Musings

A Clean Home is a Happy Home.

Hello, my dear friends! A happy Friday to you all. Perhaps this is a bit of wishful thinking, but it did feel like there was a slight autumn chill to the air today…Which has me thinking about how I’ve almost been writing on this blog for a whole year. That is so amazing! Perhaps I’ll do a post about what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging. I’ve enjoyed this yearlong adventure, and I can’t wait to continue on this journey!

Today’s blog I wanted to talk about the notion that a clean home is a happy home. I’ve written in previous blog posts that our homes needn’t be impeccable to be cozy and homey, and I still stand behind that. HOWEVER, I will say that a clean home makes for a happy home.

I write this blog post from my room that is a bit more messy than I’d care to say. And it’s making for a hectic mind. Too much stuff laying around has a way of making our minds reflect the state of our surroundings. I’ve always struggled a bit with being a messy person. It takes a very conscious effort for me to put things away instead of leaving them where I set them down. And the older I get, the harder I try to be a tidier person. And I will say that I have gotten quite a bit better at it, but there is certainly always room for improvement.

I’ve seen a sentiment floating around the internet that I absolutely adore. The idea that we need to begin thinking of cleaning in a brand new way. Instead of thinking of it as a chore and something we do NOT want to do, we think of it as an act of self care. The idea that we DESERVE to have a home that is clean. It seems like such a simple change, but it really has had quite a profound impact on the way that I view cleaning. And it’s really changed me, because as I write this, I’m compiling a list of all the things I’m excited to do around the house tomorrow.

For example, I’m excited to do my laundry tomorrow, because how wonderful is it that I have a washer and dryer to clean my clothes with? And how wonderful is it to have clean clothes?

As always, it’s the little things in life…

And on that note, my dear friends… I will sign off and wish you all sweet dreams, as this is another late night post.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

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Eco-friendly

I Made the Switch to Reusable K-Cups!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful, caffeinated Wednesday! Or if you are less  caffeine addicted than I am, I hope that you are having a wonderful Wednesday all the same!

I drink coffee every single day, one or two cups per day. Last summer I was able to ween myself off of drinking coffee, but here we are… there are certainly worse vices…

A vice related to my coffee drinking, but not a result of the actual act of coffee drinking… was using k-cups that WEREN’T REUSABLE. I had even tried to use a reusable k-cup! I bought one and everything, but it did not work! For whatever reason, it wasn’t compatible with my Keurig. And as guilty as I feel saying this… I just didn’t try to make it work or even buy a new one… until now.

Today is day one of using my reusable k-cup and I am NOT going back. I will say that it is a little bit more labor intensive, as you have to clean it out, but that’s really not a problem for me.

On the Midwest Mattie blog we are all about saving money AND saving the Earth. Making coffee at home is already better for your pocketbook and for the Earth, but if you are using a Keurig, I couldn’t recommend purchasing a reusable K-cup enough.

I’m trying to make changes in my lifestyle that are doable, and sustainable. It doesn’t do much good for us if we try to make too big of a change at once, and then ultimately give up because it was too much, too fast. And I understand the allure of going big or going home, but I think that going at a pace that works for us and will continue to work for us is the best way to go about change. And being HONEST with ourselves. Only we can know 100% if we are doing our best to be sustainable. People have different factors in their lives that may change their ability to make an assorted amount of change in their own lives.

Thinking about things that we do EVERY SINGLE DAY that we can change is important. Despite my best efforts, there are days when I get a coffee from a coffee shop and it’s in a plastic cup. And I always feel guilty when I do that, but it is not an every day thing. We will all make mistakes. We cannot be in complete control of our lives and our surroundings 100% of the time. We just can’t.  We have to do our honest best.

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

My Favorite Recipes

Bake with Me: Banana Bread

Hello, friends! A happy little Monday to you all! Although as I write this, it’s closer to Tuesday than Monday. Sometimes the day can get away from us, my friends… And as a result, this blog is going to be a bit of a short one.

I posted a link to a video I made a little while ago onto my Facebook page, but I never made it a blog post of its own. This isn’t a recipe of my own creation, so I will link the recipe right here!

I make this recipe ALL the time and get nothing but compliments when I do. I think that cooking and baking is such a wonderful way to express our loves for others, and what could be better than receiving a sweet treat from a loved one?

I don’t post very much onto my Youtube channel, but I think it’s a fun way to supplement some blog posts, or to capture memories. I’m certainly more of a writer than a cinematographer, but I enjoy it as a creative outlet all the same! I like to think of them as home movies! Home movies that you can watch from wherever you are! So yes, this is a bit of a self-promo. 😉

And so, I present to you, my friends, my SECOND Youtube video.

Thank you for reading/watching!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

 

 

 

Decorating

Decorating the Space Above my Counters.

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope that your weekend is off to a wonderful start! I spent the entirety of my day decorating and cleaning my kitchen. I wanted to do a whole blog post about decorating the kitchen, but then I thought it might be even more fun to do a blog post for each little project I do. Today’s project: the the space above the counters. We have such beautiful cabinets and SO MUCH space above them. It seemed a waste to NOT decorate it!

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A breakdown of the above picture…. 

  • The picture frame was originally black, and found at Merchandise Outlet. I painted it white today. I think I need to do another coat or two, because the black is still peeking through.
  • The flower postcard was from a small store in downtown Traverse City, that I cannot remember the name of.
  • The basket is one that I found from Goodwill!

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A breakdown of the above picture…. 

  • The little yellow candle was from Target.
  • The Grand Traverse box was found at Goodwill.
  • The vase (as are the ones featured in the other photos) were small little DIY’s. I took old salsa jars and painted them. And they look so nice!
  • The faux plant in the vase is from Jo-Ann Fabrics.
  • The bike was from Cracker Barrel, I believe. It was a gift, so I am not 100% sure.
  • And lastly, the tray behind the bike! Another Goodwill find!

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A breakdown of the above picture…. 

  • This ADORABLE picnic basket was found at an antique store.

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A breakdown of the above picture…. 

  • This little chalkboard was a graduation gift, so I’m not sure where it’s from. I painted on it today using the same white paint as the other crafts!
  • The little syrup dispenser was bought from Cracker Barrel.
  • And the cute little faux succulent was found at TJ Maxx!

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A breakdown of the above picture…. 

  • The faux ivy was found at Jo-Ann’s.
  • And this wooden box was another Goodwill find!

And that’s it, my friends! All of the things I used for decor were items that I already had! I love using items in a brand new way, it’s so satisfying! I’m so happy with how it turned out! I’m thinking I want to use this space to decorate for the holidays as well, so be on the lookout for this space come fall… I have some big dreams for it!!!

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

A Journey into Self-Love

Becoming Confident in our Intelligence.

Hello, friends! And a happy Friday to you each and every one of you! For today’s blog, I wanted to make an addition to our self-love journey series. And a very important one, I will say. Becoming confident in our intelligence. 

Nothing embarrasses me as much as being told that I’m wrong, or that I did something incorrectly, or if someone flat-out tells me I’m not smart. There are so many aspects of life that can make us feel self-conscious, and for me, intelligence has always been number one.

Not only that, but it’s been the hardest  one to overcome.

I took a literature theory class two semesters ago and felt horrible about myself for the duration of the semester. People were able to theorize Nietzsche with ease, and whenever I tried, I was met with, “Um, well, not quite”.  I was surrounded by an entire classroom of people that I found to be quite intellectually intimidating.

I remember spending Halloween night feverishly writing a theory paper, not understanding anything at all. Knowing I would do poorly on the paper, and cursing myself all the while for being stupid.

And it’s so much easier to say things after the fact, but at least now I can say that I know LOGICALLY I’m not stupid. It’s so much harder to acknowledge such things when in the thick of it. Feelings are all too good at clouding our logic.

When we feel extra down about ourselves, there are a few variables we can consider.

Have I reached out and asked for help? When you’re worried about feeling unintelligent, asking for help can be the hardest thing in the world. It’s something that I struggle with constantly. That being said, it is SO important.

Asking for help is a sign not only to ourselves, but to others, that we are committed to learning. It doesn’t even have to be in terms of a formal education. Asking questions about fixing a flat tire also shows a desire to learn, which should be admired.

There will be people in our lives that WILL be smarter than us. That is life. We’re not in competition with them, we’re in competition with our past selves. LEARN from those in your life who you deem to be more intelligent than you.

Am I  surrounding myself with people who are making me feel dumb? And I don’t mean hanging out with very intelligent people, I’m referring to people who are intentionally bringing you down. Hanging out with people who we deem smarter than us can be difficult, but ultimately, we can learn so much from them. Another thing to remind ourselves of is the fact that everyone has a different skill set. Theirs may just be different than yours. And that’s okay! If that is the case, it’s the perfect opportunity to educate each other. How wonderful is it that we live in a world where we can share knowledge?

I also believe it’s important to use our knowledge in a kind way. Too often, people will hold their knowledge over others heads, using it as a weapon. We should aim to teach others, instead of keeping it all to ourselves. Also, I must mention that teaching is one of the best ways we can learn. Which is a win-win for everyone.

We needn’t know everything about EVERYTHING, but we should work to be knowledgeable about things that interest us, things that will benefit us, AND things that will benefit those around us.

And as hard as it is, we must be kind to ourselves in our education pursuits. Learn at our own pace, ask questions when needed, and to never stop trying.

Thank you so much for reading, my lovely friends. I hope that your day is a wonderful one.

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

 

Engaged Life · OOTD

Head to Toe: My Engagement Pictures

Hello friends! Happy Monday to you all! Today’s blog I wanted to do a little something different. It’s sort of like an OOTD, but it’s more so a breakdown of what I wore/how I did my hair/makeup for my engagement pictures! I am by no means an expert in fashion, hair, or makeup, but I do thoroughly enjoy putting looks together.

I’ve said many a times that it is NOT necessary to buy an outfit for EVERY occasion, but I will admit that I did buy a new outfit for these pictures. My clothes don’t fit very well as of late, and I wanted to feel confident during these pictures, so I did buy them new. Had I not waited until the last second, (the day before), I probably would have tried to find them at a thrift store, but alas, I did not.

I did, however, incorporate some pieces that I already had, so I didn’t COMPLETELY go off the shopping deep-end.

And off we go!

Hair.

I am not confident in my hair-styling abilities whatsoever, so I just straightened my hair. I don’t know what straightener I use, I’ve had it for years and years. I can’t imagine straighteners work all that different from each other, so this one doesn’t matter so much!

Makeup.

 I chose a pretty natural and simple makeup look, pretty much the same as the look I describe in this blog post. The only difference being that I took the color, Cyprus Umber, from the Modern Renaissance palette on my lash line. I don’t like how eyeliner looks on me, especially black eyeliner, so I choose to do a more subtle look. I like taking a little brush like this, and do a thin line along my lases. It creates a look that is both subtle and slightly  dramatic. And the brown makes my green eyes POP. I think it’s important when taking engagement pictures to choose a makeup look that is very close to your day-to-day makeup, just elevated slightly. They’re pictures that you’ll have for the rest of your life! You want to still look like YOU. It’s definitely not a time to experiment with vastly different makeup looks, because some looks photograph better than others. If you do want to do a look that is very different from your regular look, I recommend trying it out ahead of time, and taking photos of yourself. That way you have an idea of what it will look like in your engagement pictures!

Accessories.

Necklace: Bobby bought me this necklace for Christmas, so I can’t find the exact one, but here is one that is similar. I think that a simple necklace is perfect for photos.  It makes you look just a little more put together quite effortlessly. I seldom take this necklace off, so I didn’t even really think about not wearing a necklace! It’s important to make sure that your necklace matches with the neckline of the shirt you’re wearing. Some necklaces look better with a neckline than others. Just something to be conscious of!

Here is one that is similar to mine!

Pearls: I’ve always adored the look of pearls. They are so timeless, and I think it’s important for engagement pictures to feel timeless. I hope one day to own a pair of real fancy-pants lady pearl earrings, but for now, I’m a-okay with the ones I have. I believe in quality over quantity, but something like earrings, I can’t seem to justify spending heaps of money on. I’m fine with a handful of well-chosen cheap earrings. I generally opt for earrings that are more dangly, but again, I wanted to make sure things looked timeless, so, pearl earring it was! Below I’ve listed the exact pearls I  bought, and then a similar, cheaper, pair from Amazon.

The set I bought.

And here’s a cheaper alternative, using my Amazon Affiliate link!

Watch: Again, I wanted to choose an accessory that I thought to be quite timeless. I think that a delicate watch can be so striking, especially a faux white leather one. I’m not normally a fan of gold, or even a rose gold, but I found this watch to be quite charming. I think that if it were to be a silver watch, (which is generally my favorite) the white wouldn’t stand out as much. I think that sticking with one accessory on the wrists is a good idea. The star of the show should be your engagement ring! Pick additional pieces that are beautiful and simplistic so as to not take away the spotlight from that beautiful ring on your finger!

The watch I bought.

And here’s a cheaper alternative, using my Amazon Affiliate link!

Fake Nails: Speaking of the spotlight being on our rings… Arguably one of the most important things for engagement pictures: THE NAILS!!! My nails are generally in some sort of disarray.  Whether it be from me picking at the skin surrounding them, ripping them off, or even my sad attempt at giving myself a manicure. I generally go for red nails, but I thought that with my outfit being blue and white,  the red would make me look better prepared for a fourth of July barbecue, and not engagement pictures. So instead, I went with a  mauve pink color. I didn’t want to mess with with the nail salon or painting my nails myself, so I bought this pair of fake nails. I am 100% sure that I put them on wrong,  but they look better than my plain nails would’ve! So, success! I also included a nail polish color that is similar, in case you wanted to get them done at a salon or do them yourself! Not everyone is as inept at nails as me! (Ha!)

The set I bought.

And here’s an alternative, if you want a similar look with no fake nails!

Shoes: The shoes I wore are about five years old, from Cracker Barrel. I couldn’t find the exact pair that I have, so here are some similar ones that are honestly even cuter!

Option One.

Option Two.

Clothing.

Shirt: As I stated earlier, I’ve recently put on some weight. As a result, I have very few clothes that fit me correctly. I want to be able to be comfortable in the clothing I wear, especially for such an important occasion as engagement photos. When I do purchase something, I like to find items that are useful for me now, and items that could be useful to be if I were to fluctuate in weight again. A white t-shirt is such a wonderful option to have, and can be so flattering on everyone. Phew, that’s a lot of talk for saying I bought a white t-shirt.

Here’s the one that I bought.

And here’s a cheaper alternative, using my Amazon Affiliate link!

Skirt: As I mentioned previously, I want to purchase clothing that will serve me for a long time to come. This skirt is perfect for that, because it’s a true wrap skirt, so it will fit my waist at many different sizes. I also find this silhouette to be so flattering. I knew that I wanted to have a more fitted top paired with a looser bottom because I find it looks the nicest on me, especially in pictures. It’s important to know what works for YOU. These pieces that work great for me may not work for you at all, but maybe they will! Which is why I wanted to list them!

Here’s the one that I bought.

And here’s a cheaper alternative, using my Amazon Affiliate link!

And that’s about it, folks! I’m pretty sure that’s a recap of everything that I did/wore for these pictures! This is a different blog than what I usually do, but I had a lot of fun with it! I am not a fashionista, a makeup artist, or a hair stylist, but I enjoy it all the same!

If you do choose to purchase any of the products I’ve listed from Amazon, I will make a profit from it (with no extra cost to you!), as I am an Amazon Affiliate! No pressure on you to purchase anything, just wanted to give some options! ❤

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

Musings

A Writer’s Worst Nightmare: Writer’s Block.

Hello, friends! Happy Friday to you! I hope that this weekend proves to be refreshing and relaxing.

I come to you, my friends, less prepared than normal. I have 10 drafts of posts that I want to write, but can’t seem to execute them as I’d like to. My perfectionism comes out in full force in my writing. I want to write these blogs as well as I can, but it sometimes puts me at a freeze .

I think of little snippets of stories, poems, or blog posts, but can only seem to get a little bit out. It’s miserable.

Then, the spiral happens — I become convinced that I’ll never write anything good ever again. Not only that, but I tell myself that I’ve never actually written anything good ever.

This feeling, I’m sure can be shared with anyone who has a creative soul. It’s quite troublesome imagining ourselves as fraudulent in the field(s) we feel comfortable and confident in.

And then, there are other days when we have heaps and heaps of ideas, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to create them all. Those are the most invigorating of days.

I am going to be speaking about writing, but you can, of course, apply it to whatever creative endeavor speaks to you.

I am of the opinion that one must write through the block.

Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t write about things you aren’t passionate about, not at all. I’ve found that if I continue to write, I will eventually find something I find interesting. Even if that thing is writing about not being able to write.

In all of my creative writing classes, we do exercises that help us open up our mind to writing.

One of them that I find to be most helpful is setting a timer for a couple of minutes and writing whatever comes to mind. Even if it’s utter nonsense. Sometimes, you’re so fixated on an issue in your life, you’re not able to write about anything else until you are able to mull it over in your head and/or on paper.

Another good exercise is to compile a list of some of your favorite words. Oftentimes this will fuel your brain and you’ll be able to write a poem/ story centered around those words.

Another thing that I find to be SUPER helpful is to find inspiration in different forms of media.

I’m heavily inspired through poetry, nature, and short stories.

I think that consuming art of any media will help you create.

We do not exist in a vacuum, our work benefits greatly when connected to our world.

It’s much too easy to become frustrated with ourselves when we’re unable to create as much as we’d like to, but it’s so important to KEEP GOING.

It’s true, you’ll never write anything good ever again… if you don’t continue to write.

You’ll make your own nightmare come true if you give up on your craft, and what a terrible thing it would be to deprive the world of your creativity!

Being a creative-type is difficult, because we can often find ourselves being much too hard on ourselves.

For me, comparing my writing to my peers’ is like shooting myself in the foot. 

It hurts nobody but myself, and it does NO GOOD. 

If available, go to readings. Little gets me as fired up for writing as hearing other people’s stories. When I go, I always bring a notebook so that I can write down my ideas.

Which brings me to one of the most important tips of all — WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEAS.

Otherwise, you WILL forget them. It doesn’t matter how great of an idea it is, you WILL forget them. 

I cringe to think of all the ideas that I’ve lost because I’ve failed to write them down. This is especially true for when we wake up in the middle of the night after having the most bizarre dream. You think to yourself, “How could I forget this? It’s so weird!” Trust me, you’ll forget.

Sometimes, sleepy time Mattie leaves notes for awake Mattie that are utter nonsense, but sometimes… they give me inspiration for something really wonderful.

(A bad night’s sleep can result in a really great work of art.)

Another writing tip I have is to write about what interests you. It doesn’t have to be life-changing, you just have to find it interesting.

I used to be far too caught up in having my writing feel BIG and IMPORTANT. It just led me to not write as often as I would’ve liked to. Not everything has to mean something, although when you’ve taken as many creative writing courses as I have, it’s hard to NOT find meaning in everything. 

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

A Journey into Self-Love

Healthy Living Through a Child’s Eyes.

Hello, friends! It is Friday! HOORAY! Some weeks just seem to take the longest of times, and for whatever reason, this week has felt that way. This is a post that has kind of been forming in my mind for awhile. I’ve realized that many people, myself included, do not spend as much time outside as we used to. The busy lives we live can make it somewhat difficult to do this. I began to think of this in relation to how we handle exercise. Two different events helped me come across a little epiphany.

Number one: an Easter round of Eenie Einie Over. A game which NOBODY seems to know about. Anyone outside of my family ever play it? I’ve looked it up online and it seems like more people call it Annie-Annie Over.  Anywho. It’s been a game that my cousins, brother, and I have always played when we get together. We played a round on Easter for the first time in years and years. We used to play this game for hours and I don’t remember getting half as winded as I was during Easter. As adults we don’t often do physical activity just for the fun of it. Our activity is calculated into calories, sets, and reps. Or our activity is planned within an inch of its lifeat 10:00, we’ll take a hike, but I have to be back at 1:00 so I can do this and this and this. Which may be a slight exaggeration, but honestly, it’s pretty true to life.

Playing Eenie Einie Over made me realize a couple of things.

The first being how out of shape I am. YIKES.

The second being that I miss playing outside like I used to. It’s fun to be outside and to exercise. To make the conscious decision to allow ourselves to channel our inner-child and be silly and explore the world around us.

We often view exercise as a punishment for not looking the way that we want to, instead of it being fun and allowing us to be thankful for all our body can do. Everyone has different abilities, so what we’re thankful for WILL differ person to person.

I know that many people will disagree with me on this, but I don’t think the gym is the best place or way to become fit. I think that it can be utilized in a way that makes it quite beneficial, but I also think there are many other ways to get exercise.

Number two: On Wednesday, Bobby really wanted to play basketball, so we bought a basketball and went to the park. Something so simple, but we were able to get moving and have fun. Working out doesn’t have to be rigid. For me, I don’t ever want it to be. I know that there are some instances where it may need to be, but I just want to suggest that we start thinking like children again. When not busy, run outside and explore your surroundings. Revel in the world around you and what you’re able to do. Healthy living is so much more than what our bodies can or cannot do, it’s also about what’s going on inside.

Spending time outside allows us to care for ourselves physically and mentally. Walk trails, smell flowers, play a game or two.

Summer is (finally) coming and I’m so ready to take advantage of the beautiful weather. I get giddy when I think of all the hiking trips, camping adventures, and canoe rides I have in the future. Being able to exercise like a child, really allows us to regain a relationship with our mind, our bodies, and the world around us.

As a child, I loved being outside. I still do, but often I feel as though I need to plan out my time outside, but I don’t! And neither do you! Walk out your front door and ask your inner-child what they want to do.  Our hearts long to feel what they once did, we just have to listen to them. Sometimes when I get outside, I  just can’t help it — I want to skip, I want to twirl. Obviously, this is not always a possible thing, but listen to yourself! Really listen!

We have such an innate connection to the outdoors, we just can’t help it! I think that by listening to ourselves, we’re able to strengthen our relationships. If on a hike with yourself, you’ll be able to strengthen your relationship with your body, by giving it exercise. You’re able to strengthen your relationship with the Earth, by surrounding itself with its beauty. You’re able to strengthen your relationship with your heart. Listen to what it tells you. Oftentimes, we don’t let our heart speak with us, because it feels things that we may not want to focus on. Feelings aren’t always practical, which can be hard for us.

Spending time with others in nature is a great bonding experience as well. One that I don’t think you’d quite get if going to the gym. Have you ever tried having a conversation with someone while both being on the treadmill? Nearly impossible, haha! Being surrounded by beauty allows us to be more vulnerable with not only ourself, but others.

In conclusion: listen to the heart you had as a child. Allow them to explore the world, to learn, and to make relationships with others. It’s all too easy to ignore them, as the business of adult life grows louder and louder. Listen to your body, too. What does it need? Listen to yourself and be conscious of the splendor the world provides us. Sometimes, feeling small in the world is what we need. Not unimportant in the world, but just small. Our worries aren’t always life or death. A childlike perspective is sometimes all that we need.

I hope that you are having a great day! And a great weekend to boot!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

 

Musings · Uncategorized

The Art of Keeping a Cozy House.

Hello, friends! A happy Monday to you! I hope that you all had a lovely weekend! I definitely did. I was able to spend lots of time with my family, which I always love. Not to mention how BEAUTIFUL it was outside. Finally! Spring weather! Sundress season here I come!

I spent most of my Saturday at my Momma’s house, which got me to thinking about how cozy it is. How could I have forgotten that? How can I have a house that’s half as cozy?!

I have never wanted to live in a large home with expensive, white appliances and impractical white furniture. My heart skips a beat whenever I see old farm houses way out in the boonies. I love houses filled with antiques and well-loved furniture. Anything handmade or passed down from generation to generation, I adore. I understand that this is not everyone’s style and that some prefer a more polished and expensive home, but I am not one of those people. For us regular folk, it is also probably out of our price range. We shouldn’t feel ashamed about this, not at all. It’s not what makes a good home anyhow.

I’ll use my Momma’s home as an example, since my nest isn’t quite where I’d like to be yet. Especially right now. I’m trying to sell items I don’t have use for and in the process, I’ve kind of turned my apartment into a big ol’ mess. And let me remind y’all, it is far too small for a big ol’ mess. All part of the process, friends…

The flowers that I posted for the featured image are my mom’s. She bought them for $3.00 at Aldi, then put them in various clear jars and put them at both windows. It’s something that cost very little money, but made her home feel so much happier. It also kind of reminded me of one of my recent blog posts where I talk about little luxuries. My mother bought those flowers to brighten up the space and to give her just a little extra pep in her step. She only spent $3 on them and paired them with some jars that she already had. Not only is it the flowers that cozied up the place, but also the way she arranged them. Coziness goes hand in hand with ingenuity. It’s doing something unique with items, repurposing them when needing a bit of change. I took some inspiration from her and picked some daffodils that grow outside my church and put them on my windowsill. My aunt lent me a beautiful white vase to put them in and it pairs so nicely with the bright yellow of the daffodils. Just that little added something makes a home feel much cozier.

Bobby and I went to Goodwill yesterday and scored BIG time. We’re trying to find home decor for when we end up moving to Traverse City. We were able to find so much wonderful stuff. I bought some wicker baskets, a little homemade cup, and some wooden crates from a winery in Traverse City, two of them! (I also bought a beautiful red and white polka dot skirt, and Bobby found 13 DVDS) and we spent less than $50 on all of that! I want to scream from the rooftops that it’s not about where you buy something or how much it costs that makes the item a treasure. I spent the remainder of the day giddy about my $3.00 wicker basket.

A cozy home is one where people feel comfortable. It is a tidy home, but it does not need to be spotless. It’s simply doing your best. Life gets busy sometimes and maybe laundry isn’t number one on your to-do list. That’s okay. It also doesn’t mean you have expensive furniture or a freakishly large TV, instead, it’s a place where everyone has a place to sit and a feeling of belonging.  Where everyone can relax and enjoy each other’s company. Play a board game, talk to each other, maybe even share a meal.

A cozy home is one where the host/hostess is friendly and makes their guests feel at home. You may not have the most expensive food or be the best cook, but let your guests know that they’re welcome to what you have. Offer them a coffee, a tea, or a glass of water. If they’re spending the night, let them know where the extra blankets are. Act as though you are happy that they’re there, do not act as though they’re a burden! The kindness you give, mixed with the coziness of the home can make for a wonderful time, for both you and your guests!

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in photos and lives we see online. We go to Pinterest for inspiration and instead we start feeling bad about our own home. We follow an Instagram account for DIY tutorials, but instead we feel bad about our skills. This is so harmful to us! We’re so lucky to have these resources, but we must remember that our homes do not need to be copies of what we see online. What’s the fun in that anyways? What makes a home beautiful is the people within it. It’s fun to decorate and create a cozy environment, but at the end of the day, what’s truly important is the time we spend with our loved ones, our home is just a place to make that possible.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

The Joy of Cooking for Others.

Hello, friends! We’ve made it! It’s Friday! I’m SO ready to put on some cozy clothes and relax. Maybe figure out what I want to cook for lunch. Speaking of lunch…

I was lucky enough in life to be born into a family of fantastic cooks. I’ve been fed so many delicious meals in my life. And gosh, homemade cooking certainly is filled to the brim with love. In my experience, the secret ingredient is always love. My family always jokes around, “The secret ingredient is love!” “Oh! That’s why it tastes so good!”.

In our hectic lives, it sure can be a challenge to find the gumption to make a meal from scratch. We typically will opt for something a little easier, a drive-thru or pizza delivery, or perhaps a frozen meal. And believe me, I have utilized all of those and with zest. Especially as a busy college student.

I’ve been making the biggest of efforts lately to make more food at home. As I said in my last blog post, I was making my first-ever homemade batch of banana bread. For those curious, it turned out wonderful. Bobby said it was one of the best pieces of banana bread he ever had! I’ll take it!

I absolutely love that I’ve been getting more into cooking lately. It’s so fun looking for different recipes online, utilizing cookbooks, and, my personal favorite, trying out family recipes. Bobby’s favorite is my Aunt Nonie’s white chicken chili. I kid around with him saying it’s the only reason he proposed to me, hehe.

To me, it’s so exciting being able to give someone a handmade dessert to make their life a little sweeter. Or maybe bring them a little container full of soup when they’re too busy to cook for themselves. It’s a way to nurture those you love. I love when I have days off to spend cooking and baking for Bobby and myself. He is a very gracious eater, he will tell me my cooking tastes good even though I know, 100%, that it is a little too burnt. Or when I overcook rice, he swears up and down that he likes when rice is crunchy. Isn’t he wonderful?

I have many fond memories of cooking and baking with my Aunt Nonie. We made brownies, cookies, goofballs, potpies, deviled eggs, and so much more. Yesterday, she stopped by to bring me some goofballs and I was able to give her some banana bread. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to be able to gift her something handmade, as she has done for me my entire life.

I feel like one can use cooking to fulfill each and every love language! Let me explain…

It is a gift you can give to your loved ones, making someone’s favorite meal shows that you listen to their likes and dislikes. People whose love language is receiving gifts, I think, like to know that people are listening to them. If they talk about how they hate the raisins in oatmeal cookies and you give them a batch, despite your best intentions, they probably won’t feel loved. BUT, if you make them a batch of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips instead, they will appreciate that you were not only listening to them, but also gifted them with something so thoughtful.

You can spend time together cooking, for those whose love language is quality time. Cooking can be done together, which is such a fun thing to do. Decorating cookies can be a fun and silly way to be in the kitchen, even if both parties aren’t very good at cooking.  Another way that you can spend time with each other is to eat the food together! You could have a little tea party with coffee and tea with some yummy sweets or cute little sandwiches. On a side note: why don’t we have more tea parties? All my practice as a little girl was for naught, I have been to ZERO tea parties as a young adult.

You can compliment each other on your cooking, for someone whose love language is words of affirmation. (Me! Me! Me!) Or if you’re cooking for someone else, you can compliment them by saying, “I know that you’ve been working so hard lately, I thought you might enjoy a home-cooked meal. You deserve it!” Or maybe even a nice little pasta dish with a cute note attached. Just showing them that not only were you thinking of them, but you were also appreciating them.

Some people’s love language is physical touch. Bringing someone a fresh batch of cookies with a hug can be a really powerful thing as well. I can’t think of anything cozier than a batch of cookies AND a nice hug! Sometimes life gets complicated, and something so simple can fix it, even for just a moment.

And for the one that fits the absolute best, acts of service! Cooking for someone is such a great idea if this is their love language. Cooking can be quite labor intensive and is certainly an amazing fit. Or, if you have a loved one who cooks for you, doing the dishes for them would be a great act of service to do as a thank you! Bobby does really well at doing the dishes if I make a big meal. Acts of service is Bobby’s love language. I find it so cute, because making a dish for us is like saying, “I love you!” and when he does the dishes, it’s like him saying, “I love you, too!”.

There are so many wonderful ways we can tell each other that we love one another, but today I wanted to focus on cooking. I’m such a sensitive and sentimental person that writing this blog post has made my little heart ache with all the love I have for those close to me! I’m thankful for all the new ways I’m learning to show people my love, and cooking is my new favorite!

Have a great day!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae