Nourish by Elaine GriffinThe theme of this months NaBloPoMo is Nourish. As an aspiring food blogger you would think my mind would have immediately thought this would be a perfect opportunity to blog about food.

Interestingly, my first thought when I read the word Nourish was how to nourish my soul.

What nourishes my soul?

My little dude who is sleeping soundly in his bed.

My little girl who is balled up on my lap making it hard to type.

Good food, that I will gladly cook myself.

Good wine.

The company of all the family and friends in my life that I love and respect, who’s presence just makes it all better.

I have all of these things, much of the time.

There is one thing missing, though, and it is my desire to have all of these things at the beach.

Sure, I live in the beautiful Finger Lakes, with no shortage of lakes, sandy beaches, and waterfalls. But I long for the ocean. The smell. The sound of crashing waves. Pelicans. Dolphins. Warmth.


What nourishes your soul?

Photo Credit: Katarina 2353 via Compfight cc

Social Media Has Blurred the Lines Between Personal and Professional

social media gearsIt is no secret that I have been essentially unable to keep up with both a personal and professional blog. I just don’t feel like I have a lot to say on The Laine List. My readers are losing interest, because I am too.

I think about the work I have done to create my brand. I’ve never been totally comfortable with having two online identities, but I wanted to establish trust and credibility in my work. Along the line, though, between cross-posting on blogging networks, and increased presence in social media, the boundary between the personal and professional has become elastic, and it seems unnecessary. Joining Pinterest and Instagram has been the tipping point for me. Everything I do, and everything I like is already out there. Anyone can find out whatever they want to about me.

From a professional standpoint, I want to focus more on creating my personal brand.

From a personal standpoint, I just want to be me. I want people to know *me.*

Another factor here, which when I began blogging, I didn’t think would be an issue, is I finally feel like I know how I want to focus my writing. Or, in bloggy terms, what my niche is. Of course I will continue to write about WordPress, social media, etc. The personal component I would like to add is working at home, and making it work. This is something that I think about and do every day, and I know there are others, readers of the EGD blog included, who are interested in learning about how to make it work for them. So, the personal meets the professional.

I do also want to talk about my Roller Derby adventures, and I think is another area where the personal can meet the professional. I discuss personal strength and confidence when I write those posts, and how is that not business related?

I anticipate wanting to write some of the more deeply personal posts at some point. I think those posts will be posted on blogging networks, but honestly at this point, I’m not sure I have it in me to write the deeply personal anytime soon.

I will not shut down The Laine List. It will remain, and the posts will remain, and maybe I will want to write something deeply personal and post it here. I will always have the option of coming back.

This idea is in its infancy, and this is really kind of a brain dump. I’m not ready to take this risk yet, but I’m seriously considering it.

What do you think? Is this a risk worth taking?


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Great Risks and Great Rewards

NaBloPoMo March 2013Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is, “Do you believe the saying that with great risks come great rewards?”

I think this is terribly cliche. I also think it is terribly true.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my life did not really start happening until I started taking risks, and putting myself out there. It’s difficult to do, though, especially if you don’t feel confident, or if you are afraid of hearing someone say, “NO.”

When you take a risk, you are opening yourself up to gaining a reward, but it’s how we perceive the reward that is the key. Perhaps the reward is something tangible, like gaining a new client, or meeting new friend. How about the intangibles, though? Maybe the reward is in the gaining of confidence, or the acceptance of hearing the word, “NO.”

What do you think? Do you think great rewards come with great risks?

How Do I Make My House a Home?


Bedroom (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Do you love your house?

I have a love/hate relationship with my house.

I love it because at least we have it. And I hate it because, well, it’s not what I want, or where I want to be.

My husband and I bought this house a few months before we got married. It has three very small bedrooms and one bath. It’s a 1950’s “bungalow.” My husband was in love with the house before we even looked at it. The idea of a bungalow was irresistible to him. Great marketing, right? I was never really that convinced of my love for the house, but I did love the ceiling fan in what was staged as the living room, so I agreed.

It didn’t seem like a big deal to me to not love the house. This was not supposed to be our forever home. We had planned to sell this house before our first child went to kindergarten. But then the economy happened. And the housing crisis, and we have our own financial struggles, so we stay here, in this super cramped house, for fear that we might not qualify for another loan.

Every day our 1950’s bungalow looks more and more like it has been rode hard and put away wet. Sometimes I feel like the house is crumbling around us, and truth be told, I feel embarrassed by it.

There are cracks in a couple of the walls. There are doorknob-sized holes in the walls where doors have been slammed into them. The poor-quality door jams are loose from improper installation, 60 years of wear and tear, and the occasional slam. The paint is chipping. Our bathroom needs a complete overhaul. Our bedrooms are way too small, and we don’t even have a closet in our room. In fact, our entire house has three functional closets. THREE! Our finished basement is wet and moldy. My office is in our dining area. I don’t even want to talk about the appliances. The garage roof leaks and the whole thing just needs to be burned down. For real. I have a hard time keeping up with the gardens, so they like an overgrown wasteland.

I’m not much of a decorator. I have decorations, and pictures, but they are not displayed, because I keep thinking it’s pointless when we need to paint – again, and try to put the house on the market.

How do people make this shit happen, because I feel stuck. I know all of the problems with this house are fixable. But where do we find the time and the money? Do we really want to take care of them, or do we cut our losses and run?

In the meantime, how do I OWN this house, and not feel embarrassed by it? How do I make this house a home?


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Election Day Traditions

I voted sticker

Do you have any election day traditions?

Depending on what area of the country you live in, there may be different community gatherings to celebrate such an exciting day.

Perhaps you go to a pancake breakfast.

Maybe you go to a spaghetti dinner.

President Obama plays basketball in Chicago.

Candidate Romney…well, I don’t know, he hasn’t released that information yet. I’m sure his plan includes five points, though. Kidding! But seriously, does anyone know what he is doing? I was unable to find info when I wrote this post.

Tradition in my family has always been to go together to the polling place to vote together as a family. I remember pulling the thud of the curtain as I pulled the handle. Carefully reviewing the candidates and on what lines we would vote. My mother letting me help her press the levers in the voting machine. The thud as we once again pulled the curtain handle. The ding letting us know our votes had been cast. A wrinkled, smiling volunteer waiting with an “I Voted” sticker. What excitement! I’m getting choked up just at the thought of it. What can I say, I have inappropriate emotional responses!

I’m sure this tradition has contributed to my love of voting, and downright indignation of people who do not exercise their precious right.

We carry on this tradition in our home now, with our children, even if the way we vote has changed. All I can do is hope these kids will recall their lifetime of voting with fondness and a sense of responsibility. For themselves, their families, community, and country.

So today we will vote, and Ben will help fill in the circles. And then we will come home to eat an all-American meal of burgers, fries, and lettuce wedges.

Happy Election Day! Do you take your kids to vote with you?

Printable Planning Tools!

Oh my gosh you guys I totally skipped NaBloPoMo yesterday. I got so caught up in my constant quest for organization and football that it skipped my mind. BUT, the good news is I have some new printables that I’m super stoked about! And so I’m more organized today than I was yesterday. Word.
If you want some, you can click on the images below to bring up the PDF. Some are for those of us trying to balance work and home in one place, and are interchangeable. Yay!

They Look Like This:

Spring Theme Personal and business all-in-one printable planning sheet from Elaine Griffin Designsblue printable planning sheet from Elaine Griffin Designs

If you would like more color options, just click here to go to the new Printable Planning and Organizing page!

If You Could Live Anywhere…

Yesterday’s NaBloPoMo prompt was “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?”

This is something I have given a lot of thought to lately. Honestly, I’m very unhappy where I am. I try to make the most of my circumstances and find something to be grateful for every day. But our house needs work, and we have no money to do it. It’s too small for us. There is no closet space. My office is the dining room table. These things are manageable, but when you are in the middle of it all day, every day, it gets old. Depressing. Overwhelming.
And while I do have family that lives close – in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces, my own parents and sisters live a two day drive away. And I miss them. Terribly. Every day that my children learn or do something new, or every time people who live close say they don’t see us enough is a heart wrenching reminder that my family gets to see us twice a year at best.

A couple of years ago we took a vacation to central Virginia. I loved it! I used to live in North Carolina and I hated it. Too many pine trees, and not enough fall color. But the mountains of Virginia are amazing, and it is relatively close to the beach. I have always wanted to live at the beach.

More importantly it is a one day drive to Upstate NY, and a one day drive to Georgia. A good happy medium, I think, with the opportunity to see both of our families more often. And the opportunity for more happiness and less heartbreak.

Autumn leaf color

Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)

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If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter

Even though we technically still have several more weeks of autumn, Halloween and the end of October mark the end of autumn, and the beginning of winter for me. Maybe it’s because here in the Northeast snow can come as early as Halloween night. We did not get that snow this year, but we did get rain. It’s still raining, in fact, and there is talk of snow on the way. The leaves are all gone, and it is dark and grey, so snow would be a welcome bright shininess around here.

In honor of my personal end to autumn, here are some of my favorite shots from the season.

Fall Instagram/PicMonkey Images from The Laine List

When does winter start for you?

NaBloPoMo: Let’s Do This

BlogHer NaBloPoMo badgeDo you guys remember when I participated in NaBloPoMo last year? For those who don’t and have no idea what I’m talking about, go visit the NaBloPoMo site on BlogHer. In short, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is a challenge to write. One post a day for the month; it helps get the creative juices flowing, and it’s a darn good way to build your community of blogging contacts (friends) because not only are you encouraged to write, but you are encouraged to read other NaBloPoMo posts.

Last year when I participated, I had just started blogging, and was just starting to get comfortable and cozy at BlogHer It was a crazy hard month, and I thought I might go insane. But I lived. I wrote. I felt good about it. And, I met some of my best blogging friends. I heart them.

Until today, I was really undecided about participating this year. Things are crazy. But aren’t they always? Plus, this year, I know what to expect. I know that not every post has to be EPIC. I could post an Instagram picture and write a couple of sentences. I could just write a couple of sentences. It’s all good.

So, I’m doing it. And, I’m also going to NaBloPoMo over on Elaine Griffin Designs. I need the creative jump start. I hope you will join me and enjoy my insanity!

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Taxidermy, pink hearts, nose warmers, gator-feet, vampire slaying, and the zombie apocalypse on Etsy

Halloween Zombies by Elaine Griffin Designs

Yeah, we were zombies for Halloween!!

As I start writing this, I’ve been up since 11:30 pm because of the baby. It’s 3:00 am and she has more energy than I don’t even know what right now. What.the.hell. We’ve watched Dora. Lots and lots of Dora. If that isn’t enough to make anyone madd under normal circumstances, I don’t know what is.

I would not have indulged in Grey’s Anatomy and gone to bed at the late hour of 10:00 had I known what was in store for me.

I tell you all this just to give you a sense of where I’m at.

Which is why I’m cruising the interwebz while the baby empties the tv cabinet of DVD’s and generally destroys our living room. I give up. I don’t have it in me tonight. This morning. Whatever.

I never get to surf the interwebz just for fun and entertainment anyway. So thank you, baby, for seeing that I really needed this time. And what’s more, I’m going to bring you the top five most radical things I find on Etsy! Plus a bonus at the end for those of you bracing for the zombie apocalypse! You’re so welcome!

Did you know taxidermy existed on Etsy? Sheep brain. Fetal pig. Bats. No words.

I’m all about supporting artists and small business. Believe me. I am one. But let me give you a little advice, people. If you want paper punches, go to your local craft or fabric store, buy some cardstock and some punches, and punch to your hearts delight. It doesn’t take any kind of skill at all.

It never occurred to me that teens/tweens/women needed crocheted nose warmers. Why didn’t I realize this? DUH.

Gator foot back scratcher! Why the hell not!?


For all of you prepping for the zombie apocolypse, I’m going to keep my eyes open for a zombie slaying kit for you. No probs. Until then, here you go, a print of zombie rules.

Oh yeah, happy Friday the 13th!