Easy & Sweet Homemade Hostess Gifts + the Best Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Wedding Wednesday, once again! Can you believe we only have one more before the big day?! Don't worry if you're not interested in anything Wedding today. I wanted to share a homemade gift that saved me this past year. These homemade mini chocolate chip cookie jars are delicious, cheap and personalized.  Since we're only a few weeks from kicking off the holiday season, this is a good recipe to keep handy in case you are in search of a last minute gift! 

I have a few friends who don't like chocolate (they're insane I know!) but every single one texted me the next day and said they already ate all their cookies! I have two all time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes and this is one of them. Beware, it's SO easy to pop a couple in your mouth while making these and before you know it you've eaten a dozen mini cookies yourself. 

To keep up with more holiday ideas and recipes, make sure to follow along on Instagram (@YesPleaseDaily)! 



These cookies are so adorable, I knew they would turn out mini but I didn't realize how mini! They take a while to make because you have to roll so many out, so I grabbed a stool and watched Netflix in the kitchen, ha! They make 12 dozen which sounds like a lot, but depending on how many you're gifting you may want to double or triple your recipe. I made 8 mason jars and 2 batches of this recipe was still not enough. Since I was short on time, I filled the bottom of the mason jars with trail mix and then some Hershey bars I had in our S'mores stash, then the cookies on top. 

If you're making these as a Christmas gift, the jars would be adorable with all cookies & a holiday colored ribbon! You could even nix the chocolate chips and substitute white chocolate and holiday colored sprinkles. 

To assemble the mason jars: 
-- Pop the circle part of the lid out, spray with chalk spray paint and let dry.
--While the lids are drying, grab a name tag, ribbons, or whatever decoration you want. I did cardboard gift tags & wrote 'I'm so lucky to have a sweet friend like you' in White Paint Marker. 
--Once the lids are dry, write their names or a holiday message in the chalk. You can use a Paint Marker for a permanent message or chalk so they can erase + reuse. 
--Fill the mason jars with cookies or treats of your choice. 
--Seal & Deliver! 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Yield: About 12 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping if desired
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • Place butter in a microwave safe bowl, heat in microwave on HIGH power until butter has melted halfway. Remove and whisk until fully melted. Pour butter into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar, fit mixer with paddle attachment and blend mixture on medium speed until well combined. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Scoop dough out a slightly heaping 1/2 tsp at a time and drop onto plates (wax paper, whatever). Shape each into a ball, then if desired press 3 - 4 more chocolate chips into top (totally optional, mostly for looks...and more chocolate). Align on two Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven about 5 - 6 minutes (they should still fill soft and slightly under-baked, they will continue to cook slightly once removed from oven so carefully not to over-bake). Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

You could spend a lazy Saturday baking these cookies and filling mason jars, so you have gifts on hand when you start to get busier towards Christmas! I had almost all the ingredients for these cookies in my cabinet, so all I had to buy was mini chocolate chips & mason jars making this an under $10 gift for 8 people! Baking cookies at the holidays always reminds me of my Mama and makes me so happy, if one of my recipes became part of your holiday tradition it would be the best Christmas present ever.

xo.



| Kitchen Aid Mixer | 'Cravings' Cookbook by Chrissy Teigen | Oatmeal Cookie Candle | Kate Spade Polka Dot Tea Kettle





Yes, Please Hair Diaries: The 'Faux-Out' Blow Out

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I've wanted to share this post for a while, but forever hesitant. I by no means consider myself a hair expert. I know what works for my hair and I can usually get it how I want it --minus those random bad hair days. I've found products that definitely help my hair and I'm always happy to share my finds but when it comes to actual tutorials, I'm in no position to tell you how to get Kate Middleton dream locks. 

However, I feel like so many Pinterest tutorials teach you how to get the 'Perfect Blow Out' if you have fine, soft hair that invites volume with the flick of the wrist and you must be a master of round brushes and blow dryers to achieve. AKA unless you are a whiz with a blow dryer, you need some magic to make happen. Since I'm not great with a round brush, or any brush for that matter, I call my 'blow out' a 'faux-out'. 

This is my go-to for hair styles. I love that it adds more volume than just straightening your hair, but isn't as fancy as curling your hair. Once you get the hang of it, it only takes about 20 minutes to achieve and is a great base for later hairstyles the next day #HelloDryShampoo.


Let me start by introducing my hair to you. I feel like once you know my texture/hair type, you can easily judge which steps you need to omit or which products you need to use more of. 
My hair is slightly curly/slightly wavy depending on the day, way I dry it, products I use. It's not super thick, it's not thin. It's not super soft, but it's also not super texturized. It's basically the most median hair ever. I like to have a lot of texture in my hair, I think it holds the volume and style so much better + I can go longer in-between washes. Since my hair naturally doesn't have a lot of texture I use a texturizing mousse and a texture spray once dry. (I'll explain more below) 

Basically in my mind.. Texture = Longer Style Hold, More Volume & Easier to Style (AKA Happiness) 

If you're hair is super, super soft I would suggest a lot of mousse all over. If you want less volume, you can focus the mousse on the ends or if you want more volume, less stiff at the bottom.. more mousse at the top. Wherever you put the mousse in your hair, that part of your hair will have more hold. I put my mousse all over because it's add volume and hold for the curls, but play around with it until you find the perfect amount for your hair!

Once you know how to prep your hair, you need to blow dry. If you're interested in why I am obsessed with my blow dryer and brushes or exactly how I prep my hair, head here

1. With a clip, section off the top two thirds of your hair and clip it on top of your head. 

2. Starting with the bottom section, using a round or flat brush, pull your hair away from your head and blow hot air downwards onto the brush. Pull the brush and blow dryer down, in sync, until the bottom of your hair. Repeat until it is completely dry. (I usually do this in about four sections of the bottom layer)

3. Remove the clip and let down another third of your hair. Repeat step two.

4. Let down the top section of your hair. Starting at the roots blow air directly onto your head for a few minutes. Then using your brush, pull hair up and away from scalp, moving the brush and dryer in sync until you reach the ends of your hair. Repeat until dry. 

Next, we style! But first, I am obsessed with this texture spray. I use it on each section of hair before curling it. It holds but it isn't super heavy. 

5. Section off the top two thirds of your hair. 

6. Take the bottom layer, working in 2 inch pieces and curl away from your face. I usually clip the hair  in the curling iron at the top, close to my scalp and then pull the curling iron down towards the ends. This helps smooth out any frizz, then you twist up. 

7. Keep the curling iron vertical to create looser waves.

8. Repeat steps 7 & 8 on all sections of your hair. 

9. Finish with hair spray and allow it to set for a few minutes before brushing through gently. 


I love this hair style for loose waves, big volume and a little bit messy vibe. I think it is the perfect 'everyday hair'. I usually do my hair like this as soon as I wash it and then the next day, I curl it and it holds so well. I'm going to do a video tutorial on snapchat soon, so make sure you add me (RileyBrahm). 

If you have any questions about this please let me know, I never realized how hard it is typing out hair instructions! Just remember, it doesn't have to look perfect.. messy, big waves and lots of volume is the goal. xo


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Doodlebug: Our Mini Goldendoodle + Snickerdoodle Blondies Recipe

Monday, November 7, 2016


Our baby Doodle Bug. She turned three yesterday and I cannot believe she's been a part of our family for that long now but at the same time I cannot remember life without her. Even though she is a cutie and very photogenic, her personality is really what makes her so, so adorable. I wish every single one of you could come meet her. She is so cuddly, so loving and a total Mama's girl. 

I wanted to take Doodle's birthday to share answer some of the most common questions I get about Doodle! 

What breed is Doodle?
Doodle is a F1 Mini Golden Doodle. Her mom was a Golden Retriever and father was a Miniature Poodle, so she's 50/50. She has a flat coat like a golden retriever, so she will forever look like a Golden Retriever puppy. 

Is she full grown?
She is about 30 pounds full grown. She is very smart and has the personality just like a Golden. 

Where did you get her? 
We got her from a breeder in Kentucky, this is their site

How did you pick a Mini Golden Doodle?
If you've been following along for a while, you know we also have a huge Golden Retriever. He's 90 pounds and I swear 70 of those pounds are fur. I would never get rid of Dallas but his hair drives my allergies insane. We have to vacuum almost everyday and constantly wash our sheets. I knew we wanted another dog, but we had to get one that was hypoallergenic since I have horrible asthma and allergies. Doodle is half Golden Retriever, Half Poodle she barely sheds (only like once a year, and it's barely anything!) and she is hypoallergenic. 


Doodle is my best friend. She sleeps next to me every night, just like a little human. She crawls under the covers and then comes back up, so her head is on the pillow but she's tucked in. She loves to snuggle, which makes me so happy because I'm a snuggler too. She will eat  a n y t h i n g and I mean anything. Her favorite treats are vanilla ice cream and apples, she is adorable when she eats apples because they are so crunchy for her little mouth! She loves to play with Dallas and hates the wind. She gets nervous in the car, but as soon as we turn on our street she gets brave and sticks her little nose out the window. She used to hate to swim but recently she is getting braver, going deeper in the water! She acts just like a little fox! We always say that she might be mixed with a fox instead of a poodle ha! She squeals like them, burrows like them and even looks like one. 

A lot of you probably don't know but we almost lost Doodle earlier this year. She had to have emergency surgery and lost a lot of blood. They didn't know if she was going to make it but thanks to many prayers and amazing vets, she did! She's fine now but it was so scary at the time, I think it makes this birthday a little more special because I couldn't imagine life without my little Doodle. 

 We always make these Snickerdoodle Blondies for ourselves and joke that it's Doodle's favorite dessert. I let her get a few nibbles since there isn't any chocolate, but they are INCREDIBLE. We recently had one of Babe's friends in town for the weekend and they ate the whole tray in one day. They're great by themselves or served hot with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. They would be perfect for any upcoming holiday parties! 

Ingredients:1C unsalted butter, softened
1C granulated sugar
1C light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2C all purpose flour

Topping:1/4C granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease exposed pan and parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla, followed by dry ingredients. Mix until smooth and no streaks remain. Lightly grease hands, press mixture into an even layer in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar topping mixture.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
4. Allow blondies to cool before slicing. Store in an airtight container for up to several days.


Shop some of Doodle's Favorites:





I hope your Monday was quick and filled with coffee, thanks for stopping by! xo

Our Wedding Invitations

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Well, it's officially wedding month and I'm so happy I could cry. I met our coordinator at our venue yesterday to confirm everything for the wedding and it's so reassuring to know all our plans are coming together how I envisioned. I'll be sharing more on our coordinator after the wedding but one of my favorite things about having her is I know her style is almost identical (or better than) mine. So, if something goes terribly wrong or needs to be adjusted the day of the wedding I 100% trust her decisions. I know anything she would do would be something I would also do and that takes a thousand pounds off my shoulders. 
Wedding planning has been one of the craziest experiences for me. I'll touch more in depth on everything later, but it has been a roller coaster of emotions. There were days when I didn't know if we would make it and to be only two weeks out seems impossible. It still feels like one of those things that isn't really happening. One thing that made everything slightly more real were the invitations. Once they were sent out, you know there's no turning back.. you'll actually have guests at your wedding!! 

Much like anything I do in life, finding invitations was a struggle. I hate, hate, hate making decisions. I'm extremely picky and usually have a vision set in my head. Nine times out of ten, I'm never able to make that vision a reality. --I cannot tell you how many times I've envisioned the perfect sweater, shoes, bag or accessory only to never be able to find it anywhere. I've actually tried to sew my own clothes by hand multiple times because I'm so persistent on a certain outfit. I've been this way since I was a little girl, I used to make clothes out of pillow cases!

When I was talking to my good friend Molly, I was telling her I could not find any invitations to fit my vision. I wanted elegant, simple, slightly rustic and hand painted (totally not picky right?!). A few days later she texted me a few sketches and I was so happy I could cry. 


First Molly sent me a sketch of a few sample invites and we combined them to create the perfect wedding invitation. It was everything I envisioned, one of a kind and beautiful. Next we started working on a map of Chattanooga. I have so many family members and friends traveling to Chattanooga for the wedding weekend. I wanted to provide them with a few of our favorite places to check out if they have any free time. 
Chattanooga has so many hidden gems but Molly captured our favorite spots so perfectly. I love this card so much because I think it makes the perfect memento for our guests. If they decide to they could leave it up on their fridge or even frame it, like I plan to do. 

Now time for the funny part.. like every event in life, the invitations were almost too good to be true. While Molly made sure every little detail was perfect, the post office has driven me up a wall! We hand addressed, hand stuffed and hand delivered all two hundred invites to the post office, only for half of them to never be delivered. I have seriously felt so bad. I think people think I'm lying when I tell them so many got lost in the mail, but I'm serious! Even Babe's parents never received their invite. Luckily we had extra made so I've been mailing so many out late. I had so many friends text me asking if they were still invited and sad they missed out on the gorgeous invites, I'm glad we were able to get some sent to them the second go around. Someone the other day joked, haven't you ever heard the phrase going postal?! I know the feeling now. :) 

Being a blogger, I'm all about supporting small and local businesses and I'm so happy Molly was able to work with me to make my dreams come true. As an early Christmas gift to you guys, she's offering 10% off any orders between November 2-16th. All orders placed by the 16th will arrive by Christmas! In addition to invitations, Molly can turn any photograph into a hand painted, water color print. You can see above where she painted one of our favorite engagement pictures for us! To receive the 10%, follow us on Instagram (@YesPleaseDaily + @Molly_GSmith) & mention that you did during checkout. 

Be sure to check out Molly's adorable blog, Oh Baby Mama + you'll find more info on all her amazing work. 

I can't believe we're reaching the end of #WeddingWednesday. I have a few more to share after the honeymoon, but come 2017 I'll have to find a new series to share with you babes! I would love to hear any ideas you may have. Happy hump day loves! 

xo

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