12.30.2011

friday funnies

I've lived in my new place for just about a month now, and I haven't met any of my neighbors. I'm totally fine with it because I am a painfully shy person, but I think it's time to open up a little bit. I may need to borrow sugar one day, or have baked goods to give away, or have an emergency. Unfortunately the times I have seen my neighbors, they've caught me in strange circumstances. I'm beginning to wonder if they stay locked up to avoid the looney bird next door.

The looney bird that was caught talking to herself while locking up her apartment. It was a stressful time for her. There were a million things running through her head, and she wanted to get her thoughts in order. Little did she know her undecipherable thoughts were shared with the guy next door.

The looney bird who spent ten minutes at her mailbox trying to jam every possible key in with no luck of opening the little metal box. There were curse words, the kicking of mailboxes (in slippers, mind you. Ouch!), and trying other people's mailboxes out of desperation. Waiting for Christmas gifts to come in can be stressful! The right key was tucked safely, and unexplainably, away in a drawer.

The looney bird who layers every piece of clothing in the mornings to walk her dog. I'm talking a robe, a bomber jacket, a beanie, two pairs of sweats, and monkey slippers. It's freezing at six in the morning! It's too early and too cold to be concerned with fashion.

I'm hoping this looney bird will make some better impressions over the next month. I'll write my thoughts, rather than speak them. I won't look like I'm trying to steal other people's mail. I could put a little more thought into the morning wardrobe, but it's doubtful. I'll just have to dress fabulous when it's above 40 degrees.
[click on image for source]

12.29.2011

reflections

The new year is creeping up quickly. It's silent as it comes towards me. It wraps its arms around me, as a way of saying goodbye. The past year holds a strange feeling of brevity, but so many reflections pass through my mind as I sift through the memories.

There were certain conversations I tend to rewind and play back to myself. I listen for the familiar silences that should have been filled with feelings, or the jumbled parts where I knew I should have held my tongue. They are conversations that somehow still hold so much promise, even though they were acted out long ago. It's those dreaded "what if's" that try to fill the empty spaces and try in futile attempts to drown out the unwanted words. It's funny how a conversation can hold so much weight in the capacity of a year.

There were certain moments I wish I had held onto a little tighter. They were filled with what felt right, at least at that time. They were special, although I was blind to their value as they unfolded. It doesn't matter how small or silly the moments were, they captured bits and pieces of my heart. I realize that now. I revisit them through my journals, photos, or the way I remember it in my mind. Traveling back in time to take in the scents, the sounds, the sights, the feelings won't ever be as good as the real thing. It's so important to soak up what makes one happy.

There were people that entered my life and those who left. Some made grand entrances, while others silently tip-toed in. Some slammed the door behind them, while others slowly found the exit. Each one held their place in my life whether it was for a short period of time, or a long one. They had their lessons to teach. They had a purpose. No matter how much I loved them or loathed them, they were meant to shape me. Their influence might have been in the form of a broken heart, a friendship, or a death. People had reason for being in my life, and it is so crucial to remember that.

Reflecting has only made projecting that much more simple. Reflecting isn't about regretting. Sure, the "what if's" faintly glimmer in my mind. I'm human. But I'm beginning to realize that I'm living the biggest "what if" of them all. My life. Every conversation, moment, and person has led me to where I am now.

I'm ready to embrace all that 2012 throws my way.
[click on image for source]

sparkly new year

The new year is quickly approaching, which means it's time to celebrate the past year and celebrate the comings of a new one. Whether you're staying home with your honey, going out with your ladies, or attending some amazing party, it's always fun to ring in the new year in something sparkly. Maybe it's because we embrace the glimmer of a new beginning, or maybe we just like the way the light hits and bounces off a great fabric. Either way, here are some lovely ideas...



12.28.2011

what i'm lovin' wednesday


1. New hair
It's going to feel great bringing in the new year with a new do. 

2. Champagne
There is no better way to welcome a new start than with champagne and good friends.

3. Resolutions
It's always nice to map out how you're going to embark on the new year. New adventures, new promises, and new ambitions. 
[click on images for sources]

12.26.2011

champagne and cupcakes


The new year is quickly approaching, which means it's time to celebrate with dear friends and pop some bubbly. I love champagne, but I don't love the headache that follows, which is why I was so excited to find this yummy recipe for raspberry cupcakes with champagne frosting. I can still enjoy the sweetness, but avoid a pounding head. They would be perfect to bring to whatever New Years gathering you are planning on attending.

Ingredients
Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a regular-size cupcake pan with 18 cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the oil to the mixture until fine crumbs are formed. Add the eggs, milk, raspberry extract, and pureed raspberries and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle, and then mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until baked through, about 20 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time. Cool cupcakes completely after baking.

Put the Champagne Buttercream Frosting into a pastry bag and cut 1/2-inch off the tip. Frost each cupcake in a circular motion until the top of the cupcake is completely covered and serve.
  • This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.
Champagne Buttercream Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter until creamed. Add the powdered sugar and champagne and mix until the ingredients are evenly incorporated and the frosting is smooth and creamy.
[image courtesy of Food Network]

12.25.2011

sunday spark


"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

-Kahlil Gibran
[click on image for source]


12.23.2011

friday funnies

The second installment of this funny video series...


Ice cream really does make me cough. These creators are genius.

12.22.2011

diy: charm bracelets

I love simplicity, especially when it comes to jewelry. It's not too late to make a little trinket to give to your gal pals. When I saw this post on the BLDG 25 blog, I just had to share.

All you need is silk thread, beads, charms, and scissors. Not bad, eh?


Pick pretty colored threads and some dainty charms and you've got yourself a unique, simple, everyday piece of jewelry to decorate your wrist with. Hold the charms in place with beads and knots. Easy peasy! Take a look...


How fabulous is it as a decoration for a bottle of wine or champagne? You could even secure it to a gift with ribbon. Either way you present it, it's going to make the recipient smile.
[images courtesy of BLDG 25]

12.21.2011

what would you do...

This seems like a simple question. A question that's become comfortable with sitting in my mind as I try to scrounge up the answers. It should be easy, right? Some would choose a career or making it big, a marriage or a family, the lottery or a diet, a dangerous activity or a new hobby.

They are all dreams. Some are more wild than others, but that's what dreams are. They are our own desires and aspirations that we hope with all our hearts come true, no matter how farfetched they may seem. It's comforting to believe that everything we encounter has the possibility for success, but the balance of failure snaps us out of dream state and back to a darker reality. Things aren't meant to fall into place all the time. It's just how life is, and it tends to cause us to set boundaries for ourselves, whether we know it or not.

I regretfully have set numerous boundaries for myself. It was a subconscious feat, but one that I know holds me back. Although certain walls are there, it doesn't stop me from dreaming. I am a big dreamer. So with that, the simple question sits in my mind, probing me with the words, "What would you do?" Its feet are propped up on the coffee table and it's not heading out into the chilly air until I give it some answers.

I would...

Move away for awhile. I've lived here my whole life. There is a stability and familiarity in that. Everything I know is here. My family, my relationships and friendships, my job, my education, my apartment. I know where the roads and freeways lead. I know where to get a darn good sandwich and which art supply stores have the best prices. Just because it's comfortable doesn't mean I don't yearn for something more.

So, knowing I could not fail, I would pack up my things. Charlie and I would head out on the road and find a new place to call home. A place where I could start over and rebuild exactly who I want to be. Start a career. Get acquainted with new faces and find new hang-outs. Really experience being alone.

Open up my heart fully. As much as I believe in the whole true love mumbo-jumbo, it doesn't mean I'm not fearful. The past can instill that fear, and I'm beginning to realize how much it holds me back. It makes a clam out of me. I tend to close myself off because I'm too focused on the chance of something good ending. That's just no way to live.

So, knowing I could not fail, I would focus on the present moment. I would love unconditionally, fully, and with reckless abandon because I believe in a great love. Great loves are consuming. Wild. Knock the wind out of you. More than you ever bargained for. Stay with you forever. Hold no room for fear.

Write a best-seller. It's been a dream since I was little. It's why I went to school to learn more about words, literature, and the authors who made such big impacts on the world. I write in my spare time, but it would be wonderful to quit obligations and solely work on this goal. With so many ideas floating up in my head, I know that in time they could be captured by the bindings of a book.

So, knowing I could not fail, I would focus in on writing. I would forget everything else and make my laptop my only companion. I wouldn't be afraid of others' opinions. I would impact someone's life with my story. It wouldn't be about the money, but about seeing my name on the cover of a book.

Be more adventurous. I was brought up to be careful. Helmets were mandatory, as were groups of two to the bathroom, and pepper spray in my purse. I appreciated the carefulness of my upbringing and it allowed me to make wise decisions in the present, but sometimes I wish I could be a little more wild. 

So, knowing I could not fail, I would stop thinking about the consequences. I wouldn't be scared of a broken bone. I would step out of my comfort zone. I would go sky diving, snowboarding, eat an unknown animal's body part, mountain climb, ride a motorcycle, cliff dive, swim with sharks, go backpacking around the world. Anything to get some sort of adrenaline rush.

Maybe my dreams aren't as far-fetched as others, but it doesn't mean they aren't special. They hold a big place in my heart. I realize they aren't impossible. They are actually very possible...if I'm open to them. I'm tired of living in these silly fears. They only leave me asking, "What if?" That's the worst question of them all. It's filled with the could-have-beens, unfulfilled wishes, and potential promises. So why not live as if you couldn't fail?

I'm ready to try. I'm ready to live. I'm ready to just go for it.
[click on image for source]

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Wrapping presents
It's always fun finding that pretty paper to wrap around the goodies you bought. I like to add little knick-knacks to spruce up the look; glitter, ornaments, pictures, and personal trinkets.

2. Online shopping
I get a bit claustrophobic at the mall around this time of year. The parking garage is a zoo, and it's hard to make my way through crowds with my little mouse voice. That's why I stuck to online shopping for gifts this year.

3. Sweaters
It's so cozy slipping on an oversized sweater. It fit's perfectly over a dress or jeans, and keeps you oh-so-toasty. Nothin' granny about that!
[click on images for sources]

12.20.2011

cheerful touches

It's always a pick-me-up when you see the decorations for the holidays. Streets are lit up, storefronts are turned into winter scenes, and homes have little cheerful touches. Everything is sparkly, bright, and festive. Here is some last minute inspiration, or at least something to put you in the spirit...













[click on images for sources]

12.18.2011

puppy chow


I just whipped up a batch of puppy chow. No, it's not for pups. It's actually a really simple, sweet treat to whip up for the human kind. You can pass it out in little baggies to friends, family, and co-workers. Perfect for the holidays. It's seriously addicting.

Here is what you need...

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Crispex cereal
3 cups powdered sugar

Here is what you do...

Melt the peanut butter, butter, and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for about a minute. Stir in vanilla. Pour the sweet goodness over the Crispex cereal in a large tupperware. Pour powdered sugar on top. Cover tightly with lid, shake it up until it's all covered, and you're done!

Here are some pictures from the kitchen...



sunday spark

"Follow your heart, but be quiet for awhile first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart."
-Unknown
[click on image for source]
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