Monday, December 31, 2012

A Desire to Inspire's Top 12 Posts for 2012

With the new year approaching, it's time to count down all the amazing things that happened at A Desire to Inspire in 2012. As I've looked back on a year of posting, I've been filled with such an immense appreciation for all the blessings in my life. It's been quite a ride and I look forward to seeing what's in store for next year.

Without further delay, I present to you this year's top posts/happenings/accomplishments:

JANUARY:
We rode snowmobiles for the first time - and at night!


FEBRUARY:
We helped my parents take apart their cabin to ready it for a remodel. I'd never used a sledgehammer before. Demolition work is fun!

video

MARCH:
We bought a house!


APRIL:
Our appreciation for cheese grew by leaps and bounds after we learned how to make the stuff from scratch. Delicious, but a lot of work!


MAY:
I traveled to the MIT campus in Cambridge to put on an event for Cheezburger centered around memes and Internet culture. I even got to meet some of the people behind popular memes, like Scumbag Steve  (pictured) and Chuck Testa.


JUNE:
It was a month of fun. We discovered Ballard, I made a heavenly chocolate bourbon pecan pie, and we celebrated Mike's 39th birthday. Yippy!

Photobucket

JULY:
My company, Big City Blooms, did another fabulous wedding!


AUGUST:
With the Olympics in full swing, we felt inspired to be more active. While Mike picked up rowing lessons, I tackled the jogging trails at Green Lake. By month's end, I hit 5 miles with every run.


SEPTEMBER:
My in-laws visited and we took a relaxing trip to my family's cabin in Leavenworth, Washington.


OCTOBER:
We were lucky enough to watch Glen Hansard (of Once, The Frames) jam on the streets of Seattle after his concert.


NOVEMBER:
I was published in Ruche's annual holiday cookbook.


DECEMBER:
I think I've saved the best for last with this month. I've thought very carefully about whether or not to go public with this little secret I've been keeping, but after recent conversations with friends and family, I feel I must.

After years of preparations, multiple visits to the doctor, medical ups and downs as a result, and lengthy discussions about our options, I'm excited to announce that this month Mike and I have started the initial phase of IVF treatment (in-vitro fertility treatment).  Who knows where the journey will take us, but we'd sure love to be parents. Needless to say, we're thinking lots of happy thoughts as we enter the new year and wishing for the best.

Here's to all the blessings that 2013 has to offer everyone!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Mixology Monday: Berry & Pear Christmas Cocktail

Happy Monday! If you're reading this, the hubby and I are in St. Louis for the rest of the week visiting his family. I'll be taking a little blogging break until we return. In the meantime, here's some inspiration for making a festive Christmas cocktail (hat tip: She Knows). Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Berry & Pear Martini

3 oz. pear vodka
1.5 oz cranberry juice
1.5 oz blackberry brandy
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Simple syrup to taste
Sliced pear for garnish

The Berry and Pear Christmas Cocktail from She Knows

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Funny

This edition of Friday Funny is a bit racy, but it made me laugh to the point of crying. Anyone familiar with an iPhone is no doubt aware of the ridiculous autocorrects it can sometimes come up with. Here are 25 of the funniest autocorrects in 2012.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

See the full list of autocorrect fails here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making the Holidays Merry

With our holiday shopping completed and no concrete plans ahead other than traveling to St. Louis for Christmas, I thought perhaps this last week or two might have been a bit slow. I thought wrong! I've been busy completing all those unfinished projects I blogged about last week (more on that later). I've also been preoccupied with fun little holiday gatherings. We hosted a young adults game night for church friends on Saturday, a holiday gift exchange with my parents on Sunday, and later today we'll be getting together with our neighbors to share a few drinks and some holiday cheer. Keeping busy this time of year is actually kind of fun!

My parents, nephew, sister, hubby and I all gathered around our tree. 
One of several Christmas baskets I made for our neighbors.
It was my first attempt at making gift baskets. Not bad, but practice makes perfect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Simple DIY Gift Ideas on Pinterest

I found this "10 Simple DIY Gift Ideas" guide on Mashable and some of these ideas were just too cute not to share. My favorites are below, but there's a lot to choose from for anyone in the do-it-yourself gift-giving mode this year.

I love these adorable jelly jars with painted animal lids. 
Men's old dress shirts find new purpose with these wine bottle holders. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe Box Redo

Remember my shoe box recipe holder that I told you about last week? I'm happy to report the shoe box is no more. Now I have all of my recipes printed on cute little cards tucked neatly inside of A RECIPE BOX! It feels silly to be excited about something so small, but this was a project I thought I'd never be checking off my list. Hooray!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lauren Scruggs Speaks

Can we talk about Lauren Scruggs for a minute? I'm amazed, humbled and inspired by the video she's released this year, marking one full year of recovery since losing her arm and eye in a freak plane propeller accident last December. Young people like Lauren who are so strong in their faith really impress me.  She's taken an awful situation and turned it into something incredibly powerful and positive. That's a way of thinking that I can definitely get behind. Go Lauren, go!

You can watch the complete video here

Monday, December 10, 2012

Powdered Sugar & Lace on a Cake

I love this idea from My Two Butterflies for decorating a cake with powdered sugar and lace. If you're low on time it beats frosting a cake, though I suppose if you love frosting this wouldn't be the dessert topper for you. I'm curious if it actually holds or if it blows away the minute you try and cut a piece of cake. Has anyone out there tried this decorating technique before?

Happy Times

One full week has passed since my first day of unemployment and I can honestly say that I never thought I'd be this happy about the situation. I've been more productive in the last week than I think I've been all year! (Okay, maybe not all year, but very productive nonetheless.)  Life is good!

So here's a snapshot of the Christmas lights that I hung up on the house last week. The picture is a little dark, but you get the point. I just love white Christmas lights. Don't you?


And these are a few of the holiday sugar cookies I baked for a charity auction over the weekend. I made 60 of these babies!


Oh, and then there's the book I finally finished. If you haven't read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I highly recommend it. While I'm a sucker for World War II stories, this one is particularly inspirational.


Lastly, here's a preview of one of my next projects. I know it doesn't look like much, but this has basically been our recipe box for the last 4 years. You heard correctly - I keep my most prized recipes in an old Nordstrom shoe box! Well, the time has come to get a little more organized. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with next!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Kitten Cam Weekend Kick-Off

Well folks, it's the end of the week and the start of the weekend. What could be better than that? I feel good about the projects I've been able to complete during this first week of unemployment and now I'm ready to relax and have a few laughs.  This Kitten Cam footage will do the trick!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Apple Crisp - The Shocking Results

So it turns out that I can cook a pretty delicious apple crisp! As promised, here are the pictures from my little baking adventure yesterday. The apple coring and slicing takes a long time, but it's so worth it. I cranked up the Christmas music, put on an apron and got to work and an hour or so later, I had a warm, gooey dessert that practically changed my life it was so good. Highly recommend this recipe!

It took everything I had not to eat the apples raw like this. Don't they look good?
This is what the crisp looked like just before going into the oven. A whole lotta brown sugar and oats.
The result, fresh out of the oven.  The scoop of vanilla ice cream took me over the edge. Heavenly!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Enjoying My Time Off

The hubby and I were playing a game of cribbage last night and I realized something kind of amazing about my unemployment situation: now I have A LOT of free time. There are so many little projects that I've put on hold in recent months because I was just too busy with work, the house, church or neighborhood activities, etc. Now I have all the time in the world to focus on them. In fact, I'm going to tackle one unfinished project every day until I'm gainfully employed again. Why not, right? 

So what's first on my list?  Today it's a combination of things. I'm going to hang Christmas lights on our front porch, using a ladder, a staple gun, and any other dangerous tools the job calls for. After that, I'm finally going to get this apple crisp recipe pulled together. I've been salivating over it for weeks and it just sounds like the right thing to eat on a cold winter day. If it turns out okay, I'll share pictures with you!

Ta-da!  (Let's hope I can do a better job than this.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cat on a Treadmill

Have you ever seen a cat on a treadmill?  I know it's only Tuesday so it's much too early in the week for a Friday Funny, but this is too good not to share. This cat looks like it's been using the treadmill for years!

DIY Sugar Cube Shapes

Nifty Thrifty Things has a sweet (pun intended) idea for turning sugar into adorable little shapes. I love this idea because I never would've thought to try it and it's so simple.  I can imagine doing heart shapes for Valentine's Day or stars for Christmas. So many possibilities!

You can read the full tutorial here.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Mixology Monday: White Chocolate Eggnog Cocktail

It's Monday, which I generally dislike, and I got laid off from my job.  I've been laid off from work before, but somehow having it happen during the holidays makes it worse. Still, I'm optimistic that a new, amazing opportunity will come along soon. It helps that I get several weeks of severance pay as well. For that, I feel blessed!

To mark my unemployment, the hubby and I will be having a cozy, romantic dinner at home tonight and given my love for eggnog, I thought I might try a new cocktail recipe to go along with it. Doesn't this White Chocolate Eggnog drink from Day Dreamer Desserts look delicious?  They had me at eggnog, but the white chocolate liqueur makes it doubly drool-worthy. Yum!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sheet Music Christmas Trees

Holy Craft has a quick and easy way for bringing a little bit of old world charm to your holiday decorating with the use of sheet music. Personally, I've been wanting to add some miniature Christmas trees to my existing holiday decorations, but they're so darn expensive. I like this idea because it's much cheaper and you can use songs that mean something to you for a more personal touch. If songs aren't your thing, I bet you could use holiday wrapping paper as a substitute instead. Cute idea!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Apple Centerpieces

We're hosting a few holiday gatherings in the coming weeks and I'm looking for cute, cost-effective ideas for decorating our dining room table. Apple centerpieces seem to be popping up all over Pinterest this year and given the popularity of them in Washington state, I think they'd make for a great solution. Now which one to go with... I like them all!

Via Finding Home Online
Via Hanna's Charming Christmas
Unknown source
Via Tangled Up in Knots

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mixology Monday: Cranberry Cocktail

Happy Monday, readers! I'm back after a week of celebrations that included my 31st birthday,  Thanksgiving (I'm still stuffed!) and a few impromptu gatherings with neighbors and friends.  Needless to say, I'm filled with a lot of holiday cheer going into a Monday. That's gotta be a good thing, right?

So let's get back to it, shall we?  If you love cranberry, you'll love this cocktail from Meyers Styles. You can adjust the quantities as needed, but here's a good place to start:

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. peach schnapps
  • 3 oz. Cranberry juice
  • A dash of fresh lime juice
  • Fresh mint or cranberries for garnish 



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tooting My Horn - LOLwork

Do you like to laugh? Do you also like pictures and videos of cute animals? What about silly jokes and dry humor? If you answered yes to these things, then you might want to tune into my company's reality TV show, LOLwork. It airs every Wednesday night on Bravo and I promise you, you will be entertained! Watch a sneak peek of next week's episode here. (Keep your eyes open for yours truly! Hint: see orange arrow below.)


Screenshot of LOLwork Season 1, Episode 3 - BravoTV.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Useful Emergency Preparedness Tips

My husband and I were fortunate enough to not have to deal with something like a Hurricane Sandy this fall, though it did get us thinking about what we would do in case of an emergency like that. I've been digging around online for emergency preparedness tips and came across this DIY Emergency Preparedness Guide from Buzzfeed.com. Although I tend to disagree with most of the content they publish, this particular guide is actually pretty useful. 

Here are a few of their tips: 



Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

If you have a farmhouse/country style when it comes to decorating, you'll love this project. Our Lovely Bungalow has a great idea for making mason jar soap dispensers using thrift store finds, a can of spray paint, a hammer and a little glue. It doesn't take much to complete the transformation and this project is completely customizable. With the holidays just around the corner, I might even use red spray paint instead of white and wrap some plaid ribbon around the top of the jar to spruce it up. So many things you can do!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

T-Shirt Necklace

I love this idea from A Pretty Penny for turning an old t-shirt into a beautiful necklace or scarf, depending on how you craft it. If you had multiple t-shirts available, you could mix and match the colors as well for a more variegated look. Another bonus: this also a no-sew project so it's doubly awesome for crafters like me who wouldn't be able to work a sewing machine to save their life!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Recipes With Ruche

Exciting news, readers!  If any of you are familiar with a website called Ruche, you'll probably dig this news as much as I do. (Side note: if you're not familiar with Ruche, it's like Anthropologie, but you don't have to sell a kidney to come away with something nice.)

Anyhoo... they recently put together a dessert cookbook for the holidays and they selected my blog for inclusion! Specifically, they referenced a recipe that I shared with you last year for a delicious, gluten-free almond orange cake.  If you love sweets, take a peek below. There are tons of fabulous recipes to flip through!



    

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Funny

An example of an awkward situation I think we can all relate to...

Here's hoping whatever situations you encounter this weekend, you can laugh them off and enjoy yourself. Happy Friday everyone!

ADesireToInspireFridayFunny

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Cause for Celebration

I hope you had an awesome Halloween, readers! As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Mike and I opted to stay in this year in favor of greeting trick-or-treaters. Sadly, we only had a few. More to the point, this was the first year that we didn't dress up in a costume and go out and celebrate so in some small way, I was a little bit disappointed at the end of the night. But why?

When I thought about it, I realized that I'm still a little bit of a kid when it comes to this holiday. All holidays for that matter. I love the idea of going out with a bang in whatever I do to celebrate them. As corny as it sounds, I think life is simply too short not to seize every opportunity for celebration.

So you know what I say? While the world might demand that I think and behave as my age dictates, I'm never going to let go of that little child-like piece of me that still looks for the sense of wonder and fun in every day and dangit, I'm going to celebrate it!

Caption courtesy of Little Tree Vintage

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, readers!

Now that Mike and I are settled in a house, we're bound to have trick-or-treaters at our door so we're staying put for the evening. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, I'll be making this delicious taco dip for us to share and pairing it with a glass of pumpkin ale. Low key and loving it. 

Will you or your family be dressing up? Whatever you do, enjoy yourselves!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Yusuke Oono's 360° Storybooks

Japanese artist Yusuke Oono creates storybooks that read frame by frame like a regular book, but also transform into 360° sculptures. It's amazing what can be done with simply a few sheets of paper and a pair of scissors, isn't it?
The process..
Snow White