November 29, 2012

The Power

Some words of encouragement to round out the week from "The Wizard of Oz" (the film that gave way to the name of this here blog).

I've been holding myself back from working on a few areas of my life that could use my attention. Playing the excuses game as to why I can't move forward with something that means a lot to me - when the truth is, I possess everything I need to take the leap. 

Sometimes we create unneccesary road blocks. I think we fear how strong and capable we actually are. I'm working on getting out of my head and moving towards what I want to accomplish.

Do you ever have trouble getting out of your own way?

November 28, 2012

Time to Readjust

I started my day off in a less than ideal fashion. I was tired from a disagreement that Jake and I had last night. We stayed up late talking and I went to bed feeling pretty drained.

I chose to wake up earlier than normal to get a jump on the day ahead. I gave myself plenty of time to get ready and to take a nice long shower. By the time I headed out the door I was feeling in control.

That is, until I got on the highway and sat in stand-still traffic, which resulted in my lateness to work. The elevator was broken in my parking garage (laaaate). Lunchtime rolled around and I realized I had left my lunch in the car (I park a few blocks away from my office).

At this point I started feeling sorry for myself. Tell me you know the feeling. "Today sucks" is what I told my sorry little self. It was noon and I was already resigned to the fact that the entire day was shot. I've heard the old adage about not letting yesterday take up too much of today -- but what about letting a few insignificant events in the morning determine your outlook for the rest of the day.

I wanted so badly for the day to be different, and that's kind of where it clicked. The day can be different. A lot of stuff is totally out of our control, but the way that we react to those happenings is actually a choice that we are given.
We do have a say.

My brain tends to laser focus on the negative. Thinking positively and handling conflict in a healthy way is something that I have to continuously work on, it does not come natural to me. But, there is hope for me yet. You see, I married a very patient and understanding man - and I consciously work on my attitude. It's all about readjusting. It's knowing that even if you just snapped at someone you love, or overreacted to something small, you still have a choice to move forward with a fresh attitude. The day, or project, or trip, or night out doesn't have to be wasted on negativity.

One of the many reasons I love having a blog, I get to preach and blabber on about things that I really need to learn how to do myself. Thanks for letting me vent.

Do you have any methods for turning that frown upside down?

November 27, 2012

No Place Lyke Home for the Holidays: Gift Wrap Guide

No Place Lyke Home for the Holidays will feature fresh holiday inspired ideas; from recipes, to gift wrap and festive decor - I'll be sharing my favorites this holiday season.
I've always been kind of awful at wrapping gifts. It may have sprung from when I was a child and would wrap random things around the house with toilet paper and give them to various family members as gifts.

Last year, I decided to take a stand. No more lumpy packages with enough tape to reinforce the Hoover Dam. I am a sucker for nice presentation, so learning how to wrap a pretty package was important to me.

I started with this video tutorial via Real Simple, which I found very helpful to get the basics down. Then I checked out this list of tips and tricks via my main woman, Martha Stewart. I ended up with the below monochromatic package using silver paper, silver twine and hand stamped gift tags.

This year, I'm hoping to be a little bit more adventurous. Below are some of my favorites from around the internet.

Think outside of the box for embellishments (tutorial here).

Let photos replace gift tags (via).

Give simple brown paper a little pizzazz (via).

Use black paper and chalk marker to give a chalkboard look (via).

Add lace (via).

Do you have any gift wrapping stories or ideas to throw my way?

November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We spent Thanksgiving this year at my parent's house with a mixture of friends and family from all over. My mom spent 4 days cooking and setting tables to prepare for our wonderful feast. 

My brother-in-law, Adam, flew in from NYC to stay with Jake and I for a few days (which was awesome!). Together, Adam and I prepared a range of sides including: roasted chili lime cauliflower, roasted asparagus with toasted pine nuts and lemon zest, sharp cheddar and bacon corn casserole, sausage stuffed mushrooms and cheddar sage biscuits. Also, Adam made a pretty epic pumpkin tiramisu.

All of the food that we prepared was combined with my mom's scratch made mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, English peas with pearl onions, two different kinds of stuffing (my favorite was the cornbread sausage stuffing) and cranberry chutney. The main events were smoked turkey, fried turkey and filet mignon.

F o o d   c o m a. 

 We washed everything down with my dad's "Thanksgiving Dinner" cocktail which basically tastes like the holidays in a martini glass. I will see if I can get him to share the recipe here.

My sister and her husband, Mike, are due with their second daughter, Ellie, in early January. Since Mike's family was in town, we decided it would be the perfect time to surprise Britt & Mike with a shower. Our theme was "Thankful for Ellie". My mom ordered an adorable pumpkin shaped carrot cake that read, "Thankful for our little Punkin'" and I made a bunting and a "Thankful Jar" for all of us to fill throughout the day and place in Ellie's nursery.

All-in-all it was a fabulous Thanksgiving filled with dear friends and family and no shortage of food, great conversation or laughter.

Special thanks to the movie, "Brave", for teaching Addie to bend over roughly 55 times throughout the day and yell, "Feast your eyes!" (pictured above). Side note: I think Addie loves Kellie even more than her Rudolph.

Major photo overload, but with good reason -- lot's of beauty to capture.

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?

November 18, 2012

McCombs Family

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of photographing the McCombs family. Joshua, Ashley, Lena and Parker make such a sweet family and were patient with me as I navigated my way through my first shoot with two young children.

I'm still busy editing this family session, but thought that I would share some of my favorites from our day together.

An Anniversary Celebration

This weekend, my sister and I (with the help of our husbands) hosted a dinner party in honor of our parent's 30th anniversary. Brittany made an incredible seafood bouillabaisse, together we made a roasted beet salad and some appetizers and I threw in some handmade decorations.

The traditional gift for a 30th anniversary is pearl, so all of us ladies wore pearls. My dad got my mom a gorgeous multi-strand fresh water pearl necklace (seen in photos below).

The best part of the evening was when each of us went around the table and shared our favorite memories involving our parents - there were some real classics. The recurring theme throughout each of our stories was my parents great love for one another and their awesome sense of humor that's kept them laughing through the years.

(toasting glasses from their wedding 30 years ago)
How cute are they?
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