Gratitude and Exhaustion

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

wedding, banner, decor, rustic, planning, sign, announcement, lovebirds, love birds, 2014, reception, venue, dress, gown, flowers, floral, bridal, bride, partyOh how I have missed you and the blog!!! It has been quite some time since I was last here, but as you probably surmised from my previous few posts, I became unbelievably busy with a couple little projects called WEDDINGS!  I actually held two wedding receptions, one on the east and one on the west coast.  As any girl who’s planned their wedding knows, ONE wedding is enough to exhaust you – let alone two. Continue reading

I Am A Narciso-sist

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!!

Many years ago, I became friends with a gorgeous Spanish-via-London femme. Her free spirit made it easy to feel so comfortable with her despite her Queen’s English accent. To put it plainly, she’s one classy broad!!

She introduced me to the loveliness known as Continue reading

What A Difference A Year Makes

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!!!!!

I’m baaaaaa-aaaack!!! I couldn’t stay away forever. I did lose about an entire year of having the time or energy to blog, but let’s just get back up and keep going as the saying goes, right?

So much has happened in the last twelve months, from good to bad to ugly and back to amazing and incredible and beautiful. C’est la vie, non? Continue reading

~ La Présente ~ Milestones.

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

I hope you had a beautiful and restful weekend!  And for those dealing with the recent crazy and violent weather, I do hope you and your family remained safe and sound.

Today marks a milestone.  Five years ago today, I met a very special person: my best friend, my confidante, the person who makes me better myself, motivates and inspires me, and makes me look forward to the next day.

When we first met, we talked about our world travels, and our love of buffalo wings, beer etc (not necessarily together).  His quiet charm, humble intellect and downright silly side, not to mention his knowledge of 90s rap, wasn’t intriguing – it was downright amazing.  And perfect.  Perfect for me.

happy anniversary, life partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, love

here’s to many more of our milestones…

It is unbelievable to see how fast five years goes by.  But I can’t wait to whiz through another five years with him, and reach more new milestones together.

Have a wonderful week, mes beaux amis!

♥ – LBH

Celebrating Mom

Bonjour, mes bons amis et tout les belles mères!!!

Today happens once a calendar year but we should all celebrate our moms, including our figurative mother-figures as well, everyday – mais bien sur!

MomnBex_sepia

my Mom taught me more than I could ever know.

I certainly hope you enjoy your day today, with your moms, from afar, or in memory.  And as you do so, try to remember the best advice your mom ever gave you, or your mom’s best characteristic or talent.  My mom was blessed with the gift of being a fantastic cook, and she loved to entertain people at our house often.  Her warmth, joyful spirit and hospitality are all features that I strive to emulate in my life, surrounding myself everyday with family and friends, laughter and love as often as possible.

my Mom taught me that the simple things are the most important things.

my Mom taught me that the simple things are the most important things.

my Mom taught me warmth and friendship

my Mom taught me warmth and friendship

my Mom taught me joie de vivre.

my Mom taught me joie de vivre.

There is nothing like that tender and heart-warming feeling when seeing old pictures of your family, but especially your mom.  What are you doing today to celebrate your mom?  What are  your favorite memories of your mom?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day today and everyday!

♥ – LBH

~ La Présente ~ For Mom

Bonjour, mes bons amis!!

My parents left a box of old photos so that I could eventually digitize all of the pictures. And as I sat at my laptop this evening to write a post with gift ideas for Mom, I remembered that box. Before I knew it, I had spent over two hours looking at hundreds of pictures, trying to remember events and dates, laughing at the memories I could recall, and holding back a tear or two. Or three.

Photographs are against some religions because of the superstition that cameras or photos steal a soul (or something like that). While I respect the belief, I also feel that this means truly missing one of the best ways to keep family and friends close to your heart, no matter their distance. My mom lives 2500 miles away, and yet in the last two hours of seeing her face through the years, the vacations, the family reunions… I was immediately reminded that my mom is always close.

I couldn’t help share a few of my favorites. There really is nothing like a mother’s love…

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms never stop caring for us, no matter our age.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms show us what tenderness and love means.

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms are our SUPERWOMEN!

mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love

our Moms’ happiness is our own happiness.

  • It’s not too late to make some amazing DIY gifts for your mom!
  • Your gift doesn’t have to be crafty – whip up something delicious and easy in the kitchen!
  • Give your mom the gift of time: hire a local maid service while you take her out of the house for a few hours.
  • If your mom loves movies and TV shows, set up Mom with a 6-month or 1-year Netflix service.
  • If your mom loves to cook, sign up and take a cooking class with her and learn to cook a few new exotic or ethnic dishes. Check Yelp for some local cooking classes in hers or your area.
  • THE FAIL-SAFE: Treat your mom to a brunch at home with some fun recipes like a Bacon, Egg and Toast Cup, or any of these other great simple recipes. (And clean up after, too!)mothers day, mom, mother, feeding ducks, tenderness, a mother's love, mothers day brunch recipes, martha stewart, brunch recipe, bacon egg toast

What are you doing for your Mom this Mother’s Day?

♥ – LBH

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A Mother’s Love

Bonjour!!

{kroketta)

If there is one important lesson I have learned in life, it is that family and friends are your biggest and most valuable treasures.  As precious as life is, you should appreciate them, for better or for worse, with their virtues and faults.  Today I was reminded of this again after I found out my mother was admitted to the hospital.  She assured me she was feeling much better and that she would be released by Saturday.

So today’s blog post is dedicated to my mother, who I love so very much and to whom I owe more than I even know.

{ there’s nothing like a mother’s love }

Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.  Be sure to tell your family and friends how much you love them this weekend.

LBH

Duly Noted…

Bonjour!!

In the blink of an eye, another week has passed faster than most of us can keep up.  But it has been a great week for me, and I’m ready for a great weekend to boot.

A little (okay, a LOT) of self-realization and lists this week:

country picni river bank shabby chic elegant dinner party

{loveliegreenie}

1.  as much as I love a big fast paced city, I always yearn for some country

houseplant house plants plant decor style

{plush palate}

2.  just like Plush Palate, I also think the best way to bring life and vim to any space is through plants and flowers!

frame mementos picture decor home idea

{everything fab}

3.  I could always decorate my walls with some wonderful mementos as opposed to pictures – new weekend project for me!!

chocolate lavender pie recipe dessert

{sunday suppers}

4.  I MUST make this chocolate lavender pie STAT…

bedroom makeover paint dark walls decor remodel color

{design*sponge}

5.  my bedroom needs a major facelift, like this one – another weekend project on the list!!

corner chair reading sitting decor design shabby chic

{weareohsopretty}

6.  speaking of bedroom, I MUST find a new sitting/reading chair for the corner.

beadboard wallpaper installation bathroom DIY decor design

{Centsational Girl}

7.  where can I find some beadboard wallpaper?

yoga pose stretch exercise calm relax flexible

{crushculdesac}

8.  I need to get back into a regular yoga routine.

eiffel tower paris travel europe vintage

{kroketta}

9.  thanks in part to my better half and my dear friend at The Scarborough Faire, I really do love the French.

romance intimate couple hands love loving embrace arms soulmate

{ignitelight}

10.  I can be a pain in the ass – for putting up with me, my better half deserves lots of my thanks and love.  I would be lost without him and his love.

This weekend will be a busy one: a surprise dinner for my better half because he deserves it ~ I’m continuing my 2012 Project Harmony ~ enjoying a “Thanksgiving in January” dinner party ~ hosting a small dinner party where I’ll be cooking my very first rib roast… Every day that I open the freezer and see it sitting their patiently, I start salivating like my dog!!!!

What great plans do you have for the weekend??  Be sure to do something positive for your community on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After all, we have much for which to thank him, and still much work to be done.

Have a wonderful weekend, bon ami!!

LBH

Looking Back, Pausing and Moving Forward to 2012

owl, wise owl, hibou
{tumblr: dontcallmebetty}

Bonjour!

I hope you are enjoying the holidays with many loved ones and friends! I have been a bit absent from LBH but this has given me so much to think about and ponder, and be so very thankful for the many blessings and people in my life. I have been so excited about creating La Belle Hibou as a new vehicle for me to connect with others and learn, share, and exchange ideas, perceptions, inspirations. So with this here last little post for 2011, I thought I would personally open up a bit more to my tiny audience and to anyone willing to read it, about my last 12 months.

2011 did not start out well. In January, a very close dear friend of mine unexpectedly passed away. I had spoken to her over the phone just weeks before, and losing her was one of the worst and most difficult challenges I have ever faced. Her passing also happened during one of the busiest times in my 9-5 life. I had been working literally about 100 hours per week since December for an enormous project – a project which came to a screeching halt the minute I got the news. And yet, her passing also brought many wonderful subsequent happenings. Mutual friendships became stronger, and we still turn to each other for comfort, laughter and support. Our friendships are closer because of our loss. In our loss, we have also gained. For this, I am so thankful and humbled.

wedding, southern wedding, Atlanta, place setting, wedding flowersI managed to get through that enormous project at work relatively unscathed, and lived to tell about it (no more 100+ hour work weeks!). Not long after the project closed, I was able to see another very close friend marry the love of her life. It was a beautiful occasion, and we cried and laughed and laughed and sang karaoke after the reception. She married during the early spring in the South, in a scene of trees blooming and cloudy skies breaking open. Such a happy occasion!

nicaragua, travel, central america, flowers, beach, monkey, jinotegaA month later, I was able to visit my semi-retired parents in their (temporary) home of Jinotega, Nicaragua. It was an amazing experience – the beautiful largely untouched land, the tumultuous political history and persevering people, the delicious coffee… the COFFEE!!! Obviously the cost of living is so much lower than the cost here in the U.S., so I’m so happy that my parents are happy. They deserve to enjoy their pseudo-childless lives now until they return to the U.S. And until that day comes, I have a reason for more Central American trips and passport stamps.

chicago, chicago bean, hollywood bowl, summer, pets, cat, dogThe summer passed too quickly – I spent a wonderful weekend in the windy city with friends, got to reunite with visiting friends, and had an infamously memorable weekend in Santa Barbara. A hard lesson was also learned: go to the doctor when you aren’t feeling well because home remedies aren’t always enough. I had a scare with a bladder infection that took a dangerous turn for the worst into a kidney infection. I know there have been just a few moments when I have feared for my life, and this was definitely one of them. Feeling terribly ill for nearly a week with a high fever, sweats, chills, repeat… Thankfully I recovered, LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY.

wedding, newborn, new parent, place setting, wedding decor, first dance, newlywed, life stagesThe end of summer and beginning of fall was truly the highlight of my year. A (future) sister-in-law’s wedding and spending time with (future) in-laws who make me laugh and smile and warm my heart kicked off my favorite season of the year. The wedding was followed by seven – yes, seven – baby showers of very dear friends. I finally acknowledged the universe’s message to me, and nodded in my understanding of this life stage. To see the first few newborns of said showers made my Babies-R-Us shopping sprees worth every cent. Holding the babies, hearing the ever so sweet and quiet noises they make while sleeping in my arms, taking more pictures than a paparazzo, hearing the stories about the long labors and pleasant epidurals… I am so blessed to be a witness to it all and be a part of it.

A couple weeks ago, after coming home from an amazing weekend in San Francisco with the one I love so much, I was brushing my teeth and preparing for bed when I began contemplating this blog post. Looking back on the year that began with a horrible loss, but is ending with beautiful new life, new beginnings. As much as I miss my dear friend ~ as stressed out as I was in 2011 ~ as many gray hairs that have popped up seemingly overnight on my head ~ as much as I did not accomplish this year that I intended to accomplish ~ it doesn’t matter.

look ahead, move forward, future, field of flowersIt’s time to prepare for another new beginning, new life events, new ups and downs, new inspirations, new discoveries of myself. It’s time to take each day one day at a time, and be grateful for the overabundance I have in my life. It’s time for me to pick up the phone and call (not text) family and friends, even if it’s just to say hi for a few minutes or share a funny story or thought. It’s time to make plans to have more people over to my home for a meal or a movie or a cocktail or a coffee more often than not. It’s time to give back to others whenever I can, no matter how little money I may have in my pocket. It’s time to smile to passersby whenever possible, and possibly get a smile in return, or not. It’s time to try to face each challenge, big and small, with a smile and with laughter and as much joy as possible, remembering that with each challenge my goal should be to better myself.

It’s time for 2012.

I thank you for reading my reflections, and I would love to hear yours!!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful end to 2011, and to an even better 2012!!

Bonne Année!!! Happy New Year!!!

La Belle Hibou