Back, Better, And Happier Than Ever!

Come June 12th it will have been 2 years since I bought my first home, which many of you know as The Mint Cottage. It's my favorite place in the whole wide world, a place you will become very acquainted with the more you visit 203YP!

Before I even closed on my house I purchased 2 items that I felt went hand-in-hand with purchasing a home--a Kitchenaid stand mixer and a decorative deviled egg plate. Ironically, but probably not surprising, I have yet to use my deviled egg platter, but being somewhat of a bargain shopper, I happened to get it on clearance at Swoozie's so have not been terribly heartbroken about this.

Unfortunately, I can't say that I've quite gotten my money's worth when it comes to my perfect pistachio-colored mixer, either, as I've only used it once...and by that I actually mean my friend Grace came over before one of our beach trips and used it...

...her brownies were delicious, by the way!

Growing up, and throughout college, it was no secret that I loved to bake. In fact, some of you know that this isn't 203YP's first rodeo. So why on earth, you may ask, have I let my Kitchenaid mixer make nothing but dust bunnies over the past couple of years? Well life happened. At some point I managed to grow up and began doing (or at least pretending to do) adult things. I sometimes have trouble taking myself seriously as said adult because at the end of each day I still sleep with not one, but two Limited Too purple monkey-patterned blankets that I've had since I was about nine.

But I would be lying if I said I haven't enjoyed being home since graduating. A lot has happened, and I'm thankful for all of it, both the good and the bad!

I've had the opportunity to develop a successful career with the help of some amazing companies and coworkers, but have also experienced being fired along the way. I have acquired multiple designations, yet have failed my fair share of tests throughout the process. I've strengthened old friendships and developed new ones with some pretty spectacular people. I've been in caring, yet unsuccessful relationships, and had the courage to remove myself completely from extremely unhealthy ones, as well. I've said goodbye to family members and made a point to communicate more often with others while we still have each other. I've joined organizations that allowed me to play a part in bettering my community, but also participated in groups and events that unintentionally forced me to be something that I'm not.

Each one of these experiences has reassured me of who I am today, and although they aren't all positive, I can't imagine having endured this kinda-adult, kinda-not adult journey without each one of them, as they have all taught me so much. Along the way I have learned: to be mindful of my work ethic and to not take things so personally when in a professional setting; to be proud of the goals I achieve no matter how small; to look at setbacks as blessings in disguise, opportunities and second chances rather than failures; to remain self-motivated when I feel doubt creeping in; to never take advantage of the time I have with my family and friends by making sure I call them, FaceTime them, visit and simply spend time with them as often as possible!

I've learned how important self-worth is and how it directly correlates with how much I believe I deserve in my relationships. I've learned what kind of love, how much of it I'm capable of giving, and how much I deserve in return. I've learned all about compromise and its importance in certain situations. I've learned how crucial it is to divvy out time for myself to ensure my physical, mental, and emotional health. As cliche as this may sound, I've learned how much less effort smiling requires over frowning, and how laughter truly is the best medicine. But most importantly, I have learned that no one but me is responsible for my happiness, and I can't depend on others to make me happy. The second I leave that up to anyone else's words or actions, I lose sight of me--of my purpose, my independence, and my freedom, and I need those to stay true to who I am. Which brings me back to 203YP!

When I realized it had been at least 3 years since my last post I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it! Deciding to start it back up again was both an easy and difficult decision all at the same time. I asked myself a couple questions beforehand: When am I going to have time to do this? What if people don't enjoy it? But what's so neat about doing and sharing something you love is you'll find yourself making time for it without even realizing it--it ends up fitting perfectly in your already busy schedule. When expressing to a close friend my doubts about folks not enjoying it, she calmly reassured me in only two sentences: "Happiness is contagious. They may not love baking or shopping at Home Goods as much as you do, but if nothing else, they'll at least leave 203YP with a smile on."
So as you continue to visit and explore here, I hope you also continue to be inspired to do what your heart loves! Because even though we may not always believe it, we deserve to be the happiest versions of ourselves. Isn't that such a fun thought?! I think so, too.
Since I'm a tad rusty in the kitchen these days, I figured I'd start off with a simpler favorite of mine--chocolate chip cookies! The best chocolate chip cookies, actually. The cookies that even the cookie haters love. You're bound to win over some bellies with this one!

Plus, the deviled eggs have already waited this long...what's a tad bit longer?
I like to think of my style in the kitchen as an organized mess. Placing newspaper down on my counter eliminates some clean-up time later on. Ingredients not pictured: your vanilla extract and salt.

This recipe only calls for one large egg, but if you like your cookies more on the chewy side, then try adding an additional egg yolk and/or substituting the light brown sugar for dark.

This is around the time I become a little inpatient as all I really want to do is eat the dough...

Confession: I never actually measure how many chips I put in...when it come to chocolate chips I'm more of the "the more, the merrier" kind of baker! Semi-sweet chips bake the best, but for this recipe I always use milk choco chips because they become perfectly melted in the oven and stay super soft once cooled down.

My absolute favorite blogger is Sally's Baking Addiction. I've been following her site and recipes since high school. Since then, I have learned two amazing tips/tricks for perfecting these cookies: Use cornstarch in your recipe and roll into oval-shaped balls. Both will give your batches added height and fluff! With these you can also avoid the cookies running on the sheets while baking.

Okay, and here's the most important step: Eat Dough Between Batches :)
Please excuse my "resting dough eating" face
Yum. Yum. Yum.

Pin this recipe to save it for your kitchen! Just click the Pinterest icon in the image's top left corner. And don't forget to check out #SallysBakingAddiction--once you lay your eyes on her page and posts you won't want to leave!