Well, look-ee here, folks- we've got a toddler on our hands! On March 1, The Sunnysideup celebrated two years in existence which is to say, decades long in blog years.
No, really, it's something to be proud of. I know so many people, myself included, that have started blogs with gusto and promise only to let them fizzle out in a matter of weeks or, conversely, update them once every turn of the century. Starting a blog is easy. Maintaining a blog is the challenge.
Now, this blog isn't perfect, mind you. It's not expertly budgeted out into a neat and tidy schedule. It doesn't have a crazy good readership. It's not winning awards or receiving national attention (or local attention, for that matter). I haven't made a penny nor have I been invited to travel the world to eat beautiful food and share my infinite wisdom with an adoring public. Although I am still (and always) available to do that if anyone needs me.
None of these things have happened, but I'll tell you what has occurred. Starting this blog has changed me.
When I began, I referred to the blog as an "exercise in happy living" although it was really more an act of courage than anything else. For so long, I flirted with countless ideas and plans, things that I was "going to do" that no sooner left my mouth and evaporated like cigarette smoke, spindling off into the air in well-intentioned curlicues, eventually disappearing into nothingness.
The truth is, I was afraid. I was afraid to start something that could possibly fail. I was afraid of what people would think or that they wouldn't think of it at all. I was afraid to put myself out there. I was afraid I wasn't good enough.
But, I decided to do it anyway and so, made a beginning
. I decided that I was going to start this blog for me and no one else. I would leave my expectations out of it and simply take action, baby steps, one post at a time. I began writing and posting. I started taking pictures. I took a stab at various columns and let myself post whatever it was that inspired me. I began to see the world differently and each time I pressed "publish" I became a little less afraid.
For an entire year, I allowed myself to freely explore the world I lived in without rules or limitations and after my first year
, I began to notice an affinity for the kitchen. I was cooking more. My camera contained an inordinate amount of food photos. I obsessed over beautiful food photography and developed crushes on food bloggers. I gardened. I grew vegetables. I discovered my passion!
Armed with that knowledge, I pursued adventures in the kitchen and started gobbling up food writing and food journalism wherever I could find it. I started reaching outside of the blog and pretty soon, things began to change. The Mister had to point it out one day, "Do you know that you're a writer?"
Some days, I can say "Yes, I am a writer" and some days I still don't see it. I still have days where I am less than inspired and it feels like creativity and humor have permanently left the building. And, yes, I still get afraid.
But this blog, this simple act of putting myself out there regardless of the outcome, post after doggone post has changed me in ways I could not have imagined. I found courage here and new parts of myself. I am grateful for these last two years and all that this blog has given to me. It has been an incredible gift and for those of you who have stopped by, thank you.
Life has a funny way of being in accordance with the seasons. As change sweeps over the trees in the form of golden leaves and copper hues, my life is taking on new color too. For one, I am a new wife.
But, as is typical of life, more than just my relationship status changed. After working in a restaurant for the last two and a half years, I got a new job. I. Got. A. New. Job. !!!!!!!!
It's not just any job either. It is one that suits me and the things I love most- local food, connecting with people, writing and creativity. More than that, I get my nights and weekends back. By far, the greatest gift.
For the last two years, I have lived on opposite schedules to that of my husband and friends. I have missed out on opportunities available only to those with free time in the evenings. I have had to squeeze a full day of tasks into half a day. I have had to endure rejection and loss. I have had to be patient and proactive. For all those things, I am so grateful because I can fully appreciate what has been given to me. No squandering here.
It's time to "Brang home that bacon!"
Last Friday, I attended the NODA All Arts Market
, a monthly market of local artists and vendors for the first time in a loooong time. The Mister and I, newly married and stoked for a "real" Friday night out strolled around wide-eyed with excitement. Now that we're all domesticated and stuff, we sought out some new pieces to hang on our walls.
Of course, there is food involved.
The bacon print is a hand-printed piece by Human Shaped Robot
, a one man screen-printing operation featuring pieces that "speaka" my language. Seriously, I say things like "Brang it!" all the time and how appropriately motivating for this new time in our lives.
The next piece we bought was this lovely sentiment captured on a wood block by Bethany Hadden of m.i.i studio
which stands for My Invisible Ink. There are two loves in my life, the Mister and big fat cups of coffee. This piece was obviously meant for me.
It's a new week, y'all. As far as I'm concerned, everything is new. Look out for new food posts and a few backlogged gems from our Denver trip plus our wedding projects for your viewing pleasure. Happy Monday!
via angliophile meets bibliophile on tumblr
I've always been a superb starter and somewhat wobbly finisher. I currently have about ten different notebooks, some filled with notes, ideas and musings. Others, barely opened and scribbled with incomprehensible scratch. I have another blog too. I started it five years ago and then it fizzled off, swallowed whole by the internet never to be seen again.
Then there was this blog which lived in my head for a good eight months. I toyed with it and twisted the concept like a rubik's cube, looking for the perfect space and time to launch. The courage came 365 days ago today.
The Sunnysideup is one year old and I am pleased as punch. Happy Blog-a-versary to me!
Am I famous yet? No.
Have I gotten rich? Not monetarily speaking.
Am I happy? You bet your ass!!
This blog has allowed me to discover a host of new creative pursuits and a whole community of people who inspire me daily. It has taught me to follow my heart and keep going no matter what.
Most of all, I have conquered a huge fear of mine by simply being willing to "put it out there". Launching the blog has freed me from the paralyzing fear championed by that insidious liar, the inner critic. You know, that voice that tells you that you can't do it. That other people won't like it. That you might as well not roll with that idea. That you should (eep!) give up. Yeah, that voice can piss off. I'm a year old now.
I have so much gratitude toward those I've met along the way. My buddy, Nikki Mueller
, who designed my blog header and helped a gal get started, inspired me with her bloggy skills and kind support. Oodles of gratitude go to the Blogging Your Way
e-course and the awesome encouragement from Holly Becker
and Leslie Shewring
, two ladies with so much experience and knowledge to share. Then there are the people, near and far, who connect with me on the blog and share the journey with me as readers or fellow bloggers. A journey is nothing without good company. Thank you all for being.
When I started
this thing, I was looking to pursue something creative. I wanted to write more. I wanted to commit to something. I wanted to nurture the sunny side of me and share it with whoever cared to stop by. I began with no expectations and set out to do the things that make me happy.
Luckily, I still feel that way, maybe even more so. I really can't wait to see what lies ahead. There is so much learning and living to be done. Shall we get on with it?
I love my Instagram app and so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I took on a photo-a-day challenge. It's a fun way to invoke a bit of creativity into your day and share it with all your digital cohorts. You, dear readers, are part of that and so I'll be sharing my photos here on a weekly basis to give you a peek into my everyday world as I see it.
It starts today with my view. I'll be at my desk most of today. I sit facing my backyard. What you see out the window is the shed that the Mister built with his bare hands when we first moved into our home. There wasn't enough room to contain our stuff. Thus, the shed. Then there's my ancient desktop, my blog editor and a sunflower from my birthday bouquet.
If you'd like to see all the participants of the challenge, head over to Fat Mum Slim
and check the links. If you're on Twitter, you can follow along with the hashtag #febphotoaday and if you care to join in, well, come on with it!
Let me know where I can find you by leaving your blog link or Instagram
username in the comments below.
Day 1: My view today
Photo by Ania Dudek
I love everything about a fresh start. I love the mornings (maybe a little too much). I love the New Year. I love starting over every week and flipping my desk calendar to begin a new month. I love wiping my whiteboard clean and penning a fresh to-do list. I love the crisp pages in a new journal and working on new projects. I love being the first to dip my knife into a fresh jar of peanut butter and I can think of nothing better than opening a new book. I love birthdays for this reason too. It's all of these things wrapped into one.
I wake up every birthday bursting at the seams with happiness. Apparently, my year starts twice. Once on the first of January and then again when I turn another year older, 25 days later. Obviously, moderation is not my thing. I rather like it that way.
Last year, I had one gigantic gift of a year. I entered a new decade, got engaged, started a blog and decided to follow my creative heart. This year is a continuation of that journey. Today, I am 31 and the possibilities are endless.
(image)Buenos dias, amigos! I am so excited to introduce my newest endeavor on the road to happy living, my very own happiness project called The Inside Job. In honor of new beginnings, I am embarking on a 365-day journey to become a better me. Over the holidays, I picked up a copy of Gretchen Rubin's bestseller, The Happiness Project and was inspired to do something similar. In her book, Rubin takes each month to focus on an area of her life in an effort to cultivate more happiness. It's a brilliant idea and what's best is the fact that everyone can start their own unique project tailored to the areas that matter most to them. I started this blog as a happiness project of sorts and this year I'd like to expand on that notion. One of my main goals in 2012 is to write more. This project is the perfect way for me to strive toward all of my goals and chronicle them in story. I will post my discoveries (good and not so good) as they develop and document my journey month by month. Of course, I will still post my inspirations, creative pursuits and other sunny material regularly too. Stay tuned later today to learn what I'm focusing on in January.
Image via Love of Mantra Meditation site
Every Monday, I make a new beginning, a new resolution to do something just a bit better than the week before.
I pick myself up, dust myself off and find my big girl panties once more. I never know how, but somewhere between Thursday and Sunday, I trade my big girl panties in for the "I don't give a shit" ball cap or the all-purpose invisibility cloak.
Enter the Monday Mantra...a new addition to the blog schedule and positive way to start another week. It's my way to set my intentions on a higher plane so that when the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. for the next five consecutive days, I willingly welcome another week.
The Monday Mantra coincides with a whole pattern of new beginnings, not just Mondays. Last week, I rolled out a new set of goals
for the second half of 2011 and entered July feeling so fresh and so clean, clean. I am settling into a new blog schedule, another new beginning AND
I registered for my first marathon yesterday, a challenge that kinda scares me. With all this newness, Mama needs some positive reinforcements. Maybe you do too.
The Monday Mantra will be here every week. I intend to use it at the beginning of each day, to center myself in it and use it as a positive mental guide as I tackle the week. Feel free to use it in whatever way you like.
On a side note, I had this Calculus teacher in high school named Mr. Boggs. He was an odd southern gentleman of sorts that resembled a Galapagos turtle and had a love for calculus that was both unnatural and fascinating. He was quite funny too. He would often refer to himself as "self" and would begin random stories with "So I said to myself....self..."
So as I embark on the inaugural Monday Mantra, I say to myself...
"Self.... I DO ENOUGH
I HAVE ENOUGH
I AM ENOUGH
Get your big girl panties on, a new week has begun!!
I don't know about you but, for me, every week begins with a new resolution to be just a smidge better than the week before. Sometimes I resolve to follow my workout schedule better. Other times, I vow to eat healthier foods, to meditate more, to wake up earlier, go to sleep at a reasonable hour...all in the name of becoming a happier, more balanced individual.
I haven't conducted any formal studies on the subject, but to me, happiness is an action word. It is not a destination or something we acquire once Circumstance A
is complete or Object B
is bought. Happiness is a choice. It is one of the many things we get to cultivate as human beings and it takes effort.
I don't claim to be a happy person ALL the time, but I started this blog as an exercise in happy living
and made a deal with myself to pursue this path publicly, for better or worse. So, this week begins a series I call Sunshine Seven Ways
. Every day I'll offer up a new way to cultivate a little sunshine. Small suggestions that, if applied consciously, can make a big difference. I'll be taking notes on my progress and hope to hear some of your experiences this week. You can email me at keia[at]the-sunnysideup.com or simply leave your comments.
Here's a fine tune to get you settled into the bright side. Everybody loves the sunshine (and the 70's!). Happy living!
The road to happy living is paved with interesting twists and turns and a healthy dose of honesty. Here's a little bit of my latest. It's raw. To thine own self be true.
I'm starting to get my elevator pitch down and with more ease. I can now sit tall, look someone in the eye and with confidence tell them why I won't be accepting my recent admission to graduate school.
"I'm going down the road less taken," I say.
I vacillate between feeling passionate about my decision and trembling with overwhelming doubt. Even the slightest experience knocks me off kilter.
Last night I met a woman who, in the 1980's, almost won a Mazda hatchback car but instead won a Mary Kay package on The Price Is Right
. No kidding. She showed me the video
Today, that same woman lives a privileged life as the National Sales Director of Mary Kay Cosmetics. She's been privileged to drive 15 pink cadillacs and has been a conversation piece for Bob Barker twice. Once when she was a 21-year old contestant (Bob had brown hair back then) and 12 years later when, a grey-haired Barker referenced her success as a credit to his show.
This woman and her husband of 36 years took a special liking to me. I was articulate, intellectual and "not your typical server." No offense taken.
Their story of faith, family and fortune fascinated me. Their kindness signaled a genuine connection, a look into the crystal ball of my own life, maybe. Just like that I came home, lip trembling, tears welling up- Should I be looking into the Mary Kay Empire? Why did our paths cross? Was God trying to tell me to pursue cosmetics? I was confused. Am I even supposed to be writing?
Currently, any stable faith in myself is short-lived. The only thing that restores my shaky house of cards is a loving fiance who reminds me that I love to write, that I've always talked about this sort of thing. But have I? I'm not sure.
Still, the words "I'm not going to graduate school" come out of my mouth and I am writing. And reading. And reading about writing. And posting.
Something is stirring. It's terrifying. It's schizophrenic and it feels like something I could get used to.
Sitting in th bookstore today I think I cried, laughed out loud, thought of three short story ideas and witnessed my future self receiving a spot on The New Yorker's
list of 20 Under 40, all within a 20-minute span.
Sitting here today I remembered the times I wrote just to write. Traipsing across Europe documenting the sights and smells, making up stories about my server while eating breakfast in Midtown Atlanta, scribbling my coked-up soul on to anything that would hold ink including the refrigerator which, turns out, soaks up permanent marker surprisingly well. Journaling, reading,writing, thinking. I've done this off and on for years.
When it comes to writing, I've never consciously turned on the faucet and left it running. I've always been too afraid to flood the house. Too worried about ruining all the things that lived inside. I'll never be able to replace what's there. Or will I? I'll make too much of a mess. I won't have any place to live. I could lose everything.
I'm so dramatic. But, it's true.
I don't know what's going to happen by choosing this path. All I know is that, at this moment, I'm definitely not going to graduate school.
Happy March Everyone and Happy Blog Launch Day!
Right now, I'm sitting in a coffee shop, being the cliche I always wanted to be, hammering out my first post in what I hope is the beginning of a lovely journey.
The SunnysideUp is an exercise in happy living. It's part of a deal I made with myself to pursue a life that nurtures the soul and seeks happiness and fulfillment in all its fantastic forms. It's my daily effort at finding the good in each day and sharing the human experience with others.
Here at the SunnysideUp you'll find little bits of inspirational goodies (I call them dailies) as well as commentary on life experiences (some good, some not-so-good and some hysterical) and self-imposed "happiness" projects that I take on for better or worse.
I welcome the chance to share a little love, laughter and light through this experience and hope that you might find your own little patch of sunshine when you come here. I hope you'll stop by often and share in the evolution of something good.
Here's to new beginnings...see you on the SunnysideUp!