February 28, 2013

New Month Resolution

Download and print this word art for free here.

Can you believe it's already the last day of February? For me, the beginning of a new month signifies a chance to start fresh. March also just happens to be my birthday month. Another passing year brings with it a chance for reflection and self improvement.

In honor of my birthday month, I'm creating a new month resolution: To live with intention and purpose.

Since I'm no longer working outside of the house, being intentional with how I spend my time is crucial. With so many balls in the air, it's easy for the day to get away from me. I've been known to get stuck on (read obsess over) one task for too long -- leaving me with little time to finish the rest.

Beyond  being intentional with work, I often need a reminder to set aside time for life. A nice dinner with my husband, a walk with the dog, time to decompress and enjoy life. It's weird, but I feel like I need to schedule these things to make sure that they happen.

Time management... I guess it's not my greatest strength. I'd love to improve on this without having to live by a rigid schedule. That's why I'm hoping you'll share what works best for you.




What keeps you centered and on track? Feel free to share your resolution or goals for the new month in the comments.


February 25, 2013

Why I Blog


Why I blog:

Last week, I had lunch with a new friend who also happens to be a new mom. We talked a lot about what motherhood has been like for her. I always have a thousand questions for new moms, since I'm hoping to be one someday.

I was caught off guard when she told me how much one of my blog posts resonated with her. She said that it felt like I was speaking directly to her about something that had been on her heart. I've experienced the same feeling many times after reading my favorite blogs. It was a full circle blogging moment for me.

Blogging has reopened my eyes to the idea that we're all in this together. All of us. The truth is, most of us just want to feel seen and heard -- validated, if you will.

I started blogging mostly to document my daily life and to have a place to share recipes and projects around our home. Maintaining a blog has been a fantastic creative outlet for me. What's kept me blogging though, are the genuine connections I've made. Some with people I've never met. Often though, when I write from the heart, it opens a dialogue with family and old friends.

Why you should too:

While at lunch, my friend mentioned that she has been thinking about starting her own blog.

The advice I gave to her, do it. 

Blogging is a great format to share yourself and what you are most passionate about.

I warned my friend against making arbitrary rules for herself. It isn't necessary that you post 5 times a week or that each of your posts are over 300 words with big beautiful photos. What matters most is that you enjoy the process.

I've kept up with this blog for as long as I have because I've made it a laid-back atmosphere. I'm sure that I would have resented this place if it started to feel daunting.

Most important, don't hold back from writing something out of fear of what others might think. You'll find that people relate most to the things that may be hardest for you to share.

I've compiled a list below of some of the blogs that inspired me to create No Place Lyke Home:

E Tells Tales
Take Heart
Story of my Life
Tales of Me and the Husband
Nat The Fat Rat
Lady Lee in Process
Across the Pond
Flower Patch Farm Girl

I have lots of other favorites - but these were the ones that I read pre No Place Lyke Home and continue to read regularly.




If you're a blogger, I'd love to know what got you started. What's been most rewarding about the whole thing for you?


February 22, 2013

Epic Oscar Party Menu

Oscar season is one of my favorite times of year. My husband and I are big movie buffs and we try to catch all of the best picture nominees before the awards.

Each year, we pop champagne and put out a nice spread of appetizers. I've been know to throw on a pair of sparkly earrings (often paired with pajama pants and slippers).

I decided to jazz things up with a menu inspired by each of my favorite best picture nominees. This year's line up did not disappoint, so I did have to leave a few out. I was sure to include a cocktail to make up for it, though!





1. Zero Dark Thirty Dark & Stormy (Recipe)

2. Argo make some hummus (Recipe)  
*For more guests, make a Middle Eastern inspired platter with pita bread/chips, red peppers and cucumbers for dipping, stuffed grape leaves, tzatziki etc.

3. Beasts of the Southern Wild Creole Shrimp Skewers (Recipe)

4. Silver Linings Playbook Philly Cheese Steak Sliders (Recipe)

5. Les Miserables Chocolate Fondue (Recipe) *Add strawberries, marshmallows, dried fruits and pretzels image via



I'd be remiss if I didn't honorably mention The Sessions, which was another of my favorites this year. Had trouble coming up with a dish to pair it with though... Better Than Sex Cake?

Any plans for the Oscars? What were your favorite films of the year?
 

February 20, 2013

All Things Good

Standing over the stove cooking dinner in my PJs with unwashed hair.
Our crazy pup is flying through the house like a bat out of hell (que the intermittent leg humps).
 A rather large stack of bills is piled on the kitchen table.
I've got my mind on my $$$ and my $$$ on my mind. I feel you, Snoop.

Amidst the chaos -- two loving, forgiving arms attached to the sweetest man I know wrap around me.

"I love when you cook for me. My happiness level is a 14 out of 10 right now, Babe." 
I married a constant reminder of all things good.

The noise quiets, and I realize that worry-ville can wait.
Right now deserves my full attention and best self. 

Dinner never tasted so good.

February 18, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

 
... make lemonade. Or one of my favorites via my sister (circa 1998), stuff them in your bra. 

Whatever you choose to do with your lemons, the point is making something sweet out of something sour. It often takes me a little while of sucking on sour lemons to recognize the potential for something sweet. This weekend, I made some proverbial lemonade. 

It snowed in Charlotte for the first time in 2 years on Saturday. It just happened to start blizzarding while my mom and I were on the road, headed out for a nice afternoon. In the South, we don't handle snow very well. There aren't enough plows, they don't typically salt the roads and people just generally aren't used to driving in the stuff. So, to be safe we changed our plans and headed home.

On our way back into my parent's neighborhood we saw a group of very excited children sledding during the snow storm. Remember, these are kids that go years without seeing/playing in the snow. Their joy was contagious. 

Instead of sulking about our change of plans, I put on the Pandora holiday station and my mom and I baked Christmas cut outs and whipped up some hot cocoa. We made our own white Christmas in the middle of February.

 

Life threw us a small lemon, and we were able to squeeze out a bit of lemonade. Fast forward to the next day, and making lemonade didn't come quite as easy. 

My sister (and her family) and my parents are both currently house hunting. We went to visit prospective houses for each of them. Both are lucky enough to be looking at total dream homes.

My parents and my sister and brother-in-law work very hard and are generous people. They've earned the excitement that surrounds picking out their future homes and will undoubtedly make all who enter feel warm and welcomed.

There was something sour though, about returning to our humble abode after touring such big beautiful houses. It wasn't quite jealousy, because I feel genuine happiness for my family members. It was more a mixture of self doubt combined with a laser beam focus on all of the things that I'd like to change about our home.

I'd love to say that this was a fleeting feeling, but that would be a lie. So, the quote below is just as much of a reminder for myself as I hope it will be for you.

Sometimes (read most of the time) we don't have everything that we desire. I'm making an effort to remember that pining over high ceilings and hard wood floors pales in comparison to what many others might have on their hearts and minds right now. 

When I try to look for the sweet, I notice that this home we've made for ourselves ain't so bad after all. The living room has really gorgeous morning light and there's a big ol' bathtub for me to soak away all of my troubles. 

In reality, our house was once something we could have only dreamed of. The best part, we made our house into a home together.





Do you ever struggle with comparing yourself to others? 

What helps you snap out of it and become more aware of the sweet stuff in your life?



February 14, 2013

Love is Sweet

This Valentine's Day, I'm celebrating love in all of its forms. After all, Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love. One of the greatest loves of my life is watching my mom as a grandma, or "Gigi" as Addie (my niece) calls her. 

I stopped over to my parent's house the other day from a client meeting and happened to have my camera on me. My mom was watching Addie and Ellie and had planned to bake valentine cupcakes with Addie. I loved capturing such a sweet moment. 

I picture Addie one day as a grandmother, showing her own grand kids these photos of her special time with her Gigi.


Just in case you think this scene looks a little too perfect... Fast forward 20 minutes:

Addie spills a full drink on herself, strips naked and refuses to put clothes on, Ellie projectile vomits down the front of my dress (in my cleavage - if I'm being honest) and the cat decides to take a cue from Ellie and pukes on my mom's new couch. Oh, the life of a Gigi.

February 13, 2013

B. Mae Photo

Well, the big day has arrived! A lot of hard work and support from friends and family have led me to start my own photography business. Above all else, the launch of B. Mae Photo represents a giant leap toward pursuing my passion of photography.

I still have a lot to learn but I'm no longer letting fear or doubt paralyze me from taking the next step. The quote below has been such an inspiration in moving me towards my goal.


If you've been holding yourself back from something that you think will make you happy, make today the day that you take that first step.

I draw so much courage and inspiration from my three nieces -- Madelynn, Adelaide and Eleanor. That's why I chose to include them in my business name. They put the M-A-E in Mae.



I hope that you'll check out my site and connect with B. Mae Photo on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thank you for all of the continued support!
 


February 11, 2013

Koneman Family Vacay 2013


After dealing with an awful stomach bug, a trip away with family was a welcomed reprieve. We set sail out of Miami with the Koneman (my husband's) side of our family to the Bahamas. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, but the weather was gorgeous, food was delish (bread pudding for life) and I've never laughed so hard for 4 straight days. Ever.

Jake and I started off our trip just the two of us in Miami. I was still pretty sick our first day, but we made the most of it. We walked down Miami Beach and played tourists in South Beach.


Jake and I  lunched at Joe's Stone Crab (highly recommend) and stopped for Cuban food at a little hole in the wall, Puerto Sagua.


Our first stop on the cruise was Freeport. It wasn't my favorite destination but I definitely enjoyed the company of my brother-in-law, Zach and his wife, Jenna. We visited a few shops, had lunch together and I had a pina colada right out of a coconut.


Our next stop on the trip was Nassau. We took a bus tour with Jake's parents and Jenna that toured the town and took us to see Atlantis.


After the tour, Jake and I walked down the shore and visited Nassasu's fish fry, a series of seafood restaurants along the beach. Our favorite spot was Twin Brothers. We had conch chowder, conch salad, conch fritters (to die for) and cracked conch. If you find yourself in Nassau, Twin Brothers is a must try. 


Our final day was spent on a private island. We had BBQ and soaked up the sun. My brother-in-law, Adam, and I had a pretty epic photo shoot a la Zoolander on the beach. Check out the outtakes below for some of the hilarity.



Our last night was spent taking photos on the deck (the Titanic pose was a favorite) and one last big dinner with totally inappropriate conversation. We capped off the night with some Karaoke brought to you by Zach, J.J. and Mama Joyce.


Below is a blooper reel of sorts. We were "yolo-ing" all over the place (don't judge us for being a little late to the yolo party). My brother-in-law, Zach, sported a pretty rad fanny-pack and pirate hat for most of the trip. Both suited him well during his karaoke rendition of Jimmy Buffet's A Pirate Looks at Forty.


A big thank you goes out to Mom and Dad Koneman for  taking us all on such a wonderful trip that won't soon be forgotten!




February 10, 2013

Your Soul


I'm back from vacation! The sun and the sea did my body good and I'm feeling ready to tackle life.

I've got a big announcement to share with you all this week. It's something I've been working towards for a while now. I'm a little nervous, but mostly excited for the adventure ahead.

The quote above has always helped me to center myself. Even though I have loads of outside support, the real courage comes from within.

As a thank you for all of the encouragement click here for a free printable of the photo above.


February 1, 2013

Under the Weather



Writing this post from bed on my ipad. A pretty ugly stomach bug has been having its way with me for the past day and a half. One of the worst I've ever had. Trying to remind myself that this too shall pass and I'm looking to my yogi tea for some inspiration.

We are heading out of town on vacation soon, so I'm hoping that this doesn't find its way to my husband.

Seems like this has really been going around - so wash your hands and keep your distance from sickos like me.

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