Monday, December 30, 2013

{the FIRST year} A year of HOPE


That was My word for 2013. It all started with this post about how my world was about to be turned upside down & crushed into a bazillion pieces. (of course that is ME exaggerating . . . or is it?) Sometimes I still believe that. Ok maybe I still do alot.

Hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I let you guys in on what was going on. A whole year. 365 days. The FIRST year after all they had to do. Oh and the waiting. Waiting to find out my results. So glad those days are behind me now. My word of HOPE got me through alot this last year, along with my faith & waiting until the official results came in

It was a year this past weekend  . . . on 12/28 . . . a date I dreaded, a date that will forever be associated with changing ME forever!

But here I am, as the first year has gone by & I am still here. 

Sometimes when I look back, I have to reallllly sit & take that line in. . .
I survived.

For a period of time, last year, I wasn't sure if I'd get to say that for much longer. But my God is a wonderful God & here I am. YAY!

This past year has been a strange one though, in the sense that it has been very rough on me mentally but I feel like I can not complain as I am still here & I tell myself 'what right do you have to complain?'  . . .  your life was spared & that should be enough right?. . . .but it can be sooooo frustrating at times . . .mentally anyway . . . but I press on. Having the type of surgery I had this young in my life does a NUMBER on you like you would not believe!!! I used to be an upbeat, positive person so when I had this surgery & the depression wanted to settle in, I was like 'say what'? . . . oh noooooo you're not!
Honestly, some days . . . the depression, the anger, the not caring about anything . . it reallllly gets to me. At the beginning I blamed it on the hormones & kept telling myself it would take time to adjust but seriously . . . .it's been a YEAR! A YEAR!!!!!!! and I still don't feel any better. {sigh}. Guess this is my life now & I need to make the best of it. Honestly some days I wish I would have taken the risk of NOT having the surgery just to be "me" again. I miss the old me. Some days I do NOT even recognize myself & it makes me sooo soooo sad. I wonder how long I could have gone on being my 'old self' with all that was happening inside before it really affected me? But I can not live in a world of 'what-ifs' & 'what might have been's' . . . .I need to focus on the here & now & trying to deal with the new 'me'. 

Ya wanna know what I wish? That someone would have told me that this would be THE single most hardest thing that I would EVER deal with in my entire life . . . because it IS. It is so freakin hard every day & it takes so much energy to be positive when your body is fighting you to be angry! Ohhhh the agony some days almost consumes me!!! Did I mention I do an awful lot of crying? Yup sure do . . . it's gotten to the point that my daughter is even used to seeing me cry for no reason throughout the day & doesn't even question it any more - lol. Sad I know but it's the truth. 
No one talks about depression. WHY? Because they think it's only reserved for crazy people? I am completely normal. Right? Gawd, I HOPE I am still normal!!! Maybe asking this makes me crazy? LOL . . . but seriously, it is such a topic no one ever says anything about & people should as I think it would help a lot of people.

My doctor has told me that this is ALL completely normal. YUCK. Are you kidding me? I have never wanted to throat punch someone so much before when she told me that. I just want to scream at her FIX ME ALREADY!!!! But I know she has done what she can. She DID save my life. So this is my new reality. Time to suck it up.

So I did. I am. I am getting through this. I "feel" like all the centering or channeling all of this, into my HOPE, is helping  . . . and I'm giving it all to God to handle as I have proven that is is way too daunting of a task to handle alone. And I am sure He is happy to take it on for me. =)

The word HOPE will ALWAYS & forever be MY word associated with all of this, that I have been through & continue to get through. I have to remember every day to look at it all in a POSITIVE light! ;) The acronym I came up with last year for this word really is helping too . . .


PRAYER. That IS what has gotten me through this last year & it will continue to do so going forward. I truly believe God does NOT cause suffering but rather uses it to get our attention for something bigger.
So yeah . . .He got my attenton and you bet your booty I'm a listening really good. This past year I've tried to do things He's wanted me to do. Reach out more to other people who need me. Let go of petty things & people. Learn to appreciate what is right in front of me instead of always looking ahead. Be in the moment more with everything. On the flip side . . . I needed to make room for these changes . . . so I know longer am trying to care what others are doing . .  the whole 'keeping up with the Jones' mentality' is exhausting & no one gains anything from it. I no longer am sacrificing MY time to give to people who won't do the same for me. Life is waaaaaay too short to try & squeeze in doing everything anymore for everybody . . . only the people who are appreciative will get MY time . . . makes for a happier me. =)

I am hoping by sharing this very personal struggle with you, that it may help someone else . . . to make them feel 'normal' & NOT alone in this either. The thing is we are NEVER alone. But the hardest thing we as women face is asking for help. Being vulnerable. Making ourselves 'human'. We are NOT superwomen. People think we are but even super heroes need to take a breather every now & again. 

So the cape will collect a lil more dust this year, as I continue to breathe, as I am in noooooo hurry to put it back on as I need to keep focusing on my HOPE and getting myself to a place that is the new normal. I am getting there. I really am. It's just that I am NOT a patient person so I expected it to happen just a little bit faster than a snail's pace is all. But I will wait.

I am learning to treasure every thing thrown at me - the good & bad. It was hard at first but when you have looked death square in the freakin face & gave it the big 'ol middle finger & told it to come back later . . . .well,  . . . you learn to appreciate it all now, good or bad because it's refreshing. It means you're ALIVE!!!!

It gave me HOPE. It gives me HOPE. It tells me that God was not done with me here yet. He has a plan for me still here. He saved my life.(again). THAT. That in itself gets me out of bed in the morning. It makes me ignore any anger & depression & focus on letting it go the best I can, knowing He always has me in His hands. Knowing that He has a plan & I get to wait to see what it is or what He will have me do . . . that is all the HOPE I need. That is so exciting.

I am a different person 1 year later but it's ok.
2013 was my year of HOPE. 
And I hope in 2014 I will be a better person because of it.

{HOME} Starbucks Christmas Tree + Decor

Today I'm sharing ANOTHER themed room in my home as it is lots of fun to decorate every year. It is my Starbucks room, which has (of course) a Starbucks tree! Now this one is not a large tree (yet) as it sits on a table in my kitchen nook & it IS becoming quite full of ornaments from Starbucks so I am sure it will supersize to a larger tree before long. ;) But for now, it's just a mighty little table tree.

I do like it for the fact that it does sit on a table & is manageable. Plus it has so much character as the ornaments Starbucks put out every year are some of the best. My mom started getting these for me right after college so I have quite a collection & they go all the way around the tree. 

I also have some other fun items that Starbucks has put out over the years duing the holdays . . .  an awesome snowglobe (which if you follow me on Instagram, you already have seen this) plus some coffee mugs from quite a few years ago, mini stockings, mini mugs & more. =)
I love waiting to see what Starbucks will have out for the holidays every year as it is always something FAB & they never disappoint. ;)


Wishing you nothing but JOY this holiday season! =)

What room do you "theme" in your house? Do you have any themed trees? A Starbucks tree? Let me know what you collect . . .  I would love for you to share below!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

{HOME} Man Cave Christmas Decor + OSU Tree

Today I wanted to share another area in my home that is all decked out for Christmas. None other than the "man-cave". We live in Ohio & are HUGE Ohio State Buckeyes fans soooooo . . . the basement is the man-cave & houses all things "Ohio State" on a regular basis. So at Christmas, it is no different. We have an Ohio State tree, decorations & more. Enjoy a peek into the craziness that is all things SCARLET & GREY! ;)

So this is one of those woodland trees that are perfect for when you want to do a 'themed' tree & we have many in our house! lol
This one has all of the OSU ornaments that have been given to my husband every year for Christmas from family members or myself. I love how festive it is in this room.

Along with the tree & all of the ornaments, you will also find Ohio State snowmen, OSU buckets . . .

stockings, tree skirts, garland & even an OSU Santa Hat! ;) 

Another HUGE thing that is a collectible in the basement is nutcrackers!


and YES! . . . even OSU nutcrackers will be found!


And it wouldn't be a collection without it's OWN Christmas tree full of them! lol

This tree does have some 'other' ornaments on it but it does consist mainly of nutcracker ornaments. And did ya notice it is very special . . . a fiber optic tree! How cool is that? ;)


Do you have any themed trees? A college football team? Nutcrackers? Let me know what you collect . . .  I would love for you to share below! 


Thursday, December 19, 2013

RECIPE :: Simple Chocolate Ganache Tarts

chocolate ganache recipe, simple tarts, holiday treat, pastry

Simple Dark Chocolate Ganache Tarts
by Kimberley 

Here is a simple and elegant treat that you can whip up for entertaining or to take to a party this holiday season. If you have never made chocolate ganache before, it is one of those foods that seems tricky but is, in fact, simple to make. It is a pastry chef's little secret because it has only two ingredients but it amazingly versatile and delicious.

I love making mini ANYTHING. So of course I had to make these tarts in mini form. But you could also make these as individual tart forms or adjust the recipe for a full tart pan. But the minis are a nice two-bite sweet to serve a crowd. 

What else do I love about this recipe? You can prepare it in advance and it will stay fresh and tasty. And top the tarts with a variety of flavours to please everyone- I made sea salt, peanut, and sprinkle. But it works well with other nuts, crushed peppermint candies, chocolate candies like M&M's, or dried fruit like cranberries.

how to make simple ganche tarts, recipe for chocolate ganache tarts

Supplies: mini muffin pan, 3 inch round cutter, rubber or silicon spatula


Prepare tarts- I made them out of sugar cookie dough. Use your favorite homemade recipe or store bought dough. Alternately, you can actually use pastry tarts that are homemade or from the freezer section in your grocery store. 

With sugar cookie dough-

1. Roll dough to 1/4" thick and cut with a 3" scalloped round cutter

2. Press into mini muffin pan and baked at 350 degrees for 10 minutes

3. Allow to cool on wire rack completely before filling (can be baked the day ahead)

preparing ganache for tarts, chocolate ganache, supplies needed to make tarts

Prepare ganache
- use your favorite melting chocolate. I used a very good quality dark chocolate, which is what I prefer. Be sure to use a chocolate meant for melting, rather than chocolate chips. This recipe will fill approximately 12 -18 tarts.

1. Melt 1/2 cup chocolate in a dry glass or ceramic bowl in 20 second intervals in microwave and stirring between with a dry silicone spatula to help it all melt

2. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and whisk into melted chocolate until thoroughly combined

3. The ganache will be runny and perfect for spooning or pouring into your tarts. Top with toppings of your choice immediately

4. The ganache will "set" and harden when left at room temperature or chilled in the fridge. Will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days (perfect for making ahead for a party!)


recipe for simple tarts, chocolate ganache tart recipe, holiday baking

Guest Contributor: Kimberley Mulla

My Mom gave me my first cookbook when I was six years old. I have been baking & cooking ever since.

I specialize in artisan marshmallows & confections. I want to sell a product that I would feed my children. The ingredients are simple, often local, organic & fair trade as well.

I love making marshmallows. Every single one. It brings me so much joy to create something unique, tasty, and delightful.

You can follow Kimberley