my house

Dining Table Surprise

We ordered a dining table back in September (when we decided to convert our front “formal” living room into a big ol’ dining/project room, instead) and it’s hereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee:


I had to move it closer to the wall than it actually belongs to be able to fit it all in one photo because IT’S SEVEN FEET LONG! We can eat dinner on one end without disturbing a board-game-in-progress on the other end. (I have priorities, people.)

Also, now that it’s in the room, I’m really glad we got the legs painted instead of stained to break up the wood & wood & more wood look. (We’re not putting a rug under it, so that would’ve been very brown!)


It’s lovely this way though. Now we just need some chairs…

More room details soon.

food, recipe

Single-Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies

Single-Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie

Sometimes I really, really want homemade chocolate chip cookies, but lately two things have stopped me from having them: (1) our wall oven broke several months ago and we’re relying on a fancy toaster oven until we remodel our kitchen in a few more months, and (2) I’d love to eat a whole bunch of them but really probably shouldn’t.

Well, problem solved!

Because: (1) My toaster oven (the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven) is actually really good at being an oven and handles all sorts of things (from these cookies to whole dinners) fantastically well, and (2) baking only two cookies at a time means they’re always fresh out of the oven when I eat one and also that there won’t be a pile of them sitting around ruining my attempt at eating remotely healthy on weekdays.

These cookies will take you about a total of 15 minutes and one bowl, so they’re totally worth the tiny bit of trouble.

Two Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Yield: 2 large cookies. You decide if that means one or two servings. 😉


2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, warm butter until it’s softened.
  3. Mix butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla by hand in bowl.
  4. Add egg yolk into mixture and stir.
  5. Add baking soda and flour, then combine.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Divide dough into two balls and place a few inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.


  • Once removed from oven, bang baking sheet firmly to deflate a bit.
  • Cool for a few minutes before using a spatula to move to a plate.
  • Want to bake in a toaster oven? Go for it! That’s how I did mine. Watch the baking time and/or consider using the cookie or convection setting, if yours has those.


my house

Front of the House: To Do

We’re in the process of renovating our living room & dining room, and plan to finish up our entryway and hallway soon too. Basically, the whole (interior) front of the house will be fixed up, except the kitchen, which we’re saving for sometime in 2016.

So, to better keep track of it all while we finish up, I’m posting a list so I can cross things off and keep track of everything. (Yes, this list seems really long since we’ve already made some big changes, but… well, there’s more to do!)

Living Room:

  • Add sectional. (Delivery should be soon!)
  • Finish up & paint built-in bookcases white.
  • Touch up grey paint on fireplace around mantel.
  • Install & paint trim around small doorway.
  • Paint & install baseboards.
  • Add new rug + rug pad.
  • Move coffee table & TV stand back into living room.
  • Set up TV stuff & surrounded sound.
  • Move books onto bookcases.
  • Decorate the fireplace/mantel.
  • Setup fireplace stuff (tools & log storage).
  • Add sliding barn doors at large doorway (or trim only — still deciding.)
  • Plan/shop for/hang wall art.
  • Install curtains/panels at sliding door.
  • Shop for console table & an end table.
  • Shop for chair for near sliding door/fireplace corner.


  • Pick out tile & have installed, along with baseboards.
  • Paint & install new coat closet door, including new hinges & knob.
  • Have painters minimize texture/repair, then paint.
  • Clean out & organize closet.
  • Replace overhead light.
  • Hang mirror or artwork.
  • Update light switches.

Dining Room:

  • Move out the temporary living room setup, so it can be a dining room.
  • Add dining table. (Delivery later this month!)
  • Order dining chairs.
  • Create coffee bar. (This will require its own to do list soon.)
  • Hire electrician to move overhead light & add outlets.
  • Install two curtain rods & hang two layers of new curtains.
  • Move sideboard into room & setup.
  • Plan/shop for wall art.


  • Have painters repair texture where needed & paint.
  • Paint new linen closet doors & add knobs.
  • Replace all doors, including hinges & knobs.
  • Hang gallery wall of photos.
  • Replace overhead light.
  • Replace doorbell.
  • Update light switches.

Whew. We’ve got work to do, but it’s going to be great.

Once we’ve got lots of these things handled (and before we move onto the kitchen), we’re going to get to work on remodeling the master bathroom and finishing up the master bedroom. So, stay tuned! 😀

about sarah


Since I shared my iPhone homescreen recently, I thought I’d also share a photo of the computer I spend so much time on (professionally & personally). I’ve definitely met people based on them spotting a sticker they like, so I recommend this approach if you wouldn’t mind strangers chatting with you randomly.

Stickers on my MacBook Pro

Most of the stickers on my MacBook Pro are from Redbubble and CafePress, except the WordPress ones, the Twitter bird, and the GitHub girl.

See: feminist heartLeslie Knope</patriarchy>Tina BelcherVeronica MarsBuffyDFTBAGitHub girlbooks.


Penguin Teen On Tour in Dallas

Penguin Teen on Tour in Dallas

I went to the Half Price Books flagship store tonight for the Penguin Teen on Tour stop in Dallas with Ally Condie, Jandy Nelson, and Meg Wolitzer. They chatted about their most recent books, the writing process, and books they love to read (and re-read).

Jandy mentioned she spent most of her life writing poetry until she got this advice around age 40:

Meg has mostly written adult books (which sounds more risqué than intended):

When asked how to make your writing exciting:

Meg likes to re-read the parts in a book when you know the author was “doing the Snoopy Dance” to celebrate how great they are:

The book Ally wishes her teen self could’ve read:

Meg’s re-read/favorite:

And the books Jandy would give her teen self:

Meg points out why some books stick with us:

I totally agree! Some books enter your life at just the right time to make an impact on you that lasts a lifetime. This reminded me of how I read The Catcher in the Rye as an angsty teen and totally related to Holden and loved it. But when my husband read it for the first time as an adult, this was his review halfway through (which I saved for posterity because it made me laugh so much): “This guy’s just hating on everything & keeps calling people phonies.” Ha!

about sarah, technology & web

Homescreen, November 1

My iPhone 6s homescreen, as of this morning:

My homescreen on November 1

Clearly, I really like a lot of Google apps, but I also like Apple’s hardware & iOS, so I use them together. 😀

Details on a few the stand out apps (that you may not already be using):


My favorite for simple notes, natch. It syncs perfectly between my iPhone, Google Nexus tablet, and MacBook, so I’ve got all of my notes no matter which one I’m on. (Note: I’m using the beta app since it’s an Automattic product, so the one you download will have more white than blue on the icon.)


News delivered via gif is possibly a bit strange, but my gif loving heart appreciates it anyway.


If you haven’t given YNAB a try for budgeting, I highly recommend it! It’s not automated, so it takes some configuring and you have to maintain it, but that’s one of the brilliant things about it — It forces you to be a whole lot more aware of where all of your money is going. The idea is to give every dollar a job (whether that’s paying a bill, going into savings, or covering a surprise car repair) and it aims to help you pay for this month’s expenses with last month’s paychecks.


A fantastic app for the debit card I use for all of my fun spending. (It buys a lot of books & takes me to movies, basically.) It’s simple, easy to use, and the goal setting feature is my fav. Highly recommend!


I recently started adding recipes in here and it works really well. At first I as put off by having to buy the app for every device separately (instead of one price = use where ever), but after using it, I have to admit it’s worth it. I’ve tried several other apps (both free & paid) and this one’s definitely the best.


Ladies: Track your cycle! This is inching into TMI territory for what kind of personal info I normally like to share about myself online, so I’ll just say: It’s great & you learn things about your body once you’ve got some data to back up your hunches. (Hi, I get headaches when I ovulate.)


Since I’m a Happiness Engineer for, I use this one every day. And with all of that use, I love it! It makes blogging from my phone easy (and will work for you, whether you’re using or hosting your own WP site), and I love it for checking alerts and browsing through my reader to check out what other people are posting. It’s a great app & is getting better all the time.


A password management app (like LastPass or 1Password), and using 2-step verification whenever possible (which is what the Google Authenticator app helps me with).

If you’ve got recommendations for other apps I should try out, LMK! I’ll share some of the apps on my other screens sometime soon too. 🙂