Recently one of my favorite ladies of the internet, Joy the Baker, was interviewed on The Every Girl. Among the many quirky and insightful things she said was advice to her 23-year-old self: You’re not the kind of girl who settles. Keep not settling.

That is rad and real advice, and the kind that a 23-year-old, myself included, could probably use.

Joy’s advice made me think … what would I tell my 23-year-old self? The one living recklessly yet so nervously in Raleigh who felt like her biggest life decisions were in front of her.

New Year’s Eve, 2007

1. Get a new perspective when faced with challenges, don’t run away. Don’t feel guilty about getting new perspective, and don’t call it running away when it’s what you need.

2. Do your own thing, be your own person, be confident in your decisions, and don’t let other opinions pressure you into going where you don’t feel you should go.

3. Enjoy that one warm winter you spend in Raleigh. It’s OK to forget what single digit temps feel like for a minute.

4. No regrets. None. Every single thing you do will get you to where you will be, and it will always be good and OK. Don’t wish things had gone differently. Be glad they went just as they did.

5. Get a real hairdresser, a real haircut, and some real, good hair products. Control the frizz.

6. Enjoy every moment you get to sit on a horse. Those moments will lessen.

7. Find a hobby that is less expensive than riding. Baking is good.

8. Break the feet-picking habit. It’s way gross.

9. Be present. Be positive. Learn the benefits of breathing.

10. Listen to the lyrics.

11. Get a good pair of running shoes! Your toenails will still fall off, but your running will improve.

12. Moving back to your hometown is a step forward, not a step backward like it may feel at the time.

13. Your boobs are bigger than you think. Consider that next cup size up. Consider showing off your cleavage sometimes, too. It’s cool.

14. Do not try Velveeta macaroni and cheese in the box. It will only lead down a slippery slope. Wait, on second thought, try that business. Your 28-year-old self can’t imagine life without it.


Ginger Chocolate Cookies

These past few weeks I’ve been too exhausted to cook or even really bake much. I’ve been eating out with my parents, eating over at my parents’ house, eating with my girlfriends, and sometimes throwing something together at home. I’m sure you know the feeling. Work is overwhelming, your personal life is a roller coaster, and standing in the kitchen becomes a chore rather than a joy. No one ever told me that being a beginning grown-up was so hard and tiring! Your college diploma should come with a big warning label: Hard times ahead. Forget staying up late to party or study. You won’t be able to make it past 10:30pm lots of nights. You think being independent will be cool and will involve having fancy drinks at fancy bars, buying awesome clothes, and decorating your first real apartment? Think again and this time include bills, rent, credit cards, food for your pets, gas money, food for yourself…and then swear that the only time you’ll look at your bank account is when you need a good cry. Oh and balancing your personal and work lives? They overlap. Work seeps into personal time, even if you don’t work long hours. It affects your personal relationships. Just…be prepared.

OK, so enough with the bitching about being a grown-up. The good part is that if you do come home from work one day and are craving cookies like woah, you can make a batch of cookies if you damn well please.

And these ginger chocolate cookies are the ones you should probably make. That’s what I did one Friday about a month ago. (shut up, I know I’m behind on posting!) They’re hella easy and you most likely have everything in your house.

Chocolate and brown sugar make cookies magical

(You may not have molasses, but you should probably buy some and keep your cabinet stocked with it always. It adds amazing depth and flavor to baked goods.) Kind of like chocolate chip cookies with a fantastic kick.

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