GingersnapsI consider the holiday season as one of the best times, if not the best time, of year. I love the widespread joy and merriment, the daily excuse to watch Christmas movies, and the opportunity to spend time and share my love with extended family members. But, of course, I can’t be too idealistic; the holidays present their fair share of stress as well. To-do lists grow longer and time, unfortunately, seems to grow shorter! I myself struggle year after year to maintain a balance between my heavy school workload and extracurricular schedule and the Christmas spirit I so crave.

You know what isn’t stressful? Making gingersnaps, likely a holiday tradition in your home already. Menu-planning is horrendous, I’m sure, but whipping up one batch of cookies couldn’t be simpler {or more rewarding!}. Fragrant spices bring a welcome note to these molasses-based cookies, filling your kitchen with a smell I would happily bottle up for the month of December :) Furthermore, the baking time is flexible enough to fit your preferences; simply choose the shorter time for softer cookies or keep them in longer for a snappier batch. These are humble cookies and this is a common recipe, but nevertheless one worth using, remembering, and sharing with others – it is almost the holiday season after all.

GingersnapsGingersnaps Loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses

to make

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and molasses to the butter mixture. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Scrape the bowl to ensure no pockets of flour remain.
  4. Cover your dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for two hours {I can confirm chilled dough’s use up to three days in the fridge!}, until firm and easily rolled into a ball.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into small, one-inch balls, and place in rows on baking sheets.
  7. For softer cookies, bake for ten to twelve minutes; for snappier cookies, bake for thirteen to fifteen minutes. Both methods are delicious.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  9. Enjoy!

Have a lovely Monday!

Psst. A new post of mine will be up today on Lit Up Review at 7 am EST. It’s on one of my favorite novels of the year, so I hope you’ll take a peek!

loving >> week 165

Love ListHello, and happy weekend! Because of this week’s quiet posting schedule {rest assured, as I mentioned on Twitter, it shouldn’t last much longer once Thanksgiving break hits}, I’m popping in with a Saturday Love List. It’s the perfect way to start your morning – or, at least, I like to think so! My weekend plans? I’m attending my second portrait painting class out of five this morning, followed by an afternoon of essay writing; for Sunday, I’m thinking a day of magazine-editing, crafting, and baking is in order. Before that fun begins, however, here’s what I’m loving…

Mockingjay Part 21 ♥ Mockingly, Part Two I first read The Hunger Games in middle school, devouring the entire trilogy during my winter vacations; its film adaptation was released only a month later, to my seventh grade self’s delight. Since then, I have yet to return to the books, but I have continued to watch and enjoy the movies, including Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Part One.

The franchise is now complete with yesterday’s release of Mockingjay, Part Two, the fourth and final film in what NPR describes is an “a potent, antiwar saga – bleak [and] savage.” I’m super excited to catch it in theaters – as you know, Thanksgiving weekend was made for going to the movies :) – and I hope I find it just as enjoyable as its predecessors. With Jennifer Lawrence starring once again as Katniss, though, I have little doubt about its success.

Adele 25Adele’s 25 The music industry and social media alike were abuzz yesterday with one thing only: Adele’s most recent album 25! Since she teased us with “Hello” earlier in the season, I’ve been counting down the days until the record’s release, and I’m happy to report that Adele didn’t disappoint. Though my mom and sister snagged it only yesterday, we’ve already listened through the entire album not once, but twice, and I’m sure those won’t be the last times we listen to it this weekend {It will likely be on repeat for the rest of November}. With the exception of the incredible single “Hello,” because you’ve surely heard that already, have you listened to any songs from 25?

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving3 ♥ A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving There’s a tradition for everyone in the holiday season, from enjoying a beloved Thanksgiving dish to decorating the tree with the same ornaments year after year. I, for one, don’t take my Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas television specials lightly, planning well in advance when I will watch each program and movie – I’m a kid at heart in this sense!

For Turkey Day, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will forever be a favorite; the characters are hard not to love, and the charming nostalgia of it all makes me smile. If you want to watch too {which, hi, we’re destined to become friends!}, tune in to ABC this upcoming Tuesday at 8 pm EST. Also on my calendar? It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, also premiering on ABC at 8 on Monday, November 30. Yes and yes.

Brain Pickings4 ♥ Brain Pickings I like a funny Buzzfeed post or trending listicle as much as the next person {particularly after a long day or week}, but my day-to-day reading, the sites I regularly check, publish content that is less “fluff” and more “substance.” In other words, I like to read articles that expand my way of thinking or posts that teach or display creativity.

Perhaps this is why I took such a natural liking to Brain Pickings, a site dedicated to, as its founder Maria Popova states, “[tapping] into our mental pool of resources… and [combining] them in extraordinary new ways.” I look forward to reading the articles as they are published, and I find each and every one fascinating! I have to thank Grace, who is an outstanding writer in her own right, for leading me to the site, and I now hope to do the same for you. My advice: I like looking at it best with a warm drink and notebook in hand.

The Addams Family5 ♥ The Addams Family Finally, November seems to be the month of theater! My week ended on a good note with a local community production of The Addams Family. This particular theater group never fails to impress me with their acting and singing skills, and it was no different of a case last night; the entire cast and crew brought the frequently-funny and always-strange characters alive on stage. Have you ever seen a production of The Addams Family?

Have the most wonderful weekend!

Pros and Cons / More Happy Than Not

Hi!Pros and ConsReading slumps are tough – a fact I can only say speaking from experience, as I recover from one that lasted me from October into this month. I could chalk it up to a variety of reasons: my demanding academic schedule, the upcoming holiday rush, or multiple events and activities in the same timeframe, but one thing it most certainly wasn’t caused by? A lack of good books! I have a number of novels that I’ve read and adored waiting to be reviewed, so I thought I would kick today off with my thoughts on Adam Silvera’s excellent debut, More Happy Than Not. What are you currently reading?

More Happy Than Not

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again – but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard? {Goodreads}

+ Powerful, emotion-packed story I can count on a good read when I see not one, not two, but multiple reviewers sing its praises across social media, as was the case with More Happy Than Not. However so, even they could not prepare me for the powerful authenticity of Silvera’s debut, which imparts on its readers a range of emotion as protagonist Aaron struggles to find happiness in his life. Though it sports a bright, smiling cover and an uplifting title, the book is just as effective in making you angry, hurt, and stunned as it is in leaving you relieved, hopeful, and yes, happy. It’s difficult to capture, much less explain, the talent it takes to craft such raw feeling in literature, but doesn’t that model the trials of life?

+ Diverse range of realistic characters It saddens me that diversity in YA is not yet the norm, not yet expected, as I believe what we read should have some resemblance to how we live. Regardless, its status allows me to commend the authors who develop realistic casts of characters, as Silvera so eloquently does here. Aaron’s voice matches the doubt, anxiety, and hardship that plagues many teens, but it’s balanced by quirks and relationships unique to him: his love of comics, for example, or his newfound friendship in Thomas. Furthermore, Silvera imbues life into the supporting characters as well, demonstrating that one person is both needed in and dependent on the lives of others.

+ Unique and well-developed premise It’s not the first time it’s happened, nor will it be the last, but I believe the synopsis here inaccurately describes the book. Aaron’s story is so much more than the Leteo Institute’s “memory-alteration procedure {though that is certainly one of the more interesting parts}, as he finds his identity amongst his friends, mourns and recovers from loss, and, ultimately, looks for meaning in his life. Similarly, I believe Silvera deserves praise for his ambition; he tackles not only the futuristic idea of altering one’s memories, but also the all too modern issues of suicide, homophobia, and poverty. In the hands of another author, the flow might have been lost in the lessons, but More Happy Than Not proves Silvera is an author to watch.

+ Underlying sense of hope in the gritty plot of events There’s no hiding it: the novel is dark. However, as the best books do, it doesn’t leave readers with a total sense of despair. Aaron’s future won’t be easy, but as he himself remarks, “I will do my best to always find the sun in the darkness because my life isn’t one sad ending – it’s a series of endless happy beginnings.” It’s a subtle shift in theme and thought, but albeit an incredibly important one.

+ The multiple twists regarding the timeline can be disorienting to the reader Finally, my one “con,” a term used loosely because it’s more of an observation, if anything, stems from the timeline. Silvera throws multiple twists the audience’s way, and, they, though they add to the story’s suspense, sometimes made it difficult to gauge what happened when and where. This is nothing that a prepared reader or simple tweaks can’t fix, and it made no difference on my enjoyment of the story. If this one hasn’t made your reading pile, I’d suggest you add it now :)

Have a lovely day!