The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: 4 Years

This morning I woke up and had a notification from WordPress.

“You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago. Happy Anniversary!”

Well isn’t that something.

4 years of sugary drinks and life lessons. I love when people still tell me that they want to wait to have their first one of the season with me. Makes me smile every time.

Life posts are my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures of my outfits, or my food or the weekend’s adventures too. But deep conversations are my favorite. And the inspiration that comes from this time of year is the best.

This past week was pretty bad. I mean, bad. And in the midst of me being completely frustrated and hard on myself, I got this sweet note from a friend I’ve known for a long time. She’s one of those friends that I (sadly) don’t talk with often, but our lives intertwine and we find ourselves getting to randomly reconnect.

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What’s funny about this is that she is hesitant to say how much she enjoys reading what I write, and I am usually hesitant to write because I assume no one wants to read it. Ha…oh life.

That’s where The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles grew from, my desire to write but with a short-term commitment (in case I ran out of things to say.) But as luck would have it, I apparently have a lot to say.  And I’m so so glad it’s grown past that.

So what do YOU have to say, friends? How’s your November starting? How’s your joy going? Let’s not waste all the good in this time of year. Share it!

 

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Stayin’ Alive.

I’m running out of witty titles for this series, can you tell?

As the year is winding down (good golly, can you believe that?) I thought I should do another check-in on my One Word 365 challenge. It’s been awhile, right?

This year has certainly been Alive (my word) though at times I’ve felt like I might be on life support. A few highlights of my journey…

– In March I took a new job for the first time in almost 5 years. It was hard. I cried for days. Sometimes I still cry about it.

– And then 6 months later…I took a different new job. (Good things always happen when you’re not looking, right?) Entirely new field. Entirely new responsibilities. But, oh so much fun to learn.

– I got involved with the Komen Young Professionals Board and Dress for Success Columbus. One of my goals this year was to get involved with a nonprofit where I could not only give to a local cause I care about, but also use some of my professional skills and event planning interests. Bingo!

– Not only did we start dancing again and The Movement Mission was formed, but I’m choreographing a piece for our show in February. This dance has been in my heart for nearly 5 years and it’s slowing figuring itself out. It’s nerve-racking but also so satisfying to put yourself out there.

– I started making intentional “me” time…simple things like quiet times in the morning, actually taking a lunch hour, going to yoga, early Saturday morning walks. Things that refresh my heart.

– I’m going to NYC for Thanksgiving with my momma and I CANNOT WAIT! Macy’s parade, Broadway, the Rockettes and so much holiday fun. If you have suggestions on places to visit or eat, please leave a comment!

– I really started to look my relationship with God in the face. I stared down some bad choices I had been making the past few years and made some hard decisions. I decided to stop throwing a temper tantrum with Him and pursued Him instead. And though I don’t completely feel fixed, it does feel incredible not to feel like I’m constantly swimming against the current. It feels good to see beauty in the world again.

And now we’re almost to my favorite time of year…Peppermint Mocha Season! I’ve been pretty selfish this year (which I don’t always think is a bad thing. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others) but these last months of the year are my favorite to look outward and focus on relationships and others. Are you ready, people? November is coming! Let’s do it big this year.

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: First Snow.

So happy that today is not only the first day or winter but our first real snow of the season! I love snow at Christmas time. It’s also my first time enjoying snow from inside my new house 🙂 Happy to see it through the window but not really looking forward to future snows and shoveling…

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How is your holiday prep coming along?

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: Guest Spot and a Recipe.

Today it is my pleasure to feature a fabulous lady, Heather Gilbert (she obviously draws her awesomeness from her name.) Heather and I are friends from our days at Otterbein and she writes over at bakingbreak. Earlier this season she told me about her new Peppermint Mocha cookies she was planning to try and of course I wanted to hear all about them! I must say, they look incredible. I can’t way to give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing your joy, Heather!

I  love Peppermint Mocha season. Just seeing those red cups makes me feel all festive. I agree with Heather, this season is all about joy and few things give me as much joy as baking for friends and family. Who doesn’t feel more joyful with Christmas cookies?

So, ‘tis the season for sharing sweets with those you care you about. Just this week I had my first red cup of the season and I’m happy to say, I think I was able to make a cookie that matches the magic of the Peppermint Mocha. You’ll be the talk of the cookie exchange with these and I hope this recipe helps you spread a little bit of joy to you and yours.

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp instant espresso
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips)
1 cup Peppermint Crunch Andes Mints Baking Chips (I found these at World Market)

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Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, espresso, baking powder and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet gradually and fold in the chocolate chips and Andes Mints.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper lined sheet trays and bake for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

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The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: Let the Joy Begin.

About three years ago, I started an experiment. The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles. It was a mash-up of several motives, including my desire to have an outlet to write (yet a fear of keeping up a full-time blog.) But mostly, it has been motivated by one simple word.

Joy. 

Short and sweet, right? Yet, such a heavy word. And one of my favorites. Joy can encompass so much. It’s not happiness; you can be sitting in the earthly pits of Hell and still be joyful. It’s a daily choice.

As I was preparing for this year’s PM season, I contemplated what effect it has actually had over the past several years. Because again, my goal is not to fill the interwebz with my ramblings. Has it made an impact?

And then, for the second year in a row, my friend Sonya found the red cup first and sent a photo with a note about how it reminded her of me. And in fact, my friend Jen said that it’s her “goal to make it into one of Heather’s blogs” (YOU DID IT!)

Indeed it has had an impact. Not to remind people to think of me; but to remind us all to stop and think. About something. To reflect during this holiday season. To live in the moment and enjoy the life that is right in front of us. To be joyful, whether you’re on top of the world or climbing out of the deepest hole.

So here’s my challenge for this year: Be present. In your own life. In someone else’s life.

And share it. With your friends. With a stranger. Here.  The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles are going to live here now, and I want you to be a part of it. So send me your stories. Your experiences. I’d love for you to write a guest post. Let’s go on a PM date. Let’s live life together! Because if we don’t, then what’s the point?

It’s November!

Happy November 1!  Can you believe it’s here already? The countdown to the holidays is beginning and, per usual, I’m nowhere near ready for it. But, as it’s still fall, there are many more fun adventures to go on! Let’s take a little look back at October…

These guys got married (and I got to be a part of it)

Photo from Kim Morales

I saw this guy in concert (one of my FAVORITES)

Had a beautiful lunch break here on one of my final days of travel

We had some pretty intense pumpkin carving

We dressed up like this for Halloween

Photo from Lindsey Sherwood

And like this…

Things I’m looking forward to in November:

– PEPPERMINT MOCHAS. Find out why here. More on this soon.
– Another wedding for great friends.
– The start of the holiday season (decorating, baking, traditions, all of it!)

How is your fall going so far?