9 Creative Jewelry Stores on Etsy

- - Random Thoughts

1. Sara Cramer

If you love jewelry that works for both day and evening wear, that makes you shine and stand apart, you’ll love Sara Cramer. I first met Sara at Renegade craft fair in San Francisco, where I fell in love with her pieces. Their patterns and style are unmatched. Check out some of her pieces below:

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Bronze Collar Necklace

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Loop Necklace in Black and Bronze

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Geometric Patterned Bracelet

2. Voz Collective

If you love wood and interesting patterns, Voz Collective is going to be your newest addiction. I found them as I was browsing around online and absolutely fell in love. I couldn’t get enough. Check out some of my favorites below:

 

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Single Arrow Necklace

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White and Gold Bangle

3. Waialea

If you’re looking for some jewelry that’s eclectic with a natural feel, you’re definitely going to be a fan of Waialea. Here you’ll find gorgeous handmade jewelry that features a taste of Hawaii. Check out some of my favorite pieces:

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Sea Urchin Earrings

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Handwoven Mandala Pendant

4. Cyclona Designs

I love when artists combine interesting materials, and that’s just what Cyclona Designs does! You’ll find really cool leather jewelry mixed with other items in this shop. Something really unique, check it out:

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Bronze Leather Feather Earrings

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Metallic Leather Earrings

5. Yaci

Who doesn’t love cute animals. Yaci gives us all that “AWWW” moment with creative handcrafted jewelry pieces featuring our friendly furry friends.

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Bulldog Ring

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Cat with fish ring

6. Heatherly Designs

If you love jewelry with a classic and romantic look, you’ll love HeatherlyDesigns. Not only can she accommodate custom orders, she already has beautiful pieces in her collection.

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Faux Druzy Studs

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Covet: Rose Peach & Turquoise Studs

7. Cat Makes Things

If you love something that’s super trendy and will definitely turn heads you have to check out Cat Makes Things. I love her pieces, and love sporting them and wearing them around. Such cute and quite works that you won’t find anywhere.

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Amethyst Crystal Bullet Necklace

il_570xN.480052273_7uizTibetan Quartz Bullet Necklace

8. Field Guide Desing

I like quirky jewelry and things with a vintage and handmade feel to them. Field Guide Design has some really cool pieces for people of all ages to enjoy.

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Amethyst Pet Rock Necklace

il_570xN.368973635_e8ybil_570xN.372636004_a8xnVintage Pocket Knife Necklace

9. Son of a Sailor

If you like bold geometric shapes, designs, and really creative color choices you’ll be fascinated by Son of a Sailor.

il_570xN.563165302_hqi5Rectangle Colorblock Geometric Necklace

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Leather Wrap Bracelet

Unique Stores on Etsy

- - Random Thoughts

1. The Cosmic Owler

Love astrology, owls, and cute things? The Cosmic Owler has become one of my favorite specialty shops on Etsy. Such a cute set up and idea for a gift or item for yourself.

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Zodiac Owl – Sagittarius

il_570xN.561359567_lvofZodiac Owl – Aquarius

2. Winter Cabin

If you’re a fan of hipster signage with an outdoor and adventurous feel to it, then you’re definitely going to like Winter Cabin. Some great items for decor and awesomeness.

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Wander this way sign

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13 Things I Learned in 2013

- - Random Thoughts

The year is finally over and now it’s the time that people are full swing ahead with their New Years resolutions. For me, and I hope for you 2013 was a huge year of growth and learning. A time where I faced numerous hardships, incredible wonderful moments, and everything in between.

Here are 13 things I learned in 2013:

1. Take care of your body & mind

It’s never too late to take care of yourself, and the sooner you start the better you’ll feel. Take it one day at a time, go for a run, workout ten more minutes, quit smoking, meditate, and every day you’ll feel just a little better.

2. You’ll never have enough money

There will always be bills and expenses, always something to pay for or buy. Don’t worry your life away, be as smart as you can with money but don’t let it completely take over your life. Don’t entirely be motivated by money.

3. Family is Family

No matter what your parents are always your parents, your relatives can’t become un-related..don’t let arguments and riffs get between your family and divide you. At the end of the day, you’re family.

4. Negative and unhealthy people don’t deserve your time

If you’re trying to better yourself, you don’t want to hang around people who have a negative influence on your life. If you’re trying to work hard and study then surround yourself with people who do the same. You won’t get anywhere if you’re just hanging out with people who don’t care and want to get drunk every other day. The people who surround you effect you more than you can even imagine.

5. Keep a diary

In the future you’ll look back and appreciate you did. Even if it’s not something you do daily, try to sit down every week or month, or even when something bad or good happens. You’ll appreciate it in the future that you kept record of it.

6. You dictate your own happiness

No one else controls your feelings, only you. You’re only going to be unhappy if you want to be. If you want to be happy you have the power to change it.

7. It’s never too late to learn something new

Don’t be afraid of failing or not performing as well as others. Even if you’re completely terrible, try something new. Take a class, read a book, or learn a new skill.

8. Read a little everyday

Whether it’s the news, the sports section, or a crime novel read a little bit. Reading will keep your mind working, and help you learn how to better communicate with others.

9. Spend time outside everyday

Simply get lost in nature, and remember the importance of being outside. Smell the fresh air and feel the breeze.

10. Be less reliant on technology

Don’t sit on your phone when you’re with friends, and don’t continuously do everything on the Internet. Take time to be in the real world and have real conversations.

11. Never go to bed mad

No matter what happened, if you’re upset with yourself or with someone else never go to bed mad. Always make amends and always fix things. Life is too short you never know what will happen tomorrow.

12. Take pride in what you have

Respect your hard earned money, the house you’ve out together, and the things you own. Keep your place clean, maintain your car, and be thankful for everything you have. A lot of people have a lot less.

13. Smile at one stranger everyday

Smiling is contagious. Sometimes all a person needs is to get some recognition from another person.

What did you learn in 2013?

5 Reasons I Don’t Want to Get Out of Bed

- - Random Thoughts

I’m definitely one of those people that sometimes has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Not necessarily because I’m overly tired, exhausted, or something else related…Just simply because I like being in my warm cozy bed.

Shouldn’t I want to get out of bed every morning and start the day? Well, I do but sometimes, some days there is definitely a lack of enthusiasm on my part, and here’s why.

1. I have a temperpedic bed, it’s really comfortable

Yes, I have an astronaut bed. It makes me tired just when I start laying in it for 10 minutes. No chance I could get work done in bed. The amazing softness covers my body and surrounds me, keeping me warm and cozy. It’s like this is heaven, I’m sleeping on a marshmallow cloud…why would I want to go somewhere else?

2. My dogs love to snuggle in bed and also don’t want to leave

I absolutely love my dogs, and they are two of the cutest little creatures on the planet. They love staying in bed and snuggling…So, why would I want to leave them when they are just so adorable.

3. I don’t want to deal with the things I have to.

Yes, I admit it. On a daily basis I do between 200 and a million different things and sometimes all I want to do is stay warm and cozy in bed and not have to deal with any of it.

4. My brain needs a rest

I’m one of those people that is constantly “on”. I’m always thinking of the next thing that I have to do, the next thing that has to get done..It’s like sometimes I just don’t want to have to think about it.

5. I don’t want to have to decide on clothes

This is super lame, I know…but sometimes I just procrastinate getting out of bed because I don’t want to have to deal with getting dressed. Silly, I know..but true.

4 Reasons Blogging is Good For You

- - Random Thoughts

I’ve been naughty. Very, very naughty. My personal blog has definitely been on the back burner for the past year as I have been so busy at Creative Market, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into the swing of writing for pleasure on a daily basis….which made me think, why is writing one of my New Year’s resolutions? I decided to come up with a list of 5 reasons why blogging is good for you since I’ve decided it’s so good for me, it’s not only therapeutic, it’s relaxing, and it connects me with the world.

1. Blogging is the New Therapy

Just like the good old days when you would write down your thoughts in a diary, your blog can serve as an outlet for all your thoughts and ideas. Everything you’re feeling, everything you’ve experienced can be written out. It’s freeing in a sense to be able to write down everything you’ve been thinking, and then with the click of a button have it appear on the internet where anyone could read it. Perhaps they’ve experienced something similar and have words of wisdom or advice, and sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not alone in your thoughts. It’s a way to vent, scream, be happy, and let the world know your stance on things.

2. Blogging Connects You with the World

Internet dating may not have been popular a few years ago, but more and more people are meeting their significant others through dating online. People find jobs, babysitters, and seem to do everything online these days. Being online is a way of connecting with people in your area and around the world that you may never have met before. When you blog you have the opportunity to make connections, new friends, and meet incredible people.

3. Blogging Helps You Become a Better Writer

As with most things, practice makes perfect. If you take time out of your day to write, sooner or later your writing skills will improve. By practicing writing, expressing your thoughts and ideas, along with reading the posts of others you’ll find that your ability to communicate (both spoken and written) will dramatically improve.

4. Blogging Can Benefit Your Career

These days everyone has an online presence, and if you don’t have a blog and aren’t on social media you’re definitely missing out. Blogging gives you a chance to prove that you’re an expert in your field, that you’re knowledgeable and you know what you’re talking about. You can invite prospective employers to visit your website and blog to learn more about everything you have to offer.

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Those are four of the most simple and bare bones reasons that you should start blogging and writing on a daily (or weekly) basis. I hope that you start blogging in the new year. What are your resolutions for the new year?

Scrumptious Dessert Recipes for Halloween

- - Cooking & Food

It’s getting to be that spooky time of the year, and time to start planning your Halloween party. Whether you’re having friends over before trick or treating, having a fancy dinner, or going out for a night on the town you’re going to need some awesome scary recipes for dessert. I’ve found some of my favorite dessert recipes perfectly themed for Halloween.

Halloween Desserts

Candy Corn Marshmallows

These candy corn marshmallows are easy to make, and even easier to eat. If you’ve never made marshmallows before you’re going to have to make these for Halloween.

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Chocolate Caramel Filled Pumpkins

These chocolate caramel pumpkins are entirely handmade with step-by-step picture instructions to help you make them easily.

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Crumb Coated S’mores Cookies

To make these yummy cookies, you’re only going to need three ingredients. Super easy cookies to make, and super yummy.

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I love the idea of having yummy cookies with something smooth and creamy inside.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bites

Pumpkin Cheesecake + Chocolatey Brownies -> Can it get much better? These pumpkin cheesecake brownie bites are easy to eat and absolutely heavenly.

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White Chocolate Stuffed Snickerdoodle Cookies

Alright, these cookies may not be the first thing you’d think of when it comes to Halloween. You’re probably thinking to see witch decorated cookies (don’t worry those come later)…these are incredibly yummy cookies, with incredible fall flavors, and perfect for kids or adult Halloween parties.

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You’d don’t need a lot of special ingredients for these cookies, and they’re super easy to make and will disappear in moments.

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin is one of my favorite fall flavors, and I love the idea of putting pumpkin flavor into anything and everything. These pumpkin bars are another easy treat to make…you’ll just need a 9″by 13″ inch pan and the ingredients and you’re ready to go.

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What makes these yummy bars stand apart is the inclusion of white chocolate chips…..sooooo good!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

My favorite type of cheesecake has to be pumpkin cheesecake. It’s so heavenly, I can’t get enough! Seriously…could eat this up all day. If you’re throwing a Halloween dinner party, or just getting ready with the girls before going out for a fun night these cheesecakes are easy to eat.

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Gingerbread Skeleton Cookies

Normally you think of gingerbread during the winter holidays, but the flavors are perfect for all of fall and winter. These gingerbread skeleton cookies are great for Halloween and you can get the entire family together decorating these.

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I simply can’t get over how genius this take on gingerbread cookies is…so brilliant and fun!

Halloween Magic Bars

Do you want a sweet treat that’s fun for the kids? These Halloween magic bars are super yummy and are colored perfectly (in black and orange) for Halloween.

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Once you have the basics for this recipe, you can change and alter the ingredients a little bit to make them exactly how you want.

Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies

These yummy pumpkin spice cookies are soft and puffy. These are the perfect cookies to make if you want to make something for your neighbor, or have ready for when the kids come home from school on Halloween.

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Pumpkin Rice Crispie Treats

Want a fun dessert that event the kids can help make? These rice crispies shaped like pumpkin not only look cute, but are yummy too!

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Smarties Meringue Cookies

These cookies are surprisingly easy to make, the melt in your mouth right away. A perfect sweet treat for Halloween.

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These cookies are also entirely gluten free and perfect for anyone who is avoiding gluten or wheat in their diet.

7 Mouthwatering Food Startups

- - Cooking & Food, Start-Up Life

There’s nothing I love more than eating or looking at food. I’m lucky to live in one of the best cities in the country, San Francisco, that has some of the best food in the country. Within one block of San Francisco you can find authentic food from around the world…Needless to say, San Francisco has helped foster my food addiction.

Admittedly, I’m one of those people that spends far too much time on FoodGawker looking a food and discovering new things to cook. I order food from sites like Eat24, because I love trying new cuisines…

Today, I decided to share my love of food and my love of Startups with you by bringing you my favorite food related startups!

1. Munchery: I actually just discovered Munchery yesterday while I was searching online for food…again. It’s funny that same day I saw something being delivered to one of my neighbors from Munchery as well!

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Munchery is a company that delivers meals made from chefs right to your doorstep. They pick some fantastic chefs who come up with awesome menu items that are actually incredibly priced (so reasonable), and you get them delivered to your door. It’s like going to a five star restaurant in your living room while watching Breaking Bad and hanging out in your pajamas. Currently, Munchery is serving the San Francisco Bay Area (lucky me!)

2. Yummly : I’ve been a fan of Yummly for a while, because I’m constantly looking up awesome new recipes to try out. Yummly is a site that helps you discover incredible recipes for all of the top recipe sites across the web. You can search by ingredient, recipe type, and pretty much anything else related to food.

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You can browse the site to see what’s popular now, recipes that are fast and easy, and recipes perfect for the weekend. I love looking at big, beautiful images of food..and this site definitely satisfies my hunger.

3. Blue Apron: This startup, based in New York, is aimed at helping people cook awesome food in their own kitchens. Blue Apron sends fresh ingredients and recipes straight to your front door to help you cook incredible meals.

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I absolutely love this idea, and think its a great idea for anyone who wants to learn how to cook new things, or is just starting out cooking for the first time. It’s also a great service for anyone who doesn’t have time to plan meals or go out and shop. Everything is delivered straight to your door, and then you prepare it! This startup fits perfectly with my busy lifestyle and passion for cooking and trying new things…I’d love to try it sometime.

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4. Goldbely: I just discovered Goldbely yesterday as well and thought that it was a brilliant idea! Let me ask you a question? If you’ve lived in one place your whole life have you moved and then missed your hometown food? Have you ever traveled somewhere and fallen in love with the food you had there, wishing you could have it again once you returned home? Goldbely is a service that delivers food from around the country right to your front door. You’ll find landmark food staples from coast to coast available for order and delivery…to help you get your food fix.

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All the food on here is legendary and looks absolutely mouthwatering. I can’t wait to try them out and taste the deliciousness.

5. Nature Box: Nature Box, a subscription box program, delivers healthy snacks straight to your door. It’s a great way to discover new healthy foods, and something exciting for your family or office to open up and enjoy together. It isn’t always easy to find healthy snacks, so nature box does the work for you. I just really like the idea of dried fruit being delivered to my doorstep.

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6. Greenling: Already a major foodie and love cooking with farm fresh ingredients? Greenling delivers local food and organic produce straight to your home. You can order everything from meat to dairy to veggies straight from awesome nearby farms. It’s like a farmers market arriving at your doorstep!

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7. Cerealize: How many of us have lived off of cereal at some point in our lives? Cerealize lets you make awesome cereal concoctions and get them delivered straight to your door. Create a cereal with all the awesome fixings you could have ever dreams of!

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I have to say I’ve fallen in love with them simply because they allow you to add bacon to your cereal…AMAZING

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of some of my favorite food related startups. If you think I missed any awesome ones, let me know in the comments below!

YC13 Companies I’m in love with

- - Start-Up Life

Today, I decided to check out the YC list for the class of W13. I looked through all of the companies listed on there and was definitely impressed. There are so many companies with innovative and new ideas, ideas that I wish I’d thought of….

I picked out some of my favorites that I can’t wait to start using immediately, and why I think they’ll be so successful. There’s not enough room for all of them in this post unfortunately so I kept the list short.

 

1. Swish: Admittedly, I’m a nerd…so when I first stumbled upon Swish’s website I was in complete heaven. I mean seriously!?! Their copy says, “See the future – Tomorrow’s coolest stuff. Pre-order now to get it first.” Definitely, something that I want to do!

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These days, especially in the start-up world, everyone wants the latest and greatest thing out there. The new innovative smart phone, or cool fitness accessory. This site makes it possible for you to have it first, and sound cool talking about that new tech gadget coming out that no one else knows about.

2. Goldbely: Anyone who knows me, knows that I love food. So, when I first happened upon Goldbely’s website I was immediately in heaven. You always hear about people who moved from their hometown and how they’re missing that special food they can only get from the restaurants in their home city. Goldbely makes it possible to order food from New York while you’re living in San Francisco.

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I definitely think there’s a market for what these guys are doing, and I can’t wait to see them expand their offerings.

3. PayTango: If you’ve ever wondered where we are heading in the future, PayTango is definitely what you can expect to see. You’ll be able to pay without having a hard, your phone, or some other gadget. All that you need is your fingers. I truly believe that this is the way of the future…and who know’s what’s going to come next.

4. Microryza: I studied Biology at University and conducted a multitude of scientific research projects throughout my academic career, so Microryza has a special place in my heart. We’ve seen so many crowdfunding campaigns, but now we’re seeing a platform for funding scientific research.

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It’s obvious that as human beings we love giving back and making the world a better place, and Microryza gives people a different sort of way of helping us learn about the world and make a difference.

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There are so many cool companies on the YC list, but these are definitely my favorites that I have fallen head over heels for. Think I left any out? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

- - Reading & Learning

Shadow and Bone, part 1 of the Grisha triology, by Leigh Bardugo is one of those books where you just can’t help but turn the page. I remember the first time I opened the book, and being in complete awe of the first sentence. **Admittedly, I’m one of those people who has a thing for first sentences of books.** The first sentence goes as follows, “The servants called the malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.” I found this to be completely intriguing…who were these children running around, what were they doing, and why did the story start here. Admittedly, this is in the “before” section that is a few short pages before chapter 1 actually starts..but I fell in love with this passage and the way Leigh wrote..I couldn’t help myself but keep reading.

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The book is a little over 400 pages, and I was so into it that I managed to finish it in a total of two sittings within a 24 hour period. It’s one of those types of books. You get so into the story, that the story itself takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go.

Leigh Bardugo has created a fascinating world where characters have magical abilities and powers, some I’ve never even imagined before. There are variety of Grisha types, the characters in the book blessed with magical powers, some I’d never even imagined in my wildest dreams. Overall, I think the the world Leigh’s created is well laid out, thoughtful, and complete. If you were ever a fan of books like Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or practically any Garth Nix or Tamora Pierce book…you’ll be into Shadow and bone.

What I found most intriguing about the book is that you never really know what to expect. There’ things you’re left thinking about, wondering what’s going to happen, who is sincere and who isn’t, what the truth, and what’s real vs. fantasy.

What particularly drew me to this novel was my affinity for strong female characters who find themselves. I have always been a huge fan of Tamora Pierce’s Alana books and Shadow and Bone is another book where a young girl, Alina comes to discover herself and grow up. It’s a great book for anyone from teenagers to adults who love being enchanted by a magical world.

Leigh also has her own site dedicated to the World of Grisha and her novels. There you can check out maps of Ravka, learn how to speak Ravkan, and more.

I think this is a great book to take on holiday, on an airplane or bus trip, or for a day sick in bed. It’s definitely a page turner and something you’ll enjoy spending your time reading…in fact, you’ll lose track of time when reading this book.

So, as I said I finished the book so fast that I walked to a near book store and picked up Siege and Storm, the second book. I can’t wait to start on it tonight!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Recipe

- - Cooking & Food

I absolutely love cookies, but something that I’ve found to be better than cookies, and easier to make are cookie bars. All you need is the ingredients, an oven, and a 9 by 13 pan and you get amazing cookie bars that don’t take forever to cool on metal racks.

This cookie bar recipe can be altered and changed a million different ways to make any kind of cookie bar you like. The recipe is for chocolate chip cookie bars, but here are some other items I substitute to create different flavors:

  • White Chocolate Chips and Macadamia Nuts
  • White Chocolate Chips + Coconut Flakes
  • Butterscotch + Milk Chocolate Chips
  • Chopped Walnuts + Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Oatmeal + Raisins
  • White Chocolate Chips + Dried Cranberries
  • Andes Mint Chocolate Pieces
  • M&M minis

The trick to making an awesome cookie bar is packing the batter with TONS of chocolate chips or whatever you want. You want hardly any batter showing, you basically want it to look like you’ve put too many chocolate chips in…that’s what makes it ooey gooey and super yummy. I suggest only putting 3 cups of add-ins in, but you can do a combination of different flavors that you want. If you wanted to do white chocolate and cranberries for example I would do two cups of white chocolate and 1 cup dried cranberries.

My original inspiration for this recipe was developed from a recipe I found years ago on King Arthur flour. I hope you enjoy the way that I’ve made it, and the suggestions I’ve made for other items to put into the bars. Let me know if you come up with something cool to put inside these awesome bars. They really are the best when made with Milk Chocolate Chips (the large ones).

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  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
24Bars 15minutes 30minutes

Ingredients

Servings: Bars

Instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees and grease a 9" by 13" pan.
  2. Combine melted butter with brown sugar in a large bowl. Mix in vanilla and salt. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add eggs, baking powder, and flour (one cup at a time).
  4. Stir in chocolate chips or other add-ins. The batter should look loaded with chocolate chips almost like there are TOO many chocolate chips.
  5. Wet your hands and scoop batter into the pan and spread it to the edges and smooth top.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until they are nice and golden. May look really good, but it will solidify in the center as it cools. Wait about 20 minutes before serving.