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.


Chocolate beer cake

I wonder at what point in my life I’ll stop having no money. Will that time ever come? I honestly cannot see an end right now. And the thing is I do not spend excessively. I do not. Lunch out once a week, maybe dinner once a week, groceries from Farm Fresh Delivery once a week, the occasional extra trip to the regular grocery to get baking supplies, gas for my car, the occasional trip to Target to buy toilet paper and soap. That is literally all that is on my credit card statement for the past month. Gas. Food. Target. One J.Crew charge, items which were on sale, and one of which I returned. I bought a cardigan thing in June from Anthropologie, but I wear the thing once a week at least. In fact I’m wearing it today. I feel like all my money goes to bills, rent, and paying for the uber-expensive work that was done on my car last month. I also bought a swimsuit last month, which probably wasn’t completely necessary, but if I do ever come upon a chance to wear a swimsuit, it will not be a two-piece. Not anymore.

Seriously, does anyone have any tips on saving money? Because I am at a complete and nearly tearful loss. (Mom, if you read this, I WILL NOT take your money! Don’t offer :D)

OK, on to happier things. Much happier things. CAKE. CHOCOLATE. BEER. I realize I may have lost your attention as I spilled my money woes, but do I haven it back now?

bro and sis

My little brother turned 24 last Wednesday. Yikes, 24. I remember my 24th. It doesn’t seem that long ago, and in reality it wasn’t. Only three years ago. But it was in this Indianapolis-Adam-Jack and Jill lifetime. Last year when little brother turned 23, I fondly remembered my 23rd, in that faraway Raleigh lifetime. So, Last Monday my mom texted me (yes, she’s an expert texter!) asking to keep Wednesday open for birthday festivities. I, naturally, responded with “OK, want me to bake a cake?” Because 1. I have no money to buy birthday presents and 2. Baking is my middle name. Yes, she said. Problem. My brother is not a big fan of sweets. (OK, this causes more problems than just the birthday cake one, because I can’t feed him things that come out of my kitchen.) But he does love chocolate. He also loves good, dark beer. So when I found a chocolate stout cake on Smitten Kitchen, I knew I’d hit the jackpot.

This cake is rich and flavorful, but not so much that you feel sick after one piece. It’s moist and stays moist through the next day. And it doesn’t require any crazy ingredients.

Recipe after the break!

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