Tuesday, November 25, 2014

S'more Cookies // Fall Bucket List

I keep looking at my calendar thinking surely there's a mistake. We can't possibly be this far into November. December isn't actually in five days. Alas, it's true. Yet another month has slipped right by.

S'mores are kind of our family's *thing*. From s'more ice cream to s'more brownies (those exist, and they're glorious - if you have a Yardhouse near you, run [don't walk] there and order one of these heavenly bits of amazing; you can thank me later) to the regular ol' s'more, we tend to love it all.

Naturally when I happened upon a s'more cookie I couldn't pass them up.

These cookies were made for the s'more connoisseur. Bonus points for being pretty easy to whip up as well. The only part that hung me up ever so slightly was finding just the right spot to place the chocolate chunks, because I'm weird and particular like that.

Here's to crossing off the very last item on our Fall Bucket List - a fall inspired cookie!

S'more Cookies
Yields approximately 36 cookies
What You'll Need:
11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
4 regular sized Hershey bars, broken into pieces
1-2 packages of graham cracker, broken into squares

How You'll Make Them:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  
  5. Preheat the oven to 375º. Line baking pans with parchment paper. 
  6. Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans. 
  7. Place 1/2 tablespoon of dough on graham crackers. Press down slightly with fingertips.
  8. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.
  9. Bake for an additional 5 – 7 minutes or more if your cookies are thicker. They will be done when the edges begin to turn golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. 
If these aren't consumed within a day or two (which shouldn't be an issue) the graham crackers do tend to get a bit soft.
Recipe Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything
Enjoy!!

Have you managed to check off all the items on your Fall Bucket List, too? Be sure to link up (below) with StephanieElizabeth, and me, and share how you've wrapped this season up.
   Desirée // Macke Monologues       Stephanie // Wife Mommy Me        Elizabeth // Chasin' Mason

Monday, November 24, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Big Ol' Beautiful Blogger Meet Up

Hey, hey, hey Friday! So glad to see you're finally here. It's been one of those never ending weeks, and the weekend is very much welcomed.

There's a lot of great stuff going on, so I'm heading right to the highlights from the week.

1. It's happening. It's FINALLY REALLY happening. Today I'm meeting up with two of my favorite bloggers - Stephanie and Elizabeth - in one of my favorite cities, San Diego!
Food. Wine. The company of two amazing ladies. The shenanigans that are sure to ensue have me out of my mind excited. Fully prepare for an entire post sometime next week gushing about our blogger date.

2. It took almost a year and a half of attempts and pleading, but Marcus finally caved to an arts and crafts project of mine.
Hand print Thanksgiving turkeys for the win! We just kept painting and stamping and painting and stamping.

3. I'm sort of apologizing for the number of sunsets that I'll be taking pictures of and posting in the next few months.
 
In Southern California, late fall and early winter months lend themselves to some of the most spectacular skies.
But I'm not really sorry. Those skies are just too gorgeous to keep to myself.

4. For the steep entry fee for the half marathon I ran last weekend (seriously, it was the most expensive 1/2 I've ever entered) you'd think the race day photos would be complimentary. They weren't. Good thing I don't mind the little water marks all over the pictures.
Also, I'm totally faking my way through most of those smiles, waves and thumbs up. Fake it till you make it, right?

5. Povitica. Never heard of it? It's a Croatian bread that I was introduced to when I lived in Kansas City. Kansas City also happens to be the only place I've ever found the bread.
Someone might enjoy the bread as much as his mom. 
Thankfully my in-laws know my love of the beautifully constructed bread and had a loaf shipped to us from Strawberry Hill Povitica. If you like sweet, dense, delicious bread, seriously consider giving this a try. 

Bonus: There is still time to get in on some serious holiday deals and discounts!
Chloe & Isabel Jewelry Boutique - free birthstone earrings and free shipping on orders of $100+ until 11/27. Simply mention Macke Monologues at checkout.
bybmg - free shipping until December 20. Use code :: MIGHTYMACKE at check out.
Mary Kay - 15% off and free shipping until December 10. Use code :: MACKE14 at checkout.
Ruffles With Love - 15% discount until December 15. Use code :: MACKE15 at checkout.
Two Girls Craft Shoppe - 20% discount until December 1. Use code :: MACKEHOLIDAY at checkout.
Fleurty Bands - 10% off until November 30. Use code :: MACKE14 at checkout.

And, the winner of the Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway is Dana over at The 356. Congrats and happy sipping and shopping!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

If You Mustache Me a Question…

Being a blogger (Does anyone else still feel weird when they say "I'm a blogger"? No? Just me? Ok, moving on…) it takes a pretty good dose of narcissism to keep things moving along. I mean, how many blogs do you read where the writer doesn't talk about themselves a majority of the time? I tallied up the blogs I read and counted exactly zero.

So, when Johanna hit me up with I Mustache You Some Questions my narcissistic-blogging-self was tickled; these Q&As are some of my favorites to read as well as answer. Plus, the title of this? Yes. Winner.
Jumping in to the questions…

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
  • D.
  • Des.
  • D-Ray.
  • The select few, you know who you are, call me by my initials (my name is Desirée Joy, you can figure out the rest from there).
  • Throwing in a 5th, because the most important name I've earned, is "Mommy".
Four jobs that I have had:
  • Lifeguard/swim instructor.
  • I used to clean the events centers at Iowa State University. The title was Environmental Specialist. What that really meant was I was a janitor. It was 100% terrible. 
  • I used to work in radio, on-air, but I don't think you could technically call me a DJ.
  • I was an aquatics coordinator through a parks and recreation department in a suburb outside Kansas City. 
Four movies I have watched more than once:
  • Old School.
  • Wedding Crashers (apparently I'm 12).
  • Elf (and apparently love Will Ferrel).
  • The '97 version Romeo and Juliette (possibly my favorite movie of all time).
Four places I have lived:
  • Estherville, IA - was born there and lived there for nine years.
  • Denison, IA - I consider that my home town.
  • Ames, IA - attended college there.
  • Kansas City - where I now consider "home".
Four places I have been:
Geesh, just four?!
  • Niagara Falls, Canada.
  • Cabo, Mexico.
  • Maui/Oahu/Big Island, Hawaii.
  • St. Thomas, USVI.
Four places I would rather be right now:
  • Kansas City. 
  • Disney Land (Christmas at Disney is ahhhh-may-zing).
  • On a boat (in my flippy floppies).
  • On a softball field or sand volleyball court.
Four things I won't eat:
  • Beef.
  • Pork.
  • Lamb.
  • Lima beans.
Four of my favorite foods:
  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Alaskan King Crab.
  • Ice cream (give me all the ice cream).
  • Dutch Letters. Never had them? Trust me when I say you're missing out.
Four TV shows that I watch:
All the guilty pleasures are exposed…
  • Chicago Fire.
  • Nashville.
  • Love It Or List It. 
  • Fixer Upper.
Four things I am looking forward to this year:
  • Christmas - I just know as Marcus gets older Christmases are going to get better and better.
  • Finding/signing up/running a few more 1/2 marathons, maybe even biting the bullet and run a full??
  • Celebrating Marcus' THIRD birthday in March.
  • Weddings! Several of my good friends are tying the knot this year, and I can't wait to celebrate!
Four things I am always saying:
  • Stop it. (either with the "mom" tone, or in a sarcastic tone)
  • I'm over it. (just ask Scott how often this is said…)
  • No, no, no. (this applies to Marcus, often)
  • I love you. (that one is my favorite) 
Four people I ask to join in along in the Q&As:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Hardest Half

Saturday morning I woke before the sun, slipped on the running gear I'd set out the night before, sipped a piping hot cup of coffee, and acknowledged the pre-race jitters that greet me every morning before a race. 

I arrived at the event an hour before start time. The ocean air was cool and crisp, and the sun was lazily coming up over the water. 
That sunrise, though.
Along with the gorgeous sky opening up before me everything else surrounding me was pretty picturesque as well. 
The seconds ticked away to minutes, and before I knew it I was lining up with the rest of the participants in the chute and the National Anthem was sung.

We were off, and right away at mile 1 the sky gave us the most incredible race-start "welcome" in the history of race starts.
Unbelievable. 
I knew the course was going to be challenging (I looked at the course elevation map a whopping hour before race start), running the coastal cliffs is never easy (thankfully I run/train hills almost every day)… But, with all the hills and elevation changes the first 7 miles seemed to slip by.

The route was beautiful. 
We ran through some pretty spectacular neighborhoods where homes towered on the cliffs and stood as sentinel to the ocean. 
Forgive the blur. Quality is kind of hard to achieve while trying to maintain pace.
I want to know what these people do. 
Seeing the ocean during the entire run was a pretty cush bonus.
Then miles 7.5 to 9.5 happened. The steady two-mile uphill battle was brutal. 
I wish the pictures did the hills, both up and down, justice. They don't. At all.
What goes up must come down was my mantra for the ENTIRE run. 

Somehow by mile 10 I felt good. Really, really good. And mile 10 is usually where the mind game begins for me. 
Mile 10 felt so good I was compelled to snap a picture of the mile marker. This is usually where I want to keel over and die.
It wasn't until mile 12 when a ridiculous hill reared its hideous head. The hill was so steep, and my body was so spent, that I did something I haven't done in five years. On two occasions I had to walk a few steps, give myself a mental pep talk, and resume running. I kept thinking, "This is such a cruel place to put such a difficult hill."

By the grace of God I didn't die, I made it up the hill, and the rest of the race was relatively down hill from that point. 
The last downhill portion - half mile from the finish line. 
A look at the course elevation changes:
The first arrow is the downhill I knew would eventually become the most horrible uphill (decline of 100+ feet in less than .25 miles).
The second blue arrow is miles 7.5-9.5. The longest two-mile hill, ever
(incline of 300+ feet in 2 miles).
The red arrow is mile 12 (the reverse of the first blue arrow). The incline felt as if I were trying to run straight up a ladder. It was also the mile where I thought my legs would give out and I would fall over and die
(incline of 100+ feet in less than .25 miles).
Crossing the finish line I knew I wasn't even close to a PR. But, I'd done it. THE hardest 13.1 miles I've ever run was complete (this half was, hands down, more difficult than the Kansas City Hospital Hill Half - I never thought I'd find a race more challenging). The best part of all, my two of my favorite people in the whole world, my two biggest supporters and cheerleaders were cheering me to the finish. 
The biggest thank you to Scott and Marcus for all the support and encouragement.
A few people have asked if I'll run the Lexus Lace Up Palos Verdes Half. My knee-jerk response was, "No way! It's too hard. I'm one and done with that one." But, the most time passes I kind of feel as if I need to get out and run it again, to prove to that 12-mile hill that I can beat it, that I can beat my time, that I can come in stronger and faster.
At first I was pretty disappointed with the 1:56 finish (my PR is 1:51:16)  but when I took a look at the numbers, and breakdown of other runners it hit me just how difficult the course really was. I'll take 98th overall, 21 in my gender division, and 6th in my age group. 
So the hunt begins to find the next half to push me along on this journey of pavement pounding… 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Climbing Date // Fall Bucket List

Getting out of the house, sans Marcus, is pretty rare (read: never happens). When Scott reminded me of a day date we had set up ages ago - and I admittedly forgot about - I was giddy as a kid on Christmas morning.

We could have done the typical lunch and movie date. But, let's be real, the likelihood of me falling asleep in the theatre was pretty great. Instead, Scott convinced me to go outside (waaaaaay outside) my comfort zone, try something totally new, and knock off another Fall Bucket List item.

Our good friends, Tim and Laurie, are into rock climbing, and invited us to join them at their gym. So, away we went.
Scott takes my selfie shots so seriously.
Tim and Laurie were awesome instructors. Their patience and encouragement was second to none, and they made the experience downright amazing.
The "V" grades coincided with bouldering.
The 5 grades indicate top roping.
Who knew you couldn't just use any old rock when climbing? I sure as heck had no clue. Each rock is color coded to coordinate with a certain grade, or difficulty.

For awhile I was comfortable to sit back and watch Tim and Laurie do their thing.
Climbing the walls without a rope is called bouldering.
They're really good.
Then I couldn't take it any longer and needed to get in on the action.
Rock shoes. Cute, no?
The easiest bouldering grade is a VB, so that's where I started.
And holy smokes, was it difficult. But in the most awesome way possible.

Scott took his turn as well.
His long arms and legs worked so much to his advantage.

After a few rounds bouldering it was off to top roping, which was a welcome change, as I think every one's forearms were in need of a break.
From left to right:
Getting all geared up.
Dipping my fingers in chalk. Your hands get so sweaty!
Studying the wall, analyzing which rocks I would use.
Using a rope when climbing is called top roping.

With more great coaching up the wall I went.
I went up a couple times, first at a 5.6 grade, then I stepped it up and topped out at a 5.7. Then I welcomed rest, sat back and enjoyed watching the guys climb some pretty intense grades.
They seriously climbed some craziness.

Before we left I had to get one last selfie for good measure.
It was a BLAST! Even though my arms are STILL sore (griping anything is a huge challenge) I was asking Scott the second we left the building if we could get a membership. I'm still asking…

Tim and Laurie, if you're reading, thank you so much for such an awesome double date!

Are you still checking items off your Fall Bucket List, too? Be sure to link up (below) with StephanieElizabeth, and me, and share what you've been up to!
   Desirée // Macke Monologues       Stephanie // Wife Mommy Me        Elizabeth // Chasin' Mason


Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Marcus Monday!

We're just sitting out here watching airplanes take of and fly.
Perhaps Marcus' favorite moment all weekend…

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday Cards, Rocks Walls, and 1/2 Marys

Another week has flown by and is in the books. There was a lot of good this week, and a lot more good to come. Let's get right to this week's highlights!

1. About 2.5 seconds after we received our family pictures I ordered our Christmas cards. I'd be totally lying if I said I wasn't in love with the pictures below. BUT, they're not the ones that made the official card this year.
And let me just tell you about the INSANE deals I picked up over at TinyPrints.
While I won't tell you our grand total, saving $71.72 was pretty much AH-MAY-ZING.
Along with the deals TinyPrints had running, I also found a few other deals through RetailMeNot that further knocked down the grand total of our cards. Being able to use multiple discount codes was clutch.

2. Speaking of holidays… Did you see the awesome deals in yesterday's Holiday Gift Guide?
There's also a Starbucks giveaway involved. Be sure to check it all out. I promise you'll find something to cross off your holiday shopping list!

3. If you follow me on InstaGram you know about the sunset we caught on Wednesday.
It was pretty spectacular. No filters needed.

4. Scott and I have a double date set up for this afternoon. We're going with our good friends (Hi Tim and Laurie!) to Hangar 18. Our date will involve this massive beast…
Image source
I've never done anything like this before. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. Thankfully our friends are old pros at this, so we will have some awesome coaches guiding us through the experience.

5. Six weeks ago I signed up for the Lexus Lace Up Running Series 1/2 Marathon.
Tomorrow is race day! Where did those six weeks go?
Though I don't really have a set goal, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to cross that finish line around the 1:52 (maybe 1:51??) mark. Can't wait to get out and pound that pavement!

Have a great weekend!