Good Morning and Happy Monday! If ever there was a Monday to check in on the Sunnysideup, today is THE day. You know why? Because I made a video for your Amusement (that's amusement with a capital "A").
I've been diligently participating in an e-course called Blogging Your Way
which has got me thinking of all sorts of creative ways to enhance my blog. One of the suggestions was to add video of myself, allowing others to get to know me in a more personal, interactive way. Of course, the part where I publicly embarrass myself was completely my idea. You're welcome.
Enjoy the video!
I woke up early this morning to bake a pie
. It was cool and quiet and I was feeling nostalgic for the days when I had not a care in the world, a time when schedules didn't matter and fun felt like it would never end. I was catching up on my Spotify
and this song came up. I can't tell if it was the song or feeling that came first. Either way, when I heard it, I wanted to run as fast as I can, no destination in mind, holding the hand of someone I love.
Music is funny that way. I can feel carefree for a moment, even when I'm just standing in the middle of my small kitchen. I love that, small things like a song and a feeling.
Have an amazing weekend! Enjoy!
Last Christmas I discovered chalkboard paint. A friend of mine brought some to me during a particularly low time in my life. I used it then to smear positive sayings and inspirational quotes all over my walls while I revamped my home for brighter days.
Lately, though, I've been focused on nurturing my creativity and a burgeoning desire to nest. I've also been obsessing over navajo prints
I recently bought a vintage sweater with a navajo-inspired pattern, my favorite pair of sunglasses bear a similar look.
Then, of course, I got the idea to smatter my obsession all over my walls. The beauty of chalkboard paint is that I can entertain my whims because I never have to commit. I could chalk obscenities all over my walls, write a love letter, let my friends ' children doodle, it doesn't matter. It all wipes off to a blank canvas in no time. Genius!
I printed out a few patterns from items I found online and then got to doodling. I'm not the best at drawing, but I can swing repetitive, geometric patterns while my Pandora blares in the background. Take a look...
Pardon the change in lighting for the following pictures. I had to take the last few photos at a different time of day.
Our dining nook
Danielle Hardy for Pixel Cloud via Etsy
Are you ready to take on the week? I found this motivational gem to be the perfect sentiment today.
This morning, I hit the ground running after an entire weekend hosting family and shopping for wedding dresses, a raging success, by the way. Life continues to speed forward and I am grateful for every last task and opportunity that shows up. Sometimes, though, I need a push, a little pep talk to help me get me in the right headspace for the week ahead.
So, I give you this image in hopes that it helps you do the same thing it did for me this morning, which was give me the "oomph" to look the week in the eye and show this Monday who's boss!
What will you do to make your week a raging success? What motivates you?
Well, well, well...looks like I found a new modern favorite. Mayer Hawthorne combines all the disco, jazzy, soulful, booty-funk influences into one lovely little sound that he calls his own. I am so down.
This song, in particular, is all about Motown and the ever important soul city, Detroit. Mayer himself says its meant to be a happy song about hope and you know I love me some happy hopefulness. Plus, this video shows what it truly means to D-A-N-C-E! So get up off a yo' feet and get down with Mayer Hawthorne. Happy Friday!
I'll be hanging with the family all weekend for wedding dress shopping adventures! So much fun up ahead. Stay tuned.
Fall weather begs the creation of something warm and comforting on the stovetop. We returned from our Florida trip to real deal fall weather complete with brassy colored leaves and a chill in the air. It seemed the perfect time to bust out one of my favorite soup recipes, Mixed Mushroom Chowder
, a 101 Cookbooks
staple of mine.
I first fell in love with the simplicity of this recipe, not to mention its budget-friendliness.
There's not much to it: mushrooms, onions, broth, a dash of tamari, sesame oil and whatever fresh herbs you might have on hand. I also liked the fact that the recipe called itself a chowder, yet there was no sign of cream or cheese. I'll take brothy warmth over creamy comfort any day.
It's simple. Ingredients & Recipe (slightly adapted from101 cook books)4 tablespoons olive oil1 pound of mushrooms, your choice. I used creminis. Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper1 medium yellow onion, finely diced1 medium red onion, finely diced 2 tablespoons tamari1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice6 cups broth, your choice. I chose a good tasting mushroom broth.1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oilFresh herbs, chopped
- Chop the mushroom and finely dice the onions.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat and then add the mushrooms. Cook until they release their liquid, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms, set aside. Add the onions withthe rest of the olive oil. Cook until translucent and then add two tablespoons of tamari. (The original recipe called for Nama Shoyu. I had tamari in the house. You may have soy sauce. It will all work just fine. )
- Then, add 6 cups of good-tasting broth and your grain. I chose to add mushroom broth and brown rice. The original recipe uses pearled barley. I use what I have on hand.
- Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat.
- Reintroduce the mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes.
- After that, add the sesame oil and stir into the soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings and add fresh herbs or a topping of your choice.
I am consistently amazed at how much flavor can come out of so few ingredients. We usually cook a big pot for the "week" and it typically last about two days. I've made this soup countless times since I discovered it. This is just one of my favorites for the fall/winter season. I'm also looking forward to making this one
soon. And this
What warms you up when it starts to get cold? I'm always up for new recipes so send them my way. Have a cozy day!
Taken with Instagram
Last week, the Mister and I returned from a week in Florida and our engagement photo shoot (squeal!). I was excited for alot of reasons, one because I'm really getting married, I mean, like, for real, real. Two, because we're actually getting married, these photos make it all official and stuff. And last but not least, we got to spend three hours with the lovely Cat Pennenga of Cat Pennenga Photography
Cat and I were neighbors in an artsy Sarasota neighborhood called Laurel Park years ago. She was dating a guy who later became her totally adorable husband (and sometimes superstar photo assistant) Greg, and I was, well, I was a hot single mess for a good while.
Cat lived above me in her little love nest and later moved out with her new husband. I subsequently met the Mister and we moved into Cat and Greg's love nest and voila!
Laurel Park Love Magic. Seriously, that apartment is a love factory- it churns out some of the best and brightest couples.
As soon as we announced our engagement, Cat asked to shoot us and I instantly agreed. I couldn't think of a better person to do it. We had so much fun! Cat came bearing props and heaps of cute ideas and I had a shirt that became the sensation of the photo shoot. It was, in Cat's words, love overload. Here's a sneak peek! P.S.-
There's more pictures of the shoot and the fabulous tea party scene on Cat's blog here
Our old address, 1702 (and a half) Laurel Street
So. Much. Fun! I can't get enough of them, really, and am so excited for the rest of the shots. I could look at these a million billion times over. Love them. Thank you, Cat!
Woodburn Art by Becky Murphy via Etsy
Whew! It has been a whirlwind weekend since returning from Florida and I've been spending most of the day running errands (our fridge was completely, 100% bare) and settling back into my daily routine.
Despite playing catch up, I began this Monday feeling inspired to do some good thanks to an inspiring day at TedxCharlotte
this past Saturday. I had the privilege of listening to talks by people who have done amazing work and have successfully created change in the world around them. Dream-makers and risk takers.
Each speaker had the following in common: they all had the courage to realize their dreams and took incredible risks to get there. The speakers that resonated the most with me possessed an innate desire to connect with humanity. Yes, I totally had a "man in the mirror" moment.
Actor J.D. Lewis
shared his amazing journey and project, Twelve in Twelve,
which takes him and his sons to twelve countries in twelve months on all seven continents for important humanitarian work. David Johnson
of Silent Images
shared his incredible story of how he gives hope a voice through his photography. Rebekah Fergusson
, documentary filmmaker shared her experiences while filming Pelada
, a documentary about street soccer that spans the globe from the slums of Argentina to prisons in Pakistan.
My takeaway from the conference came in the form of a question posed by Rebekah Fergusson: "What do you do in your daily life to reach across barriers and connect with others?"
I left the conference asking myself this question and wanting to do more. So often, it is easy to stay safe and not reach out to those different from me. It is easy to say "I could never do what they [the speakers] did" or "My efforts are too small to matter", but that is simply not true.
Every action I take to connect with another human being matters. There are people in my community who need help right now, there are opportunities daily to make a difference. What am I going to do today
to make that happen?
That question resonated with me. It serves as a motivational launchpad, encouraging me to look for opportunities to take action in my small corner of the world. You can do that too. We all can do it.
Feeling inspired yet? I'd love to hear what inspires you and what you do each day to make a difference.
Holler back with your happy thoughts and feelings. Peace, Love, Ted.
Here's a few more links for your clicking pleasure...
I'm loving this local project
by David Johnson called Silent Heroes. I'm totally on board with this one.
Wouldn't be an inspirational post without this song
Check out the TedxCharlotte website
for more inspiring presenters.
Get inspired by a plethora of Ted Talks here
Greetings from sunny Sarasota! The Mister and I spent the weekend in Orlando for the awesome wedding of a friend of mine. It was all love and celebration and the love goes on this morning.
Three years ago, today, the Mister and I had our very first date in a cafe in Sarasota, Florida. I met a nervous, awkward Mister for coffee one balmy October evening. He had been out of the dating game for a while and I was a few months out from a break up. We drank coffee and talked, mainly about his nervousness. I assured him there was nothing to be nervous about since I was certainly not interested in any type of relationship. I was much too "busy".
We sat and talked at the cafe until it closed and we were politely asked to leave. Not quite ready to quit the conversation, we walked to the marina park. It was nice. Across the water, a band played. Beneath the moon, in a bold flash, the Mister grabbed my hand and began to dance. Surprised at the spontaneity, I obliged. We danced and giggled and I politely kept his hands in "first date" territory. He was still nervous and unsure of himself, but something came over him and he took a risk. It was sweet and honest. I was intrigued. Something special happened that night.
Three years later, the Mister is my best friend and confidant. We still laugh alot and continue to grow together. I wouldn't trade our relationship for anything. We're getting our engagement pictures taken this Wednesday at the marina where we first danced. It's only fitting that we do it here, in Sarasota, where it all began.
So, this Monday Mantra is all about love, the one that continues over time and trials. The one that is unconditional and true. The love they call, "the one."
Happy Anniversary, Mister! I love you with my whole heart, every day, all the time, even when you're not looking.
"Abso- lutely not!" I shouted.
"There is no WAY I am living here! There isn’t any space for our stuff! And what the hell is this room?! It has NO purpose!
Cue full blown tantrum mode.
We were a day out from returning a lease on another house. The rental agreement was signed and the move-in date scheduled. The Mister had been out visiting a friend when a "For Rent" sign caught his eye. He came home and told me about a place he thought I should see.
According to the Mister, this place had “potential” and the rent was substantially lower. The nice lady across the street was the landlord. I could see the excitement in his eyes so, begrudgingly, I agreed to take a look. My heart, though, was already living inside the other house, the one with fresh ink on the agreement.
We drove down Walter Henderson road to a little brick house that sat back from the quiet road. We were greeted by a sweet, older black woman named Florence. Florence Flowers. Miss Florence had lived on Walter Henderson since she was a young girl in the house two doors down from where we stood. Miss Florence now lived across the street in the house with the well-manicured lawn. Her sisters still lived on the street too. Miss Lucy was to our right and Miss Jeanette lived adjacent to Miss Florence. There were big trees and chirping birds and, thankfully, no homeowners association. The driveway was quaint and covered with rocks.
I entered through the side entrance, a door that was attached to the kitchen from the carport. The first thing I noticed was the smell. From deep within the pores of the aged wooden cabinets and possibly from the house itself emerged a distinct smell of mothballs and cooking grease. The linoleum floors were embarassing and did little to belie the 1950’s origin of the home. To my left stood a washer and dryer. No laundry room, just a washer and dryer hanging out in the kitchen.
I continued into the next room, an empty, windowless square that served as the portal to the rest of the house. I've heard of all-purpose rooms, but this was a "no- purpose room.” Connected to it were doorways to the living room, single bathroom, bedroom and two additional rooms. An old light fixture above suggested the possibility of light.
But, I wondered, where was the dining room?
So far as I could see, there wasn't one and no logical place to put one. Where would we eat?
I peeked into the living room, trying to visualize furniture in the space, but kept getting distracted by the odd placement of the front door. It opened directly into the living room. There was no foyer or entryway. I began to picture guests entering our house like an interruption. I imagined the door swinging open and Person X awkwardly busting through, in Kramer-esque fashion, disturbing my home and most likely blocking my view of the television.
Then there was the space issue. There was none. The closets were impossibly small. The three available closets couldn't even fit my wardrobe, never mind the Mister's clothes and the rest of our stuff (and we had A LOT of stuff). I quickly glanced over the rooms, trying my best to be polite to the nice lady who seemed eager to fill the place. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I lost my shit.
"NO! No way am I going to live there!” I was beyond mad.
What ensued could only be categorized as one of the top three knockdown drag-out fights of our relationship. At the time, we were both overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear. Having moved from Florida five short months ago into a living situation we could no longer afford, we were facing our second move in less than six months. This certainly wasn't how we pictured our bold and adventurous out-of-state relocation. The Mister saw it as a financial relief. I saw it as an insult. How dare he!
After some impressive yelling and dramatic tears, I agreed to move into the little house on Walter Henderson road. Of course, I felt like the Mister owed me something since I was being “forced” into this hole of a house. I had no idea how we were going to make it work. It was so small and the layout so awkward. But we did.
On July 15, 2010, we packed up and moved.
Miss Florence allowed us to paint the interior of the home, an unusual luxury for renters. She let the Mister build a garden in the backyard and we moved in during the heat of the summer, hauling kitties and boxes and our entire garden including the soil. We lost a few cucumber plants in the transition, but mostly everything survived, including us.
Slowly, we took trips to the local home improvement store and found small space solutions for the house. Thanks to Ikea we have a dining nook in the "no-purpose room” and a kitchen floor that doesn’t embarrass me. The Mister built me a closet and a shed. We bought storage cabinets and the trademark stench of the place was arrested with Nag Champa and Voluspa candles.
Frankly, we happier than we have ever been. The little house on Walter Henderson road has become a home. Our home.
Consequently, just as fate arranged for us to fall in love with the little house on Walter Henderson road, it has intervened once again for our wedding. Our first (expensive) venue fell through and we were left without a place to get married. We did our due diligence and visited a few other venues with no luck and then, it hit me.
Directly across the street from us, Miss Florence had lush green grass, a perfect tree and to the well-trained and budget conscious eye, a blank canvas. I gathered the courage to ask Miss Florence and her sisters if we could host a wedding on their property. After some hefty inquisition and a few long discussions, they agreed. We’re getting married on October 13, just foure short months from now and each morning I wake up grateful knowing that this place, our home and wedding venue, somehow found us.
Yes, this must be the place.