March 30, 2012

Three

I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that Addie turns three today. Being an aunt has brought a love into my life that I didn't actually know was missing. She keeps us all on our toes, and laughing (oh my god, laughing) all of the time.

Addie helps me on my quest to be more present and to live in the moment. There is something about holding a new baby or dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba around the family room with a two-year-old, that makes it difficult to focus on anything but now.

In honor of three years of all-things-Addie, I would like to share my top three favorite Addie related memories:

3.) When Addie was born, I was at the end of my final semester of college in Chicago. I had made it to North Carolina twice in April to see her, but was having a difficult time being away. I was looking forward to graduating and moving home to Charlotte.

My parents planned a visit to Chicago for my graduation. They called to let Jake and I know that they had arrived at their hotel, and that they had an extra room if we wanted to spend the night with them. Once we settled in, there was a knock at the door. It was my sister, Brittany, Brother-in-law, Michael, and a four-week-old Addie. They had driven thirteen hours to be there.  Needless to say I was rendered into a puddle on the floor after that surprise.


2.) When Jake and I moved into our house, Addie had just started pulling herself up and trying to walk. Britt and Mike (Addie's parents) said that they had seen her take a few steps, but I was dying to see for myself. Jake and I sat on the floor of our bedroom, with our legs opened towards each other. I held Addie in the middle and gave her a little nudge towards Jake. She surprised us, because she just kept on walking! I think our cheering startled her because she eventually plopped down. It shocked me to feel so proud over something that a year or so before would have barely gotten a rise out of me.


1.) My all time favorite Addie memory happened the summer after she turned one. Jake and I were busy trying to make our house feel more like a home. My mom came over to help me make curtain panels. She was watching Addie that day and brought her along. Addie was a walking machine at this point, so I did my best to baby proof. While changing her I decided that she was so cute naked that I would let her run around and be "free" for a little while. Before I could catch her, she squatted down (not unlike Penelope) and number-two'ed on my kitchen floor. I swear, my mom and I must have laughed for an hour.


This sweet baby has grown up into quite the wild, creative, hilariously funny and thoughtful beyond her years - little girl.


Today our family celebrates you, Miss Addie, happy third birthday!

March 29, 2012

Addie Day


Today I get to spend the day with Addie... Her last day as a 2-year-old. Tomorrow she will be the birthday girl, so today she gets to boss Aunt B around. Expect a mushy gushy post about how much I love this little lady tomorrow.



Side note: I wrote on this instagram shot with Phonto - one of my new absolute fave photo related apps. If you have an iphone I highly recommend it.

March 27, 2012

Be Here Now



The photo above was taken during one of the best days that I can remember in recent time. A hike through the woods with my husband and dog. We took the time to slow down and really see one another. 

So much of my life lately has been consumed by what is to come, that I am easily distracted from appreciating what I have now. There are many things that I want... But, what I have now is worth celebrating.

I easily fall prey to the, "Where do I see myself in five years from now?" pitfall. Sure, it is important to plan - but simply existing and being present is invaluable to one's spirit.

One of my favorite scholars on the importance of living in the present is Eckhart Tolle. Specifically, I find the below words of his to be a very powerful reminder:

"If the thought of lack – whether it be money, recognition, or love – has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is lack.

No matter what you have or get, you won't be happy. You will always be looking for something else that promises greater fulfillment, that promises to make your incomplete sense of self complete and fill that sense of lack you feel within.

 Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” -Eckhart Tolle A New Earth

I hope that this wisdom will implant itself in my stream of consciousness. I want to make a real effort not only to speak or hear this school of thought, but to live it.



Do you have any advice or words of wisdom on how you have been able to live in the now?

March 26, 2012

Spring

I am making a conscious effort to appreciate spring in all of its glory.

 This season pushes me to savor the moment. Spring is unpredictable in the South, and sometimes it can sneak right by.

 The newness of Spring delivers the opportunity for reflection on the past year.

 I find comfort in knowing that even after the most brutal winter, the refuge of Spring is just around the corner. 

(Growing up in Upstate New York, this promise kept me going many years.)


Spring stirs a sense of opportunity within me. If the broken and bare branches of winter can bloom into the most vibrant green, I too can repair any damage within my own life.



This season washes an overwhelming sense of calm over me. Long aimless walks, lots of time outdoors to appreciate (and photograph) nature, an opportunity for reflection and growth.


I'd love to hear what you appreciate about Spring. Also, what is your favorite season and why?

March 25, 2012

Best of Instagram Week 6

I am linking up with Jenni, from Story of My Life, again this week. Below are some of my favorite snapshots captured with my phone from this week.


1.) Hunger Games (clearly, the book is better than the movie - but Jennifer Lawrence gives a stellar performance and Gale is better on screen than my mind could have ever hoped to conjure up) 2.) Cherry-lime margarita made by yours truly 3.) A break in the storm 4.) I turned 25 (ouch) 5.) This is what Penelope and I look like after a long week (lucky Jake) 6.) Addie is ready for Easter 7.) Springtime in the South 8.) Squeezing my little Pizza Dough Girl, Madelynn 9.) 4 carts later at Homegoods with my sister-in-law shopping for her new casa.

Wishing that your weekend is all that you hoped for!

March 22, 2012

Callie & Dave

While in Wisconsin last weekend, I had the pleasure of taking some photos of my cousin, Callie, and her boyfriend, Dave. It was a quick impromptu shoot, on Callie's parent's farm (really neat place!). Below are some of my favorites.


Callie just started her own blog, which you can visit by clicking here. Callie and Dave are such a sweet couple, be sure to head on over to read more about their story.

March 21, 2012

Quarter Century

Today is my twenty-fifth birthday. To commemorate the occasion, I'd like to share some unsolicited advice that I have gathered in my quarter century on earth. This is not to say that I have mastered the tips below, but rather that I have recognized the truth in each word. Give me another twenty-five years and maybe I will be able to follow my own advice.


As adults, we choose happiness. Oftentimes, the happiest people are the ones that have been dealt the toughest hand. This is not a coincidence, but a conscious choice. No matter what happens today, I choose to be happy. One of my favorite reminders of this is a quote that reads, "Please take responsibility for the energy that you bring into this space." Regardless of how others may have treated you, you alone control your reaction and behavior.
 (if you know the original source of the above quote please let me know.)

Living in the moment is the only way to reach true contentment. When our minds are always thinking about where we have to be next - or stuck mulling over the past, we miss out on the right now. I especially try to focus on this when I am with my family and close friends. Be here now. 

It is worth it to slow down and take the time to really see others. Every person wants to feel validated. You can be the person that does this for someone else.

We teach people how to treat us. As adults, we have the power to remove people from our lives that do not value us as individuals. If you are in an unhealthy relationship (romantic or otherwise), or can see behavior starting to form that is not okay with you, take a step back and reevaluate the relationship. If it can be repaired, then seek change. If it can't, walk away.

Nurture relationships that are important to you. As much as it is important to walk away from unhealthy relationships, it is equally important to Invest in family and friends that are supportive. Sometimes this might feel like an inconvenience, but I have come to realize that we can make time when we really want to.

Give back. All that it takes is thinking of others to distract us from our own struggles.

Be kind to yourself. Sometimes I will beat myself up to no end over something trivial. Then, I ask myself if I would be this hard on someone else. Give yourself the same amount of slack that you would allow others.

In addition to being kind to yourself, take time to do what you enjoy and what makes you happy. If you don't make time for yourself, no one will make it for you. The laundry can (and will) wait until tomorrow. Furthermore, sometimes this means saying, "No" and setting boundaries.



Do you have any advice to share that you have found to be invaluable?

I look forward to starting my twenty-sixth year on earth with you.

March 20, 2012

Prepare for Adorableness

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I can tell you where we were this weekend. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to surprise Jake's oldest brother, Zach, and sister-in-law, Jenna, for our niece (their daughter), Madelynn's baptism.

It felt incredible to have some one-on-one time with Maddie. It is difficult to live far away from family, especially a little girl as sweet as her.

I took some photos of her during our visit that I keep looking back through. I can't help but think of how much she has grown since the last time that we saw her and how big she will be the next time that we visit.

Sometimes I imagine our nieces (my most photographed subjects), as adults, looking back on the pictures that I have taken of them. I hope that they catch a glimpse of themselves through my eyes, and can feel how much I love them.

March 16, 2012

Seize the Weekend Vol.5

Seize the Weekend is a weekly feature on No Place Lyke Home. I have scoured the interwebs looking for five crafts/recipes/projects that are easy to tackle in a weekend. My hope is to inspire you (and myself) to roll up our sleeves and get creative!

1.) The weather is supposed to be simply gorgeous in most of the U.S. this weekend. Soak up spring and share a fancy picnic with someone special.


2.) Warm weather is best paired with citrusy-tart deserts. Try making these (vegan friendly) lemon bars. Recipe and photo from here.


3.) Make some festive shamrock straws for all of the beverages that you may or may not be consuming on Saturday. Hey, I went to school in Chicago - where St. Pat's is a way of life, so I know the drill. Martha shares this seriously easy craft with us here.


4.) Keeping with the St. Patrick's Day by Martha Stewart theme, try out her recipe for corned beef and cabbage. I have it on good authority that this recipe is legit.


5.) Make a sweet chalk board using a tree stump. (FYI, I have seen the tree trunks at Michael's and they carry chalkboard paint at most home improvement and craft stores).


I hope that you have an inspired weekend! If you try out any of the above, please tweet, facebook or email me pictures!

March 13, 2012

Epic Travel Fail

Jake and I have been attempting to make some travel plans for the upcoming year. While daydreaming about potential destinations, my mind wandered to the worst travel experience of my life.

During my senior year of college, I spent a semester living abroad in Rome. In the four months that I was in Europe, I traveled to roughly ten countries and close to twenty cities. I went to Rome with two of my best friends and met some incredible people while there.


You may be wondering which part of what I just described was so epically awful... I'm getting there.

After the semester was complete, my friend, Emily, and I stayed in Europe for an extra ten days to travel to Spain and Portugal. 

I hadn't seen my family or Jake in months and was really looking forward to heading back to the States. We arrived at the airport in Rome, sad to leave but eager to taste the comfort of home. 

And then, like many Italians before them, Alitalia (our airline) went on strike. 

We were stranded in the airport, with hundreds of other travelers. Christmas was only a few days away and because of the heavy holiday travel, all of the other airline's flights were booked.

Emily and I spent two days in the airport clinging to each other for dear life. We both took our turns simultaneously sobbing and swearing. At a certain point (maybe after sleeping on a dirty marble floor), we became so delirious that all we could do was laugh. We bought some wine, and watched Six Feet Under on my ipod. 

My parents stayed up all night calling different airlines and eventually found me a flight into Atlanta. After something like 48+ hours of travel, I made it home... Where I demanded a shower and Mexican food (not necessarily in that order).


I've had some pretty awful travel experiences since, but I am fairly certain that nothing will ever top my epic trip home from Italy.

(Me, at around hour 27... Note the bottle of wine in the cart)

Update: How could I forget to mention what happened to Emily? She still lives in Terminal C of Fiumicino International Airport to this day. She made it back to Chicago safe and sound (during a blizzard) around the same time that I arrived home.

March 12, 2012

A Man & His Dog

Jake and Penny. Penny and Jake. These two are inseparable. In all honesty, I don't feel like the third wheel... I feel incredibly lucky to witness their special bond.

Penelope gets a happy little dance going when Jake walks into the room. I can see the stress of Jake's day melt away when Penny jumps on him and gives him kisses (read: licks his face off).

For a man who hates to shop, Jake could browse the puppy aisle for hours. I would consider Jake to be frugal, but when it comes to Penny, only the best will do. 

I couldn't help but smile when I noticed - propped on top of Jake's stash of Sports Illustrated, a copy of Dog World Magazine.

My sweet guy sure knows how to treat a lady.

March 11, 2012

Best of Instagram: Week 6

I'm linking up with the lovely Jenni, from Story of My Life, again this weekend.
 1.) Vintage phone that my grandma sent me - thinking of spray painting it aqua, mint or coral... Suggestions? 2.) Braid wrapped bun 3.) Current Reads 4.) Punchy print 5.) Trend setter 6.) The most amazing sauce on earth 7.) Bedtime Tea 8.) Sick in bed 9.) My dad with Addie.

How has your weekend been? I'm pretty pumped that it is going to be light out an hour later now.

March 9, 2012

Lately

Notice anything new? Heather, from Life Made Lovely worked her magic!


Lately, I've been thinking about writing with more intention. 
About putting words out there that I can look back on and remember exactly how I felt in a specific moment.

It is a struggle for me to be vulnerable and to share my truth. 
I must admit, I can be rendered paralyzed by the fear of what others think.
It seems impossible to live an earnest and creative life, while seeking approval from others.

I have drawn inspiration from some of the incredible blogger's words that I have read lately.
I want to start honoring where I am, at this juncture in time.

To embrace and celebrate the now, if you will.


And so I pose these questions to you, bloggers and writers: Do you find it difficult to express yourself in written words? How have you overcome your fear of being wrong?

March 8, 2012

Changing it Up


We're changing things up around here. I will return shortly with some fresh ideas and a new blog design. I'm very excited to show you!

March 6, 2012

Dear Adelaide

I love to watch you play.

 You are a leader on the playground, all of the little girls want to kick their heels up with you. You have been known to scold a boy or two. Especially, when you think he is playing too rough. Amazingly, they respect your authority.


You are so smart. I can see your mind going a thousand miles a minute through your expressive eyes.

You have an impeccable sense of fashion. In fact, you begged me to put lipstick on you and to let you wear your crown from burger king to play.


You tend to scare easily these days, but you are very brave and push yourself more and more. 


You surprise yourself (and me too) with all of the big girl things that you are able to do now. Stay 2-years-old just a little bit longer... Will you?

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