pretty spring pajamas

If you know me, you likely know about my love for a good pajama set. A good pajama set makes me so happy, and the spring pajamas that are out right now are doing just that!

My pajama set collection started in high school, when my mom started giving my siblings and I pajamas for Christmas every year, with pretty pj sets for my sister and me. We gathered a few pairs of flannel pajamas, perfect for cold winter nights. Over the years I have increased my pajama set collection and always love getting a new pair. My sister and I received these soft, stretchy, striped cotton pajamas for Christmas and they are one of my favorites! They are the most comfortable pair I have and are so cute with the pretty piping detail and cuffs. (Just make sure to size down if you get these as they run a little big.)

Spring Pajamas | www.passthecookies.com

One year while we were dating, Will invited me to spend 4th of July with his family at his grandparents house. This left me in a pajama conundrum – flannel isn’t the best material for July in the south, but I wanted to make a good impression in front of all of his extended family and not wear a ratty t-shirt either. With my mom’s help, I found a pretty pink striped cotton pajama shorts set that worked perfectly for the hot summer nights, and still looked lovely and classy at the breakfast table in the morning. That pajama set, which I still wear and love, taught me the versatility of cotton pajamas and a good shorts set.

With the heavy duvet on our bed in the winter and a light maltese covering it in the summer, I can wear cotton pajamas year round without feeling too cold or too hot (though some frigid nights are strictly for flannel). Even when we travel in the winter I pack one of my pajama shorts sets, and often end up wearing them if the place where we are staying has the heat cranked up. With warmer weather here to stay, I am so excited to have my shorts sets back in full rotation and to see all of the beautiful new shorts sets that are out for the warm spring weather. I have heard wonderful things about Eberjey and Lake pajamas, and I have my eye on this pretty coral striped shorts set and this darling citrus-inspired set. I love all of the patterns that are out right now, too. These gingham pajamas and these lightweight poppy print pajama shorts, pants and shirt are all adorable! Below are a few more of my favorites to inspire you this season :)

photo via

25

Yesterday marked a quarter century of life for me. In some ways I don’t feel like I should be 25 yet, and in other ways I feel like I’m already older than 25.

25

The realization that I am halfway through my 20s is stranger to me than just thinking about it as a transition from 24 to 25. While the former perspective can make me feel like a quarter century is creeping up in age, I am reminded by looking at lots of incredible older people in my life that 25 is still so young. I have been inspired by those who are older than me who pursue another degree, who change career paths, who move somewhere they no nothing about, who turn hobbies into successful jobs, who travel the world, who run marathons, and who push themselves out of their comfort zones. Watching them reminds me that there is so much we can do, and that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start, the important thing is that you start.

I have learned and done so much in my 20s so far, but there is still so much I want to do and learn before 30! I have a good feeling about 25 and all that it has in store.

So, here’s to 25, branching out, and living a full, meaningful life!

2017 spring wishlist

I just love spring. The beautiful flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, the cool, dewy mornings transition into lovely warm afternoons. Alongside the changes in nature, new styles start popping up in stores and we shed our winter closets for spring clothes and our boots for open toed shoes. I love pulling out dresses, fun tops and sandals as the weather gets warmer, and I’m excited for the new arrivals that have been coming out in my favorite stores. There are so many cute spring items out right now, so I thought I would make a spring wishlist from a few items that have caught my eye.

2017 Spring Wishlist | www.passthecookies.com

I am loving the ruffles, one-shoulder (or off-the-shoulder), and stripes (shocker) trends this season. The unique shapes of tops and dresses are so prevalent, and I imagine would make putting together outfits so fun! I have one shirt with ruffled sleeves and not only is it fun to wear, it is unexpected and makes me feel more confident! I’ll take that perk any day! :)

I have been on the lookout for new sandals since last summer, and never bit the bullet. I have my eye on these Jack Rogers Lauren slide sandals and am crossing my fingers that they might show up in a wrapped box on my birthday ;)

Two other items I’m looking to replace are my raincoat and my coin purse. I have had my raincoat since high school and while it has been a durable shell, the lining is starting to peel off. Since I’m no longer wearing it for treks across campus, like I did in college, but likely just short jaunts between my car and buildings, I love the idea of these more adult-looking options. The colors and shapes are so gorgeous, you wouldn’t even think they were raincoats. Maybe this is a sign that I hold on to things too long, but I’m also still using the coin purse (which I use as a wallet) that Will gave me when we were in college. It is on it’s last leg and struggling to hold on. Just like my raincoat, I’m excited to get one that looks more adult-like, and less college-bound. These classic leather options look beautiful and would fit the bill perfectly, no pun intended.

What are some of your favorite spring items!?

carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze

Can you believe there are only a few days until Easter?! Even though Easter is late this year, amidst everything else we had going on I feel like it snuck up on me. But one thing I always like to be prepared for, holiday or not, is brunch. Carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze are the perfect addition to your Easter brunch, or for a quick breakfast as you are running out the door.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze | passthecookies.com

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze | passthecookies.com

Any time cake can be disguised as breakfast I’m all in! These carrot cake scones are not overly sweet, allowing the cream cheese frosting to balance them out when the two are combined. And there are plenty of carrots, so you can get your vegetables whenever you eat one. Or three. Vegetable breakfast dessert? That sounds about right.

The cream cheese glaze is delicious and is truly what makes these scones reminiscent of carrot cake (because who has ever had carrot cake without cream cheese frosting?). The sweet creamy glaze fills in the nooks and crannies on the craggy surface of the carrot cake scones, and makes each bite a little more satisfying. I love the drizzled look, but you could also spread the glaze in one layer across the top to really make the most of it.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze | passthecookies.com

Another great thing about these scones is that you can make the dough ahead of time and bake them on Easter morning. This is ideal for those of us who take a little extra time to get ready in our Easter best. Fresh scones without the hassle of early morning mixing and measuring? I’ll take that any day! Just wrap the pre-made dough in plastic wrap, store in the fridge, and bake according to the same directions, adding on a few minutes, if necessary. Like any scones, carrot cake scones are best warm out of the oven, or cool enough to drizzle the cream cheese glaze. Only bake as many as you need, as they dry out after a day.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze | passthecookies.com

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze | passthecookies.com

I’m excited to be sharing a few recipes on Lexi’s blog, Glitter, Inc., over the next few months. Head over to Glitter, Inc. for the recipe for these carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze!

link love

I hope you had a relaxing, refreshing weekend that prepared you for a great week ahead. We spent the weekend with lots of family preparing for and attending my cousin’s rehearsal dinner and beautiful wedding. Since my large extended family comes from all edges and corners of the country, we don’t all get to see each other very often, so it is wonderful when everyone comes together for a wedding. I love getting to see all of the family, and I always find myself wishing these wedding weekends would last longer.

link love 4.11.2017
via Pinterest

As we dive deeper into the week, here is some link love to inspire (or distract) you.

Do you remember your first apartment out of college? Ours was 550 square feet, made of cinderblocks and single-paned windows, and in the middle of a floodplain. We hung a gallery wall with command strips, attached curtain rods to the ceiling, and came ¼” away from having all of our belongings underwater. Despite some of these not-so-wonderful aspects, we still have lots of great memories from our first little apartment. I wish I had known these six tips when I was looking for an apartment right out of college. I’ll add another tip to the list: don’t live in a floodplain, no matter how long they say it will be until the next flood.

I don’t typically follow golf, but I’ll take the pimento cheese and biscuits that surround the southern Masters Tournament watch parties. These photos from the weekend evoke the emotions and excitement around the tournament and the new green-coat clad winner.

You have likely read or heard about the Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner that was pulled last week. The SNL skit portraying the filming of the ad is funny, but also shows how easily the terrible ad could have been prevented. The ad world had a lot to say about it too.

As a self-proclaimed pie lover and a home baker, I love this interview with sister bakers Emily and Melissa Elsen of Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop. I have mentioned their cookbook before, and love their unique recipes. If you are looking for a delicious pie for this weekend, their lemon sour cream pie would be a wonderful Easter dessert.

I didn’t do as well on my goal of reading 10 minutes a day last month as I did in February. I think this was in part because I started my third non-fiction, self-help-type book and just got tired of the genre. This list of 20 great fiction books is inspiring me to pick on up and get back into the habit of reading every day. Do you have any recommendations?

Have a productive and fulfilling week, friends!

april goals

Welcome, April! Between UNC winning the national championship (see photo below!) and prepping for a family wedding, the first few days of April have been wonderful already! April is my favorite month of the year. The spring weather is usually here to stay by mid-month, and I have my birthday to look forward to at the end of the month. I have good feelings about this month :)

2017 April Goals

March Goals
-Read a book for at least 10 minutes a day – This one didn’t go as well as it did in February; started reading Daring Greatly but didn’t make a ton of progress
-Do toning exercises twice a week – Again, didn’t go as well as it did in February, but did them about once a week
-Start a list of recipes we make often and the ingredients we need to make them to make meal planning is easier in the future – Ongoing
-Make 2 pieces of art for our bedroom – Pushed this off because after hanging art (see next goal) and rearranging our furniture, I don’t know if the art I planned to make is the right thing for the space.
-Hang art in our bedroom – Yes!
-Hang curtains in at least one room in the house (one day we will check this off the list) – Hung curtains in TWO rooms! Woohoo!
-Take a walk/run with Will at least once a week (this may be difficult with Will starting a new rotation, but I am hopeful!) – Yes! This was great!
-Test five cookie recipes for an upcoming project – Yes! This cookie testing came in handy for April’s goals :)
-Celebrate Will’s birthday – Yes! Yay, 25!
-Spend meaningful time with friends – This was wonderful. I may not have checked off the first two goals because I spent more time with friends than usual, but it was well worth it.

April Goals
Plant herbs
Do toning exercises twice a week
Successfully finish making and beautifully present 5 types of cookies for my cousin’s wedding reception
Celebrate with friends and family at wedding
See the Ansel Adams exhibit at the NC art museum
Celebrate Easter with family
Make a new spring dessert
Celebrate my quarter-century birthday!

link love

Here we are, throwing some link love at an unsuspecting Monday. Sometimes life happens and we just have to go along with it. So, instead of bringing some relaxation to your weekend, I hope these links can bring some joy to your Monday.

link love 4.3.2017
via

For the first order of business, happy national championship day to my fellow Tar Heels! I’m both extremely excited and super nervous. Let’s go Heels!!! :)

“Sorry for the delayed response!” This post on what people actually want to say when they haven’t responded to you in a while is hilarious. We’ve all been on one end of that.

I started watching The Crown on Netflix last night and was intrigued by this article about the “secret” plan for when Queen Elizabeth passes. I love historical and historical fiction books and shows. Even if the plotline and details aren’t exactly correct I love seeing what life would have been like at the time and learning insights into historically (and currently) powerful families.

As you can probably tell from this blog, I love to bake. This article explains and confirms the psychological reasons why.

Did you see the Love, Actually reunion short for Red Nose Day? Thoughts? It made me want to go watch Love, Actually again, and it’s not even Christmastime.

I have been loving this warm spring weather and the few flowers and trees that are blooming here, but it has also made me want to travel somewhere where the blooms are already in full swing. These pretty Savannah photos have almost convinced me to make the trip.

Happy Monday! I hope it’s a good one!

spring bucket list

2017 spring bucket list
via

It is officially spring and we have already had the rain showers and pollen coatings to prove it! Each fall, I like to create a list of things I want to do before the next season starts. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this for every season, because these seasonal bucket lists are some of my favorite ways to set goals. The three-month time period allows for more time and flexibility than my monthly goals, but doesn’t allow me to push things around like I might with my yearly goals. These lists also force me to live in the present and focus on and enjoy the current season. Some of the items on my list are already planned out, and some are left to fill free weekends and evenings whenever the mood (and timing) strikes. So, without further ado, my spring bucket list!

Spring Bucket List
-Go on a picnic
-Plant herbs
-Celebrate my birthday
-See the Ansel Adams exhibit at the NC art museum
-Go on lots of walks
-Celebrate with friends and family at weddings
-Spend time at our local farmers’ market
-Celebrate Easter with family and make an Easter dessert
-Go to at least one new place on our triangle bucket list
-Make lots of cookies for my cousin’s wedding favors
-Have tea at the reopened Honeysuckle Tea House
-Eat a meal outside (at home or at a restaurant/café)
-Have Memorial Day brunch (an accidental annual tradition in my family)
-Celebrate our three year wedding anniversary!

What is on your spring bucket list?!

sprouts farmers market

We’re doing something a little different today. We’re going on a tour of the newest grocery store in town!

Sprouts Farmers Market North Carolina | www.passthecookies.com

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to tour the new Sprouts Farmers Market in Raleigh before it’s grand opening on Wednesday morning. The grocery store is the first Sprouts Farmers Market in North Carolina and it couldn’t have gotten here soon enough! The variety of healthy options at affordable prices was unbelievable. Do you see that produce section below?! There is so much selection! They have a great array of organic options, but also conventional options if you aren’t at a place where you want to eat (or want to pay for) organic food. That being said, the prices of both conventional items and organic and natural items is amazing. The store is a slight trek from where I live, but it is so worth it! (more…)

cereal milk cake with lucky charms filling

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day – are you ready?! Pull out your green and whip up this fun cereal milk cake topped and filled with Lucky Charms marshmallows!

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling | www.passthecookies.com

There are a few foods that remind me of St. Patrick’s Day. Shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and Lucky Charms immediately come to mind (though Bailey’s, Guinness, and milk dyed with green food coloring are close behind). Though we don’t do much for St. Patrick’s Day in our home, it was always an unexpectedly fun holiday in our house growing up. From making leprechaun houses to eating an entirely green meal, it was all very whimsical. This cereal milk cake decorated with Lucky Charms would fit right in with the theme and fun-spirited mood of the day.

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling | www.passthecookies.com

There are three key elements to making this cake. The first is soaking the milk with cereal (Frosted Flakes or other frosted cornflake cereals work well). The second is using imitation vanilla extract to get that nostalgic flavor from your childhood. And the third is crushing the marshmallows into the frosting between the cake layers. The marshmallows between the layers are optional, but adding them really makes the frosting reminiscent of eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. Crushed up marshmallows give you the taste of Lucky Charms cereal, without the squeaky feeling of full Lucky Charms marshmallows. You know what I’m talking about.

Cereal Milk Cake-4

The marshmallows decorating on the sides and top of the cake are totally optional, but don’t they look so fun?! If for no other reason, I’ll keep them for that. I pulled these marshmallows straight out of the cereal box, but you can also buy full bags of cereal marshmallows on Amazon! That would limit the confusion when unsuspecting family members pour a bowl of Lucky Charms and end up with only the cereal ;) Whoops.

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling | www.passthecookies.com

Whichever variation you choose, I hope it brings you lots of luck and joy tomorrow!

Cereal Milk Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup cereal milk (recipe below)
Marshmallows from cereal (like Lucky Charms), for assembly

Cereal Milk
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups frosted cornflake cereal

Vanilla Frosting
2 cups (or 4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk
¼ cup marshmallows from cereal, finely crushed, optional

To make cereal milk:
Pour the milk over the cereal and swirl it around vigorously. Let the milk and cereal soak for about 20 minutes. Strain the milk through a sieve into a small bowl. With the back of a spoon press the cereal into the sieve with the to squeeze the liquid out of the cornflakes, but not forcefully enough to push the cornflakes through the sieve. Discard the soggy cereal (we compost it, but you could also feed it to your pet ;)).

To make cereal milk cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut out 8-inch circles of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pans and spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in the vanilla and the oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With your mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the cereal milk. Start and end with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, checking to make sure a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. The cake layers should be completely cool before you frost them.

To make the frosting:
Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the vanilla and milk and beat to combine. You can add more powdered sugar for a sweeter variation, just add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time to keep the right consistency.

Optional: Separate the frosting into three equal parts. Fold the crushed cereal marshmallows into one part of the frosting. This will be used between the cake layers, while the other two parts will be used to frost the outside of the cake.

To assemble:
Place one cake layer on a cake plate or serving plate and top with the crushed cereal marshmallow frosting, if using. Top with the next cake layer and frost the entire cake with the remaining vanilla frosting. Decorate by placing cereal marshmallows along the sides and top of the cake in any arrangement you like. Only place the marshmallows on the cake if you are serving it soon, otherwise they will get soggy.

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day!

Cake and frosting adapted from Molly Yeh’s funfetti cake

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