Happy Valentine’s Day! I know that some people view this holiday as nothing more than Hallmark holiday, or a cheesy couples’ day, I love Valentine’s Day. In elementary school, I loved decorating a paper bag with hearts & flowers to hang on my chair & collect cartoon cards & candy from my classmates. In middle school, the cards were fewer, but I could always count on candy from my family. In high school, my friends & I celebrated each other by purchasing the roses sold by student council & there was always the fear that you wouldn’t have a boyfriend to bring you something at school. It’s no secret that pink is my favorite color & that I love getting all dressed up, so is it really a surprise that I love a holiday centered around pink, lacy, & ruffled dresses?
But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the clothes, the flowers, the gifts, the cards. At its core, for me, it’s a day to celebrate relationships of all types. I’ve been lucky to have the same core group of girlfriends for most of my life (going on two decades now – are we really that old?!?) & we love our girls’ nights. While we aren’t having an official Galentine’s celebration this year, we try to catch up as often as we can & celebrate each other’s victories, large & small. It can be a huge, themed birthday party, drinks to celebrate a new, or a phone call when things are tough, we are always there for each other. Over the years, we’ve become more like family than just friends & I think it’s important to take a moment today to really appreciate how rare & special relationships like that are.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have the most amazing man by my side for the last 5 years. In the fall of 2011, I had been out of law school & living in my hometown of Shreveport for one year. I had just finished a one-year judicial clerkship & was beginning my first year of practice with a law firm. I had just gotten out of a pretty awful relationship & wasn’t really looking to rush into another one. I told myself that I would be open to something if it came my way & that I wouldn’t close myself off, but I wasn’t actively searching. On September 9, 2011 (yes, I still remember the date, I’m a dork like that), my friend Angie offered me tickets to an art opening, so I recruited one of my BFF’s, got dressed up, & headed out for a girls’ night. We ran into an old friend of mine, Ian, & his super cute friend, Patrick. Ian, Patrick, Angie, & I ended up going to dinner later on that night. We talked, we flirted, we had a great time! Then, Patrick & I were just friends for several months. Looking back, I am so glad that we took the time to slowly get to know each other. By Christmas, we were dating & have been together ever since! When I walked into an art opening over 5 years ago, I never imagined that I would meet the love of my life, but I am so glad that I was open to the possibility. There are so many reasons that I love Patrick, but I thought that I would open up & share my top 5 for Valentine’s Day.
He is the most supportive man that I have ever known. I am involved in so many activities, probably too many, & even though he gets frustrated with my self-inflicted lack of free time, I know that he is always behind me, 100%, ready to help in any way that he can. He takes the majority of the pictures for this blog & never complains! Can’t beat that!
He pushes me to be the best person that I can be & encourages me to push myself. He has been so encouraging of this little adventure in blogging. I honestly don’t think that I would have had the guts to put myself out there without him. I love that he continually challenges me & helps me to develop new skills.
His ambition & dedication are inspiring to me. I really hope that just a fraction of them have rubbed off on me. I love that he takes such pride in everything that he does, even the smallest things around the house. He truly is “all-in” in everything & never gives up.
He makes me feel appreciated & beautiful, even when I’m not dressed up for a photo shoot & or at my best. It’s so easy, especially in the fashion industry, to get wrapped up in outward appearances, but it’s still nice to have your significant other make you feel sexy & beautiful. It’s also nice to know that he appreciates all of the hard work I put in around the house to make our lives run smoothly.
Finally, he never fails to make me laugh. Seriously, he is one of the wittiest, funniest people that I know. His dry sense of humor & one-liners cannot be beaten! I love that we can be goofy & silly together.
And now, on to the really good stuff…
I love this cookie recipe because it allows you to change it up each time depending on what mix-in you add. Try it with candy sprinkles (aka funfetti in my house), M&M’s, chocolate chips, raisins & oatmeal, chocolate & marshmallows, etc. Check out even more options by clicking the link above! Last night I mixed funfetti sprinkles into the batter, then topped each cookie with vanilla icing & more sprinkles. I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but all I could find were star sprinkles. 🙁 It’s also super easy. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, so if I can make these cookies, anyone can! Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup Country Crock Spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-2 cups mix-ins
1. First, preheat your oven to 375°.
2. Mix the Country Crock Spread, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, egg, egg yolk & vanilla in large bowl until well mixed.
3. Then stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended. The dough will be soft and creamy.
4. Add in your favorite mix-ins until every spoonful of dough has some of the mix-ins.
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets 3-inches apart. I use Reynolds Baking Sheets to keep the cookies from sticking to the pan. They are pre-cut sheets of parchment paper that fit perfectly onto a cookie sheet. Amazing!
6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack; remove from sheets and cool completely.
7. Decorate! I used vanilla frosting & extra sprinkles, but you can use whatever floats your boat!