Yum: Salted Caramel Chocolate (& White Chocolate) Chip Cookies

Perfect with cold weather, candles, and loose-fitting pants.

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity Blog

Here’s the thing: I hate cooking, but I love baking. I look for excuses to bake cookies, or pumpkin bread (I’ll share my favorite pumpkin-banana bread recipe later), or brownies, or pretty much anything sweet. And I love getting seasonal with it. I have a Pinterest board titled “holiday inspo” and sometimes wish I could do nothing but try out the festive recipes on it. Anyhoo, I recently decided it was high time to make some sort of salted caramel treat (I associate salted caramel with fall and winter—anyone else?), and somehow landed on All Recipe’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I incorporated white chocolate chips into mine, because I find joy in seeing what sort of random things I can add into cookies. (Mini anecdote: I lived in NYC during Hurricane Sandy, and the storm hit right after my roommates and I threw a Halloween party. In a genius, stranded-in-our-apartment-with-endless-time-on-our-hands moment, I baked cookies filled with at least seven different varieties of leftover Halloween candy. They were unbelievable, and we ate every last cookie.) Though the cookies in this blog post aren’t quite that inventive or amazing (No cookies ever will be. Those were my peak.), they’re still delicious and I highly recommend giving them a go.

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (plus more for coating the caramels/topping the cookies)Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter (I honestly rarely make a conscious salted vs. unsalted decision. Just go with your gut), softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I rarely actually measure vanilla; I love it so I’m not wary of adding too much. But if you want to be precise, 2 tsp is good.)
  • Chocolate chips (I never measure chocolate chips, or candy, for inclusion in cookies. Add a few or add a ton. You do you.)
  • White chocolate chips
  • Approximately 18 unwrapped caramel candies, cut into 6 or so small pieces

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

Instructions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
  • Beat brown sugar, butter, and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer until creamy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.
  • Beat in vanilla.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture, until just combined.Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog
  • Add chocolate chips and white chocolate chips: You can either add them together, for combo cookies, or separate out half the dough and make half of the batch with chocolate chips and the other half with white chocolate.
  • Arrange dough on cookie sheet in desired cookie-size balls.
  • Roll each caramel piece in sea salt, and press 3 or so pieces into each dough ball.
  • Bake in 350-degree preheated oven until edges are golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes.
  • If you’re going for extra-salty, sprinkle some extra sea salt on cookies immediately after removing them from the oven.
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  • Try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting. (Or do. YOLO.)

Salted Caramel Chocolate & White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sarrandipity blog

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Inspiring Things I Heard From Michael Strahan, Tom Arnold, and More at Chicago Ideas Week

Last year, my first week of being a full-time freelancer coincided with Chicago Ideas Week, a week full of talks, interactive “labs,” and experiences that can inspire even the most cynical. I covered it for Michigan Avenue Mag online, and it was the perfect way to kick off my new career. This year, I went back for more and it was just as amazing as I remembered. I recorded a commercial voice over at the iHeart Media offices, designed my own BucketFeet shoes, met and got books signed by Beverly Johnson and Michael Strahan (I nearly died), and teared up in public listening to Kristin Spodobalski (the late Stuart Scott’s girlfriend)—and that’s only a fraction of it. I compiled some of the most inspiring things I heard throughout the week into a piece for Michigan Ave Mag (it was hard to not make the article 8,731 pages long). Check out a couple highlights below, and click through to read the rest.

Inspiring words from Michael Strahan, Beverly Johnson, Tom Arnold and more at Chicago Ideas Week

Michael Strahan during his Chicago Ideas Week Talk

Michael Strahan, NFL Hall-of-Famer and Co-Host of ABC’s Live! With Kelly & Michael

On failure…
“I’ve had a lot of failures in my life. But I don’t look at them as failures, I look at them as opportunities that did not work out the best way that I would’ve loved for them to work out, but they also were opportunities for me to learn; opportunities for me to get better.”

Beverly Johnson, Supermodel, Actress, and Author of The Face That Changed It All

On opening up about being one of Bill Cosby’s victims…
“In 2014, as most of you know, women came out and talked about Cosby drugging and raping them. And I sat there watching these women tell their stories and realized that my story was very similar to theirs. And they were telling the truth. And they were being victimized and criticized and vilified, and… I couldn’t [stay quiet]. My conscience and my principles made me write an article for Vanity Fair telling about my encounter with Cosby.”

Continue reading on Michigan Ave Mag for more quotes from Strahan, Johnson, Spodobalski, Peter Sagal, and more. 

Photo courtesy of Chicago Ideas

Exploring Amazon Handmade: 9 Jewelry Finds To Snag Now

Amazon now has its own version of Etsy, and I wasted no time seeing what it’s about.

Amazing Jewelry From Amazon Handmade - Sarrandipity Blog
Last week, Amazon launched the newest arm of its business, an Etsy-like shop called Amazon Handmade. Though, honestly neither site is super indie (the true “mom-and-pop” type shops on the Etsy at this point are few and far between, and I’m pretty sure Amazon Handmade is no different), I still go to Etsy here and there to browse and buy interesting, fun, and at-least-semi unique pieces. Curious how Amazon Handmade stacks up, I took a browse through the jewelry section (duh) — and found more than a few pieces for my wish list. (And two themes became apparent: I’m really into rings right now, and I’m really into dainty jewelry. Dainty rings: Jackpot.)
Amazing Jewelry from Amazon Handmade - Sarrandipity Blog
1. Sterling Silver Birthstone Stacking Ring
Clearly, as this post shows, I love stackable rings. But this is the first time I’ve seen a birthstone version like this, and it’s beautiful (and makes for a great gift for pretty much anyone who wears jewelry).

2. Gold Amethyst Necklace
I love how the marble-esque look of the dark amethyst stone goes with the gold chain (which comes in two different styles!) on this necklace. Paired with a basic white t-shirt, and perhaps layered with a shorter gold pendant, it’s pretty much perfect.

3. Bronzed Ombre Midi Ring Set
9 Jewelry Picks From Amazon Handmade - Sarrandipity Blog
You can find simple midi rings like this in lots of stores, but I love the variety of colors that comes in this set (9 rings for $17? You can’t really go wrong). They’d look amazing worn all together, or mixed and matched with some other, more funky, rings.

4. Tiny Rose Cut Diamond Stud Earrings
Okay, these studs are a splurge (perhaps for your holiday wish list?), but they’re absolutely gorgeous. Plus, they come in a few different colors, and they’re all equally amazing.

5. Pearl Midi Ring Set
You get it: I love midi rings. Here’s another pretty variety.

6. Gold Galena Necklace
9 Jewelry Picks From Amazon Handmade
This necklace is perfect in its simplicity, with just enough hammered texture on the metal to make it special.

7. Brass and Magnesite Earrings
Just picture, if you will, these earrings with some boyfriend jeans, a black or white t-shirt, and chunky-heeled booties. Perfect.

8. Abstract Squares Bangle
I love the thin bangle with the open, abstract charm. Because the charm isn’t a solid piece of metal, it doesn’t seem too clunky, and can still be layered with other bangles seamlessly.

9. Gold Bracelet with Amber Swarovski
How stunning is the Swarovski crystal on this bracelet?

Will you be shopping Amazon Handmade? Share your finds with me in the comments, por favor!

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This post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay more by using them, but Sarrandipity may receive a (very) small commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Please check out my policies for more info. 

 

5 Reasons to See A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder

Even if you’re not a “theater person.”

5 Reasons to See A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Sarrandipity

Fun Fact: My friends and I have season tickets for Broadway in Chicago. Twice a year, we pay something like $180 per person for six shows—yes, that’s $180 total, not per show. Sure, the seats are high up in the balcony, but it doesn’t really matter: We still get the full experience and have fun taking in a little culture every month or so. Some shows miss the mark, some are decently entertaining, and some are amazing. The show we saw last week, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, falls into the latter category. It’s rare that everyone in our group likes a musical—we all have different tastes—but this one got rave reviews from all of us. If you live in Chicago, you have a few days left to catch it (It’s in town until October 11th; get tickets here.), and I strongly encourage you to make it happen. If you don’t live in Chicago, you can see it in New York or in one of its many other tour stops. Even if you’re not a “theater person.” Here’s why:

1. It’s Twisted, In a Hilarious Way
If you’re a fan of any sort of “twisted” humor, I feel confident saying you’ll laugh out loud at least three times during this show (and that’s a conservative estimate). The basic premise is this commoner, Monty, loses his mom and then learns he’s actually not a commoner at all and is in fact ninth in line to become an Earl and inherit a huge fortune. So, he takes it upon himself to eliminate the eight people ahead of him. But his methods are so ridiculous (as is the whole plot, basically) that they’re hilarious—as is the dialogue, musical numbers, and, well, everything.

2. One Guy Plays 8 Characters, and He Pulls It Off. 
I’ll admit, it took me a few scenes before I figured out that the same guy (in the case of the touring company, John Rapson) was playing every single member of the D’Ysquith family (aka all of the rich peopled getting killed off because they’re ahead of Monty in the succession), including women. It’s nothing short of amazing the way he transforms himself into eight different people, all with a unique look, voice, and personality. He is just. so. good.

5 Reasons to See A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Sarrandipity

3. It Won 4 Tony Awards…
…including Best Musical. So, if you want to be (or at least seem) cultured and be able to take part in a conversation about something culturally relevant that’s not on TV or represented at the VMAs, this is a good way to do it.

4. There’s A Love Triangle. 
And everyone loves those, right?

5 Reasons to See A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Sarrandipity

5. The Musical Numbers Are Gold. 
A Broadway musical can be hilarious and compelling, but if the music isn’t good, it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately for this show, the musical numbers are amazing. It’s not just the songs themselves (with titles like “Poison in my Pocket” and “I Don’t Understand the Poor”), but the actual performances of the songs that are beyond impressive, funny, and entertaining. (The pipes on these actors; I’m tellin ya: Amazing.)

 

Still need more info? Watch this handy and hilarious four-minute low-down on the show.

Photos via Facebook.com/AGentlemansGuideBroadway

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We Did It.

We got married!

Emma & Andy's River Roast Chicago Wedding - Sarrandipity Blog

It’s been almost three months since Andy and I got married, and it somehow feels both like it was just yesterday and like it was years ago at the same time. Considering our nearly two-year engagement, at times it felt like our wedding day would never come—even the morning before the big day, it didn’t feel completely real to me. And now that our wedding has come and gone, I can’t totally believe it happened. It was a blur of a day (a really kickass day, with almost all of our closest friends and family in the same room—one of the best feelings in the world). Fortunately, our fantastic photographer, Kenny Kim, captured pretty much every amazing, fun, emotional, and hilarious moment—even ones we didn’t know were happening—so we can look back on them whenever we need a reminder that this whole wedding thing wasn’t just a figment of our imaginations. All of Kenny’s photos were unbelievable, but there were more than 1,000 (seriously), and I’m guessing very few of you are invested enough in our lives to want to click through all of that, so here’s a condensed collection of some of our favorite shots (Click on any of the thumbnails to open the slideshow). Enjoy!

Emma & Andy's River Roast Chicago Wedding - Sarrandipity Blog

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Are Some People Hard-Wired To Be Homophobic?

A new study shows some people may be hard-wired to be homophobic.

In a piece I did for Teen Vogue, I shared the results of a study that discovered some interesting things about homophobia…

Though we’ve celebrated many wins in LGBTQ representation and rights recently, there’s no doubt that homophobia is still a huge problem. Now, researchers are studying just what causes homophobic attitudes and behaviors are coming up some fascinating results.

A recent study of Italian university students, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicinefound a link between those who have negative views toward gay people and those who have higher levels of psychoticism, a personality trait manifested in hostility, anger, and aggression toward others, according to Live Science. The study’s researchers, including lead researcher Emmanuele Jannini, asked 551 students ages 18 to 30 to complete questionnaires that measured both their homophobia and their personality traits. Participants ranked their agreeability with statements like, “Gay people make me nervous” and, “I tease and make jokes about gay people,” that helped researchers gauge their levels of homophobia. To judge the personality side, researchers asked questions about the students’ attachment styles (think: being distant, or clingy and insecure) and coping strategies (how they deal with certain bad situations) when it comes to relationships with others.

Continue reading on Teen Vogue

Photo via The Wallbase HQ

Fall-Friendly Steals From Nordstrom’s End-Of-Summer Sale

Fall-friendly finds from Nordstrom's end of summer sale - Sarrandipity blog

Nordstrom’s end-of-summer clearance sale is happening now (through September 13), but here’s the thing: It’s not just summer stuff. I personally can’t justify buying more summer goods, but I browsed the sale anyway (“just to look,” you know?), and realized it’s full of fall clothes and accessories. Missed the anniversary sale? This is the perfect chance to beat the system (it’s even more exciting when you think of it that way) and stock up on your fall wardrobe for amazing prices. And because I’m feeling charitable, I rounded up some of my favorite finds to make it even easier on you:

Tops and DressesFall-friendly finds from Nordstrom's end-of-summer sale - Sarrandipity blog

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven

BottomsFall-friendly finds from Nordstrom's end of summer sale - Sarrandipity blog

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven

Shoes and AccessoriesFall-friendly finds from Nordstrom's end of summer sale - Sarrandipity blog

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine

Have you uncovered any other good fall sales? Let me know in the comments—I can always use the tips!

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This post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay more by using them, but Sarrandipity may receive a (very) small commission if you click on a link and purchase something. Please check out my policies for more info.