at my old place, the opening was taken to swing by and throw down 25 minutes on the elliptical and walk a little on the tread while visiting with Mon (she’s holding it down at the complex still!) before showering off and heading to dinner.

Friends and fitness are important to me. I fit them in whenever I can.

Now, if only I could stop playing phone tag with a few other people…

*Oh and by the way, when it comes to comments:

– It’s true. I’ve mentioned it before, and yes, there are people out there that just don’t like fruit. I would be one of them. Or maybe I’m the only one. There hasn’t been an official headcount. There are exceptions to my “no fruit, please” rule. As in, think of the most nontraditional fruits you can. There’s a good possibility I’ll like them. Like avocados. Or coconut (nut or fruit? Jury is still out…). Or lemons/limes. And artificially flavored things like cherry twizzlers. But I’m thinking that probably doesn’t count. 

You have no idea how frustrating it is to go to a party or summer BBQ and the only dessert option is a fruit salad.

I mean, come on… you’ve GOT to be kidding me.

But anyway…

And I can’t believe so many of you have never been ghetto enough to do the wine bottle rolling pin! Pretty sure that’s all we used one year in college- none of us wanted to throw down the $5 to buy one. It made more sense to buy a bottle of wine for that much, use it for such, and ALSO get a drink while we’re at it.

Don’t ever question the logic of a college student.

You’ll only confuse yourself.

Have a good one!

*The cookie cake was made with Andrea @ Can You Stay For Dinner’s fabulous chewy cookie recipe (used 1 1/2 the recipe). She probably knows I stalk her recipes page often because her food is amazing. The icing is buttercream with a little milk added to make it easier to work with.

Mid-June Update!

So much is happening… but it still seems like all work, no play!  Well…. almost.

Flower Cookie CakeAnnie’s Birthday was Sunday.  We celebrated the good ol’ Amy way with an unnecessarily extravagant cookie cake after her dance recitals!  Good thing I was able to hit the trail a few times this weekend and get quite the workout after moving a few carloads of things.  God knows I gained about five pounds by just baking the silly thing.  Who’s idea was it to make a double layered cookie cake anyways?  Geez…

The roomie and I saw The Hangover last week at a $5 showing in Lake Zurich.  It was easily one of the best movies I had seen  in theaters in a long time.  I am now recruiting people to be a member of my currently one-girl wolfpack…  ha ha.

Best Movie Ever!

Best Movie Ever!

Back to work… back to work.  My boss is gone this week on a cruise (“I’m on a boat!”).  That leaves Jaime and I to hold down the office and take care of all the agents while he is gone.  Stressful…  Next week I have a random day off in the middle of the week.  I’m calling it my mental health day as to recover from his being gone and prepare for Jaime’s vacation the week after.

It’s also nice to have that day off because I have now begun the process of moving… again.  Yes, I  picked up my keys today and now am officially a member of both the Village of Palatine and Arlington Heights.  I feel like a baller because I have two places right now.  ‘Holla.

Yet I do not feel like a baller because I realized that the process of moving and all the expenses that go along with it may cancel out any hope I had of traveling to Philidelphia/Boston/New England with Laura to see my friend Jessi.  Laura had a fantastic vacation in Hawaii, so she may also be canceling out the idea.  Damn.

I did, however, rediscover my love of browsing craigslist.  The roomie and I quickly got rid of the ugly (but extremely comfy) couch we acquired when we first moved in.  I also scored a glass coffee table that I had been eyeing at Ikea.  It was on clearance at Ikea for $70.  I got it for $30.  Loves it…

Swine FluSomeone at work came down with the swine flu.  They’re better now (it’s just the flu, people!), but it did turn into an HR disaster within the company and building management.  Apparently there was no protocol for swine flu (like there really needed to be one in the first place) and this caused disorder for two days.  Again, another reason why work has been quite stressful.

I’m in preparation for Miss Annie’s big wedding that is less than a month away.  I’m quite anxious to see what the bill will be for the work I’m getting done on the bridesmaid dress.  All the girls in the wedding have whatever style of dress they liked (in sailor blue, of course) and have been given the freedom to do what they like with it.  I’m keeping mine pretty simple- but I had some overall “shrinking”of the dress to get done.  I cringed at every little “snip” the seamstress made because I know from past experience (I’m currently in the process of transforming into Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses) what this costs.  Yikes!  At least I’ll be stylin’!


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