January 31, 2013

Notice Anything New?

No Place Lyke Home got a major face lift. I'm so excited about the new blog design! My very talented friend, Danielle, designed it. She's a momma-extraordinaire, real deal blogger and design guru all wrapped into one.

If you're looking to pretty up your blog or have a site designed for your business look no further - Danielle of Take Heart Designs is your girl. She's offering 15% off of custom designs through Friday!

Oh, and I stole this photo of her from her Facebook. Ain't she purrrty?

January 30, 2013

Eleanor Pearl (round 2 of 958)

Slight exaggeration with the post title. Sort of.

I can't resist taking photos of my brand new niece, Ellie.  My husband and I had her overnight on Monday and while Jake was at work Ellie and I had another mini photo shoot.

True story, when I was a small child my mom used to have to hold me back in public from grabbing stranger's babies. As I grew up, I learned to restrain myself - but I never outgrew my love for babies.

Hopefully you appreciate cute kids. Otherwise, you might find me/my blog rather annoying. I guess that's a risk I'm willing to take. You can't please everyone, can you?

January 28, 2013

No Fail Salmon & Greek Inspired Quinoa

Every once in a while I stumble on a recipe that strikes the perfect balance between simple and delicious. This method of cooking salmon has never failed me and I hope that it will treat you just the same.

To jazz this whole healthy eating thing up, I added a Greek inspired quinoa salad on a bed of arugula.


Rub salmon with olive oil. Zest* the lemon on top. Squeeze lots of lemon over the fish.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and dill. Put in a baking dish. Stick the salmon in a cold oven and heat it to 400 once you put it in. Depending on the size and thickness of the salmon cook time can vary from 14-18 minutes (I just keep my eye on the fish when it nears the end time). It always comes out moist and flavorful!

Greek Quinoa:

Rinse quinoa well. Place on stove top in salted water, bring to a boil, stir constantly, gradually add more water as it absorbs (this should take about 15-20 minutes of cooking). Once the water starts to absorb more slowly, taste quinoa to ensure that it has softened but is still al dente. Fluff with a fork.

Let cool and add:

Peeled and chopped cucumbers (I peel mine, cut lengthwise, use a spoon to remove the seeds and then chop), pitted kalamata olives, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red peppers.

On the side make a vinagrette of 3 parts olive oil, 1 part dijon mustard, a splash of white wine vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon. Whisk to combine well. Toss vinagrette with quinoa salad.

Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and dill. If you're into cheese, add some feta!

For added health benefits pair with a bed of greens.

*Citrus zest is one of my favorite ways to add extra flavor and aroma to a dish since it contains essential oils. This is my favorite zester, which you can also use to finely grate cheeses like parmesan. Go get one!

January 27, 2013

Winter Blues

Nothing like a little Joni Mitchell to help you understand my blues...

I've been gripped by the winter blues especially hard this season. Blues might not actually be the best word to associate with my feelings. It's more like a deep longing for winter that oddly feels like homesickness.

I had a difficult time taking down the Christmas decorations this year. I wasn't ready for the holidays to end. Much to my husband's dismay (and utter annoyance), I still can be found playing my classic Christmas albums. I'm one Bing Crosby record shy of becoming the eccentric lady that displays her Christmas decorations year round (and I'm kind of okay with that).

The only real sign of winter that we get here in Charlotte is the occasional icing and a flurry or two. We often go a couple of years without a snowfall that sticks. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind not having to shovel, scrape off the car or freeze my arse off on the regular... I just miss what winter used to do for my psyche.

Growing up in Syracuse, NY, winter brought with it a chance for hibernation. It was a time for rest and reflection on the year that had passed. I wore having survived another Central New York winter like a badge of honor. On the first few days of spring, I remember feeling like I had really earned the warm(ish) weather. Now it all kind of blends together.

I was lucky enough to experience a big snowfall when we were in Wisconsin for Christmas. These photos, taken on my aunt and uncle's farm, will have to hold me over until next year. 

January 24, 2013

Take the First Step

feel free to listen along

I've recently had a pretty big life change. I'm no longer working full time outside of the home. The loss of a job under any circumstance can feel pretty heavy. Something about this unexpected change felt different though.

Maybe it was the birth of my niece, the support of friends and family or perhaps the copious amounts of Oprah Radio I've been listening to in the car, but I feel empowered. I've been able to see the limitations that I place on myself more clearly.

I think it's critical to recognize and examine the issue at hand before acting on it. Sure, having some more time at home may make it easier for me to take the next steps. But if I'm being honest, I don't think lack of time is the root issue. Fear and doubt have been the biggest culprits.

Fear that if I pursue photography I might not live up to the type of work that I want to put out there. After all, I don't have all of the best equipment or years of photography based education. These are things that every photographer must have to capture a successful image . . . Right?

Doubt that I can sustain the prolonged lifestyle change that healthier living requires. Eating healthy takes a lot of prep and planning. Exercise requires loads of time and equipment (equipment, so many things require lots of expensive equipment). I can't take something this huge on with limited time and a small budget . . . True?

What I've come to realize is that most of these limitations are fallacies. I've been believing a negative inner dialogue that repeats itself in my head but bears little truth, over believing in myself.

Yes, it's going to take some trial and error and a lot of time spent shooting before I start producing the type of photographs that I want to. Regardless, I've stopped letting my need for a better lens or new camera hold me back from using what I have. It's starting to sink in that some of my favorite photographs were taken by photographers that once were amateurs.

Oh, and the truth about healthy living -- it takes work. I've recognized though, if I can afford some fresh produce and lean protein and can find the time to go for a walk or do yoga in my PJs, I'll be leaps and bounds ahead of where I was.

That's the antidote to many of life's problems. Take the first step. With what you currently have. Now. Don't wait for fear or doubt to set in.

I'll leave you with a quote that my mother-in-law recently sent to me,

"Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives." - Greta Crosby

Do you place false limitations on yourself? Is there something important that you've been holding yourself back from pursuing?

January 23, 2013

Eleanor Pearl Newborn Photos

This weekend I photographed my sweet 8 day old niece, Ellie. She is such a good baby and slept through most of her shoot. She did pee on my mom at one point, but hey, when you're this cute you do what you want.

crown and renaissance hat found here
braided basket filler found here

January 21, 2013

Office Nook Makeover

As I've started to spend more time editing photos and working on my home computer, I've felt the need to makeover my upstairs office nook. It's a small little space, but it fits everything I need and is pretty cozy.

I chalkboard painted the main wall of the space, hung a shelf and added some of my favorite odds and ends from around the house. Do you ever shop inside of your own home? It's one of my favorite things to do. Whenever I hang a new shelf or just want to change things up - I take stuff from different rooms and pull things out of the garage and rearrange them. It's definitely a great way to freshen up a space on a budget.

Without further ado, my new workspace:

I'm still wanting to add a pop of color and some more storage solutions, but overall I'm really happy with the change.

January 15, 2013

Banana Pancakes

(Recipe Below)
Please feel free to play some tunes while reading:

This weekend, Jake and I took care of Addie while my sister was in the hospital bringing Ellie into the world. I felt so privileged to spend Addie's last moments as an only child with her. I could sense that she was confused and a little worried, so I tried to keep her occupied. In all honesty, I was a little nervous too, so the distraction was welcomed.

We built forts, painted our nails, made art projects and watched The Little Mermaid nine-hundred-and-fifty-seven times.

While racking my brain for some fun activities to do together, I remembered that many of my most special memories from childhood happened in the kitchen. My mom would let us be her sous chefs (of course, this included a lot of spoon licking). 

On Saturday morning, while Brittany was in labor, Addie and I cooked up a big batch of banana pancakes. When Jake took his first bite and said how good they were Addie lit up. I texted my mom a picture of Addie in the kitchen and her reply, "It's official Addie has caught the bug of wanting to make people happy with her food". It must be a Lyke girl thing.

We are still on the healthy eating train and Addie eats mostly Gluten Free so these were an easy kid friendly version of an old favorite:

Add one egg for each banana (we did 4 for the 3 of us) in a large mixing bowl
Mash the egg and banana together with a fork
Combine well with a Kitchenaid or hand mixer until you get a batter-like consistency
Add cinnamon (and if you're not watching your weight, a little sugar)
Grease a griddle and cook like normal pancakes
We topped the healthy version with Agave nectar and added butter and Syrup to Addie's


January 14, 2013

Eleanor "Ellie" Pearl Lyke

This Saturday I got to meet a very special person. My sister, Brittany, and brother-in-law, Michael, welcomed a baby girl, Eleanor. They named her after my paternal grandmother (I could see my dad beaming over this the first time he said, "Hi Ellie"). She's so new and tiny and precious. There's really nothing quite like a new baby is there?

There were many moments this weekend that left me filled with joy. Seeing my sister look so radiant after just giving birth, watching my brother-in-law hold his little girl, the moment when Ellie locked eyes with my husband, Jake, and stared at him for a good long while. My favorite moment was after we left the hospital room and shut the door, my parents embraced each other and hugged one another so tight.

Welcome to the family, Ellie! We all love you so much.

I made a little video of her first 2 days on earth. Yes, I am kind of a crazy obsessed Aunt - but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Eleanor Pearl Lyke from Brhea Koneman on Vimeo.

January 11, 2013

The Hart Sisters

I had the pleasure of photographing these two sweet sisters. They came up with the idea to have their photos taken for a surprise Christmas gift for their parents (I told you, sweet!). This shoot was a ton of fun, possibly due in part to the mimosas that they brought along :) 

January 7, 2013

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I've resolved to eat healthier in 2013 (anyone else with me?). This means my food related Pinterest board is fast filling up with things like "Golden Beet Salad" rather than "Loaded Baked Potato Soup". Added bonus, Jake and I have been spending more time in the kitchen together.

I found this recipe while perusing Pinterest for healthy dinner options. After a two day juice fast, this soup looked hearty and delicious (and it was). Head on over to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe. For an extra kick, add red pepper flakes.

January 6, 2013

Christmas in the Midwest

Please excuse the lateness of this Christmas post, life has been a little crazy. Also, I have been trying to hold on to as much of the holiday as possible. We just took down our decorations today (sad face).

This Christmas, Jake and I traveled to Wisconsin to spend the holiday with the Koneman side of our family. We have lots of family in Wisconsin and it was wonderful to spend some time with everyone.

Some of the absolute highlights included:

Surprising my mother-in-law with a party for her 60th birthday

She threw her purse and went and stood in the corner. I'm guessing she was surprised ;)

This one melts my heart.

Seeing our beautiful niece, Madelynn, who is now walking:

Witnessing my husband and brother-in-law dressed like this for the Packers game:

A night snowed in with some of my favorites:

Visiting with family (especially all of the little ones!):

Ooooh and our big Christmas present from my in laws... A cruise to the Bahamas! All of us leave in less than a month.

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